Sunday, February 27, 2011

I dunno about the Pastrami and Tongue but Chicken Soup Rocks


We are sick. Dr. Food and I both at the same time. He is hacking up a lung and *I* feel like I have a cow sitting on my chest and it won't let me breath. I am handling it though. I have been sitting in my "Big Girl Chair" and whining and playing on my iPad. In between I am making tongue, smoking a pastrami (well Mr Mancold is doing that part in all honesty) and I also had to make chicken soup last night. The chicken soup is really what I am feeling like. Something about tongue when you are sick that just isn't that appealing.


Ok, to be honest with you it isn't really appealing when I am not sick but it does taste good. You will just have to stay tuned to see what we are going to do with it.


Toasted the peppercorns and Coriander seeds for the final rub for the brisket.


Brisket in the smoker.


Started rye bread.


Cole slaw is fermenting as we speak (or as *I* type)


Back to the Big Girl Chair. A cup of tea with some whiskey sounds good right about now.

Chicken Soup with Noodles

1 whole chicken
Enough water to cover chicken with about 1 to 2 inches more
Some roughly chopped carrots
Some roughly chopped parsnip
Some roughly chopped celery
1 Onion (peeled but kept whole)
a little tumeric

1. Boil the crap out of the chicken.
2. Remove chicken and let cool. Meantime put soup in the refrig for a while to make it easier to skim the fat off the top
3. Shred chicken
4. Return chicken to soup.

Make noodles (I use the really skinny egg noodles because that is what my Grandma used to use) according to package directions. Drain and put as much as you like in soup.

Now you know why I don't write recipes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paella, Frito Pie, TMI and Matt


Matt, Margie and Sam came to dinner on Saturday. I decided to make a paella because it was the lazy thing to do. Sam was armed with McDonalds so no critique this time. Sam did turn me on to some new apps for my iPad though. Now I am addicted to some cat that copies whatever you say. The cat is really cute and has big teeth.


This is Matt (waving hi to Matt!). Matt is my beer guy. I don't drink beer very often but when Matt picks one I know that it is going to be exactly the kind I like. I recently caught on that my beer guy might be picking beer by the labels. I think he liked this one a little too much.


Sunday night I was hell bent on making this Frito Pie that I saw posted over at Noble Pig My mom used to make something like this called "Imitation Taco's". It wasn't casserolie though. I got to tell you that this is great comfort food.


Also started brining for the Charcutepalooza. We are making a corned tongue and a pastrami. Today I am going to be starting sauerkraut. It is all about brine this month.

So, this is where I have some splainin to do. Last week I saw that one of my measly 80 followers unfollowed this blog. It got me thinking. Not because I need that 80th person (ok, so maybe my feelings were hurt) but it got me thinking about the tone of this blog and my "voice". I know that I am very tongue and cheek (no pun intended) about the things I write about. I know that it looks like at times I am disrespectful and cavalier about the items I am growing or using. I have to say right here and now that I never take for granted the fact that I have enough to eat, or the fact that I am lucky enough to be able to do the things I do. It is of the utmost importance to me where I buy my food and where it comes from. Case in point. I am going to the Cochon & Charcuterie Workshop at Claddagh Farms I am so excited to be going to this you have no idea. I simply want to make my own everything. It isn't for the food itself. It is for the process. I am all about process. The fact that we get to eat it and it was thoughtfully prepared is the bonus.

So, I don't mean to get all preachy but I was in the shower and thinking. Yeah, I do think. I was thinking "Janis, why do you always have to joke about things?" This is when my imaginary Dr. Shrink came talking through my head radio.

Dr Shrink: Janis, why do you make a joke out of everything?

Janis: I...I don't.

Dr. Shrink: Check back on your blog and you will see that you do. You are very rarely serious.

Janis: Well, I think it might stem from my brother being a genius and 8 years older than me and my sister 6 years older and a schmarty pants too. I was the youngest and never could keep up so I became the funny and cute one.

Dr. Shrink: Interesting but I don't buy it for a moment. I just think you are a social wackadoodle.

