Deep Frying Fail

DSC_5501 [1600x1200]I was hoping the leaves would open out better.  Sour cream and broccoli salad to the rescue!  It ends up just a funny looking baked potato.  To the oven!  I think the leaves are going to have to be helped a little.


Spicy Potato Soup and an Announcement

Spicy Potato Soup_Snap2

I made a basic Zuppa Toscana (recipe here) and spiced it up a bit. Some red pepper flakes, a little cayenne. I caramelized the onions in the pressure cooker, removed them to the ground beef I had browned. I added a touch more butter to the pressure cooker and sauteed the potatoes a bit before adding the water and pressurizing the potatoes. Just to give them a little more flavor.

That takes care of the soup, now the announcement. I have finally taken the plunge and the cookbook(s) are now in process. Having met the deadline for text, I am now under a push to get the photographs done. This means that I will be absent for a considerable amount of time over the next few weeks. My goal is to continue the Thursday recipe exchange recipes and I’m hoping to find time to pull recipes from the archives and repost them.

I’ll keep you up to date on the cookbook progress.

Until then…

Cranberry Pepper Steak

This can be grilled or broiled.  This goes great with baked potatoes or rice.  If you’re grilling, grill up some fresh vegetables (coat lightly with olive oil and grill in a grilling basket, turning often) for a quick and easy dinner.

 Cranberry Pepper Steak:

  • 1/2 cup canned whole cranberries*
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


In saucepan, combine cranberries, pepper flakes, & vinegar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, cook until thickened and reduced by half. Rub sirloin on both sides with garlic, chili, salt & pepper (use more of each if desired).  Cut into 4 pieces, grill or broil 5 minutes on each side for rare.  Spoon sauce over cooked steaks & serve.  Serves 4

*I usually keep a bag or two of fresh craberries in my freezer. I add 2 tbsps of sugar to 1 cup of cranberries and simmer over medium heat until reduced.  Add a splash of orange juice and more sugar as needed.

It’s That Time Again

The winter cooking blahs have hit again. I am completely uninspired. Happily, it only last a few weeks and then as I anticipate fresh fruits and vegetables season, my creativity sparks.

I thought I might have a resurgence because while in San Diego we stopped at a farm stand next to an orange grove and picked up fresh oranges and strawberries.  Alas, all it did, as I finished off the last orange this week, was make me long for the growing season to hurry up and arrive, but no cooking inspirations.

Come on spring!

Luckily, we have an entire blog’s worth of recipes to choose from. I chose this one: Crispy Potato Chicken. It’s a fun little recipe, and I included the complete menu:

Crispy Potato Chicken with Carrots and Banana’s Foster Ice Cream Dessert

  1. Crispy Potato Chicken
  2. Steamed Carrots in butter
  3. Banana Foster Ice Cream

This recipe originally called for Dijon mustard, I am not a fan, so I always omit it, but I kept it in for this incarnation.  You can also add grated Parmesan or shredded cheddar to the potato mixture if you want to change things up a bit.

Crispy Potato Chicken

  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (opt)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ice water

2 bowls & baking dish (8×8), lightly oiled

Shred potato, transfer to bowl of ice water. Rinse & dry breasts, place in baking dish and spread with garlic and optional Dijon mustard. Drain potatoes, pat dry and mix with oil & seasoning in bowl. Spread mixture over the top of the chicken pieces. Bake at 425° for 35-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown and chicken’s internal temperature is 185°

This is a quick and alcohol-free banana foster, if you want the real deal, try this Alton Brown recipe

Banana Foster Ice Cream

  • 2 large,firm bananas, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp orange peel
  • dash cinnamon & nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream

skillet and 4 dessert bowls

Melt butter in saucepan, add bananas, sauté quickly until lightly brown. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel and juice. Boil until syrupy, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add ice cream to dishes, top with ¼ of banana mixture each and garnish with almonds.

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large, firm bananas
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 1 quart premium vanilla ice cream

Also: butter, garlic, salt & pepper, fresh parsley, dried rosemary, olive oil, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, optional: Dijon mustard, Parmesan or cheddar cheese

Potato Soup

Mrs J uncovered some smoked pork shanks and neck bones in the big freezer yesterday so I boiled up a nice stock using those along with the classic mirepoix of  carrots and onions and celery.  The aroma from that pot simmering drove all of us a bit crazy.  The dogs were wandering about in a daze, bumping into walls and ignoring kitties.  I’m lucky to survive the deboning of the pork.  I did have their attention.  Annie and Buddy shared the carrots – Jack was waiting for the good stuff.

