All posts filed under: Easy

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 …

Snacktime! ~ Honeycomb Popped Corn

I like me some Caramel Corn. However, the thought of popping corn, cooking a syrup, mixing it up, then baking it for 45 minutes to an hour JUST to get it where you can eat it… is  WAY more effort than I want to put in a snack. Over a year ago while Jane and I were poking around some odd curb market, we came across a dry mix for caramel popcorn. The idea was to heat your butter and kernels in the whirly popcorn popper thing, pour in the dry mix… and Voila!, caramel corn. You know… it actually worked. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where we got it…. and I didn’t keep the bottle after it was empty… and any of the alternatives I’ve been able to find on the  internetowebbyversothing  have just a HUGE amount of artificial ingredients and colorants. I decided I could make my own.. and it be JUST as good, and healthier than the manufactured stuff…. … you know… if you discount the copious amounts of butter… and sugar. Honeycomb …

Kitchen Fodder – Meatballs Under Pressure

Curry No, I’m not talking about the little red & white can that sits in the pantry growing dust bunnies because you only pull it out once every 6 years to make those curried glazed carrots you’ve read so much about. No. That stuff is for Cretans and Malcontents.  Anywhere else in the world, curry is a dance – a give and take of spices and aromatics – that when blended properly, transforms a dish to such exotic heights, it is the culinary equivalent of Mount Everest…. (sought by many, obtained only by the very adventurous). So… Seeing the Curried Lamb Meatball recipe the the little CooksEssentials Microwave Pressure Cookery Bookerlette… I was intrigued… but very, very cautious. Like most things, I monkeyed around with their recipe. Not because I’m just a bad person, but like finding that curry nirvana, I have my own particular likes and dislikes that play into the picture when creating that perfect spice blend. Granted, if you’re not terribly particular, you could just open up that red/white container and hawk in 2 big spoonfuls …

Under Pressure – Crowder Pea Shellies & Dried Beans

 Another Test on the Cook’sEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker I remember long, hot, late Autumn afternoons, when the lawns have had their last cut, the drying grass  filling the air with such a deep herbal sweetness. I remember visits to my grandparents, sitting on Evelyn’s screened porch, shelling beans and peas… which is an art. There’s a considerable difference between fresh beans and shellies. While a fresh bean can be wickered apart by snapping or with some quick thumb work with a pairing knife, shellies have to be… well, shelled. The long tough side strings have to be removed, a deft thumb employed to separate the casing, then re-positioning said thumb to push through the drying gauntlet; freeing the more than slightly matured beans as you go. For Evelyn and my great grandmother, it was second nature. They’d talk and gossip, all the while casings flying apart and shelled beans dropped efficiently into a pot in their lap. Me?… not so much. Either the strings wouldn’t release, or the casings cracked and broke, or I’d …

The Pink Pig – Roasted

The Pink Pig. Those three odd little words used to conjure all kinds of wonder and joy in children when I was a little guy. Why? Because… it was a ride, A RIDE,  located high on top of the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. They would only crank the behemoth up at Christmastime to thrill the kids – who in turn would whine, cry and then force their parents to drive all the way downtown to do their Christmas shopping. My parents either didn’t listen to us… or knew exactly what the pig was.. Either way, we never got see… let alone ride the pig. The closest we ever got to the downtown Rich’s was either on a Sunday drive (when it was closed), or occasionally to see the lighting of the Big Tree at Thanksgiving (again, when Rich’s was closed)…. My folks didn’t do gimmicks. I finally got to see the infamous “pig” some years later after I had started driving. It was a cheesy monorail… … that rattled and clanged … and moved slower than …

Dumplings with Jane

Clara, my great grandmother, always kept chickens.  And while the majority of the time chickens were for eggs, old layers, non-layers and overly mean roosters made their way into the stewing pot for one of Clara’s specialties – Chicken & Dumplings. Now, a lot of people make dumplings a lot of different ways; there are those thick, dense almost noodle -like dumplings; there are the globs of biscuit dough plopped on top of the broth; then there is Clara’s way – soft, tender, pillow-y dumplings, barely holding together amongst the rich broth and bits of dark meat. Jane tells a story of a time just after she married my dad. She had been on the Square in Marietta, doing some bit of shopping, and stopped in at Clara’s just about lunch time. Clara had just made a big pot of dumplings and served her up a bowl. Those same soft dumplings, that rich, flavorful broth – Jane kept commenting on how good those dumplings were.. “The best Chicken and Dumplings I’ve ever had”, she told her. My …

Lasagna!

Okay, you all know me. I don’t usually endorse any product. Like most of you, I have my favorites – and barring some natural disaster that wipes out their factory… and their delivery trucks… and every single case of product distributed across the country, it’s not likely that I change my buying habits. And, most of you feel the same way – I get that. I particularly like Red Gold Tomatoes, and over this past year, Red Gold  has approached me several times to do a sponsored post including themed recipes for their products. Unfortunately, It’s always been something that just wouldn’t meld with the way I cook. Call me snobbish about my recipes, call me.. well, whatever…. it just didn’t work out. Until this month. I love lasagna… I mean, make a pan and eat the whole thing kind of love. However, My own recipe is long, drawn out, and involved. It takes forever to make so I never get around to making it very often. With this month’s promotion, they sent me a ridiculously …

Kitchen Fodder Guest Test – Micro Pressure Cooker Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Bah! Humbug! Alright…. I’m not the happiest elf this time of year – and getting my chops in gear to do anything other than just exist, is damned near impossible… (I’m just not your holiday food guy.) Luckily, in talking to my sis today, I found out she was using her Microwave Pressure Cooker to make… of all things… MAC n CHEESE! I roped her into doing a guest post (slash) recipe test on it for Plate Fodder. So… Go grab a bowl of popcorn and get ready to be amazed! (I’m going to go steal the neighbor’s inflatable snowman…. again…) ______________________________________________________________________________ After seeing Toby demo his microwave pressure cooker several times, I had to get one for myself. This seemed like such a marvelous gadget! I have cooked many different things in the pressure cooker… Pot Roast, Chili, Rustic Bolognese Sauce, Lemony Chicken Thighs with Potatoes, Olives and Oregano. Everything so far has turned out well. I had a couple of lamb shanks hanging out in the fridge that I thought I would take for …

Bread Whore ~ The Modern English Muffin

The other week, out of the blue, Jane says, “I’ve been trying to think what this thing is called…” “What thing..” “Breakfasty, brunchy kind of thing” “What’s in it” Poached eggs and an English muffin…” “Oh, it’s an Eggs Benedict.” She thanked me – obviously it had been nagging at her head for days. A couple of days later…. a repeat of the initial Q & A. Then, last week… “What’s that thing again?” “Eggs Benedict… Do you want one?” “Well… yes. If it’s not a lot of trouble.” Trouble… considering the hoops I have to jump through navigating Jane’s growing food allergies, something like an eggy thing shouldn’t be very high up on the difficulty list. However, all English Muffins contain either soy… or unsafe dairy… or an unrecognizable oil… or a combination of all three. So, getting to the Benedict was going to take some work. Trouble… I poked around several recipes.  There are ones that sound and look like thick, doughy pancakes. There are a couple that have you making your own starter – …

Something Fishy Going on…

There are rules – Never run with scissors,,,, Look both ways before crossing the street… Never burn bridges with a former employer… Don’t stick your finger in the electrical outlet… Never.. Ever cook cheese with fish…. … And while with most of those there is some bit of common sense going on, it’s that bit about cheese & fish that’s never rang very true. I mean, every fish sandwich out there has a big ol’ slice of cheddar on it – and tuna melts are just bubbling with melted Swiss. So, why is it that culinary snobs the world over pale and froth at the mouth about cheese and fish….. Eh, I’ll never know. But, that question brings us to tonight’s recipe. I’ve been seeing a resurgence of an old dinner mainstay lately – The Mayo / Parmesan Crusted Chicken. I hadn’t eaten it in years, so when it came time to work up the week’s dinner menu, I thought – “why the hell not?”    You know, it was delicious! I mean… really delicious…. kinda …