Janis: Oh, ok.


This is the tongue I am corning. Screw you Dr. Shrink.

Chicken Frito Pie

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-1/2" pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 cups chicken broth
1 (7 oz) can chopped fire-roasted green chiles
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-1/2 cups Fritos, divided
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350o F. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium high. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides for a total of six minutes. Remove to a plate. Add onion, garlic and chili powder to pot, stirring; saute until tender, 4 minutes.

2. Return chicken to pot, stir in broth, green chiles and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid will evaporate.

3. Add 1-1/2 cups Fritos to a 2 quart casserole. Top with chicken mixture, remaining Fritos and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with cilantro, avocado and sour cream if desired.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I took Dr. Food to Peru...Well not really.


I was sorta getting tired of meat and wanted to do something with chicken. I mean there is only so much meat that I can post about (I am a liar I could do every post on meat but then all of you would think that is what I ate every night and I don't). Anywho... I am not sure what made me think of Peruvian food but I started thinking about Peruvian food. I decided to make Peruvian chicken. Then I thought "Janis, why not go all out and make Dr. Food a whole Peruvian meal". So I went to trouble of doing research. Finding the chicken recipe was easy. Finding out that Pisco Sours are a Peruvian drink was easy. So, then I had to get off my butt and go to the store.


I asked the man at the liquor store if they had Peruvian wine. The Pisco Sour was an iffy proposition. No Peruvian wine in Massachusetts. Why? Nevermind. I bought the Pisco to make the drink.


Came home and made the goo that goes on the chicken. I then let it sit for a couple of hours in the refrig.


Meantime while in the kitchen I harvested some of my mushrooms. I ate one and didn't die so that is a good sign.


I put the chicken in the rotisserie to cook. I started making simple syrup for the Pisco Sours. I came upstairs to get some Peruvian Pan Pipe music so that it would be playing when Dr. F came in the house. It sounded something like THIS


Dr F. walks in and the music is playing and I say "What country am I recreating" He said ...wait, I don't remember what he said. Anyhow, I then make the Pisco Sour. We toast and take a gulp. Ew. I don't like em. Dr. Food seemed to have to problemo throwing a few down his throat.


Then the problem comes. I sorta dropped the ball. I got tired and burnt out in the middle of doing all this and it didn't seem fun anymore. So, what did I do? I made some Quinoa that I had from Trader Joe's that is frozen (Shut up, *I* did my research and found out that Quinoa is Peruvian. Ok, so it was FROZEN.)


I got dinner done and although I pooped out it was a good dinner. Yes, that is schmutz on the plate and that wrecks my chances for any blogger awards because we all know that a good chef cleans the plate and a good blogger sacrafices their food getting cold by putting it in front of a backdrop with just the right lightening so they get that PERFECT picture. Too bad the food has gone cold. Me?? I wolf down the food and then apologize for the crappy photo.

Sorry about the photo.

Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken
By Derrick Riches, Guide


1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
4 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 quart cold water

Combine vinegar, wine, oil with garlic powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Mix well to form a paste. Add lemon juice to cold water. Trim chicken of any excess or loose fat. Wash chicken thoroughly with lemon water. Place chicken in zip-top bag. Pour spice paste over chicken. Coat chicken completely with mixture rubbing into every surface. Try to get the paste under the skin as much as possible.
Seal bag and place chicken in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The chicken will have more flavor the longer it "marinates" in the spice mixture. Do not refrigerate more than 24 hours however.

Preheat grill and prepare rotisserie. Place chicken on rotisserie and on the grill for approximately 1 1/2 hours at a temperature around 300 degrees F. (150 degrees C.) Test chicken for doneness by measure in the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh. Chicken is done at 165 degrees F. (75 degrees C.).

This chicken is frequently served with dipping sauce. A simple version of this sauce is made from combining 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons mustard and 2 tablespoons lime juice. (Ooops. I forgot to make this but I bet it is good)

Pisco Sours
By Marian Blazes, Guide


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 1/2 cups pisco
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups ice
Angostura Bitters

Make sugar syrup: Put sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, and let cool.

