Monthly Archives: March 2015

15 Minute Doughnut Holes

If you are anything like me and I can only assume you might be slightly since you are reading this? I see a recipe that sounds delicious so I either end up printing it or ripping it out of whatever I am looking at. However I do tend to steer clear of ones that look difficult; you know the ones that have the never ending list of ingredients and pages of steps.  I just don’t have the time or the energy to even attempt them.

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I am however not afraid to pick up an ingredient or two that is generally not on my shopping list. I purchased a jicama to try to make deviled eggs that I had at Coastal Flats in VA. I bought a Chinese cabbage to make dumplings. Just this week I bought some buttermilk to make a Texas Sheet cake (recipe 3/31/2014) The good news is I was able to make what I wanted; the bad news is what to do with the leftover ingredient? I hate to waste anything so I will either come up with or look for something I can make with it before it goes bad. I‘m pretty sure I passed the waste not thinking onto my husband; or maybe he came like that? He saw one lonely ripe banana on the counter this morning and made banana pancakes for us for breakfast.

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I am currently soaking some chicken thighs in some of the buttermilk, and I have a little left, OK I made sure I had enough left over to make some doughnut holes. I found a 15 minute doughnut-hole recipe online quite a while ago. They are easy and pretty damn good. I cut up the rest of the jicama added  some diced carrots and broccoli for a vegetable medley for dinner one night and the Chinese cabbage stays really well in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks in the veggie drawer. Cut off what you need at a time, it adds great crunch to a salad.

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15 Minute Doughnut Holes – it makes a couple dozen

1¼ cup AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Whisk the above in a medium bowl

¼ cup milk

¼ cup buttermilk

¼ cup sugar

3 tbs melted butter

Whisk the above in a small bowl

Add wet to dry mixture just till combined

½ tbs – shape into a ball (try not to handle too much)

Place in the hot oil; fry to golden brown, turning over once – about 3-4 minutes

Vegetable oil for frying at 350’

Cinnamon and sugar for shaking

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

6 Bone in skin on chicken thighs

Buttermilk to marinate

½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

Soak chicken in buttermilk for several hours or overnight. Heat oil to 350’ dredge chicken in flour fry for 15-20 minutes turning once

Simple BBQ Pulled Pork and Easy Coleslaw

I am very grateful we built our dream home with an amazing kitchen several years ago. I am extremely happy I fought so hard to get my Viking stove. I cannot be totally positive but I do wonder if we would have been so adventurous with meals if we didn’t make the decisions we did.

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I am not saying we have made, eaten or even tried most of what is out there, but we have discovered some pretty awesome staples that we have added to our meal rotation.  Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw was something pretty foreign for us a few years back. Plus I am pretty much the only one that enjoys coleslaw, especially with my guys; they turned their noses up when I told them how to put the sandwich together;  actually I think the first time, I put them together and put the plate in front of them.  I had to do some convincing this is how they are supposed to be eaten – try it you might like it.  Voila’ success, we all thought, where have these been; all our lives!!!  It’s kind of funny my son has more pork to slaw ratio but my husband piles on the slaw.

My mother is visiting this week and I was totally surprised when she declared while bringing the fish taco up to her mouth that “here it goes the first fish taco I have ever eaten” I had NO idea she hadn’t tried them before. I will not share her exact age because she will read this and kill me, especially since she will still be here when I post this. But she is 70+ and loved her “first taco” I think that is pretty darn cool. I wonder if she too thought – damn where have these been all my life?

I hope by reading this you might try something a little outside your comfort zone, it would encourage it with kids especially, I have too many friends that have some serious picky eaters. I am very grateful my kids are on this food journey with me. I’m pretty sure; actually I’m positive that my beautiful daughter living in Japan is even more adventurous with food than I am. When she comes home she’ll have to share some recipes with her Mom.

