Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

I really really LOVE this recipe, it's so easy and ridiculously delicious.

Chicken Tetrazzini

thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/chicken_spaghet/
Edited from pioneer woman (basically what I had on hand)
Ingredients


* 2 cups Cooked Chicken
* 1 lb spaghetti cooked
* 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
* 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
* 1/2 cup mixed carrots and peas (frozen)
* 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
* 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
* 1 tsp thyme
* Salt And Pepper, to taste


Topping

* 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
* 1 cup bread crumbs mixed in with the cheddar for topping


Preparation Instructions
(I never see this in recipes, but I just add frozen chicken tenders to the pasta water (before it starts boiling) and by the time the pasta is done, so are the chicken tenders)
Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups.
Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar and bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes
from Better Homes and Gardens

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk (or pour 1 tbsp lemon juice in a cup measure and fill to the 1 cup line with milk)

Cook on medium heat until you see bubbles in the middle of the pancake and then flip. Serve with REAL maple syrup or boozy fruit :-)

Apple Crisp


Apple Crisp, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Apple Crisp

Filling
1/2c sugar
2T flour
½ tsp cinnamon
3 lb apples (8-10 medium apples)

Topping
1 ½ cups quick oats
½ c flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter (room temperature)
½ tsp cinnamon

375 for 45-60 min

I like this much better than pies because crust is mostly ignored. When I'm using sweeter apples I only use about 2 tbsp of sugar in the filling.

Apple Cranberry Bread


I honestly didn't expect great things from this recipe, only because I pulled it out on a whim after another recipe failed me at 3:00 this morning while preparing food for a brunch, and ALL I wanted to do was make another easy dish as a "filler" and GO TO BED. Since I'd already prepared other fall-spiced apple dishes for this brunch, I wanted something that used apples, wasn't super-sweet, and wasn't spiced/cinnamony. This was it. And it was GOOD.



Apple Cranberry Bread


2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 cups chopped apples (I left them unpeeled)
1 cup fresh cranberries (next time I'll increase it to 1 1/2 cups)

Streusel topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (light brown would be fine)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 1/2 tbsp. cold butter

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and oil. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix into wet ingredients just until barely combined (batter is extremely thick). Stir in apples and cranberries. Pour into a greased loaf pan and top with streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes, or until knife/toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a wee bit of a schmear.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stuffed Pork Chops with Apples

Just a grand experiment that turned out pretty darn grand.


A few notes:
a) It's multi-step, and I know it looks like a lot, but it’s not too intensive. I started cooking at 4:47 and was finished at 5:22. Yes, I like to time myself. Because I’m racing myself. Because that way, I always win. It’s a rich life, and it’s mine.
b) I used one skillet for everything because I didn’t feel like slaving over a sinkful of dishes. Feel free to use different skillets if you’re one of those kids who doesn’t like your foods to touch. No judgment here.


Pork chops:
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 center-cut pork chops
Salt and pepper

Stuffing:
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced celery
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. ground rosemary
Black pepper
1 large loaf Cuban bread (or other sturdy or slightly stale bread), torn into small pieces
1 cup chicken stock

Apples:
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 medium Northern Spy apples, cored and sliced
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted


In a large skillet with high sides, brown pork chops (seasoned with salt and pepper) in olive oil over high heat for 5-6 minutes or until browned on both sides. Don’t start chopping apples and get distracted like some of us (eyes cast downward, muttering)… some of us. Remove chops to a platter and cover with foil. Do not wipe out your skillet.




Skillet-cooked pork chops are difficult to make pretty. So pile junk on top of them. Win.

Lower heat to medium. Melt butter and oil in skillet, then add onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Sweat everything for about 10 minutes, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the bread (I like to let the bread toast in the skillet for a few minutes.. mmm), then add the chicken stock and combine thoroughly. Remove stuffing to a bowl and cover. Wipe out the skillet. (I found that the pork left behind enough salty yum that I didn't need to add salt to the stuffing; taste and add if you need to).






Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, then add apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples have released juice and are very soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Place a handful of stuffing on a pork chop. Top with apple mixture.




Attractive? No. Delicious? Yes. Barely sweet, just enough savory, good stuff.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Momentary Tantrums and Apple Crisp

I'm normally a pretty laid-back, easygoing person. People don't get to me. Stress doesn't really get to me. I have a sweet spot of peace somewhere in the middle, and very little upsets it. I worked hard for it, and that's how I like it.




Lately, however, I find myself smacking my forehead against various walls during one of the most stressful periods I've ever experienced. And when I get stressed, I cook. I cook a lot.