Place sugar syrup, lemon juice. pisco, egg whites, and ice in a blender, and mix until very frothy.

Serve in small tumblers, with a dash of bitters in the middle of the foam.
Tip: The ratio of 3 parts pisco to 1 part lime juice to 1 part simple syrup makes a strong, tart pisco sour. You can reduce the amount of pisco to make it a little less "fuerte". The egg whites give the cocktail its traditional frothy top layer, but some people prefer to leave them out.

Serves 6-8

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Charcutepalooza: The Cure or What is wrong with my Mother??

Let me start off by saying that I really am going to be serious here. Well, as serious as *I* can be. It has to do with food and it has to do with me being like Andy Rooney and it also has to do with my Charcutepaloozaness. It even has to do with my Grandma.


First off I would like to say that I hate when people have to take something that is wonderful and turn it into something unrecognizable. Ok, I don't really HATE it but Andy Rooney would say "Don't you hate it when...." Since I have the "voice" of a grumpy old man in this post *I* am channeling Andy Rooney.

Screen shot 2011-02-10 at 10.59.33 AM

So let me just say that personally, if I go to the trouble of making something that is cured or canned or slaved over, or if I go and get an ingredient from a local farm, or if I grow it out in my garden, I want to TASTE that item for its own merits and not turn it into an art project. I guess that makes for pretty boring blog posts but I amuse myself so I guess that is good for something.

Lets me move on and talk about this Months Charcuteapalooza challenge. This month was a choice of Bacon, Pancetta, or Guiancle. I choose to make the Bacon and Pancetta. Lord knows that I tried to find Hog Jowls for the Guiancle and searched from Boston to San Francisco to no avail. I did end up making plans to buy a whole pig and also I ordered jowls from the Berkshires that I will pick up in March. *I* want to be the woman with the most bacon ever!


We started off with the gateway meat. Bacon. Who doesn't like bacon? We did half of it smoked and half of it not smoked. Since we had to use the stove top smoker there wasn't all that much difference. Smoking isn't easy in 5Ft of snow or we would have done it on one of the outside smokers. We bought an electric slicer in preparation.


We waited patiently while the bacon was in the CURE. We waited and waited until one day it was THE day.


What did we do with our bacon? You may scoff because we didn't do anything fancy. I wanted to taste this piece of porky goodness that I made myself. I didn't want to hide the flavor in any way. As a matter of fact that is my policy with most my life. I don't hide. I am out there in your face. So is my bacon.


We made simple dishes. Dishes others would cluck their tongues at.


A simple wedge salad with ICEBURG lettuce.


Homemade tater tots.


We ate it plain.


Here it is in with some beef shanks. Yum.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...


One day I WILL get to have one of these miniature ponies...go away little dude, that is MY miniature pony.

So we started our Pancetta. We cured it and rolled it and hung it.


We hung it up to dry in a prominent place so that all our friends could admire it.


Since the cat was giving it the "Stink Eye" we decided to put it in the "Meat Chamber" where it would be safe.


When it was all done I couldn't believe the beauty of this slab of piggy goodness.


I wanted simplicity. I wanted to just fry up the whole thing and eat it that way. So, I thougth that I would just throw it into some beans that I was making with spinach for dinner.


I couldn't wait to taste it and as I was cooking it up I may have been stealing all the fried up pancetta. Shut up Dr. Food. I was saving you from yourself. I SACRIFICED my own health.


Last nights dinner was scallops with pancetta. I also made an amazing risotto with cabbage and pancetta. It was our Pancetta Palooza blowout!


Then it was time to pack it up and put it away for a while. So, we used our new slicer to slice it and we vacummed sealed it.


It is now in the freezer with its friend Mr. Bacon.

Lastly, why wouldn't I want it to be "My mothers (Fill in the Blank)?" Everything has become "Not your mothers..." or "Not your Grandmothers...". My mother still goes fishing and catches the biggest fish and wins awards. I don't mind it being "My mothers..."


