Thursday, March 15, 2018

Chicken Pot Pie (Pi day) a day late! But, I'm on the fly!

Chicken Pot Pie, my way

Here's what my family has always liked about chicken pot pie:  Cheese and BACON!

Yesterday was March 14th, Pi day, now I am not a math person, but am surrounded by science people.  My husband is a microbiologist and I have one daughter who is a biology teacher at the local high school and another daughter who is pretty brilliant in math among other topics.  I cook, bake, sew, and other arty things, so math has never been my knack.  In fact, if you asked me where to find math books in the library or book store, I'd tell you the horror section!

Well, anyway, here is my recipe for chicken pot pie for all those who like their pie for all other days of the year, along with Pi day.

My Chicken Pot Pie

The white sauce
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (I use White Lilly)
1-1/2 c whole milk
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp of Beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe of white sauce
1 package of mixed vegetables
2 TBsp diced onion
1 12.5 oz canned chicken
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1 cup of biscuit mix (I use Pioneer Brand)
1 egg
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
Melt butter in medium size sauce pan, add flour and whisk until smooth over medium heat for 1 minute to make sure flour is cooked.  Meanwhile, heat milk in microwave for 1.5 minutes to speed up the thickening process with the sauce.  Add half of the milk at a time to butter mixture until thickening and then the rest of the milk and cook until the sauce is thickened, but not too thick!  Add the seasonings and cheese.  When the sauce is completely mixed through and smooth, add beef stock and finish stirring until all smooth.   In a casserole dish, lightly grease the bottom with butter and add the chicken, sauce, and onions.   In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients together and pour over the filling.  Sprinkle bacon bits over the top and bake for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Serve with a salad and voila, Dinner!


A country breakfast staring biscuits with Deep Run Roots

Country buttermilk biscuits made with 3 ingredients thanks to chef Vivian Howard, the Chef's life PBS series and her new cookbook, "Deep Run Roots" of which my sweet husband gave me for Christmas.  I have always made the Southern Living recipe of "Mile High" biscuits with egg, sugar, shortening, milk and they are truly a delicious delicacy, these are really good in a whole different way.   The eggs were cooked on the cast-iron skillet in olive oil using a very simple technique of spooning the oil gently over the yokes while they cook for a more evenly set egg.  They are also not as greasy as you may think..just lovely, actually.  The bacon we bake in the oven.  Ever since my husband learned that you can bake bacon in the oven and get the same crispy result he has been in  charge of the bacon prep.  Now for the biscuits:

Chef Vivian Howard's
 ENC-style Buttermilk Biscuits  (Eastern North Carolina)
(makes 10 biscuits)

1/2 c lard plus more for greasing the pan
2 1/2 /c all purpose flour, (I use Martha White)
4 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

"Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Using your hands as both scoop and spatula, grease a baking sheet liberally with lard.

Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl and make a deep and wide well in center.  Add 1/2 cup lard followed by the buttermilk, taking care to keep both contained in the well for now.  If you're right-handed, take your right hand down into the lard-buttermilk goop and start bringing that together with your fingers.  You want to make that as much of a homogenous mixture as you can without bringing too much flour into the fold just yet.  Once you get it together, start moving the wet mixture back and forth, to and fro into the flour.  Turn it over and do the same.  Turn it over again and introduce more flour with each movement.  Once I get it going, I like to do a little motion that feels like a one-handed knead, using my thumb as if it were the other hand.  It's a real gentle, but it pushes new flour in with each movement.  Continue introducing flour until the dough is not sticky but still very soft and tender.  You will have about 1/2 cup of flour left in the bowl.  ......

Pull off a large golfball-size piece of dough and roll it up with your hand, pinching the bottom together.  Put in corner of greased baking sheet and press down to 1/2 inch thick.  Follow with next biscuit.  All sides of the biscuit should be touching other biscuits.  It's okay if you don't fill up the entire tray; it's more important that they are crowded.

Slide the tray onto the rack in the lower third of the oven and bake for 18 minutes.  Rotate the tray to the top rack and bake an additional 7 minutes.  The biscuits should be golden brown and crisp on the bottom, a little less brown on top.  Let them cool if you can for 2 minutes before eating.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fish Cakes on Friday!!

It's Lent here in my household and we are not fond of fishsticks from the grocery freezer, SO, I have to get creative and sometimes we do meatless/fishless meals, sometimes we do a soup and salad meal, or a breakfast dinner with eggs and toast, and sometimes I do a seafood of one sort or antoher.  There is one recipe that I found from Ina, Barefoot Contessa, that my husband especially enjoys:  Salmon cakes!  We never have all the ingredients, so here is what I do.

