Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Meringues

This one is out of my blue note book. The typeface is very YM or Teen Mag and it's a really easy recipe, so I am guessing it's prolly from those days.
Merry Meringues
4egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
Red & green sprinkles
Preheat oven to 200 F. In a large bowl, beat together egg whites and salt with an electric mixer at medium-low speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium , then pour in 1/2 cup sugar in a slow stream and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in remaining sugar with a spatula. Pipe meringue mixture into desired shapes using a pastry bag fitted with a No. 22 tip. Cover with Sprinkles. Bake for 2 hours or until dry. Makes 6 dozen.
I cheated and added a little bit of peppermint extract to them to make them taste more fun
Comments: The commentator hasn't tasted them yet, but they look beautiful and I can't wait to put them out tomorrow for Christmas. I will edit this with feed back comments after they have been sampled.
Technical stuff: makes about 6 dozen

Difficulty: really easy. super duper easy. but you have to be patient - long baking time.
Served with: Xmas Beverage of your choice, mine are going with peppermint schnapps spiked mochas.
Reheat Well?: They last for a long time.
Comments: The Chief commentator LOVED them, they are his new favorite thing to eat (this week!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rocky Road

I wish I would have taken a better photo of this before it was all wrapped. I made a huge batch and gave out a bunch of it for the chief commentator's kids teacher gifts. I also wrapped up a bunch and gave it out as gifts to my girlfriends.

Effortless item to make. It was from a Borden Eagle Brand Magazine Ad, that had a recipe for foolproof fudge or Rockey road. The page was cut out of Better Homes and Garden's Magazine April 1982.

Eagle Brand Rocky Road

12 oz semi-sweet chips
1 (14oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk - NOT EVAPORATED MILK
Dash Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
2 tablespoons butter
10 1/2 oz marshmallow minis

in heavy saucepan, over low heat melt chocolate with milk, remove from heat and mix in: butter, salt and vanilla.

place marshmallows & nuts in greased 13x9 lined pan. pour chocolate mix over top and mix well. Press into pan. Chill 2 hours before cutting.

Technical stuff: makes a large pan or 1 3/4 pounds of candy.

Difficulty: easy, just make sure to pay attention to the chocolate and don't burn it.

Served with: what ever you choose. I like mine with some port or coffee

Reheat Well?: refridgerates well, and lasts.

Comments: The Chief commentator liked it a lot. He wishes I would have poured ribbons of carmel in it as well. maybe next time. Both of the teachers and all my recipients loved it too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cold Rice Salad

This is a recipe my mom made a lot when I was a kid. I am guessing I put a copy in the book because I liked it. I remember eatting it a lot and occassionally making it too.
Cold Rice Salad
2 cups each: cooked long grain white rice
cooked wild rice
1 cup each of the following
Onion - white or purple
Red Bell Pepper
Green Bell Pepper
1 15oz can each:
Garbanzo Beans
Red Beans
Black Eyed Peas
(drained and rinsed before mixing)
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons chopped Garlic
Tabasco Sauce to taste start with 1/2 teaspoon
Mix in a shaker cup.
Fold all ingredients together in large bowl.
Shake vinegrette and drizzle over salad
Salt and pepper to taste, stir a little
Chill a few hours or overnight is best.
Technical stuff: makes a lot. you can easily 1/2 the recipe and still have plenty
Difficulty: really easy. even easier with a rice cooker
Served with: We had ours with chicken
Reheat Well?: Lasts for several days, and I think it improves after sitting and absorbing the dressing.
Comments: The Chief commentator who loves rice, says this is a staple he could eat every week, which is good because we always make too much rice. Its good. I always add a dash of lemon juice to my bowl and way more tabasco... but I am like that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Red & White Cabbage Slaw

This one is from my blue notebook. It's got Marie Claire at the top of the page and credits Gillian Duffy in the byline.

