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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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Guest Recipe: Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup

From frequent contributor,  Joshua D:

A discussion came up on Balloon Juice about the benefits of cauliflower. Recipes got bantered about but this one made me salivate the most! My only contribution is formatting, otherwise full credit goes to Ruemara

Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup

  • 1 med onion
  • 12 oz beer
  • 1 pint broth (chicken is preferred, but suit your taste)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cleaned & roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt-free seasoning
  • Salt & Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

You start with sauteing onions in 1 tsp oil until translucent, add beer, broth ( I prefer chicken, since it’s clear) and all of a cleaned, roughly chopped head of cauliflower. Add garlic, salt free seasoning, and black pepper to taste. Once cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes) turn off burner and use your handy, dandy immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in cheddar shreds and smoked paprika. You can also go with smoke seasoning and tortula yeast for the cheez flavour. Stir. Salt to taste. Drink up. I think that’s what I did. It was good.

Just a note – Getty is now allowing embedded images in WordPress posts, which I think is kind of fun – TaMara

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Dinner Menu: Cranberry Chicken and Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

We saw Gravity yesterday in IMAX 3D, which was my first IMAX 3D experience. It was quite the ride. I’m not a fan of 3D (I find it distracting) but i think in this case, it was a must. Also went out to explore the recently reopened trails around the city. There are only a few open and there is lots of damage still, I’ll post photos later.  The rest of the city is getting back to normal and I hope it’s the same for the other towns that were hit even harder than we were.

Fall is in the air and now I want pumpkin and cranberry, so I thought it was time to bring out the roasted cranberry chicken recipe. I love chicken and cranberry together and this recipe creates a tangy cranberry barbecue sauce.  I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but this version can get me to eat it and it makes a perfect side to the chicken. And to finish it up, a nice treat, ice cream sundaes. If you really want to complete the fall theme, try some pumpkin ice cream, or maybe go with some vanilla served over hot apple crisp.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cranberry Chicken
  2. Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower
  3. Ice Cream Sundaes

Cranberry Chicken 3_Snapseed2

Cranberry Chicken

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*

9×9 glass baking dish, greased and skillet

Heat butter in skillet, sauté onions until golden brown. Arrange breasts in one layer in baking dish. Mix together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard & onions. In a blender, coarsely chop cranberries and add to sauce mixture. Spoon over chicken. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, until chicken is 180° in center.

*As anyone who reads the blog knows,  I keep cranberries in the freezer, having stocked up during the holidays. If you can’t find whole cranberries, use whole, canned and cut the sugar.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings & cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.   The lemon in this really brightens the flavor.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*
  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz milk
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart favorite ice cream
  • Sundae toppings

Also: butter, flour, curry, salt, red wine vinegar

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

I’m focusing on vegetables for Thursday’s recipe exchange. The lemon juice really brings out the flavors in this one.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings and cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Mmm…Roast Chicken

Slathered the bird with a butter/EVOO garlic herb sauce, under the skin and on it.  Roasted the bird on a bed of dressing.  I thought it a fair idea but the chicken grease (and all that butter and oil) turned it into a greasy slop.  I put the dressing under the broiler for a while to try to crisp the top some and that helped a little.  I managed to eat a spoonful without gagging.  The chicken was great!

Roasted some cauliflower while the chicken rested and made a lemony butter sauce (beurre blanc) that worked very well on the veggies and on the chicken.

Enjoy!

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How About Now?

About being tired of turkey yet, I mean.  This soup worked about as expected, the only thing I wish I had done different was adding the broccoli as early as I did.  Should have waited but ran ran into the “simmer the soup for a long time” mindset.  You know what I’m talking about-start it at a simmer and wander by now and again to stir it around a bit.  Some veggies just can’t stand long simmers, and broccoli is right there at the top of that list.  Bean, carrots, onions, potatoes?  Sure you can overcook a carrot but an overdone carrot still looks pretty good.  Overcooked broccoli?  It’s just sad looking.

Used a couple of those parsnips I bought, never put any of those in a soup before.  They held up fine but the very nature of the dish means that their particular flavor was lost-melded with the flavors of every other veggie in there:  Carrots, potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.  I spooned some parsnip chunks out individually just to see what I could tell, texture little different from the potatoes, I could tell it wasn’t a carrot by taste but that was about all.

I made the usual loaf of bread to go with the soup.  Used the machine with the basic recipe for white bread but I added lard rather than the butter the recipe called for.  I’m not going to make a  judgement on the basis of a single loaf but I can say that this loaf  turned out just fantastic.  I wish I could say that every loaf I’ve made in this unit turned out just the same but that would not be true.  There have been few outright failures and different loaves have risen differently.  Not sure I can attribute any particular change to a certain thing like bad yeast, or too much flour, or some other technical item-when a loaf fails I generally shrug and make the best of what comes out.  I will be making the next loaf with lard again.

