Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recipe #83: Shmokin'!

(11 recipes to go.)

With big, fluffy snowflakes dancing the tango in the wind, it was a perfect wintery afternoon to simmer a Smoked Chicken Corn Chowder on the stove. This was no simple task though, with 41 cooking steps ahead of me, I wore my apron like a super-hero cape & channeled Julia Child to get the job done! Travis smoked the chicken, while I chopped, diced, & julienned the veggies. Tasty, warm, soothing. It did indeed shake off those cold bitter temps.

And since I'm still thinking about it, as we were doing a little babysitting last night (with Lil Lizzy) we made our first recipe in the Quarterback Killer Cookbook (written by Jared Allen, MN Viking #69). Of course we'll make his scrumptious fish tacos again! It felt like a Saturday night indulgence, but without much effort. Had we cranked up the heat, it may have felt like vacation! Olé! ~Rating of Smoked Chicken Corn Chowder: 7 stars (out of 10) ~Quotes of the day: "The mullet helps when you hunt because the animals think you're one of them." -Jared Allen

"You know how I feel about tacos. Its the only food shaped like a smile." -from TV sitcom My Name is Earl
~Music while cooking: Varsity Blues soundtrack, and Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe #82: Throw anotha shrimp on the bahbie!

(12 recipes to go.)
One thing I wish the Chico Cookbook had more of is PICTURES. Sometimes I'm just not sure I'm doing the recipes right, as in the case of today's Shrimp Chesapeake. It ended up tasting tasty, but I'm questioning whether or not I wrapped the crab-mixture around the shrimp the way the recipe intended?? Oh well. I tried!
Made these lil crustaceans while Travis was coyote hunting with his buddy Clayton, then we nibbled on 'em while watching the Packers beat the Bears at Soldier Field that evening. The Chicago crowd's freezing breath looked reminiscent to last year when we bundled up in several layers at that very stadium. BRRR!!
~Rating of Shrimp Chesapeake: 7.5 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Train yourself to move away from what hurts you & move toward what feels good." -Danielle Barone
~Music while cooking: football (championship games). Putumayo's Music From the Wine Lands when heating up leftovers the next day. --This recipe is not good reheated though.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recipe #81: a Wednesday night dinner

(13 recipes to go.)
Smoked Salmon on slices of french bread, with Almond Dill Cream Cheese & Tomato Relish... Easy to make. Rich, delicate taste. Melt-in-your-mouth texture...
~Rating of Smoked Salmon with Almond Dill Cream Cheese & Tomato Relish: 8.5 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "In art & dream you may proceed with abandon. In life you proceed with balance & stealth." -Patti Smith (bought her beautifully written memoir of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, "Just Kids," while in Vegas... just started reading it)
~Music while cooking: Erin McDougald's Meeting Places, & Guns N Roses' Appetite For Destruction. --Perfect combo actually, with Erin's delightful jazz-version of GNR's Sweet Child O' Mine.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

lovin' the lamb

Tried out an Italian lamb soup recipe from one of my co-workers this afternoon. (Its absolutely FANTASTIC!) Accompanied it with lamb chops, using the cookbook's Rack of Lamb recipe we find to be OUTSTANDING. I'm tellin' ya, we are complete fans of that sweet meat. Travis even ordered some barbequed lamb at a new restaurant this weekend and it was INCREDIBLE as well. A huge THANK YOU to the Chico Cookbook for introducing us to this delectable treat...
And I must share. Here's the lamb soup recipe:
Over moderate heat, warm 3 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 carrot (peeled & chopped), 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 chopped celery, 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, & 3 garlic cloves (chopped). (I added waaaaay more, just cause I do like my veggies.) Stir for 5 min. Add 1 lb ground lamb, mix well to blend the flavors. Stir for 5 min. Add several chopped plum tomatoes. Pour in 48 oz of beef broth. Season to taste. I used A LOT of salt & pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat, & let simmer for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and toast some slices of course country bread until golden brown. Place in bottom of bowls & ladle the soup over slices.
~Rating of Lamb Chops: 10 stars (out of 10)-- We've referred to this indulgence in Recipes #12, #27, #44, & #79.
~Quote of the day: "To have courage for whatever comes in life.- COURAGE- Everything lies in that." -St. Teresa of Avila (on a plaque I got from Paige yesterday)
~Music while cooking: jazz (Erin McDougald's Meeting Places) & football (the playoffs)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recipe #80: Oh Deer

