Sunday, August 23, 2009

Whip It Up: Week 8: Make your own take out

Here we are in the final week of Whip It Up. The theme calls for take away made at home. Originally I was thinking to finally tackle making my own pizza, dough and all. But that requires things like time and planning. Neither of which have been a real strong suite of late.

Plus, it's been hot as hell. This means any energy I might have had has been sucked out. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I wouldn't want summer to think I'm already tired of it and up and disappear. It's just that heat and humidity do little to make one crave time in the kitchen.

I found the perfect recipe when over the weekend I was flipping through last month's Bon Appetit that was sitting on the coffee table. They had an entire collection of recipes to create a week of no cook meals. I found myself immediately craving the Chinese Egg Noodles with Smoked Duck and Snow Peas. As the week went on and it became obvious that pizza just wasn't going to happen, I knew what my take out would be.

Chinese Egg Noodles with Smoked Turkey and Snow Peas
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar

3 1/2 oz snow peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 7 oz packages fresh egg linguine
2 lbs smoked turkey wings, cut into matchstick size pieces
(next time, I'm using drum sticks, way less bones to navigate around)
1 -2 tbs fresh cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

Whisk together all ingredients in the dressing. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the rest of the dish.

Bring water enough for pasta and some extra to boil in a large pot. Place snow peas and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour some of the boiling water over the snow peas and pepper. Let stand for 30 seconds, drain well, rinse and drain again. While water is still boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions , about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.

Combine all remaining ingredients, pasta, snow peas, peppers and sauce in a bowl. Divide and serve.

Was it easy?
Totally easy. The hardest part was getting the turkey off the bones. I really only have myself to blame.

Was it good?
So good! It was the perfect light, refreshing, but still filling meal that I wanted. It also made for some fantastic lunches - 6 servings all told. To make it a real meal, we ate it with sliced silken tofu, drizzled with soy sauce, chili paste and green onion.

Will you make it again?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Whip It Up: Week 7: Favorite Chef

For now, it seems these posts are getting worse and worse. However, tonight, I promise you a recipe! Instructions! Comments! and Pictures!!1! In the mean time, I found a recipe for Franklin Cafe's signature Turkey Meatloaf with Chive Mashed Potatoes and Fig Gravy. (I promise to even include the measurements for, oh, say, 1 lb of ground turkey, instead of, you know, 30 lbs)

I was away all last week so intended to make it for dinner Saturday or Sunday evening. But Saturday was a beach day followed by picking up our newest roommate, Bailey, getting her acclimated and stoop night with the new neighbors. Sunday brought key cutting, gift purchasing and shower attending followed by grocery shopping. We we stuffed and it was late. So the dish was made last night. But will not be consumed until lunch today.

It all smelled super wonderful. Bailey kept coming over to sniff for anything that might have made it to the floor. There weren't any figs in the grocery, so I made a plum gravy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Whip It Up: Week 6: Appetizers

This post will have no pictures and be very brief. I'm at the beach - be happy I'm on the computer at all.

Not wanting to spend much time in the kitchen, not wanting to turn on the oven and in a flurry of unpacking, I kept this week's choice exceptionally simple. Don't worry, I was sure to not skimp on the scrumptious factor.

This is, apparently, the Best Tzatziki Sauce Ever. Well, maybe I added the ever, but that would be my guess. I'm so lazy, I'm not even going to post up the recipe itself. But, what you want to know is...

Was it good?
Yes. I may never buy store bought again.

Was it easy to make?
Again, yes. Simple, straight forward directions. It's hard to mess up, even for me. Admittedly, it would have been easier had I had a food processor.

Will you make it again?

I most certainly will. I can't vow off the store bought stuff and not replace it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mighty Comfortable

So remember that blog, Thursday Night Smackdown, I mentioned finding back in July? Or posted a submission for 5 days ago?? Well, typically on Thursdays she posts a new dish she's never made. Pushing the boundaries of the kitchen and discovering flavors, techniques and general kitchen adventures. As with what will happen to the best of us, she just didn't have it in her this week. I must admit, I know the feeling.

So instead of dazzling us with her julienne skills or presenting something so mouthwatering I could hardly stand it, she presented a contest. Submit your most comfortable comfort food.

I love comfort food. It's almost entirely the only thing I cook. And I love winning. And I'm really indecisive. Which is where the conundrum comes in. What to submit?? We're really only supposed to offer one. (Unless you link in your blog, which I did. We'll see if I want to cheat.) To muddy the waters up even more, I can submit something from someone else's blog!

So Help!!!

What should I make?

Things already posted on the blog that I think could work include:
Challah French Toast
Roast Chicken
Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese (though she did say there's only so much mac and cheese she can eat)
Name TBD (suggestions?) Chicken with Crispy Chicken Skins

Things I make not on the blog (yet):
Aunt Eve's Beef Brisket
Pumpkin Curry Soup (this I even have pictures of)
Tuna Melts w/ sweet potato fries (I also have pictures of this)
Matzoh Ball Soup
Chicken Rice and Veggies Soup
Pasta and Meat Sauce
Stuffed Cabbage
Greek Penne Pasta

Things that I have made but aren't mine:
Cinnamon Buns
Chicken with a-crap-ton of Garlic

...I just realized I needed to stop. Okay. Suggestion time! (Last time I did this, nobody offered advice.That makes me a sad panda.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hobo Tuesday (that's actually a Monday)

Tuesday is kickball night in the summer, and there is no way I'm going to be able to make anything when I get home from a double header tomorrow night. I'm going to be much more interested in beers and relaxation.

