Smoked Chicken

20161001_165129These two bird spent about 5 hours in the electric smoker and turned out great.  First 4 hours were at 225, I cranked it to 250 (max for this unit) as supper approached.  Peach wood all the way.  They both were rubbed with a dry mixture that I keep on hand.  I make my own but can’t really provide a recipe because I’m always adding to it.  Most any of these recipes will work fine.20161001_170402

Tidbits

dsc037361600x1200We don’t have much info on Cleo, AKA Grumpy Kitty.  She’s an older kitteh and hasn’t been at St Francis long.20160908_1629571600x1200Stir fry chicken and broccoli is a favorite around here.  This one has red bell peppers, red onions, and mushrooms in a brown sauce with noodles.20160906_103238-1600x1200I mentioned doing a brisket in the smoker and finishing it in the toaster oven set to slow cook.  Here it is after a night in the fridge to firm it for slicing.20160907_1449411600x1200I said the new counter top oven would fit a 10″ cast iron skillet, here it is with beans ready for baking.  I use the same skillet for cornbread.20160907_1625221600x1200This is a favorite here, a real comfort food platter.  The beans may have come from that batch of beans in the photo above but I made two batches in as many days and I’m not quite sure.  dsc037301600x1200This is the same puppy we last saw with her head in a bag full of chicken.  She is a chihuahua mix with what may be terrier of some sort.20160911_1714461600x1200The local Kroger has sales on boneless rib eyes pretty often, not sure why that cut is featured above others but they can count on me to grab extra every time.20160910_1649261600x1200We often buy frozen shrimp already butterflied and breaded but these I did myself.  Dust the prepared shrimp with seasoned flour, dredge in beaten eggs, and then coat with bread crumbs – on these I used panko and they came out great after frying in 350 oil for about 2 minutes.dsc037241600x1200This is Roma.  She’s 4 months old, very affectionate, and would be thrilled to go home with you.

Mmm… Baked Beans

20160626_121423(1600x1200)I just love these hotel pans, also known as steam table pans.  This one is a 4 inch deep, half-sized pan.  It measures, roughly, 12 inches by 10 inches.  There is more info on the sizes available at the link.

Back to the beans:  It doesn’t hurt to use canned “pork ‘n beans” of whichever brand you like as a base.  They are probably going to be navy beans in a tomato-y type of sauce.  I have a couple of cans of the house brand beans in the pan along with great northern beans, dark red kidney beans, and a bean that looks like a pinto bean but isn’t (I forgot to write the name down – it’s the pink-ish bean right next to the white northern beans).20160626_123156(1600x1200)Add in plenty of chopped onions, and peppers of some kind, I have been using my jalapenos from the patio garden.  I added smoked pork to my beans this time but bacon works fine, even ground beef.  You can get creative with the sauce – ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and a favorite bbq sauce are in this one.20160626_123335(1600x1200)Stir everything together and place it into a 350 oven, uncovered, and bake it for about 2 hours, checking every half hour or so.  I keep a crust from forming on the sides and bottom with a flat wooden scraper.20160626_150518(1600x1200)It wants to be a tad loose still when you take it out, it will tend to firm up as it cools and you don’t want the beans to be too dry.  You can eat them hot or cold and they are a great side dish for just about any meal.20160626_164853(1600x1200)We fried some fish for dinner today and they were perfect with the slaw and potato salad.  I experimented with the tartar sauce, it had sweet relish, lemon, horseradish, and dill in the mayo base.  I wiped the little dish clean with the last bite of fish.