I was thinking a bean recipe would be great but Mrs J was adamant that I cook a cheesy broccoli potato soup and when she gave me the “I have spoke” look I considered the recipe selection process closed.  Google turned up plenty of variations on the basic theme, I won’t link to any of them because none of those added much to my basic plan.  I will note that one recipe called for Velveeta.  I’m far from a cheese snob and have gobbled a ton of that mixed with spicy tomatoes from a can in a nacho dip I’m sure all of you know well, but I used shredded cheddar this time.

To the strained and de-fatted stock I added four medium cubed potatoes and simmered them until they were nearly done, then added a couple of cups of broccoli and the chopped meat from the necks and hocks.  Give the broccoli a few minutes then add heavy cream and the shredded cheddar and bring back to a simmer until the cheese is melted and the broccoli is done.  The amounts of cream and cheese are not really a big deal, I used a bit more than a half pint of heavy cream and six or eight ounces of cheese in a quantity of soup that would feed six.  Salt and pepper to taste, I also added a shake of cayenne pepper.  Garnish with more  shredded cheese and serve with some nice hearty bread.

Hearty Turkey Soup

I get it, you’re over turkey.  But you still have leftovers.  What to do?  How about freezing those leftovers and making Hearty Turkey Soup on a cold day in a week or so when turkey sounds like a wonderful idea?

When I roast a turkey, I always save the wings and legs, freezing them for soup later on.  You can also save the carcass, which I do sometimes, but really most times it seems like too much trouble.   You can also freeze leftovers, but I find dark meat works best because the white meat tends to get tough once it’s frozen, even when simmered for hours in soup.

Here is the Hearty Turkey Soup I made this weekend for my family, since we didn’t want to waste any of that delicious deep friend Cajun turkey my brother made for us:

Hearty Turkey Soup

  • Wings and Legs of turkey, cooked
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 carrots,  julienned (frozen ok)
  • 2 stalk of celery and celery leaves,  julienned
  • 1 cup green beans, frozen or canned
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 15 oz can Cannellini beans*
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, add turkey, broth and water.  Bring to a boil and let boil 10 minutes.  Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients.  Let simmer for 20 minutes, remove legs and wings, let cool enough to remove remaining meat (most will have fallen off).  Add meat back to soup and let simmer another 10 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and serve with Buttermilk Biscuits and Cranberry Sauce.

*Cannellini beans are large and have that traditional kidney shape. With a slightly nutty taste and mild earthiness, they have a relatively thin skin and tender, creamy flesh. They hold their shape well and are one of the best white beans for salads and ragouts.


Mmm… Deep Fried Hash Browns

I wondered how these would turn out.  Took a grated potato and squeezed the water out of it, then tried to make some little potato balls with a cookie scoop for a mold.  No binder of any kind, and they fell apart in the fryer basket, mostly.  Nothing else to do but let the hot oil work.  When they looked nice and brown I tipped them onto a rack to drain, and salted them hot.  The end product wasn’t what I had envisioned but they were very good nonetheless-crispy and crunchy, a nice textural counterpoint to the sunny side up eggs.  I’m thinking hard about how to exploit these things in another dish.  I wonder if dusting them with flour and dipping in egg would help to hold them together?  Batter?  Time is wasting, work to do!

Potato Leek Soup

I’ve been walking right by the leeks when I shop the produce aisle.  They just look too much like overgrown green onions to me.  Started thinking, “green onions?  Nothing really bad about green onions.”  Picked up a bunch last time around.  I had my iTouch with me, and my MiFi hotspot so I looked through Google for recipes.  Wanted to make sure that I had everything needed to do something interesting with the leeks.  Hmm, potato leek soup, potato leek soup…more soup.  OK, I can take soup for an answer.

Emeril has a very well rated potato leek soup recipe.  I went with his, and wasn’t disappointed.  It was pretty easy and I had it ready before I had given much thought to presentation.  Hmm….croutons?

Went with some sliced hoagie rolls toasted and spread with goat cheese and sprinkled with the dried Tex-Mex peppers I used in the burgers yesterday.  Yummy.

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