Tuesday, May 30, 2017

English Muffin Pizzas

I LOVE pizza.  I'm not ashamed to say it.  I'd eat pizza A LOT if it wasn't so damned expensive.  And even the cheap pizza.  Totally do it.  There was a place back home that sold cheap pizzas.  All you can eat for $6 including bottomless drinks.  I have no idea how they did it.  The pizzas weren't great, but they weren't terrible.  And they had at least 6 difference varieties including this chocolate dessert pizza that was amazing!  I think we all assumed it was a front for some money laundering operation. I guess we'll never know.  But it was cheap!  And we liked it!

Along those lines, sometimes I want a pizza snack, but I don't want to pay to have someone bring me a whole pie.  So I make some of my own! You can use almost anything you have available.

Here are just some ideas to make two sets of mini pizzas:

2 untoasted English muffins, split
4 teaspoons of pizza sauce or other preferred spaghetti or tomato sauce.
1 pack of sliced pepperoni
1 bag of shredded cheese (moz, cheddar, or whatever is better)
Melted butter or olive oil

Use a brush or other implement to spread the butter/oil on the inside surface of the English muffins.  This will help form a barrier to keep the sauce and other fluids from soaking through.

Use a spoon to spread on a thin coating of your preferred sauce.  More is ok, just keep in mind if you load it up, it will probably squirt out and/or spill all over when you go to eat it.  Piping hot sauce is no fun down the shirt.

Top with anything you like.  Sliced olives, leftover breakfast sausage, onions, peppers, etc.  Sprinkle on the cheese on top, and you're set.

Toss under the broiler or in the toaster oven on 350 to get everything to meld and melt together.  Maybe 10 minutes?  Keep an eye on them.

What you should have when you're done is four lovely mini pizzas made to order and ready to find a place in your mouth.

It's flexible, accommodating, and really easy!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chicken Pot Pies a la Tasty video Featuring Wolfgang Puck!

For those of you that happen to follow those Tasty cooking videos that usually show the recipe being made from an above-the-stove view that include the quantities as they are added and mixed, I've been enjoying drooling over them for some time now.  Recently, they worked in conjunction again with Wolfgang Puck to create yet another Chicken Pot Pie recipe.  

This time, instead of making the entire vehicle out of puffed pastry, they showed how to assemble it using a ramekin or other oven-safe vessel which you cover with rounds of the pastry.

Though there is a little prep work, and judging by the comments on the video, there is prep work even beyond what is listed in the video, the general process is pretty straight forward to make these.

Two big things come to mind.  First, to ensure a good consistency, pre-cook your veggies, particularly the carrots and potatoes.  I brought them both to a boil for several minutes in the same small stock pot that I later made the sauce in.  You don't really want to completely cook them.  Instead, get them to just past the "still crunchy" stage, but still fairly firm.  This should put them in a good place once they get their time in the sauce and in the oven.

Second, I used a medium onion as listed in the recipe, and this became a Chicken and Onion Pot Pie.  My medium onion was about half a cup of onion diced.  I'd recommend half that much, but you know.  Do what tastes good to you. 

The sauce came together exactly as the video described right down to the stick-to-the-spoon bit.  One thing I considered doing but forgot was to enhance the flavor with some fresh herbs like thyme or sage.  The general flavor between roasted chicken, the veggies, and salt and pepper is pretty good though rather simple.  It can be doctored up almost any way you'd like.

The pastry part of the equation was also really easy to work with.  Be sure you defrost the dough at least 30 mins before you work with it. 

The recipe created enough filling for 6 - 10 ounce pies (even though it says 4), though at the time I only had enough dishes for 4, so I have leftover "stew" for another time. :-) Your mileage by way of your vessel size may vary.  

Generally a pretty easy and highly rewarding recipe, and I can well imagine this will end up on the rotation served on its own or perhaps with a small side salad.

You can find the recipe here:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambianchi/wolfgang-puck-made-chicken-pot-pie-for-us-and-we-all-rejoice

Food Porn: Chicken Pot Pie

Monday, October 27, 2014

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

For a lover of Green Chile and a denizen of New Mexico for over half my life, I find it strange that it took moving away to become acquainted with making enchiladas with the verdant version of the pepper.  Apparently it takes missing it in order to dig deeper into it.

