Just Plum!

In last weeks farm box were 6 plums, that never ripened enough to be eaten.
Not wanting to throw them out I decided to experiment and use them in a dish.
A friend did cook this recipe before I put it in the blog and she felt the plum sauce did not thicken enough for her.
It’s not very crucial to have the sauce really thick, it’s the flavor that counts so don’t overthink it too much!

1 chicken breast per person
4-6 small plums
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1-2 cups chicken stock, enough to cover plums and chicken
pepper, salt and 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp curry powder

Cut plums in 4 parts
Cover bottom of crock-pot with plums, one layer of chicken breast and cover with the balsamic vinegar and broth.
Add salt, curry powder, pepper and garlic.

Let simmer on high for 2 hours and low for another 2.5 hours.
Turn the chicken after you have cooked it for 2 hours.
The plum sauce should thicken some, if it looks too thick add a little broth.

Chicken will fall apart nicely.

I added sliced mushrooms 30 minutes before the time was over.

My boys ate this with rice.

Easy ribs, no BBQ needed.

I love ribs, the meaty fall apart smokey aspect of it.
The first time I started with one slab of extra meaty baby back ribs weighing about 3 pounds, for 4 people. Seemed to me it would be plenty for 2 adults and two kids. Well a few weeks ago, overnight, someone switched my sparrow of an eater and replaced it with a bottomless pit of a child. He can’t stop eating protein. Paired with at least an inch or two of growth in length in 2 months it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve joked I’m raising my younger brothers rolled into one boy, and right now it’s true. So the second time around I added an extra 2.5 pounds. The leftovers were astounding! Seriously we fought over them!
This is truly an easy recipe, and even for 2 people one slab will yield lunch for the next day easily.

Crock pot ribs

(without leftovers)
2-3 pounds baby back ribs, extra meaty
your BBQ sauce of choice, did not measure just coated the ribs
Preheat your crock pot by turning it on high and adding about an inch of water in the pot, once you are ready for the meat discard the water.
Cut the ribs in pieces of about 4-5 ribs each, smaller if you have a crock pot under 6.5 quarts
cover with BBQ sauce on both sides.
stack ribs on their sides with the meaty parts for the first few hours, rotating them every hour. I know this is odd but they do not fit in the crock pot flat somehow.
after 5 hours you can stack the ribs flat, and turn the heat to low.
add a little more BBQ sauce if you want.
I found an awesome BBQ sauce I can eat because it has no gluten and no sugar!

So getting a flu shot next year.

Last year when prompted by my physician to get the flu shot I declined. I had a cold at the time so no shot. And then I kept putting it off even after my 2nd reminder. I’ve always gotten the flu-shot, with 2 asthmatics in the house no taking risks. But I figured, one less kid at home and The Boy got the shot I should be just fine.

Not!

I did not learn from anything at all and came down with flu like symptoms almost overnight. I’ve been getting better but have not been able to think of food since getting sick. Himself and The Boy have done pretty well on their own, the pulled pork lasted quite awhile and there was pizza ordered too I was told.

I’ll be up and running at full speed next week I imagine. Right in time for Spring Break and the countdown to my Girl coming home.

 

Crockpot pork made easy

For the last few days I’ve been trying to keep a cold at bay, I already had severe allergy issues and wasn’t too happy when I woke up this morning with a nasty cough and an earache.
Not in the mood to think about food I dug through the freezer and pantry and found what I needed.
No store for me today.

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Crock-pot pork shoulder, Mexican style-ish

Pork shoulder
14 oz can Enchilada sauce (mild)
small can diced tomatoes
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp unsweetened chocolate powder

Put pork shoulder in crock-pot
cover with other ingredients, stir chocolate powder in sauce

Cook on high for 1 hour and then lower to low heat for at least 5 hours
Pork is done if it falls apart when poked with a fork

Enjoy!

Asparagus soup

My fridge is weird. It freezes things at random in the drawers.
I had bought Asparagus for dinner and forgot about the “super powers” my fridge had until it was time to use the vegetables.
Not one to waste food I decided to use the asparagus for the base of a soup.

