Thursday, January 28, 2010

stone ground mustard

I've been wanting to try a new mustard, most specifically for a pork tenderloin recipe. I'm not much of a mustard person... but I think it's because I haven't had the right mustard.

Fortunately, I happened across a PBS show called "America's Test Kitchen" where they tested 5 or 6 different mustards. This one was rated high among their studio audience. (A different brand was rated high among the test chefs... but I consider my tastes closer to those of a regular studio audience person.) So, let's start there...

I'll start with a taste test, and then try some mustard on a sandwich and then test out that pork tenderloin recipe and report back to you. Cross your fingers for me, ok?!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

oh... hello garlic!

That's SOME garlic! The little garlic head on the right is a regular garlic... the one on the left, well that's an elephant garlic.

And as it turns out, it's part of the onion family. How am I going to use it? Think I'll steal only 1 clove and try it shaved on a salad (since it's supposed to be milder than garlic) and see how it goes...

And then I'll tuck the rest of it into an aluminum foil pouch with some olive oil, kosher salt and pepper... and roast the rest of it! I'm sure it would be outstanding schmeared on some bread...

I'll keep you posted. I'm sure I'll have pics...

Any other stories or recipes to share with me?

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

RECIPE: Crock Pot Chicken

Tip from Lori: Buy a whole chicken (on sale they can be pretty C-H-E-A-P!) and get out your crock pot.

Once you've cleaned the chicken, put it in your crock pot with the heat setting on low. Walk away for 6-7 hours (or until the meat falls off the bones). When you return, the chicken is ready to eat!

Yes, it's THAT easy!

Here are a few variations you can try:
1. Add a small jar of your favorite salsa (either red or green). Follow the same instructions as above. This will give a perfect flavor for tacos, enchiladas, an arroz con pollo dish, etc.

2. For a simpler flavor: only add kosher salt, pepper and paprika (you don't even need to add any water to the crock pot). Again, follow the same heat/time instructions as above.

And for the double-duty kitchen... make your own broth!
With the plain chicken: once you've removed the meat, add the skin/bones and 4-5 cups of water back to the crock pot. Keep the crock pot on low overnight. And in the morning strain out the skin/bones.

Divide the broth up into containers you can label for measurement. Once the broth has cooled, transfer it to the refrigerator for a few hours. Once the broth has completely cooled the fat will have hardened on top, and at this point is very easy to remove.

Please forgive me... I can't seem to find any pictures on this. I guess I'll have to do that at some point...

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

a memory of our trip to Florence, Italy

It was June 2004 ... my hero-of-a-hubby had taken us to Florence, Italy for our (slightly delayed) honeymoon. One night after dinner, as we prepared to walk back out into the cobble stone alley from whence we came (our restaurant, a hole in the wall that the locals frequented), we paid our dinner bill and were handed 2 frosty shot glasses!

"What is this?" I asked? It was beautiful, and I was intrigued. The cameriere (waiter) replied: "Limoncello" and he lifted it to my mouth and handed it to me. We drank it ... and we enjoyed it. He explained, in his best english, that it is italian tradition to enjoy a quick, cold shot of limoncello after dinner. When in Florence... who were we to argue?!

When we returned home I was giddy to find it on the shelves of the local Trader Joe's. I introduced it to my best girlfriend Debbie... and when we get together at my house to catch up, it's tradition... we start it off with a shot of limoncello.

I keep my bottle in the freezer at all times... it's happy to wait right there for

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

RECIPE: Spicy shredded beef

Disclaimer: On this one you're going to have to use your imagination... so put your creative cap on ... ready?

Now that we've gotten THAT taken care of... ahem, I love making this beef for tacos or enchiladas or quesadillas or anything you might want spicy shredded beef for...

Here we go...

Hot dutch oven or large pot with heavy lid...
Heat oil in the bottom of pot...
Carefully slide seasoned roast (kosher salt/pepper) into hot oil...
Hear that sizzle?! That's what you want...

Keep an eye on that roast and turn after a few minutes to brown on all sides...

Skin and quarter the onion, leaving the root in-tact so that the pieces stay together...

Skin and crush several garlic cloves...

To quote a famous line from a food show on tv: "Everybody in the pool"...

