Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dr. Jekyll/Mr Pie

PIE PIE PIE PIE PIE

Hey guys! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE pie. The only problem with pie, for me, is the process of making it. In fact, each time I make it, I usually cry because my dough breaks and there’s never enough and wah wah wah wah wah. This doesn’t happen when you’re baking with Crafstine! who is a mad scientist in the kitchen. The title of this post shows that. This recipe is a mixture between a very structured recipe, and something that Crafstine created IN HER MIND. ON THE SPOT.

My most favorite pie is the apple pie that my mom makes. She gave me the Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cookbook for my 20th birthday, since that holds a lot of recipes that she uses. Unfortunately, the apple pie (THE MOST IMPORTANT RECIPE) is not the same that she uses. So, I scribbled down all of the changes so I would have hers. Then Crafstine came into play. She saw the double crust factor in the book and raised it less carbs.

The bottom crust is the same as my mom’s:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons of butter flavor shortening

Filling:

6 big apples

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons lemon juice

and I think Crafstine put ginger in there? probably 1/2 teaspoon, at most.

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives used in scissor fashion, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle in 4 to 6 tablespoons of ice water, a tablespoon at a time. This will vary based upon how humid it is! Mix lightly with a fork after each addition, until the dough is juuuust moist enough to hold together. This was my problem. Crafstine saw that it came together, and I was all, “MORE WATER? IT’S STILL CRUMBLY? IT’S BARLEY STAYING TOGETHER, MORE WATER!” but I listened, and she was totally right.

Shape dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, you can take the dough out and start rolling. Right before the 30 minute mark, we peeled and sliced the apples into 1/8 inch thick slices and combined everything in a bowl. Crafstine rolled out the dough RIGHT ON THE PLASTIC WRAP (BLOWING MY MIND!) and then we put it into the pie pan. Put the filling in, and then get ready to get weird. Crafstine’s genius mind came up with the idea to create a streusel-like topping with:

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 stick of butter

2 tablespoon of flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar.

We put it all in a food processor, and it was AMAZING. We crumbled it on top, and put it into a pre-heated oven of 400. After a while, we could really smell the almonds getting toasty, so we lowered the temperature to about 350. We baked it for about a 1/2 an hour, and let it cool for 30 minutes. I actually ate it for breakfast this morning (because I’m a child), and it’s a lovely (lovely!) mixture between soft, tart apples with a nice nutty crunch on top.

–megz

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Nurse, I thsick.

Ginger is supposed to help boost your immune system right?

Ugh. I have a cold. I’m miserable.  It is not pretty. I look like I could be an extra on “The Walking Dead.” Seriously. It’s a good thing you can’t see me. I contracted this evil cold from, of course, my significant other. Last week Dan was all sniffles and sneezes and SUPRISE! this weekend I found myself experiencing similar symptoms. Last week I made a batch of chai that was SERIOUSLY spicy. Too spicy for me. Dan came home from work wanting some tea. I offered up the chai and a disclaimer. He couldn’t really taste but he said it seemed to sooth his symptoms. So this afternoon I decided to make some for myself since I’ve braving this cold sans drugs.

My recipe is adapted from epicurious.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/drink/views/Homemade-Chai-201226

Ingredients

  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns*
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* If you like your chai SUPER spicy use 2 teaspoons of peppercorns. I use considerably less than that. Probably not even a teaspoon, more like 10-12 peppercorns.

First step is to bruise/crush all the cinnamon, pepper, cloves, and cardamom. If you have a mortar and pestle, use it. If not, put them in a pot and find something with a flat bottom that won’t break. Before I had the mortar and pestle I used the wooden handle of my knife sharpener.

Bruised spices.

Once everyone is crushed throw them in a pot with the ginger and cover with 6 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil.

Turn on the heat!

One it starts to boil, reduce head and simmer for 10 minutes.

We’re cookin’ now!

After 10 minutes remove from heat and add 6 bags of black tea. The recipe calls for Darjeeling, but all I have is Pekoe.

This is where you would add the sugar.  I don’t add the sugar because I prefer to sweeten and add milk/rice milk on a cup to cup basis. But feel free to add your sugar (I use honey) whenever you please.

