cleverchickadee


Hot Pot Inspired Hot Day Soup by quornflour

Hot Pot Inspired Hot Day Soup.

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It is hot, but all the same I wanted hot soup. Something that was quick to make so I don’t heat myself out of the kitchen. I got to thinking of HotPot. I figured I could probably pull something like that together.
So I pulled out the cast iron Dutch oven and set to work.
First I added about a tablespoon of rendered unfiltered (still had salt pork nuggets in it) bacon fat. I turned up the heat and melted it down. Then I added a box of Pacific brand mushroom broth (you could also use beef) and a 1/2 cup of water (careful of splattering grease) and brought it to a rapid boil.
Next add about a pound of thinly sliced beef strips that you’ve let sit for about 15-30 minutes with salt on each side and a finely sliced jalapeño.
Next in goes the green onion about 5 chopped up.
Add some mushrooms, the fancy kind as pictured, also called shimeji if you want to get official. You can find them in the same section as the mushrooms in the grocery store in packages, you’ll use the whole package, just separate them from each other and drop them in.
Now add 2 chopped garlic cloves and about 10 shredded basil leaves.
Next up add a bunch of bok choy, chopped and two sliced tomatoes.
Turn off the heat and throw in some cellophane noodles (aka: bean thread noodles).
Add salt to taste and serve hot.

It is super easy since really all you have to do is rinse, chop and boil. Since it only takes about 15 minutes top to make it won’t heat up the whole house.
 

via Hot Pot Inspired Hot Day Soup.

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Orange Marinade: a Recipe by quornflour

It actually was not long ago that I did not even know how to cook a pork chop. From my childhood all I could really remember is dry baked fairly plain pork chops served up with applesauce. There was nothing wrong with them necessarily, they just were not very interesting as food.

This past year I stopped purchasing meat from the grocery store. As a result I am at the hands of a meat CSA, one that has a lot of pork. Luckily I am not anti-pork.

That said, the first time I got pork chops, I looked at them, scratched my head and said, “Ahhh? Hmm.” and then put them in the freezer.

A short while later TxK was visiting and we were making dinner. I asked her if she knew how to cook a pork chop, after she laughed in shame of me for not knowing how, she told me that it was pretty much the same as cooking a steak.

As a point of record, I am pretty sure she is also the person who taught me how to cook a steak on anything that wasn’t a grill.

I have since cooked a few pork chops and they were all delicious.

This go around I decided I would try something a little different and marinade them first.

Here is what I used:

  • 2 pork chops (I think you could also use this on any meat or even a faux meat)
  • 1 small naval orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of Lighthouse Freeze-dried red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of Lighthouse Freeze-dried green onion
  • ¼ teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Peanut oil – if you are going to pan fry them (if you want to broil or bake this you can also do that for delicious results)

You are going to want these to marinade for at least an hour, so give yourself some time in advance.

  1. Place your pork chops in a glass container
  2. Zest entire orange, lemon and lime over the pork
  3. Cut each fruit in half and squeeze juices over pork
  4. Add garlic, onions, salt and pepper
  5. Cover pork chops and let sit for at least an hour
  6. Bring them to room temp before cooking
  7. In a cast iron skillet fill about a quarter to half inch of peanut oil
  8. Cook until juices run clear (160ᴼ is the recommended cooked temp for pork)
  9. Remove from heat, cover and let rest
  10. Serve warm

This will have a strong orange flavor goes very well with applesauce.



Lemon Basil Chicken and Mushrooms by quornflour

I get meat from a CSA, so like many things you get from a CSA you do not always have complete control over what you are getting. In a recent delivery I got a bone in chicken breast.

Last spring I took a knife skills class where I learned to de-bone a chicken, but I had friends over and I just wanted to take the easy route, you could do this with boneless too, though I am not sure if or how that changes cooking time.

Anyway, this is a pretty simple recipe and you end up with chicken that you can eat with a wide variety of other things.

You will need:

  • A pair of bone in chicken breasts
  • 2 lemons – the juice there of
  • 4 garlic cloves – smashed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt about a ½ teaspoon
  • Pepper
  • 6-10 basil leaves
  • ¼ a red onion
  • 6 medium coarse chopped button mushrooms

It is pretty easy to put it all together (except the basil leaves, onion and mushrooms), since you put it all in an oven safe glass covered dish and let it marinade for 2-3 hours, if you are going to cook in the dish you marinade in you will need to marinade on the counter. Do not put a dish straight from the fridge to the oven unless you are looking for a reason to clean up glass shards.

