Sunday, February 26, 2012

February Tapa's



I'm doing two posts today, otherwise it would have gotten way too long and that's boring.   And I don't want to bore anyone.   Especially me.  

We had a nice turnout last night, and as usual, way too much good food.   I really love doing Tapa's night, it's so much seeing tasting all the different kinds of things people bring.   Plus I get to try new recipes as well.  And as I said, last night was great.   We had meatballs,



 More good stuff,
Stuffed Jalapeno's, Cheese Spread, Squash Dip, Shrimp Salad


a Quinoa salad,

Liptaur cheese in pumpernickel bread with radishes,

and a hot Posole dish that was so good, 
And then there were the Edamame's and also some boiled peanuts. 

Plus of course the Shrimp Salad and Stuffed Jalapeno's I made.   

And I think everyone had a good meal,  and a good time.   At least I know I did, and I'm the one who counts.  

Continue Reading
No comments
Share:

Shrimp Salad For February Tapa's

I had fun playing around with some ideas for Tapa's night this month, and I finally narrowed it down, and made a final decision, but it wasn't easy. 

I had thought about making some Sausage Rolls, I have some HP sauce in the cupboard and Sausage Rolls and HP sauce are 'da bomb' together.  Whoops, did that date me?  Too bad.   Then I had the idea to make some Pizza bites, but...  that really didn't excite me.    Then I thought, hmmm, Mini Quiche bites.    I have mini tart pans, and can make a bunch up at a time, I can make one batch vegetarian and the other with some lovely ham and bacon pieces in it them.  But it didn't get me that fired up.  I mean I need to be excited or at the very least somewhat enthusiastic about what I'm making.    Then I had that "AHA, I GOT IT" moment, whew, that one almost hurt.  IGA had some jalapeno's on sale this week, and they were a decent price and looked good.   And I needed to replenish my stock of Jalapeno's in my freezer anyways, so Stuffed Jalapeno's it was.   And I like to make have a choice for my friends who don't care for meat, so I decided to cook the shrimp I bought the other day, since I didn't get them cooked and had to freeze them,
Frozen Shrimp,defrosting



Cooled and ready to peel

 and make a Shrimp Salad.    And while I didn't have any crackers for the Shrimp Salad I did have some Fillo dough in the freezer so I made some Fillo cups.  
I found out Fillo dough is rather picky.   It likes to be kept moist, dries out faster than I've ever seen anything dry out, but once you've got some butter brushed across it, it molds like a dream.  Melt some butter, I think I used a quarter of a stick, just make sure you have a pastry brush handy.    Unroll your sheet of Fillo dough, about three inches wide or so and cut into one long length.    Keep the rest rolled up in the plastic wrapper, it does stay together better that way.  (and make sure you take it out of the freezer about an hour before you want to use it.   It  does not unroll easily when frozen.   Please learn from my mistakes.)  Brush butter across one or two sheets of dough at a time, and stack to the side.   I found it was easy to do that.  Then take a sharp knife and cut that length into thirds.   At this point pick up about 4 sheets or so of the dough and place into your mini muffin or tart pan.  Pressing the dough down into the cup, repeat until all cups are done.   Bake in a 350 deg. preheated oven for about 10 minutes or so until the cups are a lovely light brown. 
If you have more dough, cover with a damp towel to prevent the dough from drying out.   I think you could also flavor the butter with some garlic or ...  just to add a little pizazz. 
Set out with the Shrimp Salad and let your guests spoon the salad into the fillo cups.
As you can see I got to the dish a little late in the day, and most of it was eaten already. 

Shrimp Salad

1 lb. Shrimp, peeled, cut into thirds, poached in some seasoned water  (I boiled some water with a bay leaf, some peppercorns, cayenne pepper, Natures Seasons and dill) 
4 stalks celery, cut into a fine dice
1 tablespoon onion, minced  (could use red onion here for prettiness sake)
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix together and taste for seasoning, then refrigerate. 

