Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Chicken Stock Secret, exposed!

I make my own chicken stock. I have been doing it ever since I started buying the roasted chickens from the grocery store. I'm pretty sure I have not posted my recipe, because I was a little shy about it. Truthfully, I wasn't sure it was turning out right, but my FOOD that I cooked with it tasted great! So I was not going to change anything about it. Just kinda shyly put it into stuff and pretend I knew what the hell I was doing. Really, I wasn't sure!

There is a local blogger that I frequent, who seems to have much more substance to back up her cooking. She does cooking expos at the North Market. She reads books by chefs about cooking. She seems to have some experience! A recent post features her knowledge about stock, which she learned from Ruhlman's book The Elements of Cooking. This Ruhlman character is, like, the real deal. He was a judge on the Food Network's "The Next Iron Chef." I am pretty sure I saw him on a "No Reservations" episode with one of my favorites, Anthony Bourdain. (It was the Las Vegas episode...and yes, I have a small obsession with everything Vegas). Oh! And Ruhlman is from Ohio! I think his book will be on my Christmas list, officially.

So Ms. Restaurant Widow took a picture of her final product. It jiggles. MY STOCK JIGGLES! I always thought the jiggle, was, like, BAD. It isn't! It is CORRECT! Not to mention, in her blog "Comments", there is a nice response from someone titled "ruhlman". I like to think I am not naive. Maybe I am...but quite possibly he posted on her blog! And of course I comment, because, "Hey! Look at me! My stock does that too! I can't take good pictures of it. And I secretly thought I was just f-ing it up. But me too, me too!"

So in conclusion. I was right. And perhaps you now want my brilliant recipe. So here you go (and as usual, all measurements are approximate, as I no measure good, or ever).

Kristy Stock
One chicken carcass (2lbs)
2 sliced carrots
1 chopped celery stalk (the leafy part is encouraged)
1 medium onion roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
other herbs if you got 'em (thyme, sage, oregano)
water to cover (about 10 cups)

Put vegetables on the bottom, and place the chicken on top. Cover with water. Generously salt and pepper the water. Nestle the herbs and bay leaf along the side. Cook on low overnight. In the morning, turn to "keep warm" until you get home from work. Turn off and let cool enough to then place pot in the fridge. Skim off the fat after it appears at the top. Strain. Freeze. And yes, it is OKAY and GREAT if it jiggles!

Picture Update: Here is the amount of stock I get from my crockpot. Each container has 2 cups, and the top of the pyramid is 1. The containers, which I then put into the freezer, are FREE from the local chinese food place, and I just pop them into the microwave for 3 minutes to partially thaw so that I can then pop the stock into a pot on the stovetop when I am ready to use them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweets! Sweets!

The Chocolate Crepe, stuffed with amaretto cream, drizzled with coffee syrup.

Chocolate Crepes
Whipping Cream
Powdered Sugar
Amaretto or other liqueur (Baileys, Kahlua, etc.)

Directions: In your KitchenAid mixer, pour 1 cup of whipping cream. Set to medium-high, and whip with the whisk. Once it gets 'peaky', add powdered sugar slowly, tasting often so you know when it reaches the sweetness you desire. Add 1T of liqueur, taste. Add more if desired.

The Pecan Pie Tartlet

This was eaten for breakfast. Don't judge!
Pie Crust
Pecan Filling Leftover from THESE COOKIES

Directions: Make the cookies, because they rock. But I had a lot of leftover filling. Line a small baking dish, or even cupcake tin, with pie crust. Fill with filling. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. It may bubble over, so I put foil under the dish.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey

Sundays are for pasta. It is a nice filling dinner and just perfect for starting your diet off on the WRONG foot. I tried to trim down my ziti a little, with ground turkey, 2% milk Mozzarella, and low fat sour cream.

cooked penne pasta (about 4 cups)
1 large can chopped tomato with basil and oregano
1/2 large can of tomato sauce
2 frozen cubes of Trader Joes basil
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion chopped, (used in two spots)
1lb ground turkey
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3 heaping large spoonfuls of sour cream
1/2 cup shredded "other" cheese (I used extra sharp white cheddar)
handfuls of grated parm
salt to taste (sauce and ground turkey)
olive oil (for cooking onion)

