Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's the time of the Season for Chicken Soup

This is a slow day recipe.  The best part is fiddling with the broth, skimming slowly and ensuring a clear broth.  I end up using about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt and 1 Tablespoon of ground pepper for the entire pot.  Some Garlic powder and onion powder are also good additions.  But the entire soup is the vegetable broth.  DO NOT SKIP THE PARSNIPS!

                      Chicken Soup for what ails you

  1              pound  carrots -- cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (I cube them)
  1              pound  parsnips -- cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (again, cube them)
  1             large  onion -- cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 to 2) (1 pound)
  1            4 pound  chicken -- rinsed
                        Coarse salt and pepper                        
  2                  c  egg noodles -- optional

  1.  In a large pot, combine carrots, parsnips, onion, and chicken, breast-side down. Add enough water just to cover (about 12 cups). Season with salt. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 60 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top and discard. Never cover but do turn the chicken over after about 30 minutes.
  2.  Remove chicken from pot, and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discarding skin and bones. Tear meat into bite-size pieces, and return to pot. Cook until heated through. Taste, and adjust for seasoning

 3.  Cook noodles separately.  Add to bowl and cover with hot chicken, broth and vegetables

the bonus is that with a light meal you can have a great dessert

                            Bourbon Pecan Pie

  1        cup  sugar
  3        tablespoons  butter -- melted
  1/2     cup  corn syrup
  3        large  eggs -- beaten
  1 1/2  cups  pecan halves (enough to cover the bottom of the pie shell)
  2        tablespoons  bourbon
  1        teaspoon vanilla
  1        pie shell -- (9-inch) unbaked

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, eggs,bourbon and vanilla, and stir until all ingredients are combined.  Place the nuts in the unbaked pie shell. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie shell, and place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until pie is set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An old favorite, updated

For 15 years I have used a basic tomato sauce recipe that I gleaned from Martha Stewart Living.  What I didn't realize is that the basic recipe had morphed into something different.  So I present the original and my revised version for your perusal.

They are both good, they are both cheap and they are both easy.

From Martha:
                   Perfect Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

  2        tablespoons  plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1 1/2         pounds  baby pear tomatoes (or cherry or vine-ripened tomatoes) -- or one 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
  8             ounces  thin -- best-quality spaghetti
  4        tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  4             cloves  garlic -- cut into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
     1/4      teaspoon  crushed red-pepper flakes
     1/4           cup  fresh basil or parsley leaves -- loosely packed and torn
                        Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)(optional)

1.   In a tall stockpot, bring 3 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil.

 2.   If using pear tomatoes, wash and stem. If using vine-ripened tomatoes, score bottoms with a small "X"; blanch 5 seconds in boiling water. Plunge tomatoes into an ice-water bath, then remove the skins. Using a chef's knife, cut flesh from cores, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips; place in a sieve set over a bowl. Press the cores of tomatoes through sieve; discard seeds. If using canned tomatoes, strain, and pass through a food mill.

 3.   Drop spaghetti into boiling water; stir. Cook until al dente, about 11 minutes, according to package instructions.

 4.   Place a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat; add oil. Add garlic to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Add red-pepper flakes and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until garlic is medium golden, about 1 minute.

 5.   Increase heat to high. Tilting pan at an angle, add tomatoes. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down, pear tomatoes begin to burst, or canned tomatoes begin to thicken, 5 to 6 minutes. If using pear tomatoes, mash a few with a spoon. If pear tomatoes start to get too dry, add a little water from the stockpot.

 6.   Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup liquid in case sauce gets too dry. Add pasta to sauce in sauté pan; cook until sauce begins to cling to pasta, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in basil; cook 30 seconds more. Divide among bowls, and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

S(Internet Address):
And Mine:

                    Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce My Way

  4        tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  4             cloves  garlic -- thinly sliced
     1/4      teaspoon  crushed red-pepper flakes
     1/4           cup  tomato paste -- loosely packed and torn
     1/4           cup  red wine
  1                can  whole  tomatoes -- (28 ounce)
  1              pound  capellini
                        Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)(optional)

Press the canned tomatoes through a food mill. Set aside.

Place a 12-inch sauté pan on the cold burner and add oil. Add garlic and the  red-pepper flakes to the pan.  Let stand in the oil for 15 minutes then slowly raise the heat.  Bring the garlic to a slight simmer.

Add the tomato paste to the simmering garlic.  Cook for a few minutes, breaking up the paste into the oil.

Add the wine, bring up the heat and simmer until the wine and tomato paste have thickened.

Add the tomatoes to the mixture.  Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper.  Cover slightly and let cook for 30 minutes.

Drop spaghetti into boiling water; stir. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions.

 Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup liquid in case sauce gets too dry. Add pasta to sauce in sauté pan; cook until sauce begins to cling to pasta, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide among bowls, and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Optional:  Add 1 teaspoon of Penzey's Pizza seasoning to the sauce.  Or 1 teaspoon of Penzey's Pasta Sprinkles.

Optional:  After step 2 add 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms to the pan and saute until golden.  Proceed with step 3.

What I have found is
  • I really prefer to mill or blend (when I have a working blender, which I don't) whole canned tomatoes. 
  • The garlic and pepper flakes taste better when started in cold oil
  • Herbs are completely optional.  Good, but optional.
  • Red wine or red wine vinegar bring out the tomato flavor.  Or vodka and cream. 
The lesson is that the recipe is the suggestion, what is important is to find the method behind the recipe.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Knit! Girls short cardigan with lace yoke

After three tries at different projects for this yarn I found one that I thought worked nicely.  The yarn was Sensations self-patterning from JoAnn's, about a 3 weight.  I hope my granddaughter likes it.  The basic pattern was from Lion Brand yarns but I took a few liberties along the way.

 I try to keep measurements of the kids because sweaters are a lot like cooking - if you know the technique you can improvise.

I finally thought to take a picture of the sweater when I got to the lace portion.  The sleeves had been done separately on DP needles then added to body.   I love knitting in the round, mainly because I hate seaming.

The lace was k2tog, yo for one row then knit knit purl knit between.

Bottom and sides were seed stitch.  This does help the edges lay flat.

I found a button in my button box that matched beautifully.  The crocheted chain fringe adds some weight to the hem, plus who doesn't like fringe!

Total cost for yarn (free button) was $1.00.  I used two skeins to make a girls size 8.  The yarn was on clearance.  Total time invested - about 6 hours.  That includes ribbeting three rows because I wasn't paying attention!