home_and_away: (Pan)
(or When the Squeak's Away, the Adults Get Brave)

We've decided to try cooking our involved, somewhat experimental meals on the weekends when Dae's not at home, especially if it's the recipe's debut.

Our reasoning is this: it's not that we don't want to expose Dae to new tastes...we just don't want to expose him to the mad cursing weaving dance that invariably happens when we each try to create a dish for the meal in two large pots on the same stove/oven, using the same counter, cuttingboard, stool, and knives.
Maybe if the first run doesn't go to hell, we'll try him out on the second one.
When we have a clue what we're doing.
But not the first time, with the sharp knives and the boiling or frying hot pots and the yelling to locate a spice. (note for next time: the spice you need is in your partner's hand. Always. Unless it's the salt, in which case it and the windex may be wherever the last spill was. Which is why we need to buy more tomorrow.)

Also: It's 19:28 now, as I type; we've got 45 minutes to go before this is food. So something like 20:15, we'd all be sitting down to dinner. What do you do if the baby tries it and hates it at thirty minutes to bedtime? Yes, we could've started earlier, but then we wouldn't've had a diningroom table to sit at to eat. Not that we *will*; just that we *could*.

(It's been a busy day, you see; we've been de-boxing the diningroom and livingroom and coatcloset. It may not sound like much, but you've got to imagine what happens when the years-of-accumulated-boxes-of-shyte of two and a half packratty people move into the same apartment. It was madness. But it's getting better. Soon, there'll be room for more than two people to come over and maybe even game. And a table to do it at! This is nothing short of seismic, my friends. Be in awe. "It wasn't *that* bad, was it?" says Mark, reading over my shoulder. This is bull; he knows it was every Troy ounce that bad. ~snicker~)

So.
For the next time we try this concoction:

* Buy the parsley and the chicken fresh the day you cook.
You get prettier parsley that way (no chance for the Mead-jacking Refridgerator of Doom to freeze it solid) and you save an hour by not having to defrost the chicken.

* When Monk says, "the freshest and best quality you can afford" when talking about the garlic, HEED.
Or else lay in twice the garlic you expect to need to compensate for how much you'll have to toss as too old.
We bought four heads of garlic in the neatly packaged boxes (it was what we could find) and when we broke it apart, three of them gave us 42 cloves. Swell, right? Then we started skinning the cloves...and found a full half of them green at one end and spotted oddly at the other. So we picked apart the remaining head, which, thankfully, was in good health... Final count of cloves? Thirty-seven. ~sigh~ Which reminds me:

* Either set aside a half-hour or so to break and skin garlic, or find a faster/better/neater way.
If you happen to be the keeper of that Way (remembering that the cloves need to stay whole and un-squished), I'd be in your debt if you'd let me in on the secret.

* I don't know how it'll taste yet (two minutes to go; Mark's put our cooled mashed potatoes into ovensafe bowls in the oven to warm; I'm typing and drooling like one of Pavlov's best.), but for the white wine in question, we've followed Justin Wilson's advice ("When in doubt, cook wit' a wine you LIKE.") and used a Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay 2003. It smells divine.

...
Okay.
I hear flatware and plates in the livingroom.
It's time.
~grin~ If you're interested, I'll post my mashed potatoes mix later. Hate to call it a recipe when not one damn thing gets measured.
But right now, I've got the chicken of love to devour.
Here, look:

Bonne nuit, mes amis. :D
home_and_away: (Default)
"Breaking Bread With Father Dominic"? Meet "Cooking at the Abbey"...

Tomato-Mozzarella Salad with Spiked Pine Nuts and Basil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch hot red pepper flakes
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon currants
Salt to taste
2 tightly-packed tablespoons fresh basil, torn
7 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Tomatoes and Mozzarella:
6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, sliced
vertically about 1/2-inch thick
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, packed in liquid,
sliced 1/2-inch thick
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, garlic, the two peppers, onion, currants and
salt to taste. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Just before assembling the dish, stir
in the basil, and all but 1/2 teaspoon or so of the pine nuts.
2. Alternate slices of tomato and cheese on a plate, lightly seasoning each tomato slice with a little salt. Sprinkle each mozzarella slice with a teaspoon or so of the onion ixture and sprinkle it with about 1/2 teaspoon pine nuts.

Sprinkle the entire dish with the olive oil, and any leftover pine nuts and onion mixture. Serve at room temperature
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monk's Indian-style Curry

2 tb Butter and 1 tb oil
1 1/2 lb Beef or lamb, 1 1/2" cubes
2 Onions, large, chopped
2 Unpeeled cooking apples Cored and chopped
2 tb Curry powder
4 tb Flour
2 c Beef stock
1/2 c Seedless raisins
1 tb Tomato paste
1 tb Major Grey’s chutney
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat the butter and oil over
moderately high heat. When the foam subsides, thoroughly brown the
meat a few pieces at a time and remove to a side dish. Cook onions
and apples in the same fat until lightly browned, and add to the
meat. Add the curry powder and cook slowly for a few minutes. Whisk
the flour into the beef stock, pour over the curry mixture, whisking
to prevent lumps. Heat to simmer, stirring constantly. You want a
smooth, thickened sauce. Add remaining ingredients, simmer a few
minutes more and return the meat, onions and apples to the pan. Cover
and set in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
Serve with plain boiled rice.
home_and_away: (Pan)
God. Bless. This. Man.

For those of you curious "Why him?" I offer two things.

One: "Yes, we are all a composite of every lover who came before."

and Two:
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic )

... I love the way things mingle in Monk's mind...
home_and_away: (Pan)
Been a while since I made use o' the filing cabinet for recipie purposes.
As we all know, Jess isn't a very domestic cat. Domesticated, yes. Domestic, no. So cooking is usually something that happens with a spatula in one hand and a box, bag, or can with instructions in the other.

Sue me. I love my easy comfort food.

Apparently I'm not alone.
This one was gleaned from someone who loved his wife and hated her habit for orange cheese-powder Mac & Cheese.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now go make some for someone you love.

1 medium onion -- chopped
1 clove garlic – minced
1 cup ham - diced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 tablespoons margarine
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups white cheddar cheese -- shredded, divided (or a mix of Romano, Parmesan, and Assagio)
8 ounces macaroni -- cooked
1/3 cup toasted bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper and sauté
until tender. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture
bubbles slightly, about 2 minutes. Add milk, a little at a time, mixing
thoroughly after each addition. Bring to a boil, add salt, peppers, and one
cup of the cheddar cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Spray a 1.5-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Place cooked macaroni in
the dish. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and mix gently. Sprinkle the
remaining cheese (1/2 cup) over the top. Spread the breadcrumbs over the
cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and
the sauce is bubbling.

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