All posts tagged: Simple Dinner Sunday

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 …

Six, the Easy Way ~ Vegetable Tamales

Mexican Restaurants – Whether it’s the strength of the margaritas, the freshness of their chips, the scoville scale of their salsa, or just how “authentic” it all is; everyone has their own way of judging a good one. Me? I look at two things. 1). Chili Rellenos : Is it a charred poblano pepper? Does it have a light egg batter? And just exactly what have they stuffed it with? and 2). Tamales : This is a harder judging for me. Because I like them a lot of different ways. I’ve had them in banana leaves where the “dough” is a kind of yucca / masa mash. I’ve had them in Mexico where there was a little bean or olive surprise buried in the middle. There has been the random bad one where the dough was fluffy … like a biscuit – or dry as a powder keg and dense like hard tack. Suffice it to say, tamales are like that proverbial box of chocolates.. you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into it. …

Simple Dinner Sunday ~ Chicken & Rice

Bonus at the market the other day…. tiny chickens. I’m not talking game hens (which can run upwards of $8), I’m talking itty bitty one pound fryers…. for a buck. I grabbed a handful (six) tossed them  in the cart, and sang a little song all the way to checkout. ♫ ♬ Tiny chickens … in the bin… makes me feel happy… when I win…♫ ♬ (Dean Martin’s Tiny Bubbles… you can sing along if you want.) I ended up spatchcocking a couple and grilling them, which worked out exceptionally well since they were very young chickens and extremely tender. But Jane’s been… well … punky… the past few days, so I planned on making some healing chicken soup with a few of them. But with the cooler weather and all, I wanted something more Stick-To-Your-Rib (ish) … and I compromised. Chicken & Rice Since I’m dealing with an anemic chicken – I’ve bolstered the meat by adding in a cup of boneless thigh meat and the leftover bones from the spatchcocking. I’m basing the recipe as if …

“Sway (swai) with Me”

Being a child of the 60’s had it’s advantages as far as television was concerned. There were only three channels to choose from, two of the stations signed off with the National Anthem as soon as the eleven o’clock news finished, and on Sundays (when there wasn’t demolition derby races going on) we got fishing shows. Now for those of you that couldn’t possibly remember, they weren’t hi-tech / multi camera / scripted programs….It was 2 guys in a boat….. fishing…. and talking about lures…. and casting…. and talking about the fish they almost caught last week…. and fishing.It’s enough to make any program director roll around on the floor – there was a lot of dead air. Around 1968 they started taking us out to fish camps in unusual locations (Minnesota) and fishing for unusual (Pike) fish. For a boy of 9 (and my dad), that was thrilling stuff – watching guys catch long, snakey, garbage fish, pitching a campsite on the edge of the lake, and cooking up what they caught. On that …

Shank’d – Faux Pho

I’m a horror when it comes to shopping at the international markets. I buy things that: I have no idea what they are or What you’re supposed to do with them or Buy just way too freakin‘ much of it. or Sometimes, all three…. shush…   My last outing, I bought 2 – 2.5 pound packages of white miso paste. In all fairness to me, one was miso + dashi, so that makes it all better… Anyway, I bought them, I own them, and they live in the freezer waiting for that special day when they would earn their keep in my kitchen. That would be today. Photo Courtesy of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association So, I was poking around the meat counter the other day can came across a package of Beef Shank Steaks. Two beautifully plump, thick marrowed, perfectly packaged 3″ hunks of bovine nirvana… and I had to have them. The thing was… I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with them… like the miso – I just wanted them. Last night I …