Directions (in order of how I cooked things)
1. heat olive oil, saute onion (about 3/4 of what you chopped) and garlic
2. I add some pepper flakes (totally optional) and then added the sauce and chopped tomatoes. Drop in the basil and bay leaf, stirring to thaw and mix into sauce. Heat until bubbles start popping, then turn down to simmer.
3. Put water for pasta on the burner. Preheat oven to 375.
4. Once water starts to boil (drop pasta in), heat a small amt. of oil for remaining onion. Saute and then add in ground turkey. Cook and then strain.
5. After pasta is cooked, transfer to casserole dish or large bowl. Mix in sour cream. Mix in cooked meat/onion. Spoon about 3 ladles of tomato sauce into pasta mixture.
6. In large rectangular baking dish, spoon tomato sauce on bottom. Dump pasta mixture on top. Layer shredded cheese (I did just the cheddar here) on top of pasta.
7. Spoon more tomato sauce on top. Then mozzarella, then parmesan.
8. Bake covered about 20 minutes. And then uncovered about 10 minutes.

And now...the pictures!
Before Baking:

Ready for eating: (see that forkfull right there? That was the BEST bite!

Finally, this is what my kitchen looks like when I cook. Is everyone as messy as me? The gnomes that clean up after I cook think I am extra-specially-messy. Am I?? What I love about baking things for have that 40 minutes of clean up time, so that AFTER you eat there is little to do.

UPDATE: I clicked on this picture (you can too) and it totally zooms in so you can see EVERYTHING. Including, through the peep-through over my sink, where you can see the outline of the gnome that cleans the kitchen. Okay, actually he is a gnome wearing an Ohio State shirt. Go Bucks!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ohio Blog Meme:Only 5 Questions

1. You and your town: a marriage of love, convenience, or necessity?

Such a complicated question! I moved back to Columbus on purpose. I regret it. I regret it, not because I dislike Columbus, but because I could've gone ANYWHERE and I was chicken! I moved back to Columbus because my father offered up Bluejackets season tickets, which have since been sold. I stay in Columbus for family. I'd leave Columbus for love, though. If I didn't have love now, I'd possibly leave. Again, not because I dislike Columbus but for the adventure!

2. A mysterious benefactor gives you $75, with the condition that you must do nothing productive. Where in town do you go, and what do you do?
I have spent almost $75 on dinner and trivia for two at Damon's; you know, the place for ribs. I am not proud of that! I guess my idea of productive could be different from others. I'd take my $75 to North Market and just buy lunch and a couple cool things to cook with later. But is eating productive? I think so! Or I'd go to The Columbus Zoo.

3. You are your town’s tour guide, on a tight schedule. What is the one place you show visitors?

The Short North, North Market, and all the cute boutiques, making sure to stop at Jeni's Ice Cream.

4. The mysterious benefactor is back, this time with $500, three days off, and the condition that you must not leave the state. What’s your plan?

I don't think I'd even leave Columbus! I've always wanted to stay at The Loft hotel downtown, go to a show, get drunk in the Arena district, stumble back to the hotel, eat bruch at L'Antibes (only seen it in pictures and they looked GOOD!), Hockey Game, and eat at one of the nice places downtown or in the Short North.

5. You’re an Ohioan. What about that makes you proudest? The flip side of pride is shame; go there too if you want.

I love that no matter where you go, there is a fellow Ohioan there. And that Ohio is often the "hometown" of a character on tv or movie. We are just the most predictable plot detail.

Ohio up and answer the five questions too! And post your blog in the comments section if you do!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pink Moon Cupcake Bakery

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Carrot Cream Cheese, Black Bottom, Chocolate Caramel, Peanut Butter Chocolate
Wednesday: Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Ginger Bread, Red Velvet, Chocolate Chai Spice
Thursday: Vanilla Latte, Devil's Food, Spice Buttercream, Apple Crumbcake
Friday: Banana, Chocolate Peppermint, Coconut, Peanut Butter Cup
Saturday: Lemon, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, German Chocolate, Black Bottom
Sunday: Closed

Photo: Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese

My favorite was actually the Pumpkin! I was surprised! And His favorite was the Carrot Cake. Eventhough, he is so perplexed at how carrot can actually be IN the cake. It was cute.

Each cupcake is $2.50. We cut each in 1/4s, ate one 1/4 of each, and were stuffed!
The boxes are worth the money...they are so cute.

West Olentangy St.
Powell, Ohio 43065
And they do have a website:

Which cupcake would you like to try? What flavor is missing? I'd like to see a chocolate raspberry!

The Steak I Can't Recommend Enough!

