The Bacon Explosion. It’s grilled barbecued bacon and pork. Yum!
It’s not cabin fever if you’re not going crazy…Mer and I were both home today due to the lovely snow and ice that was dumped on us last night. I made mention this morning of making soup from last night’s leftovers, but got into the groove that is work-from-home goodness and forgot about it. A few hours later, I noticed Mer had something brewing on the stove. What followed may be the best damn chicken soup I’ve had in a long time (which is saying something, because I don’t generally like rice in my soup.)
Pardon me. I need to pause to go get more soup. Yum.
The end result is a bit more like porridge than soup – sticky, viscous, and just a little bit sweet. If you prefer your soup more…soupy, add more water with the rice at the end.
An extra bonus – it’s not only hearty, but cheap! I’d estimate that this entire pot of food cost us less than $3 to make. (We buy most of our food in bulk and on sale, so YMMV.)
Anyway…here’s the recipe, as best as she can remember it. Eat. Share. Enjoy.
Separate meat from bones and set meat aside. Place the bones in a pot with enough cold tap water so that they float above the bottom of the pan. Set over medium heat and cook, uncovered, for about an hour, adding more water if needed to keep bones covered. Add onion, celery salt, garlic, ginger, and vinegar. Continue to cook for 2-3 hours, adding water if needed, until bones become soft and easily breakable. Strain and return liquid to pot. Add reserved meat, rice, and chicken base. Continue to cook over medium heat until rice is tender; serve immediately.
*The link goes to a product called Better than Boullion, which is our preferred soup base. I encourage you to seek out local supplies (restaurant supply stores sometimes carry them, as do farmer’s markets), but please don’t use those awful foil-wrapped boullion cubes here.
In the spirit of the Forgotten Cook Books Series, I’d like to share a little video Mer found for me tonight. It’s an instructional movie made in what I guess are the 1940′s for housewives, teaching how to… cook frozen beef. And just deal with it in general.
Just check out how fatty those cuts are. And oh lord, the lard!
This is a pantry staple for us (although we don’t eat it as often as I would like). It’s my take on the simple hearty recipe provided in Amy Dacyzyn’s The Complete Tightwad Gazette, a book that constantly shuffles its way through the kitchen, office, coffee table and bookshelf.
Lentils are chock-full of protein, fiber, iron, and a bunch of funky little things called amino acids that, when combined with a grain like, say, rice, makes a complete protein, which is extra-good for you. (Or something. I have no actual dietary training, so you may want to talk to a nutritionist if you’re curious.) They’re healthy for your wallet, too – at around $1/lb, they’re one of the cheapest sources of protein around.
Preheat oven to 300° F. Combine lentils, rice, spices, and salt in 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and stir to combine. Distribute butter evenly over top of dry ingredients. Place pan on oven rack and carefully pour hot stock into pan*. Stir gently to combine. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Remove foil from pan and top with cheese; bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
*By putting the pan in the oven first, you eliminate those scary moments of holding a vessel full of boiling liquid with slippery fabric and attempting to move it across the kitchen. Try it once – you’ll never go back.
Today, like so many others, was an unplanned dinner day, where we pick and choose random things from the pantry and hope we end up with something good. Our base for this meal was a package of wonderful smoked pork chops from the box of meat* my dad gave us for Christmas. I started with the idea of a traditional pork chops and applesauce meal, and this chutney was born out of necessity: with no apple sauce in the house (and no time to make any before dinner), I decided to make a chutney from the dried apples on the shelf.
I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing, and ended up partially live-blogging the experience (and the resulting cup of tea) on Facebook, which went a little something like this:
The end result (above), served with a side of cous cous cooked in chicken broth, was a completely amazing dinner that I can’t wait to make again. I only hope tomorrow’s leftovers are as good as tonight’s meal.
Place apples and cranberries in large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover tightly and let sit 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cider and onion. Let sit.
Carefully drain excess water from fruit, but do not squeeze. Chop apples into bite-sized pieces.
Melt butter in a sauté pan set over medium heat. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in fruit and vinegar. Increase heat to medium-high and allow to reduce by half. Add salt, pepper, and cider. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced to a light syrup. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate.
Makes 2 1/2-3 cups.
*Yes, we got a box of meat for Christmas. My dad, a chef, gave us a box of assorted meat and poultry from his local butcher: steaks, chicken, top-quality burgers, and the yummy smoked pork we’re eating tonight. Best present EVER.
**I used Magner’s, our favorite hard cider that the local beer distributor inexplicably imports from Ireland.
Granola is so much more than its hippie/crunchy/earth mama associations. When homemade, it’s a simple, hearty, and healthy dish with a myriad of applications. Forget the chewy store-bought bars and $8 per pound “granola cereals” – this is the real deal.
So, what can you do with granola? Serve it cereal-style in a bowl with milk, microwave it with a little water and butter for a hot dish, or eat it straight out of the bag as a snack. The image above is my breakfast from this morning: granola with almonds, cranberries, and milk, hot out of the oven.
Preheat oven to 375° F and lightly grease two 13×9″ pans. Whisk together the agave and oil; set aside. Combine oats, powdered milk, salt, spices, and all non-fruit add-ins in a large bowl and toss until thoroughly combined. Add agave/oil syrup and toss until all ingredients are coated and slightly moist. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted (do not overbake, especially if using nuts!). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Move to bowl and toss with fruit add-ins. Store in an air-tight container.
*Your favorite sticky sweetener (honey, corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup) can be substituted for the agave.
This traditional Penna. Dutch cake within a pie shell is dense, chocolatey, and oh-so-yummy. (I’ve yet to find anything funny about it, though.) Without fail, this cake always overflows its shell during the baking process every time I make it – you might want to stick a sheet pan on the bottom rack just in case you have the same luck.
Melt 7 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Whisk in water. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside and preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine flour, baking powder, and remaining sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Cut in remaining butter with fingers. Stir in milk and vanilla. Stir with wooden spoon or electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add egg and continue to beat for 45-60 seconds. Pour into pie shell. Gently reheat fudge sauce if necessary and pour evenly over batter.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean and cake is springy to the touch. Serve warm or room-temperature.