Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Turkey and Unpronouceable Noodles

My kitchen light went out.  On a weekend.  And not just went out, but broke in the socket.  And of course, I couldn't figure out what breaker to flip to go up and get the light bulb.  So instead of electrocuting myself and hoping I didn't come crashing down the 8 foot ladder onto my small child, I simply lived with a dark kitchen until Monday when a friend could come over and help.  Of course payment is needed, so I made dinner.  I had some turkey breast in the freezer and some fresh noodles from the farmers market in the fridge (the name is about 28 syllables long so I won't even attempt to say let alone spell it).  So turkey, noodles, and pan sauce it was......  The pan sauce turned out pretty well.  The noodles got sauteed in butter and a little balsamic vinegar and were excellent.  I hesitate to describe the noodles too much because this isn't an X-rated blog.......  So suffice to say they are potato based, about 3 inches long, and have a rather cylindrical shape.  I'll let you extrapolate the details......  In all, the meal was pretty good.  No veggies, which is probsbly not a good habit to get in since I'm trying to raise Charlotte in a healthy way, but my male, beer-drinking, carnivorous friend didn't seem to mind.  Especially since I didn't make any soggy fried food this time.

Pan-fried Turkey Breast with Mustard Pan Sauce

2 Turkey breasts, pounded flat (about 3cm thick)
1/2C Flour (for dredging the turkey breasts in)
Oil for cooking
White Wine
Flour for the roux

I'll put the recipe in later, Charlotte is trying to turn the stove on again......

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A for concept, C- for execution

Experiment #1 in Sandwich Creation had mediocre results.  The concept was a sandwich that was a perfect compliment to a beer.  I think the concept was good, execution and details were not quite right.  The beer marinated chicken was excellent.  I think as a marinade and a glaze the concoction was a hit.  However the beer mayo was a strange combo, the beer sauce was a little strong, and the sandwich lacked something.  Maybe it was the pickles I forgot that would have lightened it up a little.  Texture, crispiness, and general meat-to-other-stuff ratios were all pretty good.  Should have left the chicken breasts whole, added something for crunch, and done something different with the sauces.  But, of course, my lab rat of choice for this one loves chicken, and being a single guy was just glad he was getting a hot meal and not cooking. So he performed his end well by telling me it tasted great......  hey, I've got a fragile ego, it helps when someone tells me my cooking is good.  Even when I know its only ok.

The fries were again a disaster.  Its a good thing I'm not looking for a job at McDonalds.......  I can't deep fry worth anything.  The homemade chipotle mayo was really good though.  I really like the combination of flavors, especially with the tang of the white wine vinegar.   I will definitely use the mayo as a base for lots of other things, just not oil soaked fries......

So, overall, an A for concept C- for execution.  And the only reason I didn't fail was because the chicken was actually pretty good.  Definite potential for the chicken and the mayo, everything else was pretty sad.

Beer Marinated Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts

1 Bottle Beer
1/4 C Dijon Mustard
1/8C Honey
1t Crushed Garlic
1/2t Cumin
1/4t Allspice
1/4t Cinnamon

Boil all ingredients until slightly thickened, about 8min.  Reserve 1/4 of the Marinade.  Marinate Chicken in the sauce for 2-3 hours.  Heat oil in non-stick fry pan.  Remove Chicken and shake off excess marinade.  Pan roast chicken until golden, about 7-8min per side.  Pour reserved marinade over chicken and roast for additional 1-2min per side.  Remove from pan and serve immediately (as opposed to putting on the sandwich that I made and didn't like).

Chipotle Mayo

1 Egg Yolk
1/2t Dijon Mustard
1t Lemon Juice
1t White Wine Vinegar
2t Crushed Garlic
1C Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
1/2t Dried Chipotle
1/2t Cumin
1/2t Smoked Paprika
1/4t Allspice
1/4t Cinnamon

Whisk egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar until light yellow.  Add olive oil in a steady stream while continuing to whisk.  Whisk until thick and white.  Fold in salt, chipotle, cumin, paprika, allspice, and cinnamon.  Allow to chill overnight before using.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Supper club is back on, after several weeks of sick kids.  At my house, which is good and bad.  Good because it lets me cook, bad because it means I have to do dishes.  I had planned to have one of my guy friends over to start testing out my sandwiches this week, but that fell through.  So the loaf of bread I bought was going stale.  Solution: Bread Pudding!  And I had a whole chicken in the freezer that I must have bought on a whim.  I don't know why, since I don't cook or eat whole chicken.  But with those left overs I had enough inspiration.  The recipes and cooking techniques were pretty basic.  Roast chicken and bread pudding (a version of stuffing) don't get more straight-from-the-farm than that.