Steepin'

Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes, remove tea bags. This is where you would add the milk. Since I’m off dairy, I use rice milk and I add it to each cup rather than the whole batch. Personal preference. After you remove the bags strain the tea into a container. I usually use a Ball jar or a pitcher.

Final product.

It is delicious, and the only thing that makes me happy besides taking millions of pictures of my adorable cat while I lay in bed.

xoxo (don’t worry I’ll hold my breath),

Kayla

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thekitchn’s braised greens with chick peas

So last night, I mentioned that I would be making/reviewing thekitchn’s braised greens with chick peas, and BOY OH BOY, I am so glad I did. I changed a few things (surprise) and it was amaaaaazing! Here’s the original recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-braised-coconut-spinach-chickpeas-with-lemon-164551

All the ingredients! Not shown: onion and wine.

My ingredient list:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

A splash! of white wine (probably a tablespoon)

3 shakes/dashes of red pepper flakes

1 15 ounce can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can of coconut milk (I used light)

1 teaspoon ground ginger (I just used fresh again at the end to brighten up everything)

salt and pepper to taste

Whole, roasted sweet potatoes (depending on how many you are serving/if you want to prepare leftovers)

Okay, there’s all the ingredients. Before I began chopping and everything, I scrubbed some sweet potatoes and threw them in the oven at 400 degrees while I prepared the rest.

I sautéed the chopped onion in oil, as per the directions state. Then added THREE shakes of red pepper flakes, and the four garlic cloves (Don’t anyone bust my chops about the garlic press. I can hear Anthony Bourdain cursing me out already, but anytime I touch garlic, my hands smell like it for DAYS).

I added the tomatoes after the onions softened and grated fresh ginger (totaling 1 TBSP). At this point, everyone was getting pretty sticky in the pot. I sort of panicked? And added a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, but also create the needed acidic notes that I knew the dish should have. Since I added the wine, I didn’t add lemon juice. At the point, I also added the chick peas, after I drained/rinsed them.

WHERE DID ALL OF THE TOMATOES AND CHICK PEAS GO?

Anyway, I also used kale instead of spinach, so I added that earlier in the cooking process so it could cook down. I didn’t use my entire bag of kale (which was a pound), because kale is precious to me and I need to make more smoothies. I used almost the entire bag though, about 4 huge handfuls. I then added the can of coconut milk (mine was only 13.5 ounces?) and more freshly grated ginger. I lowered the temperature, but put the lid on the pot so the kale could soften/steam? faster.

As you can see, the kale cooked down quite a bit. Once the kale softened and cooked down, the sweet potatoes were ready to come out.

WHERE DID THE SWEET POTATO GO?

Oh, the sweet potato is in there. I loaded everything on top of it and proceeded to eat. I didn’t garnish it with toasted coconut or anything like the original recipe suggested, but it was incredible. Since I bought a 3lb bag of sweet potatoes at BJ’s, and a pound of washed/cut kale is $1.99 there, I can see me making this for us about once every two weeks…if not more frequently. I was going to have these leftovers over leftover couscous, but I “accidentally forgot” that we had the leftovers…(really, I just love any potato product and would rather eat potatoes than anything else, including couscous which I also love).

I know that the dish is supposed to be bright and tangy, and I think the wine accomplished that, because there was a slight tang to it (from the sun-dried tomatoes also). Next time, I will be sure to have a lemon to complete the dish with the zest and juice.

–megz

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Oh hello, Sourdough! Part Deux

Before I begin writing and you being reading, I have to warn you: there are some SERIOUS carbs below..and I also just got back from the gym so my energy level is at a 9.

Its pretty amazing though that a food of sustenance can come from 5 major ingredients: flour, water, yeast-some wild (and crazy), sea salt, and if you want- some cooked grains. I had been keeping the starter, formally known as Souie, in the fridge to slow the yeast growth so that they had some fight left in them to contribute to dough proofing. About two days before I wanted to bake up some bread, I took the starter out of the fridge and left it in a warm place so the yeast could wake up and get cooking. The starter didn’t look the same as when I first made it and it started doing its thing, but it smelled like beer and I saw bubbles when I peeked into the kitchen each time, so I let it be.

