A CookBook Recipes & Other Stuff or How to Keep the Kids from Developing Beriberi After They've Moved Away From Home

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chicken Fried Chicken & Cream Gravy

Nice basic recipe -  at first I thought there was too much pepper in the gravy - but it was fine -

The only thing I would change is more salt - but that's easy to add when you eat it. They reheat well in the oven and are still crispy.

From the Homesick Texan

Chicken Fried Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Oil for frying
Cream gravy, for serving for serving


Pound the breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. (I used those thin cut breasts)

Mix together the flour with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne and place on a plate. 

Whisk together the eggs with the buttermilk.

 Lightly sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper then dredge each into the flour. Dip the flour-coated breasts into the eggs and then dredge in the flour again.

 Place the breaded chicken breasts on a sheet pan.

Heat up the oven to 200°F. In a large heavy skillet, such as a cast-iron skillet, on medium-high heat up an inch of oil to 350°F, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by sticking a wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the spoon, it should be ready for frying.

Working in batches, gently lower each breast into the oil and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned, turning once. Drain on a paper towel and place in the oven while you fry the remaining breasts.

Cream Gravy

2 tablespoons pan drippings, bacon grease or vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons flour 
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
Salt to taste

Combine fat with flour in a hot skillet, continuously stirring, cook on medium for a couple of minutes until a dark roux is formed. 

Add milk slowly to skillet, and mix with roux using either a whisk or wooden spoon (be sure and press out any lumps). Turn heat to low and continue stirring until mixture is thickened, a couple more minutes. Add pepper and salt to taste. 

If gravy is too thick for your taste, you can thin it by adding either more milk or water a tablespoon at a time. Goes great with mashed potatoes, fried chicken, biscuits, chicken fried steak, grits, vegetables, rice or anything else you can imagine.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I just found this recipe while looking for more ice cream recipes - I used to make these over 20 years ago for Michael's school birthdays - good memories! I don't know when I'll make them again but they were something a little different for pre schoolers and not as messy to eat ...

Or anytime you need to tote a lot of cupcakes somewhere

From the Brown-Eyed Baker

1 box yellow (or whatever flavor) cake mix or your own recipe
24 "cake" ice cream cones
Vanilla frosting or chocolate frosting (or whatever)
Sprinkles, chopped nuts (or whatever)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a cone in each well of two standard muffin tins. ( I just placed them on a baking sheet)
2. Prepare the cake batter according to the directions on the box. Fill each ice cream cone with 3 tablespoons of batter. (I didn't measure, just don't overfill)
3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
4. Once cool, frost and decorate as desired.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mocha Madness

Do Not get an ice cream machine for your birthday!!!!

But if you do you get one you need to try this recipe - I don't know if you remember but when you were all small we used to have disagreements  about which flavor of ice cream to buy - coffee became our default choice because it was the only flavor everyone liked ...

From King Arthur Flour

  • 1 cup cold whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch-process preferred
  • 2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 Oreo cookies, broken into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or other alcohol - Kalhua would be nice


  1. 1) Whisk or mix together the milk, sugar, espresso powder, and cocoa till the sugar has dissolved.
  2. 2) Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. 3) Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
  4. 4) Pour cookie bits into soft ice cream just as the ice cream is done.
  5. 5) For firmer ice cream, place in a covered container. Place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, until ice cream is as hard as you like it. 
  6. Yield: about 6 to 8 rich servings.

Tzatziki Potato Salad

I made a half recipe which was more than enough - didn't add any of the extras, except for chives ...

From Smitten Kitchen

4 pounds potatoes (I like tiny Yukon golds, but you can use whatever boiling potatoes you like for salads)(I used a 2 lb bag of little red - they look nicer)

1 3/4 cups Greek yogurt (I used full-fat but I think other fat levels would work)

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from half a big lemon)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 medium garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Diamond brand; use less if you use another, read why here)(used 1 tsp regular table salt)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 hothouse or English cucumber (1 pound), unpeeled but quartered lengthwise, seeds removed

More ideas for additions: Crumbled feta, chopped green olives, chopped fresh mint leaves or a minced hot chile

In a medium pot, cover your potatoes with cold water and bring them to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and let potatoes simmer until tender enough that they can be pierced easily with a skewer or slim knife. I find that small potatoes tend to be done in roughly 30 minutes from the time I put them on the stove cold, but it’s best to start checking 5 to 10 minutes sooner.

