August 2009


Chicken! ChickenChickenChicken! Despite the aspersions cast upon this king of poultry, I love chicken. I think that chicken started getting a bad rap when it became “healthy”. Boneless, skinless chicken breast eroded the reputation of what is a most delicious addition to any meal. I don’t care for breast meat, it is pretty tasteless and dry most of the time. Gimmie the dark meat every time, and don’t you dare remove the skin. The skin is what makes it superb.

So, I decided to cull the food blogs to find y’all some good ideas for using chicken in a different way than you might regularly consider. First off, the best way to serve chicken – FRIED!

First off, from [No Recipes] we have Karaage or Japanese Fried Chicken. A soy, ginger & garlic marinade and cornstarch breading – how can you go wrong. I am especially intrigued by the mention that it is a commonly packed Bento (lunch box) item. I think this would make my little dude the envy of the entire preschool should I pack it for him.

From the always fabulous Chez Pim we score Thai-marinated fried chicken. I have never been to Thailand but this recipe with a garlic & cilantro marinade and rice flour for your dredge sounds like a good reason to book a flight. Or at least buy the slightly specialty pantry items to make it yourself.

Apparently the Asian type areas take their Fried Chicken as seriously as we do in the South because My Asian Kitchen rounds out the pack with Asian Ginger Marinated Fried Chicken. Again with the ginger and garlic – I really must try this, all of these people cannot be wrong. This recipe has an unusual aspect in that it uses self-rising flour. If you do not have any of the stuff you can make your own by combining 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 t baking powder, and 1/8 t salt.

For some people, the fried is not their friend, and I am here to give you some love too. Don’t you worry.

I love witty blog names and Ezra Pound Cake cracks me up every time. They have provided us with an insanely tasty sounding Hawiian Chicken. With a lot of the Asian flavors included above it might just allow you to not miss the fried (tho I doubt it). Thoughtfully they have provided optional cooking directions for those of us who are grilling impaired. I don’t know what it is, but grills and I just don’t get along.

Getting even more exotic (at least for me)  Life’s Ambrosia gets all slow cookey on us with their Braised Indian Coconut Chicken. There is an awfully long marinade here – but hey it isn’t like you are actually doing anything when the chicken is marinading. And then, when your guests arrive and rave about how good the chicken is you can sigh and say “I am so glad you liked it, I was concerned that 10 hours for a dish might not be worth the time.” Then they will feel all guilty about the cheap a$$ bottle of wine they brought and next time you go to their house they will feed you steak.

Not that there is anything wrong with chicken. As I believe I mentioned, I love chicken. Y’all let me know how these dishes work out for y’all. My problem is deciding which one to make first.

Advertisements

Considering that the sponsor herself at thursday night smackdown was unable to keep her deadline (for good reasons) I am hoping that my tardiness will not eliminate me from participation. And since I am relying on her good nature (HAHAHA) I am going to confess that not only did I not make this on Tuesday for Hobo Tuesday; I did not even make it for dinner! It was my lunch, today, Thursday.

Whew, I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest.

Actually, I don’t know if I would let myself participate, because I didn’t even follow the theme. I don’t do spicy, but I do do things that could be spicy if you wanted them to be. Take this:

Heuvos Rancheros en Cocotte

You got your Mexican in my French! No you got your French in my Mexican!

In a fit of literalness I have decided to call this exactly what it is:

Huevos Rancheros en cocotte from my own demented little mind

Hardware: a cute oven safe ramekin and an oven.

Software:
1/3 C doctored up canned black beans
2 eggs
2 T milk
2 big pinches of shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 C salsa (I use Pace, so sue me)

My beans were left over from burritos a few days ago, I start with a can of black beans and add a bunch of garlic, cumin, oregano and Liazano Salsa until they taste good; hence doctored up. Take your cutsey little ramekin and lube it up with butter (hey, this dish is 1/2 French – gotta work butter in somewhere) and pre-heat the oven to 375 or so.

Put the beans into the ramekin and make two beds for your eggs by pushing things around with a spoon and then carefully crack the eggs into their little troughs. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them and then drizzle the 2 T of milk over top. Put in oven for about 8 minutes (or until things start to bubble and the whites look opaque) and then pull out and sprinkle the cheese around the bubbling edges and slide it back into the oven for a few more minutes. Take the eggs out when they still look underdone and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Spoon salsa over top and you are done.

Talk about a protein bomb! I guess you could work in some veggies with the beans if you are so inclined – but I thought it was great as is. Now, there are several locations where one could make this spicy. Jalapenos in the beans would be an obvious choice, but more sneaky would be sprinkling some cayenne over the eggs so that it looks like paprika. The hotter the salsa, the hotter the entire dish. I am a wuss, so mild all the way baby!

The Damage:
1/3 can black beans = .30
2 eggs = .42
Milk = .05
Cheese = .15

Everything else is pantry. I feel comfortable including Salsa as a pantry item considering it outstripped Ketchup as the most purchased condiment in the US.

The total comes to .92. I only cooked for one, but my hubby would have loved this had he been here – doubling the cost comes to $1.84 to serve 2 people, actually, to fill my husband we probably would have had to use more beans so lets call it an even $2.00.

summerfest-badge

What I should be posting right now is an entry for thursday night smackdown’s Hobo Tuesday. But I am a slacker, and a chicken. Specifically the theme for this month is super spicy food, and my idea of pretty darn spicy is the regular stuff at Taco Bell. When they ask me if I want some of the Medium sauce I am all like Whoaaaa there Nelly, let’s not get too crazy.

