Month: March 2013

Talkin’ Swede (Part 2) – Get in my Belly

Feasting on Neeps… We’ll dispense with all that background stuff from earlier and just get to the goods today. (Head back THIS WAY if you didnt read PART 1) And, while there are a lot of tasty, ingenious ways to prepare swede out there on the internettyweb-o-matic thingy, not everyone is going to be all that keen on eating Neep Crostini, or Candied Swede, or Rutabaga Sorbet… Although, Jane did inadvertently make a Rutabaga Pie quite by accident a couple of Thanksgivings ago when she  reached for the pureed butternut squash and snagged the  mashed rutabagas instead… …it was god-awful. You can read all about it at Bad Pie, Harbinger of Death in a Crust. No, Today were going to concentrate on good things on happy memories and good things to eat. First up – The Basics. The easiest way to introduce yourself to swede is the  way it comes in a can – diced and simmered…. only better than a can, you know. Swede with Butter and Parsley Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients 1 Rutabaga 3 …

Talkin’ Swede (Part 1) Just the Facts, Ma’am

A Cabbage Turnip by any other name… Call it a Swede, a Neep, a Yellow Turnip, Rotabagge, Snadgers, Snarkies or Swedish Turnip, we’re talking the same language. It’s a Rutabaga. Swede is a member of the large Brassica family which includes Turnips, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Cabbage. Originally noted in Sweden in the early 1600’s (hence the name Swedish Turnip) it is believed to have originated in Russia as the natural cross-pollination love child between a cabbage and a standard turnip. currently, there are four standard varieties: American Purple Top – Creamy yellow bottom and flesh with (surprise) a Purple top.This is, as the name suggests, an American developed strain with dense, evenly grained flesh and a less sweet note. Commonly the variety used for commercial canning, the Purple Top has a tendency to be slightly astringent or bitter to some non-discerning tastes. When cooked, the swede takes on a deep orange coloration. Joan – Smaller than the American variety, Joan produces sweet and mild roots which do better for eating after a late season …

Weeknight Meals – Chicken with Tomato Chutney

Here’s the thing… this is probably less of a chutney and more of an affected curry. But I really hate calling things curry.. that, well… isn’t. And besides, curry just brings to mind snippets of that forgotten night where me and the donkey woke up covered in roti crumbs reeking of hookah smoke. merrr… So, since it’s closer to chutney than that other thing…  we’re sticking to chutney. Chicken With Tomato Chutney Serves 4(ish) Ingredients 6 Chicken Thighs (Skin On) 6 to 8 Small Ripe Tomatoes (Patio Type) Cut in Half 1 Cup Diced Sweet Onion (Use your geographical favorite – Vidalia, Texas Sweet, Peruvian Sweet, Monrovian Sugar Head, Bora Bora Sweet Tooth…whatever…) 1/2 Cup Diced Celery 1 Clove Garlic – Minced 1 Can Black Olives – Drained (you’ll undoubtedly notice I’ve used the green ripe olives) 2 Teaspoons Garam Masala 1 Cup Vegetable Stock 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mace 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper 1 Teaspoon Tamarind Paste 2 Tablespoons Ketchup (shush) 1 Tablespoon Honey 2 Tablespoons Oil 1/4 Cup Raisins …

Steakhouse

So… when I was a kid, our choices for steak night out were limited to: 1). A place called Harvey’s that had their menus printed on happy steer-shaped paper place-mats or 2). A place called Buddy’s, a noisy place complete with red shiynl banquettes, wood paneling, and air permeated with the thick aromas of steak fat, french dressing and cigarettes (it was the 60’s.) … we ate at Buddy’s more times than not. And although all that up there  now sounds really terrible, it was something really special back then. Even now I can close my eyes and be in the restaurant. All those smells, aromas, and memories of the six of us packed into a corner booth – eating our iceberg salad with the crackers, tomato wedges and onion rings awash in dressing – waiting on our steaks to arrive in those sizzle plates, the juices pooling into those odd tree-shaped valleys in the center of the platter  come flooding back. Besides, I have to give it to them, they really did make a good steak. I …

The Corned Beef Conundrum

You feel obligated because it’s St. Patrick’s, but does it really belong on the plate? Sadly… no. Although technically corned beef is an Irish thing, you’re not going to find it anywhere close to something that was eaten or served in any true Irish establishment. If they are going to eat beef, it’s going to be fresh. Corned beef was an export item. But, to get your head around that, you have to look at the background of the beef. In addition to the rolling hills chucked full of lamb and sheep, Ireland produces a lot of quality beef. (Currently, they control 16% of the export EU beef market.) The fertile grasslands and the constant temperatures allowing the cattle to graze on fresh grass throughout the year, produced some of the highest quality beef in the world. That, made it in demand, and demand meant money. So, beef was exported to other parts of Europe. England and France being the largest customers, consumed somewhere around 90% of the Irish beef market. So, reasonably speaking, that …