For the soup base:
cut up asparagus
chicken breast cut in chunks

For the roux:
4tbs butter
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup light cream or heavy cream

In a slow cooker cover asparagus and chicken with enough water.
Cook for 4 hours.
Take out chicken and asparagus

Ion a separate pan on low heat melt butter
slowly add flour using a whisk, the mixture will look lumpy
cook the flour/butter on low heat for 4 minutes
whisk in chicken broth in little batches and mix until smooth

Add chicken and cut up asparagus
Salt and pepper to taste

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Winter asks for stew.

My new pan is going to get used again today for a great favorite of mine growing up.
My mom wasn’t the most creative cook and she tended to cook things longer than intended sometimes resulting in very tender vegetables.
So one thing she did well was stews because they could simmer for ever and still come out pretty good.

Goulash is a different dish in Europe.
The American dish uses ground chicken or beef, my recipe uses beef chunks left to simmer slowly over several hours.
You can use regular paprika powder, I’m using smoked paprika which gives it this smokey flavor.
I had small portabella mushrooms I added per request of my daughter.
Sour cream added to the dish at the end makes it creamy and very tasty.

Goulash

1 pound of stew beef
2 tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
2 tbs butter
2 bay leaves
1 can of tomato paste (6 ounces)
2-3 tablespoons of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
(optional) can of diced tomatoes
(optional) 8 ounces of mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 tablespoons sour cream

Cut up all vegetables
Saute meat in butter
add onions, mushrooms and tomato
Add salt, pepper and paprika and mix well
add diced tomatoes, chicken broth
bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for at least 4 hours.
taste and add spices as needed.
before serving add sour cream

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!

Tools of the trade.

E. asked me yesterday what use she would have of the crock-pot her mom bought her for Christmas. Was it going to gather dust or would she find it helpful as she worked long hours.

When we moved to the US I was introduced to a new way of cooking food: a crock-pot (slow cooker)
These were unknown to me but I’ve grown to love and use my crock-pot a lot.
So much so that I bought a second, smaller crock-pot.
Not only do I use them for soups, there are stews too. We cook our ribs in them and nothing is better than coming home to a house that smells like slow-cooked food.
Summer is the only time the crock-pot gets a break, fall and winter I tend to use it a lot.
So the answer E is yes, you’ll be very happy with this Christmas present!

For ideas look at the blog by Stephanie O’Day who in 2008 decided to cook all her food in her crock-pot for 365 days.
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
Today here is one of her recipes I’m sure I’ll make soon.

Day 74.

There is nothing better than french onion soup. Nothing!

This is ridiculously easy to make, and tastes like it belongs in a french restaurant. This is a good dish to simmer all day long while you are at work, or while out and about saving the world.

The Ingredients.
–2 cans of beef broth
–3 T butter
–2 yellow onions
–1/2 T granulated sugar
–1/4 cup cooking sherry (or dry white wine would probably work)
–1/2 t kosher salt (you might need more if your butter isn’t salted)
–slices of brown rice bread (or french bread)
–gruyere cheese (swiss could work too)

The Directions.

–heat your crockpot to high and plop your butter in to start melting
–slice the yellow onions into rings
–break up the onion slices with your fingers, and rub them around in the melted butter
–add the beef broth, sugar, salt, and sherry
–cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-12. It takes a while for the onions to get translucent and pliable

before serving:
–preheat oven to the broiling option
–toast 4 slices of the bread that you are going to use. That Trader Joe’s brown rice bread needed to be toasted twice in my toaster to get to the desired crunchiness.
–cut gruyere cheese into slices
–put the cheese onto the toasted bread, and carefully float the bread and cheese on the top of the soup
–remove stoneware from crockpot and place the UNCOVERED stoneware into the oven
–broil for a minute or two–the cheese should be all melty and turn a golden color

ladle into 4 bowls.

Recipe by Stephanie O’Day

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