Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Savory Butternut Squash Pie

 I'm posting this recipe because it was intriguing and it was good, but not something that was so good that I'd want to make it over and over. But if you like the flavors, it might be something different for your family. I found the original recipe on an African Food Website, but it didn't have any information so I'm not sure if this is an authentic African recipe or what. I tried googling, but could only find sweet pies (think pumpkin pie) nothing that resembled this recipe. I did change this up a bit to fit what I had on hand.

Savory Butternut Squash Pie

1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water
1 egg
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

1/2 a good size butternut squash.
1/2 pound of bacon
one onion
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
sprinkle of pine nuts
olive oil

Cook the rice in water according to package directions. While rice is cooking, peel and cube squash. Place on a cookie sheet with diced onion and bacon that has been cut in bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and thyme. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes or until bacon is crispy and squash is cooked through. (For crisper bacon, cook separately.)

When rice is finished, whisk an egg in a small bowl. Add a spoonful of the hot rice to temper the egg and stir. Add a bit more rice and stir. Then pour the egg into the rice and mix well. Add sesame seeds and stir.

Butter a pie dish. Pour rice in and with the back of a spoon, mold the rice around the pie plate in a crust shape. Drizzle a bit of oil on the rice. Bake for 15 minutes. If timed right, it should be cooking on a lower rack than the squash.

When both are done, scoop the squash, onions and bacon into the rice add in sun dried tomatoes. Mix 3 eggs and heavy cream and grated mozzarella cheese. Pour the egg mixture over and around the squash. Top with goat cheese and pine nuts. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is set.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Island Chops

If you like sweet main dishes, this one is for you! It was delectable. The grill, I think, does make a difference, the dish sort of needs that smoky flavor that a charcoal grill adds to a dish. I'm sure this would be decent stove side or broiled in the oven, but those charcoals really did add to the yum factor.

Island Chops

1 pineapple
4-6 pork chops, bone in
1/2 cup cashews
1 tbsp coconut oil (butter would be fine too)
3 tbps apricot jam
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sour cream
fresh ginger
salt and pepper
curry powder

Sprinkle curry powder, salt and pepper on your pork chops and rub it in. Slice your pineapple. Get grill really hot and grill them until done. I know right? How long? Well that depends on how far your chops are from the coals, how hot your coals are, how thick your chops are.

I use the hand pressure test to tell if meat is done. It take some practice but it is pretty reliable. If you press the skin between your pointer finger and thumb with your hand loose that resistance is similar to the resistance that raw meat will give you. If you loosely make a fist and press in that same spot again, that is about what the meat should feel like if you want it pink (like for steak.) Since you want pork cooked further than that, clench your fist, and then press in that same spot. That is how firm well done meat should feel. Hope that helps!

For the sauce...
In a small dry skillet, toast cashew nuts and then set aside. Melt coconut oil. Add jam, heavy cream, grated ginger (as much or as little as you like) and pepper. Whisk on high until sauce thickens. It'll take a while but then it will happen. Do not walk away or you will either have a boil over or a burnt mess on your hands. When it thickens, remove from heat and add the sour cream. Whisk it in. Taste. If it is too sweet add more sour cream. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Stack pineapple and porkchops, top with sauce and sprinkle with cashew nuts. Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shrimp Pilaf

Ding ding ding, another winner! This came out so tasty and was pretty quick to throw together. It's one that I'll probably want to make again, so I'm writing down the "recipe" before I forget what I did.

1 bag of shrimp (is that a pound?)
3-4 strips of bacon (optional??)
6-8 asparagus
1/2 zucchini
4-6 button mushrooms
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup uncooked rice
uncooked spaghetti noodles (about the amount for one serving)
olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
broth (I used shrimp, but chicken would be fine)
splash of heavy cream
italian seasonings
curry powder

Cook rice. 1/2 cup of rice to 1 cup of water, salt and a glug of olive oil. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Set timer for 15 minutes. Bam.

In a large skillet start cooking diced bacon. While bacon is frying, cut asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces. Dice zucchini, and carrot. Slice mushrooms. Mince garlic. Bacon should be about done. Add a few glugs of olive oil and all your vegetables. Stir occasionally. Add italian seasoning and about 1/4 tsp of curry powder. Break spaghetti noodles into 1/2 inchish pieces and add to vegetables. Keep stirring on medium heat. If anything starts to stick, throw some more olive oil in the skillet.

