Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I know all there is to know about the Pantry Game

Rosemary Citrus Chicken Breast with Herbes de Provence Potatoes

I finally did it! I made my very own recipe from scratch and it came out really good. I've had nothing but rave reviews and after testing it a few times I feel safe and can post the recipe. My little chicken dish has such a wonderful birth story. Growing up whenever it was in-between paydays my Momma would bring us into the kitchen to play an pantry game called "Let's See What We Can Make". I love this game and I still play it with myself all the time and that is how this little darling was born. Sure there have been some misses like ground meat and rice with ketchup (Bleh!) but the hits far exceed the misses. To quote a genius, Willy Wonka, "Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple." In my case it was probably 40% starvation and 90% Inspiration and a desire to clean out my pantry. I hope you enjoy.


½ c Orange Juice

1 TBL Balsamic Vinegar

2 Cloves Chopped Garlic

3 Sprigs Rosemary leaves chopped finely

4 Chicken Breasts


1 bag Tiny Potatoes from Trader Joes

1 medium Onion (quartered or large chop)

1 TBL Butter

2 TBL Olive Oil

2 TBL Herbes de Provence

1 Sprig Rosemary leaves chopped finely

Marinade the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and boil the tiny potatoes for 5 minutes. Pour 1 tbl olive oil in a pan and heat. Pan sear the breasts on each side for 1-3 minute. Remove the breasts to a plate and add the rest of the olive oil and butter to the pan. Add the herbes de Provence and chopped rosemary to the hot pan and brown them a bit. Place the tiny potatoes and quartered onion in the pan with the herbs and cook for 5 minutes.

Place the potatoes and onions in a Pyrex dish, cover with foil and bake for 8 -10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and top with the chicken breasts and marinade, return foil cover and cook for 12 minutes or until chicken is done and juices run clear. Uncover and cook for another 8 minutes. Take pan drippings and return to a warm skillet. Add the thickening agent (1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 c water) and simmer and stir to thicken.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hominy make you love me.

So I am going to continue with my carne asada dinner post. I absolutely love this next dish. I don't really have exact measurements to give you but this is tasty and special. My Grandma Maggie used to make this on occasion when she was forced to cook. Since she has been gone for many years you'll just have to bear with me while I try and work out this recipe (and IF I miss something please leave a comment so I can make changes.) No from the research I've done it looks like this is supposed to be a hot casserole but I've NEVER had it baked so I can only assume my Grandma Maggie had the baked version but preferred hers cold so that's how we end up with this:
1 large can of Hominy
1 small carton of sour cream (Go for the name brand kind people. Knudsen is superior to the grainy brands people get to save money)
1-2 cans of green chilies (Diced or chopped work, I like the fire roasted version)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 tsp onion juice (My grandma was the only one I know who had this lovely little potion. I cannot find this anywhere! So I use the small side of my grater and grate a quarter onion into the mix.)
Salt and Pepper to taste ( I prefer to use Montreal Steak Seasonings. Hear me out though, it punches up flavor by adding dehydrated garlic, paprika, and all other kinds of goodies. In a batch this big I use about a table spoon but it works. Try it and trust me,)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I love you, I love you, I love you so well if I had a peanut I'd give you...

The frozen peanut butter pie with candied bacon! Ok, so the song isn't as catchy but a pie sure beats giving someone you love a shell. I found this fantastic recipe on Gourmet. I think I will be sad when they stop publication but I can't really complain since I never bought their magazines. We have not eaten it yet but from the taste testing (As my Mom says, "I have to check for poison.") I think the results will be quite nice. It's times like these when I thank God that I am not Kosher or allergic to nuts. I'm just a happy little Catholic girl who's unable to eat soy products or be near marijuana or hemp products (I'd make a really bad Hippie). So while this isn't a "family" recipe perhaps it will become one. I figure it's time to think outside the box and start creating and trying recipes out that will eventually become family favorites. So here it goes. I'll post a detailed review of the frozen peanut butter pie after we devour it.

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie with Candied Bacon
Serves 8 (Might be really rich so I'm thinking I can squeeze out 10 servings)
  • Active time: 30 min (Such a lie. Note* I might be slow but realistically plan for probably 45 - 1 hour)
  • Start to finish: 6 1/2 hr (includes freezing)
Candied bacon might seem like the ultimate example of gilding the lily, but it adds a sweet, smoky edge to this already luscious pie. Elvis would be proud. (The bacon is delicious! Just give in and try it people!!!)
  • 7 bacon slices (about 6 ounces) (I used a smoked maple variety)
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1/4 tsp)
  • About 35 chocolate wafers, finely ground in a blender or food processor (about 2 cups crumbs) (I could not for the life of me find these darn wafers! I had to improvise with 35 chocolate graham crackers)
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural) (If you must know choosy moms {and NOT moms} choose JIF)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped ( I forgot these when I my 2 hour grocery store trek so I left them out)
  • Equipment:

    a 10-inch pie plate (6-cup capacity)
  • Cook bacon (in 2 batches if necessary) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning once, until lightly browned on edges but still flexible, 5 to 6 minutes total per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Pour off fat from skillet and arrange bacon in skillet in 1 layer. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon over bacon and cook over low heat, turning occasionally with tongs, until sugar has dissolved and then caramelized (sugar melts very slowly and burns easily; reduce heat if necessary after sugar begins to caramelize) and coats bacon, 8 to 10 minutes. (Bacon will be dark and look lacquered.) Transfer bacon with tongs to a cutting board to cool. When bacon is cool, finely chop 5 slices, leaving remaining 2 slices whole. (I saved the caramelized bits in the pan by placing them on wax paper. It creates a really hard "candy" but the flavor is really good and it's fun to suck on.)
  • Stir together wafer crumbs and butter, then press onto bottom and up side of pie plate. Chill pie shell.
  • Heat remaining 1/2 cup sugar and milk in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter and vanilla until combined well, then transfer to a bowl and cool completely in an ice bath, stirring occasionally. (I didn't have enough ice for a bath so I stuck the bowl in the freezer and stirred every other minute.)
  • Beat cream with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold into peanut butter mixture with peanuts and chopped bacon gently but thoroughly. Transfer filling to pie shell, smoothing top.
  • Cut remaining 2 bacon slices into 2-inch-long pieces and arrange in a decorative starburst shape in center of pie. Freeze pie, uncovered, until frozen hard, about 5 hours. Let pie soften slightly in refrigerator before serving, about 30 minutes. (I skipped this step. I know my people are nervous about meat products in their desert so I chopped all the bacon and folded it into the peanut butter filling in an attempt to win them over to the bacon for desert side. The plan is that they'll love the desert and after I have hooked them I can spill the bean...er bacon.)
Cooks’ note:
    Pie can be frozen, covered after 5 hours with plastic wrap and foil, up to 2 days.

Recipe by Andrea Albin

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