Add the 2 tomato sauces, diced chiles, ground cumin and beef stock (wait, what? you don't see the diced chiles or ground cumin?! this is where you will have to use your imagination...)

Approximately 2 1/2 hours later this is what you have...

Allow the beef to cool slightly in the pot and then tear apart with two forks...

Since I've made my beef the day before I'm using it, I'm transferring it to a storage container for the refrigerator...

But not before I transfer some of the juices and chiles ... and don't forget the garlic cloves!

We used this beef last night to make enchiladas and wow... even if I have to say so myself... this meat was the bomb! It's just made it's way to the top of our "do again soon" list...

And the critique from my hero-of-a-hubby ... "I wish I could invite Steve over... then I could give it 3 thumbs up!" I love my husband's sense of humor... I think I'll keep him!

Enough said...

Spicy Shredded Beef
Recipe from Lori Tisdale

1 pound chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, quartered
1 small can of tomato sauce
4 ounces diced green chiles
6 ounces El Pato tomato sauce
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, or other heavy pot that has a tight cover, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion, garlic and beef to the pot, browning the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside.

Add the diced green chiles, El Pato, regular tomato sauce and ground cumin. Sauces should just cover the meat. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and transfer to hot oven. Cook for 2 ½ hours, or until meat is fork tender. Allow meat to cool in the liquid. Shred meat and set aside.

enjoy your time in the kitcen...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RECIPE: Chinese Chicken Salad

I bet you couldn't guess... but, one of my hobbies is taste-testing dishes at restaurants and then coming home and "making it my own". This involves guessing ingredients including seasonings, oils, spices, etc...

I remember the day I tasted Panera's chinese chicken salad. Two or three bites into the salad, I remember thinking to myself "oh, you've GOT to figure this one out!" This has become a favorite for lunches at work ... and it's so easy!

I dismantled that salad... in tiny little bites. One at a time, I turned over leaves of lettuce and cabbage and unveiled another ingredient... and then another...

And by golly... I'm pretty sure I've got as close as I'm going to get. (And since they won't sell me their salad dressing I may never know much more...) So, take note...

I found Soy Vay's dressing & marinade (find it in the regular salad dressing section)... and I've tried others, this IS the best. Then you want cabbage, romaine lettuce, cilantro, green onions, toasted almond slices and garlic/ginger wonton strips... oh, and don't forget the marinated chicken!

I start by boiling some chicken tenders, allowing them to cool (but only slightly), chopping them into bite size pieces, plopping them into a sealable bag... and then topping with about 1/4 cup dressing...

Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up... and roll the chicken around in the dressing. Tip: taking these steps when the chicken is still warm will help the marinade to soak in a bit more to the chicken.

Then I start chopping my greens. And since the cabbage leaves are so tightly packed together, you really don't need a lot.

Then I move along to the romaine lettuce... first I start by tearing off a few spears and laying on top of each other. Then the white ends get chopped off.

With the spears layered on top of each other, I slice them from one end to the other (to make about 3 or 4 strips). From there it's easy to cut into smaller pieces, bite size pieces.

When I make this for lunches, I put all the goods right into a container for the fridge. Then it's easy to transport to the office. Notice, there is approximately a 50/50 ratio on cabbage and lettuce.

Next: green onions... pretty, aren't they?!

Moving right along... chop off their heads. And then their tails...

Line 'em up and keep chopping... still pretty, huh?! (I love green onions almost as much I love garlic!)

In the bowl they go with the greens...

Next? Cilantro. ((I love cilantro and green onions almost as much I love garlic!)

Again, in the bowl... join the party, why don't you! And we're almost done...

Then I package everything up... and set it at the front of the refrigerator shelf, so I don't forget it in the morning.

And then once I get to work, I usually end up sharing it with either Betty or Felicia... 'cuz they're holding my Soy Vay dressing hostage! But it's worth it... it's SOOOOO worth it...

RECIPE: Chinese Chicken Salad
Inspired by Panera, with Lori’s adjustments

Romaine lettuce
Green onions
Sliced almonds, slightly toasted
Salad topper like “garlic ginger” flavored wontons
Soy Vay dressing
chicken tenders/breast meat, boneless/skinless

I don’t use measurements on this salad. How much salad I make usually depends on how much chicken I’ve cooked.