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Simple Pulled Pork

3-4 lb. Pork Shoulder or Butt

Root Beer to cover

Place Pork in a slow cooker, cover with the Root Beer; cook on low all day, mine is on 9 hours while I am at work. When you get home, dump the liquid, put the pork back in the slow cooker and you should be able to take 2 forks and shred all of it. Add a container of your favorite BBQ sauce, I use Sweet Baby Rays. Turn the slow cooker on high for 15-20 minutes and serve.  You can add more sauce as needed.

Quick Cole Slaw

1 bag of tri-colored coleslaw

1 cup of Mayo

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1 Tbs cider vinegar

1 lemon juiced

Pinch of sugar

1/2 tsp celery seed

Several dashes of hot sauce

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the above ingredients; add to the coleslaw and let set for 10-15 minutes until it melds.

Create your delicious sandwich, get some nice hearty rolls and add a scoop of pork and a scoop of slaw. You are going to need a few napkins

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Enjoy!

Clam Chowdah – I am from New England – it’s legal

I was sitting at the island yesterday morning updating a couple of FB pages we have, my husband’s company website and scheduling some cooking classes when my husband decided he would love for me to make him some clam chowder. I didn’t have any clam juice or can’s of clams in my cupboard. which is kind of shocking to even me, especially since they would sit quite nicely next to the beans, mustard’s and San Marzano tomatoes among everything else I have in there. I guess I could change that.

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I probably don’t have anything clam related on hand because I personally don’t eat clams, I do tend to make other soups, that I also eat, more often than clam chowder but both my guys really like it. Even though they do comment that mine is “different” don’t get me wrong they love it, but it is definitely not as creamy white (I do use milk not cream) as the ones they get when they order out. And I don’t recall ever seeing thyme in any clam chowder they have ordered. Regardless I know they love it when they ask me to make it and make a special trip to the store to pick up the ingredients for it.

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Clam Chowder

4-6 slices of bacon

1 medium onion diced

2 sticks of celery diced

1 bulb minced garlic

½ cup water

2 cups milk

4 cups clam juice

4 tbs flour

3-4 potatoes peeled and diced

2 bay leaves

½ tsp thyme

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

2 Tbs (optional)

Cut bacon into a few pieces, brown in stock pot on medium heat. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain, reserve 2-4 tablespoons off the bacon grease.  Add diced onion and celery; saute on low until soft. Add garlic saute another minute. Add flour cook thoroughly, add water and clam juice slowly stirring until smooth, add thyme and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper, add diced potatoes and boil till tender 15-20 minutes.

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Side note if you want to thicken without or in addition to the flour/fat roux route and you have a potato ricer, you could peel a few potatoes and add them to the chowder, take them out and place them in the potato ricer, it will help thicken your soup/chowder

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Add clams, I tend to you use a combination of whole belly and chopped clams.  Add the milk and you can finish it off with a couple of tablespoons of butter.

Harvest Roasted Chicken – A must try

This dish is a must try!  I can honestly say those words and truly mean it. My daughter found this recipe and made it for dinner a few years back. Talk about a tough audience; my guys are extremely vocal when it comes to food and I am not shy about voicing my opinions either. Olives are not exactly eaten in abundance in my home to say the least. Cooking grapes we were also not sure we were going to be on board with that concept either.

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Since we have all been asked to try things out of our comfort zone; especially over the last few years; we were going in with an open mind. Or at least I was, again my guys what can I say, won’t go down without a fight. My kitchen is most definitely the heart of my home, we all hang out on the island which had two levels, the bar height is where we eat and the counter top height is our prep area. When you are making something someone is a little on the fence about, they tend to watch very closely what you are doing.

My daughter rose to the challenge and hit it out the park. Dinner was just plain delicious, had she not made this for us, I am positive I would not have had the courage to make it. Since then I have not only made it a few times for my guys and even for company. I have taught this dish in one of my classes that I hold in my home.

