Mmm… another Reuben. We’ve pretty much settled on an assembly standard: The corned beef, sliced just so, homemade sauerkraut, and cheese all warmed in a skillet – adding the cheese only when the beef and ‘kraut are warmed through. The rye slices are started in the toaster when the cheese goes on. The thousand island dressing goes in a small bowl to be used as a dip – this helps to keep the sandwich intact because it is not soaking through the toast. Pickle spear garnish is optional but encouraged!We’ve been seeing a lot of rain, 10 inches in the last week, and rivers and creeks are overflowing. Whenever we get high water one of the obligatory stops on the gawking tour is this municipal band shell at the aptly named Riverside Park. The Big Muddy River (actual name!) is a tributary of the Mighty Mississippi, it enters a few miles below Grand Tower, IL.An access road loops around the park. It would be visible below the shell but for the high water. Right now we are kinda “meh” – we’ve seen it higher. All bets are off should the rain come back. Crews are sandbagging the big levee along the Mississippi just in case and they are keeping a 24 hour watch.We’re using those naan loaves for pizzas, and here is one replacing a tortilla in a vaguely Tex-Mex hodgepodge with rice, beans, chicken, cheese, eggs, and a salsa verde.Another selfie with Bitsy that I’ve run through the Prisma app. This is using the Heisenberg filter. My favorite filter is the one they call Gothic.Time for another pineapple upside down cake! I used dark brown sugar in this one rather than the light brown I usually go with. Pour melted butter mixed with brown sugar in the bottom of a pan, this one was made in a 9-1/2″ x 12″ hotel pan with 3/4 cup of butter and 3/4 cup sugar. I drained the juice from a can of pineapple tidbits and used about half of them in the recipe. Use the pineapple juice to replace some of the water needed for a yellow cake mix and pour the prepared mix over the pineapple bits. These baked at 350 for 20 minutes and were not quite done so I added 10 minutes to the timer and reduced the temp to 325 because the top was browning nicely. If you would rather go from scratch this recipe should work fine for you.These are a favorite and this surely won’t be the last one you’ll see here. We are just getting warmed up for those summer garden tomatoes.
Well, it’s a semi-sorta biscuit crust pot pie. Biscuit crust pot pies are a thing, but whenever I’ve made them (usually with store bought pop biscuit dough) the tops of the biscuits browned nicely but the bottoms were always nearly raw. This fixes that. I found a nice pan biscuit recipe [here] that looked really good.Lacking any buttermilk, I went the ersatz route with a tablespoon of white vinegar in regular whole milk. I wasn’t sure that the butter in the pan bottom would incorporate well but it worked fine.My pan was 10×12 inches rather than the 8×8. I figured that for what I was doing there wouldn’t be any problem with a tad thinner biscuit. It did finish quicker, mine took 15 minutes at 425.I wish I had thought to use parchment paper in the bottom. I made a few half-hearted tries at winkling the whole thing out but ended up taking it out in pieces……and placing them atop the chicken and veggie filling that had been cooking on a different shelf in an identical pan. I gave the top a brushing of melted butter and popped it back into the oven for a bit.The pan biscuits were really good, I do think that for this application the recipe should have been reduced by a third, or the amount of filling increased.
Mmm… and it’s not chicken and dumplings. Boil a whole chicken with plenty of celery and onions and a carrot or two, Add sprigs of thyme and rosemary, some black peppercorns and a dash of salt. It takes an hour or so, longer and the chicken falls all apart later when you cook it again. Discard all but the chicken and that lovely broth. Pull the meat off the bones and save the bones for another stock. I use paper towels to take the fat off the surface of the broth. Just lay them one at a time flat on the broth and they will soak it up.
The dumplins are simply made: 2 cups flour, 2 tsps baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 cup shortening (I used lard in these), and 1/2 cup milk. Knead until it’s one good clump and then roll thin (1/8″+-). You may want to let it rest a bit if it resists rolling. Cut into squares or triangles and let them air dry for 20 minutes or so lest they fall apart while cooking.
Bring the broth to a boil and add the dumplins a few at a time to keep the boil going, when they are all in (including those scraps that aren’t so pretty – they will help thicken) reduce to a simmer and add back the chicken. (I added frozen peas at this point – optional.) You can serve them when the dumplins are thick and soft. They will taste better the next time, so make plenty!
We are fast approaching Thanksgiving and we’ve had our second hard freeze. The first time I carted the vulnerable jalapenos into the garage overnight but I didn’t this time. I combed through the wilting foliage for the last harvest. The cornbread cubes are drying in anticipation of making a dressing. I baked a loaf of plain white bread earlier and dried them in a low oven.Here’s another treatment of the picture of Bea among the habaneros, it’s done with the “mosaic” filter in the Prisma app. It most effective when there are a lot of discrete elements within the photo like the leaves and peppers in this one.Sammich pr0n! This is a cod fillet that had been dredged one time in a commercial fish breading that I added some coarser cornmeal to. I made a very busy tartar sauce of mayo, onions, chives, horseradish, jalapeno, lemon juice, salt and pepper – and topped that with slaw.Here’s a chicken breast that was slow cooked in the toaster oven with my (current) favorite hot sides of fried potatoes and sauteed Brussels sprouts.Just your basic cheeseburger – pickles, onions, mustard.Here’s that mosaic filter again. The algorithm that draws in the tiles has trouble with the motion blurred background. And that tongue! LOLI had the stub end of a loaf of Italian bread left over from making garlic bread to go with a small lasagna I made the other day. The lasagna was pretty good but I served it right out of the oven and the layers slipped and slid all over the plate in the bechamel/tomato sauce. Served it in a bowl, I could have called it soup. Ha Ha I meant to do that!
