Posted by Kurt on January 29, 2013
Challah Bread is a egg bread that is a Jewish bread made for the Sabbath. At least, Wikipedia says so. My wife is not Jewish, and she loves Challah bread any day of the week. Now, I haven’t gotten to working with yeast breads…yet. We buy ours at the supermarket. Normally, we just eat the bread as is with nothing on it. It really is that good. However, sometimes I want more.
This particular day after the Jewish Sabbath, I wanted French Toast.
Source: Food Network 365 Calendar 2012. Not sure of the day.
Ingredients: Challah bread sliced, 1/8 cup of sugar, teaspoon cinnamon, 1 egg, ½ cup of milk, ½ tablespoon of butter (more if needed). Serves 2.
Process: Whisk the milk and the egg until beaten. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in another bowl (or you can just buy the McCormick premixed version…but then you can’t control how much sugar if you do). Give the bread a bath in the milk/egg mixture. When you bathe the second side of the bread, sprinkle the mixture to your liking on the bread. Meanwhile, you should have heated a pan with the butter on medium heat. Put the cinnamon sugar side down, and the sprinkle the other side. Repeat, until you do all the slices. Serve with maple syrup, fruit, or whatever else you like.
Results: The French toast was flavorful and filling.
Verdict: Since we are trying to go through a lifestyle change (alright, we are dieting), this is a special treat meal. I would have taken pictures, but we ate it too fast.
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Posted by Kurt on January 24, 2013
Baked chicken is easy. Baked chicken legs is cheap and easy. Now, that you have stopped snickering. Let’s get on with the post.
Even though you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you how I bake chicken legs. I take two tablespoons of smoked paprika. Don’t settle for the paprika that your grandmother put on her potato salad. Spend the extra money for the good stuff. It actually has a flavor. I put about a fourth of a tablespoon of the following in: ginger, salt, cayenne, tarragon and oregano. A tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon complete the dry mixture. Put a little olive oil on the drumstick and then coat heavily with the dry mixture. Back until cook through.
The hard part in our household is not finding a protein that is tasty; it’s finding the vegetable that is the hard part. On this particular night, we settle on glazed carrots. On our last trip to the market, we purchased some maple syrup to replaced the processed pancake syrup we had in our fridge. Using my trusty How to Cook Everything as a guide, I set out to make maple glazed carrots. After cutting the carrots into coins, I added 1/3 of a cup of white wine, a tablespoon and half of maple syrup and two more tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil and cook down until they reach the desired tenderness.
An easy midweek meal.
Posted in Cooking, Recipes | Tagged: Carrot, Maple syrup | 6 Comments »
Posted by Kurt on January 4, 2013
One of the challenges I set out for myself this New Year is to cook at home more. I have a pretty decent amount of go to dishes that I can cook, but I want to push myself to expand my repertoire. I want to try to cook twenty-five new dishes this year. Hopefully, I will learn new techniques and be able to save some money by eating at home more often.
The first new recipe I cooked this year: Chicken with Tarragon Cream. I got the recipe from a bargain book called Chicken. Yes, it’s all about chicken.
- 2 Tbsp Light Olive Oil
- 4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 3 Shallots, finely chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
- 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Mushrooms (Sliced)
- 2/3-Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Tarragon
Well, those are supposed to be the ingredients. Winn Dixie didn’t have any fresh tarragon nor did I, so I went with dried tarragon. Also, I used extra-virgin olive oil due to that was what I had. Due to buying Tyson, I had three large breasts that I halved so I really had half a dozen breasts. Except that one of the halves was almost all fat, so I just discarded it before I put it around my waistline.
All prepared before I turned on the stove.
I started cooking the chicken in olive oil until they became golden brown. Then, I turned down the heat and cooked them until they internal temperature was around 140. Putting the chicken aside, I cooked the shallots and garlic making sure I didn’t brown the either. I then added the mushrooms and basically stir-fried them for about 3-4 minutes. I put the chicken back in and added the wine. I let that cook until most, but not all, of the wine evaporated. I finally add the cream, the tarragon, and salt and pepper. I let that cook for a while until the cream thickened some.
What looks like the simpliest part is the hardest…making the mushrooms tender without burning the garlic and the shallots.
Meanwhile, I baked some asparagus (with a little olive oil and Cajun seasoning). I placed the chicken and the asparagus on the plate and spooned sauce over both.
The finished plate
Due to the time, I’m not sure I would cook this mid week again. Also, due to the cream, it’s heavy on the calories. This could be a dish reserved for dinner parties or just a nice stay at home weekend meal.
Posted in Cooking, Recipes | Tagged: Chicken, Tarragon | 5 Comments »
Posted by Kurt on March 2, 2012
Cristina is a first generation Italian-American. I’ve been to Italy. Cristina has asked me to make stuffed shells for her for some time. She knows I love to cook and has confidence in my abilities. Yet, I get nervous anytime I cook Italian food, especially since her dad was an Italian chef in New Orleans. With all that pressure, I decided to make stuff shells.
The catalyst for this was a taco party we had for her thirtieth birthday. We had plenty of cheese left over. We also happened to have ricotta cheese, Barilla shells, and some tomato sauce. I had put off making shells, but I couldn’t any longer.
After reading the recipes from Just off The Red Street Car Line and the back of the Barilla box, I decided to do a bit of this and a lot of that from both recipes.
While boiling the shells to make them soft, I made the stuffing. We were doing this without meat, so it was really just a cheese mixture. 15 ounces of ricotta cheese with not so well measured out Colby jack mixed together with some fresh Parmesan (please try to get the real thing not that stuff made by Kraft or from Wisconsin. The real thing has to come from Italy. Trust me, you will taste the difference). I threw in some Italian and Cajun seasonings and mixed. I then put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a bake pan.