Red and White Cabbage Slaw:

1/4 cup cider vinegar
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red cabbage (about 10 oz) cored and shredded
1/2 small white cabbage (about 10 oz) cored and shredded
1 large carrot peeled and grated
1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large bowl mix together the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds; season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.

Add shredded cabbage, carrot, onion and parsley and toss together until coated with dressing. This keeps well and can be made one day ahead.

Technical stuff: makes as a starter enough for at least 4

Difficulty: simple!

Served with: Chicken Paillard

Reheat Well?: stayed crisp after dressed for at least a day

Comments: Cheif Commentators words: new favorite! He loved the spice and tang with a hint of sweetness in the dressing. He also liked how it all stood up to the dressing and didn't wilt. I liked it but would put less sugar in next time, as I prefer my dressings more tart.

Holiday House Cranberry Salad

I will start off this note by saying the Chief Commentator was not available to do my photo, therefore forgive me for the image above, it certainly doesn't put the dish in any better light.. pun intended.

This one is yet another from the magical envelope of jello dishes out of Grandma Melusines Largest Index box... I love fresh cranberries, and since they are in season, I figured I would knock out a bunch of recipes using them, while the getting is good.

Let's consider this recipe "down for the count"

Holiday House Cranberry Salad

1 (6oz) pack orange jello

2 2/3 c boiling water

2 Tabs Sugar

1 1/4 c cranberries, ground

1/2 c celery, finely chopped

1 cup crushed pineapple

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water in large bowl. Stirl in sugar, cranberries, celery, pineapple and pecans. Mix well. Pour into an 8" square pan. Chill until set. Cut into squares. Makes 12 servings.

Technical stuff: makes 12 servings
Difficulty: it's jello with a bunch of junk in it.. what do you think?
Served with: some hot tea
Reheat Well?: Didn't heat it, but consistance gets better over time
Comments: Cheif Commentators words: Not his favorite. He didn't like how tart the cranberries were. I LOVED the cranberries, but couldn't stand the celery in it. The orange jellow with pineapple proved to be a great base tho. The half pint commentators weren't overly thrilled by this one either, mostly saying they prefer the kind with marshmallows and whipped cream... well - don't you agree?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lamb Roast with Polenta and Vegetables with red wine reduction

I am not 100% certain the where about of how this recipe came to be, except to say that it’s written in my handwriting, and stuck in my notebook. I have made it several times in the past, occasionally I use Lamb Shank and cook it in a pan rather than a roast because it’s quicker. That being said…

What I am 100% certain about, is when you finish making this recipe, the meat is fall apart tender, and mouth wateringly delicious.

Lamb Roast with Polenta and Vegetables with red wine reduction

3-4 lb Lamb Roast, Tied
2 Meyer lemons, sliced
3-4 fresh sprigs of each
Sea Salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
Hint of olive oil

Place lamb in Dutch Oven rub olive oil over skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay sliced lemons around and on top of lamb & sprinkle sprigs of herbs over top. Cover and place in Preheated oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes per pound.

Vegetables with red wine reduction:
1 large red bell pepper - diced
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 shallots - minced
2 carrots - diced
4 stalks celery –diced
1 sprig rosemary
3 sprig Thyme
Handful of sage
28 oz of diced tomatoes (I used canned)
2 cups wine (red)
2 Tablespoons dry chicken bouillon
Tablespoon of Olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper (to taste)
¼ cup Reserve of juice from lamb pan

Heat Oil in pan and add Shallots and Garlic, sweat until clear.
Add in all other veggies (except tomatoes) and turn a few times to coat. Slowly add tomatoes and wine. Bring to boil. Sprinkle in bouillon & Stirl to mix well.

Chop fresh herbs and blend into sauce, turn to simmer. Stirring occasionally, leave to simmer with lid on until Lamb is ready from oven. After removing lamb from oven, stir in ¼ cup juices from pan and the 2 Tablespoons vinegar. Bring back to boil for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously.

