stevenpiziks: (Default)
I came across a reference to salt potatoes as being a really good treat.  I researched them and found they looked interesting, so I decided to try them out on Darwin and the boys.

Salt potatoes are basically new potatoes simmered in heavily-salted water.  Once the potatoes are done, you pour most of the water off and bring the remaining brine back to a boil, rolling the potatoes around in it all the while.  When the water is nearly gone, you take the pot off the heat and keep rolling until the water is gone and you're left with a salty crust that forms on the potatoes and makes them look wrinkly.  You eat them plain or dip them in butter or an herb sauce.

I served them with plain chicken and a fruit salad.

The boys were dubious.  What the heck were these things?  Even Darwin "Salty McSaltSalt" McClary, who once salted a slab of bacon, wasn't sure.  But once they tried them, all doubts melted.

You can't eat salt potatoes timidly.  The salt crust is very powerful, and you have to bite all the way through the potato to bring the mealy inside into contact with the outside salt.  But when you do . . . they are delicious.  And heavy.  Boy, are they heavy!  Two pounds of new potatoes--a weensy bag--was more than enough for two adults and two teens.

The recipe is a keeper, but it's a once-in-a-while treat, not a regular dish.


Jun. 14th, 2017 08:37 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
It's cherry season!  I love cherries and will eat them like popcorn when they come in.  So will Darwin.  But last week, I bought two pounds and told Darwin to keep his hands off!

"I'm making Cherries Jubilee," I told him.

I've always wanted to make Cherries Jubilee, and I decided to go whole hog.  I took down my ice cream maker and whipped up a batch of home made vanilla ice cream, though I found to my dismay I was nearly out of vanilla extract.  I used almond extract to make up the difference, and discovered that vanilla almond ice cream tastes fantastic!

While that was in the final stages of freezing, I pitted the cherries and put them in a frying pan with some sugar and lemon juice.  I cooked them down until the juices ran tart and scarlet, then hosed it carefully with rum.  With Darwin and the boys watching, I flicked a long lighter over the pan.  Blue flame fired upward.  I swirled it all around until the flames died down and spooned this over chilled bowls of vanilla almond ice cream.

Aran looked askance at the whole thing, but once he tried a taste, he said, "Wow!"  He kept saying "wow" all the time he was eating.  The tart, hot cherries mixed with the sweet, cold ice cream into a delicious dessert.

Oh, yeah!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
This past week, I made a menu that came out heavy on the meat.  We had ribs, ham, hamburgers, and chicken.  It wasn't on purpose--I just wasn't paying attention.

Maksim asked about some vegetarian dishes, and I said I can easily make some vegetarian dishes.  And Darwin said some salads as a supper main dish would be good.  (By "salad" he means "tossed salad," not "chicken salad.") 

I'm not an experienced salad maker, really, but now that spring has arrived, we'll have greens and other good stuff available.  A light supper of salad and bread and maybe a little cheese would be really good.

But I need good salad recipes.

So I'm throwing it open here.  I know you veggie people are lurking.  What are your favorite salad recipes?  Hit me up!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
I make a Ukrainian dish which is wildly popular in our little household. It's just sausage crumbled into a big pan and fried up with onions, garlic, chopped peppers, and a whole pot full of potatoes (boiled, drained, and cubed), spiced with salt and paprika. I call it Ukrainian stir fry, and it's everyone's favorite food, even Darwin. The latter is most surprising, since Darwin generally dislikes foods that are mixed together. This, however, he likes.

Thing is, it doesn't matter how much I make--it always gets eaten. I mean, ALL of it. I noticed this trend, and started experimenting. At first, I was putting in one large potato for each person at the table. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Then I tried one and a half potatoes per person. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Then I tried two potatoes per person. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Today, I used two potatoes per person again, except I forgot Darwin had a council meeting and wouldn't be home for dinner. Then Aran got home from work when I was halfway through dinner prep and announced he'd stopped at McDonald's for supper already, so he wasn't hungry.


stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Every so often I'll see a TV show or movie that mentions a food I've never heard of.  Since I'm Adventure Chef, I get intrigued and wonder how to make the food and what it tastes like.  Back in the Old Days, this would take considerable research.  I'd have to ask friends if any of them had made it, or go to the library and look up cookbooks from the culture.  It would take hours or even days.

Nowadays?  Easy!  The Internet is the biggest cookbook in the whole wide world.

