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Mmm… Roast Beef

DSC_7930 (1600x1060)Mrs J grabbed a big roast at the store the other day and we went with the crockpot to cook it.  She was wanting a basic pot roast supper and that is what she got.  I did tweak the menu a tad and made her mash her own potatoes but she didn’t mind.  The roast nearly filled the crockpot but I squeezed in carrots, onions, and celery and filled the rest of the space with beef broth and red wine.  I didn’t have any fresh herbs so dried thyme and bay leaves went in for seasonings, along with black pepper and salt, natch.DSC_7933 (1600x1060)There was still plenty of meat and gravy left so I added a few more veggies and broth for the next day’s stew.  I still have a fair sized lump of beef, I may slice it for sammiches before the day is out.  Speaking of that, it may reach above 70 degrees here today, which should melt the last traces of snow.  Just in time for more snow tomorrow!  Ahhhh!

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Hambeans and Cornbread

DSC_7438 (1600x1060)Sleet and freezing rain turning to snow in weather news today.  Perfect day for ham and beans.  I keep tweaking the recipe for these, adding tomato paste today along with the mole sauce.  Main ingredients are pinto beans, cured ham, onions, chicken broth, various chili powders, a mole from New Mexico chilies and garlic.  The cornbread is a standard recipe of half corn meal, half flour, an egg, butter, milk, salt, and green and red peppers.  I tossed in a handful of shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, just for fun.

Stir-Fry Vegetables in a Bread Bowl

My favorite way to have vegetables is to quickly stir-fry them, so they are still crisp. A restaurant I used to go to a lot, served them in a beautiful woven lattice bread bowl and it was the perfect lunch. These veggies can be served over rice, rice noodles or as a side with stir-fried meat, poultry or tofu.

If you’re feeling creative I found a recipe for a lattice bread basket here.

Stir-Fry Vegetables

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water or broth (vegetable or chicken)

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    Photo by ddpiesslice.blogspot.com

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6-8 mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp fresh minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 8 oz sliced carrots, or baby carrots
  • 8 oz snow peas
  • 6 oz can sliced water chestnuts or bamboo shoots, drained
  • salt & pepper to taste

wok or deep skillet

Mix cornstarch, soy, water, lemon and honey together. Set aside. Heat wok, add oil add all the remaining ingredients. Stir-fry quickly, about 2 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add sauce, bring to boil for 1 minute or more until thickened. Let simmer 2 minutes.

Mmm… mini pot pie

turkey pot pieWe bought a frozen turkey while at the grocery store the other day, they were on sale post holiday and the low prices made them hard to pass up.  I roasted it yesterday, and then Mrs J demolished the carcass for the meat but not before I carved out half the breast for these pies.DSC_4438 [1600x1200]Mrs J swore off ready made crusts after making those pumpkin/sweet potato pies the other day.  This time she went with the Smitten Kitchen recipe.  She has used it before and we liked the results.  The SK recipe calling for vodka in lieu of water works great, too.  Alton Brown used apple jack in a similar recipe that he used for an apple pie.

The filling for these mini pies was simple enough:  Make a roux then add milk to make the classic white sauce.  The peas and corn were from frozen and I just stirred them in with the diced turkey meat, the fresh carrots needed a few minutes at a boil first.  I also stirred into the mixture a little turkey broth that was left from the last turkey we cooked at Thanksgiving.  Seasonings were minimal, just some salt and white pepper, the broth added a hint of tarragon.

Beef Ramen

Occasionally I have a yen for ramen noodles so I try to keep a few packages in the cupboard.  Fast and easy meals.  This one has some of that brisket that has been featured here lately, a little Chinese cabbage that I bought the last time I was at my favorite Asian grocery, a broth made with shaved bonito flakes and dried kelp, the seasoning packets from the ramen, a spoonful of chili garlic paste, and some fresh onion and jalapeno.  I asked Mrs J if she wanted some but she declined, instead having a snack of chips and dip.

Hot and Sour Soup

I’ve been dithering a bit on using that tofu but I finally managed to use up about half of the block on this Tyler Florence recipe.  I used the dried mushrooms I have in the pantry, some shiitakes I believe, but the original packaging is gone.  I keep them in a big plastic jar.  I looked for some pork to use in this thing but settled on a half chicken breast.  I think I used too much corn starch thickener because the final instruction in the recipe was to stir the soup to set up a swirling current so the egg would self-incorporate.  This was so thick that that just wasn’t going to happen so I stirred it with a spoon as the egg drizzled in.  I never get the egg right in these things.

I’ll get around to that miso soup I talked about the other day, I swear!

Mmm… ramen

Not much to this, just a basic ramen with some additions.  I tossed some dried red peppers into the chicken broth to simmer along with a few dried shiitakes.  When the mushrooms were tender I sliced them and then added the package of noodles and a few pieces of roast pork from the freezer.  There are all sorts of amendments possible with these sorts of quick dishes:  Various vegetables like carrots and broccoli, onions, bean sprouts, or water chestnuts all come immediately to mind.  Of course, chili garlic paste goes with just about anything.

Posole

Just a photo tonight.  Here’s a recipe, this is seriously easy to do.  I used some pork left over from a secret project.  Stay tuned!

Mmm… sticky chicken

I did something similar not too long ago.  The wings were cooked in a crockpot that time but that was overkill so I roasted these in a similar marinade in my trusty toaster oven.   I finished the thighs I used this time on the stove top in a non stick pan after separating the fat from the marinade and cooking juices. These spent some time in the pan over medium low heat but they never got to the sticky as glue stage.  I decided I wanted sauce more than a crusted glaze so I added some stock with a bit more soy and oyster sauces along with more grated ginger root and minced garlic.  Yummy stuff.  Made fried rice to accompany the chicken.

And one more thing!

Lol!

You’ll remember me talking about the yummy puree that was made from the onions and dried chilies and added back to the chicken stock for the pozole last night.

Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as all that.  I invited Mrs J to sample the broth and she indicated displeasure by singing my beard with a small roar.  She usually controls the flame better than that.

So I ladled much of the broth into a smaller sauce pot and replaced it with fresh broth.  This left me with a fair amount of broth that was surplus but too tasty to toss away.  I simmered it for a long time as I pondered how to preserve it and it must have reduced to about a third or less when I had one of those “Aha!” moments:

I stuck that into the big freezer overnight and ended up with these:

I gathered those into a plastic freezer bag and tossed them right back into the freezer.  Mmm…these are going to taste good in any number of things.

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