Flat Iron Steak Fajitas

The flat iron steak is the best steak ever! I purchased this piece of meat at Whole Foods. It is about 8 ounces and was only 4.50, I think. All I did for the meat was place it in a zip lock with a spice mixture, about 1t of oil, and a couple shakes of Worcestshire sauce. Then I moved it around and let it sit about 20 minutes.
1/2t Cumin
1/2t paprika
1/2 cayenne

I love the Calphalon grill pan. I just throw vegetables on there with some salt and they are perfect. Now, I do have to wave an oven mit over the smoke alarm every minute or so. Whoever chose to place a smoke alarm in the hallway, right by the entrance to the kitchen, is a chooch!

Pink Moon Cupcakes...the latest craze in Powell.

Next Post...the weekly Cupcake Specials. Because I am a nice person, and I think a lot of people want to know what all this place has!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Linky Poos

I didn't cook last night. So here are some cool things to look at instead!

A new blog I found...
A list of soups for the winter...
A website of cool aprons...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I have officially met someone who loves sauces as much as I do. But if you've ever cooked for someone who loves sauce, you know that they will dip anything into the sauce, while it is cooking, thus lessening the quantity of the sauce. Now, I don't mind company in the kitchen, so the idea that I am cooking with someone to talk to is so very nice. It is just a little comical to see Triscuits, dive into the sauce. Bread slices, dive into the sauce. Tortilla chips, dive. Spoons, dipped. Cooked egg noodles, dunked. The sauce being smuggled last night, the homemade cream of mushroom that was then tossed with the noodles and tuna.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Egg Noodles, cooked (about half a bag)

Preheat oven to 350.

2 T butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 T flour
2 cups milk
1 can tuna
1 cup frozen peas
parmesan cheese

Melt butter until bubbly, then cook onion. Add garlic and mushroom and cook until mushrooms give off their juices. Stir in flour and brown. Whisk in milk, and cook until thickened, salting and peppering to taste (this is when the sauce starts to disappear...sauce gnomes). Add tuna and peas. Toss with noodles, and add parmesan cheese. Dump into casserole dish, and dust the top with more cheese. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover for 10 more.
Serves about 4...normal people. We also had a salad, and I had about 1 serving leftover of the casserole.

I swear I will bring my camera to work tomorrow with all of these lovely pictures I keep taking.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things I could've made with a Dutch Oven

More food without Pictures, sigh.

Parental Anniversary Menu (PAM)

Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce (including an extra tablespoon of horseradish)
Au Gratin Potatoes
Cabernet Pot Roast
Shredded Brussel Sprouts
Chocolate Crepes with an Amaretto Cream and Coffee Syrup

Two of the menu items were from fellow food bloggers, and I have linked those recipes to their sites. Go check them out, as they are much more diligent at the blogging than I.

For the potatoes, there was some drama. I do not have a mandoline, so I used the large bladed side on the cheese grater. It worked great; however, I did the slicing in the morning, put the potatoes under plastic wrap in the refrigerator, and when I came back to cook them, they were almost black. I rinsed them with cold water, which seemed to lessen the discoloration, and upon cooking them, it was all normal again. PHEW! But I thought I had lost 4lbs of potato!

Because I did not have a pot large enough to house all of the potatoes, I split them up between two round casserole dishes. This recipe definitely serves at least 8!
Potatoes au Gratin

4 lbs. russet potatoes, sliced into 1/8" slices with a mandoline
2 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, choped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp. butter
5 c. chicken stock
1/3 c. flour
1 4in x 2in parmesean rind
1 bay leaf
1 c. shredded aged white cheddar
1/2 c. shredded parmesean
1/8 c. shredded white America cheese (I just did more white cheddar)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Meanwhile, melt butter in Dutch oven over medium high heat until foaming subsides, about 1 min.
-Add onions and saute until soft and begins to brown, about 4 min.
-Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 sec.
-Add flour and stir until browned, about 1 min.
-Deglaze pan with chicken stock, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
-Add parm rind and bay leaf and simmer vigourously until stock is reduced and sauce gets thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
-Remove parm rind and add cheese, stirring to melt.
-Add sliced potatoes and stir to coat.
-Cover Dutch oven tightly and place in oven to cook for 45 minutes.
-Remove top of Dutch oven, stir slightly to recoat potatoes and place back into oven to brown for 15 minutes.
-Remove Dutch oven from oven and let cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving.

And the pot roast...

