Monday, May 30, 2011

In the Garden

I do NOT have a green thumb. Luckily my husband does. I've been bugging him to plant a garden for me for quite a while now. Finally this spring, he got around to it and prepared two raised beds. About three weeks ago he planted tomatoes, peppers, onions and cucumbers. Everything is growing nicely. Oh! We also have herbs in pots.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No-Knead Bread #2



I made a no-knead bread a few days ago, and I was so impressed I decided to give another try. I made some adjustments to the recipe and the family seemed to prefer it. I used bread flour instead of all purpose flour,  more yeast, more water and more salt.... the recipe follows:


3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. instant or regular active dry yeast
2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups tepid water

In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, then roughly shape into a ball. Grease a bowl place your dough into it and turn it to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit for another 3 hours.

Once the bread has rested for 2 1/2 hours, preheat the oven to 450°. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Flip the dough over into the pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until it’s nice and golden.

This loaf had more air in it. It was lighter, not as dense as the one I had baked previously.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's for Lunch? Homemade Chicken Tenders and Coleslaw


I've noticed I've been cooking a lot of chicken lately. Has anyone noticed how high the price of beef is these days? My weekly grocery bills have skyrocketed.  It seems I'm spending the same, but coming home with less. Anyway, this is very simple to make. With two chicken breasts you can make lunch for four.

2 chicken breasts
salt / pepper / onion powder / garlic powder
lime juice

all purpose flour
1 egg
seasoned bread crumbs

oil for frying


Place your chicken breast on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound with a mallet to flatten. Repeat with the second chicken breast. Cut into thick slices. Season with salt / pepper / onion powder / garlic powder and splash of lime juice. Refrigerate for one hour.

Using three bowls pour flour into one, beat an egg into another (add a little water), and pour bread crumbs into the third. Coat your chicken pieces in flour, pass them through the egg wash and give them a final coating with the bread crumbs.

Heat a skillet with about 3/4 inch of oil and drop your chicken pieces in one by one.  (Do not put too many in at once). Fry til golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.



I also made the coleslaw.... 1/4 head of cabbage chopped, 1 carrot grated and store-bought slaw dressing. Easy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pollo Al Vino • Chicken in Wine Sauce


It's been a long time since I've made chicken this way. I don't know what's taken me so long seeing as it is sooooo good!

1 whole chicken quartered
2-3 cups worth of chopped onion
1 green bell pepper chopped
5-6 cloves garlic pressed
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry sherry
2 carrots cut in chunks
2 small red potaotes cut in chunks
12 pimento stuffed olives
salt
pepper
paprika
olive oil

Season your chicken quarters with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat a large pot drizzled with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. On medium heat saute the onions, green peppers and garlic. Add the chicken pieces ( I removed the skin from the chicken breasts) and let them brown a bit about 5 minutes on each side. (You may have to add more olive oil if they start to stick to the pot).  Add the sherry, bay leaf and carrots. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add your potatoes and adjust seasoning. Cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Serve on a bed of white rice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No-Knead Bread


I was reading one of may favorite blogs, From Croatia.... To The States, and I saw the link to make this bread. I've never really had much success at making bread, but this seemed so simple that I had to try it. I'm going to copy the recipe from the original link.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting (you may whole wheat)
1/4 tsp. instant or regular active dry yeast (note: it's 1/4 tsp. not 1/4 oz)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. water

In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, then roughly shape into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour. Fold it over the bread or cover with another cotton towel and let it sit for another hour or two.

While the bread is resting, preheat the oven to 450°. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and flip the dough over into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that’s OK. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until it’s nice and golden.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Roast Chicken


I've been butterflying my chickens since last Thanksgiving when I butterflied my turkey. Unfortunately my camera's battery died on me as I was taking pictures. I like to prepare the chicken this way for a couple of reasons: first it roasts more evenly and second by removing the back bone, I have more meat for my soup pot. (I also removed the ribs and center bone)

I seasoned this chicken very simply.
2 cloves garlic pressed with  a handful of dried rosemary, and a liberal sprinkling of seasonsed salt. Rubbed on both sides. In the oven at 350F for about one hour.

Following are the pictures I was able to take before I had to recharge the battery.

Remove the giblets and the neck. Wash your chicken under cold water.
Turn your chicken breast side down on a cutting board.
Using a good pair of kitchen sheers cut along both sides of the backbone and remove.
Prepare a chicken stock with the giblets, neck, and back of the chicken. Add onions, garlic, tomato, whatever you may have in your vegetable bin to add flavor.