Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Braised Turkey Thighs with Olives and Chilies

Adapted by DrDaddy and Merry from Ada Boni's Regional Cooking of Italy. A family favorite and SIGNATURE DISH.
2 turkey thighs -- about 2.5 lbs total
1 6-oz can pitted ripe green or black olives, drained
2 7-oz cans chopped green chilies (Ortega™ is good)
1/2 c dry white wine
2 c chicken or turkey stock
1 T minced garlic
3 T olive oil
12 oz extra-wide egg noodles, boiled according to package
Trim excess skin, remove visible fat, and discard. Season both sides well with salt. Heat a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil. Fry turkey until well browned on both sides, turning occasionally. Add garlic and cook until lightly colored -- do not burn! Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add olives, chilies, and stock.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover partly, and cook until meat is tender -- about 2 hours. Remove meat from pan, cool, and slice parallel to bone. Return to pan to reheat along with the hot noodles. Serves 4 to 6. Steamed or braised broccoli makes a nice side dish.

Braised turkey, noodles, and olives
with butter-braised green beans on the side.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Air-Roasted Chicken


Developed October 15, 2009. Adapted from a traditional Chinese method to a contemporary kitchen fitted with oven.
About 4 lbs chicken legs and/or thighs, carefully trimmed of excess skin and fat
Seasoning:
   salt
   freshly ground pepper
   five-spice powder
   garlic powder
vegetable oil spray
Arrange the oven racks with one in the middle and the other about 6 to 8 inches below. Place a shallow roasting pan on the bottom rack, and add about 1-1/2 inches of water. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. The water will be bubbling away. This maintains a moist environment inside the hot oven. This keeps the meat moist but favors browning of the skin, the outcome of complex hydrolysis and condensation reactions between tissue amino acids, saccharides, and water, the Maillard reactions.
Spray the chicken pieces lightly with oil to help the seasonings stick and to keep the skin moist. Lightly dust both sides with seasonings; use a pastry brush to coat evenly. Arrange the pieces, skin side up, directly on the upper rack. Roast undisturbed about 35 to 40 minutes. Chicken juices should be bubbling, and the skin nicely browned.
Suggested sides: russets mashed with plenty of butter and cream; cut green beans (canned or fresh) steamed with butter and tarragon. Couscous and roasted vegetables work nicely as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Corn Bread Quick Breakfast

3 x 3 inch square of corn bread (prepared from Jiffy mix)
2 T sunflower seed butter (SunButter™)
1 T berry sauce
Split cornbread horizontally and broil the inside surface until lightly colored. Spread each piece with a nice dollop of the nut butter. Spoon over the berry sauce. Serves 1 lucky 1.

Berry Sauce

Recorded October 14, 2009. This sauce makes an excellent topping for yogurt, ice cream, pancakes, French toast or fresh fruits such as melon, pear, or banana.
6 oz (175 g) fresh or frozen berries
1 to 2 T (15 to 30 ml) sugar (based on the fruit sweetness)
1 to 2 T (15 to 30 ml) water
1 t tapioca starch or corn starch
pinch of salt
Combine ingredients in a tall microwave-proof container. A 2-cup (500 ml) measuring cup works well. Bring to a boil in the microwave cautiously, taking care it doesn't overflow. Stir, and bring to a boil again. Pour while hot into a small clean glass mason jar sanitized with boiling water. Tighten band while it cools. Store refrigerated. Lasts about one month after opening.  Note: Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries  or sweet black cherries can be used. Black cherry sauce is outstanding. Pineapple is not recommended.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bruscetta

From Ben February 2, 2008.
Italian Bread
Garlic Cloves
Salt
Olive oil
Slice bread on bias 1 inch thick. Broil until brown on one side. While still hot, grind raw garlic into the brown side of the bread. Season and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Review: Fried Chicken at C&H Cafeteria, Northgate Mall, Durham, NC

Summary: Clean, friendly, healthful. Chicken, dy-no-mite! Butter beans, extra yummy. Cheap.

