M’kay…

Sacrificial chicken is on the fire.

Thankies to Whitey for giving me some helpful tips on cooking with my UFO :D

Basically I can start using my coals when there’s like 50-75% ash going on, I don’t need ALL of the coals to be white.

Once I’ve dumped the coals into the kettle (trying to remember next time to put the little grate back onto the bottom of the kettle before dumping the coals on top!!) cover it, top vents closed, then let it preheat another 5-10 minutes before cooking.

When ready to cook, throw the chicken down on the grill, skin side down for about 15 30 minutes to get pretty colour and flavour on the breast side. Cover and let it do its thing.

After the 15 30 minutes, flip the bird over and let it cook for another 30-40 minutes, checking temperature at thirty minute mark for 165F.

Somewhere towards the end of cooking, I’ll have to be playing around with the zucchini.. I suppose I could just cook the zucchini while the chicken is sitting resting before cutting into it for dindin.

*fingers crossed!!!*

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Dinner Tonight: Sacrificial Chicken

…Over fire, no less ^_^

Since I didn’t get to cook dindin last night, I made myself a promise that I would get out and buy all the ingredients (and tools!) necessary to hopefully make a BBQ chicken for tonight.

Before heading off to the grocery store, I stopped in at Canadian Tire to pick up a few things I’d been thinking would be good to have on hand for cleaning out my UFO on a regular basis — a galvanized steel bukkit for ashes as well as storing BBQ implements in, a small brush to get the ashes out of the UFO and a dustpan because… well it seemed like a good idea at the time for getting the ash out of the bottom of the kettle without having to flip it over onto its side.

What I should have probably also considered was perhaps a little shovel of sorts to scoop the still useable charcoal out of the UFO — then again, I could probably just use the dustpan, it’s just not terribly rugged, given it’s plastic.

Anywho, I have currently marinating: a sacrificial chicken that’s been spatchcocked, and is currently in a bag with 1 peeled & quartered onion, 1 quartered & sqeezed lemon, a bunch of fresh thyme, sage & rosemary, plus a little olive oil for lubrication and the requisite salt & pepper. I also have waiting, some garlic butter that I think I will smear under the breast skin to keep the meat moist… hopefully. And then I might do a light basting of hainanese chicken chili sauce over top just for some extra zinginess… I could possibly be making this overkill.

Today’s side to the the sacrificial chicken will once again be grilled zucchini and the last of the spanish tortilla, and probably the leftover portabella mushroom. Nothing terribly fancy, but I really, really, really, really hope this works… I’m rather anxious for this to work and for my chicken to cook properly.

My current conundrum consists of trying to decide how to go about grilling my chicken:

* Do I throw the chicken directly over the hot coals, skin-side down to begin with, then turn skin-up for the remainder of the cooking time and pray I don’t end up with a burnt bird with raw innards?
* Or do I pile the coals to one side, sear the chicken for a few minutes skin-side down over the hot-hot coals, then put it to the side of the grill where there is no charcoal so the chicken can then cook skin-up over indirect heat for… goodness only knows how long..??

PANIC! PANIC! PANIC I TELL YOU!!!!

I wish someone could tell me straight up what would be the best course of action for me o_O;;;;;

Chicken & Dumplings FTW

Wow… some days I even impress myself :o

Chicken & Dumplings, pretty darned tasty!

The Hubbs thoroughly enjoyed dindin and we ended up with far too many leftovers, as usual, so I packed up 2x750ml containers with leftovers to be put in the fridge tomorrow and we have one very large corningware-full, as well, those will be eaten again tomorrow for dindin… and probably the next day… and the next day.

The only thing I forgot to do when I served, was to season with salt and pepper. An error easily fixed by seasoning individual bowls to taste.

So just so I have a vague record of what I did, to be used again for future reference: Throw a bunch of chicken carcasses into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim off the scum, then turn down heat to simmer for ~2 hours. Remove all meat from bones, return meat to pot and add frozen veggies (carrots, peas, corn). Bring back to a simmer and drop dumplings on top of soup by tablespoonfuls. Cook dumplings for 10 minutes uncovered, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes before serving.

Other things I did:
* Added a 4th carcass to the pot for about two hours along with a bay leaf and a languishing cheese rind to add a little extra flavour — when I was picking off the meat from the final bird, I ate the cheese because I was starving by that point.

Something that I might change for next time: perhaps add some dry herbs to the biscuit mix, but otherwise, it was great as is.

