Tag Archives: butter

Cheddar Chicken Pie with Broccoli Sentinels (is Only Platonic Friends with the Curry Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 frozen, unbaked pie shell
  • 1 can chicken breast, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c large broccoli florets
  • 2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 “roasted chicken” flavored gravy packet
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c minced onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch asafoetida

I have had so. much. pie. this holiday season. It really is kind of ridiculous how pies culminate for an annual winter slaughter of the human diet and pride: pecan, caramel apple cheesecake, plain cheesecake with a mandarin orange pie winning the pie-ze this year for both deliciousness and moxie. After rounding out the last family jaunt yesterday with a pizza, I feel it is safe to start officially distancing myself from rich meals and desserts that do nothing but inadvertently complicate my health and/or well-being.

That being said, I made a pie for dinner tonight. Don’t you judge me.

In the freezer still lived the other half of a crust two-set I’d gotten on sale, canned chicken in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge. Oh, and fresh broccoli; that’s probably the healthiest and therefore most important part of things. Before you get to arranging health around the edge of your pie, start your onion and garlic in butter heating to M. After five or so minutes of making sure everything gets coated and tossed, add the turmeric and asafoetida; stir. While that’s being perpetrated drain and rinse the can of chicken and mix your gravy packet with almond milk. Add eggs to this mixture one at a time and whisk until blended. Return to the stove and stir in 1/3 c of broth and the chicken; toss everything together and spoon into the pie crust. Add the remainder of broth to the egg/gravy mixture. Arrange chunky florets around the edges and secure it all with a pour-over of casserole gravy. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes, remove to sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over and into the florets and continue baking until a knife comes out of the middle clean. And because I made this earlier today in advance of dinnertime, when I warm it back up at 35o° for 10m I will have sprinkled on another 1/3 c cheddar. This ended up being delicious in flavor, but a little unsatisfactory to me in consistency… then again, the bottom crust I found too soggy was forked off my plate and eaten by my wife. Still, my conscience tells me to go with just 3 spoons on this.

Also, while making that I had also started some cabbage that’s been waiting patiently in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet — I don’t want to take the easy way out by throwing it into broth and declaring a soup; I’ve got plenty of that in the freezer right now. No, I want this cabbage to go places, travel the world and be better than freezer soup:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

cabbageThis one’s easy. Start the mustard seeds out in a ghee-oiled pot heating to M. When it’s near full heat, add the onion and garlic. When the seeds start snapping, add the spices and stir into a pasty mess. Add a dash of broth. Add cabbage in by little handfuls, all the while mixing and adding broth as needed to get everything spiced right proper. Add enough broth to cover the pan bottom, then put a lid on it and dial the heat down to the L side of ML. I cannot yet give this spoons because I do not feel it is yet a finished product. Good luck to my imagination!


Grape-elling With Sweet Reality

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c red grapes
  • 1 c blueberries
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • 1 c water
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal (any type but instant)

So those grapes that seemed so delicious and friendly because of that sale rack on which they so leisurely reclined? Yeah, over several days the entire bag has gone into just about every room in the house with the best of intentions and I cannot live this lie any longer. Time for a crumble.

Slice the grapes in half but not the blueberries. Put in a cold pan with corn starch mixed into water and white sugar (I have not opened this bag of sugar in nearly a year you guys), add wine and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to ML and stir until thick. Mash together the last four ingredients above to make the topping and dollop on the grapes/blueberries; bake in a 350° oven for 25-30m and serve some hot then serve some cold — 4 spoons!


Pasticcio di Carne Ricoperto di Purè (or, “That’s Fancy for Italian Shepherd’s Pie”)

In my pantry today:

  • .5 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 hot Italian sausage
  • 6 sm-med red potatoes
  • 1 c asparagus, cut
  • 2-4 blanched tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • sprinkle salt

First, call the Waaahmbulance. It is such a pain in the bottomnotches to upload any photos right now. My computer needs an OS reinstall and I can’t do that until I make sure my freelance gigs are taken care of. There was a sudden death in the family and five days of IV infusions for me to control a particularly virulent MS flare… and now I am on steroids for three more weeks and OMG NOM SO HUNGRY NOM. /ninewaahwaah

To be fair — abundant silver linings do exist. In about a week I get to put on fancy clothes and go to a state museum exhibit opening because of the brochure and notecards I made. I am working with another state organization for an upcoming event. I can feel my hands again and I have not had eyeball seizures for a full 24 hours. These and other things remind me that life is good, that I am lucky… and I am hungry.

