Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Fun #72 - Fat Tuesday Foods

Ash Wednesday Greetings to you all! You've probably noticed that I like to tie these WFs in with something current when possible, asking you to name your favorite green food for St. Patrick's Day, reflecting on the previous year and talking about resolutions as the year changes, tomatoes in late July, etc.

So for Ash Wednesday, um, I could poll you about your favorite fatty/fried foods that you might have had on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday. Or I could ask if you're giving up any foods/beverages for Lent. Or, um, I could ask you to tell a funny story about burning up food on the grill or in the oven until it was ashes?

In Ireland, as in many other places, pancakes are the Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday food. Sometimes it's even called Pancake Tuesday. So in honor of that, and since I had my first paczki yesterday, let's go with the Fat Tuesday route, huh? Are there any foods that you make a point to eat, of religious or cultural or traditional significance (or just habit!), on Fat Tuesday?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

March theme?

In this past Wednesday Fun's comments, Diplowhat suggested/requested we do "Breakfasts" as March's theme. That's peachy with me, but we'd originally had "Soups & Stews" scheduled & I just want to make sure nobody's been waiting for the chance to post a specific recipe with that in mind. So, I threw a new poll up to the right, if you'd help out by weighing in. I'll go with whichever's got the most votes by the end of Feb/beg of March. (We'll have visitors again on the weekend, so there might be a small delay, but I'll get there.)

Also, I'll add the tags "eggs" and "breakfast" right away. Let's use the "eggs" label for dishes that are primarily or substantially egg-based, not just, say chocolate chip cookies 'cuz they're in there, ok?

Thanks for the suggestions, Diplowhat!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Citrus Chicken

An embarrassingly long time ago, The Sexy Blonde made this for Wednesday Dinner. It was delicious, and I said she should post the recipe to Recipeeps. But, with the whole new mom + full-time-job thing, she didn't think she'd have time.

"Oh, I'll do it!" I said. So she promptly emailed me a link to the recipe. I not-so-promptly failed to post it here for a very long time. Oops?

Anyway, this is delicious and makes your kitchen smell heavenly. From Cooking Light.

Citrus Chicken

1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups bagged prewashed baby spinach


Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Pour 1/4 cup juice mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag. Seal; let stand 5 minutes. Add oil to remaining juice mixture; stir well with a whisk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place 1 1/2 cups spinach on each of 4 plates. Divide chicken evenly among servings; top each serving with 1 tablespoon juice mixture.

Wednesday Fun #71 - Sickie Food

As I write this on Tuesday, my 4 year old is home sick from school. She's had a low grade fever for a few days now, and I'm really hoping she shakes this bug soon. (Yes, if she doesn't, I'll take her in to see her dr.)

Her throat's been sore, her appetite is lessened, and her whining has been a little increased, so we've been trying to feed her nice, soft foods that she likes. Which has been rather hit or miss - she even turned down homemade noodles from chicken soup.

It got me thinking about "sickie foods." You know, the ones you crave when you're feeling under the weather. Maybe it's something your mom only gave you when you were sick, or good ol' fashioned chicken soup, or something spicy to clear out your sinuses... For me, it's Mrs. Grass's Chicken Noodle Soup (with golden nugget!). It's nice and warm, the noodles are small and soft (no hard chewing!), and you can put it in a mug and curl up on the couch under some blankets. I try to keep some on hand just in case.

How about you? What's your favorite sickie food?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Molten Lava Cakes

Ok, this is actually from All-Knowing Jen, but I pulled it out of a comment so that it'd show up on searches with labels and such. Yay for chocolate!

I made Chocolate Lava cakes last year -sooo yummy!

Molten Lava Cakes- Recipe courtesy Paula Deen/Food Network

6 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (I left this out, didn't have any, they were still good!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.

Quick Pickles

I meant to post this back in January. Sorry. Anyway, this is a wonderful summer treat as it's nice and cool, but really is good any time. You can adjust this to add or subtract anything you like.

1 c. white vinegar
3/4 -1c. sugar (I prefer 3/4)
Mix these two together in a casserole dish or any other container that can hold the rest of the ingredients. It will take a bit of stirring.

1-2 regular cucumbers, sliced, or 1-3 Chinese or English cucumbers, chopped (depending on size) (see pictures)
Layer the cucumbers in any dish with a layer of salt in between each layer of cucumber. Let the cucumbers "sweat" for 1-2 hours. (Will need less time if using Chinese or English cucumbers). Rinse.

Put cucumbers in the vinegar/sugar mixture. Also add (at any time):

1/2 - 1 onion, sliced and cut in half (easy to eat slices)
3-4 red chilis (optional) de-seeded and sliced (They will not be spicy after soaking, but add a good flavor.)
1/2 - 1 red or yellow bell pepper (optional)
Put this all in the fridge and chill for at least 1 + hours. Enjoy! Will keep in the fridge for 3+ days.

*if the cucumbers taste at all salty after marinating for an hour, don't worry. The longer they soak, the less salty they will taste, until there is no salt taste.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Fun #70 - Special Menu

In case the giant Hallmark ads haven't hit you over the head yet, Saturday is Valentine's Day. Now, like me, you might be planning a nice evening at home that night - maybe it's too hard/expensive to get a sitter, you don't like how crowded restaurants are that night, you're going to be spending it with your own special self, you're on a strict budget, you've got a BRAND new little baby (Hey, I'm writing this on Tues eve & last I heard AKJ is still waiting!), or whatever.

So my question for you this week - what sort of menu are you planning on or would you recommend for Valentine's Day or any special night? Generalities are fine, or feel free to mention/link to any specific recipes.

