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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Olives & Goat Cheese

Another recipe from a back issue of Fine Cooking!!! This is a Joanne Weir recipe. I generally like her recipes, but don't think she goes into enough detail. For example, my advice would be to turn the heat down after you turn the chicken. So I did.

I think I prefer the technique for the roulades in Fine Cooking #62, which is goofy, because these are actually a little easier. Eh. Maybe I need to think about it more. They're both good. Just different. I mean, come on. Chicken stuffed with goat cheese? Please. Of course it's good.

For pete's sake. When I bought enough haricots verts for 12 people at Christmas they were $4.99/lb or some such ridiculous price! Today they were $2.99/lb and I was only buying enough for two people.

Love the wine.
  • Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Olives & Goat Cheese (Fine Cooking #26, p. 90)
  • Haricots Verts
  • 2004 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)

Chicken Stock

I am having so much fun reading these Fine Cooking magazines, you have no idea. Today I am making chicken stock. Obviously, I've made chicken stock before, so that's nothing new. However, I've never made it by browning the chicken and vegetables first. I'm excited!! I plan to freeze it in 1 and 2 cup portions.
  • Chicken Stock (Fine Cooking #19, p. 18)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Spicy Capellini

My dear friend Sheri gave me a huge stack of back issues of Fine Cooking magazines! I am having so much fun reading them from cover to cover. Tonight's dinner is EXCELLENT!

Warning: This is not a low fat recipe. In the notes, the author says "don't give into the temptation to drain the bacon before adding the onions". What, are you kidding? What could be better than onions browned in bacon fat?? I confess, I did drain a little of the fat off afterward, before adding the pepperoncini and tomatoes. And I'm glad I did. It has great bacon flavor, perfect amount of spice, simply yummy all the way around.
  • Lidia Bastianich's Capellini Capricciosi (Spicy Cappelini), (Fine Cooking #24, p. 98)
  • Sourdough bread with Sauteed Garlic Butter (Fine Cooking #43, p. 49)
  • 1999 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Dinner

I can't believe how badly I messed up such a special dinner. And it had such potential! I am the queen of accidentally undercooked meat, but the pork was so overcooked that it was nearly inedible. Part of the problem is my cheap-ass thermometer which is probably miscalibrated. But the bulk of the blame is the cook's, who should have checked it at more frequent intervals, once it got close.

The mushroom mixture for the stuffing started out just fabulous. Even Eric, who doesn't eat mushrooms, came to see what smelled so good. I tasted it and it was out of this world delicious. Alas, when I mixed it with the cubed bread, egg and broth, I forgot to add the salt and pepper. It turned out so bland that it was awful. Which is a particular shame, seeing as how I spent a fortune on the mushrooms and they sauteed up so nicely.

Sheri's recipe for a very special cheesecake is excellent. I know that because I licked the beater and bowl for the chocolate-raspberry truffle batter completely clean and it was AWESOME. Unfortunately, I overcooked the cheesecake. The center, which I thought was jiggly, was actually perfect, which made the outer perimeter overdone. To add insult to injury, the crust would not come away from the non-stick pan. Gary said (jokingly), "I'd like mine with some crust", and by that point I was so distraught that I nearly burst into tears.

[edited to say: aha! After the cheesecake has been out of the refrigerator for a little while, the crust releases from the pan just beautifully.]

The only bright spot was the bisque. I absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it.

The wine was a birthday gift to Gary from Steve and Casey Lynum. We both loved it.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve dinner

The sauce for the filets delicious! Sheri's stuffed potatoes were excellent. I forgot the arugula that I had planned to serve.

Gary was disappointed in the wine, but what I liked about it was how it changed as the evening went on. It was completely different every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour later. It's been 3 hours now and I'm savoring the end of it as I write. I'm exhausted, but enjoying these last sips.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Salmon with Soy-Honey

Eric doesn't eat the wasabi (or the broccoli), but he loves the Soy-Honey.

Petite Pains au Chocolat

These are for Eric. These are for Eric. These are...

I will not eat them. I will not eat them. I will not eat...

Eric made them this time. I supervised. He did a very good job.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Pistachio-Cherry Biscotti

Another joint project with Eric. He was "expert nibbler and drizzler" :-)

I accidentally made the logs too wide, and they would have sliced better if they had been the correct size. Slicing was a challenge anyway because of the fruit and nuts. Did I clip this from Cooking Light? I'm not sure. Anyway, there is a similar recipe on epicurious, and I might try that next year, just for fun.

These are good, though! We're going to have them with hot chocolate tonight.
  • Pistachio-Cherry Biscotti (Adapted from "Biscotti" by Lou Seibert Pappas)

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Lemon Poundcakes

This came from an article called "Baking in Bulk". They aren't too lemony, and they have a nice touch of nutmeg as an accent.
  • Lemon Poundcake (Real Simple Magazine, Dec 2004-Jan 2005, p. 266)


I clipped this from Gourmet and have made it several times. I'm going to have to find a new dough though. The one I have been using has... of course... Partially Hydrogenated Oil.

Tonight, Eric and I had fun doing these together. I rolled the dough, he assembled, I rolled up the stromboli, he brushed with egg and slashed. mmm...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Baked Pasta

This is from an article about cooking without recipes, called "Hearty Baked Pasta". It gives guidelines for main ingredients, choices for liquids, seasoning and basic instructions. At the end, the author gives some of his favorite combinations.

My end result was good, but not good enough that I'd make it again. I used the upper limit of seasonings, but it's missing something. I even added onion and garlic to the basic recipe. I have to admit though, the cheeses are awesome. But then again, what's not to love about part-gooey, part-crispy cheese?
  • Baked Penne with Tomato, Rosemary & Three Cheeses (Fine Cooking #69, p. 68)
  • Sourdough bread with Sauteed Garlic Butter (Fine Cooking #43, p. 49)
  • David Coffaro 2000 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Beef Stew

I made this a couple of years ago for one of our trips to Big Bend. Perfect camping food! I was craving it again last week for some reason. I started it on Friday and finished it on Saturday, but never got a chance to serve it! So I froze most of it and we had some tonight.

It isn't quite as rich as last time. I think I didn't reduce it quite as much?

I had planned to have cornbread with it, but at the last minute made garlic bread. Not "the" garlic bread, just garlic bread. I wish I'd had time to make cornbread.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Butternut Squash Soup

This is lighter than the Winter Squash Soup from Thanksgiving. No cream, although cream would be a lovely addition. It is supposed to be served with Sage and Parmesan Croutons, but I haven't made them yet and not sure if I will.

I used my immersion blender this time. I think the real blender might have done a better job, but I'm not sure. I added quite a bit more chicken stock at the end, because it was too much like squash puree and not enough like squash soup. That diluted the flavor a little, but it's still good in my opinion.

I ate 2 bowls and I'm freezing several containers to pull out for my lunches. Gary isn't as crazy about winter squash as I am, so why waste it on him? Now that I think about it, his folks love it. Maybe I'll send some over.
  • Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan Croutons (Real Simple Magazine, December 2004-January 2005, p. 330)