 Drain potatoes and let them cool completely. (This is a great step to do ahead, as it seems to take potatoes forever to cool. If you’re really in a rush, spread them on a tray and pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes.)

Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large bowl, stir together yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Grate the cucumber on a box grater (or in your food processor’s shredding blade, if you like to get things done in one hundredth of the time) and try to remove some of the excess by squeezing out handfuls, pressing it in a mesh sieve with a spoon or wringing it in a square of cheesecloth or a lint-free dishtowel. Add to yogurt mixture.

Once potatoes are cool, cut tiny ones into quarters or larger ones into generous chunks. Add to cucumbers and yogurt and stir to coat.

 Add any extra ingredients desired. Adjust seasonings to taste. Either eat immediately or keep in the fridge for up to three days.

Crabby Patties

These were good - even though I don't really like crab cakes - maybe next time I'll use shrimp ...

Umm - changed the name to Crabby Patties as Michael thought Crab Cakes was an eewww name (he was thinking of something like chocolate cake with crab meat??? Crabby Patties was much more acceptable)

From The Kitchn

For the crab cakes:
1 pound lump crab meat
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko crumbs, plus additional for dredging
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Lemon wedges, for garnish
For the rémoulade:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sweet relish
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish sauce
Couple dashes of hot sauce (didn't add as it was going to Grandma)
Squeeze of lemon
For the crab cakes, combine the crab meat, bell peppers, and green onions in a large bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix gently until well-combined. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop out crab mixture and form into a patty with your hands. Dredge the cakes in additional panko crumbs until completely covered. Arrange the cakes on a sheet pan and chill until ready to cook.
Heat a few glugs of canola or safflower oil (used coconut oil) in a large aluminum or cast iron skillet over medium-high to high heat. Cook crab cakes (in two batches if necessary, adding more oil as needed) until crispy and light golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Keep the crab cakes hot in a warm oven, if desired. Serve with a lightly dressed arugula salad, a couple of lemon wedges, and a dollop of rémoulade.
For the rémoulade, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and chill for at least 4 hours. Adjust seasonings to suit personal taste, if desired. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Raspberry Sherbet

Another recipe for the new ice cream maker ...

The only thing annoying about making this is straining the raspberries

From Baked by Rachael who took it from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

3C (24oz) raspberries (I used 2 bags of frozen raspberries)
1C whole milk

1/2 c heavy cream
3/4C sugar
1 1/8 tsp lemon juice

1 tablespoon some kind of alcohol


Thaw raspberries until at least soft. Add raspberries, sugar and milk to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
 Over a large bowl, pour mixture through a strainer to remove seeds. Discard solids. Stir in lemon juice. alcohol and cream.
Add to ice cream maker, mix for 25 minutes or per manufacturers directions.
Transfer to a freezer safe container. Freeze for at least 4 hours or until sherbet reaches desired consistency.

Berry Yogurt Pops

Also got some popsicle molds - this recipe from Smitten Kitchen - fills about 10 popsicle molds - they are not bad for breakfast ...

2 level cups fresh blackberries, or the berry of your choice

2 tablespoons (40 grams) honey

1/2 lemon or 1 small lime

1/2 cup (120 grams) water

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups (340 grams) plain unsweetened Greek-style yogurt (1 cup fage = 227 grams)

If your berries are large, especially blackberries, cut them in half. Place berries in non-reactive (i.e. not aluminum or tin, which I suspect you weren’t using anyhow) bowl and squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice over it (save the peel; you’re about to use it). Add honey, stir to combine. Set aside.