Hadji and a Couple of Thugs

Here’s the thing… so it’s not quite Alibaba and the Forty Thieves… okay – not even close. But the thought of packing 40 cloves of garlic into a chicken wing dish just gave Jane the Heebie Jeebies , ’cause she’s not really the garlic-zoo-breath kind of fan like I am. But – What I did have was: a lone leek that missed getting into the beef stew pool a shallot, some scallions a Spanish and Texas Sweet and a single garlic clove All just hanging around taking up space. So, it’s not a herd of scimitar wielding, pajama pant wearing, bare-chested  thieves… just a couple of smelly onion-y thugs. Chicken Wings with Mixed Alliums Serves 2 to 3 Ingredients  8 to 12 Whole Joint Chicken Wings 1 Leek 2 Shallots 1 Spanish (or other strong onion) 1 Texas Sweet (or other sweet onion) 1 Clove Garlic 2 Scallions 1 Carrot Salt and Cracked Black Pepper 6 to 8 Saffron Threads (a good pinch) 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin Amazon.com Widgets Preheat the oven to 375 Tuck the wing tips …

Vacations Past & Seafood Veracruz

Sometime well before The Gulf Cost of Mexico became a slightly more garish version of Panama City, you could grab a $150 flight with an ID and a promise that you were a US Citizen, bribe a taxi, and be on the beach somewhere in the vicinity of Campeche just before the sun started to set. I used pack a case of books, an industrial sized bottle of Hawaiian Tropic (back when we all got as brown as cocoa beans) and make my way there whenever I could. It’s not that there weren’t tons of things to do. I’m sure that if I were in the adventurous mood, I could have kept myself busy doing all types of exciting activities. But for me – There was the beach, there was the cold water flat, there were the waves that lapped dangerously close to my lodgings at night.. and down the beach, across 200 yards of scorching sand, was a hut that served my dinner every night –  grilled fresh fish veracruz and cervezas. Those trips were some …

Aversion Therapy and Lentil Pot Pie

Prior to this past week, I would have told you I hated lentils. Since we were supposed to have the storm of the season here with freezing rain, sleet and a nice layer of snow to top it off – I thought it was best to hoof it to the market and stock up on some staples. The last time I didn’t heed warnings, I was stuck in the house with a 1/2 eaten rotisserie chicken, a can of biscuits and an egg… for a week. So I grabbed the required 2.7 gallons of milk, 6 loaves of white bread and enough peanut butter to choke a horse. Just as I was about to queue into the “Bertha, we haven’t shopped in 3 months “ line, when I thought a nice pot of white bean stew would bolster us against the pending arctic weather nicely, and headed back to wedge a package of beans in next to the slightly squitched bread. There wasn’t any. There weren’t any kidney beans, limas, or black-eyed peas either. However, the nearly bare shelves had an …

Baleful Bounty – Chopping Broccoli

Typically, the garden year for me ends with the chili – picking festival as I strip even the most minuscule nub of a pepper off the plants just before fall. Don’t get excited… there are no invites – and the peppers just barely fill a mason jar. It’s a little ritual. The plants are uprooted and dug under, the garden is tidied up, the bales are raked apart so the harsh winter can continue to break down the straw mulch to build the growing humus under-layer in the beds. Except this year. this fall I decided to try a late season experiment with broccoli. The cooler weather is ideal for growing brassicas (cabbage family vegetables), and should keep down the bugs that usually torment my leafy things. I didn’t get very stellar heads. While the plants did produce copious amounts of greenery, I only harvested 8 golf ball sized florets. I’ll get around to doing something with them over the holiday, but that still left me with all those greens. Some time ago I caught an episode of French Food at …

Simple Dinner Sunday – Country Pork Ribs

Okay… a “Country-Style Rib” is really a misnomer – they really aren’t ribs … at all. While ribs come from ..well, the rib-ish  back and belly areas – Country Style ribs are actually from the shoulder roast (also known as a Boston Butt) area of the pig. And the little bits of bone? Shoulder blade. So, with that in mind – the “rib” is meatier and more tender since it’s coming from the shoulder end of the loin –  with none of the fibrous,  overly fatty and tough belly meat. Which – as it so happens – makes them a perfect candidate for marinating. Warning – a little local business plugging ahead…. Our local independent grocer here has recently undergone a renovation, name change and concept re-tooling. And while their original name (J&J) wasn’t exactly what you’d call a business driver… The new and improved store (Fresh & Frugal) peaked my interest… because I do love me some bargains when it comes to food.  It’s delightfully clean and sparkly (as most new-ish places are), the …