The combination of the olives, grapes, shallots with the white wine and chicken stock plus the last sprinkling of fresh rosemary just melds beautifully in your mouth. I strongly suggest making this dish; it comes together quite easily; especially if you purchase the chicken already cut up in pieces, with minimal ingredients and you could have it on the table in just about 45 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 450’ with the rack in the middle of your oven

3-4 lbs chicken cut up – you can also use parts – thighs, drumsticks and/or breasts – bone in and skin on

Kosher Salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1 Tbs olive oil

1 cup seedless red grapes

1 cup or jar pitted Kalamata olives

2-3 shallots thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

½ cup chicken broth

1 Tbs finely chopped rosemary

Pat chicken pieces dry, season well with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet (cast iron if you have it) over medium-high heat until it shimmers

Working in batches, brown chicken, skin side down first and turning them over once, about 5-7 minutes per batch

Don’t move chicken until it releases itself and is nicely browned

Return the pieces to the pan, skin side up, and surround the pieces with grapes, olives and shallots.

Roast chicken in the oven until It has cooked through and the juices run clear, about 20-25 minutes

Transfer the chicken, grapes and olives to a platter, then add wine and chicken broth to the pan juices in the skillet

Bring liquid to a boil, scraping up any brown bits, until it has reduced by half, 3-5 minutes

Pour over chicken and garnish with rosemary

Recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook 2012

Fried Calamari – easier than you think

A few years ago Calamari was another one of the things my son asked me to make that I had never made before. I am not sure if he is getting me back for making him try everything on his plate; which is still a rule in my house today. Or if he is testing to see if I can pull it off. Now that he is older I think he is having me test recipes to find the best one so he can make it someday. I’ve seen him more than once take my recipe binder and make a dish or two from my treasures.

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While he is the first to order it if it is on the menu while eating out; we all really enjoy eating calamari. We have made it a couple of times at home, the first time my daughter bought and cleaned it; while it was totally doable; it was kind of a pain to clean out all the bones and pretty messy. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a frozen package of cleaned calamari I immediately picked it up I figured why not try it out, if it was terrible I have no problem not eating or serving it. I have said more than once that if what I made was inedible takeout is only a phone call away. Thankfully I had not had to make any calls to date. Though I will definitely admit, some recipes have never been repeated or we discuss how to change it and make it more to our liking.

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Calamari can go from delicious to a rubbery mess in a matter of seconds.  While it requires a little TLC to make it delicious it really isn’t too difficult. Make sure the frying oil is at 350’ Make sure to soak the cleaned calamari in milk for a couple of hours before you are ready to cook them and only fry them for 1 to 2 minutes.

Calamari

If you are going to clean your own pick up 6 medium or 8 small quid

Or pick up a package of frozen cleaned calamari – must be entirely thawed

Milk to cover

Vegetable oil for frying

1½ cups AP flour

1 tsp dried oregano

Kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Lemon wedges for serving

Roasted garlic aioli

Make sure to clean the squid thoroughly, cut the bodies into ½ inch pieces, and trim the long pieces of tentacles. Place in a bowl and cover with milk. Set in the fridge for a couple of hours – at this time you’ll want to roast the garlic for your dipping aioli.

If using a deep fryer heat to 350’ or place 2 to 3 inches in a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat until it reaches 350’ using a deep fry thermometer.

In a shallow dish place flour, oregano, and season well with salt and pepper; drain squid and dredge it in the seasoned flour. Working in batches, fry the squid in the hot oil until golden brown 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon; transfer fried squid to paper towels to drain. Serve with lemon wedges and aioli or whatever your favorite dipping sauce is.

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Roasted garlic aioli

1 cup of your favorite mayonnaise

3 cloves roasted garlic

Squeeze garlic onto a cutting board; add a pinch of salt and using the side of a knife work the salt into the garlic which will turn into a nice paste. Add it to the mayo and voila – a delicious dip.

Roasting Garlic

You can either roast a few pieces or a whole head. I suggest a whole head, if can be used to flavor many dishes. For one; roasted garlic mashed potatoes YUM! Clip off the top of the head of garlic leaving the head intact but remove some of the paper to expose the tip of the garlic, add a little olive oil 1-2 tablespoons and place in a tinfoil packet. In a 400’ oven place foil packet in a dish and roast for about an hour. Cooking time will depend on size of garlic so keep an eye on it.