Soup’s on!

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Armenian Lamb Stew

What to do with leftover roast lamb and veggies is a real no brainer:  Lamb stew!  Mentioned lamb stew to Iasa this morning in a chat and she quickly shot back:  Armenian lamb stew!  OK, off to teh Google.  Ah yes, many recipes for it.  Since my lamb and veggies were already cooked, I skipped over the methods listed and looked at the ingredient list for signature spices.  Seems cinnamon, allspice, and paprika were all mentioned, along with red wine and garlic.  Had all of that so I just chopped and added and simmered everything for a while.  One recipe I looked at mentioned fresh basil so in went some fresh basil.  The aromas from the stew as it simmered sure would have had me patting Iasa on the back were she present.  Yay Iasa!

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Roasted Leg of Lamb

Went with the overnight marinade.  Good call.  I was hoping to use the reduced marinade for a dipping sauce/gravy but it proved to be too strong flavored for that.  I did use some of it in the gravy made from the pan drippings.  Made a beurre blanc sauce for the steamed veggies.  Modified it from the classic recipe with a bit of lemon juice and some parsley.  Basic sauce is diced shallots in a white wine reduction with butter slowly stirred in.  I went with the shallots and wine and added some lemon juice, then some dried parsley.

The marinade was one cup white wine, one half cup orange juice, the juice and zest of one lemon, chopped fresh rosemary, a tablespoon of dried thyme, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of dijon mustard, two tablespoons of honey, salt and pepper, and several cloves of minced garlic.

I started the lamb in a 450 oven for 30 minutes, then reduced the heat to 325 until the internal temps reached 145.  Took another hour or so.  You can go with whatever internal temp suits your taste.  Mrs J abhors bloody meat, I’m more tolerant.  145-150 degrees will yield some med rare to medium well done, depending on where you slice it, and seemed a decent compromise for us.  Lots of pics.

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Thursday Night Menu: If You Eat Your Cauliflower You Can Have a Sundae.

What a week. I had a great time today talking with college students about resource efficiency and sustainability (or the dreaded, “going green” a nonsense term IMHO). It went really well and I think we connected on a couple changes they could make that would make a true difference. First and foremost, get rid of bottled water. And I was happy to see many hold up their reusable bottles when I mentioned it. All of this having nothing to do with food, so, without further delay, here is tonight’s menu.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cranberry Chicken
  2. Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower
  3. Ice Cream Sundaes

And yes, the blog title comes from the fact I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but this recipe can get me to eat it.

Cranberry Chicken

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*

9×9 glass baking dish, greased and skillet

Heat butter in skillet, sauté onions until golden brown. Arrange breasts in one layer in baking dish. Mix together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard & onions. In a blender, coarsely chop cranberries and add to sauce mixture. Spoon over chicken. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, until chicken is 180° in center.

*As anyone who reads the blog knows,  I keep cranberries in the freezer, having stocked up during the holidays. If you can’t find whole cranberries, use whole, canned and cut the sugar.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings & cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.   The lemon in this really brightens the flavor.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*
  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz milk
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart favorite ice cream
  • Sundae toppings

Also: butter, flour, curry, salt, red wine vinegar

Dinner today

We have a standup freezer, so when the grocery has a good deal on meat I tend to go for it.  Last week they had these humongous pork roasts, bone in, so I brought one home and carved it into three portions.

Took one of them out and thawed it today.  When it was thawed I marinaded it in olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and some garlic and onion  powders. Oh, and some dried rosemary.  Gave it a couple of hours.  While it was soaking in all that goodness, I diced some veggies-a couple of potatoes, carrots, some cauliflower, and an onion.  I gave them the same general treatment with a similar marinade.

The meat and veggies, marinades included, then went into a 350 oven in a large stock pot with the cover on for nearly an hour, then I took the lid off to get some browning.  When I judged them ready, I removed the pork and the rest to a serving tray, and made gravy from the liquid in the bottom of the pot by adding some corn starch in a slurry of water.  A wee splash of Kitchen Bouquet for a deeper color as the gravy simmered on the stove top finished it.

It ended up very tasty, though next time I’ll cut the cauliflower bigger, and the other veggies smaller, and take the lid off for the browning step earlier.  The carrots and potatoes were perfect, but the cauliflower was a bit overdone.  The pork was fork tender.  Annie was disappointed when I wiped the plate clean with the garlic bread, she was thinking that job was hers.

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