Mince one clove garlic and mix into ground beef. Remove sausage casing and chop animals while they brown comfortably on M. In another pan, put 1/2 tsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in pan to melt. Chop and add onion and 3 cloves garlic. Let cook over M heat while you dice up those frozen blanched tomatoes. Add that, liquid and all, and let it all boil down on M for 10-15m. Stir in corn starch, bring back to boil then remove from heat. Gently wring moisture from asparagus if frozen (always better of course if fresh) and chop into thirds or fourths. Pour everything into the meat and gently stir.

Meanwhile, you’ve been boiling whole taters and browning one clove of garlic on L with remaining butter. Once the potatoes are soft enough to smash, do that with a potato masher or fork. Pour the meat mix into a baking dish, then place smashed potatoes on top. Pour butter/garlic mix over potatoes, add a little more seasoning and top all that with Parmesan. Put in 350° oven for 20m. This is a gorgeous dish of which I took many photographs. It is not your time, apparently, to lay witness upon it’s glory. 5 spoons!

Butter Just Got Better

In my pantry today:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract

Have you happened to have tried the newly offered sweet potato from Wendy’s®? It has had me fall in love with sweet potatoes again — partly for their creamy well-baked texture, but largely-er partly to the spread that accompanies them. I spent a good deal of time thinking about making a copycat version — to get it wrong would be an anti-climactic foray into buttertown, but to get it right would be to be able to move away from the mystery spread base from the fast food window. The experiment created a version much like the one at Wendy’s®, but with straight-up from the cow butter. Cream together all of the above, adjusting each ingredient to your taste if warranted, and tell me I’m wrong. 5 spoons, yo!



Double Feature: Basil, Beets and Barley (or, “Wait, That’s Three Things.”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 small beets, baked and peeled
  • 3 c cooked barley
  • 1 c goat cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 c fresh basil
  • 1 c fresh spinach
  • 1/2 c radish microgreens
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small Vidalia onion

I think I’m finally getting the hang of our CSA weekly bundles. I’ve got four days until the next pickup and only 1 tomato, 1 head of kale, 5 beets and 7 carrots left before Tuesday. This is a vast improvement over weeks prior, and I’ve yet to determine if this pace has worked. Check back after Tuesday.

I’ve also been hemming and hawing about the beets a little — they’re a new and foreign element to my kitchen, but I remind myself that that is not their fault. They may be the poor and huddled masses in my crisper drawer now, but social justice will catch up… hopefully riding the iron horse of deliciousness. I apparently made a 5 spoon issue out of it yesterday, sources report. Mince 4-6 (depending on size, y’know) cloves of garlic and 1/2 c basil in as teeny-tiny flakes as possible. Cream it with 1/2 c goat cheese and apply in neat balls to the top of chilled beet slices. I salt roasted these beets day before yesterday — cut off and reserve the greens, scrub the roots and place in a glass baking dish with a 1/2″ of salt in the bottom. Cover the dish and bake at 425° for 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool, peel and refrigerate for future beet use.

While you’ve got the garlic-mincing going, go ahead and dice up 2-4 cloves and 1/2 a Vidalia onion. Start your butter and oil warming to M in a cold pan with the garlic and onion. Once it reaches full heat, reduce to L and let cook for 15m or so — until your garlic crisps to golden brown and your onions are near caramelization. Using a slotted spatula or spoon, remove the crispy garlic and sweet onion; set aside. Return heat to M and mix in your barley. Once it’s well-coated, add your mixture of spinach, chopped basil and microgreens. Toss until the spinach becomes bright green, then add back the garlic and onion and continue mixing with a pinch or two of sea salt. When everything is warm together, add dollops of goat cheese and cover the pan. Serve in 5m. The onions will deliver sweet bites in the midst of garlic’s tasty reign, and goat cheese will apply a creamy reasoning to the entire argument. 5 spoons.