THAT is a Halibut that my 5ft 80 year old mother caught. She has nerves of steel and a mean casting arm. When she cooks for me it reminds me of my childhood and I get really good feelings of going back in time. A time when my mom stayed home and cooked and took care of her family. Why wouldn't I want my Mothers whatever recipe?


My Grandmother was amazing and I adored her (Mom you look so cute in THAT picture. I think you were MY age there!). She used to cook all sorts of things that I loved. One of them being this fruitcake. So here you have it. My Grandmothers Fruitcake. I would never call it "Not my Grandmothers Fruitcake" and then do something really weird to it like make it into a Whoopie Pie or a Cupcake. This is a recipe she brought with her from England. It is more like a black bread and not overly sweet.


Ok, I got the "Andy Rooney" out of my system. Back to our regularly scheduled program.


Did I introduce you to my mushroom burl? It is REALLY growing shiitakes. I know it looks a bit nasty but that is a whole other post.

Grandma's Fruitcake

1 C Raisins
1 C Boiling Water
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Vegetable oil
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Cocoa
Pinch of salt
1/2 C Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350

1. Pour boiling water over raisins and baking soda. Let cool. Drain water but save for cake.
2. Sift Flour, Baking Powder, Allspice, Cocoa, and salt into a bowl.
3. In another bowl mix eggs, sugar, 1/2 C oil and vanilla.
4. Alternate dry ingredients and wet ingredients while mixing (Raisin water, dry ingredients, wet mixture)
5. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Parker here...Foodie Fun with Grammy


Me again! Yup. It is time for a Parker Post. Grammy came to visit and it was a wild food extravaganza few days. When Grammy got off the plane she looked a bit frozen. She had to thaw a bit before she came to life. So after she came in we went for Mexican food because she said the weird place she lives doesn't really have any good stuff. So day one was spent mostly with Grammy just hugging and kissing me.


It was my first ride on BART.


Luckily, mom and dad figured out somewhere to go with the old gal so that she wouldn't squish me to death with her kisses. We went to the Ferry Building and to the Farmers Market. Grammy kept talking about wanting to find Hog Jowls to make something with. She is a little odd. She is really hung up on this Charcutepalooza thing.


She also bought this weird mushroom thing. She wants to grow her own. I think that they might be "Silly mushrooms" and not shiitake's. I mean WHO takes something like this in their suitcase home with them? I love her anyhow though. She buys me toys and lets me drool on her. She taught me how to stick my tongue out at her and it made mom and dad sorta mad. It was funny. Grammy is Koo Koo.


Grams got weepy when she saw Acme bread. She acts like there isn't yeast where she comes from. I dunno, she was scarfing it down like it was her last chance.


She then accousted some guy named Chris Cosentino. He is some meat guy. She asked HIM where to get hog jowl but the place that he suggested didn't have them. Grammy got a meat cone instead. I rather have an ice cream cone myself. She got this at Boccalone


She really loved this place.


Grammy kept looking at the Bay and mumbling something about not going home. Mom encouraged this idea.


Mom must take after Grammy because she was excited about this meat too. We walked around some and then dad had a great idea. He thought that we should all go Vodka tasting. *I* am too young but Grammy is a drunk so he thought she would like it.


We went to Hangar One. I don't know who those two ladies are. Grammy takes crappy pictures and THAT is why she will never ever be famous or win anything. She is really nice though.


I liked this weird looking thing in the vodka. It is called Buddha Fingers.


This is what dad and Grammy tasted. Mommy just took sips of theirs.


Then the old gal thought it would be funny to put me in a martini glass. Mom really didn't want to but she was being nice and did it for Grammy.

Lots more happened but Grammy is kind of a loser when it comes to taking pictures. Dad made chili for Grammy and mom and Grammy loved it. We all went to the Antique thingy and walked around for hours. Mom took Grammy to go see a concert and dad stayed home with me. Then Grammy had to leave all too soon.


Grammy looks like crap in this picture but I have to tell you that the two of us have a special kind of thing going. I have a feeling I am going to get anything I want out of her.