Place lemon peel, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved. Gently simmer for 5 minutes more. Strain out peel and chill syrup completely. You can do this in the fridge, but I find it much quicker to set the bowl of syrup in a larger bowl of ice water. Within 15 minutes, it should be quite cold to the touch.

Whisk yogurt and chilled syrup together.

Place the berry mixture and any juices that have accumulated in a blender and whirl until desired texture. (I left a few tiny chunks throughout.) 

If you loathe the seeds from raspberries or blackberries, puree fully and press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds. 

Assemble popsicles by alternating pouring a little of the yogurt mixture, then a little of the berry mixture into each popsicle mold, repeating as desired until you reach 1/4-inch from the tops (to leave room for expansion as they freeze). Use a skewer to lightly swirl the mixtures together. (the second time I made these I just whisked both together)

If using conventional molds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (45 minutes to 1 hour), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. 

Vanilla Ice Cream

I got a new ice cream maker for my birthday - so trying out lots of new recipes ....

This ice cream can easily be dressed up by adding your favorite chopped candies or sprinkles at the end of churning. Makes about 5 cups (ten ½-cup servings)

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
 pinch salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy or other alcohol (this keeps the ice cream from freezing too hard)

1. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

 2. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

Freeze in advance the container to which you are transferring the finished ice cream so it doesn't melt before you get it in the freezer ,,

Friday, July 10, 2015

Old-Fashioned Chicken Chow Mein

Chow mein like we used to eat in East Meadow in the 50s - from

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups celery thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1/8″ thick)
2 cups thinly sliced onions (about 1/8″ thick) Made mine thicker
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken meat, cut into pieces about 1/2″ wide or 1/2 pound shrimp or pork or a mix
2 firmly packed cups shredded Napa cabbage (pieces about 1/2″ wide)
1 1/2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts (or canned)
I added a few water chestnuts and cooked mushrooms too, but these are optional
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup chicken stock
about 5 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups cooked white rice
1 cup chow mein noodles (crispy room-temperature ones)

1. Place a very large wok over high heat, and let it sit for a minute (you don't need a wok - I used a dutch oven).
Add the oil, spilling it around the sides of the wok. When it’s smoking (just hot), toss in the celery and the onions. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar over them, and stir well. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then push the celery-onion mixture to the side of the wok, leaving the center empty.

2. Season the chicken well with salt. If the empty space in the wok is dry, add a little more vegetable oil. Add the chicken to the center of the wok and stir-fry until the chicken browns slightly, and loses its pink-red color (about 2-3 minutes). Toss with celery and onions, bringing the mass into the center of the wok. I added cooked shrimp after everything else was done ...

3. Add the cabbage and bean sprouts to the wok, tossing with the other ingredients already in the wok. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and toss again. Turn heat down to medium-high, and let mixture cook for 5 minutes; the vegetables should start losing their distinctness, merging together.
4. Add the soy sauce and toss. Add the stock and toss.
 When the stock starts to boil, mix the cornstarch in a small bowl with a little water until a milky liquid is formed. Making sure the chow mein is boiling, add most of that liquid to the wok, stirring immediately. If you’d like the chow mein to be a little thicker, add more cornstarch mixture. Remove chow mein from heat.

5. Divide the rice among 4 plates or bowls, spreading rice out across the bottoms of the plates or bowls. Top each plate or bowl with 1/4 of the chow mein mixture, then divide chow mein noodles over the tops of the 4 plates or bowls. Serve immediately.(I hate when recipes say this - it is just fine reheated in the microwave!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Dry Rub Oven Ribs

From Smitten Kitchen a really good recipe for ribs we had on the 4th - I know it's good cause 3 generations liked it, which is like a miracle in this picky family ...

I cooked 2 racks of ribs, but didn't double the recipe and it came out just right

For 1 5-pound rack spare ribs; we estimate about a pound of ribs per person. We tripled this recipe for our first ribs party this summer, doubled it for our second. Makes about 1 cup rub per rack. (This is a thick coating and we prefer it this way.)

