Category Archives: Cooking

White Chili

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I had a lot of interest in this when I posted on FB about having white chili for dinner. I actually have more friends on FB than I have blog followers – some are duplicated – but if five people over there wanted my recipe, maybe some of you do, too?

First off – I’d not made this in years. Hubby always gives a rating to our big meal of the day and he gave this a 10/10. A rarity! We expected leftovers but instead ate the lot. Oink!

Secondly – this is in US measurements. I don’t love you enough to convert them! Well, I do love you. I’m just strapped for time right now.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon aniseed 

1/2 teaspoon dry, crushed red chili peppers

4 large garlic cloves, diced finely (fresh are the best) 

1lb chicken, cubed

1 cup chicken broth

7oz can of green chilies

1/2 cup cream

3 15oz cans of cannelini beans
Grated cheddar

Dry or fresh Cilantro

I will say in advance that we don’t eat onions, and the aniseed seems wrong to me for this recipe. I have never made this with either of those ingredients. But, this is how I got the recipe originally, so I’m giving it to you that way. It’s not the kind of recipe that needs to be exact. Play with it! 

I also have a nice big cooking pot with an anti-stick coating, so I make it all in one pot. Saves on the washing up!
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, aniseed and red pepper flakes. Sauté 5 minutes, and push the onion to the side.

Season chicken with salt & pepper, sauté approx 5 minutes. (I don’t bother with the seasoning, it doesn’t need it).

Drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of ‘bean juice’. (Last time I used 2 not 3 cans, as we didn’t have a whole pound of chicken. I did find that I wanted more beans. It sounds like a lot, but they are soooo tasty).

When the chicken is browned to your liking, add the beans, chicken broth, bean juice, cream and green chilis. (I can’t get these here. Old El Paso brand sells them, but I have never found them in Ireland. I used one 4oz can, bought in the USA, that expired in 2012!  Best of luck where ever you live, as I don’t have a good replacement idea. Maybe a very finely chopped green bell pepper would work, but I think it would taste too ‘green.’ Or another variety of green, mild pepper. Unless you want it hot, then go crazy with jalapeños).
Simmer the lot about 10 mins until chicken is fully cooked. (In our case, we leave it there for a good hour. We don’t like to be rushed and it doesn’t make a difference).
Serve into bowls (makes 4-6 servings, hahahahahha, we two piggies ate it all in one sitting), top with shredded cheddar and sprinkle with cilantro (I hate fresh cilantro but the dry stuff is okay for me. Hubby likes both).
I know I have some vegan/vegetarian friends here. I don’t see why this couldn’t be made with substitutes for the chicken, broth, cream and cheese. 

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Deth Nog 2016!

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I have a good few amazing new blogger friends this year who have never heard about Deth Nog! Time to set that right. 

My dad always made (and hopefully still does make) some seriously potent home made egg nog for Christmas. Of course as kids, we were only allowed a sip or three, as it was heavily boozed up.

We always bought milk in the typical big American gallon jug. Milk that was used for drinking, of course, and for everyone’s morning coffee (we kids had “coffee-milk” which was mostly milk with coffee splashed in – no concerns about caffeine being bad back then. And I’m glad. That drink was awesome, and it made us feel included in family rituals, and very grown-up).

So. One year, mom blearily added the eggnog (made in an empty gallon milk jug) to her morning coffee. I’m sure she had a great day at work! We had a great new tradition- labelling the jug to prevent accidental morning tipples.

Me being me, I’ve run with the idea over the years. Here are my efforts over the years I’ve been blogging.


2010, I think.


2011


2013? Lokii and Spot.


Definitely 2013. Maybe I made two batches.


2014.


2015. I think. Ah, who cares.

Freshly made tonight and finally labelled with the year so I don’t get mixed up again: crappy skulls on top of trees! Oh well, I tried. At least the trees look okay. It’s Sharpie marker – only one chance to draw.

And now to the important part: how to pleasantly poison yourself and your family. US and EU measures both provided.

US version:

(need an empty 1 gallon milk jug)

1 cup (1/2 pint) each of:

Brandy

Blended whiskey

Rum (not light or dark – do not use spiced rum, yuck!)
4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)

1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)
Beat eggs until smooth.

Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!

Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.

Stir until the sugar melts.

Add nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pour into empty 1 gallon jug, top up with milk until jug is full.

Shake well!

Not-US Version: Okay, same thing but converted into metric! Doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, it’ll be tasty.

(need two empty 2-litre milk jugs)

237ml each of:

Brandy

Blended whiskey

Rum (not light or dark – do not use spiced, yuck!)

4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course

473ml heavy cream

4 to 8 tablespoons sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)

1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)

Beat eggs until smooth.

Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!

Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.

Stir until the sugar melts.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pour into empty jugs, try to put the same amount in each, oh how fun, and top up with milk until jugs are full.

Shake well!

Note: I can’t find ‘not light and not dark’ rum here; I just use the white or clear rum. 

Please do let me know if you try it! 

Forgot to Title… Meh.

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I’m currently fighting for space in front of the fire with the two boys. I can’t get a picture as it is too dark, but Lokii is jammed between my thighs and Spot is making sure that I cannot stretch my legs.

Oh wait, iDJ just came in and I got him to take a pic of us. This is live-blogging, folks!

 

He Himself has recently brought to the house his old electric guitar, and bought a small amplifier. He was just playing, and I tried to get a pic but he stopped too soon. He is going to figure out how to hook up a microphone to the amp so I can sing while he plays. This is something I’ve wanted us to do together for a very long time!

 

An earlier, ‘action shot’ of Lokii when he was doing his stretching exercises. Along with my feet still in winter indoor booties and the dog bed (brown thing with green fluff) that Lokii is entirely responsible for chewing up. Little shithead.

I think our robins have abandoned the hose-reel nest. They weren’t expecting us to be outside so much, or throwing smoke in their faces every weekend when we grill. iDJ just loves to grill.

 

Not taken tonight: this was last weekend. But since I have shared kitty pics, I must include a doggie pic of Neko looking so sad that she can’t have BBQ. Tonight we are having sausages, drumsticks, and my homemade hamburgers. Maybe an ear of corn for me, if I get up away from the lovely fire and open the oh-so-difficult package of Spanish corn for him. *snark*

Back to the birds – we bought them dried mealworms. Because, supposedly, robins love them. I opened the package and they smelled really good. So I ate one. On purpose, and all. It actually wasn’t bad – like popcorn without butter and salt. Nicely crunchy, a slight taste of fat. So maybe they just need warming, and salt.

It didn’t bother me to eat one, as mealworms don’t have legs or a distinctive head. Does that even make sense? Maybe I’ve just been reading too much about alternatives to protein in our diets and wanted to give it a go. Seriously, it wasn’t disgusting at all. 

What I Do to Chicken Wings

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I love chicken wings. When I cook them, they are baked, dry – no oil or butter – and I only add the sauce at the end.

In my old age, I have discovered that I adore crispy chicken skin. This is rather difficult to create when baking instead of deep-frying, and more time-intensive. The whole idea of eating fatty anything on purpose is hard for me – bordering on disgusting. But if it is crispy-crunchy-salty-hot? All good!

Since we don’t have dedicated wing restaurants here, the only time I get chicky wangs (yes, I call them that, fuck off, it makes iDJ happy when I talk southerin) is occasionally in the pub for a birthday/special event, or if I make them myself.

The pub ones are edible, but not crispy, so I end up leaving behind most of the wing as I can not eat greasy soft fat. Bleurgh. It makes me feel ill to even think about it – unless the soft fat is butter, which I could eat with a spoon. Mmm, butter.

Anyhoo. When we make wings at home, they come in a big package and need cleaned (feather removal) and cut into sections. This is where I probably diverge from most people who make wangs at home. You either don’t cut them up, or you do cut them up and then discard the wing-tip.

The wing-tip, if crunchy, is my absolute favourite part of a chicken. I would gladly take all those bits that restaurants in America toss out and feast until I turned into a chicken. You know that threat your momma always gave when you ate too much of one thing? Sort of like ‘If you make that face, it will stick’? I’m thinking of the one where she said, “You are going to turn into a _____!” (FYI – mine as a kid would be a black olive, a BBQ rib, cheese, or a ham sandwich.)

