Bona Fide Farm Food Journal

serving three squares a day

Bacon Wrapped Barbecue Meatloaf

Posted on August 31, 2015

While this may look complicated it doesn’t take long to put this together.  If you don’t want to use veal use buffalo, or just double the beef.  It is up to you.  Make sure you can maintain the grill at around 300-350˚ F.  If you can do that the rest is a cinch.  And if you don’t want to be bothered or it is raining the oven is just fine too, but you knew that already didn’t you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Barbecue Meatloaf

(Makes 10 slices)

12 slices streaky bacon

1 pound (450g) ground veal1

pound (450g) ground beef

2 cups fresh bread crumbs, torn into small bits

1/4 cup whole milk

1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, grated on a micro plane

1 1/2 teaspoon yellow onion, grated on a micro plane

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 eggs

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

  1. Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter.  It needs to be longer then the bacon.  Lay the bacon out onto the plastic wrap being sure to overlap, but just barely.
  2. Combine the veal, beef, bread crumbs, milk, garlic, yellow onion, salt, pepper, and two eggs into a large mixing bowl.  Need the ground meat like you would bread dough.  Make sure everything is mixed evenly and nicely distributed.
  3. Make a ball with the meat.  Carefully place the meatloaf mix onto the bacon and then gently shape it into a cigar shape.
  4. Once you have it shaped, carefully grab one end of the plastic wrap and roll the meatloaf over onto itself so that one end of the bacon meats the other.  Lift the meatloaf by the plastic wrap and move it to a sheet tray or another heat proof tray with edges.
  5. Genlty roll the plastic wrap out from under the meat.
  6. Place the sheet tray right on the grill and bake at 300 to 325˚F for 1 hour and 15 minutes being sure to bast it with barbecues sauce every 20 minutes.

The French 75, It’s Not For Kids

Posted on August 30, 2015

There are certain advantages to being an adult.  The one that readily comes to mind—I don’t have a predetermined bedtime.  It doesn’t mean I won’t be asleep before the kids but if I wanted too, I could for all intensive purposes stay up all hours of the night.  Neither do I have to eat vegetables if I so choose.  Nor am I beholden to any house hold rules.  I can cuss loudly if I want.

Every so often I occasionally hear myself whispering silently in my head about how I wish I could go back in time, specifically to being a kid.  We all do this.  Everything looks different and rosie in the rear view mirror and, as we all know, in time our memory becomes hazy often filtering out all the bad stuff and leaving us left with nothing but a trail of happy things.

Being an adult has it perks and cocktails are one of them.  Generally speaking, I am a straight-up whiskey kind of guy but sometimes a cocktail comes along and a change is refreshing.  A really good Manhattan was a standard around here for some time, this summer started with a Tom Collins and it was a regular on any given Friday night.  Like I could forget , a Gin and Tonic is good too but not with the typical tonic waters.  A few summers ago I even went so far as to make tonic.  It was good but there are so many quality tonics at the markets these days why add to your burdens.  DSC_1459-Edit  All were made from scratch and with quality ingredients.

Even so, the other night I found myself listless and looking for something different.  The French 75 has been on my list.  I had the ingredients on hand, a champagne split, a good gin, and fresh lemons.  Everything went into the shaker lickety split.

To feel the chilled, sweat ridden shaker in my hand and watch as the herbaceous lemon gin trickled into the champagne glass was almost to much to bear.  Topping it with the champagne was no less exciting.  Oh my, that first sip, it did, it really did remind me of all the reasons I prefer to be an adult.

A French 75 is mature.  It wants to have an adult conversation, it might even have read many of the same books as I.  It is the friend you want to hang out with after the kid in you has been put to bed.

Note: For a French 75 you will need to make a simple syrup which is easy enough, just dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 3/4 cup water and store it in the fridge in a resealable jar.

Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails)

2 lemons

6 tablespoons gin (3 ounces)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1.5 ounce)

2 tablespoon simple sryup (1 ounce)

ice cubes

1/2 cup champagne (4 ounces)

  1. Using a zester peel two strips of lemon from one of the lemons.
  2. Slice lemons in half then squeeze the juice from the them into a strainer set over a cup.
  3. Measure the gin, lemon juice, and syrup into a cocktail shaker.  Add once cup of ice, put the lid on and shake.
  4. Split the liquid from the shaker between two champagne glasses.  Top each glass with 1/4 cup of champagne.  Garnish with the zest.  Enjoy.
Stir Fried Noodles

Stir Fried Noodles

Posted on April 26, 2013

There are two things I get hung up on when it comes to making Asian food at home — woks and procuring hard-to-find ingredients.

But I look at it this way: I make Italian pasta at home, so I know I can make any noodle at home.

There are a few technical issues that are really the key to stir-fry success. I need to get my pan hot enough, generally impossible to do with a wok because of the BTUs of American stoves and the thinness of the wok metal, but a non-stick skillet will do what I need it to do perfectly.

The other misstep is when I try to cram too many ingredients into the wrong-sized pan — this is my most common stir-fry failure because I get anxious or cocky. Easily solvable, with a little thing called patience.

Lentil Patties with Red Onion

Lentil Cakes, Red Onions and Sweet Potato Fries

Posted on April 19, 2013

Everyday my diet pushes further in a vegetarian/vegan direction.  I don’t know if it is because I am older,  my tastes changing, or maybe I am I just tired of all the same foods I have spent life eating.

If I really think about it, which I am prone to do, I don’t think I eat this way to be healthy.  While health is a byproduct and one I will take, I think it is because I am a lover of food.  As one whose tastebuds have been around the block a few times I am always looking for the new and exciting to try.  As my tastebuds gain experience it also becomes harder to get excited about food.

It might be connected to my garden too.  I have been lucky enough to have a garden of some sort for well over 15 years now.  With each passing year I get more excited about the growing season.  It gets harder and harder to wait for the first produce.  The other thing I know is the diversity of vegetables I grow has increased the diversity of my diet.  For whatever reason and it does not matter to me, I have developed a fondness for vegan food.

I make these lentil patties often with my lentil patty tikka masala recipe.  Today I cooked the lentils in cashew cream and added lemon juice and thyme.

Cost to make this dinner: under $15.oo

Get the lentil patty tikka masala recipe here.

For the Lentils(serves 4)

1 cup dried Lentil du Puy, rinsed and picked over for stones

1/2 yellow onion, small dice

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/4 cup flour, I used millet flour

1 egg

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

 

1. Place the lentils into a 3 quart pot and cover with water by two or more inches. Add the minced onion. Place the pot over medium heat. Slowly bring the lentils to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the lentils until tender adding a pinch or two of salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking. This should take approximately 30 minutes.

2. Drain the lentils. Let them cool but puree them in a food processor while they are still warm. They will be easier to handle when warm.

3. Add the remaining lentil cake ingredients and pulse the cakes a few more times until the rest of the ingredients are combined into the mix. Taste the lentil puree then season the puree with kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Taste again and adjust the seasoning.

4. Let the cakes sit for a few minutes to hydrate the flour. Take a tablespoon of the mix and make a ball. Is it really wet or is it too stiff? You want the mix to hold its shape but not be overly stiff otherwise they can be dry when cooked. It should just hold its shape. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if you need to letting the additional flour hydrate before testing. Divide the lentils into eight balls.

5. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottomed sauté pan by an 1/8 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Test the oil by dropping a pinch of lentil to the pan. It should begin to sizzle right away but not violently sizzle and pop.

6. When the oil is ready take each lentil ball and smash it down gently forming it into 1/2 inch thick cakes and add them to the oil. Let each side brown nicely and then remove them to a tray lined with a brown bag to soak up the oil. Keep the cakes warm, either in a low, 200 degree oven or in a warm place on the stove.