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons paprika (sweet, hot or smoked, whichever variety you prefer)(I used smoked)

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon onion powder (Forgot to add this)

2 tablespoons kosher salt (Diamond brand, which is very lightweight; for most others, use 1 1/4 tablespoons; more about why here) (I used 1 tablespoon regular salt)

Chipotle powder (used just a shake) or ground red pepper (cayenne) to taste

As many cranks of freshly ground black pepper as your arm is in for (Few shakes of ground pepper)

1 3 to 5 pound rack spare ribs

To finish: 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Tools: If you can find it, a wide roll of heavy-duty foil (used extra heavy duty) makes the racks much easier to wrap up.

You’ll also want a large rack (cooking cooling sheets, so long as they’re metal and thus ovensafe, are just fine) and a large baking sheet per rack of ribs. (Used oven rack with a cookie sheet on the oven rack below)

Heat oven to 200°F.*

 In a medium bowl, combine all of the spices and seasonings.

I cleaned up the ribs a bit before cooking them - scored that silvery skin on the bottom of the ribs and removed that hunk of meat that's on the bottom.

On a piece of foil large enough to wrap around your ribs, place rack of ribs, meatier side up. Sprinkle half of spice rub over rack, patting it on generously, including the sides. Carefully — it can help have a second person hold the foil down while you lift the rack — flip the rack of ribs back onto the foil so that they’re now meatier side down. Pat on remaining rub. Tightly fold the foil to seal packets.

Set a metal rack (a cookie cooling sheet works well here) over a baking sheet and place foil-wrapped ribs on top. Bake for 4 hours, then reduce temperature to 175°F for 2 more hours, or until a fork easily penetrates the meat.

Open packet of ribs very carefully and pour accumulated juices into a saucepan. I find this easiest with one person lifting/tilting ribs packet and the other one snipping a corner and making sure the juices only go where you want them to. Bring the saucepan to a full boil and reduce the mixture until it becomes thicker, syrupy and will coat a spoon — usually by at least half. Stir in vinegar. This is the “barbecue sauce” for those that like it on their ribs; it will be fairly salty and I always warn people to use it judiciously. (didn't do this - it seemed too fiddly- just used HEB Bourbon barbecue sauce)

Meanwhile, cut the ribs apart and spread them on a serving tray. For extra caramelization, you can spread them back on their baking sheet (sans rack) and run them under the broiler for a couple minutes.

Serve ribs with sauce on the side.

Let’s talk about timing: These cooking times and temperatures, laid out by the great Harold McGee, require 6 hours. But, real life ensures that I always start them late, and while “low and slow” is the barbecue bible for a reason — you’re always going to get the best meat from the longest gentlest cooking times — you’d be pretty amazed by the results of even 3-hour ribs. Long cooking times are not an exact science. As with humans, heh, some ribs are meatier than others and will take longer. Regardless, if you’re looking for guidelines, here are some other time and temperature combinations that have worked for us in the past:

2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300°F.
3 1/2 to 4 hours at 250°F.
4 hours at 225°F

We’ve also fiddled with combinations, such as a higher temperature at the beginning, and then, upon realizing they’d be ready sooner than we’d need them, turning them down to 175°F for the remaining time. And vice-versa, starting with the low temperatures in the original recipe, and realizing at the 4 hour mark, they were coming along too slowly and finishing them at 300°F. I hope these extra options make it easier, and not more confusing, to make yours at home.

These freeze well - I nuked 2 ribs still frozen and then warmed them in the oven for about 10 minutes

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Basic Bread

This is just my basic sandwich bread formula - you can change lots of things - but if you keep to the basic ratios it should turn out fine &; makes 2 9x5 inch loaves.

Stuff I use:

1 large bowl for mixing dough - about 8 qts
1 3 or 4 qt bowl for rising dough
2 9x5 inch loaf pans
small bowl for proofing yeast

1 package yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 cups milk/buttermilk

1 tablespoon sugar/honey

1 tablespoon salt

2 or 3 tablespoons butter - melted & cooled a bit

some extra butter for greasing pans and bowl

Flour - I use King Arthur Bread flour, but all purpose works too. Notice there's no quantity for flour ...