1 cup dry polenta
2 cups H2o
1 Tab chicken bouillon
2 cups milk
2 Tab butter
¼ cup grated parmesan

In pot, mix polenta, bouillon, butter and water, bring to a boil, while whisking constantly, add milk and continue to whisk until cooked.

Let the lamb rest for a few minutes while you finish up the sauce (with the juices from the pan) and make the polenta.

Spoon some of the reduction sauce onto the plate, top with the lamb and a little lemon slice. Place the polenta on the side, so the juices of the sauce also run into the polenta.

Serve with lots of crusty French bread for sopping up the amazing sauce.

Technical stuff: makes 6 servings
Difficulty: Moderate, there are more steps here than most of my recipies, but well worth it
Served with: it's a complete meal but you could easily just serve the polenta
Reheat Well?: Yup. yup. yup.
Comments: Cheif Commentators words: could easily eat it at least twice a month, if not once a week. The polenta was GREAT and reheated well with left over sauce. Spice of the sauce really highlighted the polenta. Comfort food for a cold day, without being overly heavy.

yup. it's a keeper.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giant Snickerdoodles

Another one from Grandma Melusine. There is a whole envelope of recipes that are dessert or jello and this one is one of them!
Giant Snickerdoodles
1 cup butter - softened
1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinammon
On medium speed cream butter with 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs beat til fluffly. Use another bowl for flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Add creamed mix, stir. Refrigerate for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 375, mix 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough 1" balls. Place 3" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 mins. put on wire racks, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Technical stuff: makes quite a few. (sorry I didn't count)

Difficulty: easy
Served with: Hot tea.
Reheat Well?: They last for a long time.
Comments: The Chief commentator and the kids rolled them out. Some of the easiest batter to work with that I have ever seen. smelled amazing. tasted amazing. Way better than anything you can buy in the store. I am not a huge snickerdoodle fan, but the 'experts' all adored them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beet Jello Salad

First off let me just say that my friends are really awesome, and really tolerant to try some of the stuff that I am proposing making. I brought this one to Thanksgiving Dinner, in an attempt to make a root veggie more, um, welcome? and add a little zip to the traditional foods.

um. ya.

I found the recipe in Grandma Melusines Largest (of 3) Recipe indexs, it was had written, so at some point in time, she thought it was good enough to write down and include in her collection...

anyway - Here I give you:

Beet Jello Salad

6oz Raspberry Jello

1 1/2 c beet juice - add hot water to make 1 1/2 c.

1 1/2 c pineapple juice

Lemon juice (it does not say how much)

2 tbs sugar

1/4 c cider vinegar (add all to jello cool)

2 c crushed pineapple

2 cups juliene beats

chopped nuts

9x9 mold

There weren't a lot of directions, so Ibasically dumped it all together, squirted in some lemon juice and hoped for the best.

I am not sure ANYTHING would make this actually taste good. It didn't really thicken either and the pecans just sorta floated on the top. Tri Anything girl said it wasn't THAT bad.. so I left the entire dish at her house. I hope her dog doesn't hate me.

Technical stuff: makes 12 or so servings

Difficulty: If you can boil water...

Served with: anything?

Reheat Well?: i wouldn't recomment

Comments: I like beets. Alot, I wouldn't torture beets by putting them in this dish again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lemon Pasta with Crab

6oz (dry) angel hair pasta cooked el dente

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/4 cup basil chopped
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 of a cayenne pepper, seeds removed
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup shaved parmasean cheese

optional 2 diced tomatoes

in bowl add all ingredients, toss with pasta

** also optional Crab

Crack entire crab.

Toss in pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and a little garlic and lemon juice. Heat until warm, mixing frequently, serve over pasta. (we just had the crab on the side...)

Technical stuff: makes 4 servings
Difficulty: Easy, easy, easy.
Served with: bread and caprese salad
Reheat Well?: Yup. yup. yup.