Continue Reading
No comments
Share:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pepper Beef

You ever change what you're cooking in mid stream?    I did the other night.   I had a lovely sirloin steak that had been thawed a couple of days and needed to be cooked.   I just didn't want grilled steak and salad, however good that might be, I wanted something different.   And as I pondered the steak, I realized I had a couple of peppers in the fridge that needed to be eaten, and I thought Fajita's!!!   I'm always up for something Mexican.  So I get the peppers out, slice them, slice an onion, get out the avocado, take a picture of them sitting so pretty on the cutting board.   After taste testing a couple of green pepper strips that is.  You have to make sure of your produce, it has to taste right.  
Then as I got my stuff together, sorta, I got interrupted a couple of times, and I realized what I really wanted was something vaguely Chinese.     Actually I got the idea as I was slicing the meat, and getting interrupted a couple of times, while doing so and forgot to take pictures, grrrrrr.    So imagine me slicing the steak on an angle in thin slices.    Then imagine me dumping a tablespoon of cornstarch over the beef and mixing it together while I'm sauteeing the peppers and onions.  (this is a neat trick by the way, it tenderizes the meat a little, giggle)    I also added a thinly sliced garlic clove to the mixture.  
And some of the mushrooms that were hiding in the fridge, they thought they could escape, but I found them, sorry, it was a long week and I'm feeling a little silly here.     At any rate, I finished it off with a splash of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil and served it over a bed of rice.   I had such a good dinner.
 Such a simple meal, but tasty.     And if I'd wanted to I could have made this into fajita's by omitting the soy sauce and sesame oil, and adding a sliced jalapeno or three, and sauteed them all together and stuffed into a flour tortilla.   With the aforementioned avocado and some cheese as well.   OK, I know you're not supposed to put cheese on fajita's but I think cheese goes with everything.

Now to go and clean house and get ready for Tapa's night.    I've got something in mind for that, just have to get it all together, and yes, I will take pictures.   In fact I'm going to go and change the batteries in the camera right now so I can do my thing.  

Continue Reading
No comments
Share:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Danish Chicken with Parsley Stuffing (Grydestegt Kylling)

I almost hate to admit to this, but it's been a few years since I made this dish.  It used to be one of my favorites, in fact it was one I knew how to do well when we first got married and it was my 'company' dish when I wanted to serve a special meal.   Now,  as to why I haven't made it for some time, I really couldn't say.  But when I saw some lovely plump roasting chickens on sale for .79/lb, I grabbed a couple with the express idea of making Danish Chicken with Parsley stuffing (Grydestegt Kylling).   I was suddenly craving it, to the point that I barely got the chicken thawed enough yesterday to get the parsley stuffed inside.

Oh, and I also have a lovely big parsley plant outside so the parsley was nice and fresh.
Parsley Plant

This is such an easy dish, so easy, you can put it on and let it cook while you go do some thing fun, like, oh I don't know, cleaning out the vegetable drawer in the fridge or taking a nap or...    Just kidding about the vegetable drawer, mine needs to be cleaned and it's been weighing on me.


Parsley





Danish Chicken with Parsley Stuffing (Grydestegt Kylling)



Add some chicken stock, and a little water, I used 4 of my chicken stock cubes, and added an additional 1 cup of water.   
Slice the meat from the breast and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.   We also had some lovely asparagus with our meal.
Danish Chicken with Parsley Stuffing (Grydestegt Kylling)
Simple, easy and tasty.   


yield: Serves 4print recipe

Pot roasted Chicken with Parsley Stuffing (Grydestegt Kylling)

prep time: 45 MINScook time: 1 hour and 30 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 75 mins
This is one of the simplest and tastiest dishes I know how to make. It was my 'company' meal for many years.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs.)
  • 1 bunch Parsley (about 1 1/2 cups), rinsed well
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/4 cup water for the gravy
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To begin with, get yourself a nice roasting chicken, rinse it off if you like and then pat dry. 
  2.  Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and then take a big handful of fresh parsley,and stuff it inside the cavity. 
  3. Then get a heavy saucepan with a lid (big enough to hold the chicken), pour in a little olive oil and then add about 2 tablespoons of butter to it, let it get hot and place the chicken in the pot, breast side down. Brown it a little, then using a large fork, turn it on the side, brown that, then brown the other side, and finally brown the back. When it is browned on all sides, which will take about 30 minutes total, then place the chicken, breast side down in the pan. 
  4. Add some chicken stock, and a little water, I used 4 of my chicken stock cubes, and added an additional 1 cup of water. For a total of two cups of liquid. Placed the lid on the pot and walked away for 30 minutes. Came back and checked to make sure that the liquid hadn't cooked away, if it looks too low, go ahead and add another cup of water. After 40 minutes turn the chicken over and let rest on its back in the pot. Cook an additional 30 minutes or so, or until a thermometer placed in the breast meat measures 160 deg. 
  5. Remove the chicken to a platter to rest, and strain the liquid that's left in the pot into a smaller pan, if you like, or just add some flour and water you mixed together and use that to thicken the gravy. Taste at this point to see if you need to add some salt. If you want the gravy a little browner, add some Kitchen Bouquet or other gravy enhancer. Slice the meat from the breast and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. We also had some lovely asparagus with our meal.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Continue Reading
No comments
Share:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cooking demo, Shrimp Etouffee and Beignets

