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Category Archives: Back to Basics Cooking

Roast Chicken In Green Chile Sauce

This was a beer can style roast chicken that has been kicked up with a can of green enchilada sauce.  This one was made with green chilies and tomatillos.

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Enough cayenne pepper to keep me in red pepper flakes for another year or two.  I was used to commercially packaged red pepper flakes and learned quickly that these will go much further than those comparatively bland offerings.  These are in the dehydrator pending de-stemming and processing.

Tidbits

Meatballs!  I followed this recipe, mostly.  Quantities in the recipe were for 1 lb. of meat – I went with 1 lb. of ground beef and 1 lb. of Italian sausage and scaled the amounts accordingly.  I’ve no idea what locatelli cheese is so these were made with Parmesan.They were browned in the toaster oven before going into the sauce.I like then over spaghetti with more grated Parmesan and ribbons of basil.  I may do some meatball subs today with the rolls I baked the other day:I had planned to smoke a pork shoulder but when the big chunk of meat was thawed it turned out to be beef.  I resorted to the crockpot and made a batch of Italian beef.  My recipe is to slice a bunch of onions, mince a lot of garlic, add beef or chicken broth, red wine, bay leaves, dried basil and oregano, more granulated garlic and onion, and salt and ground black pepper.  Open a jar of pepperoncini and dump them all in – with the juice.  Some red pepper flakes work well but are optional.  Put all of that stuff in with the beef and give it 8 hours or so on high.  Proper Chicago style Italian beef is made with thin sliced beef but I don’t do it that way because I don’t keep a deli slicer out on the counter.  Mine is more like pulled pork:Here’s a quick lunch we had the other day before I baked the rolls, the little buns are a par-baked item Kroger carries, just pop them into the toaster oven for a few minutes and they made credible slider buns.Here we go with a full sized sammich.  I like them dipped but if you dip the whole sammich it becomes a race to finish it before it falls apart.  A little bowl of juice on the side overcomes that problem.Lest you think it’s all meat and carbs around here, Mrs J cuts up a sweet yellow watermelon.

Tidbits

Mrs J found this Regal Moth in her flower garden, it seemed to be some distress.  She left it in a little concealed nook and has since seen it a couple of times in different spots.I had an oops! moment last week – I left the butter dish atop the toaster oven and needed something to use up all that melted butter.  Pineapple upside down cake worked admirably.  It could have used a bit more oven time to caramelize the pineapple layer.  Inverting the cake onto a sheet of parchment paper was a stroke of genius, he said, patting himself on the back.More sous vide rib-eye.  I made a pan sauce in the cast iron skillet used to sear the steaks.  Deglazed it with white wine and then added the sealed bag liquids and the garlic butter left from the mix used for the bread.While I was searching the freezer for the rib steaks I came across a couple of strip steaks.  I knew them to be tough so I put them in the water bath with the rib-eyes and let them run overnight.  I sliced off a bit to sample in the morning and found it very tender.  Mrs J started chanting “cheesesteak!  cheesesteak!” And that’s the rest of the story.My cayenne peppers are nearing harvest, they’ll be dried and processed into red pepper flakes.The habaneros are starting to ripen.  They are just too hot to use up in the small amounts we can tolerate – I still have ground habs from two years ago.  They are pretty, though, and I’m sure I’ll want some growing next year, too.Naan pizzas!  These are just great for quick and tasty dinners.  These have olive oil and garlic, provolone, cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, deli sliced turkey, salami, shredded pizza blend cheese, and fresh grated Parmesan.I’ll bookend this post with moths.  Here’s a hummingbird moth browsing through the flowers on the catmint.