Dumpling recipe: 2 cups bisquick + 2/3 cup milk

Poor, poor Hubbs…

He’s got The Plague(tm) and has had it since Thursday night.

I’ve been watching too many cooking shows again and tonight, in hopes of helping The Hubbs’ cold, I’m making Hainanese Chicken Rice. It has lots of ginger and garlic that ends up in the chicken broth and more in the hot sauce for dipping.

I had a version of chicken rice at a local restaurant, but somehow it didn’t quite taste like I had imagined it would in my head. So tonight I am going to try my hand it at. The recipe itself is super simple and add to the fact that we’ve got ourselves a little video recipe to follow, things are totally good.

My chicken is currently poaching gently in the pot and it should be done in about another half hour. I still have to fry up the garlic & ginger for the rice, and that should comfortably take us to a good 630pm eating time. One thing I did cheat on was that I found a bottle of chicken rice hot chili sauce at the store, so it saved me having to make and this way we can have it for other stuff in the future. Always good to have a whole selection of different hot sauces to choose from! I did, unfortunately, forget to buy cucumbers and tomatoes, but I might consider whipping out the Japanese pickle sticks to try with this dish. I’m just afraid they might be too salty where you’d really want to have something refreshing. We’ll see how I feel.

I’m excited.. I love tender cooked chicken.

Let’s hope this helps The Hubbs feel better soon!

The Return to Cooking

It would seem that since The Hubbs was on vacation, I stopped cooking.

I dunno how it happened, but I have a feeling it was a combination of wanting to go out to different restaurants to eat while on vacation, paired with a recent return of The Hubbs’ GI Infection, caused a severe lack of good meals being had lately.

Proper meals in this household had altogether blown to the wind and in its place, easily digested foods like: mashed potatoes with peas and carrots, soups, multiple meal replacements of Ensure or Boost, and some generally unhealthy foods like, say, a constant flow of ice cream have turned up in their place. This in turn has left me with making meals only for myself and thusly been horribly uninspired to make anything really memorable.

I did manage to make myself a decent steak dinner one night with a rather generous side of stewed veggies that I was most impressed with — one can of diced tomatoes, one diced zucchini, onions, garlic (duh), a few handfuls of baby spinach, some olive oil, capers and a couple of chopped anchovies. Start with the usual olive oil in pan plus onions, garlic and anchovies until soft and melted, then progressively add the rest of the veggies. Let it all hang out in the pan til it’s nice and mushy and some of the tomato liquid has evaporated. The addition of sliced mushrooms at the start of cooking with the onion mixture, then left to brown nicely before the addition of the remaining veggies would have been a very good idea. I just failed to remember that I could have done so until the last moment. That veggie concoction lasted me a good few days in different meals along with the steak, on bread, in pasta, plain, etc..

With The Hubbs not partaking in meals for the last few weeks, I’d been at a loss at what to make for dindin for his proper return back to work. I did have the forthought last night to ask him what he would like and pulled out some chicken to defrost. Go me. I just didn’t have any inkling of what to do with it. So I spent most of my “morning” today searching for recipes that sounded appetizing and would hopefully not aggravate his still tender tummy.

So tonight was the first night in a really long time that I actually made dinner that the both of us could enjoy together: chicken paprikash with spaetzle and I’m rather proud of the outcome.

Originally I had about 4 different chicken recipes to choose from and gave The Hubbs final say on what sounded most appetizing. In case you were curious about the other three recipes that I had on my list of possibilities, I give you these: Five-spice grilled chicken thighs with blackberry glaze, Balsamic Chicken with roasted tomatoes, Chicken with cider & bacon sauce.

The original recipe for the chicken paprikash, I also got from Cooking Light, but of course doctored by pairing it with an Allrecipes.com version of the dish.

The reason that I tossed in the chicken paprikash recipe was because for one, I’d never had it before and two, we had just watched the movie When Harry met Sally a few weeks ago. Funny enough, when I showed The Hubbs his list of options, he automatically chose the paprikash recipe for the exact same reason I did ^_^

On to the recipe, which by the way… is no longer low fat with the melding of the two recipes and changes I made ^_^;

Chicken Paprikash
1 Tbsp bacon grease
4 chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 big Tbsp minced garlic (I use jarred stuff lately.. I have a love-hate relationship with the jar)
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5oz)
1 cup chicken broth (enough to rinse out the tomato can)
2/3 cup sour cream
salt, pepper

* Prep chicken by removing skin & large chunks of fat. Cut meat away from bone, but do not discard! Slice chicken into thin strips.
* Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat.
* Saute onion, garlic and red peppers until translucent. Add paprika and caraway seeds and cook until fragrant.
* Add chicken pieces plus meaty bones and cook until browned.
* Add chicken broth and scrape up all the tasty bottom bits from the frying pan.
* Pour in tomatoes, add bayleaf and stir until combined. Cover pan and simmer for one hour.
* Stir in sour cream and let sauce come back up to a simmer before serving.