Visit: About 1:00 PM, Tuesday 6 Oct 09

Physical: Located in a strip mall annex to Northgate Mall, reached from Guess Rd.
Plenty of adjacent free, lighted, patrolled parking. 1720 Guess Rd., Durham, NC 27701

Ambiance: The entry way leads you past a wall that shields the dining room from the mall traffic. About 10 guests were queued in front of me. As you walk toward the beginning of the food line, you walk past it in review but backwards of course. The line moves quickly but no one is rushed. Cute trick.

Lots of tempting items are displayed. Emphasis on fresh and wholesome. Wide variety of salads, entrees, and desserts. Pies aplenty. Friendly, helpful, cheerful wait staff. Very active oversight and light-touch, hands-on management. A winning combo!

The food: Always seeking prime fried chicken, and based on foodie blog reports, I ordered the chicken. Dark or white? "Dark" yielded a good sized hindquarter. Added a side of butter beans. Ice water with lemon to drink. [Some ice water glasses already had a lemon wedge.]

The chicken was among the best I have ever tasted. Stone fresh. Mild flavor and juicy. No sign of overchilling. Apparently, not brined. Good for those such as myself who restrict sodium intake. Thin crispy coating that sticks to the chicken. A real feat. The butter beans were fresh-tasting, not canned, tender but not mushy or grainy, and free of added fat.

C&H management has sought and found great provisions and people who know how to cook and serve excellent food to a mass audience.

The dining room was busy, nicely appointed in a funeral-home-modern sort of way, and kept spotlessly clean by an attentive bus staff. Lots of conversations were held in quiet tones, but the room didn't sound or feel dead. The tableware was heavy and clean, and came wrapped in a spotless cloth napkin. A thoughtful touch.

The tariff: Al a carte, of course. The tab, $4.78 with tax, no tip. Should have left one, now that I think about it. Will double it next time, in partial recompense.

Next: Must try the chicken livers on rice! And the fried whiting looked fine.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oven Roasted Potatoes

[Heard on Terry Gross' Fresh Air broadcast 3-28-01. Interview with vegetarian author Jack Bishop; transcribed 4-3-01.]
2 lbs (4 to 5 medium) russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 T (about) oil
Kosher salt
Preheat oven and cookie sheet to 425 degrees F (218 C). Slice potatoes into eight wedges lengthwise, skins on. In a bowl combine the potatoes with the oil, coating lightly but completely, using the fingers. Arrange on hot cookie sheet. Roast 25 minutes. Turn each with tongs. Roast 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt. Pass Heinz Ketchup. Serves 3 to 4.
Variations: Cut recipe in half and use a toaster oven rather than a range. Sister Phyllis says that sweet potatoes are good this way too. She's right.

French Dip Sandwich w/ Oven Roasted Potatoes


Quick Mushroom Pilaf

First prepared September 21, 2009.

1 cup medium grain rice
1 T canola oil
1/2 t salt
1 4.5 oz can sliced mushrooms, reserve packing liquor
2 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock + reserved mushroom liquor
1 T low-fat soft margarine
Bring liquid to a boil in microwave-proof container. Set aside. Combine rice, salt and oil in a tall microwave-proof container with a loose-fitting cover. Microwave on high one minute. Add drained mushrooms and mix. Microwave one minute more.
Add hot stock and margarine. Microwave (6 to 8 minutes high, 15 to 20 minutes on 20 to 30% power depending on the wattage), or use a preset schedule for rice if your oven provides one.

French Toast

First prepared September 19, 2009.
Dip #1
1 cup milk
1 t sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract


Dip #2
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 T water
scant 1/4 t salt
9 slices French or Italian bread cut 3/4 inch thick
butter
Preheat toaster oven to 300 F (150 C). Place bread on oven rack and bake 10 minutes. The goal is to dry but not toast the bread. Mix each dip thoroughly to dissolve the sugar or salt. Dip a slice on both sides in the milk mixture, and then both sides in the egg mixture. Cook on a medium-high griddle in sizzling butter, until nicely browned on one side. Turn and finish the other side. About 6 minutes total. Be careful to avoid scorching the egg coating. Should be crisp and buttery outside and creamy custardy on the inside. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve with a topping or side dish of warm caramel-glazed apples.