Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Discuss: Cast Iron? (aka WF #122!)

Do you have a cast iron skillet? Dutch oven? Do you love it? Do you use it as much as as you thought you would? Do you like cooking with it? What about the enameled kind? Is Le Creuset the only way to go?

(AKJ, I'm totally hijacking your discussion question to be today's WF. I hope you don't mind. Hooray for not having to think up my own! :) Also, I'll do double polls on the side to see if that helps gather the info you want. Thanks! - MHH)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

After making the Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken recipe from over at A Year of Slow Cooking, it was where I went when I was looking for a new chicken crockpot recipe. I decided to try the Slow Cooker Orange Chicken Recipe and it was yummy! Head over there for her original post with pictures and all, but here's the basics with my comments.

I cooked up the chicken, mixed up the sauce & threw it all in the slowcooker in the early afternoon, but if you were going to be away from home all day and wanted to make this, I think you could easily cook up the chicken the night before (while doing other stuff since it doesn't take a whole lot of attention, but a fair amount of time, esp. if doing it in batches) and mix up the sauce, too. Refrigerate them separately overnight, then throw in the crockpot together in the morning on low.

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks (Since the taste is so covered up, I used the IQF kind in a bag & did the whole 3 lbs.)
1/2 cup flour (or more)
olive oil, for browning the chicken
kosher salt - she calls for 1 Tbl., but I found 1/2 tsp. plenty for us, maybe because if the IQF chicken.
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup

1. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Toss the leftover, chicken-germy flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating. Doing more chicken, I ended up doing this is several batches. Since my girls don't much like things all mixed together, the last batch I cooked thoroughly & set aside for them to be plain.

2. Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat. I found her recipe as is to be enough for the 2 or 2 1/2 lbs of chicken pieces I put in with it.

3. She says to cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4, but I found that since I'd already mostly cooked the chicken, I don't think it would necessarily need that long. I think I did 3 hours on high because I threw it together in early afternoon.

Serve over white or brown rice or couscous. I microwaved a bag of Asian-style vegetables to go with it that the girls ate separately (sense a theme here?), but I stirred in with the chicken & sauce.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Fun #121 - Maybe not so fun...

Ok, today's the first day of Lent, and I suspect some folks who observe it are using it to work on a food goal. How about you (whether or not you observe Lent in a Christian/religious context)? Are you giving something up for the next 46 days? (Ok, 40 days, plus the 6 Sundays within Lent.) Maybe no caffeine for you? No sugar? No booze? The money you spend in the vending machines every afternoon going in the collection plate on Sunday instead or to your local food bank?

If you're doing a food-related Lenten goal, let us know. Or even if you've done a good/interesting/yay-you-successful! one in the past that you want to share, let's hear about it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Fun #120 - NALAPAK review

Nalapak vegetarian Indian Restaurant. This is the place I would recommend to anyone that claims vegetarian food is tasteless. They have great curries, breads, and everything else.

I really wanted to have their food again before I wrote this but I didn't make it... I'll have to correct that soon. I was trying to correct a health issue and couldn't eat much meat and boy was I glad to have Nalapak. Whenever I was craving rich and fulfilling food, this was the place to go... and I didn't have to feel guilty.

This isn't a place where I have one dish I go for, I've had lots of different things and they have all been good. The one thing I would always advise getting it the Channa Bhatura. This bread is great... puffed up and oily in a good clean way.

If you need some good tasty food this is a great place. Enough said.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Fun #119 - Kitchen Cuteness

We haven't done a "Name 3" for a while, and I'm feeling a little dry for ideas & it's approaching suppertime. So how 'bout this? Tell us 3 things you like about your kitchen. I think we usually get stuck on the negatives or wish lists like more counter space, a dishwasher, I-hate-the-traffic-flow, dated whatever. Turn it around and focus on the positive. Maybe you love the view out your window when you're doing dishes. Relish the color you've painted it. Treasure your favorite container for oft-used utensils right by the stove. (Mine's one I made in a pottery class and it makes me feel accomplished every time I look at it!) ...Are glad there's beer in the frig?

What DO you actually enjoy about your kitchen? Tell us 3 things.