Tidbits

20151231_152309 (1600x1060)Ginger taste tests the doggies’ chow.  Mrs J has a recipe she’s been using to add a little flavor to the regular dry fare.DSC_1916 (2)I’ve always liked this photo of a cardinal and her wingman swooping by a feeder on a bright day against a snowy background.DSC_1637 (1600x1060)Here are those pressure cooker baked beans.  I’ve added some bbq sauce and ketchup because the original beans were a tad dry.  They accompany a sammich of ham salad on dark rye.DSC_2587 (1600x1060)Here’s a whole flock of cardinals, attracted by a pile of seed on the ground.DSC_2637 (1600x1060)And several bluejays take their turn.DSC_1649 (1600x1060)A pretty good tasting chicken noodle soup I made up today to use up a few chicken thighs I did up in a confit the other day.  Mrs J tells me she likes hominy so there is some in there today.DSC_1640 (1600x1060)Here are those chicken thighs I mentioned, with yellow rice and steamed broccoli.  I have the legs quarters and breast of a medium sized turkey salted down, I’ll do a confit with them tomorrow.  All the rest of that turkey is simmering in my stockpot this afternoon.DSC_2731Moar bluejays!

Gadget Post – Electric Pressure Cooker

DSC_1507 (1600x1060)We’ve had this thing for a while now, but haven’t done much with it.  TaMara has mentioned her pressure cooker a few times, and I’ve heard about them on various forums.  This one is Amazon’s best seller, not that their sales rankings provide a slam dunk guarantee of quality.  It will do much more than I expect to ever call on it for – cooking rice, for example.  I have a purpose built device for that I wouldn’t expect this thing to match.20160101_122033 (1600x1060)I cooked a small beef roast in it the first time I used it, and made that into Italian beef for sammiches.  It did a competent job, the saute cycle even did a good job of browning the meat.  Baked beans from dried navy beans seemed a good place to test the speed advantages of pressure cooking.  I looked at this recipe to get a look at what to expect.  Opening the cooker after a 40 minute run and slow cool down left me underwhelmed.  The method the recipe called for was continued cooking with the lid off until they looked good but I gave them 15 more minutes of pressure and another slow cool down.  Better.  Might not have ended so dry if I hadn’t left the vent open for several minutes before seeing the steam blowing off.  I won’t talk about the recipe much, I’ve had better beans, but they did all come out with the right texture, not too hard, not mushy.  So far, so good.  Stay tuned!

Tidbits

20150607_144444 (1600x1060)I nearly forgot that I had this baguette tray with the perforations .  I thought I might try it for some hoagie rolls and it seems to have worked pretty well, not sure if it’s better than on a regular tray.  I got a rash of complaints when I served up a photo of a cheesesteak on a round bun, they said I wasn’t true to the  proper form in the Platonic sense of “cheesesteak” – most of the complaints pointing to lack of a long roll, never mind that they weren’t Amoroso’s.20150609_164029 (1600x1060)That should quell the riot.  I’ll take note of any complaint and report back.PICT3623 (1600x1060)Bonus kitteh!  This is the neighbor’s cat, Mrs J says that is a mackerel pattern.  It was taking advantage of our bench that overlooks the front pond early the other morning.20150609_190526 (1600x1060)I think these are the best looking hamburger buns I’ve made so far.  The shapes are good and the sizes are nearly uniform.  These are from the King Arthur Flour “Beautiful Burger Buns” recipe – now my go to recipe for buns and rolls.20150610_173025 (1600x1060)Mmm… we had this spaghetti for dinner tonight.  A little Italian sausage in some of my Awesome Sauce from last year’s tomato crop.  My container basil was getting lonely, this was a perfect place for s sprig.20150608_162124 (1600x1060)Baked beans!  These are always good to have on hand, along with slaw and potato salad.  Add a sammich for an instant lunch.

A Good Day for a Cookout

DSC_5339 (1600x1060)Thighs are the best part of a chicken.  These are bone in and they still have their skins and are perfect for a bbq.  Cast iron works great on a grill, these beans will have a smokey flavor because of that chunk of hickory I have in the smokebox over one of the burners.DSC_5452 (1600x1060)Bonus Butterfly!  I just like the look of this one.  That’s a Yellow Swallowtail on purple cone flowers.