Showing posts from 2011

Christmas dinner 2011

Christmas dinner was an awesome potluck experience.  We had our good friend's, the Millers, over to celebrate.  I have tried a few other times to cook for them with disastrous results.  Needless to say, that fact was heavy on my mind as I planned the meal. We wanted to do a ham this year which is a change from the usual turkey  or rib roast that we tend to do. Suzy also provided some of the side dishes. My task was to cook the ham and the mac and cheese. 

I found a recipe online and changed it a bit.  I packed the ham with brown sugar, stuck in some whole cloves and let it cook and melt a bit, then after 30 minutes I poured a coke over it to create a basting sauce in the bottom of the pan.  I also created a second baste of pineapple juice and sweet concord grape wine.

The mac and cheese began as a pioneer woman recipe with some modifications.  Cheddar, fontina, and jack cheese were combined with bacon with bread crumbs on top created a decadent, creamy and delicious rustic mac & chee…

Herb harvest for drying

I harvested some herbs for drying this season.   Pictured is (l to r) Rosemary, Mint, Lavender, Thyme and Oregano.
Everything except the lavender were washed, dried and placed in a paper bag, tightly rolled to complete the drying process.  Lavender was dried on a cookie sheet.  I know that some may say this is not the way to do it and you risk mold.   I say, HA!  I've done this several times, and have yet to have moldy herbs.  I washed them and then tightly rolled them in a towel to squeeze the water out of them, so I hope I will be safe again this time.  

I usually keep a small lunch sack on my kitchen counter and whenever I use fresh herbs, I put the leftovers and stems (that always seem to have a few leaves left on them) into this bag.  After several months all of these have dried and I clean and grind them through a colander to produce what I refer to as Herbs De Reid.

As I had all this homegrown awesomeness in front of me...I couldn't JUST dry them for future use. I made a thym…

Salmon Steaks (mock filets), polenta squares, wilted spinach and yellow tomatoes

Dutchie has finished her work for her Master in Business, so I wanted to cook something special tonight.

I've seen this mock filet technique on the food network (I forget who did it, maybe Alton Brown). I've been waiting to do this, but haven't found any good looking salmon steaks. Until now.  They opened up a Kroger Marketplace (in Little Elm) near our house. That place is massive and a bit overwhelming, but they have a great selection of everything.

So armed with the knowledge that I was going to do these salmon filets, I headed up there to see what else jumped out out me for the meal.
I saw yellow tomatoes so I knew that would be added to the plate simply, then I saw some bunch spinach and some bulb onions.  I knew the wilted spinach with bulb onions and garlic would go perfectly with the salmon, so that was the main veg. Another thing I've been anxious to try is grilled polenta squares.  It took a LONG time to find the polenta, and the 3 people I asked didn't even kno…

Thanksgiving Pot Pie

So like everyone else, I had some thanksgiving leftovers, and friday I was wondering what else to do with them.  I already had the obligatory turkey, brie and cranberry sandwich. I saw a short cooking segment on the today show, they ALWAYS run out of time and don't show the whole thing.  At the end the chef just mentioned and quickly  showed a small turkey pot pie. BINGO!!! I know what we're eating tonight!
So I quickly looked at a few recipes online, and got the gist of it and then I went for it, using only my brain as a weapon. I started by gathering what I thought would work...turkey, mashed potatoes, baked corn and puffed pastry was all left over from thanksgiving.  I added celery, onion, garlic, chicken stock and frozen peas. I chopped everything up and fired up the cast iron skillet. Olive oil was heated, then I put in the onions,  celery, garlic and corn. After they softened up a bit, I added the turkey, mashed potatoes (and gravy) and chicken stock and a few tablespoons of flour …

