Monday, May 18, 2020

Homemade Chicken Stock - Crock pot easy

It's Multi Cooker Monday.   We post on the third Monday of the month, and there is no theme.   Sue of Palatable Pastime started the group and it's been fun participating. 

We are a bunch of bloggers who celebrate their various different cooking methods using anything from crock pots, instant pots, air fryers, toaster ovens to sous vide. Anything thing goes, almost.  

Cause you don't always need to use that big old stove sitting in the middle of the kitchen to cook on or with, especially in the hot summer months. 

I don't have that many kitchen toys I play with, but one of the workhorses in my kitchen arsenal is my crock pot.
Home made Chicken Stock

I love how you can just dump stuff in there, turn it on and come back several hours later to a finished or almost finished meal.

I've made everything from soup to stew to dessert in mine.
But the one thing, I use it for most, is making homemade stock.  Whether it's chicken, turkey, vegetable, beef or even pork stock, it's almost a 'set it and forget it' appliance.

I keep the bones or carcass from any chickens I cook. It doesn't matter what kinds of bones are left, I'll throw them in the oven, and roast them up again, and then keep a big bag of bones in the freezer until I get enough for stock. I've even used the little wing tips from whole chicken wings, roasted them and used them for stock.  I'm not fussy at all.  And if you're a fan of rotisserie chickens, the carcass from that makes a great addition to the stock pot as well as being good eating.  I have to admit I buy them from time to time, cause I like them. 

The bones then go in the crock pot with some carrots, onions, lots of celery, the odd garlic clove or three, and some water.  I let them slow cook for several hours, then strain the stock.  I like to place it in the fridge overnight at this point, if there's too much fat on top, I can take it off, and then reduce it further on the stove top.  And it's fun to see how gelatinous it can get.  It wiggles and jiggles when you dump it into the pot. 
Home made Chicken Stock
You can freeze it at this point and it's wonderful but I like to reduce it, down to half, before freezing. It saves on valuable freezer space. 

After it has reduced, I'll then taste it and add salt and other spices.  If you add salt before reducing the stock, you also concentrate the salt.  And that can be nasty. 

I then freeze it in ice cube trays, and use those little cubes of deliciousness when I make gravy, or add them to the water when cooking rice.  I'll sometimes add a couple to a pan and slow cook chicken, or add them to a roasting chicken, just stuff a couple into the cavity, as the chicken roasts, they add moisture and flavor.  They can add so much flavor to so many dishes. (and yes, that is a Crown Royal impression on the cube.  I got the tray with a bottle of Crown a few years back, and use it for soup stock)

Home made Chicken Stock


Home made Chicken Stock


I have several sizes of silicone ice cube tray, the smallest holds just 2 tablespoons, the next size, holds 1/4 cup in each compartment,  and the largest is 1/3 cup in each compartment.   I usually just use the two largest sizes, but the smallest also comes in handy.  I've picked these up in various home goods stores, and love them.  It's easy to get the cubes out, they go through the dishwasher like a dream and I love having different amounts pre-measured and frozen. 


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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Almond Chicken

It's time for the Improv Cooking Challenge, hosted by Nichole of Cookaholic Wife.
This month we're tasked to make a dish with the combo of Meat and Nuts.

I don't always participate in the Improv Cooking Challenge, and I should.  I love trying to make up a recipe or find a recipe that fits within the parameters of the challenge, which consists of putting two disparate ingredients together.

 I looked at the ingredients and thought about making a meatloaf with walnuts, but honestly didn't feel the love so decided to shelve that idea.  I will make one in the future though, and tell you all about it, but not this month.

Then I looked at my menu plan for the week, and something clicked.  I'd written down Chicken as the protein but didn't have any notation beside it, and then the light-bulb exploded over my head and I suddenly got a craving for Almond Chicken, just like the Almond Chicken I used to get in Chinese restaurants, back in the dark ages. 
Almond Chicken
 
So I googled, and googled and googled and looked through my cookbooks, and couldn't find that elusive recipe.
Then I pulled an ace out of the hole and asked people on FB from my old home town to see if anyone there had the recipe or could remember that dish.
Almond Chicken
Turns out the restaurant I used to order it from, still makes it.  And some wonderful people gave me their versions of how to make it.
Then I twiddled with it a little more and I GOT THIS!!
Only one thing lacking, not enough chopped almonds on top.
 This is a very light tempura style batter you dip the chicken cutlets in.
Almost enough chopped almonds, almost.  I love using my mezzaluna for stuff like this.  I've had this one for over 40 years, and it's still going strong.
Chopped Almonds
 And the finished dish, with some ham fried rice and home made Sweet and Sour Sauce.  So good.
Almond Chicken



Almond Chicken

Yield: 2 servings
Author:
Prep time: 15 MCook time: 15 MTotal time: 30 M

Ingredients:

Batter and Chicken
  • 2 chicken  breasts cut into thin cutlets- 2-3 per breast
  • 1 Cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 ice cold cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds for topping
  • Lettuce for serving
Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Oil

Instructions:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into cutlets, place in marinade.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot or skillet that is deep enough that it will enable the chicken to be submerged as it fries. 
  3. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, water and baking powder until smooth. This makes a very light tempura batter. 
  4. Dredge the marinated chicken in some flour and then into the batter.  Place the batter dipped chicken into the hot oil and fry.  Turn over halfway through and finish frying,  This will only take a couple of minutes because the chicken has been cut thin.  Place onto either a paper towel or some coffee filters to drain.  Continue to fry the chicken until it's all done. 
  5. You can cut the fried cutlets up into chunks and serve on lettuce if desired or leave the cutlets whole.   Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and serve alongside some fried rice or a stir fry.  
Created using The Recipes Generator
Check out what the other bloggers have made!

Improv Cooking Challenge: May 2020

Ingredients: Meat and Nuts

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

It's time for this month's reveal for the Baking Bloggers group.   We're a group of bloggers who like to bake, OK, so that's pretty simplistic, but we do like to bake.  Each month we bake something to a theme and then publish it on the second Monday of the month, which is today.
This month our theme was to Bake something from Spain.
Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

For some reason lately I've been fixated on potatoes, so when I ran across this recipe from my Betty Crocker International Cookbook, I had to make it.    I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe so this would fit into the theme of baking, and so it might cross the line and become sorta frittata like.
But it is baked.
I gotta tell you this was so good.  Even the leftovers were good.
And I did eat that chive flower, and it was delicious.

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

 

Without further ado, here it is. 



Tortilla de Patatas - Spanish Potato Omelet

Yield: 1 serving
Author:
Prep time: 10 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 40 M
This is a great breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner. Not that hard to put together either. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon - cut into lardons or 1/2 inch size
  • 1 medium potato - firm fleshed kind - cut into 1/2 inch cubes and par-cooked
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Marjoram
  • Chives

Instructions:

  1. Saute the bacon til crisp, and remove from pan.  Reserve some of the bacon fat in the pan. Add the cubed par-cooked potatoes and onion and cook until the potato is nicely golden brown and tender, around 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper.   Add the bacon to the potato mixture and stir together.  Pour the eggs over the potatoes, cover and place in the oven at 375 deg. for about 15 minutes to finish baking. 
  3. Cut into wedges and serve sprinkled with some chopped chives.  Serve hot or at room temp.
If making this for more than one person, cook at least one potato per person.
This would also make great little appetizer, cut into pieces and served with some Creme Fraiche on top.    
Created using The Recipes Generator


Baking Bloggers

May 2020: Baking of Spain

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