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Posts from — September 2011

there’s bacon in that?!?

Remember my Maple-Bacon Cupcakes? They are SO good, that even skeptical Marissa fell for them. Well today we have another sweet item featuring bacon… toffee.  Trust me, it works. I’d heard of toffee with bacon before, but had yet to taste it. I’ve decided to give bacon peanut brittle a try. Trust me again, it’s good… I promise.

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September 20, 2011   5 Comments

black and white

OK, you know how I am constantly talking about cleaning out my freezers? It’s not like I don’t try, I do! But this time, it is really happening. I have been cooking only from the freezer for the past 2+ weeks. Now, when I say that, it doesn’t mean I’m not using any fresh food or that I’m not grocery shopping at all, for shame! That would be impossible for me, BUT it does mean that the main dishes, the big stuff, is coming from the freezer.  Examples you ask? Let see, the duck, rib eye steaks, puff pastry, more puff pastry, Kobe beef, ground turkey, shrimp… and today, this exotic chicken.

The chicken I’m talking about is a Silkie that I purchased frozen some time ago at an Asian market.  Here is was a 2007 New York Times article has to say about Silkies.

Pet a Silkie chicken and you understand how it got its name. The feathers are fine and flutter in wisps in the breeze.

… it’s a striking-looking bird that’s often raised for show. Breeders also like them because they will hatch other birds’ eggs.

 “They are such good moms,” said Frank R. Reese Jr., the founder of Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Lindsborg, Kan., who breeds Silkies for show. “They’ll sit on anything and hatch anything. They’ll hatch ducks, turkeys, chickens.”

…They have bluish-gray skin, pitch-black bones and dark beige flesh (they’re sometimes called black-skinned chickens). They’re a scrawny pound or two, plucked, and are usually sold with the head and feet attached (with five toes, not the usual four).

“It’s a scary-looking creature,” said Patricia Yeo, of Sapa in Chelsea. She said she has her staff describe it as a deeply flavored, lean, free-range chicken.

I agree, it is kinda scary-looking without its beautiful white feathers.  And just as described above, it comes packaged completely intact, with head and feet. That is one reason I was excited to try it, chicken feet make the richest and most gelatinous stock. And the flavor of the roasted chicken was wonderful, so much richer than your average  chicken. Before you see the pictures of the naked chicken below, you absolutely have to go to THIS LINK and check out a Silkie or two in the most gorgeous and mind-blowing chicken coop you’ll ever see. (BTW, I was directed to this blog by my absolute favorite blog of all blogs, Vignette Design, of course, everything wonderful can be found at Vignette Design!) I find this coop so inspiring that I am actually tempted to raise chickens again!

Wow, right? OK, back to the chicken at hand – I took a photo of the packaged naked bird from the Asian grocery all spread out, but I’m fearful that some of you might be seriously disturbed by the image…. so if you want to see the picture, leave a comment saying so, and I’ll send the image directly to you in an email. For the rest of you, do not fear, the forthcoming photos feature the chicken after I cut off the head and the really (and I mean REALLY) ugly five toed feet!

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September 19, 2011   6 Comments

child’s play

One of my favorite treats of all time, in the history of treats, in the entire world… Rice Krispies Treats! During pregnancy (always a good excuse!) I would eat and clean up the evidence of an entire 8×8-inch pan full before anyone even knew they had been made. This occurred while I was carrying Connor and while Marissa was at preschool. Pitiful, I know, but what the hormones want, the hormones deserve to get!

This upscale version hits a high note with the vanilla bean and the browning of the butter – pure genius! And no, I did not eat the whole pan this time… hey, if I did, I wouldn’t be able to post the recipe here – now would I?

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September 18, 2011   2 Comments

blue is bad, but I like it

I’ve been on a blue cheese kick recently. Maybe there is a nutrient in it that my body is short on.  Let’s see, it is a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus. No, that’s probably not the reason. It is also high in sodium and is very high in saturated fat… hmmm – that doesn’t sound good. This recipe redeems the blue cheese a little bit with its main ingredient, cauliflower. Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin C.  Leave off the bacon garnish and use vegetable broth, and you’ve got yourself a delicious good-evil, yin-yang, angel-devil vegetarian soup.

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September 17, 2011   No Comments

classic combo

Steak and blue cheese are a classic combination. I discovered a 4-pack of rib-eye steaks in the back of the freezer and although there are only the two of us, I grilled up all four steaks. I used the extra two to make this pasta dish a couple days later. Any leftover beef will do, just be sure to slice and cut it up directly from the refrigerator.  When the beef is cold, it is easiest to find and cut out the fat that is marbled throughout.