Finally the time had come. It was Sunday, and I wanted to create yeasty magic. First thing’s first, you have to make what’s called a “sponge”. Take two cups of the starter, then two cups of lukewarm water (like a hot tub for the yeast!), 4 cups of flour, and if you want (and as the recipe called for) 2 cups of cooked grains. I bought some steel cut oats, cooked them to al-dente (because I like my bread to have that hearty feeling), let them cool, and added it to the mix. Stir, stir, stir, and let it sit in a warm place covered with a damp tea towel for…hm let’s see….8-24 HOURS!?! WTF? I can has sourdough? never? I imagined Alton Brown saying “your patience will be rewarded” so I pouted, walked away in a huff, and let it work.

You can almost hear the bubbles making an angsty bored teenager sound like "PUHHH"

After a few hours it will look like the bubbly picture above, and then you are ready to go! Can you see the light through the tunnel? YES I CAN! Add 4 more cups of flour and a teaspoon of sea salt and knead the crap out of it for 10 minutes. You have to work the gluten in the dough so it is springy. You know you are done when you go to poke the dough with your finger and it bounces back. I poked it a few times just to make sure..poke..poke.pokepokepoke.
Form it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl to rise for an hour or so in a warm place and covered- this is key- by a tea towel damp with warm water. It sets the mood for rising.

After an hour or so when it has about doubled in size, you can punch it down, and form some loaves. Oil your cooking pans so they don’t stick and plop the dough in/on there. I only had one actual loaf pan, because usually I only make one at a time and I’m not Uncle Scrooge’in it in my vault, that one is from Williams Sonoma, and I only bought it because I felt particularly pressured by a nearby cookbook by Martha Stewart, and she gave me a look like “Its a good thing”. Damn you Martha. As you can see, I have thouroughly protected it. Anyway, Let’s just call the other one “rustic”.

sup loaves?

Let those proof it up for ANOTHER HOUR, covered by same warm damp towel. When they rise, put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 min, depending on your oven. It could be more. Then take them out and let them cool. You will know they are done when you can knock or tap on the loaf and it sounds hollow.

Awww YEEEAAAHHH

oh hello, you look like real bread!

I brought half of the rustic one to work with a jar of rhubarb ginger jam, and it killed.

Next time I’ll post more low-carb meals or treats.

-stine

101 Cookbooks Gougères Recipe

Hey guys! Do you like cheesey, beery, poofy bread things? Then I suggest you head over to http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/gougares-recipe.html to get the recipe. I literally followed it to a T, so I feel like it would be silly to re-write the entire thing. I did, however, make some small changes (okayokayokay, I didn’t follow it to a T, but VERY close).

Ooh, that cheese…

When looking at the recipe list and seeing that “ale” is listed, I asked my beer loving/brewing boyfriend, “WHAT IS ALE? DO WE HAVE ANY?” Turns out, his winter warmer (made with raisins!) is an ale, so I used that. I also didn’t put fennel seed in because, ew, licorice.

The finished product....and beer related stuff to be used for bottling his latest brew behind them! Beer things everywhere.

It was quite a process, but totally worth it. So delicious, and made a dozen. I’m currently storing them in a tupperware and plan on re-heating them in the oven. I served them with….

 

Roasted squash, bacon, and kale over spaghetti.

This recipe I got from thekitchn. Here’s the link: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-pasta-wi-1-15183. I changed a few things with this recipe as well and used acorn squash instead of delicata squash. These two things together made quite the evening for me. I roasted the squash while baking the gougères, and while those guys were doing their thing, caramelized the onions/cooked bacon (instead of pancetta), and got the pasta started. In the future, I probably will just cut slices of onion and let them roast with the squash. Before serving, I splashed some more balsamic vinegar on the spaghetti as I was tossing everything around. The pasta gets a little dry, so you may need to freshen up leftovers with some olive oil.

In conclusion, I like my carbs served with my carbs. With more carbs inside of said carbs. Both of these, while extremely time consuming, were awesome. I would highly recommend them. Thekitchn has been killing it lately with recipes that I WANT TO EAT and tomorrow I’ll be making a sautéed kale/chick pea in coconut milk dish that was on their site within this past week. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

 

–megz

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a fish dish!

Hey you guys! So I think I was supposed to live by the ocean, because boy oh boy, do I love fish (I also really love the water). Tonight I made this dish that I found on epicurious and it was super delicious. The original recipe calls for halibut, but I found organic frozen tilapia at the grocery store on sale so I just used that instead. Be warned though: it is spicy! In the future, I may reduce the 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes by half.