The thing with me is… I don’t just eat the meat and skin. Oh no.

I eat the bone.

Crunch crunch crunch!

If it gets chewy at all, I stop. If it stays crunchy? I eat the whole damn thing. For example:

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Chicken wing-tip before I ate it…

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Wing afterward. I have left the two joints, as they weren’t crunchy enough.

Nom! Devoured. I really enjoy eating the bones. It sure might be weird, but I’d like to think of it as eating all of the chicken except for the cluck.

Anyone else do this? Sled, you are exempt from the question, if you managed to read this far!

We use Frank’s Hot Wing Sauce, which luckily we can buy here. But what I do miss are teriyaki wings, and garlic butter wings, as I don’t know how to make the sauces with what I find in Ireland. I’d love some tips! Pun not intended.

Dinner and a conversation

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Hubby has his Internet radio show every Thursday. It’s from 8 to 10 our time, and then he has some bits n pieces to finish off afterward, so we don’t get to eat until rather late.

Last night I decided I had the time to pick some fresh herbs to put on the pork roast, and he decided he had the time to chop them for me (I dislike chopping them, not sure why as the smell is amazing). I brought in oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme, and added two garlic cloves that were also home-grown. I always pick too much! The pork was nearly crusted in greenery (I also add salt and black pepper, can’t grow them).

I got ambitious then, knowing that we’d have more good green stuff than necessary, and I decided I also had time to make a salad. We’ve not had one in ages, as hubby never seems interested when I say I want one.

I didn’t use the rocket (arugula) I grew, as it has gone all tough and leggy and seedy. And I forgot I had it. So, boring old iceberg lettuce from the supermarket. With my only four ripe cherry tomatoes – one the size of my pinky fingernail – and a sliced carrot from the Stupid Girl raised bed. That carrot was so damn tasty and sweet! For the dressing I added a bit of dried chopped garlic and my leftover cut herbs into a bit of white wine vinegar and let it sit. I didn’t need to add the fresh herbs; the point of putting anything in the vinegar is to rehydrate a dried spice – so if you don’t have fresh spices, toss everything in the vinegar, whatever is to hand. I don’t measure, sorry – eyeball it! I decided this time to add the fresh ones as the cutting board was hogging all my counter space.

The pork cooks for about 2 hours… when the meat is done I let it sit on a plate, and add water (or sometimes flat Pepsi) to the pan and swish it about to turn the yummy caramelisation flavour into a bit of jus. I add olive oil to the vinegar and swish that about a lot too, before pouring over the veggies. Simple and tasty!

Hubby likes to rate our meals out of 10. Usually he just rates his own cooking, the little egotist. I asked him for his rating of my dinner this time, as he kept saying how great it was.

“The salad is a 9.5! But, it was so good that the meat got lost. So the meat is only an 8. I give the overall meal an 8.”

“Wait, what? How do I get downgraded from a 9.5 and an 8 to an overall 8? Did you forget how averages work?”

“I’m sticking with an 8. The salad overshadowed the meat, sorry.”

A disappointing result. So much for not showing interest in my salads, eh?

Barley Stuffing

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I had a lot of people ask me to share my barley stuffing recipe. Well, three people. But hey, that’s three people who are interested and might benefit from my wealth of knowledge! HAHAHAHAHHA, gasp, HAHAHAHAHHA, wealth.

I got this off the net at some point, because I really, really, hate bread-based stuffing. Was always more than happy to help mom tear bread into chunks to make it, but I’ve always had a disgust for anything involving bread cooked in meat juice. I like bread, I like meat, but there’s just something… ooky… about the two together when the bread is wet. * shudder*

I wondered, one day, what I could use instead of bread to stuff a turkey or chicken. Rice is too sticky, and brings bad memories of a not-favourite-of-mine meal my mother cooked called ‘porcupines’ (no, I’m not kidding. It’s sort of surprising I’m not a vegetarian after that, isn’t it?), so I thought of barley. I love barley. I find the texture fascinating; squishy but firm, soft but a bit chewy, and the little bit of husk gives me the smug feeling that I’ve actually eaten something with ‘good’ fibre in it.

