Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blog Anniversary!

It has been a while since I posted and I have been doing some thinking about the blog. I still love posting the recipes and all the great feedback I get, but I have been pondering doing more posts about ME. How totally self indulgent right? I just realized that the blogs I love often tell a lot about the person behind the recipes. So I thought I might give that a try as I celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the blog.

Off to see Wicked!
This is the picky eater, Tom and me, Rhonda. We have been together for almost ten years and married for almost 2.

hoodie dogs
These are our 2 little monster dogs, Joey and Tanner. You might see them poking their heads into some photos on the blog every now and again. They are always in the kitchen just waiting for something to fall.

Don't worry I will still be posting lots of recipes, but I will also be posting about some of my vintage collectible habits and my Pyrex addiction.

I won't leave you without some food, here is a pic of some pierogies I had yesterday. I am originally from Western PA and found a place here in AZ that serves them fresh and homemade. Delicious!

Happy New Year to you all, and please let me know what you think about this change to the blog!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chile-Garlic Chicken from Everyday Food Magazine

One of my favorite magazines is Everyday Food. I like it so much I just bought a bunch of back issues on Ebay. You also know another thing I love is Chicken Thighs. So when I saw this recipe I said skip the drumsticks and just used 4 chicken thighs, so it really would only serve 2. I will include a nice idea for using the leftovers if you are dining alone like me.


Serves 4

* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 4 chicken legs (2 1/2 pounds total), drumsticks and thighs separated
* 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 3/4 cup white vinegar
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup sugar

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until skin is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate.
2. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce, red-pepper flakes, and sugar. Return chicken to pan, skin side up. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low; cook 15 minutes (liquid should be gently simmering; adjust heat if necessary). Uncover, raise heat to medium, and cook until sauce is reduced by half, 10 minutes.

Lets gather some ingredients. You will need some garlic, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, oil and some chicken pieces. I got a great deal on thighs at Costco. They are packed in individual sections with 4 thighs in each, perfect for me!

There isn't much prep at all for this dish.

I just love garlic, so I used a couple more than 4 cloves, but they were tiny!

Measure out the soy sauce and vinegar. Chop your garlic and measure your sugar. Talk about easy, we are ready to cook now!

Get some oil going in a pan.

Drop the chicken in and brown it skin side down for about 5 minutes. Flip it over and cook for 2 minutes more.

Get it out of the pan after that. You may realize that my chicken has lost its skin. Well, it stuck to the bottom of my dutch oven. I don't know if I didn't have enough oil or it was too hot or what. If anyone has some tips, I'd appreciate it!

Get your garlic in the pan and stir it around for about 30 seconds.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients and scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.

Put the chicken back in the pot skin side up. Or in my case, the side where the skin USED to be should be up. Bring it to a boil and then cover it up. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes take off the lid and raise the heat to medium. Let it cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces by about half.

Plate it up with your favorite side and you are ready to eat! This chicken was moist and full of flavor. Since I had some thighs leftover, I made a great sandwich the next day.

It was just the thigh meat, some spinach and some Mozzarella cheese melted over the top in my toaster oven. So simple and so good!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

This recipe also comes from Cooking for Two by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Mark commented on my last post and said that the potato ribbons were most likely made on a mandolin, so I was not a Doofus :) Check out their blog for more great recipes.

I have never made Swedish Meatballs before and this recipe looked amazing. There are a ton of good recipes in this book so I would really suggest you pick it up if you are cooking for one or 2.

You need some ground meat (I used lamb), egg, shallots, breadcrumbs, cream, nutmeg, flour, beef broth, allspice, butter and sour cream. Some things didn't make it to the photo shoot. If you look close at the couch in the background, you will see my pup Tanner DID make it in the photo.

Separate your egg and keep just the yolk. Save the white to fry up for your dog.

Measure out the spices and the flour and set aside.

Chop up the shallot.

Get it in the bowl with the meat, egg yolk, bread crumbs, salt, cream and spices. Mix it up but don't over mix it or the meatballs will be tough.

Shape the mixture into meatballs.

Meanwhile, get the beef broth boiling in a small pan. You want to let it reduce to concentrate the flavors. Once it is reduced put the lid on and set it aside. If you want to serve the meatballs over noodles, get another pot of water on to boil.

Add a tiny bit (ha!) of butter to your pan and get it hot.

Add in the meatballs and get them browning.

Once they are browned, shake the flour mixture over them. Give the pan a shake, don't stir or you might bust the balls. Continue to cook and shake for about a minute.

Pour on the reduced stock and give it a couple of more shakes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs every once in a while. If you are serving this over pasta, get the noodles in the water right about now.

Grab your sour cream and get ready to add this delicious flavor boost.

Stir it in and pop the lid on your pan and get it off the heat. Let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

This was absolutely fabulous. The sauce was delicious and the meatballs were cooked perfectly. I never imagined making Swedish Meatballs in a small portion like this and it was so easy and made just the right amount!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Potato and Spinach Casserole

I picked up a great cookbook called Cooking for Two by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. This next recipe took some time, but was well worth the effort.

You need some butter, a large potato or 2, an onion, frozen spinach, 2 large eggs, feta, dill, parsley, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

First thing is to thaw the spinach and then squeeze all the excess water out of it. Set it aside for now. Get a pot of water boiling for the potato slices.

Chop up the onion and the parsley.

Peel the potato and then cut it into thin slices. The book said to use a peeler to do this, but it was sort of difficult...

I think next time I will just use my mandolin slicer. This was a pain.

After you slice the potatoes and blast out a few choice curse words in frustration, get the slices into some water. If there is an easier or obvious way to do this with a vegetable peeler and I am just a doofus, please let me know.

Drain the potato slices then drop them in the boiling water, let those go for about 2 minutes, but don't cook them through.

Get the potatoes out of the hot tub and drain them.

Put the slices on a towel to further drain.

Melt some butter in a skillet and get the onions in.

Cook those for about 4 minutes then let them cool for a bit.

While the onions cool get your eggs, dill, parsley, pepper, cinnamon and salt in a bowl so you can easily add it to the food processor.

Dump it all in a food processor with the spinach, feta and the onions.

Give it a whirl until its a thick chunky paste. YUM.

Melt some more butter and we can start to assemble this bad boy.

Grease a casserole dish, I am using another great vintage Pyrex dish.

Layer in your first layer of potatoes.

Then smear some of the spinach mixture.

Do two more layers and finish with the potatoes on top.

Now pour that butter we melted all over the top of it. You really can't go wrong if that is the last step in the recipe 'drown it in some butter'. Pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

This looks like something you'd get at a fancy restaurant and pay way too much for.

If you've got some vegetarian pals you'd like to impress I would definitely give this recipe a try. It was absolutely delicious and the spinach is good for you so it sort of cancels out all the butter you poured over the top, sort of.