As for making the spaetzle recipe, I think I need to get myself a spaetzle gizmo. I am so tired of fighting with the dough, it’s not even funny. It’s a simple recipe that is so incredibly tasty homemade, but it’s lots of work sweating over a hot pot of boiling water with a super sticky dough, dropping little bits into the water.

Spaetzle
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I accidentally just put two shakes from the bottle.. they were kinda large shakes, too)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-2/3 cup water

* Mix all ingredients together until you get a sticky dough that’s almost like a batter.
* In a large pot of salted boiling water, squeeze dough out into the water using spaetzle maker or by pressing through a colander with large holes.
* When noodles float to the top of the water, they are done (3 to 4 minutes).
* Drain noodles and toss with butter and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Nothing super exciting…

Just a few pics I kept meaning to upload over the last month or so but always forgot about.

They’re all pointless, in the scheme of things, but still rather amusing in their own right.

So here we go:


What you do for dindin when you’re too tired to think and there’s all that leftover stuff in the fridge — Fried Rice!

Merry Christmas Humbug from The Hubbs

We were discussing ham one night on #R! and this is what gives us the most bang for $5 (about 2 meals each).

Happy Birthday Carrot Cupcakes for The Hubbs with a dark chocolated covered dried cherry raspberry on top

A nice little cornish hen for two that lasted, again, 2 meals. It’s not burnt, it’s just the garlic I keep forgetting about.

And just to make things more interesting, the cornish hen recipe

Yum…

Bacon-wrapped chicken livers.

Seriously.

I think I will forgo my original thought of having it with rice, and just wrap a few pieces up in a slice of soft & squishy white bread…

*drool*

(too bad there’s no mayo in the house…. lots of dijon mustard’s not bad, though!)

Empty out the fridge night!

For some reason, I completely forgot that we had a roast chicken on saturday night. I’m feeling like having chicken tonight is a little bit of overkill. Oh well, too late now.

In the slow cooker: I threw in 2 leg+backs attached pieces of chicken and one rogue thigh from the freezer, all pre-seasoned (and somewhat marinated in a freezer bag) with a little olive oil, some lemon juice, salt, pepper, dried dill and garlic powder. The chicken was then topped with what remained of yesterday’s sausage gravy, thinned with water. Original basis of chicken in caper cream sauce is here.

To serve, I’m making a side of quinoa. As Dad says, “Sounds like dinner’s going to be kinda kinky tonight.”

This would be in reference to anything new, in this case the quinoa, and still on the questionable preparations list because Mom never does her research in finding the best way to serve a new food. The couple of times she has made quinoa in the past, it wasn’t anything at all to write home about, but since I happen to like flavouring my foods (unlike some people we know) I’m hoping that my first attempt at quinoa will be at least a positive experiment.

According to Wiki: quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.

So, having said all that, what I am doing is following the rather simple recipe called Quinoa Side Dish. Changes made thusfar: In rice cooker, dump in 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups chicken broth, 2 Tbsp dehydrated onion flakes, garlic powder, dried thyme & dried parsley. Omit salt & butter, press on button.

As another thought, I’m making for myself some tasty thyme ‘shroomies. Cuz I can and I so desperately wanted to add it to the original recipe for the chicken & caper sauce. The Hubbs will have to suffer with none and eat peas & carrots… of course, getting him to actually take a portion of any veggies might be an issue. :P

Holy moly batman!

I am completely mind-boggled right now.

Last week when I hit up Sunterra, I had picked up a can of sweet paprika. It’s one of the few spices in my pantry that I do not own nor have ever felt the need to. When I did eventually buy a can, it was only because I wanted to experiment with this spice which I had never done before.

Right now I’m making this Hungarian Goulash recipe, but with chicken (I know, sacrilege, sorry).

Holy cow. I am completely and utterly blown away by the smell of paprika. I’m having another lightbulb moment!

This stuff is AWESOME!!

If I could roll around in this stuff like I always feel the need to do in the spring when I smell cedar chips, I would totally do it.

Seriously.