Thursday, October 25, 2007

Remember "plan-overs"?

Those lovely frozen dinners I make from what some folks call leftovers?

We never have any leftovers around here. No bits and pieces to put in the 'fridge and forget about, or wonder what to do with for days so we don't feel guilty wasting perfectly good food. Usually, I plan to make more than enough at a few meals during a week; ... then divvy up the remainder after supper to make perfect plan-over meals. This week, after wrecking my back lifting my end of a bathtub in and out of its slot one too many times .... it is absolutely wonderful to just hobble to the freezer and choose supper from the stack of containers. Thaw in microwave until it can be turned out onto a plate and then cover with a lid and nuke some more til hot and enjoy !! No mess, no pots, no clean lurching around the kitchen, trying to cook something when I can hardly sit, stand or walk.

and look .... how inviting is this for a lovely little chicken dinner from that amazingly moist chicken we had a few weeks ago!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Biscotti Toscani

1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

2 tsp grated orange zest

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

(optional : I like to add a sprinkle of chopped dried cranberries)

In mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, almond extract and orange zest. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt (if using). Add to the creamed mixture, mixing until blended. Fold almonds into the mix by hand. If you choose to add some cranberries now is the time for those as well.

Divide dough in half. Place on greased and floured baking sheet (or use parchment paper on sheet .. so much easier) and form into two logs about 1/2 inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Space them at least 2 inches apart. Bake in the middle of a preheated 325 F (160 C) oven for 25 mins. or til golden brown. Transfer from baking sheet to a rack to let cool for about 10 mins or so. Be a bit careful as they are fragile enough to crack apart at this stage. If using parchment paper it is easy to transfer them to the rack just by sliding the paper off tray and onto rack…then take the paper out from under them as it seems to keep them moist if left. You almost need them to dry a bit before attempting to slice them. Though, having said that… test them for yourself a few times ….see which you prefer.

Place on cutting board and using serrated knife, slice diagonally at 45 degree angle about 1/2 inch thick. Lay slices flat on the baking sheet and return to oven for about 10 minutes, turning them over once, to dry slightly. Let cool on rack. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 2 dozen.

Tip: make sure you have a good serrated knife or you will have the edges breaking and crumbling on all of the slices. I have two serrated knives and neither is straight. I can’t figure out how they warp or bend somehow….surely they must have been straight at one time?

My personal preference? …. A hacksaw. Yep. You read it right. I have my very own. I call it my Biscotti Blade and I am sure they should sell them. However, since I am too stupid and/or lazy to figure out how to manufacture and market the idea…somebody get on it. How about a cute little copper or brass handle and a lovely shiny blade? Anyway… check out my great slices with their perfect edges. No crumbling at the ends either. I love my new idea.!

This recipe was given to me years ago and I am sorry to say I am not sure where it actually comes from. If you don’t have an orange handy, it is equally delicious without the zest.. and with or without nuts for that matter. … it can be for everyday or you can dress it up and use it for Christmas or a special occasion. I happen to dress mine in cranberries all the time just because I like them …

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

same recipe, different blog...

But, it is worth seeing twice! This is one delicious way to do a chicken.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada. Nothing like the U.S. Thanksgiving celebrations as far as I have ever seen. However, we usually have a special meal ... sometimes visit with relatives or friends ... sometimes not ... just depends on where everybody is at the time.
It just doesn't seem that big a deal somehow.

Sunday, I made a great little chicken for supper .... and yesterday we had a wonderful lazy day and a great second chicken dinner. Yum ...

My new easy way with chicken:

Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
Stuff the cavity with chunks of onion, 4 or so garlic cloves and a lemon cut in chunks.
Tuck in the legs or tie them up.
Rub chicken with butter, and season with paprika, basil or Herbs De Provence (or your choice).
Cover roasting pan for most of cooking time ... basting with juices occasionally.
Take off lid for last 20 mins or half hour to crisp and brown skin.
Take out of juice, plate and tent with foil til ready to serve.

Meanwhile ... put pan on heat ...spoon off some of the fat, scrape up brown bits... add water, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Add a bit more water with flour dissolved in it to thicken and stir while boiling..then simmer for a bit til no taste of starch .... et voila ! wonderful gravy too.

This method of cooking gives the most succulent, moist, chicken I have ever tasted! Add a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes, some steamed veggies and you have an amazing dinner.

I had some time to do a bit of baking too and got a few batches of muffins and some Cranberry/Almond/Orange biscotti done. I will get the recipe for the biscotti done up later today and post that. Freezer is full of nummy stuff for lunches now.....