Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Culinary Explorations

Hans and I have gotten so bored with the same old same old for dinners, that, come evening, no one could decide on anything to make because none of the stand-bys were appealing. So, we (or rather, I) started trying recipes from Pinterest. So far, it has been wildly successful - I'll list and link all we've tried on another day. Tonight, though, I have to write up the rice pudding I created this evening... .

I took a little of this person's ideas, and a little of that person's ideas from a thread on Ravelry, and created something that my mind thought would work out. The results were bang on!

So, without further ado, Kerry's Rice Pudding! (Pictures tomorrow - It's too dark and the kitchen's too dirty for photography tonight):


  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon to taste (I used about a tablespoon and a half - we like cinnamon a lot)

  • Mix one cup evaporated (not condensed! This is important!) milk, one cup water and one teaspoon vanilla in a measuring cup. Set aside.
  • Put rice into dry pan, over med high heat, stirring constantly, brown slightly.
  • Add milk and water to pan, bring to a boil.
  • Add cinnamon, stir.
  • Boil for 3 minutes, put lid on pan, turn off heat.
  • Let rice sit for 20 minutes with lid on.
  • Mix remaining evaporated milk and enough whole milk to bring to 2 cups. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup sugar, stir until sugar is dissolved
  • Add sugar/vanilla/milk mixture to cooked rice. Stir to combine. 
  • Bring to a boil, replace lid, turn off heat.
  • Allow to rest for another 20 minutes.
  • Whisk together egg and one cup of whole milk. Pour into rice pudding and mix well.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer.
  • Simmer with cover on for 5 minutes.
  • Serve either immediately, or allow to cool, then serve.
Everyone declared it a success, too!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ooooh, ya'll!!I

I haven't posted a lot here, but I have been cooking up a storm, and really finding my culinary feet! I've got pot roast, red beans and rice, jambalaya and gumbo down to a science! I've created a couple of dishes that we've really enjoyed, too.

Tonight is one of those dishes. No pictures because, well, I'm just too tired! Here's the recipe, though!

Oven "Fried" Coconut Chicken with Thai Peanut Veggies and Rice

4 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
Yellow Curry powder
Coconut milk
Veggies of choice
Oyster or fish sauce
Sesame Oil
Rice Vinegar
Crushed Red Pepper

Marinate chicken in coconut milk and yellow curry powder for a few hours, turning every hour or so. Then, combine panko breadcrumbs and sweetened coconut flakes. Coat chicken in breading, let rest 15 minutes. Bake at 350 until done (about 20minutes on each side), turning halfway through.

While that's baking, slice up whatever your choice of asian veg (tonight I just used zucchini and bamboo shoots because that's what I had). Put a little sesame oil into a hot cast iron dutch oven or skillet. Heat till hot, then pour the marinade in and stir well. Add more curry powder to taste. If you like a little heat, add in some crushed red pepper flakes. add in some rice vinegar and a dash of fish sauce or oyster sauce. Mix well. Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Mix well. Add veg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover.

For the rice, put a bit of sesame oil into a pot, heat to high. Add dry, uncooked rice. Brown rice until it emits a nice, nutty aroma. Add water (whatever you need for the amount of rice you're making) and a dash of rice vinegar. Bring to a boil, then put on lid and turn off heat. Let sit until liquid is absorbed.

Serve with sauce and veg over rice with chicken on the side.

Bon apetit! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm back!

(I started this post about a week ago and never finished!!)

So I haven't blogged a lot lately, but I have been cooking a lot! With Hans back at work, the brunt of the food preparation and decision has landed on me, something that hasn't happened in years. Because of this, I'm remembering that I don't just bake, I actually enjoy cooking, too, and am good at it!

Watching Food Network doesn't hurt either. Take this morning, for instance - while I'm cleaning the downstairs, I have Chopped on in the background. For their appetizer round, the secret ingredients were boudain blanc, chanterelle mushrooms, baby artichokes and orange marmalade. All of the contestants were lamenting how they have no idea what they could possibly do with this combination, but in my mind, I had it figured out!

See, boudain blanc is sausage. A very mild, almost flavorless sausage. Perfect for using as a blank (ha!) canvas. So, to start out, I would cut the sausage into medallions and then sautee with shallots, sliced and blanched baby artichokes and the mushrooms. While that's sauteeing, I would take the orange marmalade, some fresh smashed garlic and a bit of white wine. Combine them, then reduce to a glaze. Toss with the sauteed sausage and veggies, plate with a cilantro garnish. Boom! Instant awesome!

Of course, it's all well and good for me to sit back in my recliner and play armchair chef. That's easy - in my imagination it all works out perfectly! The judges would fawn over how incredible I am, and I would walk away with the prize.

In practice, though, about 1/3 of the time, my experiments are misses. Hell, sometimes the "tried and true" recipes I get from places I trust don't always work out (I'm looking at you, Paula Deen's peach cobbler!!!). But you never know until you try them,, right?

So I'm back. And I plan to blog a lot more, especially now that I have my big, bad, awesome camera!

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

I was on Pinterest the other day, and happened across a pin about making baked potatoes in the Crock Pot. Okay, well, "happened across" may be a stretch - I was searching for Crock Pot recipes - but I wasn't looking for a recipe for baked potatoes. However, Hans had bought a bunch of potatoes Sunday (they were on sale for $1.69/5# bag!!!) and decided that he wanted loaded baked potatoes for dinner one night, so this find was perfect! I have things to do today, and a brand new crock pot! Fate!

So I read the one technique for slow cooker baked potatoes. Then I read another. And another. And about three more. Finally, like I'm wont to do so frequently, I took the aspects I liked from each and married them. That is what you have here!

Okay, so first you decide how many potatoes you need. I did 6 even though there are only four of us because I wanted an extra for Hans to take for lunch tomorrow, and an extra I can take to Grandmommy. Then, you scrub your potatoes well. Remember, the skin is where all the vitamins are!!

Once you have your potatoes scrubbed, get out your ingredients:

You'll need either foil sheets (I just happened to have some) or aluminum foil, kosher or sea salt (coarse salt just works so much better for this sort of application), olive oil and clean hands. Oh - and a Crock Pot.

Get out a large bowl that you can fit all the potatoes into at once. Trust me - this will make your life easier! 

Next, you're going to want to drizzle olive oil over all the potatoes. You don't need much, just enough so that you can rub it over all the skins:

Then, one at a time, spread the olive oil over each of the potatoes, making sure that the entire surface is covered:

Once you have your potatoes all oiled up and lovely, you want to get your foil ready.

You want to be sure that the reflective side is against the potato, not the dull side:

Then sprinkle just a little bit - about a pinch - of salt onto the foil:

Put your potato on top of the salt, then sprinkle a bit more. You want to get an even, light sprinkling of salt covering the potato:

Once your potato is oiled and salted, you want to wrap the foil around it so that you seal in the moisture:
(there's no need to prick the potatoes)

In a crock pot set to LOW, place all your potatoes:

Cover, then let the Crock Pot do its magic for the next 8 hours.

Bonus - while working with all that olive oil and coarse salt, you've also given yourself a lovely manicure! Now don't you feel accomplished???

Serve the potatoes as an accompaniment to a meat dish, or as a meal in and of itself by setting up a "potato bar" - put out cheese, butter, sour cream, chili, bacon, or anything else you can think of. I may make some broccoli to go with ours!