Saturday, November 1, 2008

Recipes to Rival: Beef Rendang

This month's Recipes to Rival post is probably going to be my last blog post for a while. I have a lot going on right now and just need to focus on other things. I still plan to cook great dishes, just not take the time to blog about it. I'll miss Recipes to Rival and The Daring Bakers.

Anyway, this month I co-hosted with Rayrena of
Happy Cows. It was her birthday month, so very fitting for her to be able to host.

I was glad to be making a curry dish for Lee. He loves it so much. I had a bit of difficulty finding all of the ingredients. I went to a local Asian market and a local Indian market (just in case the Indian one had some ingredients) and couldn't find the galangal, kaffir lime leaves, or duan salam leaves. I ended up finding ground galangal at Penzeys (regular ginger could be a substitute), used some lime zest for the kaffir lime leaves, and some regular bay leaves for the duan salam leaves.

This is definitely a dish for a day when you're sitting around the house. After three hours, all the liquid hadn't yet reduced, but we ate it anyway because we were hungry and we like saucy curries anyway. We probably didn't get the full experience, but it was pretty good and Lee loved it. Other people had to reduce their rendang for about 5 hours!

Make sure you are careful about where you serve this! The tumeric stains like a @%^#$@! Lee was eating some leftovers as lunch the next day at his computer, spilled it on the floor, and the tumeric looks like it's all out until you look at it in sunlight. I think that's strange that we can now only see the tumeric if the sun hits it... I learned that hydrogen peroxide can help. We also used a Woolite Rug Stick to help out. I think we got as much as possible, but if anyone has any more suggestions for getting turmeric out of the rug, I'd love more ideas!

Look at all the fat I strained out!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rubber Chicken: Day 3

Tonight was chicken pot pie night. I've always thought I didn't like chicken pot pie. My mom used to make it for dinner quit a bit, but I always hated it. It turns out that I hate the frozen chicken pot pies with the mixed vegetables inside. A family I nannied for had me try Willow Tree chicken pies and those were pretty good with just the crust, gravy, and chicken breasts.

Penzeys had good timing for sending their Thanksgiving catalog. There were a few ideas for turkey leftovers and I think most turkey recipes work just fine with chicken. There was a recipe for turkey pot pie in the catalog, so I adapted it for the chicken and what we had on hand.

I had about 1 cup of leftover gravy. I think leftover potatoes or carrots would probably be ok to throw in the pot pie too and save you a bit of time. I wanted to make the pie crust, but I got out of work a lot later than I planned, so I grabbed a box of pie crust at the store on my way home.

Even though this chicken pot pie had vegetables (peas no less, a food I really just don't like) it was really good! To make this better, I'd just use a homemade pie crust. This is supposed to serve 2, but with our salads before, we probably could have made this serve 4. I think it depends on how much you eat.

Chicken Pot Pie
serves 2-4

2 medium-small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup leftover gravy
½ cup milk
curry powder
granulated garlic
ground pepper
1 cup leftover chicken
1 egg yolk, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add carrots to the potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and carrots. Mix in the peas. Set aside.
  5. In a sauce pan, pour gravy and milk. Whisk together.
  6. Add salt, curry powder, garlic, and pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 teaspoon each).
  7. Heat until the gravy looks like a thick sauce.
  8. Shred leftover chicken and mix into vegetables. Pour into 1½ qt. cassrole dish.
  9. Pour the gravy mixture over the vegetables.
  10. Top with crust and brush with egg yolk. Pierce with knife or fork to vent.
  11. Bake in oven for 30-45 minutes or until crust is brown and bubbly.

Rubber Chicken: Day 2

Day 2 of my Rubber Chicken Challenge was curry night. Curry is a great dish for stretching the chicken because you can add so much other things to it and the rice is so very filling. Adding some mixed vegetables is definitely a great way to stretch the meat.

I used 1 cup of chicken I just picked from the carcass and added it to the curry sauce as it was simmering.

I used the recipe from my first curry, but I used granulated onion and garlic and it just didn't taste the same. I'd definitely use the "real" onion and garlic in the future.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rubber Chicken: Day 1

I've been a bad blogger. I have been horrible about posting lately, but I haven't been cooking much either. I've either been unmotivated, or like with my apple stuff, forgetting to take pictures to blog about it. I did make fabulous apple butter and apple pear sauce, but forgot to take pictures!

Anyway, at a forum I belong to, there was a thread a long time ago about Rubber Chicken. The idea is to make the chicken stretch to as many meals as possible. The thread was revived a few days ago and today I decided to do a Rubber Chicken challenge. The biggest part of this challenge won't be to think of a variety of ways to use the chicken, I already have ideas thanks to that thread, but to make sure my human garbage disposal boyfriend feels full at the end of the meal without needing to eat a lot of meat. With today's economy, I'm sure a lot of people can sympathize.

I didn't decide to blog about this until we were sitting down to eat, so I cheated and used boxed scalloped potatoes. If I'd planned to blog, I would have made them from scratch. Oh, well. That's not the point of this challenge.

I am also not going to post the recipe for the stuffing. It's a family favorite and although they would probably not mind me posting the recipe, I think that even in this time of sharing information and recipes, some things should still be kept in the family. I will tell you that it involves sitting over a bowl, picking white bread (preferably stuffing bread), onions, poultry seasoning, and butter.

I started off with a 6.75lb chicken. I made a mirepoix with carrots, onions, and celery flakes (yes, I know it should be real celery, but we're trying to economize and I didn't want to have to buy any of this except the bread because we eat wheat but I like white for the stuffing, and the chicken itself). I cooked it low and slow in the oven at 325°F for 3 hours. I am a person who loves the flavor the stuffing gets from being inside the chicken. If you don't stuff the chicken, it won't take as long to cook. I always cook my poultry upside down for most of the time. It makes the breast meat so moist and juicy!