I think we're having some steak I pulled out of the freezer along with homemade bread, classic baked potatoes and whatever veg (maybe asparagus with balsamic browned butter sauce!) I pick up at the store this week. But if we wouldn't have just HAD the veggie tempura, I think I'd've gone with an "I can do Chinese at home!" theme with Crisp-Fried Vegetables and Sichuan-Style Stir-Fried Chicken with Peanuts. Maybe pick up some sorbet for dessert - maybe mango and/or raspberry...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crisp-Fried Vegetables (or Fish) with Hot & Sweet Dipping Sauce aka Vegetable Tempura

Mr. Kluges requested this recipe the other day, and then proceeded to be the chef that night. He even asked for fresh fish to do with it, and put it in the batter & cooked it in the oil after he was done with the vegetables and it was DELICIOUS! And I don't tend to like fish.

So if you're craving some yummy veggies, these are it. I'm totally going to have to remember this recipe for those times when we end up with a lot of small amounts of assorted vegetables from the CSA... This could also be a good appetizer, but you've got to let them cool enough you don't burn yourself, but still have them nice and hot. But if you're having one of those get-togethers where everybody is in the kitchen anyway, they can just eat them as they come out of the pan and cool a tish!

Crisp-Fried Vegetables (Or Fish)
with Hot & Sweet Dipping Sauce
(aka Vegetable Tempura)
From Classic Vegetarian Recipes.
Serves 4.

vegetable oil, for deep-frying
500 g / 1 lb. 2 oz. selection of vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli (yum), mushrooms (my fav!), courgettes (zucchini), bell peppers, and baby sweetcorn cobs, cut into even sized pieces. [Green beans and onions are also yummy.]

125 g / 4.5 oz / 1 c. plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. caster (superfine, but reg is ok) sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
200 ml / 7 fl. oz. / scant 1 c. warm water

Sauce: [Also good on plain brown rice]
6 Tbl. light malt vinegar
2 Tbl. Thai fish sauce or light soy sauce
2 Tbl. water
1 Tbl. soft brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. grated ginger root
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped finely [we skip]
2 Tbl. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

1. To make the batter, sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the oil and most of the water. Whisk together to make a smooth batter, adding extra water to give it the consistency of single (light) cream. Chill for 20-30 min.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the vinegar, fish sauce or soy sauce, water, sugar and a pinch of salt until boiling. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

3. Mix together the garlic, ginger, chillies and coriander (cilantro) in a small serving bowl. Add the cooled vinegar mixture and stir together.

4. Heat the vegetable oil for deep-frying in a wok or deep-fryer. [We use a dutch oven or large skillet.] Dip the prepared vegetable in the batter and fry them, a few at a time, until crisp and golden - about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

5. Serve the vegetables accompanied by the dipping sauce.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday Fun #69 - Kitchen Joy

Last week I asked you about your hated kitchen chores. Those things you just can't STAND doing, maybe put off until you have to, or try to get somebody else in your house to do instead of you.

Let's turn it around this week. What brings you joy in the kitchen? Is it trying a challenging new recipe & having it turn out? Making a family recipe that reminds you of a relative or your childhood? Seeing your shiny sink? (Yes, I've been doing some FLYing...) Is it baking up a batch of cookies with your kid(s)? Feeling a sense of accomplishment that you've planned out a healthy, yummy menu? Coming home from work and smelling delicious smells from your crockpot and knowing supper's already ready?

What brings you some kitchen joy?

February's Theme - Chocolate!

Oh yeah, whoops! It's a new month, which means a new theme. For February, we'd LOVE to have you share your chocolate recipes! Yay!

Now "Chocolate" is its own label, so it's easy to search by it, but here are the ones that we've already got in Recipeeps...

Ok, I don't know about you all, but now I want to go raid my cupboards for chocolate - even if it's just chocolate chips! NOM NOM NOM, CHOCOLATE! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

We made these today. They are "healthy" with no oil!! The kids love them. I would add more spice next time.

1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin
4 egg whites (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
2 Tablespoons water
Allspice---add to taste. (I did 1-2 t pumpkin pie spice and 1 t allspice could still use more)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until creamy. Fill muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 18-24 minutes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Ring

Chicken Enchilada Ring
We made this last night for a bowl party of just our family. (It was on our menu earlier this week but it did not get made so we made it into a party item.) My family just loved it and we will be making it again soon.

2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken (about 12 ounces)
¼ cup chopped pitted ripe olives
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Pantry Southwestern Seasoning Mix
2 plum tomatoes
1 lime
2/3 cup finely crushed corn tortilla chips, divided
2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1-cup salsa
1-cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop chicken and olives using food chopper; place in bowl. Add cheese, green chilies, mayonnaise and seasoning mix.

2. Seed and chop 1 tomato. Slice lime in half. Squeeze juice from one half to measure 1-teaspoon juice. Reserve remaining lime for garnish. Add chopped tomato and limejuice to chicken mixture.

3. Reserve 2 tablespoons crushed chips; add remaining chips to chicken mixture and mix well.

4. Sprinkle reserved crushed chips cupboard. Unroll crescent dough. Place dough sticky side down, onto crushed chips; press down lightly so chips adhere to dough. Separate dough into triangles. Arrange triangles; chip dies down, in a circle on round stone with wide ends overlapping in the center and points toward outside. (There should be a 5-inch diameter opening in center.) Using large tablespoon scoop chicken mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle. Bring points of triangle up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. (Filling will not be completely covered.) Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
For garnish, cup remaining tomato into 8 wedges. Cut remaining half of lime into 4 slices; cut in half. Arrange between openings of ring. Serve with salsa and sour cream.