Here’s a photo from the archives. I like the symmetry.Kroger had a sale on strip steaks. They needed some trimming but were still a pretty good value. I did this sous vide, setting the water bath to 130 degrees for a couple of hours. They finished in a smoking hot cast iron skillet in olive oil and butter, deglazed with white wine and chives for a simple pan sauce.Sloppy joes for lunch the other day. This one has American cheese and a few dill pickles. The potato salad looks like it has the traditional dusting of paprika but it’s really Creole seasoning. It adds a bit of a tang to it.BBQ chicken! I’ve taken to cooking these leg quarters in the toaster oven using the slo-cook setting. I did this on the high setting for two hours, no particular reason to choose that time – it’s the default for the high setting. Set it to low and the default is four hours.I snapped this one of Bitsy lounging atop the sofa, prompted by the play of sunlight through the slots of the vertical blinds. It seemed like a candidate for the Prisma treatment:
Hot dogs! I’m not sure how long these buns have been offered but I’m liking the slit on top rather than on the side. These are Pepperidge Farms brand.I’ll wrap up with some soup. This one uses the broccoli left over from that steak dinner, a bit of smoked pork, rice, and three kinds of cheese in chicken stock and milk.
I’ll start this off with a pie than should have been great but ended up only fair to poor. It’s a Brown Butter Apple Pie with a Cheddar Crust. Sound great! It turned out to be a lot of effort for a disappointing result. Mrs J swears that she will not try this one again.This was a pretty good pie. Somehow I got the water/flour ratio wrong on the dough – it ended up too wet and sticky. I kneaded in more flour but gave up and poured it onto the pan. It got an Awesome Sauce base for the mozzarella, onions, mushrooms, sausage, and ham.I broke out my slicer for that big sous vide tenderloin I did, and also sliced some ham. Most of it I vac-sealed and froze but kept some out for my midwestern version of the classic Cubano sammich.More chili! This is about half chorizo and half ground beef. I don’t usually put sour cream on mine but many people do. I can take it or leave it. It does make for a pretty picture, so there’s that.I used the slow cook feature on the toaster oven, they got 2 hours on high and some more time on the low setting because we weren’t quite ready to eat. I used a flat lid for the shallow pan and it touched the chicken quarter, that’s the black patch on the thigh. The rest was quite tender, the leg came off as I plated it.Here’s another sammich made with the pork and ham I sliced. I need to make more slaw, bake more beans, and make another potato salad.Classic spaghetti with meat sauce. When the pasta drained after cooking, instead of spooning some sauce into it I used half a stick of butter that I zapped in the microwave with several cloves of garlic. Add a little Parmesan and you can eat it just like that but I like a nice meat sauce. Mrs J isn’t fond of mushrooms so I sauteed a few to top my plate with as a garnish instead of mixing them into the sauce.Here’s a few kittehs.
The white sauce was made with garlic infused butter and olive oil for the roux, stir in milk and whisk until it thickens then start adding cheeses. This one has Monterey jack and Parmesan.I have mozzarella string cheese rolled up inside the edge. It was brushed with more of the garlic butter and sprinkled with kosher salt. Dough for the crust was made yesterday, it proofed some then and spend the night in the fridge.The crust isn’t a thin one, it’s more like bread than a limp cracker. The recipe called for 3-1/2 cups of flour and would easily make enough for two. That thick, chewy, mozzarella infused crust eats like one of those soft pretzels.Mmm… pizza! The white sauce is such a prominent part of the toppings that, compared to the usual profusion on my pizzas, chicken, broccoli, and red onions are deemed sufficient.Caution! Leftover zone! I put this straight into the freezer and will bag the individual slices when they are frozen solid. Remember to separate them on the tray so they are easy to remove.
Well, I have the gear so here I go with some chicken. I generally like the recipes and methods developed by the folks over at Serious Eats so I let them guide my go at it. I did leg quarters but I figured the technique would be the same.The table says 1-4 hours at 165 degrees yields tender chicken, this batch went about 3-1/2 hours. I think my next batch will spend much longer, 6-8 hours. The chicken was done, certainly, but not “pull the leg bone right on out” done I hoped for. I reduced the gelatin and juices from the chilled bag with white wine with good results.I have to give a shout out to those potatoes, I par boiled them for a couple of minutes then finished them (after they cooled and were drained on a towel) in duck fat. I added some chopped fresh rosemary to them for an added kick.
The sprouts and carrots were zapped for about three minutes, covered, in the microwave and then sauteed in oil with a balsamic glaze added at the end.