I attended the monthly cooking demo at the Crooked River Grill this past Wednesday, it's held every month and every month we get to see and taste new foods, well the Shrimp Etouffee was new to me.   I'd always wanted to try it, and finally got a chance to.   The guest chef was Ivanhoe and her husband Cliff and in the spirit of Mardi Gras they made some New Orleans style food.    Ivanhoe stressed the fact that making the Roux was the hardest part of putting together the Etouffee.   You need to stir and stir and stir and stir the roux mixture in the pan until it turns a lovely chocolate color.   If you don't keep stirring, you can burn it very easily.   I know, the last time I made Gumbo I had to start the Roux over again.  I just didn't admit it that day. 

We had some lovely Potato Corn Chowder and Salad to start with,
Potato Corn Chowder with crab

then we were served with the Shrimp Etouffee,
Shrimp Etouffee

and for afters, Beignets.  Click on the link, this is the recipe that Ivanhoe used.   And they were tasty.  
Frying the Beignets

Ivanhoe busy with the Beignets

Did you know you can powder a bunch of Beignets by dumping some powdered sugar in brown paper sack, then placing the Beignets in there and shaking the whole thing up?
After the Powdered Sugar dunking

Throw the Beignets in,

And shake them up. 

 I've breaded fish and chicken doing this but have to admit to never doing some thing like Beignets.  

Here's Ivanhoe's recipe for the Shrimp Etouffee, and pardon me Ivanhoe, but I added a few details to clarify the recipe instructions.

Shrimp Etouffee recipe

2 lbs. Crawfish tails or Shrimp
1/2- 1 stick butter (1/4 lb.)
1/4 cup Olive Oil (she uses light)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
Tony's Chachere Famous Creole Seasoning
Paprika
1/2 cup flour
4-5 cans Chicken Broth
Kitchen Bouquet (vegetable seasoning and coloring)

Make a roux with 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 cup flour and stir, stir, stir over medium low heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan until it is a nice deep brown and gives off a nutty aroma.   To the roux add the chopped onions, garlic, celery and green pepper.   Cook an additional 5 minutes or so and then add the chicken broth, whisking well to incorporate the liquid.   This will thicken quite nicely.   Add liquid until it gets to the consistency you prefer.   Meanwhile, take the crawfish or shrimp and put in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkled liberally with the Tony's seasoning and then put 2 tablespoons of butter on top and microwave on high 3-5 minutes.   Take out of microwave and add to the pot.  Stir well, let it simmer 10 minutes, then sprinkle a couple dustings of paprika on top.   Mix well and simmer 10 more minutes.   Taste and add Tony's seasoning and salt to taste.  (I might add here, if you use salted chicken broth, you might not need additional salt).  If it's too thick, add a little more liquid, if too thin, whisk in some flour and water.
Serve over rice with some Fresh French Bread.
Serves 8-10 people.
All in all, a good time was had by most.  

Continue Reading
No comments
Share:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Senior Center Lunch for past two weeks

I've posted before about the fact I get to go and cook once a week at the Seniors center here in my small town.   I've been doing it since the beginning of the year and am having a blast with it. 
There are three of us who are co-cooks.  Well, we all cook and basically take turns cooking.  Sarge is the senior cook here, and has been doing the lunches for a few years.  Actually,  Sarge has been cooking since the 50's and he's still going strong.  He was an army cook, and then worked in the commercial field for many years being responsible for as much as 4000 meals at a time.  I can't even begin to comprehend cooking for that many people.   A hundred or so is doable but more than that, well, all I can say is, I'm so glad he knows how to figure out how much to make at any given point in time.  As an example, today he made 15 pounds of turnip greens, and a case of yellow squash for the lunch.   We cooked up Meatloaf, Pork Pot Pie, garlic toast, mashed potatoes and gravy and a green salad as well as cornbread.  And that doesn't even count the desserts that a very generous bunch of ladies makes and brings.   Or the totally awesome bread pudding Sarge makes.  They all blow me away.   
Meat Loaf ready to serve
Yellow Squash

Turnip Greens

Pork Pot Pie
And it was all so good.   I know cause we taste it to make sure it is.   And judging from the way our guests ate, they all agreed. 