But, I hate onions. So this is an onion free version.

Sorry for the US measurements. I still think in American when cooking! But as with cooking rice, it’s one part barley to two parts broth. Use a coffee cup to measure, who cares? This isn’t baking, there’s no need to be exact. My ‘teaspoons’ are usually just eyeballed or dumped into the palm of my hand. We all do this. I love cooking like this (and this is why I’m a terrible baker).

1 cup pearl barley
2 cups broth (I love beef with barley, but for stuffing I used chicken. I expect vegetable broth would work also)
a shit-ton of salt. As much as you feel is too much. Barley needs salt. And I’m a bit of a salt junkie. Meh, use as much as you want, but my notes from the first time said ‘more salt’ and I went a bit mad this time, by accident. I actually did an iDJ and talked to the barley: “Oh, shit. Sorry. Whoops!” But it was perfect.

Throw in about 1 teaspoon each of whatever dried herb strikes your fancy. I like sage and thyme for a traditional stuffing flavour. And parsley, because it’s green and pretty. It’s not necessary, though.

Put that on to a boil and reduce to a low simmer, covered, as soon as it boils. In the meantime:

Sautée in butter 4 minced or pressed cloves of garlic, with half a minced green or red bell pepper (I used a red one every time, and it was perfect) and either the same amount of minced carrot, 1/2 inch chunks of celery, or both (onion people, this is your chance. Just don’t tell me about it, ok?). The carrot didn’t add much but color and maybe a vitamin or two, really. I didn’t use it last time and didn’t miss it.

Once the sautéed veggies look and smell like heaven, dump it in the pot with the barley. Leave it on low and stir it now and again just to make sure it’s not getting over cooked and dry. When it gets really sticky and there’s no water left, it’s probably done. You can taste it and make sure. Just try to leave some for the dinner later.

Thanks, self, for being an eejit.

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We only, tonight, about an hour ago, realised that American Thanksgiving is THIS week. As in, in a few days. Now, of course this isn’t something celebrated or enjoyed in Ireland; but hubby has this…thing…where he likes to try to make me feel at home by celebrating American holidays. Usually it involves me having to cook something hard to purchase here, or wear something starry and stripey. Thankfully those things are also hard to purchase here.

We really should have tried harder to import him to the States rather than export me, perhaps.

In any case, we scroooowed up and there will not be a timely turkey-day for us. Due to lack of turkey. And anything else slightly resembling the makings of a turkey-day meal…

Death of an important kitchen tool

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Aww. I went to take the pork roast out of the oven just a moment ago, and half the dish stayed in my hand while the other half stayed in the oven.

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At least there was no meat-juice-spillage, because I always double up on the foil. But still, I’m a bit sad. This was a pretty damn good baking dish. Used at least three times a week for at least five years, and damn if I didn’t keep it pretty clean. What about all that burned on oook? It’s due to HIM not washing it before using it again. Usually to make me breakfast. Ugh, how do you balance bitching with gratitude?

Best thing? I wasn’t the last to wash it before it exploded. BOOYAH motherfucker, I won’t have to scrape burned grease off of you ever again.

Pizza angst

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I have to poke fun at iDJ tonight. He makes low-carb pizza once a week, and every time he does, I hear him chastising himself for being OCD about the placement of toppings. I’d like to be able to say it is all in fun, but he really does make a quick meal take ages because he has to have a bit of every topping in every bite. Poor dear. I tried to tell him that you don’t necessarily want every bite to be identical, and I got bitten myself for my ignorance!

So now I get to poke gentle fun at him. No crushed red pepper pain allowed! Here’s his finished product.

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Beautiful, isn’t it? Especially aesthetically pleasing is how every black olive seems to be equidistant from the next. And the pepperoni. And under the cheese, the mushrooms will be as evenly spaced…

Wish he was as attentive to other things! But I guess I should stuff my mouth with this lovely food he worked so hard on, and not bitch about the rest!

(Best pizza in months, by the way! Nom nom nom…)