Comments: Uber easy to make, this is one of the chief commentators favorites. This is a great one, if you have basil in the garden because you can make it less than 10 minutes. Super flavorful, and always a crowd pleaser. This is the #1 recipe I have made out of my cookbook and make it over and over. You can totally increase or decrease the quantity as needed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lime Jello with Marshmallows

This one is a blast from the past. I definately remember my Grandma Melusine making this one all the time. It was a staple Sunday dessert.
Lime Jello with Marshmallows
1 pk lime gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 cup minature marshmallows
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup pecans
1/2 pint whipping cream
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in marshmallows until dissolved. Cool but not set. Stir in pineapple, nuts & whipped cream. Pour into mold, chill until set.
Technical stuff: makes a goodsized pan full.
Difficulty: moderate, ya, jello should be easy, but really, mixing everything in evenly, it falls more into the moderate catagory.
Served with: nothing. but I bet some sparkingling wine would be yummy.
Reheat Well?: Lets not go there, but once it's set, you can have it over several meals.
Comments: Chief Commentator says: Whipped limey cool childhood delight with a nutty attitude. He liked it so much, he wants to make it for Thanksgiving Dinner. For me it too was a walk down memory lane.
Next time, I would add more pineapple, cause I like it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Raisin Banana Bread

This one is actually written out in my Grandma Melusine’s handwriting, which means either she made it a whole bunch, or she thought about making it ?? Maybe?? Who knows. I do remember her making banana bread when I was a kid, but I wouldn’t touch a banana until I was about 30, so I can’t say that I remember eating it.

Raisin Banana Bread

1/3 c Butter or Margarine softened.
2/3 c Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons of milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup chopped raisins
½ cup chopped nuts

Beat together butter, sugar & eggs. Add milk. Sift flour with baking powder, salt and soda. Stir into wet mixture just until moistened. Then blend in bananas, raisins and nuts.

Turn into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

** I did make one change to the recipe, I like a sugar crust on the top of my breads, so before baking, I sprinkled raw sugar on the top to give it that nice crunchy coat.

Technical stuff:
Makes 1 loaf.

Difficulty: easy, although the dough is really thick, so have some arm power for the blending of the final ingredients by hand.

Served with: honey butter & hot coffee

Reheat Well?: yes. Nuked with honey butter, it’s amazing.

Comments: Chief Commentator: Good banana flavor, little dry but nice outside crust. Canadian Tri Anything Girl: It’s “comfort food dry” which means you know it’s not from a commercial producer because it doesn’t have that weird oily texture. CTAG also hearts the top sugared crust and says that it’s a good addition. Me: I like the nuts and raisins, of course like the crust. I am ok with the dry texture,

Things I'd do differently next time: I might try adding some chocolate chips to make it a little different.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mac & Cheese

Forgive the kiddie plate, but it seemed rather appropriate to plate this on one, since it seems to be a staple food item for children.

That’s right, it is an old standard and one of my all time favs! It’s Mac & Cheese. It’s also the first of several recipes to come, because it’s a favorite of mine, and well, it seems like I’ve clipped quite a few variations.

Macaroni & Cheese

½ pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
¾ cup cheddar cheese shredded
½ cup bread crumbs

Cook macaroni til almost tender. Drain under cold water and set aside. Melt half of butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat. Take off heat, whisking constantly. When mixture bubbles and begins to thicken, remove from heat and add salt and cayenne. Blend in cheese. Add macaroni and pour mixture into an 8inch square baking dish. Preheat oven to 350. In small saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Add bread crumbs and toss well; cook 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle crumbs over macaroni. Bake 25 minutes.

Technical stuff: Makes 6 servings

Difficulty: Easy!

Time : about 45 minutes

Served with: Sausages

Reheat Well?: it’s delicious! Sets perfectly and awesome in broiler oven. The crust gets crispy

Comments: it’s really really good. really really good. Good Football food. Great comfort food and easier and tastier then Mac & Cheese by about 100 fold.