Salmon Cakes, courtesy of Ina Garten...with a few substitutions

Canned Salmon, or Canned Tuna, which ever you have on hand.
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter, (Always cook with UNsalted butter, that way you can season better!)
3/4 c red onion, I usually have yellow onion mostly, until summer with hamburgers!
4 small stalks of celery, I didn't have any can skip this ingredient.
1/2 c small-diced EACH of red pepper and yellow pepper...I had half of a green pepper on hand.
1/4 c minced fresh flat-leaf parsley,  I had dried, so to half or less....I put in 2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp drained capers
1/4 tsp tabasco.....I don't like it, so we don't add this, my husband keeps it at the table for his use.
1-1/2 tsp crab boil seasoning
3 slices of stale bread, crumbed
1/2 c Mayonaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 extra large eggs...... I get farm eggs, so 3 small/medium eggs will do.

Add all the ingredients into a bowl, mix thoroughly.  Mixture will be loose almost like pancake batter.  We used a 12" castiron skillet with Olive oil heated.  Pour the mixture into the pan with a 1/4 cup measure and cook 3 minutes on each side and are golden brown

Serve hot and enjoy!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

January Bakealong Challenge

King Arthur Flour's January bakealong challenge was a fun one, Pizza Party Buns!   I am always a rule or direction changer, so instead of making them pizza themed, I made them for a Sunday Family dinner with refried beans, tomato paste, and cheddar cheese and for excitement, chopped up bacon on the tops.

They were sensational and my son-in-law told me that they would be a great breakfast meal.  We tried it the next morning and sure enough, they were!

The directions were very easy, anybody can make these!  Here's the recipe:

For the Buns
Combine the following:
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the Filling:
1 can of Refried Beans, your choice
1 sm can of tomato paste, or salsa
1.5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, or mexican blend
Bacon bits, for the top

After adding all the bun ingredients in a mixer with a hook, knead the dough until it's smooth. (2 minutes)  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and let rise for about 90 minutes.  Punch down and roll out in a rectangle about 11" x 18"     Spread the refried beans on first followed by the tomato paste and/or salsa.  Spread the cheese on top and then roll the dough up lengthwise pinching the end into the dough lengthwise.  Slice the log into 12 rolls and place on a cookie sheet and let rise again for about 90 minutes.  ( I didn't really do that second rise and they were great!)  Then bake them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.   Serve warm with sour cream and more salsa!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Another birthday in our house

Our daughter, Sarah, is  turning 20 this week, so we are celebrating today with the family.  She requested a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing.....and she got it.  Lately, I haven't been writing on my cakes, just giving them a nice shape and style.  Elegant and definitely chocolatey.

Where does the time go?  I just had her...or well, 20 years ago.  crazy.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Pumpkin Bundt on the fly....really!

My husband had an invite for a "pig-pickin" as they call them here in the carolinas on the spir of the moment...or else, he failed to let me in on the invite and the promise of a dessert until the night before.  Anyway, this cook on the fly thought about it for a while before falling to sleep and woke up with a plan.  Usually, I process my jack-o-lanterns the day after Halloween, but I had to act fast and in the spirit of the pumpkin season, I had only 1.5 hours to accomplish this and it wasn't a group of people I knew, but my husband works with it had to be good.

Pumpkin bundt was in order and it turned out very nice.  I found a few bundt recipes in my cookbooks, but I wanted something less spicy, but with still a flare.  Most recipe ask for more sugar than I think they need and canned pumpkin is lacking the depth of a homemade mash, that I make anyway, so here is what I came up with.
Pumpkin Bundt cake with flair
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp cloves
1 15 oz canned pumpkin
Mix together, confectioners sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon in a shaker...I used 1/4 cup confectioners sugar to 1 tbsp cocoa and 1 tsp cinnamon. for the topping.

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Mix sugars, oil in a large mixing bowl until nicely blended.  Add the eggs.  Next in a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Alternate the dry ingredients and the canned pumpkin mixing until all is incorporated.    For your bundt pan, I crisco it thoroughly with a paper towel, then flour it.  That way you can see where you missed with the shortening.  Pour the batter in the pan and bake for about 55 - 60 minutes.  Let cool for  about 10 minutes before inverting cake onto a cooling rack.  

Sprinkle with the sugar mixture on top and voila!