Chicken and Buckwheat and Salad, Oh My!

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c Colonel Cat’s Crock Pot Chicken* pulled meat
  • 2 c Colonel Cat’s Crock Pot Chicken* stock
  • 1 c buckwheat Kasha
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 3 c leftover salad mix
  • 1 shaved carrot
  • 2 tbsp fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Because I am a little overwhelmed with fatigue right now, yesterday my better half set the thawed whole fryer from the fridge to be ready for me to contend with on a level today which far surpasses that of general convenience foods. I separated the broth from the carcass and the meat from the bones. Then I fed the dogs a little of the super soggy crock pot chicken skin before tossing the bones. The chicken came out so tender and fragrant; it was a natural complement to whatever approached to shake its hands.

*Colonel Cat’s Crock Pot Chicken:

  • 1 2lb whole naked fryer
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2. tsp salt
  • 6 c water

Did someone call the colonel?

I picked up a box of Kasha at the store yesterday — I admit to never having heard of it before, though it appeared to be an answer to my consistent “make sure there’s protein without meat” dilemma. I took a chance and was rewarded handsomely. It cooks up like a cross between pearl couscous and steel cut oats, and because I substituted stock for water it came out with a fragrance and flavor that crooked a finger for the chicken to come hither. Toss the pulled meat, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp red hot chili powder with the Kasha. Set aside.

Ring the inside of a large bowl with salad greens and top with raisins, blueberries and carrots. Scoop a dollop of the chicken and Kasha combo into the middle then top the bowl with feta cheese. Seal the deal with a little olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. This was a surprisingly wonderful combination — I did not expect to like buckwheat at all, but that may have been largely due to the fact that I assumed Eddie Murphy would not be as delicious as he may have once been. Now, I know the true face of buckwheat. 5 stars!

Comfort Cabbage

In my pantry today:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 1/2 Hillshire Farms Hot Polska Kielbasa
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 c water
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 c dry penne pasta
  • Parmasean cheese to taste

Start out, as usual, with that large stockpot. Thinly slice your kielbasa and put each slice face-down in the pot as it heats to M. Just let them slices be for about 10 minutes while you prep your other ingredients; coarsely dice your onion and put that tablespoon of salt in your water and set it aside. Once the sausage slices begin to brown, remove them from the pot. Replace with the onion and butter and let that cook for a few minutes while you dice (also coarsely) your head of cabbage. Mix it into the pot, coating all the purple with a sheen of black pepper and garlic. Pour in saltwater, cover and reduce heat to ML. Let the cabbage cook until it is of a reasonable wilt for your palette while in the meantime preparing your pasta. Drain at al dente and set aside with the sausage. Fifteen or so minutes before serving add sausage and al dente pasta. Stir and let heat together, serve with Parmasean cheese.

Leftover Greens Soup

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c ground Hot sausage
  • 1.5-2c leftover New Years collards from Dad
  • 1 can field peas with snaps
  • 3c chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1tsp McCormick’s Hamburger Seasoning

Cook your sausage in a medium pot on M, breaking it up as it browns until it is as finely crumbled as possible. Once that is accomplished, throw in the collards and (well drained but not rinsed) can of field peas. Toss them with the sausage crumbles, using the grease to get everything nice and flavorful. Add asafoetida, garlic and McCormick’s; stir. Add chicken broth and bring to a very gentle boil. As the temperature is increasing, add the cashew butter. Stir until the cashew butter is completely melted into the stock. Once it is, turn heat to the lowest setting you’ve got and let sit until dinner time.

