Posts from — October 2012
October 31, 2012 2 Comments
If you go on Pinterest or you read any food or style magazines, then you already know that pumpkins are all the rage! But there is more to autumn than just the glorious pumpkin. Pears and apples shouldn’t be overlooked in fall decorating or cooking.
This quintessential autumn dessert proves that point perfectly.
October 30, 2012 1 Comment
I’m sorry it took so long for me to get this soup posted. It makes great use of the delicious broth that was produced by making John Ash’s fantastic Ginger Chicken.
As much as I love soup, and you know I do, the real payoff from making that chicken was John’s outstanding sandwiches.
Hopefully you’ll find time to make all three recipes. The white meat I have leftover (after making the sandwiches and this soup) will be used to make THESE enchiladas.
Three great meals from 2 chickens, now that’s a good deal!
October 29, 2012 2 Comments
I’m having a bit of a birthday hangover today… not from too much alcohol… rather from just Too Much!
Dave went way overboard when it came to gifts this year. The flower arrangement arrived on Friday. Aren’t they beautiful?
On Saturday morning, he and Connor left the house to “run some errands” which I knew meant they were off to wrap presents at Dave’s office.
I was busy making the soup, that I promise to post tomorrow, when they arrived home and made about a half dozen trips from the car to the breakfast table with stack upon stacks of wrapped boxes. It looked like Christmas, just without the tree! There were 22 gifts! What? That is crazy!
October 28, 2012 7 Comments
I had planned on putting up the soup recipe using THIS chicken stock today, but to be completely honest, I’m still working on it. So instead, I shall do what I have done that last three October 27ths of this blog…
October 27, 2012 4 Comments
This is the recipe for Chef John Ash’s favorite chicken sandwich. After you have it, you’ll understand why. It uses the poached chicken from yesterday’s post. I used about half of the shredded breast meat from that recipe. So basically the breast meat from one chicken to make 16 slider sandwiches.
I find the pretzel bread sliders at Costco. These things are addicting! If they ever stop carrying them…. I. Will. Be. Devastated. Honestly!
Chef Ash also suggests creating an elegant hors d’oeurves by omitting the buns altogether and serving the remaining sandwich components on crackers or toasted baguette slices. Brilliant!
Although the sandwiches come together quickly, you do need to make the caramelized onion jam ahead of time, plan accordingly. Chef Ash says that the jam is also fabulous with grilled lamb or on a toasted blue cheese sandwich. Just the thought of that makes my mouth water!
The jam also makes the perfect gift. It may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or may be canned using the water bath method. Go HERE (scroll down about 2/3 of the way and follow the directions under the headings “canned pickles” and “processing”) if you want to make a huge batch, can it, and bestow it as a gift it to your favorite people. Be sure to include a couple recipe cards for the poached chicken and this sandwich, your friends will love you forever. I Promise!
October 26, 2012 1 Comment
Have you used star anise in your cooking before? Not sure? If you’ve ever used Chinese 5-spice, then you’ve used star anise. And if you’ve ever sipped on Pernod, Galliano, or Sambucca, then you’ve tasted star anise.
I am going to tell you more about star anise than you may want to know – hang in there – there is an fantastic recipe using it that follows.
As you might have guessed, even before you saw the photo above, star anise is star-shaped. It is a dark brown pod that contains a small seed in each of its eight segments. Native to China, star anise comes from a small evergreen tree.
The Illicium parviflorum is a small, attractive evergreen tree that can be limbed to keep a small tree form or even used as a hedge. The foliage and stems have a delightful odor that reminds some people of root beer – with hints of licorice. The evergreen tree is native to China and Vietnam. Small white, pink, and purple flowers turn into the fruit (star shaped seed pods) which are harvested just before ripening and sun dried. It is a neat and clean tree that attracts birds. The tree is listed as hardy only to zone 8, needing moist but well-drained soil.
Hey, I live in zone 8B! That’s the same as zone 8 right? I learned all that online HERE, and once I read it, I ordered an Illicium parviflorum for my yard. I’ll update you when it arrives and is planted.
The flavor of star anise is slightly more bitter than that of regular anise seed. Asian cooks use star anise to give a licorice flavor to savory dishes, particularly those with pork and poultry. It’s available whole or ground and is an essential ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder.