There are several ways to present these, and I want to talk about a couple of them.  Much like my Red Chile Enchiladas, there are tortillas, there is a sauce, and there is cheese.  Something that sets the presentation decision is how soon they will be consumed after they are made.  If you are going to eat them right away, the flat method (layer on the plate like a lasagna: tortilla, sauce, cheese, tortilla, sauce, cheese) is the easiest and fastest.  If, on the other hand, you will be taking it to a potluck or a dinner, another option is to build it in a baking dish (either layered or rolled), and then pop it in the oven before you eat to get the cheese melty.

However you decide to present them, lets talk about how to get things ready to go.

Most recipes I've found, including my step-Mother's, use condensed soup as a base for this.  There are certainly options and ways to build the sauce on your own, but since the goal for this is quick and easy, I recommend the soups as well as using pre-made corn tortillas.

Here are the ingredients:

Half an onion, diced
1/2 pound of chopped medium or hot Hatch green chile (8-10 pods, stemmed, seeded)
a Tablespoon of corn oil or butter
2 cans of Cream of Chicken condensed soup
1 can of Cream of Mushroom condensed soup
1 cup of milk/half-and-half
1-2 cups of water
2 cups sour cream
1 whole roasted chicken, skinned, boned, and cubed (or equivalent cooked, cubed chicken)
corn tortillas
salt, to taste

Because of the volume of the ingredients, I recommend using either a dutch oven or a similarly large stove-top vessel.

Using the oil/butter, saute the chile and onion until the onion just starts to soften and become fragrant.  To that add the milk and all three cans of soup.  Stir thoroughly to mix, and depending on the consistency at this point is where you will add some or all of the water.  What we're going for is a thicker stew-like consistency since when we add the sour cream later, the sauce will thin out a fair bit.  Now add the chicken and mix well.  Lower the heat so that the sauce barely bubbles.  This is where we'll keep it for about 20 mins.  Stir regularly.

This is now a good time to make the corn tortillas if you'd like to go that option.  If you are going with pre-made, you shouldn't need to worry about pre-heating or frying them.

After the sauce has simmered some, add in the sour cream and mix well.  Then continue to let it heat back up.

Once it has heated through, it is ready to serve or build for later as you see fit.

There are a lot of other things that can be added in the cooking process.  I've heard of oregano being added.  You can certainly also spice it up even further with your fire of choice including using Sandia variety green chile.

It may not be easy BEING green, but it is fantastic to eat it!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Popular Culture Dinner

Oh my.  I've been so horribly bad about updating.

No..  truth be told, I've been horribly bad about actually cooking or baking or doing anything that would be blogworthy here.

Any news on the culinary side for me?  Not a ton.  But a few things.

I've discovered that the Pacific North West, or at least the Seattle area has discovered New Mexico Hatch green chile.  Yum. :-)   It doesn't tend to run as hot as I can get it back home, but at least I don't need to get it shipped in anymore if I'm just craving the good ol' flavor.  :-)

I found a nice 9-cup KitchenAid food processor on clearance recently, and am happy to finally have a better way to make things like pesto and what not. :-)  I've used my little 1-cup chopper to do things in the past, but it's a pain in the butt.  This instead is relatively compact and gives me what I need.  I recently used it to shred up some zucchini to make some bread, and also sliced other squash and things for dinner.  I'm enjoying it a lot and trying to make good use of it.

Another thing that has finally made it on my radar is the interesting fun of gluten-free cooking and baking.  So far, I'm less than impressed on the whole from the foodie perspective, but I do appreciate that it is possible to make reasonably tasting goods without gluten.  I've decided that given the variety I've both tried and had, that for one, there is no universal flour mix for everything.  Some things definitely work better than others.  But I think it will be an interesting challenge to see what does work out, and to maybe design certain combinations for specific things. Not as convenient as a do-it-all mix, but I'm all about taste here, so I think I'll forego the convenience in the name of flavor and texture.

As to Pop Culture Dinner Hour?  I'm a huge movie fan, and it has come up more than once recently that it would be interesting to make various dishes talked about on movies or perhaps certain TV series as well.  As such, I've been making a list.

Dilled Veal Balls with Squash Fritters finished with Tansy cakes with Peppermint Cream.  (though tansy being toxic, I'm less inclined to include it in the final recipe.) - A Knights Tale

Cinnamon Chicken - a la Almanzo Wilder via Little House in the Prarie

Liver and Fava Beans - chicken, I'm thinking. :-)   - The Silence of the Lambs

There will be lots more.  There are lots of interesting options.  And from Julie and Julia, just because we're talking about Julia Childs of course, there will be some boeuf bourguignon. :-)

I'll report back as I go.  We'll see what other interesting options I can come up with as well.  Should be good fun. :-)