I also added a sweet potato to the vegetables that roasted with the beef. I actually cooked all of this in my large Calphalon Omelete pan, covered in foil. Worked just fine! I did my grocery shopping at 1130pm, and there was no rosemary in the fresh herb section. I bought, instead, a poultry mix, using the sage and thyme as the herbs used. I also forgot to use bay leaves. And I did a red wine and corn starch slurry for the gravy.

Cabernet Pot Roast
1 2 lb. chuck roast trimmed of excess fat
Flour for dredging plus 1 Tbs. for slurry
salt, pepper and garlic powder for seasoning
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 cup Cabernet
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cup beef broth divided
3 med. sized carrots cut into long strips
2 celery stalks roughly chopped
1 medium chopped
4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
1 rosemary sprig cut in half
2 bay leaves
2 sage stems with leaves
1 Tbs. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325

Heat skillet over med. high heat and add oil. Season meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder and dredge in flour. Sear meat in skillet on all sides, and set aside. Add butter to the pan and take off burner to cool down. Lower heat to med. low and return the skillet to the burner after a few minutes. Add all veggies and herbs except garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping all the stuck on bit from the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes, and broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer about 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Add roast, cover skillet tightly with foil and roast for 2-2 1/2 hours.
Take skillet out of oven and put meat and veggies on a platter. Discard stems and make a slurry with 1 Tbs. of flour and water. Turn heat on burner to low and stir in slurry and 1/4 cup of beef broth. Continue stirring until you have the consistency desired.

The blogs, where these two recipes came from, have great pictures. So I feel a little okay that I didn't take the photos last night. I was entertaining for this meal, so the added stress made it impossible.

I will post the dessert recipe with the photo tomorrow...stay tuned.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Chicken Parmesan with Creamy Orzo

Chicken Parmesan
Pounded Chicken breast, for even cooking
1 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/2 cup flour
vegetable oil to cover bottom of saute pan (size of pan varies this)

1 cup tomato sauce (recipe to follow)
shredded mozzarella
grated parmesan

After chicken is pounded thin, dredge in flour, then dip in egg beaters, then in bread crumbs. Heat oil. And also turn on broiler in oven. I unsafely drop a little water in the pan to see if it is ready for the chicken. If the oil spatters and burns me, we're good to go. Drop chicken into pan, turning once after the first side is brown. If the chicken is thin enough, 3-4 minutes on each side should be sufficient. After cooked, place in oven safe pan (I use a pie dish), top with a spoonful of tomato sauce, and then top with the desired amount of cheese. Place under broiler to melt the cheese.

Creamy Orzo

1 cup uncooked orzo
1 T butter
3 minced garlic cloves
3 cups chicken broth (I make my own)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tree of broccoli, chopped
1 T cream cheese (I use 1/3 the fat cream cheese)
Melt butter in a sauce pan, and cook garlic about halfway. Then add the orzo to coat with butter. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add chopped brocolli. Boil until orzo is done. Sometimes a need for straining is necessary, sometimes it isn't. If you strain, leave a little liquid to keep creamy once you add the parmesan. Mix in parmesan, then drop in cream cheese, mixing until it melts.

Last Minute Tomato Sauce
1 small onion, chopped small
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t oregano
2 t fresh basil
crushed red pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1 large can of crushed tomatos
1 bay leaf

I always make my own tomato sauce. I keep cans of Tomato Sauce, Crushed Tomato, Chopped Tomato, and Whole Tomatoes in my pantry at all times. I really liked the CRUSHED for this sauce, and will probably keep more crushed tomato than just tomato sauce in the future.

The order that I cooked this in:
Tomato Sauce
Cooked the orzo to a boil
Started chicken on the stove
Put chicken in the oven
Added cheeses to the orzo

White Bean and Chicken Chili

Yum! I haven't heated something up at work for lunch in a very long time and ALOUD gave an "oh yum." This soup caused me to do just that.

And I took a picture of it! All dolled up with a dollup of sour cream, and smatterings of green onion and cilantro. But, the camera is at home. With the picture. Insert frowny face here.

But here is the recipe with my alterations in parenthesis. I printed it off from All Recipes.

Cha Cha's White Chicken Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers (I had jarred jalapenos, chopped, and only about 2 T)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (roasted from the store, or course)
3 (15 ounce) cans white beans (I used 2 cans of White Kidney beans, with one can smashed. And 1 can of Cannelini beans)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used the Kraft Mexican Shredded blend)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken and white beans (including the smashed ones). Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the mixture from heat. Slowly stir in the cheese until melted. Serve warm.