Friday, May 21, 2010

Foodie Friday: The Joy of Bacon

I've decided to move my "what have been cooking" posts that I've done once a month (except for big/special occasions) to a weekly post called Foodie Friday.

As a reminder from my post on Wednesday (or in case you're just now tuning in) I'm currently working my way through Cartwheels in the Kitchen by Tanya Turner Leckie.

Mushroom Tomato Bisque, pg 20 (sort of)
I bought all the stuff for the mushie tomato soup but when I got into the kitchen to cook I forgot which one I was going to make and started on the Tomato Basil Soup, pg 26 which doesn't seem like it would be that different- but really it is. So my mushie soup ended up with 2 medium yellow onions and 5 cloves of garlic instead of the called for 1/2 cup of onions and 1 tsp minced garlic.  These were all sauteed together before the mushies were put in (unlike what the recipe says to do) because I forgot about the mushie until the onions were already soft.  But from adding the mushies and letting them sweat and forward I completely played by the rules and I used fresh tomatoes, not canned ones (she gives the option). I served this as a starter in little ramekins when my girlfriends came over but it could have been a meal in itself with a nice salad and some crunchy bread.

Butternut Squash Casserole, pg 41 (aka "the squash goodness")I served this to my girlfriends as well and can't put into words the reception it got.  I think I could have served seconds of it for dessert and they would have been tickled pink about it.  Some of the girls said this would now be replacing sweet potato casserole for their family at Thanksgiving and all of them I think would have fought to take the leftovers home.  I made this because one of my friends can't have gluten and this doesn't have flour so it was good to go for her.  But it really comes out with a bread pudding constancy because of the cornstarch and stiffened egg whites.  Seriously. Amazing.  Oh but- for real, butter the casserole dish before putting it all in there to cook.  Whoever washes your dishes will really appreciate you for doing so (sorry about that one LK- does it help to know I tried to save a dish to wash by mixing the casserole in the dish I baked it in?)

Bacon Roasted Chicken, pg 121

I've never bought nor roasted a whole chicken before.  I've always just grabbed the rotisserie ones they sell in the deli at the grocery store-- but not any more.  This was not only easy to do but so tasty.  She says this needs to be cooked in a roasting pan, but then is kind enough to give advice on what to do if you're like me and don't have one- lay forks together on the bottom of the pan and set the chicken to cook on top of the forks.  Brilliant! There was to be 7 of us at dinner when my friends came and I didn't really know how much one whole chicken would feed, so I got two.  On one I used McCormick's mesquite seasoning that I had on hand (thought about using the citrus one I love so much but didn't know how it would go with the other things on the table- another time perhaps) and then I just used salt and pepper on the other one because I wasn't sure about the gluten content of the seasoning (and I ran out).  I cooked it at 350 and it was pretty well done in 2 1/2 hours.  Again, very moist and yummy (and I'm picky about dry chicken so that says something for sure).

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken with White BBQ Sauce, pg 123

This recipe calls for 2 TBSP BBQ seasoning so to kill two birds with one stone I used the Memphis Style Dry Rub For Ribs recipe that she has listed in the sauces/mixes section of the book (see notes below).  She calls for "Blue Plate" mayo but I used Helmans, and in fact, I didn't tell LK the main ingredient in the white sauce was mayo because I knew he wouldn't eat it if I did (he has the same adverse reaction to ranch dressing).  But even though the main part is mayo- I didn't walk way feeling like I'd sucked down a bottle of the stuff.  The key is moderation and that the cider vinegar and lemon juice thin out the mayo and give it some kick.  Plus if you coat the chicken in the rub like I did, you're gonna need something creamy and dairy based to cool off your tongue. Whew!  I also buy the big bag of boneless/skinless chicken breasts and their pieces are normally pretty big so I cut them in half.  The bonus of that is more pieces= more places for the rub and more bacon!  I also didn't buy panko bread crumbs like she calls for because I had some basic regular crumbs on hand.  The chicken came out so moist and so very yummy.

Memphis Style Dry Rub For Ribs, pg 200
Memphis dry rub.  mmmmmmmmmmmmm -- sorry I'm back now.  After our time in Memphis I can tell you that dry rub is one of those things that will get into your system and wake in a rageful craving that will give you crazy ideas like throwing the family in the car at 2am to drive to Memphis if only for a brief taste of Corky's or the Rendezvous.  And being back in Oklahoma, I've tried to describe why it is that dry rub is so amazing but had not been able to find a recipe that closely recreates the beauty that is.  Until now.  This is it!  I used it for the Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken with White BBQ Sauce and dipped the chicken right in so I didn't keep the small amount of leftover rub- but I won't make that mistake again.  In fact I found LK in the kitchen trying to locate where the rub mix was so he could put it on some leftovers we had-- this mix, I do believe, will be made by the jarful and treated like gold around these parts.  Bonus- it's super easy to mix up more once the supplies run low!

Chocolate Velvet, pg 137
Tanya says "You'll be a QUEEN when you serve this." and a queen I was was indeed.  I made this for my girlfriends (and had a little set aside for LK and the boys too) and remember- one girl can't have gluten which really limited dessert making, or so I thought.  You could modify this and have it on a graham cracker or chocolate graham cracker crust and LK said he's like it with coffee and a wafer cookie to cut the richness, but really it was quite nice all on it's own (well with coffee, of course).  Now here is where I have to admit that something dreadful has happened in the world of my kitchen appliances- I've lost one of the beaters to my mixer.  The mixer is old and was soon to be replaced so it's not too sad, but it did make the step of mixing all the ingredients together until "it forms stiff peaks" a bit difficult.  But I did the best I could (mixing on super power high for what seems like 10 times longer than I would have with two beaters) but I can't fault the recipe for that.  I did take her advice and chill everything really well before starting so I can't attest to what travesties will occur if you don't.  It's hard to not want seconds of this for sure!

Liquid Fudge (AKA Chocolate Gravy), pg 166
This was the first step in making the Chocolate Velvet and I don't think I will ever make it again.  Why? Was it hard? No.  Did it taste bad? No hardly!  I will never be able to make this again because after scooping out the 2 cups needed for the second step, I stored the remaining fudge in the refrigerator thinking I could use it sometime over ice cream or pancakes.  But then, like a siren of the kitchen, it kept calling to me.  Telling me I deserved another taste.  Reminding me how I had cleaned the windows, or typed a sentence of an email so I surely deserved a taste.  By golly I had to eat it just to make the thing stop calling to me like that. Dangerous stuff-- and don't say I didn't warn you (okay and Tanya warns you too and I quote "It's quite addictive!")


Michelle said...

My mouth is watering, I have got to get this CB!!!

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