Sunday, February 28, 2010

Comfort Food














Macaroni and Cheese 
Ingredients
4 cups Dried Macaroni
¼ cups (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2-½ cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
1 whole Egg Beaten
1 pound Cheese, Grated
½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper

Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme
Instructions
Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.


MY COMMENTS:
So, I'm glad I decided to make this while watching the USA vs. Canada Hockey game.  I need some comforting.  I found this recipe as the game started and I was scrolling through food blogs.  This one caught my attention and in no time I was able to whip it up just around the time that the game went into overtime and then the USA lost :(  Homemade Macaroni & Cheese makes it all better.  Kudos to "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" blog where I found this recipe.  She's very detailed and has lots of pictures which helps me a lot since I'm a visual learner.  Check her out at:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/
Don and I enjoyed this dish so much we had to go for seconds and there's still plenty left.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pozole - Muy sabrozo

Felicita's Posole

Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

Ingredients:
•2 heads garlic
•Extra-virgin olive oil
•3 whole ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
•4 pounds pork shoulder blade roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
•2 pounds pork back ribs, cut into 2-rib portions
•Gray salt
•Freshly ground black pepper
•4 quarts posole or canned white hominy, drained
•1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

Garnishes:
•2 onions, peeled and chopped
•2 avocados, cut into chunks
•2 lemons, cut into wedges
•2 bunches radishes, washed and quartered
•1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
•Dried Mexican oregano
•Tortilla chips or tostadas

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the garlic onto a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with a little olive oil. Close up the foil and roast until the garlic is soft, about 45 minutes.



In a large skillet, heat a thin film of oil over moderate heat. Add the chiles and brown on all sides. Remove the chiles and set the skillet aside.






Generously season the meat with salt and pepper. Reheat the same skillet over medium heat and cook the meat until well browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Do this in batches to avoid crowding the pan, adding additional oil as needed. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off the excess fat from the pan. Deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup water, scraping the browned bits off the bottom.

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a simmer and add the liquid from the skillet. Add the garlic, chiles, posole, oregano, and pepper to taste. Simmer 1 hour.
Add the browned meat. Simmer gently, partially covered, about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.   Serve the posole in soup bowls with the garnishes in individual bowls on the side.


Partakers:  Don and I
There's nothing that warms my heart more on a cold winter day like a savory soup or stew especially when it takes me "back home" like Pozole (Hominy Stew). The Ancho chiles mixed with the Roasted Garlic and browned Pork meat are a perfect combination of flavors that every spoonful is a delectable fill for my palate and my tummy. My hubby wasn't to nuts about it but then he's still trying to get used to my Mexican flavored stews and something tells me he'll eventually take a liking to them.  This is my first time cooking with Ancho chiles and I was very nervous in putting the whole piece of chile in the stew.  I usually have to grind them in the blender and then strain them.  I was nervous that I was going to be spittin' the skins out of my mouth with each spoonful but that wasn't the case and it turned out alot better than I thought.  Thanks to Mrs. Maria Roman, I learned to make Pozole.  She made it for me when she came to my house one time and I just fell in love with it.  Pozole is very similar to Menudo, it has the same exact base stock only Menudo contains Beef Tripe and Pozole has Pork meat. I love roasting garlic heads.  They carmelize after roasting and are so slippery when they come out of the oven that I like squeezing them out of their pods.  They slide out so easily and smell sooooo good.  I didn't make or have any of the garnishes that the recipe asked for.  If anything, I would have the tortilla chips and be happy with that but today, we had slices of a Sesame seed bread I bought from Panera yesterday and they went perfect together.  So, since Don wasn't too nuts about my Pozole, looks like I'll have plenty of leftovers and will be taking some to work this next week.  Leftovers always taste better any ways the 2nd . . . . 3rd. . . . 4th time around.  ~isavortheweekend 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