Although I only used two filets, I still made the entire amount of sauce. I think it was the perfect amount of sauce, especially with the couscous, but I like things really sauce-y.

I apologize for not showing all of the ingredients….my counters couldn’t hold it all. 

4 6-7 ounce filets of halibut (or tilapia!–I used 2 filets)

all purpose flour (I doubt this is really necessary for the browning process, but I used it anyway)

4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

2 large shallots (I used half an onion and two cloves of garlic)

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (might want to reduce this by half if you don’t like spicy things!)

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used canned tomatoes, and just cut up 4 of those)

1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided

1 tablespoon drained capers

1/3 cup of bottled clam juice (I omitted this, and I think it turned out fine)

1/4 cup dry white wine

 

Salt and pepper both sides of the fish and dredge in flour (I think you could just salt and pepper the fish without even using the flour). Over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and start to brown the fish. Once the fish is browned, place on an oven-safe plate and pop it in the oven on low/warm setting. In the same pan, add the last 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the shallots (or onion and garlic!) and red pepper flakes for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, capers, olives, 1/4 cup of the basil, and wine (also, if you’re using, the clam juice goes in at this time). Let this boil and reduce for a bit (stir occasionally).

 

Meanwhile, while this is reducing, start the couscous as per the directions on the package.

Once the couscous is about ready and the sauce has reduced, add the rest of the basil. Spoon a serving of couscous onto a plate, place the fish on top, and spoon on the sauce!

And there you have it! It did not take a long time, and was delicious! Now, what to do with the rest of the jars of olives and capers?  I plan on making pasta alla puttanesca, but any other ideas?

-megz

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Let’s talk tofu.

Yes. I said tofu. I know, I know. I have had many tofu misadventures. I tried the old press and marinate. I’ve tried to use the little cubes in salad. I swore tofu off as my mortal enemy. My boyfriend’s lovely vegan sister, Meridith, changed my tofu hating ways forever with one delicious stir fry. The secret really is in the press. Since, most of us non-vegans don’t own a tofu press (we bought one for Meridith and she swears it is amazing) there is a tofu brand out there that is seriously superior and delicious, more on that later.

Full disclosure, I am on a diet. Not the best time to start writing for a food blog, I know. I have never been a “dieter” but months of baking and not working out have finally caught up with me. Turns out I can’t get away with things I could when I was 18. Go figure. This diet means no sugar, little oil (basically none), lots of veggies, lots of fruit, lots of protein, and NO. DAIRY. If you knew me, the girl who was spending 20 dollars a week on cheese while paying her way through college, you’d know that this is insane. I love cheese. All kinds of cheese. I would eat cheese for every meal.  I have had some seriously manic moments which include fantasizing about making a quesadilla whilst furiously shoveling alfalfa sprouts into my mouth, and looking at a chocolate cake recipe and realizing I have all the ingredients to make it and could probably eat the whole thing before anyone would know that said cake existed. Despite those few, crazy person moments this dietary change has been pretty easy-going thus far. I don’t miss the dairy like I thought I would. It’s a good thing I love vegetables. I’ve been eating more tofu because I have to eat lean meats and I’m sort of getting sick of chicken. I only eat fish once a week –damn mercury– and I’ve been trying to cut out my precious red meat –mmmm steak– for  a while, naturally tofu was the next step in supplementing protein.

Enough about that, let us look at some food!

Onions, Mushrooms, SPROUTS!, Tofu, Broccoli, Carrots, and watermelon radishes.

This was my lunch today before it met its soy saucey fate in my cast iron skillet. It’s a pretty quick, easy, and delicious meal. I usually choose whatever vegetables I have around that go well together. These are the usual suspects: sweet onions, cremini mushrooms, alfalfa and dill sprouts (added at the end), broccoli, carrots and watermelon radishes. The trick is to put the tofu in first, usually with some oil or soy sauce, to let it get some color and crisp up a bit. I use Soy Boy tofu, it’s SUPER firm and delicious. I like tofu lin the best but their smoked flavor is pretty tasty as well. I cooked the smoked tofu up like bacon once, I mean it didn’t taste like bacon, but it was delicious. ANYWAY, once you let the tofu get some color add the rest of the veggies and soy sauce and let that work over med-med low heat.

