Monday, November 28, 2011

Chicken Divanishness

This is a terrible picture.  It makes my dinner look like spotted dog food.  I promise it tasted really good, though.  I seriously need to stop taking blog photos with my iPhone.  I bought a really good camera to take food pics for the blog, and apparently have become too lazy to walk upstairs and get it.  Bleck.

So this was a clean out the icebox kinda dinner.  It is loosely based on a chicken divan recipe my ex mother in law used to make.  Well, that's not really true, because I've never seen the recipe for the chicken divan.  It kinda looked like it.  Whatever.

Here's what I did...

I threw 2 cups of rice in my rice cooker (a birthday gift- more on that later).  While it was festering away I did this...

I chopped half a yellow onion and threw it in a skillet with some olive oil.  After a few minutes I threw in some sliced mushrooms (the end of a basket that was well on its way to science project status).  After they colored a little, I added some leftover steamed broccoli and let it cook a few minutes more.  I sprinkled a little salt on the veggies, and glugged a few glugs of Vermouth in the pan, just to make things interesting.  I let that reduce down a bit.

I greased a 8x8 pyrex dish and layered some leftover shredded rotisserie chicken in the bottom.  I threw the veggies right out of the skillet on top of the chicken.

In a bowl I mixed a can of Amy's Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup, a few tablespoons of mayo, a few tablespoons of sour cream, some fresh lemon juice and a few pinches of fresh curry powder.  I threw in an egg to bind everything together.  I poured the soup mixture over the chicken and veggies.

I had half a can of french fried onions left from my Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole, so I threw them on top, then finished the topping with some melted butter and panko crumbs.

Into a 375 degree oven it went for 30 minutes.  I served it over some jasmine rice, and dressed it liberally with fresh ground black pepper.  It  didn't suck.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brunswick Stew

 This was today's project.  It's a big ole steamin' pot of Brunswick Stew.  I'm sure lots of different people call it lots of different things, but where I'm from, it's Brunswick Stew.

I'm willing to bet this recipe came up the way most Southern recipes do- out of necessity.  Someone had some leftover chicken or pork or beef from a Sunday roast and decided to do something different with it.

This particular version is a hybrid of a friend's mom's recipe and several other recipes I've seen on blogs over the years.  I cobbled it together with what I had on hand.  Well- technically that's a lie.  I had the chicken, but I bought pulled pork specifically for this recipe.  And yes, I realize that's a huge cheat, but I don't care.

The food club I belong to is meeting this Tuesday, and we decided that theme would be "Americana."  Basically it was an excuse for each of us to
cook something from the region where we grew up.  Being from the South, I first thought of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.  But because I work full time, I decided fried chicken for 10 people in the middle of the week might not be realistic.  So, I then set my mind on Brunswick Stew.  I've never seen it on menus around here, and I knew the people in my club would love it!

I'll tell you what I put in mine, but if you google Brunswick Stew, you'll see lots of other variations.

I started with 2 boxes of chicken stock (another cheat) and poured them in a large stock pot.  Then I chopped a large yellow onion and threw that in.  I put the pot over medium high heat to get things rolling.  Next came a bag of frozen corn and a bag of frozen baby lima beans.  I had a bucket of fingerling potatoes from Dev's mom's garden, so those got washed up, chopped and thrown in.  I put in a whole bottle of barbecue sauce (I used Famous Dave's) plus the last of the coca cola barbecue sauce I made last week.  I added quite a bit of sriracha, because I like it.  If you don't, use tabasco, or any other hot sauce you want (or none at all if you are a sissy).  Then came the main events.....one container of Lloyd's Pulled Pork and one whole shredded rotisserie chicken.  If you want to do this the hard way, you could make the stock for the stew while you cook down a whole chicken.  I took the easy way because I didn't have time to go the other route.  I bet no one will know the difference!  Lastly, I hit it with some salt and pepper- lots of freshly ground black pepper.  It has been simmering on my stove for about 2 hours.

I'm pretty sure my food club will like it.  If they don't, I'll bring it home and freeze it, cuz I LOVE it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thai Chicken Soup

On Thai menus this is called Tom Kha Gai.  It's always yummie, even when the restaurant doesn't get it quite right.




I found the recipe I used on the Food Network website.  Most of you know I live out in the middle of nowhere, so there was no way I was going to be able to find galangal, or kefir lime leaves at my local grocery store.  But I did find something called Gourmet Garden Thai Herb & Spice Blend.  It's kind of like a paste.  It has lemon grass, ginger, cilantro, garlic and chili peppers.  So, in the recipe, when it calls for these ingredients, I used the paste.  I substituted strips of lime zest for kefir lime leaves.

Here's a link to the recipe on Food Network's site.

I have to say, I think the soup turned out really well.  Next time I'll use more coconut milk, though.  It just wasn't quite creamy enough for me.

Of course, next time I make it, I'll use the Thai food kit I ordered off the internet yesterday!  :)  I'll make it again with the real ingredients, and tell you how it compared to this...

Long Winter Nights Ahead...

I know some people hate this time of year.  Long, cold nights, short, cold days.  Waking up in the dark and getting home from work in the dark.  All these things can wear on a person.

But I guess I'm weird.  I look forward to the long nights.  The cold I'm not so crazy about, but around here, one goes hand in hand with the other.  Why do I like this time of year?  Because it's comfort food season.  Almost all of the foods that I consider comforting are cold weather things- mostly because they take a long time to cook and tend to heat up the kitchen.  This time of year, anything that heats a room in my house is a blessing.  I love stews, braises, soups and roasted veggies- chicken and dumplings, shepherd's pie, gratins.  All these yummie things take time and heat.  And with nights as long as they are in the winter, BRING IT ON!!

We got some snow this weekend, and I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen.  I made some oatmeal wheat bread, some cinnamon honey butter, some Thai chicken soup...and tonight I'm making oven roasted ribs and baked potatoes.  This week I'm planning to take on shepherd's pie and maybe some kind of Moroccan lamb stew.  Oh- and another bonus of this kind of cooking.....amazing leftovers!  Lunches for school will take a turn for the fantastic!

I'll be blogging some of the things I made this weekend.  I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed making and eat them!
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