iSavored the Weekend a Different Way

My weekend did not turn out the way I had planned, does that ever happen to you?  It started out unbeknownst to me during the day on Friday.  Then out of the blue I get a text message from my daughter suggesting I pick up some pizza on my way home.  That was my first clue!  I had planned all along to cook dinner that night but when Elise suggested I pick up some pizza, she said it was because it would be a while before I could get into my kitchen ~ that meant only one thing.  My new refrigerator had arrived!!  YAY!!!  I was elated!!!  My hubby was going to surprise me with my new refrigerator set into place, ready to go and with the old one hauled away never to be seen again.  Here's where my other surprise comes in.  I walked into my house, I put the pizza down on the table and yes, there stood my brand new, platinum, energy saving refrigerator with the double french doors and the freezer on the bottom.  BUT, what was my old refrigerator still doing in my kitchen?  Why was the door frame into my kitchen cracked and torn off, why was my new kitchen floor tile crack??  All these questions running through my head.  One part of me was happily thrilled and the other part of me was in anguish. To me, I felt like my kitchen was in turmoil.  There's one thing I despise the most in life is to have my kitchen in such a frightful mess. No women in her right mind can stand a messy kitchen, much less one in turmoil.  How can I ever enjoy my new refrigerator?  How will I ever be able to whip up a delicious meal this weekend??  Well, on Saturday morning I threw some browned beef stew meat with the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot and didnt' touch it again until later that day when it was time to eat.  Best thing to do when ones kitchen is in turmoil is throw something in the crockpot and not have to worry about it.  I then decided to clean out the old refrigerator, take pictures of it so that we could post it up for sale on Craig's List to get it sold soon so that I could be on my way to getting my kitchen back into "one" piece.  We had also planned to go to the double-header (Women and Men's BBall games) at Liberty so I had to be done with the refrigerator, dressed, eat an early dinner and be ready to leave by 3:30p.  What a great night for the Flames though, both teams played hard, both games were nail biters and both teams won.  We probably didn't get home until 9:30pmish.  I was so dead beat by the time we got home so as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out!  After church today I finished cleaning the freezer of the old refrigerator, finally took pictures of it and put it up for sale on Craig's List.  Soon after I started a  batch of my Buttermilk White Chocolate Scones (see the recipe in January) as it's my turn to bring treats to our ladies Bible study Tuesday night.  It was around 4:30 and after watching "Lover Come Back" with Doris Day and Rock Hudson while baking scones, I was finally able to settle down in the living room and relax watching "Sound of Music".  A while later, my sister (who just moved to Michigan from Texas) and I chatted via "webcam" for about a 1/2 hour, which was a delight!  So what a weekend!!  I didn't cook like I had planned nevertheless, I am blessed as our renovated kitchen is on it's way to being complete (a project we started last May)  I will worry about the door frame needing to be repaired and my floor tile needing to be replaced later ~ things could have been worse.  P.S., we got a call on the refrigerator and it looks like we'll be selling it tomorrow morning!! YAY!!  ~isavoredtheweekend  ~ oh by the way, here's my new refrigerator ~ isn't she a beaut???  You can here angels sing when you open the french doors!!!! :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thai Chicken

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce (or water)
1 1/2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin strips
1 cup broccoli flowerettes
1 cup dry jasmine rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 small onion or shallot
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 cup unsalted cashew nuts

1.  In a resealable plastic bag or a medium size bowl, mix the soy sauce, fish sauce, hot pepper sauce, garlic and ginger.  Place the chicken in the bag, seal and marinate at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
2.  In a medium saucepan, bring the jasmine rice and 2 cups water to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
3.  Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved.  Stir in the onion and cook about 5 minutes, until tender. Reserving the marinade mixture, place the chicken into the skillet and cook about 10 minutes until browned.
4.  Stir the reserved marinade and 3/4 cup water into the skillet and bring to a boil.  Continue to cook and stir 10 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.  Sprinkle the cornstarch and use a whisk to break it up in the sauce until it thickens.  Thoroughly blend in the peanut butter.  Serve over the jasmine rice and with a sprinkling of cashews.