Tidbits

Pastrami hash has to be right up there with the all time great breakfast anytime dishes.  I like my hash with eggs on top and a grind of a dry pepper mix.Chicken pot pie is in the running with the hash.  I prefer whichever one I’m eating at the time.These pan biscuits are my goto for pot pies these days, I make a half or third sized batch else the crust is too thick.  You’ll be asking “where’s the chicken” if you use the full recipe in this size pan.  I make it in the same pan, just take it out, pour the chicken and veggie filling, replace the biscuit, and bake at a lower temp than you would ordinarily to keep from burning the top.  You could cut the biscuit and piece it on if you think about it, or, if you break it getting it out of the pan the first time you could break it on up and say you meant to do it that way.Break for cats and dogs.  Homer gets along with dogs just fine, it’s other cats he has trouble with.I have these pickled red onions I need to use up and these hot dogs seemed a great place.  There’s raw onion, jalapeno, sweet relish, and mustard on there, too.  Somewhere I heard that Utz potato chips were the world’s finest.  I found some at Amazon.  It seemed a decent price per ounce in the case lot.  I’ve been giving bags of them away to UPS drivers and the postman.  I don’t know if they are the world’s best but they are very good.You would think that these tacos were full:  Chicken, pico, queso fresco, refried beans…..there’s always room for pickled red onions!

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Salad

This is my new all time favoite potato salad of the month!

Thanks to Balloon Juice commenter NotMax for the tip and a recipe.  I went with another recipe for purely logistical reasons:  The Paprika app can strip recipes from a page where there is only one recipe but it struggles with comment sections.  We like Paprika, it’s an android app we put on tablets because the larger screen puts the ingredients and directions on the same screen.  Here’s a screenshot of the recipe page for this potato salad, the tablet is a Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″:

The app works on phones, too, but you have to swipe and scroll to get the same info.  There is a windows desktop app but they want more money for that then we want to spend for very little added utility.NotMax’s recipe says to refrigerate for at least an hour so I presume the salad is good cold.  We opted to reheat it for this tasty lunch.

Sous Vide Ribs

I almost waited too long to put the ribs into the water bath.  I was thinking the morning of the 4th would be good for the holiday dinner.   The slab  was cut into two pieces, rubbed with seasonings, and sealed in vacuum bags well in advance.  Then I looked at the recipe over at the Food Lab site the day before: “TOTAL TIME:16 to 50 hours”!  I set the bath up and started it up around 2PM on the 3rd with the temp at 155 degrees.They spent the night at 155, then I boosted the temp to 165 the morning of the 4th.  Around 11Am they came out and were placed in an ice water bath to cool.  Here they are after blotting with paper towels.And after brushing with BBQ sauce while the oven was heating to 400.  The one on the right was wanting to break in two, all they needed was reheating to seal on the sauce.The ribs were as tender as any we’ve ever had, the bones sipped out of the slabs cleanly.  Two thumbs up!Got bone?

Sautéed Cherry Tomato Sauced Spaghetti

I’ve been waiting for this since the first tomato turned ripe – enough to do the sauce thing for a delicious summer treat.Cook them down in a little olive oil over medium high heat, using a potato masher to help them along.  Cook the pasta while the sauce is making, reserving some of the pasta water in case the sauce is too dry.  Stir in a couple pats of butter and a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to finish the sauce.  Add the spaghetti and fresh basil to the pan, toss with tongs, or flip it in the pan chef style if you’ve got the chops – this amount was a little too much for me.  I did try and didn’t embarrass myself by spilling any but I will admit to a certain timidity.   Garnish with more grated cheese and basil.

Cheesecake!

Yum!  Mrs J turned this out yesterday, it has a brownie crust on the bottom, chocolate and caramel drizzles on the top, and a no holds barred cheesecake in between.The brownie crust was a generic box mix, she used a long bread knife to plane the top flat.  The drizzled garnish of chocolate and caramel came out of jars.

Sammich Pr0n – Crockpot Italian Beef

We’ve been noshing on this for a few days now.  I’ve found the best way to serve these is to put a gob of meat straight from the fridge into a small bowl and nuke it for a minute or so.  Fork the beef onto a bun and leave the bowl as an au jus dip.