I'm a bit weird in this regard - I use about 3 to 3.5 cups of liquid for 2 9 x 5 loaves and just add flour until I can't add any more. If you have 5 lbs of flour on hand you'll be fine - the bread probably takes 2.5 to 3 lbs of flour.

Proof yeast, sugar, warm water in a small bowl

This means - put 1/2 cup warm (like for a baby's bottle) water in the small bowl - stir in sweetemer and then yeast. Leave it until you see it bubble or foam or it gives some indication it's alive

add buttermilk to large bowl (you can warm the buttermilk a bit or not, but it rises slower if cold - maybe 3 hours)

Add salt and melted butter, stir together

Add proofed yeast, then add flour and knead

Add the flour a bit at a time, stirring until it is incorporated - until it is too stiff to stir
Sprinkle with more flour and knead (there are videos online to show you how - it's too hard to describe) since the - adding more flour when it gets sticky. When you can't seem to add any more flour and the dough bounces back when you poke it gently - you're done!

Place in buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubled

 How do you know when it's doubled? If you're letting it rise in a 3 or 4 qt bowl - it should reach the top of the bowl approximately  - and it no longer springs back when poked. This (at about 70 degrees takes about 2 - 2.5 hours. Unless you're living in a jungle or an igloo, room temperature is fine!

You can cover the bowl with anything - I use an old cloth napkin

Divide into two portions and form loaves, place in buttered loaf pans and cover

You can be technical and weigh the dough to make sure they are equal in size or just guess. Knead each half a bit with a bit more flour so it doesn't stick. If the dough gets a bit too elastic - let it rest for 5 minutes before forming loaves. I just flatten the dough and fold it up like a letter until it fits in the pan. 

You can slash the tops of the loaves now or after they are risen

Don't cover the pans with anything like saran wrap as it will stick to the rising bread and make a mess and deflate the dough ... use  a cloth napkin or something similar or an overturned bowl

Let rise again

Until the bread is just at or slightly above the rim of the pans - it usually takes a little less time for the second rise than the first

Bake in preheated oven at 375F for about 40 minutes

That's all I can think of - if you have any questions just ask - I may have left something out ...

You can brush the dough with a beaten egg just before baking to make it shiny (or to make sesame or caraway seeds stick

I usually add about 1 cup whole meal flour - rye, oatmeal or whole wheat

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chicken Divan Casserole

From The Kitchn - Grandma likes this - mostly I think because of the cream sherry ...

You can change up the cheeses - use cheddar or whatever you've got or change the veggies - add cooked mushrooms, cauliflower or whatever

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)
2 heads of broccoli (approximately 2 1/2 - 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups warmed milk
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup grated Gruyère/Swiss
3 tablespoons cream sherry
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Add chicken breasts to a large pot. Add water to cover, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Simmer until cooked through, and internal temperature has reached 160 °F. Remove chicken from pot, reserving broth. Cool and cut into 1/2-inch cubes or slices. (Feel free to use 4 cups of rotisserie or leftover chicken, if desired.)
Stem broccoli and cut into 1 – 2 inch florets. Bring chicken broth back to a boil and add broccoli (adding water if necessary). Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until broccoli is bright and tender, about 2 – 3 minutes - don't overcook. Strain broccoli and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a thick sauce pan on medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth (and flour taste is cooked out), about three minutes. Reduce heat to low. Pour in warmed milk and cook until thickened, approximately three to five minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup of Parmesan and one cup of Gruyère and stir until creamy. Add sherry, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Butter the bottom and sides of an oblong casserole dish. Layer half of the broccoli and chicken and cover with half of the cheese sauce. Repeat. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on casserole and bake until bubbly and golden brown, approximately 35 - 40 minutes. Serve with white rice.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Cheesy Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach and Bacon

This recipe sounded appetizing to me - but since I am kinda low carbing I changed it up a bit.

I left out the rolls and bacon ( just because I didn't have any) and I also cooked all the mushrooms in the sauce. Put some torn up spinach leaves on the plate, topped it with hot sliced chicken breast (which kinda cooked/wilted the spinach) and topped it with the creamy mushroom cheese sauce.

You could probably use other veggies - like red/green pepper strips instead of mushrooms - or whatever - or leave out the veggies altogether ....

The recipe comes from Kitchen Sanctuary, slightly modified.

  • 4 brioche /burger rolls 
  • 2tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 8 medium mushrooms
  • good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 6 rashers of bacon, cut in half widthways
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
  • 6tbsp double (full fat) cream
  • 100g/1 cup strong/sharp or not sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach leaves (about 25g)
  • 2 large, well seasoned, roasted chicken breasts, sliced (skin left on) - I like to roast a whole chicken and use the breasts for this, and then the rest of the meat for soup 
  1. Place two frying pans on a medium-to-high heat. Place 1.5tbsp oil in one.
  2. Once the oil is hot, place the sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper in the pan with oil in, and the  bacon in the other pan. Cook both the mushrooms and the bacon until dark and crispy.
  3. Place the bacon and half of the mushrooms on a warm plate.
  4. Cut your brioche rolls in half and lightly toast the insides under the grill. When toasted, place the rolls cut-side-down in the bacon pan, and allow the rolls to cook a little more in the leftover bacon fat. Take out once the rolls are darker brown and the fat has been absorbed. Place the rolls on plates.
  5. Add the garlic to the remaining mushrooms and cook on a low heat for a minute, then add in the cream and cheese and let the cheese melt.
  6. Divide the spinach between the 4 burger rolls, then top with the fried mushrooms and sliced chicken. Spoon the cheesy mushroom sauce over the chicken and then top with the crispy bacon. Place the top of the burger roll on top and serve.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Chicken and Wild Rice

I loved this recipe! It's easy and quick to put together - and I think it's sort of a blank slate  - the process is simple - but you can vary everything - just start off with the chicken, rice and broth, after that all flavorings are optional!

The chicken was not over done and but was nicely brown and crispy.

I'm thinking next time (this is only my opinion - you can use whatever you think will work for you) I'll add garlic, more red and green pepper, green peas and sazon goya and ditch the smoked paprika and celery ...

The original recipe is from The Kitchn and I'll be making it again ...

1/2 cup chopped onion, from 1 small onion
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 rib celery, chopped
2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken, about 4 pieces (I actually used about 4 lbs - they were 3  massive chicken breasts)
1/2 cup vinaigrette (I just used Seven Seas Italian)
2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 tablespoons wild rice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika  (I think this was too much - it overwhelmed the flavor - but you might like it)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I used cumin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
I also added about 1/2 cup green pepper - because I had it :)

Combine the chicken thighs and vinaigrette in a gallon-size freezer bag. Seal and massage the bag to coat the chicken. Let it marinate at least a half hor or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the rice mixture, spices and the vegetables in the baking dish. Stir in the broth. Remove the thawed chicken pieces from the marinade and place them atop the rice. Discard the marinade.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the rice absorbs most of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

James Beard's Sourdough Rye

Here is another rye bread - it is better (chewier and tangier (more tangy?) than the other sourdough I make but  requires more advance planning - but since I've got some sourdough starter already going I'll be making it ..

The recipe comes from Beard On Bread like most of my bread recipes - only slightly adapted

  2 packages active dry yeast

 3 1/4 cups warm water

 6 cups all-purpose  or preferably bread flour

 2 cups rye flour

 2 teaspoons salt

 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)

 2 tablespoons butter, melted

 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Four days ahead of baking, prepare the “starter.” Combine 1 package of the yeast, 2 cups warm water, and 2 cups all-purpose flour in a non reactive bowl or container. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 day. Then refrigerate for at least another 2 days.

The day before preparing the dough, combine 1 cup of starter, the rye flour, and 1 cup warm water in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight ( about 12 hours). 

The next day stir down the dough and add the second package of yeast, which has already been dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water, salt, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, butter, and sugar.