Last week we had Pork Roast, the leftovers became the Pork Pot Pie this week,  we also had a grilled Chicken Salad (using the leftover Grilled Chicken from the previous week), Chicken and Noodles, Green Beans, Peas and Carrots and Biscuits, as well as a green salad. 
The Menu 


Green Beans
Valentines Cake


Continue Reading
1 comment
Share:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shredded Beef for February Boat Club

I guess by now you realize I go to a lot of potlucks, giggle.   We have a standing date once a month with a local club and then there is our social life which tends to revolve around food, so I get to make something at least twice a month for potlucks.

Since it is February, and everyone has sweet stuff on their minds, I thought a nice, spicy dish would be a good counterpoint.   And last year there were a lot of sweets at the February Boat Club Potluck. 

One dish I love to make is Machaca, or Shredded Beef.   It's one of those dishes that comes together fast, cooks without any fussing around, and is usually pretty popular with everyone, but vegetarians.    Of course, you can make it vegetarian if you like, just add more beans.   In fact I would add a couple of different kinds of beans for variety, along with the kidney beans, I'd add some black beans and some pinto's.   Beans are good food.   At least I like them.  

Shredded Beef
All the vegetables, and of course the beans.
I usually make this in a crock pot, but have also cooked it on top of the stove and in the oven.   If you do make this in the oven, the flavor will be a little richer, but you don't lose anything by cooking it in the crock pot either.    Another wonderful aspect of this dish, it can be stretched very easily by the addition of a couple more cans of beans and a few more veggies.  And with the price of meat, that's a good thing.    Personally I like it when I've stretched it more than when I do the original recipe.    And it's fun to serve to people.   I have to say though,  when you dish it up and place it into a taco, you do need to add the Verde sauce to it, it adds another layer of flavour which I think this needs.   You use the Verde sauce as a condiment, adding it to the meat while cooking, doesn't do a thing.  I know, I tried it once, and it wasn't very good at all.  And I think you should learn from my mistakes.   Not that I make all that many, but...

To start with, and this is so sinfully easy I'm embarrassed to tell you how simple it is, get your pot out, whether it be a crockpot, or a pot on top of the stove or a large casserole dish.

Shredded Beef
A big old chunk of meat

Shredded Beef
The meat is in there, hiding, really.

 Place your meat in there, add a couple cans of Kidney beans, a chopped onion, a chopped green pepper, one can of tomato sauce, (I like El Pato Mexican tomato sauce), one can of chopped green chiles, 2 tablespoons of chile powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 whole tomato chopped.  Stick the lid on and let it cook.   If you've got this in a crock pot, don't even lift the lid for 5 or 6  hours.   When the meat is fork tender,
Shredded Beef
At this point it really tastes good, I had to taste, quality control and all that.

pull the meat out and shred it with a couple of forks, add it back into the saucy goodness of the pot and let it cook another hour or so.
Shredded Beef

  It will be saucy.   If doing this on the stove or in the oven, let it cook for a couple of hours, then check for tenderness.  As soon as it's fork tender, pull it out and shred.   Add back into the pot and let it cook for a little while more.
Shredded Beef
Made one up before we headed over, final product had to pass inspection, of my mouth that is.

Serve with flour tortillas, Verde sauce and some cheese.   And don't be surprised when people lick their plates.   It has been known to happen.  But they usually turn away or hide in the corner when they do it.    



Recipe:  Shredded Beef     Serves 6-8 People

3-4 lb. chuck roast, not too fatty
4 cans Kidney beans, (I like a combination of Dark red kidney beans and the light red beans)Drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1 can El Pato Mexican Tomato Sauce (8 oz) or
1  can Tomato sauce (8 oz.) 
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles or more
1 tomato, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin (more to taste if needed)
2-4 tablespoons Chile powder
Serve with: 
Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheese
Green Taco Sauce

Dump it all in the crockpot and set for low and let simmer for 6 hours, minimum.   If cooking on top of the stove, cover and let simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.   Same directions for the oven, set the temp at about 350 degrees.
When the meat is tender, remove from the sauce and shred, then add it back into the pot and let it simmer or cook for another 1-2 hours.  I like to finish it off on top of the stove, just to reduce the sauciness a little.  Serve with flour tortillas, green taco sauce and shredded cheese.

And here's the rest of the dishes that were brought last night.   And I have to apologize I didn't get a shot of the roasted tomatillo salsa.   Every time I got close to it, people were eating it, and of course I had to taste it as well, it was good.
Baked Ziti

Hot and Sour Soup

7 Layer Dip

Green Salad

Brownies

Smoked Chicken

Veggie Plate

Meatballs


And there you have it, another successful night at the Boat Club.   As usual everything was excellent, and I ate too much, sigh.  Oh well.  I will survive.
Hope everyone has a great Valentines Day. 

Continue Reading
No comments
Share: