All posts filed under: Main Course

Kitchen Fodder ~ Gettin’ all PC (pressure cooker) on some sauce

 Test #1 of the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt. Microwave Pressure Cooker First of all, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping and apologize to Jane. .. the rest of you can look at the picture for a bit. You’re absolutely right… this isn’t your exact recipe. The spice blends are there.. and basically, it’s the same.  However,  I had to make a couple of alterations in order to keep it from turning to just mush in the pot, and a couple of things had to change to cope with the shorter cooking time.  The vegetable chunks are larger, but generally, it has the same feel, taste, thickness, and richness.  And… We’re back. So, like I said yesterday, you’ve got to futz with the settings a bit to sync the temps and times up to your own microwave. For example –  I use a 1200 watt micro, so the bulk of what I do is at 60% power  and 10 less minutes on the unit for any of the recipes in the provided cookbook. Because of that, …

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Taste of Summer ~ Saffron Steamed Mussels

There are memories of sea things that will always remind me what a magical time & place summer is at the ocean… Being pulled away from Lost in Space on the TV and braving the torrential rain at the Desoto Beach Hotel restaurant to dine on Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks; Chowing down with the family after getting suitably roasted on the beach at Captain Anderson’s in Panama City as a kid (complete with my very own captain’s hat); Sweltering night at open pit Oyster roasts on the banks of Wilmington Island;  gorging myself on steamed clams under the Thunderbolt bridge at Desposito’s; buying (and single-handedly devouring) an entire brown paper grocery sack of seasoned blue crabs from Keith’s (or “Keet’s”.. as the locals pronounced it) Crab Shack in the somewhat shady area of Savannah…. and any one of the 200 times that I had a big pot of steamed mussels with a cold brew, plucking them out of the shells and watching the sun ripple and drift slowly below the horizon. Summer… Sand… Seafood – …

Goofin’ on Grandma

Oddly, I come across a recipe for Grandma Pizza about once a month. I see it… I think, “huh, all those tomatoes and oil… that can’t be good.” And I pass on to the next sexy bit of food porn that inevitably fills my inbox. Given that I’ve been craving a slice of cheesy heaven lately, my curiosity got the better of me and I drug out one of those “best damned pizza in the world” grandma pizza recipes to see what all the fuss was about. I still didn’t like the idea of just tomatoes and oil, and I wasn’t all that keen on a super thin crust. In my head, I could just see a soggy behemoth coming out of the oven… so I took the idea of it all, and made it something else entirely. So… what is a Grandma Pizza? It’s a pie that appears to be widely popular in Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a Sicilian style pizza with a super thin, square crust – Topped with cheese and scattered with seasoned, crushed …

Weeknight Meals – Salisbury Steak

Although the creation of Salisbury Steak is attributed to Dr. J.H. Salisbury  as a means of creating a lower calorie diet in the same odd turn-of-the-century healthcare craze that gave us Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, the “true” Salisbury Steak bares little resemblance to what we make today.  In his book, “The Relation of Alimentation and Disease”, he describes it as  lean, center-cut round – chopped with all the sinew, fat and tendon removed – broiled….. and served with a little Worcestershire Sauce. I know… sounds dreadful. Thank God we turned it into meatloaf patties… because, you know… meatloaf IS so much better for you. ________________________________________________________________ Here’s the thing with the modern Salisbury Steak. While is it’s still a kind of a meat loaf thing, there are a few differences: It’s meat – of course There is some sort of extender – be it grated potatoes, rice, bread crumbs (although thoughts differ on that part of it. Me? I like a little bread) There are vegetables – usually onions and / or celery Seasoning – Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, …

Chicken Little ~ or, Cornish Game Hens

    Every once in a while little chickens made an appearance at the dinner table. We (the kids) felt fancy – primarily because we were eating chicken with a long, complicated name… and we got a whole bird… and we could pretend we were giants… That is, until dad saw us playing with our food and would pinch the bejeezus out of our sides… and make us eat our dinner sitting on the toilet…. good times… But when you get right down to it – there really isn’t anything fancy about a Rock Cornish Game Hen; the name is somewhat  of a misnomer. It’s just a tiny one pound hen. Grown in about 20 to 25 days, the “game hen” is a hybrid mix of a Cornish Game (just a name of a chicken) and a White Rock Chicken – both smaller chicken breeds. They’re bred for larger breasts and a better fat-to-meat ratio, giving you that full blown roasted hen feel, in a single serving package. I used to buy them a lot, …

Not So Little Fishes

This is a reprint from our first year – Hey… it’s salmon! And Salmon season is almost among us… and I do love me some salmon. My favorite time of the year is almost Here! What, you didn’t send out your cards yet? You haven’t bought the kid’s Sockeye costumes with the grotesquely over-exaggerated head parts? You haven’t converted the front yard into a mock-up of Northwest spawning grounds? There aren’t any dainty little dishes scattered around the house filled with roe and gravlax? “Ok, maybe it’s just me… Wild Salmon Season is here. I anxiously wait for it every year. I absolutely cannot wait to see those big slabs of ruby-red flesh at the market. Not that there’s anything wrong with farmed salmon…exactly….. It just doesn’t have the same depth of taste, the silkiness of texture, the richness of color. …Alright, farm raised salmon is just pretty damn bland. But, I’ll admit, seeing a 2-foot long piece of fish at the market can be a little scary for some people. 5 to 8 pounds …

French Gibbons, The Number 5, and some peas

  April marks the start of our fifth year at the reins of the madly careening ride that is Plate Fodder. I feel like my somewhat inebriated Uncle Posey heading to town hitched to his blind mule… “I may have connected the wagon correctly”, “He may or may not know the way to town even if I pass out”, “I might not even care if we get lost”. Like my colorful uncle – it’s never about the destination – it’s the journey that’s the gas. and… it has been. You know, I have fellow writer friends that say “I’m taking a break…I can’t seem to find my voice…or my angle… or point of view for my site”. And, I get that. It’s tough to stay within the lines of a prescribed notion of what we want our online persona to be. Maybe that’s why I have three unfinished novels still sitting in boxes and scribbled on moldy index cards (yes, it’s been that long) – I can’t stay focused on a story line. But some time ago I knew …

A “Dusting” of Snow… and some soup

We had been jonzing for some snow up here at Turtle Creek all winter. There’d be predictions and rumors; hints and allegations; threats and speculations; and then nothing. You would think that living in the great northern Georgia woods we’d see flakes on a fairly regular basis. But, where we’re located, the terrain and currents push the bulk of the wintry mix far to the west and north of us… when it happens at all. So, I didn’t put a whole lot of stock in this week’s prediction that we would enjoy a 1/4″ of blissful late afternoon precipitation, since the bulk of the storm was going to be far south of us. Even as the snow did begin to fall at 9 am, it was anemic. Small pinhead sized flakes that looked more like kosher salt than snow. Jane and I glanced out the windows occasionally enjoying the mist-like snowfall, and in our minds thinking that’s nice… but it wont last long. By two o’clock, we had just over 2″ of the tiny flakes on …

A Box of Lobster

Prior to last week, if anyone had asked me if there was a marked difference between a fresh shipped lobster and those sad little creatures living in an aquarium at your local fish monger, I’d have said probably not… ‘Cause shipped lobsters are a little on the pricey side and 99.999% of the people out there over-cook them – and if you’re just going to stew the giblets out of ’em… why bother. To be fair, I really don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with them (aside from that one night at Holiday Inn University where I ate 12.. yeah 12…) I usually buy them frozen because I’m going to make a salad with them or stuff  it in a ravioli. So, last Friday I get this message From Lobsteranywhere.com asking if I would like to try a couple of lobsters. Now… the ever-present cynic in me thought, “hmm… maybe they’re burn off from a large order”… “or a cancellation”… “or any number of _______ reasons”.  And, ever since the fiasco with that disgusting …