When the shells were ready to be stuffed (after about 6-8 minutes of boiling), I took them out and placed them on a sheet. I stuffed them and then put them in my baking pan and added more sauce, some pasta water, more Colby jack, more Parmesan, and more sauce. It made about 15 shells (boil more for when some break…and they will).*
Cristina seemed real pleased with the result. She didn’t complain at the three meals she made out of it.
*I’ll try to do a better job of taking pictures of my cooking. Just have to get used to having a camera in the kitchen.
Posted in Cooking, Random, Recipes | Tagged: Barlla, Pasta | 1 Comment »
Posted by Kurt on July 31, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
I have never been a fan of olives. They either ranged from too salty to not having any taste at all due to being canned. However, my lovely wife would eat them every day. She especially likes Kalamata olives which she picks up every time she goes to Whole Foods. I figured it was time to do something with these olives.
Two thoughts came to mind: hummus and sauteing chicken with them. The hummus was easy. I used my basic hummus recipe with a few differences. I substituted a half a cup of olives for the olive oil. I also put in only a fourth of a cup of tahini. I also put in less garlic so it wouldn’t overpower the hummus. I then placed this on the plate as it would serve as the bed for the chicken I was going to put on the top.
The chicken was easy. Just slice the chicken, season with basil, oregano, pepper and a about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Saute them for a little until you don’t see any pink any more. Then I added some slice olives and mushrooms. Saute them for a little longer and then place them on top of the hummus.
Now, I like olives.
Posted in Cooking, Recipes | Tagged: Hummus, Kalamata Olives, Whole Foods | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Kurt on April 15, 2011
Cristina has always been nice to me about my cooking. Now, she will tell me when something is awful. However, I never felt that I wowed her yet with my cooking. I finally achieved that goal this week.
The protein was Mahi Mahi from Whole Foods. While I might not be as picky about where most of my food comes from as I should be, I’m extremely picky about where my fish comes from. I lightly seasoned it with some salt, pepper and a very small amount of cayenne. I melted a pat of butter (truly the amount you would put on a piece of toast) in my pan on low heat making sure the melted butter covered the bottom of the ban. I raised the heat to medium high and cooked the fish four minutes on each side. I then let the fish rest.
The side dish was balsamic butter asparagus using a recipe from allrecipies.com. Before I started with the fish, I placed some asparagus on a baking sheet and salted them with salt and pepper. The recipe then called for me to cover them with cooking spray. I’m not sure why, but I followed the directions. I then put them in the oven for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the asparagus and fish were cooking, I then melted two tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. Once the butter melted, I took it off the heat and added one tablespoon of soy sauce and one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. After the asparagus were done, I placed them in a small dish and poured the sauce over the asparagus.
When I served the meal to Cristina, she was quieter than normal. Finally, she turned to me and said this was a restaurant quality meal.
So yes, Brian, if you are reading this, I can cook.
Posted in Cooking, Recipes | Tagged: Asparagus, Balsamic vinegar, Mahi Mahi | 1 Comment »
Posted by Kurt on April 8, 2011
My trusty food processor
I keep trying to remember the first time I tried hummus. I’m pretty sure it was at Casablanca in Metairie. The two things I do remember were the texture and the fact I didn’t really know what a chickpea was. I wasn’t sure if I liked it. Since I wasn’t sure if I liked it, I kept eating it till I knew I liked it. Now, it’s my favorite snack.
Now, it’s my favorite treat to make when we are in the mood for a snack mainly because it is so easy if you have the right ingredients: can of chickpeas, ¼ cup of olive oil, ½ cup of tahini (the maybe hard to find ingredient), juice of a lemon, 2 cloves (or more) of garlic), and whatever seasoning you want. Put it into a food processor or a blender and blend. Add water from the can and/or olive oil until you get the consistency you want. Make this on a Sunday and you have a couple of healthy mid-week snacks. Of course you can make this using fresh chickpeas, but often I’m too lazy too. However, I only make it with no salt added chickpeas.
Posted in Cooking, Recipes | Tagged: Hummus | 4 Comments »
Posted by Kurt on April 1, 2011
After having fresh Parmesan, I can’t go back to this (Image via Wikipedia)
Tuesday night was steak and potato night at our house. But what kind of potatoes to cook? Baked with all the fixings, or smashed with garlic, or roasted with a couple of different cheeses? Or should I try something new? Then I remember I had a rice cooker. Wait, isn’t a rice cooker just for rice? Well, if it was it would be a waste of counter space.
I decided to make smothered potatoes. I would prefer to do them in cast iron skillet, but that would require me to actually have a cast iron skillet. One day, I’ll have one, just not this past Tuesday. I cut the potatoes into small pieces and diced half an onion. I put the potatoes and about half the onions in the rice cooker pot. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a little cayenne. I put enough water in the pot to almost cover the potatoes. I then set the rice cooker to cook.
I then went watch TV for a little while. Well, I watched TV for about forty minutes. The SyFy version of Being Human is starting to get interesting. I then got up and started to fry some bacon in my grill pan. Once the bacon was done, I dried them off and crumbled them placing most, but not all, in the rice cooker. I poured out most of the bacon grease and then cooked my steaks in the same pan.
As soon as the steaks were done, I put them on the plates to let them rest. I then took the onions and sauteed them in the pan. When they were done, I threw them into the rice cooker. I then grated some fresh Parmesan (none of that pre-packaged stuff) on top of them and gave them a final stir. By this point, they were ready to serve. I put the reserve bacon on top to finish the dish off.
I know we will be eating this again…soon.
Posted in Cooking, Recipes | Tagged: Rice cooker, smothered potatoes | Leave a Comment »