Swordfish with Cucumber Sauce

I wanted to cook some swordfish last night for the first time.  I found a good recipe online with and I was off to the races.  Dutchie is doing very well on her diet so we still try to feed the flock with things that we can all eat.  So I added simple lemon asparagus and a salad.  
The swordfish began with onions, garlic, chili paste, worcestershire sauce and lemon juice which all created the initial glaze.  I then grilled it on the stovetop grill.  In the meantime, I chopped cucumbers, and combined it with sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and s/p and put in the fridge.
I cheated and used the microwave to heat the asparagus.  I cut slices of lemons and used the pulp to season the asparagus during cooking.  I plated the veggi by inserting several stalks in the middle of the lemon rind.  Was a nice look.
Once the fish was done, I topped it with the cool refreshing cucumber sauce. The glaze had a slight amount of spice/heat to it, but that was brilliantly counteracted by th…

Gordon Ramsay's Herb Roasted Chicken

Pulled out a cookbook from my favorite chef, Gordon, and found something that is allowed on my wife's diet, Herb Roasted Chicken.  He suggests a potato gratin to go with it, but Dutchie couldn't eat that, not to mention that Zachary called it gross.  Most of the recipes in this book  aren't very easy or practical, but they provide a challenge. I paired this with 2 different sautéed veggies....carrots and green bean beans.   The carrots were cooked with parsley and shallots,  and the beans were cooked with bacon slices. Gordon instructed to remove the legs as they take a bit longer than the breasts to cook, so I roasted them simply with s/p and some herb scraps.  This was Zachary's protein.   For the rest of the bird, I created an herb butter and placed it up under the skin, with a lemon slice.   I used carrots, onion, leek and celery to prop up the chicken and to add flavor.   This is meant to be discarded, but I think I will use that and the carcass to create some  h…

Grilled Tilapia with fruit

I've been absent for a few weeks due to work commitments, but since the page views have gone down to nil, I thought I'd better do something so you guys dont forget about us. Dutchie is on a strict diet, Slim4Life, and I've been putting in hellacious hours at the edit suite, so there hasn't been much excitement going on at our dinner table. However....last night Dutchie cooked a meal that is very blog worthy! She grilled tilapia filets to perfection, then topped them with fruit, peaches & strawberries with basil and mint.  This was simply plated with basmati rice and asparagus.  All sticking to the confines of her diet, which include, but not limited to, NO oil, and only smart balance butter. Most of her special meals have had that "healthy or diet" quality to them, all taste relatively good, but you immediately feel that you are eating healthy. This meal was moist, delicious and a joy to eat.  The fruit topping went so well with the grilled fish, that I&…

Schnitzel on Spätzle!!!! Das ist gut!!!

My camera was running low on battery,  so just a couple of pics. I stole the idea for this meal from  "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives". Schnitzel on Spätzle. Schnitzel is a term in Germany, that us southern folks like to call chicken fried. They both mean some kind of meat that is breaded and fried. Spätzle is a small noodle that you shove through a colander, to form little nuggets. I got 3 chicken breasts and pounded them thin with the back of my ladle.  I almost  bought a meat tenderizing hammer, but they wanted $14.   My ladle did the trick just fine.   My dredging station was flour/eggs/panko bread crumbs in that order. Then you fry these things until they are  golden brown and crispy. The Spätzle is basically normal pasta dough, but you push it thru a colander or slotted spoon held over a pot of boiling water.  The dough drops off in these little nuggets, and you  boil them for just a few minutes.  Then into a saucepan with butter, lemon and chives to give  them a little color and more f…

Veggie Stir Fry

I'm trying to keep our meals varied and balanced, so tonight I chose veggie stir fry. Showcased on our brand new cutting board are mushy-rooms, scallions, garlic,  ginger, matchsticks carrots,  asparagus and snap peas. I added some oyster sauce, sesame oil & soy sauce to  the stir fry, and I plated it with brown rice. Quick, simple and delicious!!!
父亲喂养他的羊群 ("The father has fed his flock" in Chinese)

VIDEO of me throwing pizza dough

I've already blogged about this meal so I wont bore you, but I made Jamie Oliver's, from scratch, pizza recipe (dough and sauce) again tonight. So I could make a blog entry I had Dutchie take this video.  We did it twice for the obvious fact that I wanted close ups....We DO own a video production company, in case you forgot. This is just me tossing the dough and not creating the whole pizza. Let me know what you think of the video.  Is it better than photos? Dang the pizzas were good. Made one pepperoni (turkey pepperoni), one cheese and garlic (by far the best one) and the third was half cheese and half turkey pepp!

