Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ole'

Today, hija segunda asked if she could come play in my kitchen! Why did she feel that she had to ask. She only lives in Denver and I live in NY state. Why doesn't she just drop by for a visit?

Because she live so far away, I asked her what recipe she want posted on the cooking blog. It was Mole'. Yummy stuff.

Well, dear Hija Segunda, there are several methods of making this savory sauce.

The first is, make it from scratch. Stew a chicken with onions and chili peppers, melt the chocolate, add the peanut butter...yes, it takes a while.

The second is, go to a local market that carries a good selection of Mexican or Latin foods and purchase a glass of Dona Maria...my favorite. It ranges in price depending on your location...Wyoming it was $1.00 for the glass. Here I have found it closer to $3.00! Still worth the cost.

The last, and most sacreligious of ways to prepare Mole' is to follow the Gringa recipe. Not as rich as either of the above methods, it is still passable. Anyone not knowing how rich and smooth Mole' can be, will swear you made it, slaving over a hot stove in the middle of summer.


Mole' Gringa Style

1 large (28 oz) can Red Enchilada Sauce
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1 heaping tbs baking chocolate
1 tbs creamy peanut butter
2 chicken bouillion cubes

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan until boiling, stirring constantly.
Serve over chicken, turkey, pork or as the sauce for Mole' Enchiladas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kitchen Appliance/Gadgets

The other day I was lamenting a purchase of a couple years ago - a rather large and cumbersome "slow cooker" that didn't cook very slowly. It is not that I do not like this particular appliance, it is that my cooking needs have changed with the family working its way back to a couple. Two people do not need a 6 quart slow cooker for a meal. Maybe for a week or two of meals, but not one.

My search began because I was preparing 2 pork chops in a huge slow cooker. They looked so lonely sitting at the bottom of the large vessel. I felt sorry for them.

The heartfelt pork chop pity led me to my computer, which took me to Amazon.com, the place where all things are possible...and usually available.

After a bit of research, I discovered a nice little unit that would serve (pun intended) my needs,both large and small!

What a little cutie!

It has a 2 quart, 4 and 6 quart vessels! It had semi-decent reviews. Nothing special. But, it had removable vessels of various sizes! Rather than order from my store of dreams, I ran to the local Kohl's. Yes, they had it! And, it was on sale at a price much lower than my store of dreams and because I had carried my Kohl's plastic with me, I got an additional 20% off!

Now, having used this appliance almost every day since then I have this to say about it:

1. It is not a slow, slow cooker. It gets fairly hot, even at its lowest setting. Don't leave it to cook while you spend the day with friends or go to work! Bad, very bad. If you want a slow cooker, stick with the original Crock Pot.

2. It heats up quickly.

3. Because the heating unit does not wrap the pot, it does not heat evenly. But I love it anyway!

If you don't need a slow, slow cooker, this is great. The various sized vessels make it so adaptable. I have found that to cook for the Boyfriend and I, the 2 quart is more than ample. The prepare enough soup for the remaining family, the middle size gives enough for a meal and leftovers for lunch the next day.

I have yet to use the largest pot...may at Thanksgiving if the kids come home.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cold Remedy or Yummy Adult Beverage?

When the Boyfriend isn't feeling well, he doesn't reach for the NyQuil, he doesn't reach for the Ibuprofen, he doesn't reach for the common cold remedy of any sort. He asks for a hot butter rum. And when he does, you know he isn't feeling well at at. AT ALL!
This beverage isn't just for colds though. It can be a great warmer-upper after a day of skiing or playing outdoors in the winter. It just isn't winter right now. He isn't feeling well. Just because it isn't winter doesn't mean I can't post this though. Maybe you have an ill one out there that would rather drown the cold in alcohol rather than drink the booze disguised as NyQuil. So here it is!

