Monday, December 22, 2008

Crunchy Chicken With Bones

3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk)
pkg chicken drumsticks

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Set greased wire racks on a rimmed baking sheet.  (If you don't have wire racks, be sure to turn the drumsticks over half-way through the cooking time.)  Pour the milk into a large bowl, and combine the dry ingredients in another.  Roll each drumstick around in the milk, then in the dry mixture, enough to coat it.  Bake for about 50 minutes at 400˚ until they are golden brown.

Adapted from The Six O'Clock Scramble

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock...the epitome of frugality!  Making your own vegetable stock is a great way to use up those somewhat-limp-looking veggies languishing in your fridge, or that kinda icky looking leftover salad, or even the scraps and peels from your produce.

Start by collecting your ingredients.  You can keep a container in the freezer for odds and ends (like onion peels and tops of tomatoes) and just add to it whenever you cook.  When I'm ready to make stock, I clean out the veggie drawer of my fridge and throw whatever looks a little wilted into the pot.  Be careful NOT to put broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower in your stock (these cruciferous vegetables are NOT pleasant additions) and if you add onion peels, potato skins, leek ends, etc., be sure to wash them well first.

Once you have a collection of vegetables and/or produce scraps, dump them into a large pot.  Add just enough water to cover them, and bring it to a boil.  Boil gently for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Strain the liquid into a large bowl, over a colander, to remove all the vegetable pieces and scraps.  Return the liquid to the pot, and boil gently until it is reduced by half.  After it has cooled, put it into freezer-safe containers and freeze until you're ready to use it.

Roasted Tomatoes

This is a great way to use up those extra tomatoes that are getting a little too soft to eat.

Grease a rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish with olive oil.  Fill with halved or quartered tomatoes, and randomly place garlic cloves between them.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Roast in the oven at 400˚ for about an hour.  After they have cooled, put them in ziploc bags or feezer containers and save them to add to soups, stews, pizzas, and more!

Stone Soup

Start with a stone; not too big, not too small; a nice, solid stone...

Put the stone in a large pot (or just pretend you did), and add:

4 cups of beef broth (I used the broth left over from cooking a roast)
3ish cups of vegetable broth
1 pkg of stew meat (browned and drained) and/or leftover chuck roast
leeks, sliced
potatoes, diced
baby carrots, chunked
a can of corn
pepper and garlic salt to taste

Bring it to a boil, then simmer for at least 2 hours over medium-low heat.

(Visit Tammy's Recipes for more inspiration!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stove-top Chuck Roast

2 - 4 pounds chuck roast (chuck cut will result in fall-apart-tender roast)
garlic powder
black pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce

Trim roast (if desired) and rub garlic powder and pepper into both sides.  Pour soy sauce over each side.  You can leave it to marinate in the fridge for a while or stick it straight in the pot.  When ready to cook, place roast in a medium-large pot with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom.  Cover and bring to a boil on medium, medium-low heat (may take a while), then simmer slowly for about 4 more hours.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Eggnog Scones

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt (can omit if using salted butter)
12 TBSP butter
1 cup eggnog

1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 TBSP eggnog
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP sugar

Preheat oven to 425˚.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.  Stir well with a fork to mix and aerate.  Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture looks like fresh bread crumbs.  Add the eggnog and mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Gather the dough into a ball and press so it holds together.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly 12 times.  Pat the dough into a circle 1/2 inch thick.

Prepare the glaze*.  In a small bowl combine the eggnog, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.  Stir well to blend.  With a pastry brush or your fingers, spread the glaze on the dough -- top and sides.  Cut the dough into wedges (like a pie) -- 16 or more pieces.  Place the scones 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are browned.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

*If you really, really like eggnog, cinnamon, and nutmeg, like we do, then double the amounts for the glaze.  It makes the flavors POP.  :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quick Pizza Dough

Combine: 1 cup warm water, 1 TBSP yeast, and 1 TBSP honey.

Let sit five minutes to test yeast, then add ½ tsp salt, 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup flour.

Stir well, then add 2 more cups flour. Pat onto a cookie sheet.

(I prick it with a fork, then bake it for 8 minutes at 450˚ before I add the sauce and toppings, then bake everything at 450˚ for 7-10 minutes.) But the original recipe says to add sauce and seasonings, then toppings and bake at 450˚ for 15-20 minutes.

Makes crust for one pizza.

Black Bean Soup

6-ish cups cooked black beans 
3-4 chopped tomatoes
1-2 cups corn
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add chopped cilantro and salt to taste, and garnish with sliced avocados.

Faster version:
6 cans black beans (3 drained)
2 black beans cans filled with frozen corn 
1 16 oz package fresh salsa

Heat over medium-heat until heated through.

(We add a spoonful or two of sour cream to each serving and stir it in – cools it off faster for the kids to eat, and takes a little bit of the picante out too.  We also like to eat it with tortilla chips.) J

Crockpot Ajiaco

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 c. no-salt chicken stock

4 tsp minced garlic

1 TBSP sea salt

2 TBSP onion flakes

2-3 diced unpeeled potatoes

Cook on high for about 2 ½ hours, then remove chicken, cut it into bite-size pieces and return it to crock-pot. Add:

4 c. no-salt chicken stock

2 cups green beans

2 cups corn

1 ½ tsp basil

¾ tsp pepper

¾ tsp paprika

Cook until potatoes and chicken are cooked through. Mash some of the potatoes and stir to distribute, and add additional salt (to taste) if needed. Add ½ c. fresh cilantro just before serving.

Optional toppings per individual serving: capers, sliced avocados, sour cream