Cornish Game Hens, Corn Soufflé and Twice Baked Potatoes

Cornish game hens started the creative for this meal.  I was going to pair it with my famous baked corn and sour cream casserole, but as I was looking at the recipe book and I noticed a recipe for corn souffle.  Changed my mind since I have seen the recipe MANY times, but never paid it any mind.   It caught my eye.  Twice baked taters were the starch/carb for the meal. The game hen was cooked with a shallot/parsley/butter tucked up under the skin. This both crisped up the skin and made the meat very juicy and tender. The corn souffle was very interesting.  It did not rise like a typical souffle, but it  did have the familiar taste, but with savory corn. I halved the hens and served 1/2 to everyone (yea! leftovers), one twice baked and scoop of awesomeness, and my plate was ready to empty! I just started 2 large, major video projects, so I'm not sure how often I will be able to blog for the next month or so. I know I will squeeze in a few, cause we still are going to eat every day,  but I…

Chicken Wings 3 ways

I carefully choose flavors to create a marinade for my baked wings (first way), set up this photo, combined them perfectly in a bowl.  I went to add the last ingredient, and right at the very last instant, I know, I've had this for a LONG time.  I wonder when it expires?  4 months ago!!! Hence the red X.  My wife is VERY particular when it comes to food expiration dates.   By the way...How can they possibly know the EXACT date that it will spoil and no longer be edible?????? These wings got baked in the oven with this orient inspired marinade. Corn starch and French's fried onion battered wings (2nd way) were up next.  The corn starch puts such a nice crisp on anything fried, so I mixed some in with some flour.  flour/egg&milk/fried onion was the dredge order.  Into the FryDaddy until..... they looked like THIS! Chicken wings 3rd way was a simple flour and corn starch dusting, fry, and put into a paper bag with some lemon zest and parmesan. Some grill roasted corn o…

Slow Cooked Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork!!!  Need I say more? I've been wanting to do pulled pork for some time now.  I thought that BBQ would be too easy and I wanted to broaden my horizons a bit....Cuban pulled pork sandwiches. Armed with several online recipes I purchased a lot of spices and citrus. Cumin seeds, peppercorns and garden coriander seeds were toasted to release their oils.  The smell was so awesome and when I put them in the spice grinder, it smoked as if it was on fire, and the smell was ultra concentrated.  I then mixed it with course salt and dried oregano. I coated my pork loin, cut into thirds, with this mixture, on all sides. Then I seared all sides of the pork in my Gordon Ramsay saucepan.   FYI-I love my GR pots and pans.  They came with little sacks to keep them all in, which can be used to polish the stainless steel.  I tried to keep them in the sacks, but that didn't last very long. In my crockpot in put orange juice, lime juice and lemon juice plus the carcasses from the fruit.  It di…

Simple meat and potatoes? No, a couple of surprises!

This shot is homage to my friend Buddy Broyles!
Zachary requested steak so I headed to Kroger.  I figured steak, mashed potatoes and a veggie, quick and simple.  While in the produce section my eye caught the pablano peppers.  They looked inviting, so I could I use this. Instantly, I thought pablano mashed potatoes!!!! First I roasted the pepper on the grill. after seeping in a ziplock for a few minutes, the skin came right off.  I chopped it up very fine and included it within my mashed taters.   Butter, sour cream, milk and queso fresco  crumbles completed this side. That was the first surprise. I marinated the nice large T bone steak with  walnut oil, garlic  and garden oregano and rosemary and cooked it on the grill. The second surprise was the homemade steak sauce.   In my family we all know this as Cousin Mike's Zesty Sauce, and often refer to it as Mike's sauce. This is the most awesome-est steak sauce I've ever had. It's made with butter, ketchup, garlic, soy s…