Recently, for example, I heard a reference to tres leches cake (three-milk cake), an hispanic treat.  The name sounded interesting, and I wanted to see what it was about, so I just checked Google.  I found several recipes that ranged from overly simple ("take one box of yellow cake mix...") to foolishly complicated ("after the custard has cooled for at least three hours in the dry ice, slice all six cake layers in half with a silver-plated knife sharpened under a full moon...")

Basically, tres leches cake is made with three kinds of milk: regular mlk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk.  The first two milks go into the cake batter.  The third is used to make a pseudo custard that your pour over the baked cake, which soaks it up like a sponge to make everything rich and moist.  Whipped cream, technically a fourth milk, is used to frost it.  The great debate about tres leches cake is whether or not it's worth the effort to separate the eggs and beat them separately or not.

I grabbed a middle-of-the road recipe, complexity-wise, and went to work.  Yes, I separated the eggs.  I baked the cake in a square pan and then realized if I poured the soaking filling over it, the filling would overflow.  What to do, what to do?  I finally removed the cake from the pan, put it in a 9x12 pan, and poured the filling over it.  To ensure the filling wouldn't pudde in the vacant half of the pan, I set the pan on a tilt with a trivet and left the whole thing on the back porch for chilling.  Then I whipped some whipping cream and sugar and frosted it.

Whoo, it was good.  But rich!  A small piece is plenty!  Maksim and Aran loved it and ate it steadily for snacks until it had vanished.

All thanks to the biggest cookbook in the whole wide world!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
When Darwin and I ate at the Whitney, his soup course included a bean soup that we found absolutely delicious.  I tasted a few spoonfuls of it and decided I could reverse engineer it at home.  On Sunday, I did, and the results were delightful.  This was no small feat in a household where I'm the only one who much likes bean soup.

The soup is different in that it's pureed and creamed, which adds unexpected body and richness to the dish. It's suprisingly easy to make.


1 pound navy beans, washed
one ham bone, with meat still clinging
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken bouillon (low sodium so you can control the amount of salt)
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced, or 1 t garlic powder
1/2 t white pepper
salt to taste
1/2 c cream
freshly ground pepper

Put all ingredients into slow cooker and set to low for six to seven hours or high for about four hours, until beans are tender.  Remove ham bone and bay leaf.  Correct seasoning.

Soak beans overnight in stock, or eight hours.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to boiling on stove, reduce heat, and simmer for at least half an hour, until beans are fully tender and flavors are blended.  Remove ham bone and bay leaf.  Correct seasoning.

With a hand-held blending wand, puree soup, or puree it in a blender, food processor, or vegetable ricer until all beans are broken down.  (I prefer the wand method.)  Return to pot, if in blender, and reduce to low heat.  When soup is at a temperature that you can take a bite without needing to blow on it first, stir in the cream.  Correct seasoning.

The soup is ready to eat. However, to serve it original style, as it is at the Whitney, place a small piece of toasted, buttered brioche or other hearty bread in the bottom of a soup bowl or tureen.  Pour the soup around, but not over, the bread.  (It's all right if the soup ends up covering the bread.)  Give one, and only one, turn of the pepper mill over the bowl and serve.

If you don't go Whitney style, your instincts might tell you to make corn bread instead.  Although corn bread is the traditional complement with bean soup, the soup itself is extremely hearty, and you'll find that a hefty slice of cornbread would be overdoing it on all but the coldest of winter days.  I served a batch of home made blueberry muffins instead, and the slight sweetness of the light muffins perfectly set off salty, pureed soup.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
You're supposed to avoid sweets and simple carbs such as white flour when you're diabetic. And that bites.  There are workarounds, though.  I experimented with this recipe for cookies, and it came out pretty good:


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup Stevia white sugar substitute
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend (which is part brown sugar and part sugar substitute)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c white flour
1 3/4 c whole wheat or whole wheat white flour (for crispier cookies, reduce by 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sweeteners together until well blended (about two minutes).  Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and mix slowly into butter mixture until just blended.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes or until desired doneness.  Cool on rack.

