Monday, April 29, 2013

Turkey soup with linguiça

We love this soup as an occasional change from our classic Basic Turkey Soup.  They both start the same way, with the rich homemade turkey stock.  But instead of re-adding the classic onions, celery, and carrots that you used for the stock to the finished soup, try potatoes instead!

Turkey Soup with Linguiça

Basic turkey soup stock
Reserved turkey meat from stock
Small red potatoes, halved
Linguiça sausage, sliced 1/4 inch
Kale, stems removed

Bring the stock to a boil and add the potatoes.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Mash the potatoes slightly with a hand masher.  Add the reserved turkey meat and the linguiça; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 more minutes.  Add kale and simmer just till tender. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Turkey chili

I learned a pretty cool trick recently from Cook's Illustrated about how to improve the texture of your ground turkey in any chili recipe.  You know how sometimes it ends up being stringy?  Well, the secret is to go ahead and brown 1/2 of it as usual, but wait until you've added the tomatoes and broth before adding the rest.  Form the second half into a tight ball, and pinch off small teaspoon-sized pieces to drop into your simmering chili.  After cooking at a simmer for about 40 minutes, the broth is rich and thick, and the turkey is tender and perfect!  Clever. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pulled pork for a non-army

I recently made pulled pork with a barbecue sauce for a very small group: only two!  I learned from Cook's Country that you could use bone-in pork chops, blade or center cut please, to make the perfect amount for a non-army like this.  Is pork butt better?  You bet.  Is this convenient?  You double bet!

I don't brine the pork before braising it for this dish, because it's already pretty salty.

Pulled Pork for Two

2 large bone-in pork chops, blade or center cut
1 T brown sugar plus 2 t, divided
1 t paprika
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin seeds
Dash of salt and pepper
2 slices of bacon
Small onion, chopped
Clove of garlic, minced
1/3 c ketchup
1/4 c cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 300 with the rack in the lower middle.  Cut meat off the bones, removing most of the fat, and slice into strips.  In a zip loc bag, combine the brown sugar through the salt and pepper.  Place the meat and bones in the bag and rub them well.  Set aside.

Cook the bacon well in a Dutch oven.  Remove bacon to drain and pour out most of the grease, reserving it.  Brown the pork and bones, about 3 minutes each side.  Remove to the bacon plate.

Cook the onion in a bit more of the bacon grease until softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Add the ketchup, vinegar, 2 t brown sugar and stir well, bringing to a boil.  Stir in pork and crumbled bacon.  Cover pot with foil and lid, and braise for about 1 1/2 hours.

Before serving, pull remaining meat off the bones, and shred the pork into bite-sized pieces.  Mix well with onions and sauce.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rolled sugar cookies with Earl Grey and lavender

My friend Trish offered to teach a whole bunch of us how to decorate cookies on a Saturday afternoon. All we had to do was make a batch of sugar cookies and bring them along...Trish would supply the decorating stuff. What a great deal!

Trish shared a link to the recipe she likes from Glorious Treats. It was great, but I can't help messing with everything just a bit. See those spots? I added two tea-bags full of Earl Grey and lavender tea to the dry ingredients. Love it! Wish it was a bit stronger, but I wouldn't want much more spotting in my cookies ;-)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

So proud to be from Boston

The courage of our first responders, volunteers, and fellow runners puts the spotlight clearly on the cowardice of the thugs.  So proud of all the ordinary folks who ran into the fray along with the trained first responders to provide help.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Whiskey chocolate peanut fudge

I found this recipe years ago, and when I went back to visit the original source, it was gone.  But fortunately, I had jotted down the ingredients and was able to find my scratchings on a napkin.  See?  Hoarding isn't always a bad thing!

Whiskey Chocolate Peanut Fudge

6 T whiskey
1 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 c dry roasted peanuts

Prepare an 8x8 glass pan with cooking spray and parchment paper.  Melt the chips on medium power in the microwave, stirring after each minute for a total of 3 minutes.  Your mileage may vary in your microwave.  Chop the peanuts coarsely and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the whiskey and sugar.  Add the peanuts and chocolate and stir well. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula through another piece of parchment paper.  Place in fridge for a few hours.  Remove fudge from the pan, cut and scarf down.

Queso fundido and endive salad

I had to laugh, hard, when I found out that Queso Fundido means "melted cheese."  I found this particular recipe for it in Martha Stewart Living magazine, but you can grab it online at the link above.  I paired it with her Endive Salad, which was very tasty.  The two dishes worked well together.  I made a few modifications, but not enough to really bother mentioning :-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicken soup with wild rice

We love wild rice!  It's not really rice, which you may already know, but I just learned that a few years's a type of grass seed :-)

Chicken Soup with Wild Rice

1/2 c wild rice
2 c chicken stock
2 c water
Vegetable oil
1/2 lb chicken tenders
2 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced lengthwise and then in 1/4 inch cross slices
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, minced
2 carrots, sliced
1 t fresh thyme
More water or stock if needed

Steam the rice ahead of time and set aside. 

Heat a cup of the stock in a Dutch oven and place in a crock pot.  Dry the Dutch oven and brown the chicken in oil.  Place it in the crock pot and let it heat through.   This can also be done ahead of time.