Meanwhile peel those dang shrimp. Keep the shells and stick them in your freezer for use on another day.  You don't have to do this, but if you don't you are throwing away potential free shrimp stock, just saying. (I  make stock when I have about a gallon size zip bag of shells ready to go.)

Vegetables should be cooked and starting to brown, rice should be just about done too. Deglaze the pan with some white wine vinegar. (or whatever vinegar you have on hand.)
Add shrimp to the skillet and stir it until almost cooked through. Add rice, about 1/2 cup of stock and a splash of heavy cream. Stir until shrimp is cooked through and the noodles are not crunchy. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Water Kefir

Water Kefir is a fizzy probiotic drink. A lot of people think of it as a healthy homemade soda pop replacement. It is basically fermented sugar water. The kefir grains (which aren't grain at all, but actually yeasts and bacterias) work to eat the sugar converting it into simple sugars that have probiotics, higher vitamins (because they are made more easily digestible) including hard to get B vitamins. For a much better explanation check out this website, or google Water Kefir. There is also a Milk Kefir that you use with Raw Milk. This is not that. 
 Water Kefir in the quart jar on the right, has been fermenting for 24+ hours. It is pretty forgiving. My house was pretty cool today so I let it go a little longer. On hot days it may not need all 24 hours. But it is hard to mess up. More than 48 hours and you risk starving the grains though. On the left are swing top bottles, like these. You don't have to use swing tops. You can reuse beer bottles, if you buy extra caps and a capper, you can reuse store bought kombucha bottles or you can use another quart mason jar. I have found that the swing top bottles and the beer bottles create the most fizz. And sometimes if you use kombucha bottles they become hard to open, due to the pressure build up. Do not use plastic bottles. It's handy to have a funnel and you'll need a small strainer. Plastic is recommended, but since the grains don't stay in it long, I use metal. You want to keep your grains away from metal for the most part, I've read.

Pour a bit of your favorite juice in the bottom of each bottle. This is a cherry juice. My favorite is grape. If it is a lighter flavor juice I add a bit more (like the cherry above), grape I use a bit less. Experiment to your liking. Citrus juices are not recommended, although some people like to put a slice of lemon. Ginger also works well in kefir. You can also use fresh fruit instead of juice. Berries work excellently. Strawberry kefir is delicious!

Pour your kefir over your juice, carefully straining the "grains" out.

 Pour the grains back into the quart mason jar you use. You don't have to wash this out too often. And when you do, make sure there is no antibacterial soup residue left behind. (It'd kill the kefir...)

 For one quart of kefir you want to use 1/4 cup of grains and 1/4 cup of sugar. For most batches I use organic cane sugar. Sometimes I do half organic cane sugar and half succant. Kefir thrives on the succant, but it has a stronger flavor in my opinion so I don't use it as often. If your grains ever get a bit sad (they take too long to ferment, they aren't getting as bubbly, they start to get very, very small) use sucanat and or 100% pure blackstrap molasses (just a bit) to perk them back up. They need the minerals that plain white/cane sugar doesn't provide.

 This time I did half cane sugar and half sucanat.

 Another way to perk up your grains or to help them multiply faster (so you can have more than 1 quart going or so you can share with a friend) is to add a few drops of this concen trace mineral drops to them. I bought this at Amazon over a year ago and still have most of the bottle. A few drops will do fine and not every batch. (It's also good to add a few drops to your drinking water if you've been sweating a lot.)

 Add filtered water and shake to distribute the sugar. I use a Britta filter. It's important to remove the chlorine, which will kill the kefir.

Set on your counter and ignore for 24 ish hours. In hot weather I will sometimes put the flavored (second fermented kefir) in the fridge after 12 hours. Otherwise after 24 hours it is also ready to be refrigerated. One clue for you to check is when you see small bubbles at the top of your juice. And then you can start the process all over again.

*** Important to note. If you need a break from your kefir or you are going out of town, just get to the step where you are about to leave them on the counter to ferment, but instead, stick them in your fridge. They will keep for weeks like this and I think you can even rescue them if you forget about them for several months. If you are planning on taking a several month break from them, you can dehydrate them. I have not done this myself, but have heard of plenty of success stories.