That's the basic recipe.  To make them interesting, you add other stuff:


Add 2 cups extra dark chocolate chips or chunks (the 60% cacao chips have less sugar)
OPTIONAL: Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of kosher salt before baking

Add 1/2 cocoa before adding dry ingredients
Reduce whole wheat flour by 1/4 cup.
Add one package white chocolate chips after dry ingedients (this will increase sugar content)
OPTIONAL: Add 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries (this will also increase sugar content, but the tartness breaks up the sweetness and is delicious)

Reduce white flour to 3/4 cup
Reduce wheat flour to 1 cup
Add 3 cups uncooked rolled oats after dry ingredients
If desired, add 1 cup raisins (though this will increase sugar content)

Reduce white flour to 3/4 cup
Reduce wheat flour to 1 cup
Put 2 cups uncooked oats into food processor with blade attachment. Pulse until the consistency of coarse flour.  Add after dry ingredients.
Add 1 more cup uncooked oats (not processed)
Add one package white chocolate chips after dry ingedients (this will increase sugar content)

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
One of my favorite meals to make from leftovers comes about when I have a bit of beef or chicken.  I always keep a jar of stir fry sauce (sweet and sour, hoisin, terikyaki) on hand, and it's delicious to dice some of the meat and fry it up with some onions and a bit of the sauce.  Chop up a few vegetables (a chunk of pepper, a handful of peapods, or whatever else is on hand) and cook until just heated.  Eat with a carb (some bread, rice, or noodles).  Delicious!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I've been using my local store's on-line pickup shopping option to great effect lately.  I'm still liking it.  I've also discovered an interesting side-effect:

It's saving us money.

Our weekly grocery bill has consistenly gone down by about 15%.  It's because the system only lets me buy what's on the grocery list.  When I use this system, I'm not at the store to say, "Oh!  I should get this!" Or, "I forgot to put this on the list. I'll grab it."

It has noticeably reduced the grocery bill, probably an effect Kroger didn't want, but one I'm happy with, nonetheless.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I made two fruitcakes a while ago.  They used regular dried fruit, not the candied fruit, thank you.  (I like fruitcake, but I'm less fond of the fake-y fake version.)  But although I followed the recipe exactly, the cakes crumbled when they came out of the pans.  Not enough moistured?  I don't know.  They tasted fine, but you'd have to eat them with a spoon, and they spread crumbs everywhere when you tried.

I thought for a while, and hit on making cake balls instead.

I got some cream cheese frosting and whirled with the fruitcake in my food processor for a bit, then chilled the mass overnight to stiffen it.  Then I melted some white chocolate in the microwave and used a cookie scoop to form the fruitcake mixture into balls, which I dipped into the white chocolate and set on waxed paper.  They came out messy--I can't for the life of me figure out how people make perfectly smooth anything when they dip--but they hardened nicely out on the front porch.  The boys tried them with some coaxing, and then devoured them.  They lasted only a day.

Meanwhile, they won't touch regular fruitcake.  Ha!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Maksim has a chipped tooth from having his braces off, and we kept forgetting to call the dentist about getting it fixed.  Today, I finally called.  Our dentist keeps evening hours on Wednesdays.

"We have an opening at 6:20," the receptionist said.  "Our next available appointment isn't until Tuesday at 11:00."

It was 5:15.  I glanced at the beef tips I had been planning for supper.  The dentist is ten minutes away.  The beef tips had to be cooked today, or they'd go bad.

"Okay," I said.  "We'll be there."

I bolted itno the kitchen.  Could I pull this off?

My knife flashed through the vegetables, slicing peppers, mushrooms, and onions.  I set rice on the stove to boil and melted butter in two saute pans, then set oil to warm in a third.  When the butter was melted and bubbly, I dropped sliced peppers, onions, and pea pods into them to sizzle, along with a little soy sauce and red wine.  Into the other pan went the mushrooms with salt and lemon juice and red wine.

Once those were going, I set the tips to cooking in olive oil with salt and yet more wine.  I shouted for Aran to come up and set the table.  The clock was ticking above the hissing stove, and I shook pans while minutes passed.

When the steak was done, I poured off drippings and yanked together a small pan of onion gravy.  At 5:50, I rushed everything to the table: beef tips sauteed in red wine with mushrooms, sauteed vegetables, steamed rice, onion gravy.  Ha!  The master chef strkes again!

It was very good.

At 6:07, I abandoned Darwin to do the cleanup and zipped out the door with Maksim straight into a snowstorm.  (!)  We hadn't even known it was snowing!  It was serious stuff, too.

We toddled down the snowy street, carefully negotiating turns and curves, and made it to the dentist at exactly 6:20.  Whew!  Maksim's tooth was repaired in an hour.  American health care for the win!

