Month: February 2015

Shandy Glazed Spare Ribs

Shandy – typically, a wheat beer with lemon / lime soda mixed into it. So, one day while sorting through a “mix-ur-own-6pk” allotment at the market, I came across several different makers of shandys –  I threw in a couple to try out. I know why I thought I’d like it. Back when everyone lived in the forest, we ran a German Deli. It was a great place… lots of sandwiches, a gluttony of sausages, and beer…. all kinds… nothing American. Of the many offerings was a Hefeweizen – a wheat beer cloudy from the heady yeast sediment still present in the bottle. We drank it sometimes with a little raspberry syrup added to the bottom of the glass just before pouring. But, more often than not, it was served with a couple of lemon wedges to be squeezed into the effervescent beverage. It’s still my favorite way to drink beer. If we call hefeweizen with lemon the prettiest girl at the sweet sixteen party, then we have to refer to a shandy as the ogre that …

Tales of Woe: the one with The Cake

Several months ago, I came across this peach cake recipe from the Barefoot Contessa… And, while I’m not a huge fan of fresh fruit in cakes, this one sounded interesting… so I gave it a go. I was right, while the idea was good, the fresh peaches congealed in the bottom of the cake pan and the batter never really set. So, since FRESH peaches are overly watery and have  that fresh fruit enzyme going on, why not try it with tinned peaches – maybe they would work better. So, I scrapped the idea of peaches – and tried again. This time with tinned pears, and I added sweetened dried cranberries to balance out the pear flavor. It was…. OK… just. I thought maybe changing out the spice profile might give it some zing… My sis had given me a jar of Mahlab for Christmas, and I thought the bitter cherry / slightly floral notes might lift it up some. I also flipped the fruit layers and since the pears were going to slump… I’d just …

A New England (inspired) Clam Chowder

Every culture has a dish, or handful of dishes, that they claim the all-encompassing rights to. Here in the South, it’s grits… and fried chicken. Although.. truth be told, I grew up here and I still have no clear understanding exactly what Southern Fried Chicken is. If I go by my Great Grandmother, it’s heavily peppered, pan fried chicken, placed in a pan after cooking – covered and allowed to steam…. it isn’t crunchy. Jane’s is crunchy… but no pepper. Evelyn’s was buttermilk dipped, but not steamed. … and on and on it goes, throughout every single household here in the Deep South – slight differences in techniques, varying outcomes, different seasoning profiles… but all of them Southern Fried Chicken. It’s ours… we Own it. So, I get it when someone from New England foams at the corners of the mouth when some outlander makes a “traditional” Clam Chowder. It’s just one of those things that if you aren’t from here (well, there)… you can’t make. I’m sensitive to that. That’s why you never see me make a …

Getting to Yes – Double Dipped Buttermilk Chicken Nuggets

The airwaves have been inundated with the talk…  10 nuggets for $1.49. How good could they be, really. And that’s the basis of this whole exercise. The thing is, I don’t make very good fried chicken, and Jane knows it. I didn’t get that grandmotherly gene of tempering flavor / heat / coating to make bone-in Southern Fried Chicken work.    So… a dollar forty-nine, a cheap, easy way to get that crispy fried soulful satisfaction – it seemed like a doer. It’s not. Aside from the questionable oil that it’s fried in, it honestly isn’t even chicken. I’m not sure a chicken walked very close to the factory where they were made. They’re stodgy, spongy… kinda rubbery…. with the most notable flavor being an overabundance of soy protein. And to be brutally honest, it’s the same with any mass-produced, faster – than – prudent establishment serving up the little crispy jewels. So, it’s back to the drawing board and finding a way to get maximum flavor out of a relatively tasteless piece of protein where you …

Under Pressure – Braised Back Ribs

This was actually the first thing we did in the micro cooker. Seeing that I really didn’t want to waste a lot of money on something just in case the end product was a hot steaming mess. I’ve opted to take the basic timing and procedures for the Lamb Shank recipe in the provided cookbookerlette and apply that thought process to something about the same quality and texture – Beef Back Ribs. This recipe consists of 1 pound of badly cut beef back ribs – 8 Pieces of Rib – $3.95 total…(on sale at the market today) Considering that to get back ribs.. or shanks… or shoe leather edible should take between 2.5 to 3 hours in a conventional oven… or up to 8 hours in a slow cooker, I’m calling this a win. The ribs are very tender, although some of the rib connective membrane hasn’t softened up as much as I like. And to be totally honest, that probably would have corrected itself if I had removed the chine off the backside of the riblettes. …

Under Pressure ~ Pressure Cooker Mexican Chicken

  Microwave Pressure Cooker – Round 3 (ignore that.. I think we’re way past that number now.) Huh… (head scratch) I coulda sworn I did this already. But, in going through and readjusting things for the new layout, I realized I didn’t actually do any of the original cooker tests. I’m feeling a little like Brian Williams. (meh) So we’re playing catch up and  getting to those CooksEssentials Microwave Pressure Cooker Tests that  should have been up in September… Mexican Chicken Okey dokey – This round I’ve decided to adapt one of the recipes provided with the cooker. I’ll give my changes beside the listed ingredients, underlined 1 – 3 Pound Chicken – In stews, roasts… well, just about anything in chicken pieces, I like to use one cut… be it all thighs, breasts, whatever. One cut of meat will generally cook at the same time, so you never worry about over or under cooking the proteins. This time, there was a sale on fresh-cut (not frozen) chicken legs at the butcher. I’ve substituted 8 …

A bit of Yum

Okay, time to try something new… I’ve been poking around looking for new ways to get that fodder out there. I recently found Yummly – and I like their vibe. So, I’m excited to announce that we’re now a “maybe…” official publisher on Yummly.  … just as soon as all the boxes get ticked, the T’s get crossed, and all the other things that has to happen in order for this to work. Yummly — a recipe directory that makes it easier for foodies to do what they love – cook, eat, and share! If you already use Yummly, you can use the Yum button to save your recipes to your personal recipe box. If you don’t yet use Yummly or know what it is, you can sign up here. Make you a batch of that Honeycomb Popcorn, kick your shoes off and start scrolling through our delicious recipe box (more recipes to come) — a world of Yummly Fodder delights awaits… as soon as we get a couple up there. “Yum” your favorites to save them for later. …

Tahini Grilled Chicken

  Yes, yes… it does day “eating allergy free” up there in the picture. But, before you go all cat lady crazy on me – let me explain. First off, I’m not calling it “All Encompassing Allergy Free” because frankly if you go that far, you’re just living off air… that’s been scrubbed… and hasn’t been anywhere near people… or farms… We, unfortunately, have a very specific set of allergens that I have to navigate in order to provide food that is tasty, appealing, and somewhat resembles foods we used to enjoy. And instead of dredging all that back up here.. just go back to The Long, Slow Train to Crazytown and catch up. The thing is.. we like peanut satays. Scratch that – we love anything with peanuts. But like the train ride tells you, it’s just another of the things I’ve had to scour out of our diet. Among the substitutions I’ve been testing in our diet, I’ve found that Jane has absolutely no issue with sesame… in any form. Lately, she’s even …

The Hybrid Portuguese Broa

Now, about that loaf… What began as a way to get a better English Muffin, evolved into something even more fantastic than I really could imagine. As you read earlier, I was out to make a modified starter – which we did, and succeeded in that task. What came next was to modify the dough to impart more flavor. To do that, I borrowed a lot from a standard  sourdough recipe utilizing a long slow refrigerated proof and by adding a certain amount of corn flour (superfine milled corn meal) to the mix as well. Tasting the dough, I knew I was on to something. So, I decided to check around through my books and see if there was an actual existing loaf like what I was creating. There is…. kinda… sorta. This is basically a Portuguese Broa loaf. Although mine has the addition of the starter.. and  less corn flour, and there is less sugar than in a traditional loaf…. then there’s the whole 24 to 36 hour cooler rise going on… So…yeah… kinda, but …

Bread Whore ~ The “Not Quite Sourdough ” Starter

This story was going to be just about making a loaf of bread. But, I realized that before I could talk about the loaf, I had to tell you about the starter – or it just wasn’t going to make any sense. And when I put everything together into one long, rambling, never-ending scroll, … it was just to boring to get through… I think I even fell asleep a couple of times. So…SCRAPPED… And, instead of tempting you with loverly pictures of We have to get there , first…. with THIS! (and yes, it’s not nearly as sexy) This whole process started by me trying to improve on the taste and texture of The Modern English Muffin from a couple of month back. Don’t get me wrong, the muffins were / are great, but they just don’t have that dark, musky, sourdough-y hint that some of the bakery versions have. So, the little demon in my head says, “Start with sourdough starter”. Only, I really don’t like sourdough. .. and I’ve always made a …