Things I'd do differently next time: I would add just a touch more cheese.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cranberry Nut Bread

For once, I didn’t “health it up” when I made my bread, and the Chief commentator’s first words were, this maybe the best bread you have ever made! Which leads me to wonder.. none the less, it is pretty damn amazing.

Cranberry - Nut Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter
¾ cup orange juice
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped cranberries or 2 cups dried cranberries
¾ cup chopped nuts. (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands (I used my hands) stir in orange juice, egg and orange rid. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Spoon into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 1 loaf.

Technical stuff: Makes 1 loaf.

Difficulty: moderate – if you aren’t used to cutting in butter, it could be tricky.

Time : about 60 minutes

Served with: honey butter & hot coffee

Reheat Well?: it’s delicious!

Comments: it’s really really good. really really good.

Things I'd do differently next time: I would add just a touch more orange peel.

Honey butter:
Put 1 stick of butter in microwave safe dish, and heat til soft (about 25 seconds) add in 3-4 tablespoons of honey, stir well. Place dish in freezer for 5 minutes to set.

Pork with Asian Greens and Citrus Dressing

This one came out of Redbook in May 1998. The title is Meals under 500 calories.
They suggested serving with Couscous, I served it standing alone, because I didn’t think it needed side dish.

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cooking time 30 minutes (according to them)

Pork with Asian Greens and Citrus

1 cup orange juice
½ cup chicken broth
1 large shallot, minced
¼ teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 pork tenderloin (1 ¼ lbs) cut into 16 slices
1 package (4 cups) Asian mixed greens or baby spinach leaves stems trimmed

1. Bring orange juice, chicken broth, shallot and curry powder to a boil in small saucepan over high heat; boil 20 minutes, or until reduced to ½ cup and slightly syrupy. Remove from heat. Stir in oil, lemon juice and salt.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Cook pork 3-4 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Serve pork over greens topped with dressing. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving (given by them) 275 cals (35% from fat) 11g fat.

Let me just say, this was stellar, although I have to say I did 2 things slightly differently. 1) I bought the tenderloin already cut as chops (it was easier) and 2) with the spinach leaves I also chopped up some cabbage to make a salad bed of greens.

Technical stuff:
Makes 4 servings (original portions) as a main dish.

Difficulty: Easy!!!!!!

Time: Less than 30 minutes – total.

Served with: Blind Pig ale, but would have gone better with Sapporo.

Reheat Well?: Didn't try it. All gone!

Served with: would have been great with more salad fixings, grape tomatoes, and possibly cucumber.

Perfect sweetness/tartness balance. Not gooey and the greens stood up to the warm dressing nicely. The pre cut chops are the way to go. Chief commentator loved it. He would like to eat this on a regular basis.

Things I'd do differently next time: I would add a few more veggies into the salad part and maybe double the dressing and make it more a full on salad meal. I didn’t love the curry powder in there, might alter the ratio or add maybe a little ginger?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baked Fish in Parchment Paper

This was a cutting I took out of I think the Napa Register. There is a credit at the top of the article that says NYT Regional Newspapers.

Baked Fish in Parchment

4 (6oz) fish filets cut ½ to ¾ inch thick
½ cup sundried tomatos
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four, 12 inch circles from kitchen parchment; fold each circle in half.

Unfold circles and place fish pieces next to folds. Top fish with tomato bits, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, diving equally. Refold paper over fish so that cut edges meet. Fold and roll cut edges up all the way around to seal packets securely. Place on baking sheet; bake 10-12 minutes until packets are browned and puffed.

Transfer packets to serving plats, cut open to serve. Makes 4 servings.

Note: aluminum foil maybe used in place of kitchen parchment. Cut four, 12 inch squares of foil, proceed as with as with parchment circles, but cook for 12 minutes.