PARTAKERS:  Don, Elise and myself
APPROVALS:  Good, good and good

This is by far my most favorite spicy Asian meal I can make.  Thanks to Lene Miller, she brought it to the office one day, it looked so good I begged for the recipe.  I couldn't wait to try it out, a little concerned that Don may think it was too spicy but lo and behold he liked it from the beginning.  I was so happy and was thrilled to have found a good and easy Thai recipe I could make without a hitch.  I've made it dozens of times since and have tweeked some of it to where I'm happy with the changes I've made.  First of all, away with the Fish Sauce, that stuff is horrid!!  It tastes very, very fishy (duh!) and very, very, VERY salty - plain horrible - so, I just use water instead.  The original recipe does not ask for any vegies which completely surprises me so I've gone on ahead and added broccoli to it.  Today I used a large shallot, about the same size of a small onion and must admit that the shallot is much more mild than an onion, which I will use from now on ~ the shallot it is.  I also added cornstarch to the recipe, just enough to thicken the sauce the way Don likes it.  At the point where I have to add the peanut butter that's where I have to take about a cups worth of the chicken mixture out and put it in another small pot just because Elise is allergic to the peanut butter.  When I first made this recipe, it happened to be the first time I had bought Jasmine rice.  I'd never really heard of it.  When I had first opened the bag of Jasmine rice . . . . WOW!!  What a lovely aroma!!!!  I felt like I was doing a "Febreze" commmercial.  I just kept smelling it and smelling it.  It just has an awesome aroma.  Anyway, I wouldn't serve any other kind of rice in this recipe.  Finally, I'm not crazy about cashews so I did not add any this time.  If I do have them, I will sprinkle them on Don's plate as he does love them.   Over all a lovely, delicious meal. 

No football this weekend.  It's a very sad time of the year just as bad as when Christmas is over.  I guess I (or we) am going through withdrawals but since I work in a college football office, Spring practice is just around the corner.  Watching the team practice with anticipation  is always exciting as we watch the promise of what the Fall season will bring.   ~isavortheweekend

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Party's Over . . . . .

Well, what a whirlwind of a weekend!  It started out by Friday being a "snowday" so instead of having a regular two-day weekend it ended up being a three-day weekend...hey, that's ok, I'll take it.  Elise took up the kitchen on Saturday ~ Superbowl Eve.  She made her Mardi-Gras King Cake and her Bruschetta bread ~ all from scratch.  When she got done, I went in and made yet ANOTHER Bavarian Raspberry Cream Pie for guess who? (See original pie entry in January 2010).   Around mid-night I had just gotten to bed and then decided to put the pork meat and sauce in the crockpot.  I'm sooooo glad I did, as it was so tender and delicious.  Everything we planned for we made so all in all in was a success.  I believe I looked forward to the game as much as I did the food.  Company arrived just before the game started and I couldn't get the food on the table fast enough.  What a thrill it was to see the Saints win like I wanted them to!!  Congratulations WHO DAT Nation!! :)  May the world now SEE your fight, your struggle, your hope and redemption. ~ I most definitely savored my three-day weekend :)  (I will post all the recipes for these dishes first chance I get).




Pork on a bun









The Big Easy Jambalaya


Paula Deen's Creamy Macaroni and Cheese


Bruschetta











Alton's Hot Wings








Mardi Gras King Cake


 The Crew
Trey, Chris, Selby
Elise and Amie


Drew Brees - MVP
Superbowl Champion XLIV

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super Bowl Menu

It was Elise's brilliant idea to make dishes representing both teams.  So here's the menu:

  • Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches made from scratch
  • The Big EasyJambalaya
  • Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
  • Spicy Drumettes with Bleu cheese dipping sauce
  • Bruschetta
  • Bean Layer Dip w/ Fritos
  • King Cake
  • Bavarian Cream Pie
  • Italian Soda
  • Coke
As far as who I want to win.  Well at first it was kinda hard to pick just because my team (Dallas Cowboys) didn't make it.  I've been a fan of Peyton Manning for several years now and one would think that I would pick the Colts to win BUT I'm always for the underdog.  My reason is, the Colts have already gone and won a super bowl and the Saints haven't.  This is Peyton's second time to the super bowl but it's Drew Brees' first time.  Everybody's picking for the Colts to win, if the Saints play the same way when they played the Vikings, the Colts won't have a chance.  So, my pick:  The Saints - WHO DAT?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is why I love Wednesdays

It's Elise's turn to cook on Wednesday's and this is what I came home to tonight!!  m-m-m-m-m-m!!!  the best!!!!


Chicken Parmesan

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
  • Pinch sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente

Directions

Coat a saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives and some hand-torn basil. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/2-inch thick. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, season with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.
Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. Bake the Chicken Parmesan for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with spaghetti.
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