For the onions:

1 large red onion, cut into four 1/2 inch slices the onion wheels left in one piece do not separate into rings

vegetable oil

For the sweet potato fries:

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch julienne slices

oil

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 425˚ F.
  2. While the oven is heating place a saute pan over medium heat.  When the pan is warm add a couple of glugs of oil.  Add the slices of onion and saute them until they have browned.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Toss the sweet potatoes with oil.  Season them with plenty of salt and pepper and toss them again to mix in the seasoning.  Lay the fries out onto a baking rack set over a baking sheet.  This will allow the heat to cook the fries from all sides(do this step or you will have limp fries). Bake the fries until they begin to brown and blister, about 20 minutes. Remove one of the largest fries and test it to see if it is tender on the inside.  Be careful sweet potatoes burn easily so keep an eye on them.  Warm the onions in the oven.
  4. Top the patties with the onion rings, serve with fries and curry ketchup!
_TJH2211-1

Stanley Coats: An Introduction

Posted on June 10, 2013

Stanley Coats, sprawled out in his overalls and dozing on the porch swing, knows he’s becoming the old dog with the saggy balls. The one beginning to get gray around the snout. At the sound of tires on gravel, he lifts his head a little. The dog dozing on the porch floor below him does the same, and they both crack an eye open to see who’s coming up the drive.

The searing pain behind his other eye has abated. Stanley refuses to believe it could have anything to do with a hangover and instead diagnoses himself with becoming his mother. He hopes it’s not terminal.

Khatte Channe(Chickepeas in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Chickpeas in a Spicy Tomato Gravy

Posted on March 25, 2013

Khatte Channe

A wonderful blend of deeply caramelized onions, spicy tomato broth and creamy chickpeas.  Khatte Channe, as it is know in India, is traditionally served with a flatbread but as it is cooked in this recipe it has lots of sauce so it makes sense to serve it with simple steamed rice and some sort of green vegetable.

I don’t like to use a lot of canned goods but beans are one that I rely on.  They are no fuss, no standing over the stove stirring or adding liquid because they are already cooked.  In fact I think this dish benefits from canned because the peas stand out by not absorbing all the gravy flavors that long cooking would have infused in them .

There is some extra expense in buying spices for the dish but if you have an ethnic grocery nearby, either Asian or Indian, you should be able to find the ingredients.  Buy the smallest amount they sell and if you like the spices and find yourself using them to make other dishes then buy bigger quantities.

The thing I really like about this dish and these kind of bean dishes is even though it is of Indian descent it still feels familiar, I think of it as soul food.  It is warm with a hint of spice and very much like bean dishes from Central America and Mexico.  The dish is comfortable.

Cost to make this meal:

  • three 14oz. cans organic garbanzo beans $1.49 each or $4.47
  • 2 large onions .74 cents
  • one 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes .99 cents
  • at my local Indian grocery an 8 ounce bag costs $3.oo dollars or 2 teaspoons .12 cents
  • 1 head of garlic .99 cents 4 cloves about . 50 cents
  • fresh ginger 3.99 per pound 2 ounces at .48 cents
  • 48 oz vegetable oil  $2.99 or 3 tablespoons at .10 cents
  • cumin seeds vary in price greatly depending on where you purchase them  1 teaspoon at .25 cents
  • my recipe calls for tamarind but substitute a 2 tablespoon of vinegar to give the dish its sourness

Total cost range is from  $7.65 to  $9.00 and if you are only serving 4 you should have a couple of lunches.

This recipe is adapted from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking.  If you enjoy Indian food her books are a must for you shelf.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

3 (14.5 oz.) cans chickpeas/garbanzos (drained and liquid reserved)

2 tablespoons tamarind paste mixed with half a cup of water (or substitute 2 tablespoon of vinegar with no water)

3 vegetable oil

2 cups yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced finely

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Place a 3 1/2 quart heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the pot and then the onions.  Season the onions with salt.  Cook the onions, patiently, until they begin to brown and become deeply colored. Stir them often enough that the onions on top brown at the same pace as those on bottom.   Don’t do this to fast you want melted gooey onions not seared.  Take your time it takes a while.

2. Once the onions are browned to your liking add the garlic.  Once you smell the garlic add the turmeric and cayenne pepper.  Give it a stir then add the tamarind,  tomatoes and ginger.  Reduce the heat and let the tomatoes simmer.

3. Add 1 cup of  the reserved bean liquid along with the cumin and curry powder.  Bring the liquid back to a boil reduce the heat and add the beans.