(14 recipes to go.)
Still flying high from the birthday party my husband, parents, & bestest friends surprised me with at Chuck E Cheese this weekend (yayy me!)... last night I began marinating the Grilled Medallions. And actually, I'm a little surprised sleepiness didn't overtake me, being as the looooong day was spent in Helena for work. (I think that Chuck E Cheese giddiness will carry me through this entire week!) But I'd already thawed the meat, so figured I better get it going once I got home. (Plus, I was totally excited to wear my adorable new apron from Brenda!) Recipe originally called for antelope, although I used deer instead. A deer Travis got while hunting with co-worker Chris & brother Hunter this fall. Baked it tonight, but had just a small sampling since I leave for Bunco in a few minutes. The meal is intended for leftovers cut-up in a salad tomorrow. I swear, we're really trying to eat healthier!
And here's another repeat recipe: On the morning of my birthday, hubby woke early to surprise me with french toast. This was scrumptious, and he did an EXCELLENT job of presenting it with pork sausage, scrambled eggs, orange juice, caramel coffee, carnations, a necklace, & our special lil candle that sings happy birthday. Thanks Babe. :)
~Rating of Grilled Medallions: 8.5 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of french toast (we had this before in Recipe #31): 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quotes of the day: "I think I deserve something beautiful." -Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love (I watched that again last week.)
"Most people just want to live a fun life. If they had a chance to do it again, they would prefer to live an interesting life. And if they got a final crack at it, they would choose to live a good life... So do all three at once." -Andrew Gottlieb in Drink Play F@#k, a parody of Gilbert's novel I got from Jamie. (Just started reading it a couple nights ago.)
~Music while cooking: Guns N Roses' Appetite For Destruction

Monday, January 10, 2011

Recipe #79: grouse in the house

(15 recipes to go.)
Well, I'm sure it goes without saying... Cooking an entire cookbook, also means EATING an entire cookbook! With just 15 recipes to go, our waistlines (and pocket book) are thinking, "Isn't it about time to wrap this lil project up??"
This week's recipe though, happened to be LIGHT, in both calories & dollars! Roasted Poultry. The recipe called for pheasant, but we used grouse. Grouse, Travis got while hunting with my mom, dad, & Uncle Don this fall. SO DELICIOUS!!! It easily became one of my favorite Chico meals. And, we noticed the marinade of olive oil, lemons, & herbs is similar to the Rosemary Rack of Lamb recipe we dearly love (referred to in Recipes #12, #27, & #44), so we plan on trying it with various other meats as well.
One important thing I must remind myself when making this poultry recipe again... When it says heat oil until its ABOUT to start smoking, don't test the wait period. I was elbow-deep in my spice cupboard when all of a SUDDEN the entire upstairs was completely filled with THICK SMOKE. I had to open the windows- in the middle of winter- and take refuge in the basement as my red eyes had water squirting out like they'd been rubbed with onion! When my husband woke, he asked "Why does it smell like a rendering plant in here?" I YI YI.
Oh and, another noteworthy tidbit. This grouse meal is the first recipe I used with my new cookbook stand from Cristin. How did I ever survive without this beautiful piece of FUNCTIONAL art before? Maybe now I won't slop big ol' messes all over my cookbook! I highly recommend y'all give one a try.
And my final thought for today; the Football Finale. Our Pigskin Pick'em Pool ended with Sue & I tied for 6th place, Travis in 23rd. What a fun season! Here's a pic of me (in my Percy Harvin jersey) with Brett Favre (in cut-out & on TV) during the last game of his career. MN lost to the Lions that day, as Ol' Gunslinger stood on the sideline with a concussion. No playoffs for us this year. It wasn't a great season for
the Vikes (compared to last year's AWESOMENESS!-- see other photo), but the Silver Fox wrapped up his 20th season with some impressive stats, including 508 touchdown passes & 297 consecutive starts. Pretty amazing.
~Rating of Roasted Grouse: 9 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Its been a wonderful ride." -Brett Favre
~Music while cooking: Guns N Roses Live Era '87-'93

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Viva La Vino!

The Chico Cookbook has a wonderful section titled "Winning Wines." They describe their wine list as "laced with unusual jewels and hard-to-find vintages," and have won the "Award of Excellence" in the coveted Wine Spectator Magazine for four years since 1999. (Of course it is possible additional winnings have been achieved after the 2003 publishing of this book.) We enjoyed the sampling of some wine suggestions in Recipe #51, and purchased another two for the holidays; Archery Summit Pinot Noir and Veuve Cliquot Brut Champagne. (Tried to order the Zenato Amarone- a red wine- for my birthday, but Simply Wine's distributor said they no longer carry it.)
We took the Archery Summit Pinot Noir with us to a family Christmas vacation in Las Vegas. Shared the bottle between Travis, his mom, sister Shannon, brother-in-law Laurence, and myself while watching the Vikings beat the Eagles on TV (after a fantastic, fresh air, rustic day at The Grand Canyon). Very smooth. Very delicious.
Popped the Veuve Cliquot Brut Champagne at our friend Jamie's house on New Year's Eve. This was NOT a fan favorite though. First off, it was extreeeeemely difficult for me to reach past the $6 champagne for the SIXTY DOLLAR Brut at Albertsons. I don't even really like champagne, but figured I'd give it a try since Chico is so well-known for its bottles. Then, after splitting it among all of us at the houseparty, we only ended up with a shot a piece. --But that actually turned out to be a good thing, cause as Dick Clark counted from 10 to 1 on TV, we took a swig and our faces immediately puckered up with the icky tartness of the champagne. Won't be buying that again.
Happy New Year! 2011 shall be a joyous year, I'm sure of it! :)
~Rating of Archery Summit Pinot Noir: 9 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Veuve Cliquot Brut Champagne: 1 star (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "I can sit & write poetry 'til hell freezes over, and get attached to any particular set of words." -Axl Rose (I'm in the middle of reading The Saga of Guns N Roses, and it is quite interesting!)
~Music while sipping: chatter