Before you cook it, take the garlic cloves that have been in the marinade and the basil leaves and push them up between the skin and the meat and put the skin side down in the cooking dish. Add the onion and sprinkle the mushrooms over top and place the lid or tinfoil.

Skin side down, bake in an oven for about 40 minutes with the lid on at 400⁰, then for another 10 minutes (or until the skin gets golden) with the top off and the skin side up. Tent and let rest for about 10 minutes and then enjoy with your favorite veggies or a starch or both.



the Art of Snack Trays by quornflour

Ok, first of all, please tell me if you know someone who does not love a good snack tray, because I am pretty sure I do not know them.

That said, my dear friend Missy, is the top snack tray maker in the country. You get a snack tray from her and you are pretty sure you have died and gone to whatever version of heaven you might believe in. If you do not believe in heaven, then these snack trays make you think about changing your mind. Yes, they are just that good.

I have no idea why, it might be the liquor she serves with them, but I am pretty sure it is the combination of veggies and cheese and other crunchy goodness.

It could also be the lack of ranch dressing. I get it, people love the crap, but seriously, it is gross.

I have these memories of childhood of ranch dressing ads and them giving it to people, these people standing there stumbling around, minds.blown. I could not wait to try it. I did not understand the fuss. I still don’t. I am pretty sure it contains the craek.

Anyway, the few glasses of wine I had before writing this have most certainly caused me to digress, just a tad. Where was I?

Oh yes, snack trays. They are great when folks come over, or you want to have some dinner, but do not want to have to actually assemble it for others.

This past summer, it was hot and I traveled a lot so I made a lot of snack trays.

Here are some:

Staring simple we have the semi generic fancy seeming cheeses (brie, Colby and extra sharp cheddar) and round water crackers. I get this sense that when a cracker is round, and not a Ritz, it is fancy. Even a Ritz has a fancy name!

The Frenchie-McFrencherson: brie, hard peppered salami, green apple and blueberries. This provides a nice punch of sweet, tangy and salty and is gluten free!

The Italian Job: mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, sour dough bread and hard peppered salami. You will feel like a mobster when you eat this. Just don’t hang out in the sauna after you eat this.

The Better than the Airlines Can Do Cheese Tray: mozzarella, brie, tomatoes, cucumbers, pecans, hard peppered salami, spreadable chive cheese and pita bread. With this one you will feel like you have been whisked away, but still have all of the comforts of home, no jetlag and sadly you still have to clean up after yourself.

Lastly, a favorite stand-by the Buffy the Caprese Slayer: cherry tomatoes, basil wrapped mozzarella, drizzled in garlic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This one is a favorite of the germaphobes, plus it is a great way to keep kids busy in the kitchen while you are pouring the wine, um I mean cooking other things.

Now these are just a few, there are loads more. Share your favorites and I will post more later!



Clever Kids by quornflour

Recently, while staying with friends in Seattle, I was making dinner. My friend’s youngest daughter was home and needed something to do.

We were throwing a party and there were to be a load of people at the house. Yes I go visit friends, cook food, invite people over and leave the dishes for someone else. Ok, sometimes I help with clean-up, but as my friend once said, “it’s a cook thing you are an excellent chef, because you make a mess in the kitchen!”

Anyway, I was at my friend’s house and her younger daughter who is in first grade who is super smart and helpful needed a project.

So first up I had her make some Caprese skewers, I had picked up a pint of colorful cherry tomatoes and some tiny balls of mozzarella, pretty much everyone who has ever been on Pinterest has seen the various versions of this. Yes that is what I was making, but with a little more basil.

Simple instructions:

Cherry tomatoes, small mozzarella balls wrapped with basil leaves: stab on skewer.

After skewered: drizzle olive oil (garlic olive oil if you are fancy like me) and balsamic vinegar.

So first I had her (with a little help from her Uncle Peter who wrapped the mozzarella – not because she couldn’t but because he was there) make those.

Simple and delicious and saved me about 30 minutes.

I was preparing mussels, for which I wanted to use basil grass. Basil grass is finely sliced basil leaves, it is pretty and adds a nice burst of flavor since it crushes the leaves a bit.

So her second job was to make basil joint, cigars, rolls… they have many names, I suppose with a lot of people with kids, maybe rolls is a better word choice.

Anyway, to do this, you lay basil leaves on top of one another about 10 deep. You can use this for practice counting as well.



Then you roll them up starting at one long side.

Once you have done this, cut the basil in small strips and ta-dah! Now you are fancy with your basil grass.

Don’t you feel fancy?



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 3 –mussel madness by quornflour

As I stated before: mussels are my favorite mollusk. Not only are they delicious but they are also a pretty versatile protein source.

