Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Food Food and More Food - and a Naan Pizza Recipe

Last week was a bit long and hectic, and it all caught up with me in the form of a nice little flu bug.  The one everyone else has been exposing me to has finally caught up to me when I let myself get run down trying to get our new home in order along side my wonderful man.  The one good thing about being forced to stay home and chill is I can get caught up on posting the food pictures I've been taking all week.  Because as busy as we have been, we still managed to cook up some tasty meals during the week - and I'm such a foodie I can still rave about food even when my stomach in in disarray.  So where to start?

Food porn number one:
Short Ribs
Mmmm! I'm not much of a rib girl, but my man can cook 'em up so yummy that I really enjoy these.  I didn't get a full meal picture this night.  We just had too much going on.  I can say he precooked these in the house and finished them up in his smoker.  He also slathered them in some yummy Sticky Lips BBQ Sauce then served them up with baked potatoes topped with butter, sour cream and chives and a fresh green salad topped with Catalina dressing.  Mmmm, my grumbly tummy is almost feeling hungry again. 

On a previous night I had whipped up some bread dough and baked a loaf of bread to go along with one of our meals while the girls were here.  As usual I used the base recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  We still had some bread leftover from that so I decided to make some clam chowder to go along with it.  It was a good soup day and I wanted to show The Man of My Dreams that I could make a really good chowder.  Oh, and by the way, I just discovered the author's of this cookbook have a blog now.  Somehow I've missed it in the past, you can check it out here: Artisan Bread in 5.

I looked at several different recipes and ended up pulling out my old recipe for Seafood Chowder that I've been making since high school.  Here's the recipe written down in my "Cooks Notebook" that my mom gave me back in 1983.
You can always tell which recipes I cook the most by the stains on the pages.  I tweaked this recipe a bit and made up something new and different.  For one thing, I only had clams, no white fish or scallops. This was strictly a "clam chowder".  So lets see if I can remember my creation....

I chopped and fried 4 slices of bacon, removed the bacon to drain and fried one chopped white onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 stalks of chopped celery and about a teaspoon of fresh chopped thyme in the bacon fat.  Bacon fat rocks! 
I then used the chicken stock I had made with the smoked chicken carcass from our dinner the other night - about 1 and a half cups of that and a bottle of clam juice went into the pot as well.  I  added two chopped carrots, 2 peeled and diced yukon gold potatoes and a bay leaf to the broth.  That simmered for about 15  minutes until the vegetables were tender.  I then added 3 cans of clams along with their juice and continued to simmer that for about 5 minutes. Then I added the cooked bacon, 2 cups of cream, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 4 tablespoons of dry sherry.  I didn't need to add salt, the bacon and my chicken broth had enough salt in them so that wasn't necessary.  I ground some fresh pepper on top, stirred and heated it through for another 5 minutes and served this up with Tobasco Sauce and Worchestershire Sauce with my homemade bread and oyster crackers along side. 

This is what was left over for me to take to lunch, and haven't had a chance to yet.......

But I do plan to enjoy it soon! 

The next food thing?  Well, Kelly and I have been going non stop and we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Shamus T-Bones.  I have only eaten here once before.  My co-worker was very sweet and took me to lunch there.  I had had the Pulled Pork Sandwich, hushpuppies and a half grilled artichoke that day and raved about how good it was.  So when I suggested to Kelly that we go eat there, I think his comment was something like, "Threaten me with happiness will you?" So this is what we had:

Kelly had the Cowboy Burger - a burger served on a ciabatta roll, with bacon, onion rings, Shamus T-Bone's own signature BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and spread.  He added cheddar cheese as well. His sides were onion rings (awesome onion rings!) and a half grilled artichoke.  I had the brisket sandwich.  Meat that was smoked for 14 hours and served on a sesame bun.  My sides were cole slaw (very good, and a hard thing to get past me - most restaurants don't make good cole slaw in my book) and what was supposed to be pork and beans, but I think they gave me the beef chile, which was just fine with me.  It was delicious!  Needless to say, we really didn't need to eat for the rest of the day.
Oh, and a cool extra at lunch..... the Tesla Coil