I purchased a wonderful 6-pack of organic pasta imported from Italy at Costco. In it, there are two packages of casarecce, two packages of penne, and two gemelli. I chose the gemelli for this dish because the other two styles are meant to hold lots of sauce. This dish has minimal sauce, so the gemelli works best  out of the three. If you want to use penne or maybe fusilli, I’d advise throwing in a can of undrained chopped tomatoes to make the pasta saucier.

A funny thing I noticed was that the pasta packages are 17.6-ounces in weight, instead of the usual 16-pounces. Since I generally run on about 2% brain capacity on any give day, I was thinking, “What’s up with that?”  It took me quite a while to notice that the other weight on the packages is 500 grams.  Finally, another 3% brain powder kicked in and I figured out that this was true Italian pasta, so of course it would be measured in grams and the ounce weight was just placed on there for us metric-challenged Americans. Grazie Garofalo Pasta, I need all the help I can get when it comes to math!  Oh… and it’s really good pasta too, so pick up a 6-pack the next time you’re in Costco.

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September 16, 2011   No Comments

crave

Watch out, these Asian-French-inspired fries are addicting! You can thank me, but please don’t blame me if you end up making them and then craving them again within hours of devouring the plateful! They were an amazing side to the duck I shared with you yesterday. (Un)fortunately, I was so busy taking photos of the duck that I forgot to take any of the potatoes while in progress… so I had to make them again today, darn it! If YOU make them, please leave a comment afterward and let me know how much you love them  what you think. (Oh, obviously the Chinese five-spice and Sriracha is what makes them Asian inspired… it’s the mayo -instead of ketchup- that makes them oh so Frenchy.) And, yes, the Sriracha mayo is just as delicious and versatile as the chipotle mayo… good on just about any and every thing!

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September 15, 2011   1 Comment

ducking the summer

For the first time in months, the high temperature has been under 100 degrees. The high 90’s may not seem like much a of reprieve to most people, but for those of us in the Valley of Sun, it’s a huge difference. It is most likely more of  a break mentally, but it makes us happy and gives us hope that fall is finally on its way!

So, duck is not traditionally thought of as a warm weather dish, but it was surprising refreshing, even on a 96 degree day. It was inspired by a recipe I’d seen by Tyler Florence, one of my favorite celebrity chefs.

I saved the water used for steaming the duck, poured it into a large glass measuring cup and chilled it. Then I removed the top layer of fat and used the water underneath to boil jasmine rice as an accompaniment for the duck. Finally, I seasoned the rice with salt and a few dashes of Chinese five-spice. 

Although this recipe takes about 2 hours to cook, the actual hands-on time is less than 10 to 15 minutes.

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September 14, 2011   No Comments

for Marissa

I’ve scrolled through all 1,577 of the comments left on this site and found that well over 30 of them are from my darling daughter, Marissa, saying something like this – “Send me some!”  “Save some for me.”  “Make that for me when I come home!”  and most recently, “I’ve decided I’m going to comment on every post of something I want, asking you to send it to me, until you actually do send me something.”  

What’s a mother to do? My girl used to live in Tucson, so it was easy to plan a quick trip and just drive down to stay overnight and cook for her and her darling roommates. But now she lives about 750 miles away in San Francisco.  And although I would love nothing more than to hop on a plane every few weeks and spend time in that gorgeous city with my gorgeous girl, that isn’t very practical or even possible.

So I’ve made muffins.  Muffins to freeze and ship to her.  Marissa, please share them with your new darling roommates and rest assured, they are made with enormous amounts of love. xoxo

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September 13, 2011   9 Comments

heavenly

Inspiration for this recipe came to me after enjoying a white chocolate and limoncello cupcake while visiting my daughter in San Francisco. Limoncello and white chocolate are a match made in heaven. You may use store-bought limoncello or make your own with THIS RECIPE.

I brought these sweeties to a neighborhood luncheon last week to test them out, and since they were a hit, I will be making them tomorrow, along with this puff pastry appetizer, on Channel 3-  Your Life A to Z.          I hope you can tune in at 10:00 AM Tuesday morning.

Oh, and please note, there are only six ingredients – seriously, these are “easy-breezy”!

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September 12, 2011   7 Comments

10 years

Today, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, let us take time to stop what we are doing and remember the innocent victims who died that day and the loving and still grieving families who were left behind.

Let us pray for, think of, and honor all of those who serve and protect our country. And let us stand united as a nation again as we did on September 11, 2001.

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September 11, 2011   No Comments