YAY!

Today I realized halfway through cooking that I have fresh ginger! DUH! Ginger is another former sworn enemy that I seriously love now. Maybe my taste buds are changing? Anyway I made a quick dice any and threw those guys in there.

Isn't that ceramic knife sexy? I hope it doesn't claim a finger tip someday!

This is also a good look at the label of the tofu I speak of. I swear they aren’t paying me (I’m looking at you Soy Boy). It really is the best tofu I’ve had. So here’s the finished product.

Top with sprouts and you're good to go.

Seriously delicious.

So since this is my first post I should complete the fun little survey the other gals completed. Sound good? Good.

1. My Favorite things to make are: Mostly baked goods and canned goods. I, too, made my own sourdough starter in the Fall of 2010. I like making pasta, sauces, desserts, pastries. Everything really.

2. My go-to recipes are found: I don’t typically follow a recipe to the letter (unless I’m canning or baking). My MO is usually to look at three or four recipes and make some franken-recipe. But my go to sources are usually Joy the Baker, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart, Lidia Bastianich, Alton Brown, Thomas Keller  and Michael Symon.

3. I would never use a recipe from: This is tough, I REALLY want to say Rachel Ray  because most of her recipes are ‘meh’ but I have to tell you her Penne alla Vodka recipe is pretty good. So, hmmmm, OH who’s that semi homemade lady? Sandra Lee? First Girlfriend of New York? Yeah that lady. No, thanks.

4. What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? I love, love, love my south-facing window. It has allowed me to keep fresh herbs through the winter. My oregano finally bit it but my basil and my Italian parsley are still going strong.

Oh hai! It's January and we're still alive!

5. What is your least favorite thing about you kitchen? I hate my oven/stove. It’s electric. Mama wants gas. It’s older than Dan (27). It’s an ugly beige. It’s matches the fridge. I not-so-secretly dream of owning a vintage gas stove. Dan and I were looking at a house ( built in 1900) that’s for sale and there was a GEM, I’m talking 1940s gas range, in the basement next to an old porcelain sink. The old woman who lived there before (RIP) canned in the basement. There is also a root cellar in said basement. I want this house. I digress.

6. What is your proudest moment in your recent culinary history? This is tough. Do I have to pick one? Top three? Okay. Last summer, Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Dough recipe. Do it. Seriously. Go look it up. Now. If I meet Peter Reinhart I will kiss him on the lips. With tongue. SO. GOOD.
Right before Christmas I was trying to think of a vegan friendly Christmas treat to send home with Dan. It hit me, orangettes. AKA chocolate covered candied orange peels. It was time-consuming but SO worth it. They were DELICIOUS.
One word. Gnocchi. The end.

7.  What is the biggest upset in your recent culinary history? Homemade whole wheat bread. I didn’t know you needed vital wheat gluten. Even with the wheat gluten I haven’t quite mastered this yet.

8. What is your favorite item in your kitchen? My wonderful Aunt Gail GAVE me her BRAND NEW Kitchen Aid Pro Series Stand mixer this summer. I almost died. It’s fancy. It’s nice. It makes my life easier and less messy. I also love my Le Cruset silicone balloon whisk (which was my mixer before my kitchen aid–ha ha), my silpat, ceramic knives, and my baking stone.

9. What is the oldest item in your kitchen? Hard to say. If I had to guess I’d say my vintage glass lidded canning jars.

10. What is the newest item in your kitchen? Oh man, Dan got me a set of ceramic knives for Christmas. They are SO, so nice. I’m going to lose a finger though. I know it.
My fantastic mother also bough me a dough knife. Thanks, Ma!

11. What is your favorite thing about cooking? I don’t know. I just LOVE it. I feel good. It feels like alchemy. Creating things feels great. It’s even better when other people enjoy the fruits of my labor. I hate cleaning up after though. Seriously, who can I get to clean up after I cook?

Sorry this is so long! Until next time.

xoxo- Kayla

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Mom’s Fried Chicken

My mom’s fried chicken! Do you guys see a theme here? My mom likes cooking, and it is usually pretty damn good. She emailed me this recipe a few weeks ago, and before I accidentally delete the email, I want to post it here to share! So here it is, straight from my email. I’m not sure why my mom wrote it in all caps…maybe she was just really excited about this chicken. I know I am.