Then add about 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a stiff but workable dough. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes, and then shape into a ball. Place the ball in a buttered bowl, turning to coat the dough with the butter. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk for about 2 hours.

Punch down and divide the dough in half. Shape into two round loaves and place on a baking sheet covered with foil generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Brush with the egg wash, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned and the loaves sound hollow when rapped with your knuckles. Cool, covered with towels to prevent the crust from hardening.

Or use this - before and after baking:

Cornstarch Glaze:
You can prepare this while the shaped loaves are doing their final proofing.
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp cool water
  • 1/2 c boiling water (in pot)
In a small bowl or cup, mix the cornstarch and cool water together to get a smooth slurry. Add this to the 1/2 cup of boiling water on the stove and stir over medium heat until it begins to boil and is slightly thickened. Stir and allow to boil for a few more seconds to cook the starch. Remove from heat and set aside until needed. It will be fine if it cools down.

Friday, January 09, 2015

James Beard's Cuban Bread

 This is one of the first breads I ever baked about 1975? - from Beard on Bread. I still have the book although it's kinda messed up and floury....

It's still a really good recipe - although it goes stale fast - but you can freeze what you aren't going to use within a day and it only has one rising so it's also fast.

I know it's called Cuban bread - but Beard calls it French-style - not truly French, but just plain old bread - whatever you call it - Italian, French, Cuban ....

I guess you can see from all the posts today - I had meatballs and spaghetti and Italian bread for dinner :)

1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp.instant yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1 TBS salt
1 TBS sugar
6-7 cups flour (Bread flour is best)

Dissolve yeast in the water and add sugar and salt, stirring thoroughly

Add flour, 1 cup at the time , beating with wooden spoon. You can also use dough hook on electric mixer at low speed.

Add enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough

Knead until no longer sticky - adding flour as needed

Shape dough into a ball, place in greased bowl and grease top.

Cover with a towel and let rise in warm place till doubled.

Put dough on lightly floured board and shape into 2 round Italian style loaves or baguettes.

Put on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal and allow to rise for 5 minutes.

Slash tops of loaves in 2 or 3 places with knife or scissors.

Brush loaves with water or egg wash and place them in COLD oven.

Set oven temp. at 400 F and place a pan of boiling water on bottom of oven.

Bake loaves until they are crusty and done for about 40 -45 minutes

Easy Pasta Sauce

I need a new sauce - I've tried so many jarred sauces and they just aren't the same as they used to be - or my taste is changing? It doesn't seem to matter what brand I try or how much they cost ... so I need a go to sauce for pasta that I can count on.

I don't know if this is really easy - well it's not as easy as opening a jar of Ragu. I used Muir Glen tomatoes - I've used them a few times, but I don't like the taste - I'm not sure why - they are too sweet? So next time I'll use some other brand ...

I have another recipe - pretty much the same except it has no tomato paste, cooking time is longer and has 2 onion halves which are removed when the sauce is done - I'm going to try that next time. While this recipe is good - and might be better with better tomatoes .. not yet sure it will be my new best sauce.

2/2/15 - I sort of combined the recipes - with less garlic and half an onion

From Serious Eats

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or a few sprigs fresh
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 large sprig basil
  • 1/2 onion - left whole
  • Kosher salt or whatever
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)


  1. 1
    In a large pot, combine oil and garlic and heat over moderately low heat until garlic begins to very gently sizzle. Add red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic just begins to turn a light golden color, about 3 minutes. Add oregano (if using fresh add with basil) and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. 2
    Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until paste has softened and blended with the oil, about 3 minutes.
  3. 3
    Stir in canned tomatoes and their juices, increase heat to medium-high, bring to a gentle simmer, then lower heat to maintain. Using an immersion blender, blend tomatoes until sauce is smooth. (Alternatively, blend tomatoes in a standard blender before adding to pot)
  4. 4
    Add basil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced slightly and tastes rich, about 30 or up to 60 minutes. Season with salt.
  5. 5
    Discard basil. Stir in butter, if using, until melted. Use sauce right away, or allow to cool to room temperature, transfer to sealed containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.