Brown the leeks, mushrooms, and carrots in oil, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the thyme.  Stir in the rest of the broth and the water, and deglaze the pot.  Heat to a boil; reduce and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and vegetables are tender.  Chop the chicken and add it, along with the rest of the stock and juices.  Stir in the rice or add it to individual serving bowls. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Buttermilk Waffles

We tried a batch of Cook's Illustrated Buttermilk Waffles the last time we had a major snowstorm, and although we liked them well enough, we actually liked our old standby better.  I know, sacrilege!!  Well, to each his own, and the extra crisp exterior paired the the creamy interior was just a bit more than we liked, plus, splitting the eggs was just too fussy.  I never mind a few extra steps when the results warrant it, but DH did not feel they did this time.

So here's how we roll:

Buttermilk Waffles
(increase as many times as needed)

1 c all-purpose flour
1 T cornmeal
1/2 t salt
1 t sugar
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
2 T butter, melted

Scant c of buttermilk
1 egg

Heat the waffle iron.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Melt the butter in a large glass measuring cup.  Stir in the buttermilk, and then the egg.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, stirring gently and only as long as absolutely needed.  Cook on high heat until brown. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chili cook-off winner

We have many chili recipes that we already like, but I am of the opinion that you can never have too many.  Sometimes you need it fast and easy, other times you don't mind taking the time to slow cook or braise.  When I saw the recipe for Brian Daddio's award-winning chili, I knew that we were going to have to make it, but change it up just a bit.  If you want to make Brian's version, visit the link above: it's faster than mine and you'll also notice that I cut the recipe in half.

Besides taking longer, mine is a bit spicier since I leaned towards the high side in my "halving" of hot ingredients.  Be warned...his or mine...this is a hot and spicy chili!

Spicy Meaty Braised Chili

2 red bell peppers
Olive oil
1 lb cubed stew beef

1/2 lb hot Italian sausage 
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 (14.5 oz) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (Brian recommends Hunt's)
2 (15 oz) cans of black beans
1 (7 oz) can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 t sugar
2 T fresh basil
1 t cumin seeds
Sour cream for serving

Slice, seed, and roast the red peppers under the broiler until blackened.  Let the oven cool down and reset it for 300.  Peel and chop the peppers and set them aside.

In a Dutch oven, brown the stew meat in olive oil.  When all sides are brown, add about 1 c of diced tomatoes to the pot and cover it with both foil and the lid.  Braise at 300 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the beef and juices from the pot and set aside.  Return the pot to the stove top and add the sausage to brown.  When almost totally browned, add the jalapenos and saute until softened.  Add the beef and juices, red peppers, and all the rest of the ingredients (except for the sour cream).  Stir together and cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve in bowls with sour cream.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quick fish chowder

Pack a lot of taste into a bowl of Fish Chowder without spending all day at the stove!

Quick Fish Chowder

2 onions, chopped
3 - 4 slices of bacon, cut into big pieces
2 t fresh thyme
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
4 - 5 c water
2 lbs whitefish fillets (we used haddock), skins removed
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
2 c milk (whole preferred)
1 T cornstarch

Cook the onions and bacon in a bit of butter in a Dutch oven.  Do not brown the onions.  Add the thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and place the fish in the water.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Remove the fish and set aside.  Strain out the bacon and discard.

Return the pot to a simmer and add the potatoes, cooking until they are fully cooked and even are beginning to break apart.  Mash them in the pot a bit.  Whisk the cornstarch into the milk and add to the pot, returning to a simmer.  Add the fish, broken up into bite-sized pieces.  Let the pot stand on low heat for a few minutes.  Serve immediately.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Peanut butter hummus?

I know it sounds a bit bizarre, but think about it.  Peanut butter isn't really that different from tahini when you think about just the flavor profile.  And basically what this version does is to sub one for the other, plus add some cumin and yogurt.  It's quite good...don't knock it till you try it...and thanks to Trevor, whose obsession with Nigella led to him adapting her recipe :-)

Friday, April 5, 2013

The best quick Italian meat sauce

Seems almost like sacrilege, doesn't it?  How can Italian meat sauce (or gravy, if you prefer) be quick?  Well, the folks at Cook's Illustrated have figured it out.  Use only the highest quality canned tomatoes to make this, and don't use anything but 85% lean ground beef. 

You know that you can't see their recipes online without an online subscription, but if you google Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce, you'll find a few folks who don't mind ignoring their copyright. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pecan and coconut shortbread

Because shortbread is a wonderful thing.  Period.

I used my Mom's classic Shortbread recipe and made the following tweaks:
Toast and chop 1 1/2 c shredded coconut and 1 1/2 c pecans
Use 1/2 c regular sugar and 1/2 c brown sugar
Mix in coconut and pecans with flour so they are well-distributed

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quesadilla chicken pie

Tired of the same old quiche?  How about a quesadilla pie instead?

Quesadilla Chicken Pie

Extra large flour tortilla
Cooking spray
3 slices of bacon

Small onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

2 chicken breasts, chopped
Large handful of arugula

1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c milk
1 egg

Spray 10 inch deep dish pie pan and press tortilla into it.  Lightly spray the tortilla.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain most of grease and set bacon aside.  Saute onions and peppers in skillet until softened.  Saute chicken until cooked thoroughly.  Add arugula and wilt.  Remove skillet from heat.

Scrape chicken mixture into the prepared tortilla.  Crumble bacon on top and add about 3/4 c of the cheese.  In a small bowl, mix the flour through the egg well and pour over the tortilla.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Cook at 450 for about 20 minutes.