Friday, August 12, 2011

Awesome Au Gratin!

Seriously, that's the name - Awesome Au Gratin Potatoes!!  Hard to believe, no?  I certainly had some qualms before trying out the recipe, especially after the broccoli fiasco mistake.

Well, it started off an a high note - I got to use my apple peeler/corer/slicer on the potatoes, making them A BREEZE!

So, the thing about this - other than it's coring my potato, is that it's one continuous whilygig.  That's fine, if you're going for a flat curly-fry, but I was looking for just plan rings, so I sliced down one side of the ring to separate them.  This made peeling/slicing a dream, and I completed 9 potatoes in about as many minutes!
I mixed up the soup and cheese.  Of course, they wanted only 6 oz. of cheddar, but really?  We all know they come in 8 oz bags, and who doesn't love cheese?!  I amped up that puppy and put in the whole bag.  No big whoop, just the way it goes!

Then I laid it out in my biggest pyrex, because this was way more potato than Thomas and I could finish in three meals, let alone one!

Again with the cheese?  I just put down a layer, didn't measure out the one ounce!

After an hour of baking, this is what my dish looked like.  Quite yummy, but I wanted more cheese.  (Quelle surprise!)  So, I went ahead and added another light layer of the parmesan.  What could it really hurt?

This is after an hour and 15 minutes.  Definitely done, and flippin' amazing!

Just pair with your favorite steak and salad, and enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Tuesday for Thomas: A Man and his Potjie

 I don't have a lot to say about this.

You basically take everything you have in the kitchen that you want to get rid of.  In Thomas' case, it starts with two, mostly de-boned young chickens, and some root vegetables from the garden.  Then he adds some seasoning (like the curry rub).  He found some cilantro, dried apricots, garlic, and the like in our house.

This seems to be about as traditionally South African as it comes.  At least in our house.  It's a potjie (pronounced poi-key).  It's just a big cauldron you put over an open flame and cook your entire meal in.  Or as much of your meal as you'd like.
 Typically?  You'd probably see potatoes in here, but in our house, we had jicama.  It holds up better than potatoes, and still absorbs the flavor nicely.
We had tons of veggies to add.  Tomatoes, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, you name it.

We also added about a liter of chicken broth, almost a bottle of white wine, some lemon juice, and a million other things to help it simmer.

Then you close the lid and wait.  It takes about an hour and a half.
You don't really open it except for once or twice.

By the time you're done, you have a really hearty stew.  You can't tell where one thing begins and another one ends, really, but it's all super delicious, and it's a great way to not through out a lot of food that tends to accumulate in the drawers of your fridge!

 We just made some Jasmine rice to put it over.  Serve it with a little chutney, and you're in heaven.  If you have multiple potjies, you can bake your bread, side dishes, or whatever other meals you'd like, but as it is, we just have the one.  MMMMMMM!  I hope you're jealous, because even though there was no real recipe, it was amazing, and you can google some anyway, if you're ever so inclined to buy yourself a cauldron!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A new style of Broccoli...

The importance of following directions lie in this recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Gratin.

My biggest problem about the way it turned out was how the bread crumb mixture was just everyone, but the cheese wasn't.  See?  I mixed the crumb mix in the broccoli, but put the cheese on top.  Turns out, it was all supposed to be that way.

Oops! Sorry, y'all. Maybe it'll turn out better when you actually follow the directions, and try not to do it from memory for a group of people!!

Also, it might have helped if I made it more like au gratin potatoes and added a cheese soup to it.

Hmm...sounds good.  Maybe tonight will be an au gratin kind of night!
Better luck next time!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Rosemary-Citrus Champagne Cocktails!

Here's another sneak peak recipe - last one for a while, I swear, I just couldn't wait to test it out!

6, 4" fresh rosemary sprigs
1 can (12 oz) of frozen citrus blend juice concentrate - like Five Alive.  (really?  I haven't seen that in a while, and there wasn't much comperable at the store, so I just got a margarita mix concentrate)
2 C chilled club soda
1 bottle chilled champagne

How to: place rosemary spriungs and juice concentrate into a bowl and microwave, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes on high to simmer.

Strain out the rosemary and add all ingredients together in a pitcher.  Serve and enjoy!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quick and Healthy Curried Couscous

Here's another sneak peek recipe from our Season's Best Fall/Winter 2011 recipe collection: Quick Curried Couscous Skillet!  Thomas loves curry, so I thought this would be fun to try.  It prepped very easily, and once I started it was a quick make.  Loved it, too! 
Here's the ingredient list:
1 1/2 C sugar snap peas
1/2 small red onion
1/2 C dried apricots
1 orange and 1 lemon
1, 1" peeled ginger root
1 T olive oil
1 tbsp Indian Mild Curry Rub
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C low sodium vegetable broth ( I used chicken)
1 C uncooked whole-wheat couscous (I used Israeli)
1/2 C loosely packed fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 C sliced almonds, toasted
2 oz goat cheese
grilled pita wedges (I used Tandoori Naan)
I also added some pre-curried chicken I made in the deep covered baker while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Trim peas, coarsely chop onion, and cut apricots into strips.  Zest orange for 1Tbsp, and grate ginger to get 2 tsp.

Then, heat the oil in a skillet, heating for 1 - 3 minutes.  Added the peas, onion, and apricots.  Cook until the onion is translucent, stirring frequently.  Stir in ginger, rub, and salt.  Cook 10-20 seconds, or until fragrant.

Stir in broth and orange zest.  Bring to a boil.  Remove skillet from heat and add couscous. 
Cover skillet and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop cilantro and juice lemon to equate to 1 tsp.  Add half of the cilantro, all lemon juice, and half of the almonds to the skillet. (I added cooked, chopped chicken at this point)

Stir couscous mixture, divide amont the plates, add remaining cilantro, almonds, and the goat cheese.  Serve with grilled pita wedges if desired.

(I forgot the cheese, but Thomas had the leftovers with cheese for his lunch and he loved it!

Instead of grilling the Naan, I took the quick option: buttered and then microwaved for 1 minute.  Love the soft gooey-ness!