It is also used to produce Pernod, Galliano, and Sambucca, and even plays a big part in production of Tamiflu.
The reason for the sudden extreme interest in star anise is the result of a succulent recipe from Chef John Ash. Chef Ash was the guest teacher at Les Gourmettes this past week and he made the absolute easiest and most wonderful poached chicken. We then used that chicken to make slider-sized sandwiches and a soup. I’m going to give you his recipe (slightly revised) for the poached chicken today. His sandwich recipe tomorrow, which is seriously to die for, just ask my neighborhood Bunco ladies who ate them up last night! Then, my own soup recipe using the chicken and the stock it produces. Lastly, one final recipe using the remaining chicken.
You are going to want to make this, so go get yourself a couple chickens! And while you’re at the store, here is what you’ll need for the not only the poached chicken but also for tomorrow’s sandwiches.
- Two young chickens (preferably organic)
- 1 package/bottle star anise (any spice aisle, but best price is at an Asian market)
- 2 bunches green onions
- 4 ounces fresh ginger root
- 1 package pretzel rolls (Costco has then!) or potato rolls (slider size)
- 1 bunch watercress
- 4 large onions
- golden raisins (optional)
- salt and pepper
- balsamic vinegar (preferably white, but regular is fine)
- olive oil and/or butter
October 25, 2012 1 Comment
At the July Sweet Salvage Occasional Sale, I bought one of those things you see on the roof of that building above. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why on earth would she buy a wind turbine?”
Or maybe you’re not asking yourself that. Not if you recall this photo I posted from when Dave, Marissa, and I went to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire in July 2011. Yes, it took me a year to find one and then another couple months to make it into my new Wind Turbine Hanging Light!
Before I show you mine, check out these three hanging as pendants in this business.
(check out the link for more cool lights made from a birdcage, baskets, Mason jars, mixing bowls, and more!)
And now for the reveal…
October 24, 2012 6 Comments
What a lovely sentiment about having a lovely day. Seems like a nice way to begin today’s post.
On to the matters at hand…
Aside from when we’ve been out of town and I haven’t had a kitchen to cook in, I am in the middle of the longest span of time that I have not cooked a meal.
Four of of the last 8 days we were dining out and the other 4 days, we were eating leftovers. Quite honestly, I have not felt like cooking. Yes, it happens to me too.
Boy, did we enjoy some amazing fried chicken! At the time we did not know which chicken was cooked by which chef.
It has since been revealed that the crunchy fried chicken on the far side of the plate with the “hot sides” of tomato gravy served with mashed potatoes, haricots vert, and a honey-butter biscuit, belonged to Noca.
On the near side is FnB’s crispy buttermilk-brined fried chicken with the “cold sides” of a pickled corn on the cob niblet, kale slaw, and a baking powder biscuit ladled with creamy giblet gravy.
Both were exceptional, and next to the fried chicken itself, the best thing on the plate was that honey-butter biscuit!
Here is how Dave, my dad, and I voted.
The three of us preferred the chicken with cold sides (FnB).
Connor, on the other hand, voted for the chicken with hot sides (Noca). The winner was posted on Facebook on Monday and later that day, the event was written about on the Chow Bella blog. Read all about it HERE.
Believe it or not, Noca won by 1 (ONE!) vote.
Curse you Connor, you made the difference in the end result. Solid proof that every vote counts!! This seems like the perfect opportunity to remind you to vote, two weeks from today, on Tuesday, November 6th!!!
OK, let me get back on topic … the drought…
October 23, 2012 1 Comment
Over the weekend Connor and I drove up to Chino Valley, just outside of Prescott, with the sole purpose of buying gorgeous blue-green Jarrahdale pumpkins at Freeman Farms.
I’ve spotted Jarrahdales all over the web for the last couple of years but had not been able to find them for sale here in the Valley.
I had high hopes of finding some for sale in California a couple of weeks ago, but it was not to be.
After a Google search, I discovered that Freeman Farms grows them, but only sells them on weekends at their pumpkin festive on the farm.
So to the farm we went.
The Jarrahdale is a medium-sized, deeply ribbed heirloom pumpkin in a pleasing light blue color.
October 22, 2012 No Comments