I don’t have any pictures, because when I made this it was pre blog, but you know what fried chicken looks like—it looks like DELICIOUSNESS.

MARYLAND PAN FRIED CHICKEN

1 FRYING CHICKEN, CUT INTO PIECES (I used chicken breasts…because chicken off the bone freaks me out!)

1 QUART BUTTERMILK

1 TABLESPOON PLUS 1 TEASPOON SALT, DIVIDED

1 TEASPOON CHESAPEAKE SEASONING (OLD BAY)

1/2 TEASPOON CRACKED BLACK PEPPER

1/2 TEASPOON HOT PEPPER SAUCE

3 CLOVES GARLIC, PEELED AND HALVED

1 LEMON, JUICED

2 CUPS FLOUR

2 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

1 TEASPOON RUBBED SAGE

1/2 TEASPOON GROUND THYME

1/2 TEASPOON CAYENNE PEPPER

VEGETABLE OIL FOR FRYING

PLACE CHICKEN IN SHALLOW DISH.

IN MEDIUM BOWL, PLACE BUTTERMILK, 1 TEASPOON OF THE SALT, CHESAPEAKE SEASONING, CRACKED BLACK PEPPER, HOT PEPPER SAUCE, GARLIC AND LEMON JUICE. MIX WELL AND POUR OVER CHICKEN TO COVER. COVER DISH AND REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT. This makes the chicken sooooooooooo tasty.

IN BOWL, PLACE FLOUR, 1 TABLESPOON OF THE SALT, PEPPER, SAGE, THYME AND CAYENNE. MIX WELL AND PLACE IN LARGE SEALABLE PLASTIC BAG. REMOVE CHICKEN FROM BUTTERMILK, BLOT EXCESS AND PLACE CHICKEN IN BAG W/ FLOUR MIXTURE; SHAKE TO COAT WELL.

IN LARGE CAST-IRON SKILLET, PLACE VEGETABLE OIL TO DEPTH OF ABOUT 1 1/4 INCHES. HEAT UNTIL HOT BUT NOT SMOKING, ADD CHICKEN AND BROWN BOTH SIDES, TURNING FREQUENTLY; DO NOT CROWD PAN. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM, COVER AND COOK ABOUT 25 MINUTES, TURNING CHICKEN OCCASIONALLY. DRAIN CHICKEN ON PAPER BAGS. MAKES 4 SERVINGS.

If you decided to use chicken breasts or thighs, the cooking time will be reduced, so keep an eye on it.

PUT PAPER BAGS ON COOLING RACKS AND DRAIN SO THE CHICKEN STAYS CRISPY TURN THEM AND WHEN ALL THE OIL IS DRAINED JUST LEAVE THEM ON RACK WITHOUT BAGS.

So there you have it! My mom’s fried chicken recipe. I served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed some kale and garlic with olive oil and a splash! of balsamic vinegar.

–megz

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Who you Caul-in’ a Flower?!

Ok so besides the strong urge for bread..(see ‘oh hello, sourdough’) I’m trying to stick to a low carb diet. It’s something like the paleo diet, only fewer fruits and nuts. When cooking on a diet you have to get creative. I’ve learned how to use so many imitation flours to try to make cookies, cupcakes, etc. All of which were crushing failures. They turned out sandy and almost biscuit-like, only not the delicious buttermilk steamy variety you might be thinking of, more like sandy clumps of no-flavor. It’s a process in learning how different things work. I did successfully make a keto-cheesecake, which was pretty delightful. ANYWAY!

I’ve had a craving for pizza that starts deep down in the depths of my soul…or maybe stomach. I recently got two heads of cauliflower as a perk of working with produce distribution , and not being able to sell the “less than perfect” specimens.  When searching for an interesting recipe to make cauliflower cous cous (the food so nice they named it twice?) the Google gods smiled upon me and showed “Cauliflower pizza”. I looked at the recipe and thought, “YUP, That’s happening.” I used the recipe from ‘eat drink smile’ found here

The picture shows two eggs, but you only need one

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
1 c cooked cauliflower (riced in my new best friend, the food processor)
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed or minced garlic
1 egg
I also added some Crystal hot sauce and some fresh cracked pepper, but I bet you could add red pepper flakes if you wanted to.