Rubber Chicken Meal #1:
Roast Chicken
Scalloped Potatoes

Rubber Roast Chicken

1 6.75lb chicken
mixed herbs
rubbed sage
ground black pepper
kosher salt

  1. Remove giblets. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Stuff with stuffing.
  3. Sprinkle herbs evenly over both sides of the chicken.
  4. In the bottom of the roasting pan, place in the mirepoix. Put the chicken on top of the mirepoix, upside down.
  5. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil.
  6. Cook for 2 hours. Remove foil and turn chicken over. Cook for remaining hour.
  7. Allow chicken to stand for a a few minutes then carve.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Recipes to Rival: Dumplings!

I completely forgot to post on posting day! I've been so busy that it just skipped my mind. I KNEW I should have used the Blogger in Draft feature!

Anyway, I did do the challenge and did pretty well.

The dough was a failure for me at first. It was just way too goopy and I couldn't get it to come together the right way. I had to try again and ended up getting them thin enough. My circles weren't perfect, but that's what makes them homemade!

The filling was really easy to make and tasted INCREDIBLE! I made the shrimp and turkey recipe. I just used my tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out the right amount.

It was difficult to do the pleating. I'm not sure I did it right, but the taste is what counts, right? I ended up also doing some tortellini-shaped dumplings because I got bored with the pleating.

I have a steamer basket for my pots and pans set, but it doesn't fit properly. I ended up not using the basket because I had just seen an episode of Tyler's Ultimate in which he was looking for the ultimate dumplings and one guy was making potstickers. Other Rivalers had made some potstickers, so it seemed like it was allowed within the rules. I learned they are called potstickers for a reason. They stick to the pot like crazy. If anyone has tips to help potstickers not stick so badly they tear apart, I would greatly appreciate it!

The dumplings tasted amazing! Lee and I both ate way more than we should, especially since I made a full Chinese meal with lo mein (chow mein for the UK) and sweet and sour chicken.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Apple Cider

I love going apple picking in the fall. I didn't get to go last year, but Lee and I did go this year. We went to a place that has apple and pear picking. We got 10 Bosc pears and a bunch of MacIntosh, Cortland, Royal Gala, Empire, and Liberty apples. Today I started a cook-a-thon with the 20 pounds of fruit we got!

I've started some apple butter, but can't post about that yet because it's still simmering. I'm also going to make something with the pears later this week after they have ripened.

One thing I did start and finish today was apple cider. It turned out really well and I didn't even have to use a press!!

The only problem I had was straining the pulp at the end. I was squeezing the cheese cloth and I had a load of pulp squirt all over the wall!

My cider turned out just a little watered down, but I'd just make sure not to put quite so much water in next time. It still tasted delicious, though!

I'm not sure how often I'll make cider, but this is a great recipe to keep on hand if I have a bunch of apples that need using up!

Apple Cider (yields 1/2-3/4 gallon)

10 apples (I used a mix of all apples we picked)
½-1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cinnamon (or 4 sticks)
4 tablespoons allspice

  1. Cut apples into quarters, leaving all parts intact.
  2. Place apples in a large stock pot and pour enough water to cover all but the top layer of apples.
  3. Place in spices (put in cheese cloth to keep separated).
  4. Bring to a boil and boil for one hour.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 2 hours.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. Remove spices and mash apples, using a potato masher, to a pulp-like consistency.
  8. Strain through a double layer cheese cloth, squeezing out any extra juice.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Mac and Cheese that Won!!!

I did it!!! I did it!!!! I did it!!!

I found a mac and cheese recipe Lee likes!!!!

I wasn't planning on blogging about this recipe, but sometimes life comes out and surprises you. I've made this recipe I found on Recipezaar before, but Lee wasn't home. I had wanted a quick mac and cheese recipe for lunch and didn't have any Velveeta. I liked it, thought the garlic taste was a little much, but I had a large clove of farm-fresh garlic, so blamed it on that.

Today I wanted mac and cheese for lunch and decided to use this recipe again, with a few variations. I used a smaller clove of garlic, just one, and instead of just cheddar, used part cheddar, part Monterrey Jack. I also made a bit more mac and cheese so that way I could use the whole can of evaporated milk instead of having leftover milk. Lee came in as I was cooking the garlic in the butter and got excited about the smell. I told him that it was for the mac and cheese, thinking that would be the end of him wanting it.

Imagine my surprise when I was dishing out the mac and cheese for myself and asked if he could try some! He thought that since it had garlic in it, he might like it. I let him try a bite and he thought it was good. He asked to try another bite, and he decided to get his own bowl, then he went back for seconds!!!

Lee said he likes the light garlic flavor in it and thinks that it is more creamy and less cheesy tasting than the others that I've tried. I won't argue with him if it got him liking mac and cheese!!!

Oh, happy day!!!

The Mac and Cheese that Won (aka Quick Macaroni and Cheese)

10 ounces uncooked macaroni
1½ tbsp butter
1 clove garlic
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1½ cups (1 can) evaporated milk
1 cup white extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese

  1. In a pot of boiling water, add salt and uncooked macaroni. Cook until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan.
  3. Mince garlic and add to melted butter, along with cayenne pepper.
  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add flour and cook for one minute more.
  6. Add evaporated milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, shred the cheeses.
  8. Add cheeses to milk and melt.
  9. Drain the macaroni and add to the cheese mixture.
  10. Allow to sit on a cool surface to thicken for about 5 minutes.


Made by Lena