And with that, I decided to create my hobo submission this evening. I hope that Michelle and the other hobos can forgive me. Especially if I mention that on top of moving, there has been a bit of neck shitting in my neck of the woods lately.

To note, Whip It Up's spicy challenge fell on the same week as August's Hobo Challenge, the theme of which is also spicy food.

So I'm really not sure what to call this.

8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, skins removed and reserved
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbs chipotle chili pepper
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
sprinkle of basil
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in pan. When glossy, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1/2 can worth of water and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 40 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and remove chicken from pot. In a large bowl, shred the chicken away from the bones. Reserve bones for stock to be made in the future.

Return the shredded chicken to the tomato and spice mixture, bring heat back up to a simmer. Add the peppers, salt, pepper and add spices to taste. I ended up adding a decent amount more of all the spices - mostly because I've really been enjoying hot food lately. Serve when the peppers are cooked through, but still crisp.

Serve over brown rice.

And remember those chicken skins? Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and the spices of your heart's desire. Lay flat on a baking sheet, place in an oven heated to 400 degrees until desired doneness. I like mine nice and crispy - I think it took about 20 minutes.

So good.

The cost breakdown:
3.81 lbs chicken thighs - $3.77 (on sale)
crushed tomatoes - $1.00
green pepper - $0.78
red pepper - $1.80
farm share onion - $0.50 (again, I don't really know what it's worth)
all the rest - pantry staples.

Total: $7.85
Servings: 5
Cost per serving: $1.57
A serving included...the spicy chicken stuff, brown rice and crispy chicken skin

Whip It Up: Week 5: Spicy!!

So. A few apologies first.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. They're locked away in my camera until I can find the associated cord. Silly me didn't have my memory card in the camera whilst taking them and I was hoping to find the cord while packing. This didn't happen.

The second apology is for missing the deadline. All that packing I was doing was so that I could move. This past weekend. I was smart enough to have the foresight to make this dish on Monday this past week, but that's where my non-moving-dedicated energy stopped. Do I still get credit? I hope so!

In terms of this week's theme, I really like spicy food. These days, the spicier the better. When I was little, I didn't much care for spicy food at all. But the past few years I've enjoyed it. The past few months, I crave it from time to time. I've also recently been introduced to the jalapeno popper. The kind they have at pizza places with the dubious yellow "cheese" doesn't even come close to the creamy-amazingness of the cream cheese kind that they served at a local establishment. Yes. Served. When I found out this particular app was being taken off the menu, I knew I would need to figure out an alternative.

So a few months ago, I set about looking for a baked (because I don't much care for frying at home, but more because I wanted it to be a healthier option) jalapeno popper with cream cheese recipe. As a part of my search, I found, made and fell in love with this recipe. Yes, I know. It's Emeril. But you know that I didn't buy his Essence. I mixed my own.

And one night, not long before Whip It Up, while making these poppers, I had a thought. Why not take the greatness that are these jalapeno poppers and combine them with another of the greatest recipes of all time. And that's when the idea for this week's submission was conceived.

The day I made this, I wanted to look online and see if this was a truly original idea, or if it'd been tried before. This was the first link I found (and the only real recipe I saw in the small amount of time I spent looking). I almost didn't make it because she had made it. But then I remembered how I was thinking of making it, and it sounded a thousand times better than her recipe. I'm glad I didn't back out.

Jalapeno Popper Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb pasta (I used medium shells)

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 10 3/4 oz can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
3/4 soup can 1% milk
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1 tbs cumin
6 jalapeno popper, seeds and ribs removed. cut in half the long way then sliced
1 28 oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes
3 oz shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

Bread Crumb Topping
1/2 c plain bread crumbs
2 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried leaf oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling, add pasta and cook until a minute or two under al dente. The medium shells took 10 minutes. Drain the pasta well, and rinse immediately with cold water to stop from cooking any further.

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients of the bread crumb topping and set aside.

Meanwhile, blend together cream cheese, and cheese soup. When combined, add the milk and spices. In a 9x13 casserole dish, combine the cheese mixture and pasta. Next, add the tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese. When well combined and distributed evenly in the dish, sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.

Place in the oven and back for 45-55 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and topping brown and crispy. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!


Was it good?
Oh my goodness yes. I was somehow able to restrain myself from eating the entire dish in one sitting. It made it all the way to three meals, or six servings.

Was the recipe easy to follow?
I was sort of making it up as I went along - but this is a merge of my grandmother's baked macaroni and cheese, which is fantastic and easy and those poppers, which is the same.

Will I make it again?
You bet your butt I will. And if you're lucky, maybe I'll share.