The meal was great.  And it made the apartment smell wonderful.  I cooked without recipes again, so I was pretty happy that it all turned out so well.  Especially since I guessed on the time it would take the chicken to cook.  But the chicken turned out perfectly golden brown, the potatoes that I used as a roasting rack, since I didn't have one, absorbed the butter very nicely.  And the pan sauce was very rich, perhaps due to all the butter I used to baste the chicken......

In all, I think it was a hit.  Especially since chicken and mushroom-based things are the stand-bys for the Condon household and of course everything is better with bacon.

Herb Butter Roasted Chicken over Potatoes and Onions
1 whole chicken
1/2C Butter
2T Thyme
2T Rosemary
2 Baking Potatoes - cut into 2in squares or larger
1 Whole Onion - cut into quarters, root still attached
1C White Wine
2C Chicken Stock

Mix butter, herbs, 1t Salt, 1/2t Pepper together.

Mushroom Bacon Bread Pudding

Will finish later.....  Time to go play with the baby!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to simplify your kitchen and make your friends fat

I decided that my cabinets have too much stuff in them that I haven't used in a long time......  Or ever.  Like marshmallows in the shape of ghosts.  So I decided to clean house.  Starting with the Chocolate Shelf.  Yes, I have a shelf dedicated to Chocolate.  Yes, Chocolate is a proper pronoun.  Anything that can inspire you, curse you, lead you to do illegal things, and be so sinfully amazing deserves a proper pronoun.  So, I decided to start getting rid of all the extra bags of Chocolate that, when combined in one basket, weigh more than my 10month old baby.  So, I started with the two brownie mixes that were left over from when I was pregnant with said baby and wasn't sure when I was going to have a Chocolate Craving at 3am.  It happened frequently.....  And if anyone made fun of me for it I promptly sat on the with my 2 brownie packages a night pregnant behind.....  But now that I'm not all hopped up on hormones I don't need the generic brownie mixes, so those were the first to go.  But I can't just make brownies and take them in to the office (the office, being my disposal option of choice, had no idea what level of Chocolate and general sugar overdoses they were in for........).  So I had to put something on top of them.

I happened to have an open jar of chunky peanut butter.  Which I hate.  I have it because a friend had a family member staying in her house who bought it.  And my friend hates it too.  So I did her a favor and disposed of it right into my cabinets.  So, this is the jar of peanut butter that keeps on giving.  Add a little butter, powdered sugar, and SHAZAM, we now have a lightly peanutty nougat reminiscent of the inside of a Snickers bar.  Well, luckily I have a whole canister of salted peanuts to add to the inside of this Snickers brownie (the shazam also triggered the theme epiphany.....).  But Snickers keeps the peanuts together with caramel.  So of course I had to make caramel.  Easy.  Done.

Now we have brownie (with an extra bag of Chocolate Chips added to them, did I mention that?), with nougat on top, and salted peanuts and caramel on top of that.  But Snickers has Chocolate all the way around....so we need more Chocolate.....

I wanted to do a Chocolate Ganache, but couldn't remember the proportions.  So I looked around and found a fudge recipe.  Great!  Top the thing with fudge.  So I made that, it wasn't as smooth as it should have been, but I was working fast and had an ankle-biter wanting attention.  But it turned out ok, and was solid enough that it was a good top to sandwich in the nougat, peanuts, and caramel.

The only thing that went wrong was that I didn't bake the brownies enough, so they were uncooked in the middle.  Which of course I didn't find out until I had made the whole thing and cut into it.  Needless to say I had a huge melt-down.  After the melt-down I decided to take in the edge pieces which were cooked.  And of course with Chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, caramel, and more Chocolate.....rave reviews ensued.

Next week...... peanut butter, Chocolate, and left over cereal......  They'll never know what hit 'em.

Deep man, deep.....

Trey send me a bunch of magazines.  Mostly all cooking magazines, which is pretty much like porn for me.  One of the ones that I got was Cooks Illustrated, which as cooking magazines go, is one of my least favorite due to the lack of color pictures.  Because what is porn without the graphic pictures.....  Anyway, I was flipping through and it did have a recipe for Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  I do know that Cooks Illustrated is a very well respected magazine, and their recipes are top notch.  This particular recipe struck me, possibly because it takes pizza, which I love, and adds a whole lot more of what I love....cheese and bread.  


I finished this post, saved and published it......  or so I thought.  I spent a long time on this one, and even included the recipe. With all measurements in metric.  And now its lost in cyberspace.


I'll try again later.  I'll summarize that the dough was perfect, the extra cheese (fresh buffalo mozarella and burgkase, local of course) was excellent, and the sauce was too thin.  So it turned into tomato cheese soup in the best breadbowl ever.

I'll see if I can recreate the post.  Probably not since I did it pretty late at night.  Oh well.  Such is life I suppose.