Hot Buttered Rum
aka known as the remedy
(serves one sickee or two normal adults)
Put a kettle on to boil. Meanwhile, in a large (16 oz.) mug, mix together 1/2 cup of rum, 2 tsp butter (or 1/2 tsp butter and 1/2 tsp coconut oil for a more island flavor), dash of cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, 1 whole clove, 2 tbs brown sugar, lemon juice to taste.
When the water is at a boil, fill mug to top and serve.

If you aren't feeling under the weather a dollop of whipped cream makes the drink more fun!

To your health!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What To Do With A Fresh Tomato

Last night my family was presented with a meal that was greeted with awe. The table was set and the food laid out, all beautiful to the eye.
It was nothing special. Just pasta, sour dough bread, sauteed greens and this simple tomato salad.
And, it was given rave reviews by my two food critics!!!
Try it, your food critics may like it as well.


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Monday, April 6, 2009

Not For Everyone

Not everyone likes liver and onions.
I must admit, I didn't for the longest time.
Maybe it was because, as a child, my parents made me eat it and my mother cooked it until it was the texture of well worn shoe leather.
Just sayin'.
I don't really know what the texture of well worn shoe leather is.
But, her liver recipe and time tested cooking technique of said meat product would be right up there with it, in my opinion.

To make a long story short let's jump forward about 15 years.
I am pregnant with my first child.
I was having strange cravings.
Cucumbers.
Tomatoes.
Sweet Potatoes...baked mind you, with salt, pepper and sour cream.
And...
of all things...
LIVER!
I thought my body had been taken over by aliens.
This couldn't be me.
No!
Not me!
Liver was nastiness!
It was only good for feeding alley cats!
Why?
But, the cravings were not to be denied.
I asked everyone I knew if they knew how to prepare this...this stuff so that it was at least edible, if not flavorful.
My boss at the time said his wife could and I was summarily invited over for dinner.
That very night!
She showed me how to prepare it.
Assured me it was good.
Sure...
Right...
Tell me that later...
after I have worn this stupid clothes pin on my nose and gagged down this stuff that this controlling alien in my body was demanding.
Okay.
The meal was set upon the table.
My mother had taught me to be polite and at least try everything that was put before me.
As a good daughter, I picked up my fork.
I tentatively speared a piece of the offensive dish.
I swallowed - gulped actually - and put a small bit into my mouth.
I chewed.
My eyes got as large as saucers.
I could not believe what I was eating.
It was wonderful!
It was amazing.
It was not at all like the well worn shoe leather of my youth.
Tender.
Melt in your mouth.
Spicy.
Interesting.

With tears of joy in my eyes (I exaggerate here) I begged for the recipe. It was given without hesitation.

Over the years, I have prepared this dish again and again. It has evolved into something that is distinctly mine. I have tweaked it and added a bit of this and a dash of that. New spices as I discovered them in my travels. Different cooking methods as I gained knowledge in the kitchen. Small things that made it easier to serve and more texturally pleasing. Now, years later, this is my recipe. One that has been used over and over and made converts of many "Liver haters" world wide. (And oh, thanks Boondock Ma for reminding me of this recipe)

Mediterranean Liver & Onions
(serves 2 to 3)

8 to 10 ounces sliced liver, with membrane removed
Milk
6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Reserved bacon grease
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet sherry
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Place liver in large flat dish. Pour enough milk over to cover meat entirely. Soak for at least 30 minutes - longer is better.
Meanwhile, in large skillet, saute onion in reserved bacon grease until transparent.
Remove to a small bowl and mix together with crumbled bacon.
Drain and rinse liver.
Place in hot skillet with remaining bacon grease and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute on medium high heat until liver is just pink inside. (Any longer and you will get that shoe leather I mentioned above.)
Turn heat to low and cook about 1 minute longer.
Remove to serving platter.
Return onions and bacon to skillet.
Add sherry, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Stir over low heat until mixture is just hot.
Spoon over liver.
Serve and enjoy!

If you love liver, you should try this. Tweak it, as I did, and make it your own recipe. And, if you know of a brave soul who isn't a liver convert, prepare this for them. You may just gift them with something they will enjoy for the rest of their lives!