Coq Au Vin

This weekend I got brave and decided to try something new. I had never made coq au vin (chicken and wine) myself before. But I figured what the heck and gave it try. Sorry there are no photos for this entry. But I will definitely be making this again and will remember the camera next time.

Since I had never made coq au vin before I researched several recipes. My recipe was inspired by a Emeril Lagasse recipe I found on the Food Network’s recipe.

The biggest concern I had when looking at the various recipes was that the portions were huge. Most called for a whole chicken or 8 legs with thighs and legs intact. That was just too much for me. So I reduced the recipe down in some respects but not in others. I also changed a few other items. It took me less than two hours to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1/2 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 5 chicken thighs, skin on
  • Black pepper
  • A medium size vidallia onion thinly sliced
  • 2 8oz containers of sliced portabello mushrooms
  • A bunch of green onions sliced
  • 3 carrots thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups red wine (I used cooking wine because I had some on hand)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 red potatoes

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Bar Food: A zesty BBQ sauce

barfood

Last week while at a neighborhood bar one of my co-workers owns, I was lucky enough to have a tasty BBQ pork sandwich. Chuckie, a regular at the bar, made the delicious meal for all the patrons. He was also good enough to give me the recipe. Its got a zesty kick compared to your normal store bought sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 20 Italian long hots peppers (less if you get a spicy bunch)
  • A pint of Meyers dark spice rum
  • A stick of butter
  • A gallon of generic ribs and chicken BBQ sauce (Chuckie said he get the off-brand Pathmark kind)

Grill the Italian peppers on an open flame grill until they’re lightly charred.

In a large bowl, heat generic bbq sauce.

Melt in a stick of butter. Add peppers and rum. Let marinate together and then top your chicken or pork.

Calabaza (squash) with pork chops and noodles

CalabazaI finally had to turn my car’s AC on the other day, the temperature finally broke 80. And with summer, comes one of my favorite seasonal foods — summer squash. While the squash at the grocery store wasn’t the prettiest, by the time I made it there my heart was set and I had to have some.

I’m not really sure what this dish is called.

It’s one of the foods I learned by watching my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother all prepare. But like how the Spanish language was lost between generations, the name of this dish was as well. I remember my grandmother calling is calabaza, but I don’t think the word for squash does the taste of the dish justice.

I’ve made a few alterations, mainly to make it more single-dish friendly. Omit browning the noodles if you want to speed it up even more, but the flavor the noodles get from being fried first make all the difference. I use yellow squash and zucchini. My cousin and I disagree on this point, she thinks adding the zucchini makes it a different dish. But I think its tasty and adds a nice element of color.

Ingredients:

  • Squash and zucchini (I used 6 small pieces, but three large pieces are perfect)
  • Package of vermicelli
  • 1 lb Pork chops
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • vegetable oil

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Apple Preserves

Last fall I went apple picking and ended up with way too many apples. So I decided to preserve them.

Turns out finding mason jars on this side of the country that time of year isn’t an easy task. So if you’re going out in search of jars, I would call ahead first.

Apples I picked in Pennsylvania in the fall.

Apples I picked in Pennsylvania in the fall.

Ingredients:
Apples (whatever kind you have)
Mason jars for canning with seals and bands (enough to hold your apples)
Sugar

I peeled a pot full of apples. Then I used a corer to get them sliced into pieces and cored. I cut the chunks in half to make them fit into the jars easier.

I boiled a pot of water and added about two cups of sugar. I brought the water to a boil and then added the apples. I have a pot that includes a colander part that fits inside so I was able to remove and drain the apples without having to fish them all out.

The water should just cover the apples. They will float in the pot.

Boil the apples for about 15 minutes, until soft all the way through. Stir regularly to let all of the apples have time in the water.

Spoon the apples into the mason jars, filing each one entirely by pushing down on them with a spatula a little.

Wipe the rims of the jars to make sure they’re clean and then snugly fit on the lids and tightly screw on the rims. You should do this while they’re still hot.

Put the jars in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. When they’re done the lids shouldn’t pop anymore.

I used the double boiler again by putting the jars into the strainer part and them dropping into the boiling water.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you just need a girls night. My friend Kristen and I held one that included gooey chocolate chip cookies.

We based it off the Nestle Toll House Recipe but added a few of our own touches.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips (we threw in a few more until it was extra chocolaty)

The Toll House version said to preheat the oven to 375 degrees, but the first batch was a little crispy so we dropped it to 350 with better results.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Cream the butter, if straight from the fridge, its easier if you stick it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.

Kristen and I spent this portion of the process lamenting about how we wish we had a Kitchenaid stand mixer.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Use a spatula to stir in chocolate chips. The recipe calls for pecans, but we opted to leave them out. You can mix in anything else you want. (I suggest a little peanut butter)

Scoop on to cookie sheet spray with non-stick spray. They work best using a tablespoon to make big heaping cookies.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes. Cool, or eat when they’re nice and gooey.

Mardi Gras King Cake

1/2 c. warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
About 5 cups of flour, more or less as needed
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. warm milk
5 large egg yolks
1 stick plus 2 T. butter, cut in slices and softened
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 T. of milk
lots of ground cinnamon (I used about 3-5 tablespoons)
1 tiny plastic doll (you can find the dolls at a party store in the baby shower section)

Optional Cream Cheese Filling all creamed together:

1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a few drops of milk

Cake Directions:

Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for several minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set yeast mixture in a warm place for 10 minutes (I put mine in front of a space heater). Combine 3 and 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg, a tablespoon of cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make sure the ingredients are all mixed up.

Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast and milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Soften the butter in the microwave but be careful not to let it totally melt.

This is the arm work. Keep stirring the mixture for about 5 minutes. It will start to get really elastic. The recipe claims that it will turn into a “medium soft ball” but in neither attempts did this occur until I started mixing in a little more flour.

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Guacamole

Ingredients:
— Three ripe avocados

Guacamole

Guacamole

— A medium size tomato
— A small, or half a large sweet onion
— A lime or Fruit Fresh
— Garlic Powder

Cut the avocados in half and remove pit. Use a spoon to get the edible part of the avocado out, be sure to scrape all the way to the skin since the dark green part on the edges is the tastiest in my opinion.

Dice the tomato and onion in the small pieces and add to avocado.

Add garlic powder to your taste.

Add the juice or a lime or fruit fresh, this keeps it from browning.

Stir it all together, mashing the avocado junks as you go.