Did you know that a 3 oz (6oz with shell on, about 10 mussels) serving of mussels provides 340% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12? Those 3 oz are about 145 calories and loads of other minerals your body loves. Wanna talk about protein for a second? 10 mussels provide about as much protein as 4oz steak with only a fraction of the fat and most of that fat is the good stuff.

They live above the mud hanging on to rocks with their beards and do not end up with the gritty sandiness that is often associated with their sweeter cousin the clam.

Sea birds also like mussels, however their hard shell can be a deterrent, a mussel will open to move and to eat, but when it senses danger it snaps closed. Birds, such as seagulls will take a mussel, fly high above a rock and drop the shell to the rock below to crack it open, then swoop back down to collect and enjoy the meat.

As humans we have tools and fire, which make enjoying mussels a little less taxing, when cooked a mussel will relax and open making the meat easily accessible. If a mussel does not pop open when cooked, I just assume let it be as I would a shrimp with a flat tail.

In childhood I remember mostly just eating them steamed in water and dipped in butter.

One of my favorite methods (probably because I love tomatoes so much) is to cook them in a creamy tomato basil style steam.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5 large tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes add a nice mixture of color) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of ½ & ½
  • ½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (or other similar hard cheese)
  • ¼ cup basil “grass”
  • 3 green onions cut into “grass”

If you want to make this more of a creamy sauce, you could start by making a roux, but to keep this gluten free and because I like the separation of the cheese for this particular recipe I did not.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, bring it to temp (spits when hit with a drop of water or thins like water)
  2. Add 2 cloves garlic and brown
  3. Once the garlic is brown turn the heat to low and add the tomatoes, stir and cover.

Meanwhile in a saucepan:

  1. Add remaining olive oil and also bring to temp
  2. Add 2 cloves of garlic and brown
  3. Turn heat to medium
  4. Add ½ & ½ and cheese and stir

And back to the Dutch oven we go…

  1. When it starts to form a light steam add to tomatoes and stir
  2. Add most of the green onions (save a few for garnish)
  3. Add mussels, cover until the mussels pop open (this won’t take long)
  4. Add basil
  5. Stir up and serve warm

Remember, like many sea creature, if you over cook them they will turn chewy and they will continue to cook for a few minutes after they are removed from the heat, so only steam them until they open.



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 2 – flex those curry mussels by quornflour

Do not get me wrong here, I like clams. I like a good clam chowder and fried clams on the beach dipped in some tangy tartar sauce; but if I had to choose my favorite mollusk, this kid from Maine would not choose the clam. This kid would choose its dark cousin, the mussel.

As a kid I remember collecting mussels from the beach and dissecting them, perhaps morbid to some, but they are curious little creatures, occasionally you would even find a purl. With a taste similar to a clam, they are not as sweet and do not seem so… is gamey the right word to use here?

Anyway, recently I was co-hosting a lobster feast at a friend’s house and when ordering the lobster, I decided I would also order some of my favorite purly purple mollusks. With 6 pounds on the way, I figured I would do a Duo of Mussels – mostly because it was funny to say and seemed so foodie like and almost fancy.

I decided I would make a red curry mussel and a garlic tomato mussel; though different, the two have a number of similar ingredients and would give an opportunity for different taste buds to enjoy.

For each you will need a 4-5 quart Dutch oven.

The first time I had curry mussels, it was like my mouth lit up, not just because it was spicy hot, but because it was delicious. Though I had never made them myself, my ego could only ask, “seriously, how hard can it be?”

Here is what you need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Thai Red curry paste – usually around 1 tablespoon per can of coconut milk
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (light coconut milk is ok too)
  • ¼ Cup of sugar
  • 3-4 green onions chopped or cut into “grass”
  • 1 red bell pepper – chopped into ¼” wide and 2″ long pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper – chopped into ¼” wide and 2″ long pieces
  • 2 cups of green beans chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • ¼ basil grass (basil leaves cut into thin grass like pieces)
  1. Bring your Dutch oven to temp and add the olive oil, heat until water spits if flicked in, or it becomes thin like water
  2. Turn the temp down to medium and add the garlic and cook until browned
  3. Add curry paste, coconut milk and sugar and mix until there are no paste lumps and it is starting to steam
  4. Add peppers, and green beans and give them a minute to start to soften and for the milk to steam
  5. Add most of the green onion (put a pinch aside for a garnish)
  6. Add the mussels, stir in slightly and place the lid over and let them steam until the mussels all pop open
  7. toss in the basil and serve warm.

These are great with fries (or if you want to be fancy and impress your friends call them “friets”), or over rice, or all on their own.




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