4. Cook the rice.  

5. By the time you finish the rice the beans will be warmed through and the flavors will have come together nicely.  Taste the peas and adjust the seasoning.  Serve over the rice.

A Delicious Roast Chicken for Any Night

Posted on March 21, 2013

Roast Chicken

I have a simple rule, whenever I figure out what good restaurant cooks like to make at home I follow suit.  It’s because most professional cooks like simple but deeply satisfying meals, roast chicken is one of those, it is a cook’s meal.  When I say simple I don’t mean in flavor and not necessarily in ease of cooking but more that it falls into the category of not being fussy.

And really, that is it isn’t it, that roast chicken is delicious, very satisfying and not at all fussy. Most importantly though it is easy on the cook and that is always something to grasp hold of and learn how to do.    So this is how I do it, I try not to complicate roast chicken, I use only a few dried spices  and I try to follow some simple guidelines I have come to trust over the years.

Roast Chicken Know-How:

  • Season the chicken with salt the day before you want to cook it.  Then set it into a tray with sides.  Place it uncovered into the refrigerator to dry out the skin and soak up the salt.  This drying of the skin makes for a deeply colored crispy skin.  The salt helps keep the chicken moist.
  • Trussing the chicken helps the chicken to cook evenly.  Besides we eat as much with our eyes so why not make it pretty.
  • You can cook the chicken on top of vegetables if you like letting the juices drip down onto them making for a wonderful side dish.  I do this as often as not but I never throw out the pan juices.  The pan juices make a wonderful addition to all sorts of things from pasta to…well, anything.
  • Adjust the top rack of your oven so the top of the bird is 5 to 7 inches from the top of the oven.  If it is to close to the top it will brown the skin well before the meat is cooked.
  • Avoid buying birds that are more the 4 or 5% juices added.  The birds that are 12% are brined and they are very, very salty.
  • Save any and all pan juices.  Use them in a vinaigrette to dress a salad, in pasta or in chicken salad but don’t waste them.

Cost to roast a chicken:  it depends on what kind of chicken and where you buy it but anywhere between 6 and 10 dollars for a 4 pound bird.  It should feed four with the added bonus of making soup from the carcass.

Click here for a pasta recipe using roast chicken leftovers: Chicken, Black Olives and Lemon with Spaghetti

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To Roast a Chicken:

kosher

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 chicken, about 4 pounds

1. Salt the chicken the day before you want to cook it or at least 4 hours before you want to cook it.  To do this sprinkle salt onto all sides of the bird including inside the cavity.  Place the bird onto a tray with side and put it back into the fridge.

2. Crush the fennel seeds either using the bottom of a heavy pan to grind it or with a mortar and pestle.  Combine the fennel with the rest of the spices and, again, sprinkle the spice rub all over the bird including the cavity.

I like to slice the chicken before serving. I like to slice the breast off the bone so I have a carcass for soup at the end of the night.

I like to slice the chicken before serving. I like to slice the breast off the bone so I have a carcass for soup at the end of the night.

3. Let the bird sit at room temperature for a half an hour or up to an hour.

4. Heat the oven to 400˚ F.  Place the chicken, still on a tray with sides, into the oven and let it roast for 30 minutes.  Bast the chicken with the pan juices.  Bake another 35 minutes.  Check to see  if it is done.  I can usually tell by the legs.  If the meat has pulled away from the knee bones then there is a good chance the rest of the bird is done.  Wiggle a thigh.  If it seems loose then you are probably good to go.  Tilt the bird backwards and see if the juices running out from the cavity are red.  If  all three of these test are passed letting the bird rest will finish the cooking.   Let the bird rest cover with foil for 15 minutes.

5. Carve and serve.

Potato Cake

Potato Cake

Posted on March 18, 2013

Potato CakeWhat thrills me the most about potato cakes like this is the crispy top and creamy interior.  If you use good potatoes the flavor is unbeatable and if you are creative you can even layer the interior with things like roasted garlic, wilted onions, green onions or even chopped frozen broccoli that has been thawed and drained of excess moisture.