Because the low tonight is 23° there seems fewer better options than soup (besides, beans weren’t soaked for chili). For leftovers, there are rarely other options after a few days. While using them all is a goal towards which I strive, I no longer recognize leftovers as edible once they’ve been in the fridge for a few days. They will taste like the fridge. So the rest of the holiday collards — for this was only approximately half of what there was — are in the freezer. Because no one in their right mind wastes good greens.

Return of the Salty Fucksticks

In my pantry today:

Knead your butter into the flour until crumbly, then press into the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish. In a large bowl, throw your fuckstick-mix in with a beaten egg and condensed milk. Toss to mix. Pour over dough, then sprinkle liberally with dark chocolate chips. Put in a 350° oven for twenty minutes. Remove and spread the melted chocolate chips atop. Let sit until cool. Devour.

I still have 1/3 of a gallon of this toffee after making these for, and giving some loose toffee away to family. It’ll be shrug-and-freeze time soon.

Odyssey of The Salty Fucksticks

In my pantry today:

  • 1 bag of honey-wheat pretzel twists
  • 4 c crushed raw pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 c large rocks of salt
  • 1 bar of 60% cacao Ghirardelli baking chocolate

Also, aren't these cigarette pretzels I found on Google just adorable? No Smoking! No Salty Fucksticks!

Ok. So. I don’t really have any photo documentation of this process, but I cannot only commit to admitting my successes (or near-successes, depending) if I am to expect any genuine learning from my errors. And I like learning. So. Start out with a fantastic idea. Fashion a double-boiler from a sauce pot and large metal bowl, melt your chocolate. Mix your salt and nuts, and after carefully drizzling chocolate over the top halves of the pretzel rods then roll said rod in the pistachio-salt mixture.

Ok. So.

See that recipe up there? Don’t follow it. Do not use rock salt with rocks so large they barely stick. I mean they will stick. And perhaps it’s a blessing that they only stick so well; perhaps you might’ve thought to grind the rock salt into smaller bits beforehand the way you did with the pistachios. With that brand new food processor  in which you are currently besot with love. Well, congratulations and I wish you luck with all of your future first attempts; I, myself, live more by the graces of hindsight than I’d like to admit.

So. Upon tasting the first cooled rod of the two dozen or so now resting on parchment paper, I gagged and threw it back down on the counter. When the OMGSALTATTACK! ebbed and my throat reopened, the first thing that came out was a spitting curse from my lips: “SALTY! FUCK! STICKS! And that is what they were.

Next, they all journeyed together into a freezer bag. Where I punched them and was glad for it. When my knuckles quickly became sore, I transferred the whole mess into the food processor. I was sure I could do something with the pile of delicious failure before me.

And I had it! Make a simple toffee and turn it into an awesome toffee.

So. To make simple-as-pie toffee with some butter and sugar, you need a candy thermometer. Which I do not have. I cooked it diligently, the way I had seen my mother always do it. “This is working!” I thought with glee as my sauce pot churned what was surely to be a delightful Christmas treat. I was afraid to take it off the burner too early, but even moreso to burn it. I flipped a coin and went with God.

The first and most obvious flaw with this plan came to light when the hot toffee hit the ground pretzels and, of COURSE, melted all the baking chocolate off. Would this effect the setting? Crap. The 28x18x5cm and 3lb pan went into the freezer and I walked away.

And when I came back, of course it hadn’t set properly. I had most certainly taken it off the stove too soon, and not helping matters was the chocolate melted into it. I scraped it all off the pan and threw it back into the food processor.

This is where I am now — 2 dozen or so delicious toffee cookies and still a full gallon freezer bag of ground “salty chocolate pistachio pretzel toffee.” Once I cool off from my failure-shame about all this (Oh, how far I have come from that original fantastic idea!) I am certain the silver linings will be evident. Evident, and most assuredly delicious. Because it is really super good. Just nowhere from my imagination’s intent.

I am currently open to suggestions. Pretend we are on Iron Chef and your ingredient is announced: GROUND SALTY FUCKSTICKS! Already on the table are things like:

  • bake more cookies with it.
  • bake brownies with it.
  • put it on ice cream.
  • re-melt it into a single entity