So I found another event to participate in – it is the Summer Fest! Apparently the whole shindig started last month with Herbs, but I always tend to be a little slow on the uptake. The theme of this month is tree fruits – and well, I live in Georgia and I really do not have any choice in the fruit I will be using. I mean really, could there be any other option?

So for this soiree I am getting back to one of the core values of this blog (since I have such a long and illustrious history, snort) and that is using one of my most precious commodities – time – to compensate for one of my more unsavory character traits – cheapness.

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

One of the best cheap tips I can give you is to cut out the middle-man. If you can, buy your produce straight from the Farmer/Grower. Luckily I live in a State that believes in that very principle and sponsors the Atlanta State Farmer’s Market, a place where you can go year ’round and purchase produce directly from the Farmers that pulled it out of the ground, or off of the tree, or plant, or … you get the picture. There is even a meat market there that has three butchers there every week day – prices & sizes like a warehouse club without any taxes.

My mother and I toodled down there a couple of weeks ago and picked up a 1/2 bushel of peaches. Glorious peaches that smelled like … peaches, not those rock hard impostors you find at the grocery. Those, the best thing you can do with them is hot-glue on some googley eyes and try to recreate the ’70 pet rock craze only fuzzier. And the best thing, for our 22 lbs of peaches we paid $11. That’s right, .50 per lb. Does little cheap-ass happy dance.

And Here is Where you start Robbing Peter

We have beautifully high quality peaches at rock bottom prices, but we also have 22 lbs of highly perishable fruit that has to have something done with it NOW! So we pay for it with time. An entire day of canning with my Mother to be precise. But ooooh, the rewards.

Angelic & Delicious

Angelic & Delicious

The Yield:

6 Quarts of Peach Pie Filling
6 1/2 Half-pints of Peach Preserves
6 1/2 Half-pints of Ginger Peach Preserves
8 Quarts of Frozen Sliced Peaches

All total 20 quarts + 1 pint of peachy perfection to last us for the coming year. Trying to calculate how much money we saved would be difficult. Figure that each 1/2 pint of “gourmet” peach preserves that you buy at the grocery would run you at least $3 x 13 half-pints and you get $39. Already $28 more than we spent on the fruit. Of course you have to factor in the cost of the canning supplies – but those are re-usable and I really do not want to get into amortizing the crap. A quart sized bag of frozen peaches is going to run you at least $2.50 x 8 =  $20. The peach pie filling, and let me tell you this isn’t anything like the stuff that comes out of the can, you would pay at least $5 a jar for this x 6 = $30.

So, for our $11 basket of peaches and lets say and additional $15 in supplies (including sugar, spices etc…) we yielded $89 worth of the good stuff. $89 – $26 = $63, obviously not enough to compensate two such talented ladies for an entire day’s work (or at least one talented lady and one who can almost stir without drooling into the pot) but that is where the love comes in to play.

I think we might need to go buy more peaches before the season is over.

p.s. I haven’t included any recipes because they all came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I usually avoid posting recipes if I haven’t made some changes to them because that would run afoul of copyright issues. And anyone reading about home preserving will know full well that if you change anything then OH MY GOD YOU ARE ALL GOING TO DIE AND YOU WILL KILL YOUR FRIENDS WITH YOUR CANNED GOODS!!!!!!!!
I may exaggerate slightly.

I spend a good deal of time reading other blogs – some of them are even food blogs, Heh. And while a large number of y’all readers (not that I think a large number of people read my blog – but we are talking percentages here) are most likely as addicted to blogs as I am – some of you might not be. So I thought what would it hurt for me to share some of my finds.

I have a bookmark folder nested in my Food Blog Bookmark folder (which in turn is nested in my Blog folder – but I believe I have mentioned my anal-retentive nature previously) that is titled simply “Recipes to Try”. I just added one that made me excited enough to think of re-posting it here in my blog.

Over at Open Mouth Insert Cookie we have been gifted with the most elegant explanation of a dish that I have been dying to re-create – Scallion Pancakes. I have read explanations on how to make these before – but they never made much sense to me. I follow along just fine, but then I hit a set of instructions that might as well say “And a Miracle Occurred” voila,  Scallion Pancakes. A picture is worth a thousand words – and this lovely blogger has provided us with several thousand, so go forth and Pancake!

It has gotten me thinking about other flavors I could incorporate into the technique, who knows, perhaps I will have a post of my own based on this inspiration. Thank you OMIC – rock on with your bad self.

Considering that I am not posting anything original, should at least provide a couple more links from my stash. In keeping with the technique themes that made me go WOO HOO!

From Chaos in the Kitchen: How to make Homemade Air-popped MICROWAVE Popcorn. Someone who can free me from the Iron Fist of Doom held by that heinous chemical laden aisle of the Grocery.

And in an ironic twist, from the uber-healthy chomama: how to make your own small, square, onion soaked hamburgers courtesy of the chowpapa.

I guess that is enough for now, is this something y’all are interested in seeing more of? Because I am willing to sacrifice my online time to make y’all happy. I will throw myself on the food-blog hand grenade to save y’all. I am just that kind of girl.