 Somewhere in between all of this was Chinese New Year - the Year of the Snake (it is also the Tibetan New year - Losar.  I'm going to have to check this out for next year: Insider's Guide to Losar Eating) - and yes, I made a meal in honor of the New Year but failed to take a picture.  I chopped up the pork from the pork roast my man cooked up a few nights before and stir fried that up with some frozen veggies we had and soy sauce and oyster sauce.  I served it on spaghetti noodles (long noodles for longevity) and blood oranges on the side (for good luck).  And by the way - today is Fat Tuesday!  I wish I was feeling better and had the ingredients to throw together some Jambalaya!  Where's Justin Wilson when I need him?

And now - for the piece de resistance of the week - Naan Pizza! 

Bollywood meets Spaghetti Western. 

Naan is a traditional East Indian Flat Bread.  I use the base from my Artisan Bread in 5 minutes cook book.  I pull off a grapefruit size piece of dough, stretch it, form it into a ball and roll it out.  I fry it in my cast iron skillet in about a teaspoon of Ghee (clarified butter - olive oil works just fine) 3 minutes on one side and 3 to 6 minutes on the other.  My oldest daughter has fondly referred to this bread as East Indian Taco's.  But this night, they weren't served up in their traditional form. 

I threw them in the oven to keep them warm - pulled out some spaghetti sauce we had from a previous meal and heated it.  I also opened a can of re-fried beans and mixed it with some Oaxaca Mama Medium Salsa and pulled out some leftover taco meat (hamburger and taco seasoning) and heated that up.  We had tortilla chips, beans, spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, hard salami, grilled fresh pineapple (Thank you Kelly!), artichoke hearts, Mozzerella, Queso Fresco, and Cheddar cheeses.  There was also some sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado.  Am I forgetting anything?  Oh yeah, BACON!
And the final product - these were so freaking good!
So good that Kelly took one for lunch the next day and ate it cold.  My stomach is actually starting to grumble for food for the first time today.  Mmmm.  Maybe some leftover Naan Pizza?

And now, in honor of the Bollywood/Spaghetti Western food....
So cheesy!  Or should I say Paneer? Or Parmesean?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Humboldt County Meal

One of the things that make winter on the North Coast of California worthwhile is crab season!  There's nothing like fresh Dungie's!

The Man of My Dreams did something very sweet Thursday night and came home with these little critters from the Jenna Lee.
He got a pot of water boiling on the BBQ and in no time we had these ready to be backed, cracked and eaten.
Mmmm Claw meat is the best!
He served these sweet buttery crustaceans up with melted butter and garlic, a refreshing mixed green salad, and some delicious Focaccia bread from Brio Bread Works.
Along with a cold beer and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc this was one rich satisfying and romantic dinner.

The next night the girls were home with us and we needed something a little more kid friendly.  So Kelly made his "Beer Butt Chicken".  Minus the beer, because he soaked up some applewood chips and cooked this bird in his smoker.  I'm not sure what his secret spice rub was, but I can tell you it involved paprika.
And this is what this very moist and heavenly good fowl came out looking like after about an hour and 15 minutes or until the breast was at 160 degrees.
Mmmm! Perfection.  I have never had chicken breast that was so moist!  Ever!  This had to be the most perfectly cooked chicken I've ever had. Next time I think we should kick it up a notch and brine it first.

Since we're still unpacking and living partially out of boxes, we dug through the numerous boxes labeled "pantry" and pulled out a box of Cheesy Potato Casserole, and steamed up some mixed veggies and enjoyed ourselves a late Friday night comfort meal.
Now, back to unpacking, and making some chicken stock.  I have a friend who is in need of some healing chicken soup, so I better get on it.
Bon Appetit!

More tomato soup taste tests....this one at Huffington Post.

The Best Canned Tomato Soup: Our Taste Test Results