First, cut up the cauliflower, leave the stems we just want the 2″ of goodness that surrounds the stems. Then put them through the grater in your food processor. Oh my goodness, thank you Aunt Ann for this amazing wedding gift. It made my life a million times easier.Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

I think I’m in love with you, food processor

After you get it to a rice texture, throw it all in a bowl and cook it in the microwave for 7 minutes-ish.. (side note: one head of cauliflower makes a metric crap-ton of riced cauliflower, so prepare for more dough or other uses)

uncooked and cooked cauliflower looks the same but does not smell the same…you’ll know

Then add all of the ingredients to the bowl, and mix until it starts forming a somewhat dough. Then you spray down a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Don’t skimp on the spray, it will determine whether you get slices of pizza or pizza smush. Then turn out the dough onto the sheet and press it into a circle…or square, if you’re from Chicago. What the heck, go crazy and shape it into a rhombus, I don’t care. Just flatten it into a polygon so it resembles a crust.

Sweet. Now throw it in the oven (actually, place it gently) and let it bake and smell up your house with pizza deliciousness for 15 min. Mainly until the center is set and the edges have browned. While this is baking I made my pizza sauce. I always make my own pizza sauce basically because I haven’t had a store-bought one that I like as much. And as I mentioned, I’m a tweaker.

Here are the ingredients to mine: Tomato Paste, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Water, and my secret blend of herbs and spices, a dash or two of hot sauce as well. Mix it up until you get a smooth velvety consistency. Then once the crust has finished pre-baking, take it out of the oven and slather this stuff on there.

Then top with more cheese, I used a mix of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella. I’m not italian so I won’t add extra syllables like Giada. One thing, make sure you only use toppings that are pre-cooked or don’t take much cooking. I used chopped deli ham. The combinations are endless; you could make a white pizza, use pesto instead of tomato sauce, etc. go crazy. Bake for about 5 more min or until the cheese melts. Let the pizza cool slightly for 10 minutes. The crust will set up and you can even pick up the slices.

And enjoy! With the rest of the cooked cauliflower I made faux-potatoes for tomorrow night.
Sourdough update: The starter, Souie, is doing well and has moved to the fridge to slow the yeast growth. I feed it every other day to keep it going.

Now that dinner is over with, I can look at my Seeds of Change Organic Seed Catalog! Meg and I need to plan some garden space.

-Stine

Mom’s Chicken Salad

Hey there! So I know the season doesn’t really scream CHICKEN SALAD because it’s currently a nice, warm, 31 degrees. However, if, in the season of roasting, you decide to roast a chicken and then realize you don’t really like roasted chicken? Since the chicken off the bone kind of freaks you out and is kind of slimey? And you mostly ate the vegetables that you roasted (see: the occasional vegetarian’s brussel sprouts)? And now you have a lot of leftovers? You make your mom’s awesome chicken salad.

I’m not sure where she got the recipe. Each time I call her and ask her for it, she tells me it’s from Williamsburg (as in Virginia). So, I think she has a recipe of favorites from Williamsburg from one of her last trips there. Either way, here it is, and it’s delicious.

It originally calls for two meaty chicken breasts (what kind of measurement is this?). Meat off the bone freaks me out so I ate the breasts, but I just used the rest of the meat what we had left, and it was enough. I also omitted the sugar because that seemed unnecessary, and added some red pepper. I think when I read the recipe really quickly, I thought “red onion” meant red pepper, but it’s good in there. More crunch!

2 Meaty Chicken Breasts, chopped

1 cup of mayo

1 Tbsp of ranch dressing (I forgot that we didn’t have ranch, so I used creamy caesar instead, and it’s still so good)

2 Tbsp chopped red onion (I used white instead)

4 Tbsp chopped celery

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1 cup red or green seedless grapes, cut in half

1 Tbsp sugar (I left this out and didn’t miss it at all)

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I left these out as well, because I didn’t have them. Oops.)

Look at those grapes! Ignore my feet!

Mix everything together and let refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Eat on sandwiches for the rest of the week and pretend it’s warmer outside than it really is.

–meg

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