In a way, over to here… Blue Flowers and Folly. Since we’ve moved, literally, I’m incorporating The Food Groove with our new house and what we are doing with it. And I’ll probably be adding some rants and snark to the new place… Oh, and of course, gardening posts too.
Well, we’ve been in our new house for about a month now. I’m thinking I’m going to link this blog to some sort of new home-garden-food blog… I just need a name and a bit of extra time to get it set up. We’re finally doing some semi-regular cooking and grilling (yeah – new grill for the Mr!). We’ve already done some big yard corrections and a bit of gardening, along with some interior painting. And that’s where our focus will continue to be… the house, the yard, the garden, the kitchen. That’s the idea that I’m toying with, at the moment, blog-wise, anyway…
The last macaroni and cheese of the season… Because it really is much more of a hearty wintertime dish, even though it is oh-so good. It follows pretty much this recipe here, adapted from Gourmet Magazine. Here’s the way I make it…
- 1-lb Maple Bacon
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 2-3/4 cups Milk
- 3/4 cups Half and Half (because that is what is in the house)
- 4 cups Shredded and/or Cubed Cheeses (I use a variety of cheese, also depending on what is in the house. This batch had: Smoked Cheddar, White Cheddar & Monterey Jack.)
- 2 tsp Mustard
- Pinch of Salt
- 1-lb Whole Wheat Pasta (this batch was elbows and they worked very well.)
1. Boil water for pasta. Cook as directed, drain and set aside.
2. Rough cut bacon and cook. Drain and set aside.
3. Melt butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Whisk in flour and red pepper flakes. Cook, while whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux. Continue to whisk and add milk in a slow stream. Bring the sauce to a boil and continue to whisk constantly. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 and 1/2, cheeses, mustard and salt. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked bacon.
4. Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce. Pour mixture into a lightly-oiled baking dish. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Uncover, and cook for approximately 10 more minutes, until bubbly and golden. Enjoy! It’s really really good…
With asparagus being in-season and available now, and with my rediscovery of my fondness for red potatoes, we’ve been having some sort of variation of this meal about once a week. The asparagus is roasted, as are the red potatoes, and I usually add some sort of chicken breast dish to the plate. This past week, it was a stuffed chicken.
I cut up some deli ham and brick cheese and used that as the stuffing. After I butterflied and pounded out the chicken, the ham and cheese mix went inside. I was going to lightly bread and cook the chicken in a skillet before baking, but these chicken breasts weren’t really ‘together’ enough for that. So, I skipped that part and they went straight into the oven. After they were done cooking, I sprinkled a bit more of the ham and cheese mix on top. Then, into the broiler for one more minute… And that is literal, because our current broiler has been known to set things on fire if left for more than 60 seconds. No fire this evening… just a warm and tasty cool night’s dinner.
We haven’t really been in the mood for anything, food-wise, lately… We’re in the process of buying a house, so cooking and kitchen days have taken a back burner for now. I will add, however, that our new kitchen is very roomy, with lots of cabinets and pantry space. I’m looking forward to playing in there…
So, tonight I went with a ‘homemade’ pizza. The pizza dough was of the Pilsbury variety, and the pizza sauce was of the Classico Alfredo kind. I sauteed some mushrooms, garlic and artichoke hearts in a bit of olive oil. The cheese was both mozzarella and white cheddar. It turned out as expected… tasty, somewhat light, and quick… perfect!
First, the asparagus: I rolled the stalks in olive oil, sprinkled them lightly with a dried basil & garlic blend, and finished with a dash of sea salt. Cooked at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. This batch even got crispy on the tips… I liked that crunch.
I had forgotten how simple and tasty this variation on chicken piccata is. I love the lemony flavor in it, and cooking everything in butter just tastes yummier, too! Even better when mushrooms are involved (which they usually are)…
- 1-1/2 lbs. Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless, pounded flat
- 3 Lemons
- Garlic, minced
- Dried Thyme
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 12-16 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup + dash of White Wine
1. Marinade the chicken overnight with the juice of 2 lemons, minced garlic, dried thyme, and a dash of white wine.
2. Put the flour on a plate and dredge the chicken breasts. In a skillet with 1/2 of the butter, brown the chicken on both sides over medium heat, about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside.
3. Add remaining butter to skillet. Cook mushrooms and garlic until tender. Return chicken to pan. Add wine and juice of remaining lemon. Simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally as sauce thickens slightly. Serve over rice.
I hadn’t used this trick in ages, but the other night, I roasted some asparagus and needed a lil something more for dinner. It takes about two minutes to scramble an egg this way, and it was just what I was looking for…
Find a wide-bottomed coffee mug and spray the inside with a quick spritz of Pam or other such cooking oil. In a separate bowl, break an egg, beat it with a fork until blended and pour the egg into the coffee mug. (Actually, I think I just scrambled it up right in the coffee mug this time!) Place a small plate on top on the mug, and then put it in the microwave. Cook on high power for about one minute, or until you hear the plate ‘pop’. The ‘pop’ is actually the plate shifting on the mug as the steam is released from the egg. And voila… scrambled egg! It makes a nice-sized scrambled egg puff pattie of sorts for an egg and cheese sandwich, too.
For the roasted asparagus above, I covered a baking tray with aluminum foil and drizzled it with olive oil. After rinsing the asparagus and breaking off the thick stalks, I laid them out on the tray and gently rolled them to coat them with the olive oil. Next, I sprinkled on some sea salt and rolled them a bit more. They cooked at 350 degrees in our countertop oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Once again, I am finding that I adore the addition of sea salt!