Yukon Golds

Yukon Golds

There are few products that I recommend, or in this case don’t recommend, and those are conventional potatoes and canned tomatoes.  I don’t like conventional potatoes because they spray them with an anti-sprouting spray which means they have a longer shelf life.  I don’t know if the spray is good for you or not but I want potatoes that aren’t far from the harvest because I want fresh potatoes.  They taste better and I know they do, it’s that simple.  Organic potatoes can’t lollygag around and therfore are generally fresh.

The two types of potato most readily available at most groceries that would work for this dish are Russet Burbanks(Idaho) or Yukon Golds.  Both brown up nicely and both create a creamy interior.

As for tomatoes, I don’t like canned tomatoes because the acid leaches out the chemical from the liner of the can.  I only by tomatoes in glass or those nifty carton type boxes.

Cost to make the potatoes:

  • one bag of organic russet potatoes $3.49 about 10 per bag or $1.75 
  • unsalted butter .10 cents
  • canola oil  and salt .10 cents

Total cost to make this dish: $1.95

Serves 4 as a side dish

5 good sized russet potatoes, scrubbed under cold water with a brush

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon canola oil

kosher salt

white pepper if you have it

1. Smear the bottom of a 10 inch non-stick skillet with soften butter.  Make sure to spread it evenly across the bottom.  Drizzle the oil into the pan too.

2. Slice the potatoes into very thin slices, a 1/16 of an inch would be great but no more then an 1/8 inch.

3. Starting in the middle of the pan spiral the potatoes by fanning them.  They should overlap about half the potato before them, if that makes since or you should cover the potato before the one you are putting into the pan by half by the one you are putting into the pan.

4. Lightly season each layer of potato with a pinch of salt.  Once the first layer is down you can layer the rest of the potatoes into the pan without detail to fanning them.

5. Heat the oven to 350˚ F.  Place the pan over medium heat to begin browning the bottom layer.  This always takes longer then I expect. I also have a baking stone that has a permanent spot in my oven so I also know then the pan goes into the oven it will continue to brown the potatoes.

6.  Once the bottom is browned nicely cover the pan and slide it into the oven.  Bake until the potatoes in the middle are tender.  Depending on how many layers you created anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes.

7. Remove the pan from the oven with a oven mitt or towel.  Place a pizza tray or the bottom of a sheet tray across the top of the pan.  In one swift motion invert the pan and tray.  Place the tray into the oven and let the cake bake another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the top.  Serve.

Turkey Burgers with Lemon Parsley Butter

Turkey Burgers with Lemon Parsley Butter

Posted on March 16, 2013

 

These burgers are great bun or no.  The key here, at least for me, is not to use breast only ground turkey which really dries out but a combination of ground thigh and breast. Read the labels  on the packages carefully.

Lemon parsley butter is a natural for these.  While you make more butter then you need,  through out the week you can easily use it up.  Simply use the compound butter in all sorts of things like sauteed green beans, broccoli or Brussels sprouts.  It is delicious way to finish off veggies and all you have to do is add it at the end of the cooking time, stir it around to just melt it, and voilà,  an extra punch at the table.

Cost to make the burgers:

  • Ground turkey $4.29
  • Curley leaf parsley .69 cents
  • Dried herbs and lemon $1.50
  • Butter $2.99 per pound or 1 stick @.75 cents

Total cost: $7.23

Makes 4 six ounce patties

For the patties:

1 pound 3 ounces ground turkey, a mix of breast and thigh

2 teaspoons curly leaf parsley

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

a heavy 1/2 teaspoon salt

canola oil for sautéing

For the butter:

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 tablespoon curly leaf parsley, minced

two finger pinch of salt

1. Combine all the patty ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Using your hands need it all together until it is well mixed.  Let the mixture sit, refrigerated for at least an hour.

2. While the turkey is melding, combine all the butter ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.

3. Form 4 patties of equal size.

4. Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat.  Add a glug of oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the patties and brown them on each side.  Adjust the heat as necessary so you can brown them but also cook them through without burning them.  Serve topped with a dollop of lemon parsley butter.

Pickled Green Onion Ranch

Pickled Green Onion Ranch

Posted on March 16, 2013

Pickled Green Onion Ranch
Grilled Pork Steaks with Ranch Dressing is yet another great use for the dressing.