Cook or boil chicken and marinated in Soy Vay dressing for at least an hour (in sealable bag, in the refrigerator).

Chop cabbage and lettuce, ratio about 50/50. Slice up several green onions and add to lettuce mix. Finely dice cilantro, stems and all… there’s so much flavor in the whole herb (unlike some other herbs that have very woody stems). Toss it in w/ the green onions and lettuce mix.

When ready to serve, layer on platter: lettuce mix, toasted almonds, salad topper, marinated chicken and dressing. Do not dress until ready to serve – dressing lettuce mix ahead of time will make it wilt.

enjoy your time in the kitcen...

my choice for olive oil

It's not fancy... it's rather inexpensive... and I prefer it to "EVOO".

And I don't care what Rachel Ray thinks!

I've tried various brands of "EVOO"... and it made the food too sweet for my tastes, especially onions. I wasted many a batch of spaghetti before I figured out what was making my spaghetti taste like someone had dumped some sugar in there. (My mom likes her spaghetti tasting sweet - but it's not for me.)

So, I stick with this olive oil as my standard cooking oil (for most things, and canola oil for other things)... until I know more about olive oil and how to use which kinds.

What's YOUR favorite?

enjoy your time in the kitcen...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RECIPE: Beef Stroganoff in a crock pot

Disclaimer: I cannot take full credit for this recipe. Let it be known... my Mom used to make a similar dish and I would ask for it at every birthday, merit celebration, etc ... as a youngin' it was my comfort food!

It still is... walk with me...

We start where? With a hot skillet, oil and butter...

And then with onions...

And crimini mushrooms... after cleaning them, remove the stems, slice them into 5 or 6 slices... and then slice them cross-ways. Add to onions and butter... and give it a stir. And then keep stirring... for about 10 minutes. Add a little bit of salt and pepper to the sauteing veg... just a touch.

What's next? The beef of course... it's a chuck roast.

Slice it into 1 inch strips...

And then cut into 1 inch bits...

Once that's done, start placing all of the goods into the crock pot. (Tip: don't place cold foods into hot crock pot. The temp shock could crack your ceramic pot - believe me, I learned that one the hard way.)

Turn to "high" heat, give it a good stir...

Cover with lid and set the timer... I usually leave it on "high" for 2 hours, and then turn to "low" for the last 2-3 hours.

When you think it might be ready, give the meat a taste test... I'm usually tasting a bit before the meat is ready ('cuz I just can't wait any longer). And it always needs another hour or so... hmph...

And when it's ready, start your rice or noodles (or whatever you're serving this with)... and add the sour cream to the mix. I usually start with a few dollops, stir it in until dissolved ... and then see if it needs anymore.

It needed a bit more...

While I was stirring, I decided to scrape the brown flavor bits off the side of the crock pot. These bits have so much flavor to them... and dissolve right away into the sauce.

Can you see why it's our comfort food?

Beef Stroganoff in a crock pot
adapted by Lori Tisdale

1 pound chuck or rump roast
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 ¼ cups chicken stock (or fill empty cream of mushroom soup can once)
Kosher salt/black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Olive oil
1 -1 ½ cups sour cream

In large skillet heat olive oil and butter until melted and sizzling. Add diced onions and mushrooms… sauté until soft and tender (about 8 min). Stir often. About 5 min into sauté, add 1 tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Turn off heat, let cool.

Cut roast into 1” pieces and place in cold crock pot. (Add all ingredients to crock pot before turning it on.) Add cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper and onion/mushroom mixture. Stir well.

Place lid on crock pot. Set on high for the first hour or two. Stir again after 2 hours, turn heat to low and replace lid. Continue to cook for at least 5 hours. Test a few pieces meat to check tenderness of roast. This can usually cook on low for 6-7 hours. Should be fork tender.

Right before you serve, add sour cream in small spoonfuls to meat/sauce, stir contents of crock pot until sour cream is melted and mixed well. (Some people like the sauce more creamy while others like it less creamy.)

Serve with white rice or egg noodles (we prefer white rice).

enjoy your time in the kitcen...


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