On our way back, the sky miraculously cleared, revealing a full, rich moon hovering over the remaining clouds.  It was a hella busy evening!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Today was a Difficult Day.  Fridays are difficult anyway because I do the weekly grocery shopping on the way home from work (mostly to get it out of the way for the weekend). This time, because of the Difficult Day, I was tired and in a bad mood.

So I splurged on the Friday menu and cooked a lot.  It became a Four Burner Friday, with Oven.

Garden Salad
Garlic Hoisin Baked Salmon
Paprika Cod
Sauteed Shrimp
Steamed Crab Legs
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Braised Carrots
Cheese Plate

This required quite a lot of careful timing.  I had to figure out how to get everything done just as Darwin got home from work.  It wasn't out of any demands made by him, but merely that Darwin gets home from work late, and the rest of us are hungry, so we want to eat when he walks in through the door.  I cheat a little here and use the tracker on his cell phone (to see how close he is).  I set the salad and cheese to chilling in the fridge first, with the sweet potatoes boiling on the stove next, since they take longest to cook.  When Darwin was about twenty minutes away, both kinds of fish went into the oven and I set the carrots to simmering on the stove, then mashed the sweet potatoes and set them back on the stove.  Ten minutes out, I heated up the pan of olive oil for the shrimp and dropped the crab into bubbling salt water.  It was a four-burner job!

Darwin got home just as everything was finishing up.  Everything headed for the table and we had a tasty meal to defuse the Difficult Day.

And I should get a medal for the perfect timing.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Maksim regularly lobbies to eat at IHop because of their choocolate pancakes, which he likes to eat with strawberry syrup.  So I decided to see what I could do with this.

I bought strawberry syrup at the store at my weekly grocery run, and yesterday set out to make the pancakes.  I used my usual pancake recipe (no Bisquick), but added cocoa and extra sugar, then cut back a little on the flour.  The batter came out silky and glossy.  I asked Darwin if he might want to try a pancake when they were done, and he said he wouldn't.  Then I showed him the batter.

"I'll have four," he said.

The pancakes came out fluffy, soft, and rich.  Maksim devoured them.  Aran was iffy at first--he doesn't like food variants--but I had him try one, and he became an instant convert.  I'm limited on what kind of pancakes I can eat, but I made a half-sized one for myself with a little bit of the syrup so I could see what they were like.  Perfect!  Chocolatey with a bit of cocoa bite, smoothed out with strawberry syrup.

The recipe I mostly made up as I went, but here it kind of is:


2 eggs
1 cup lowfat milk (1% or 2%)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
3 T sugar
2 T baking powder
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa (you can use regular cocoa, but the pancakes won't taste as rich)
3 T vegetable oil

In the bottom of a pitcher, beat eggs with a wire whisk.  Add milk and first cup of flour.  Add other dry ingredients.  Whisk together until well blended.  Add last 1/2 cup of flour and oil.  Blend.  (You may need to adjust the flour up or down a little to get a good pouring consistency--add a bit more milk if the batter is too stiff.)  Pour pancake-sized portions onto heated non-stick griddle (or oiled regular griddle).  When they begin to bubble and the edges stiffen a little, turn with spatula.  Cook second side 1-2 minutes.  Serve hot with fresh fruit or syrup.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Everyone gets up in arms about artificial sweeteners. Whenever a new sweetener comes out, it comes under attack by the uber-granola crowd.  First it was saccharine.  Then aspartame.  Then sucralose. Then...

They cause cancer.  They cause diabetes.  They cause addiction to sweet foods.  They cause obesity.  They cause . . . they cause . . they cause . . .

Know what?  There isn't one shred of documented evidence for any of this.  Saccharine, for example, was indeed found to cause cancer in lab rats, but only when the rats were given nearly their own body weight in the stuff first.  But the headline SACCHARINE CAUSES CANCER got out, and suddenly everyone was screaming for it to be removed from foods.  Aspartame was used for decades and has absolutely no harmful side-effects whatsoever, as study after study after study has shown.  But thanks to the granola crunching crowd on the Internet, memes spread that it was somehow bad for you and the howling began.  Now the soda companies have removed it from their drinks and they're replaced it with Sucralose, which doesn't taste as good.

I really, really hate stupid people.

The only artificial sweetener Darwin can stomach in coffee or other mixed beverages is aspartame, largely because other sweeteners don't dissolve well. But it's getting harder to find thanks to the granola idiots.

And here's the thing: I'm breaking all kinds of granola idiot rules, to great effect.

DON'T USE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS IN BAKING, they howl.  Never, ever ever!