If you just have them in fridge storage, when you take them out, depending on how long they've been in the fridge, they may be ready to pour on juice or may need to sit out for a bit. You can tell by how fizzy and the smell once you get some practice at it. ***

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chicken and Rice

Okay, so I have been lazy and not posting recipes to Frickin' Chicken in like forever and a half. I put this photo up on facebook and immediately got a request for a recipe. Instead of typing it out there, I figured I might as well take a moment to post here. I'm not sure what this is called, except an easy go to dinner. It'd be easy to swap out the veg. For instance I typically make this with lots of mushroom as the only veg. Tonight I only had two lonely mushrooms in my fridge, but I had a bunch of asparagus. Zuchinni, bell pepper,  summer squash would probably all be good substitutes. Whatever your family likes. Even peas would work well.

Chicken & Rice

1 cup of white rice (uncooked)
2 cups of water
pat of butter, however generous you want to be
pinch of salt

Cook your rice in a small pot, by placing the rice in the pot and covering with water. Add a pat of butter and salt. Bring to a boil and stir. Cover, reduce to low and set timer for 15-20 minutes. When rice is cooked, set it aside.

Meanwhile start your chicken dish.

1-2 breasts of chicken
2 lonely mushrooms (or more if you have them)
8-10 sprigs of asparagus
2-3 slices of bacon
1 cup of chicken stock
1 tbsp flour
thyme, salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
1 cup of cream/milk
parmesan cheese (optional)

Start bacon sauting in a large skillet. When it is almost done, add diced mushrooms and asparagus. Chop garlic up small and toss it in too. When the bacon is cooked and veg have had time to cook a bit, add chicken that has been cut into bite size pieces. Add your dried thyme, salt and pepper and stir all on med-high heat. When chicken is about half way done, in a small bowl mix the chicken broth with flour to remove lumps. Pour over chicken and add cream or milk. Stir, bringing to a boil to thicken sauce. Add parmesan cheese if desired. When chicken is cooked through, add in the cooked rice and another pat of butter. Stir. If you want it creamer add a bit more milk. Taste for salt/pepper and enjoy!

To kick this dish up a notch, pour all of this is in a buttered baking dish and top with a breadcrumb and olive oil mixture. Bake until breadcrumbs are toasted through. Serve.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Rolls

I know I've been away for awhile. And I can't promise that I'm back, but I did want to post these awesome spring rolls that I made. They came out tasting so good and they were so easy to make. I've wanted to try and make them for years but never came across rice paper in my store and I never went out of my way to try and acquire it. When I saw it sitting on the shelf of my supermarket the other day, I grabbed a package and took the spring roll plunge! The rice paper was a lot easier to work with than I thought it would be! I'm now planning on making these again and again. By the way, this is my version, I'm not claiming these to be authentic to any cuisine. It was from my memory of spring rolls I've had in restaurants combined with ingredients I had on hand! :)

Rice Paper Sheets
romaine lettuce
shredded carrot
julienned cucumber
cilantro or basil (optional)

Boil the shrimp in salty water until cooked through. Do not overcook! You don't want rubbery shrimp. Set them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Prep all your ingredients. Finely cut the lettuce, shred you carrot, julienne your cucumber and thinly slice your avocado. Chop your herbs if you plan on using them.

Take a large shallow bowl and fill with hot to the touch water. Gently slide one wrapper in the hot water and let it sit for about 5-10 seconds. When it is very pliable, gently lift it up and try to keep it from folding on itself. Spread it out on your cutting board. In the bottom part of the wrapper, about one and half inches from the side, stack your ingredients. Place your shrimp down first (if your shrimp is small, use two), followed by avocado, carrots, cucumber, and lettuce. Take the bottom edge of your wrapper and pull it up and over the shrimp pile. After one complete turn, fold the left and ride sides of the wrapper over the shrimp and lettuce and then continue to roll until you reach the end of the wrapper. Repeat with the rest of your ingredients!

Peanut dipping sauce
melt about a tbsp of peanut butter in a small dish. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey to taste. You can also add chili paste for a hotter dip.

Ginger- Apricot dipping sauce:
Grate some ginger in a small bowl. Add a tbsp of apricot jelly. Add soy sauce and rice wine vingar to taste.
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