Grilled Pork Steaks with Ranch Dressing is yet another great use for the dressing.

The only way buttermilk will go to waste is if you if you have a lack of ideas for using it and because of this don’t.   It can hang out longer then regular milk because of the live culture but it will eventually go bad.

This dressing alone can be used as a base, minus the green onions,  and  you can make parmesan black peppercorn or fresh herb ranch.  Then there are all the other products too, real Southern cornbread, buttermilk pancakes, bread and of course biscuits.

Buttermilk is full of probiotics.  Rumor has it the beneficial bacteria will help you to maintain a healthy stomach which helps in fighting off other sicknesses.   This, though, is if you drink it or use it uncooked.  The label should read live active culture in order for you to get the benefits.

There is a term in cooking, and at culinary school, that asks for you to cook a liquid or combine ingredients to a thickness that will coat the back of a spoon.  You go about this by dipping the spoon into the liquid and then, while holding it sideways, run your finger across the convex side.  The liquid should hang there for a second or two before closing the gap your finger created.

Cost:

  • 1 head of garlic .42 cents
  • 2 bunches of green onions $1.49
  • 1 quart Organic Valley buttermilk $3.25 or .40 cents per 1/2 cup
  • 30 oz. Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise $5.49 or $1.46 per cup
  • 12 oz. rice vinegar (do not buy seasoned rice vinegar) $1.48 or .25 cents per 1/4 cup

Total cost to make the dressing:  $4.02 for 12 ounces

Makes 1 1/2 cups plus

10 to 12 green onions, trimmed of roots

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoon pickling liquid

fresh ground black pepper

salt

1. About three inches from the root end cut the green onions.  Reserve the green tops for another use (buttermilk green onion smashed potatoes comes to mind).  Place the green onions and garlic into a small heat proof container.DSCF5970

2. Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a small sauce pan set over high heat.  Bring it to a boil and let the salt and sugar dissolve.

3. Pour the hot liquid over the green onions and garlic.  Let the onions pickle for at least two hours.

4. Once the green onions are olive drab and soft remove them and the garlic from the liquid.  Mince them fine.

5. Combine the mayo, buttermilk, reserved 1 1/2 tablespoons of pickling liquid and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.  Add the green onions and garlic along with fresh ground black pepper to taste.

foodquarterly

Smothered Chicken

Posted on March 16, 2013

foodquarterlyServes 4

Smothered chicken makes for a comforting Sunday dinner.  It’s the kind of dinner that will bring the kids back on Sundays after they have left home to be on their own.  The combination of peppers, onions and celery (known as the trinity in cooking) is very warming and homey.

It is a great dish to serve over boiled rice and if you were to serve green beans and biscuits with it you would, or at least I would, be in heaven.

Cost to make this dinner entree:

  • package of 8 chicken thighs $4.83
  • 1 bunch of celery $1.29
  • 2 onions .74 cents
  • 1 head of garlic .49 cents
  • 1 bell pepper $1.00
  • Loose cost of vegetable oil, spices, salt and flour $1.00
  • Total cost to make the dinner: $9.35

For the spice mix:

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the chicken:

6 to 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs

2 cups yellow onions, julienned

3/4 cups green bell peppers, julienned

3/4 cups celery, julienned

water

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1. Combine all the spice ingredients in a small bowl. Season the chicken thighs on all sides with salt and then with the spice mixture. You may or may not have extra spice depending on how heavy your hand is and whether or not you season 6 or 8 thighs.

2. Place a heavy, large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add enough oil to the pan to easily coat the bottom completely. When it is hot add the thighs skin side down and brown them deeply. Once they are brown do the same to the other side.

3. Remove the thighs to a plate. Add the onions, bell pepper and celery to the pan. Season them with salt and pepper. If the pan is to hot turn down the heat and cook down the vegetables until they are brown and soft. Add the flour and sauté everything for a bit longer to cook out the flour flavor.

4. Add the garlic cloves and give the veggies a stir. Add the chicken thighs back to the pan and add enough water to cover the thighs by three quarters. The crispy tops should just be peeking out of the gravy. Add all but a tablespoon of the green onions to the sauce.