Yeah?  Bite my hairy long one.  Maybe you'll get a little protein out of it, granola ass-wipes.

A while ago, I bought a big bag of zero-calorie white "sugar" and zero-calorie brown "sugar."  The white is supposed to be used one-for-one as regular sugar, and the brown is twice as sweet, so you use half as much.

As an experiment, I made some chocolate chip cookies with it.  I followed the recipe pretty much as normal, but substituting artificial sweetener for sugar: 3/4 cups of white and about 1/3 cup of brown.  Because I was afraid of lost bulk, I added another 1/3 cup of white sugar.  I also wanted to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates from the flour.  The normal recipe I use calls for 2 3/4 cups of white flour.  I changed this to 1 1/2 cups of white flour and 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour and used 1 1/4 t. of baking soda instead of just 1 teaspoon to ensure a decent rise.  I also used dark chocolate chips, which have lower sugar than semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips.

The recipe:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup artificial white sugar
1/3 cup artificial brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 t vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
12 oz. (2 cups) dark chocolate chips or pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and all sweeteners together until well blended at medium speed, approximately three minutes.  Stir in eggs and vanilla.  Sift together dry ingredients and blend into butter mixture until just combined.  Mix in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, usually about 12 minutes.

They came out tasting delicious.  Darwin and the boys said they couldn't tell the difference between these and regular cookies.

Yesterday, I tried the same thing with banana bread, once again substituting artificial sweetener for the sugar and using half white and half whole wheat flour.  I got the same result--banana bread that was indistinguishable from regular bread, but something the diabetics in the house could eat without spiking their blood sugar.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Today, my ex-wife texted me to say she was at the store and they had Porterhouse steaks on mega-sale, but she couldn't cook them--her broiler doesn't work right and she has no grill.  Perhaps she could bring them over for a cookout . . . ?

Well, sure!

I popped out to the store and got some corn on the cob, broccoli, and the ingredients for cheese potato casserole.  I whipped up the latter and got it in the oven.  Kala arrived, and I finished prep on the other stuff, which included cubing a watermelon I already had.  When Darwin got home, Kala laid the enormous steaks on the smoking hot grill and grilled them to perfection just as the potatoes came out of the oven.  We all sat down to delicious steaks with cheese potatoes, buttery corn on the cob, fresh broccoli, and cool watermelon.  It was a summer delight!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I'm making Aran cook with me more.  He needs to learn how to do more than macaroni and cheese or micowaved burritos.  Today's menu was a barbecue chicken dinner--a complicated endeavor, but I made him forge ahead.

I had him peeling potatoes and showed him how to set them for boiling and mashing, then got him to chop broccoli for steaming.  We also did up some fruit salad.  The main thing here was knife skills.  He's learning to rock the knife instead of moving it up and down.

For barbecued chicken, the danger is always that the chicken will dry out on the girll before it's finished.  The secret is to not actually barbecue it.  Instead, poach the pieces in salted water for 12 minutes or so, until they're done.  Drain (reserve the broth for later use, if you've a mind), and then drop onto a hot grill with your favorite sauce for two minutes or so per side.  Remove and eat.  The chicken will come out tender and juicy and flavorful.  This is what we did.

It was a delicious meal!

Aran will need to make this and similar dishes several times to cement them in his head and hands, so cooking will have to be a daily thing with him.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I found a slew of recipes for chicken thighs on-line a while ago and saved them because Darwin and the boys all like chicken thighs quite a lot, but most recipes call for white meat.  Good thigh recipes are rare.

Anyway, today was a chilly day, a good one for working in the kitchen, and I decided to try this one Italian chicken recipe.  The short version is that you fried the chicken halfway, then used some of the fat to make a sauce with garlic, onions, thyme, red pepper, heavy cream, broth, paremsan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and a few other things.  Then you return the chicken to the pan and bake it to finish.  Sounded good to me.

I followed the recipe exactly, as I always do the first time.  When the chicken was on a plate, resting, and the sauce was done, I tried some.

The sauce was AWFUL!  Bitter, too spicy, bad mouth feel.  Absolutely wretched.  I went back through the recipe to see if I'd made a mistake.  Nope.  I'd done everything the recipe called for.  Oh, it was terrible!

Now I had a plateful of half-cooked chicken and a houseful of hungry people.  What the hell was I supposed to do?

I checked the fridge.  I'd bought a big box of mushrooms recently.  I grabbed the bottle of Marsala from the bottom shelf--lots in there.  Chicken Marsala it is!