Unfortunately most of my cooking has been mental, since I'm still staying with my mother (which I appreciate, but siiiiigh). Tonight, for example, I made my second apple crisp in as many days, and my mother (the non-cook) wonders how I'm not totally exhausted, while in my head, I've already made cranberry apple butter, applesauce, apple cake with browned butter frosting, apple-stuffed pork chops, and some kind of fantastically gorgeous over-the-top apple something resulting in a trashed kitchen and empty butter boxes and flour smeared across my forehead... (resisting the urge to smack forehead against floor)




Not to change the subject or anything, but I really liked that some of the apples had spots. I kind of think that's the way it should be. Real apples get spots and bruises and even worms; bionic Walmart apples rarely do. I'll take bruises, spots, and wildlife for $200, Alex.




I love to eat apple slices out of apple crisp before it's baked. I might be the only one, but I own it.



I could totally slam my forehead into that. I love how the thickened liquid looks like caramel.

sigh. recipe.



Apple Crisp (apple part kind of adapted from Elizabeth's recipe and a few others)

4 really huge Northern Spy apples, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Topping:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut in chunks

Toss the apples with the lemon juice, then the remaining ingredients. Spread in a pan.

Combine all the topping ingredients, then sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Invite me over to cook you something. I don't care what it is.

(note: I like my apple crisp a little on the tart side, especially since the topping tends to be on the sweet side. Tweak away.)

Hmm.


One of these things is not like the others.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sliders

Go beef! This beef is freakishly good.. not storebought, but purchased directly from the person who raised the moo. Is it pretentious for me to describe the texture of raw beef as "velvety?" I had to make myself stop playing with it and put it down.



(that's what she said.)

One little trick that I use every time I make homemade burgers (in a skillet or on a grill pan): Season the outsides with salt and pepper, and then dredge them in flour before cooking them. Stole that tip from an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," which I usually call "Drivers, Drivers and Drives," and which is my dream job, but anyway. I had to add a bit of olive oil to the pan for this beef, since it's so lean, otherwise my flour woulda burned. The meat, she is seasoned.. the flour, she browns and gives the burger a nice crusty outside...

... I like mine with squishy buns (also what she said)...


... and yummy toppings (caramelized onions and sliced campari tomatoes in our case.. didn't feel like leaving the house to forage for more)...



...and then your slider is ridiculously tall. :) But slap some Amish bacon cheddar on it, squish that sucker down, and mmmmm.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheese straws

I've pretty much given up on taking pretty pictures until I get my own place (11 days, 11 days..), so I 1) don't have to sneak in cooking after everyone's gone to bed, and 2) can arrange cheese straws on the back porch in order to take advantage of the perfect lighting if I darn well please.

Until then.. sigh.. welcome to Overeditedshiretonville.


Cheese Straws
adapted from Ina Garten's recipe at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cheese-straws-recipe/index.html

1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, whisked with 1 tbsp. water
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesano reggiano cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, ground
Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry to approximately 10x12. Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper (more than you think you'll need; I took it easy on the salt, thinking the salty cheese would make up for it, but later wish I'd used more). Toss the cheeses and thyme together in a bowl, then sprinkle half onto puff pastry. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 12 strips total. Twist the straws and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely on a rack.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Salad


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Petite Vanilla Scones


Petite Vanilla Scones
(she is a much better photographer than I am, and I hate her for it.) (if "hate" means "adore.")

SCONES
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks cold salted butter, cut into pea-sized chunks
1 egg
¾ cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

GLAZE
2 cups confectioners sugar
cream and milk (see note below)
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
a pinch of salt

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. (I worked quickly and smooshed the butter chunks into the flour with my fingers.. I swear my baking utensils are gonna be packed in boxes until the end of frickin time.)

Whisk vanilla paste into cream, then whisk in the egg. Combine with flour mixture; fold gently until the mixture barely comes together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle. (Mixture will be pretty crumbly.) Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.

I used a floured pizza cutter to trim the dough into a rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 12 symmetrical squares/rectangles, then cut each rectangle into 2 triangles.

Transfer to cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely.


VANILLA GLAZE
Combine all the ingredients to form a glaze that drizzles thickly from between the tines of a fork, kind of like Elmer's glue.

Note: I purchased an 8 oz. carton of heavy cream, but I had about 2 ounces left over. Instead of pitching it or letting it rot in the fridge, I just dumped it into the glaze.. worked just fine. I just added enough liquid to get a nice, thick glaze. I also think using the full 3 cups of sugar will leave you with too much glaze left over to have justified using so much real, expensive vanilla. The amount I made was perfect to submerge each scone, then scrape off the excess gently with the side of a fork. The glaze is thick enough that it settles down smoothly on the scone's surface after being scraped away.