5. When the gravy comes to a boil reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, this should take about thirty minutes. Season the gravy, stir and taste.

6. If the gravy is reducing to fast and getting to thick add more water and stir.  If you added more water bring the sauce to a boil and serve.

pickling cukes

Good Food on a Tight Budget

Posted on March 3, 2013

good food on a tight budget

Click on the pamphlet to get the PDF

I watched a movie about hunger a few days ago and I saw a report on kids, families really,  going hungry in America.  It caused me concern, “this is America after all,” I thought.

I got online and started to look around.  I found this wonderful pamphlet to help anyone who wants to reduce their food costs and eat in a healthier fashion. I like this pamphlet a lot.  So much so I started talking to my wife about it.

The pamphlet is put together by the Environmental Working Group in collaboration with Cooking Matters.  I don’t know much about any of these groups but I like what they are doing here, which is trying to help.

As a chef this is what I can do too, is try to help.  I plan to post recipes that fall within the budget put forth by EWG.  They will be delicious and, for the most part, good for you.  I say for the most part because I am sure there is someone, some group, out there who will disagree with me and that is fine.  I want to pass along as much knowledge as I can in an attempt to help people make informed decisions about their kitchen.

Mostly though, the goal is to provide recipes for low cost good eats.

Ready for the final rise
Ready for the final rise

Daily Bread

Posted on March 3, 2013

Ready for the final rise

Ready for the final rise

I like this bread because it uses leftovers.  What do I mean by leftovers?  My girls don’t like heels and crusts. Sure I could force them to eat them, could throw them out or I could trim them off and save them for other uses.  I could make bread crumbs or, for instance, I could make this loaf of bread.

It is pretty amazing when you think about it.  Bread never wears out, you can use the same crumbs again and again in this loaf and its structure is always the same.

As long as you dry it properly, use breads without seeds, fruit or nuts, the uses of bread become endless but I really like the fact that I am not wasting anything.

It takes time to learn how to make a good loaf of bread.  The good news is if it doesn’t work out perfectly the loaf is more then likely still really delicious and good to eat.  So jump in and start practicing.

Recipe based on a recipe by Peter Reinhart in his book Brother Juniper’s Bread. 

  • King Arthur Bread Flour  $3.98 for a 5 pound bag = 28 cents per cup
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast = 24 cents
  • total cost to make this loaf of bread = $1.00

Makes one 2 pound loaf                                                                                                                    

2 cups dried stale old bread crumbs

2 cups water

1 .25 oz. packet instant dry yeast or 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the bread crumbs with to cups of water.  Let the bread soak up all the water.  This will take about an hour and you can let it soak for 4 hours.  Make the bread fit your schedule.

2. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and then stir it around and into the damp bread crumbs.  Let is sit for 2 to 5 minutes to hydrate the yeast.  Add the salt and bread flour.

3. Using a heavy duty wooden spoon mix the flour and crumbs until it forms a ball.  Dump the ball onto the counter and start kneading.  Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.  This will take at least 5 minutes.

4. Form the dough into a ball and put it back into the mixing bowl.  Cover it with a damp towel and set the bowl in a warm draft free place.  The back of the stove is usually good.

5. Set a timer for 1 hour.  At the end of the hour the dough should have doubled in size.  If not let it proof a little longer.  Remove the dough to the counter and knead it to degas it then shape it into a ball.

6. Place the dough into a 8 inch  cake pan that has been oiled and dusted with flour.  To dust the pan smear a small amount of oil onto all interior surfaces of the pan.  Add a tablespoon of flour and shake it around and tilt the pan to get the flour up the sides.  This will keep the bread from sticking to the pan.  Cover the bread and put it back in the warm place you had it.

7. Let the bread rise until it is peaking over the top of the pan by an inch.  This will take 30 to 40 minutes.  About 15 minutes into the final rise turn on the oven to 375˚ F.

8.  You can dust the top of the loaf with flour, cut a slash in it or just put it in the oven and bake it for 50 minutes.  Remove it from the oven then remove it from the pan to a cookie rack.  Let the bread cool completely. Slice and serve.

  

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