There is a note that the recipe comes from Sonoma Dried Tomato Cookbook. (Timber Crest Farms)

First off – this is an AMAZING way to cook fish. OMG – I have never done it like that before, but it is incredible, easy simple to clean up, and a dream. LOVE the method.

As for this exact recipe.. 1) I used red snapper because it was on special, I should have used Basa because neither myself or the Chief commentator love snapper. Also, neither of us are huge fans of sun dried tomatoes, if they happen to be on a dish, we don’t pull them off but neither of us have ever ordered a dish BECAUSE they were there.

Thinking of reworking this method with maybe a pesto or a white wine shallot angle and giving it another try. This method could also take on a fabulous comfort food aspect with some cheese and breadcrumbs. If you love sun dried tomatoes, by all means give it a try, but I would HIGHLY recommend using the cooking method.

Technical stuff:
Makes 4 servings (original portions) as a main dish.

Difficulty: Easy

Time : Less than 60 minutes

Served with: Nothing, would have gone great with a light ale perhaps Skinny Dip or Tangerine Wheat.

Reheat Well?: Didn't try it.

Served with: Asparagus. Would have gone well with Rice, or perhaps mashed Sweet potatoes.

Comments: great method, but not fan of ingredients in the sauce.

Things I'd do differently next time: different fish, different sauce.

Asparagus with Mustard Dressing

To start out with such a knock your socks recipe I was a little afraid that my second go round might prove failure. I am happy to report that was not the case.

For those of you know me, you know my love affair with mustard. This has been a long standing love affair, which explains why there are countless recipes in my book with mustard as an ingredient.

I don’t know exactly where I got this one, but I have a pretty good idea it was either Cosmo, or YM or Seventeen back when they had recipes in them (maybe they still do?) judging from the typeset.

Asparagus with Mustard Dressing

4lbs Fresh asparagus, peeled and ends trimmed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper.

No more than 4 hours before serving, fill a large saucepan ¾ full with water. Bring to a boil, add asparagus, and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain. Arrange on a serving platter. To make dressing, combine remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shade vigorously, and pour over asparagus just before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.

Ok – so first off, I made ½ the recipe because there were two of us, but I wasn’t serving a starch. Secondly, although I did follow the recipe, I prefer my asparagus steamed in a couple of inches of water resting on a steamer. This method seemed to make the stalks less crunchy then I like them in texture.

Technical stuff:
Makes 8-10 servings (original portions) as a side dish

Difficulty: Easy

Time : Less than 15 minutes

Served with (beverage): Nothing. But would have been good with summer ice tea with lemon.

Reheat Well?: Didn't try it.

Served with: Parchment Fish (see next blog)

Comments: liked it. Matched the fish well. Light, Zesty sauce.
Things I'd do differently next time: I would use my typical cooking method, but keep sauce the same.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicken with Tarragon

Wow, I have such a feeling of accomplishment to say that the very first recipe I made I knocked out of the park!

I made the Chicken Tarragon recipe from my Grandma Mary’s cookbook. It was a recipe card that was shoved in the back of the book in a plastic sandwich baggie. (So I have no idea if she actually ever made this or not..)

The card originally came from a deck of recipe cards called the 60– Minute Gourmet. Pierre Franey, famed French Chef who had the TV show 60-Minute Gourmet and also wrote the rather famous 60-Minute Gourmet column in the New York Times.

Below I give you the exact recipe as it’s written, I will note that I used a Rocky Chicken, and those damn things are so big (just a tad over 5 pounds) that I doubled everything, although the cooking time didn’t change much.

Chicken with Tarragon

1 2 - 2 ½ lb Chicken, split in half as for broiling.
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 Tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup water

1. If the backbone is still attached to one of the chicken halves, hack it away.
This will hasten the cooking. Reserve the backbone. Also, it’s best to sever the joint that connects the thighbones with the legs. Do not cut through but leave the thighs and legs otherwise attached.