I dumped the awful sauce down the drain, though I ran it through a strainer first to preserve the (extremely expensive) sun-dried tomatoes.  When I tasted one, I found they were quite delicious, at least.  Cool.  They'll be good on sandwiches or something.

I hurriedly chopped onions and garlic, sauteed them in olive oil and butter, and threw in the mushrooms.  When they were soft, I added the marsala and some flour, and then some chicken broth.  This I reduced until it was thick.  Meanwhile, I heated another pan and cooked the chicken the rest of the way through.  When the marsala sauce was thick and bubbly, I added the chicken to it and let it all simmer together for a few minutes.  There!

Rescued Chicken Marsala! It tasted much better.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Wherever, Michigan has a major Catholic population. This means that on Friday, when I do the grocery shopping, the store puts a lot of fish on sale--or they pretend to, anyway.  Quite often they raise the "real" price, then knock it down for a "sale" price.

However, the main thing is that the fish is usually fresh off the truck.  Lately, that means I've taken to making fish feasts on Friday.

Such feasts end up being a sort-off buffet.  See, Darwin only likes cod (which is, to me, a dull, bland fish).  Maksim dislikes any kind of fish but will happily devour shellfish.  I'm the only one who likes catfish (breaded and baked, please).  So I make a panoply of fish: cod fillets, spiced catfish with Panko breadcrumbs, stir-fried shrimp, crab legs.  Today, I also had some rolls in the freezer, so I popped them in the oven and added some applesauce for another side dish.  It's all delicious, and Maksim is becoming adept at freeing crab meat from the shell.

It all makes a tremendous mess in the kitchen, but worth it!  Ask Darwin, who had to clean up.  :)
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Yesterday, just for fun, Darwin and I visited the local butcher shop. 'Cause that's how we roll.  We nosed around a little, and I bought a leg of lamb.  I've never made lamb and have always wanted to try it.  How hard could it be?

A bit of research (Julia Child never fails) turned up the fact that roast lamb differs from roast beef in that you sear beef on the stove first, then roast it in the oven, but lamb is seared by broiling it in the oven, then roasted.  Rosemary and garlic are the preffered flavorings.

My mother also called.  She and her husband Gene were passing through my neighborhood on their way from a trip and they wanted to stop by.  Well, nice!  I checked the time they were going to be arriving, however, and realized it would run over lunch.  What to make . . . what to make . . .

I settled on chicken salad.

This morning I zipped out to the store for a few ingredients I was short on, then came back home to clean the kitchen and get started.

I parboiled the chicken, chopped it, and combined it with onions, cucumbers, mayonnaise, relish, and a little mustard.  Voila!  I also sliced up some strawberries and bananas, dusted them with a hint of sugar and cinnamon, and put the resulting salad in the fridge.  I bought some Doritos for something with a bit of spiciness and put them in a serving bowls.

When Mom and Gene arrived, we all sat down to chicken salad sandwiches on fresh, crusty bread with fruit salad and chips.  Girl Scout cookies made a perfect dessert.  And we talked quite a lot, of course.  :)

After they left, I had only a few minutes before I had to start supper.  I covered the lamb in olive oil, salted it, and broiled it to sear it nicely, then covered it with chopped rosemary and garlic so it could roast.  Next I chopped up redskin potatoes, sprinkled them with oil, salt, and herbs, and set them to roast under the lamb in the oven.  When the lamb and potatoes were nearly done, I glazed some baby carrots and sliced up some more bread.

The lamb--rare--came out perfectly!  Tender and juicy and flavorful.

It was a delightful kitchen day.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I still potter about in the kitchen.  Monday was seafood night: shrimp sauteed in Hoisin sauce, a steamed lobster tail (for Maksim), and baked cod with butter and lemon.

Tuesday was supposed to be pork chops in cherry sauce, but when I got to the store, I found the pork chops were more expensive than an entire pork loin.  Well, dang!  I took a loin home, sliced it half longwise, and cut it into pieces about four inches wide.  Perfect!

These I fried in a little oil with salt and pepper.  The pieces were still thick, so the cooking took a while, but that was all right.  When they were done, I removed the meat from the pan and added shallots, dried cherries, chicken broth, and red wine.  This I rendered down and thickened with a little starch and water.  When it was nice and bubbly, I put the pork back in and let it all simmer together.  It was delicious!

Later this week, I'm going to make a lasagna with home-made noodles.  I'm curious to see how this comes out.


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