Weekday Meals – Crispy Potato Cakes with Spicy Shrimp

Oh, blame it on the copy of “Irish Pub Cooking” Jane left conspicuously lying around with Colcannon earmarked. Blame it on the fact that after I marinated two dozen shrimp destined for the grill, Jane didn’t want them. Blame it on the quart of mashed potatoes already cooked in the fridge. Blame it.. well, just blame ME. I wanted something crispy.. and fried, and I hadn’t nearly satisfied my weekly starch and grease quotas…  yet. So yes, this started out to be grilled shrimp, but it turned out much better this way. And, even if you don’t, My waistline and liver thanks me. Just so you don’t get all freaked out about fried potato cakes for dinner – in all actuality, they’re only pan fried a couple of minutes to set the crust and finished off in the oven. Crispy Potato Cakes  with spicy shrimp and peas Makes 4 Large Cakes Ingredients For the Marinated Shrimp: 1/2 Cup Orange Juice 1/4 Cup Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Lemongrass Paste 1 Clove Garlic – Minced 1 Teaspoon Cumin 1/2 Teaspoon Chili …

Just in Time for St. Paddy’s – Corned Beef Chowder

Yes, yes, yes… this is a redo – and I really didn’t change the original recipe. I had a couple of people ask for the recipe, and although they could just go and look it up – this kills 2 boids with one blarney stone. …think of it as a retro look back at something you probably didn’t want to cook the first time around. And besides, I monkeyed around with the original post and created a fatal error there…. it’s gone. What’s This Blarney and why are we kissing it? I think I’m one quarter Irish… I’m not terribly sure. Family says we’re English / Irish… But, I’ve got one great grandmother that looks all the world like a Full Cherokee, and another that looked like she stepped out of a Hummel Display Case. You could mistake my mom’s dad for a leprechaun, and my own father looked Jewish. And his dad..   Well, let’s just say he was hearty stock. (I get my meaty hands from him). Go figure… I’ve never been all …

Tales of Woe – The one with the oatmeal

I should eat healthier. I know I should… I’m 50+ (ish),and I’m fully aware of just how much I abused the temple in my younger years. Debauchery, indiscretions, and work related stress aside, my idea of healthy eating was ordering part-skim mozzeralla on my pizza and toasting shredded wheat biscuits with bacon and cheddar. It’s not that I didn’t eat well, or correctly…. it’s just that everything’s better with butter…. lot’s of butter.     … and an egg. But times change, my waist-line expands and contracts like a human Continental divide… and when I turned 49, I got somewhat more serious about it. I lost 27 pounds. I spend much more time out of doors. I, for all intents and purposes…quit drinking anything except coffee. And, I pay attention to whole grains. Which… is why the other morning following the banal chatter on the twitter-verse, I happened on someone that I follow http://foyupdate.blogspot.com/ talking to someone that I don’t (well, didn’t ) follow http://bakedoatmeal.blogspot.com/ about – oddly enough, baked oatmeal. … and I was intrigued. Although, to be honest I wasn’t fully invested in …

Roll on One – Clara’s Chocolate Roll

Since we’re coming up on our anniversary (we’re starting our 4th year this month)… or birthday… or however it is that we keep track of non-living things – I’m going back to the recipe that started it all at Plate Fodder. It’s my great grandmother’s Chocolate Roll. This is a recipe that speaks volumes of that era; when families were large, resources were short, and prepackaged meals just didn’t exist. My maternal great grandmother, Clara, was an extraordinary woman. With my great grandfather dying early in life, she managed to raise nine children, and numerous grandchildren entirely on her own. (Having no children myself, I consider raising even one child alone an impossible task) and doing so in the early part of the last century when resources, money, and a well stocked mega store were non existent. She was an excellent cook, and my mother, one of the countless grand kids at the house, learned a few things from her. Growing up at home in Marietta, my mom would make one of Clara’s desserts. It …

Red Chili

Back when I was just beginning in the food game, I worked with an exceptional chef that made an incredible chili for one of the hotel’s restaurants. It was delicious and green. It was made with chunks of meat. It would set your hair on fire. It was hot with a capital OH MY GOD!  …I think there was a gallon of roasted jalapenos in the pot., no lie. Chef guarded that recipe with his life, I believe it had won some awards over the years and he just never trusted anyone else to make it. Suffice it to say, I never got the recipe. Over the years I’ve tried to duplicate the bowl of jet fuel, but time passed, deadened taste-buds, and memory slippage have gotten the best of me and the best I can recall are the three descriptives already stated. Want to start a good fight in a room full of strangers? State loudly that real chili has beans in it. In all actuality, it doesn’t. Chili is: Meat / Heat / Spice But, depending on where …