*If you don’t know anything about cutting up a chicken, I suggest checking this site out.

2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet large enough to hold the whole chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down. Surround it with the gizzard, liver, heart, neck and backbone
(and if you are lucky like we were, Rocky tossed 3 extra hearts into our chicken! and yes really I used them!)

4. Cook about 10 minutes until golden brown on the skin side. Turn and cook about 5 minutes longer. Remove the chicken and set aside.

5. To the skillet add the shallots and cook briefly. Add the tarragon and wine. Stir to dissolve the brown particles that cling to the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the water.

6. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up and cover. Cook about 15 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, basting often, about 5 minutes longer or until the chicken is thoroughly tender and nicely glazed.

Technical stuff:
Makes 4 servings (original portions) as a main dish.
Difficulty: Easy

Time : Less than 60 minutes

Served with: 2008 Simi Pinot Gris, which was a great choice. Also used in recipe.

Overall ranking: New Favorite!

Reheat Well?: Didn't try it. But appears it will.

Served with: White rice cooked in chicken stock, and a side salad.

Comments: Tender, juicy, moist, loved how the outside carmelized in the sauce. The skin was cooked perfectly. Nothing was wasted (see use of gizzard, hearts, neck etc) It is essentially the perfect "bonepicker" meal and my Chief Commentator thought the inners a tasty treat.

Things I'd do differently next time: I would definately use a smaller chicken, although it came out amazing, trying to get that thing stuffed into the pan was a bit of work.

Looking forward in Thyme: Fish!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Final grading and what it pairs well with

This is my system for my final grading of the dishes, and also what it pairs well with, cause the foodie in me can't leave you hanging. I have to tell you if it's a cocktail kinda dish, something that goes well with wine, or if it's a dish where nothing but a good cold beer will do it justice.

(ok, also, if I made a bad call on what I served it with -- a better pick for round 2)

Served with: Cocktail; Wine; Beer

Overall Grade: New Favorite!; It was OK; Serve to Unwelcome Guests; Even the dog won't eat it

The Technical stuff part deux

Because Blogger doesn't let me put that many tags in one post!

General Tag words: (these I'm starting out with, we may add more later)

Type of dish: Entree; Appetizer; Salad; Side dish; Dessert; Beverage

Main Ingredients: Chicken; Beef; Lamb; Fish; Pasta; Veggies; Cheese;

Special Equiptment: Crockpot; Deep fryer;

The technical stuff

Recipes can be sorted by the following tags

Me; Grandma Mary; Grandma Melusine (this may be handy if family starts reading this, and wants a particular recipie from a certain Grandma)

Cost; Nutritional info

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What is Clippings of thyme

When I was a kid, I started clipping recipes and putting them into a binder, by aboout 25, I had filled two 3" binders with clipped recipies. In addition to this I have inherited a smaller binder of clipped recipies from my Grandmother Mary and a rather large recipe box from my Grandmother Melusine.

Last night I was looking for a recipe I swore was in one of my binders (it was) but with looking, I came to the realization that for all these recipies that I have, I have tried MAYBE ten of them, in the entire collection in the nearly 20 years that have passed since I began these books. Although 4 recipies are staples in my cooking rotation, the others have just sat there.

So, this is my attempt to get in touch with myself from ages ~15 to ~25, and get inside my head then and wonder what exactly was I thinking when I clipped these recipies. In addition to my quest, I am hoping to cook all the recipies that I have inherited from both of my Grandmother's knowing full well that they too did not cook all of them.

There isn't any rhyme or reason to how I plan to go about cooking them, because there is no rhyme or reason to how they are put into the books. I will cite authors if I know them or where the recipe originally came from when available and if the original recipie had nifty things like nutrition facts or costs per serving - I will try to include that stuff along the way too.

I am currently working on a rating / indexing system of the recipies as well so they will be easier for people to find.

more soon.