Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Almost No Knead Bread"

Click on the pic to watch the interview conducted by
Mark Bittman, New York Times food reporter, which started this craze.   

Few things beat a full-flavored slice of buttered bread, or one slathered with peanut butter and honey, or simply toasted and savored with a meal.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast
  • 3 oz room temperature water
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbl white vinegar
  • 7 oz room temperature beer

Preparation:

Add the yeast and water, stir just enough to mix.
Add the salt, the flour, the white vinegar and beer.

Stir with a wooden spatula until you get a nice ball of dough.  At first it will feel too wet, then it will feel too dry, then it will begin to feel just right. Stir until most of the dough on the sides of the bowl have disappeared into the ball.

Cover with plastic wrap and sit for 12 - 15 hours

Using a spatula remove the dough from the bowl onto a flour lined surface.  Knead about 6 to 10 times, form into a ball, then place into a skillet lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Let sit for about two hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. Pre-heat the oven and dutch oven inside to 500 degrees.

Once dough is ready, and the oven/dutch oven/ are hot, pick up the dough by the parchment paper and gently lay it inside hot dutch oven.  Cut one slice across the top, about 1/4 inch deep.  Sprinkle with flour.  Replace the dutch oven lid and put it back into the oven.

Lower the temp to 425 degrees and let bake for 30 mins.  Remove lid and bake another 10 - 15 mins to bring a nice dark color to the crust.  Internal temp should be about 200 - 220 degrees.

Remove, let cool completely prior to slicing.

Enjoy.





"Beef Jerky"

Beef jerky can be tricky.  I tried it once a few years ago, and gave up on the first try. The meat reduced down to less than 50% of its original purchase weight, it was dry and crunchy.  Not what I wanted.

A few nights ago, at a Christmas party, a friend brought some in he had smoked on his Traegar smoker, and it was delicious!  After picking his brain, I decided it had to be tried again.

Use meat low in marbling, it won't render down to less than what you purchased.  He also used a jerky packet purchased at one of the local stores where barbecue supplies are sold.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs of carne asada (I bought mine at Costco for 4.98/lb . . . cheap in comparison to the jerky you buy at the grocery store).
  • 1 pkt "Jerky Cure & Seasoning" (about $6.00 - contents good for 15 lbs of meat).  I was surprised at how many flavors are available. For this first attempt, I went with "Mandarin Teriyaki."

Preparations:

Follow the directions in the packet which include cutting the meat, mixing the ingredients, the curing the meat overnight in the fridge, then cooking it the next day. I smoked it at 200 degrees in my Traegar for about 2 hours.



I'll be sharing this with my son, son-in-law and daughter, and there will be plenty left over to enjoy during the Seattle Seahawks football game.


Monday, December 1, 2014

"Louisiana Style Chicken Wings" *


Found a recipe for Louisiana Style Wings and modified it a bit by smoking the wings with Northwest Apple wood just enough to create what should become the great Northwest Classic Louisiana Style Wings.    We wanted the meal to focus on the wings, so we left out the heavy potato, and to create nice counterpoint to the soft meat, we left the bean pods, carrots and celery in their freshest, and crunchiest state so they, along the wings could be dipped in the Ranch Dressing.  A salad to round out the meal and served with Southern Style Sweet Tea. These babies were succulent, sweet and hot enough to leave a memory in your mouth for quite a while after they were gone.

Ingredients:

2 lbs large chicken wings
Favorite chicken rub (Montreal Chicken Seasoning), or other
1/2 stick butter
1/2 C Louisiana style hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot Louisiana Sauce)
1/4 C Honey
2 C Blue Cheese
1 Garlic Clove

Preparation:

1.  With a sharp knife, cut the wings into three pieces through the joints.  Discard the wing tips, or save for chicken stock.  Transfer the remaining "drummettes" and "flats" to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil, and arrange them in a single layer.  Season well with the rub.

2.  Make the spicy honey-garlic sauce:  Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until it soften (do not let it color).  Stir in the not sauce and honey and cook for several minutes to blend the flavors  Keep warm.

3.  When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).  Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Arrange the baking sheet with the wings on the grill grate.  Cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink at the bone.  Place the wings in a large bowl, pour the sauce over them then blend until the wings are covered with the sauce.

5.  Serve wiht the blue cheese or ranch dressing.

* Recipe adapted from www.traegergrills.com/recipes.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Jerk-Pineapple Chicken"

Veggies and Chicken breasts, medium heat, on the grille.
Not many things go as well with warm summer days than firing up the grille and tossing on something that will hit the taste buds smack on.

Such was this recipe we found in the Food Network's magazine.  
The recipe called for 4 small chicken breasts, but we used two larger sized pieces.

Mix up 4 sliced scallions, 
2 sliced bell peppers (we had only one, so one was what we used), and 1 sliced pineapple, with a tblsp of vegetable oil, and about a half a teaspoon of fresh Jamaican Jerk rub. 

Toss the chicken into the mixture to get it juiced up, then put the chicken breasts on the grille.

The recipe says to grille for 15 to 18 mins, but I left them on until they reached 165 degrees, turning a couple of times. 

Half way through the grilling, put the veggies on the grille.  

We added some roasted carrots, chunked and baked potatoes, and an ear of fresh corn to the our plates.  Then poured a glass, or two, of some Gevertztramiener wine to balance out the heat of the jerk rub.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

"The New and Improved Smoked Turkey, Gravy, and Dressing"



The smoked turkey came into my life shortly after purchasing a Traeger smoker a few years ago.  This year (Thanksgiving, 2013), I feel like I finally got it 'right,' and I want to record the event here for anyone, myself included, who may want to benefit from the experimentations that have proceeded this post.

To begin, order a fresh bird a few weeks in advance.  Next year I would like to order one that has no injected salts; but the difficulty involved may outweigh any negatives possibly associated with the injected variety.  I have read that if one brines a bird already injected, one will end up with an overly salted bird.  We didn't detect that this year even though I brined the already injected bird.

Click here for the Smoked Turkey and Gravy

Click here for the Dressing

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme"


In the never-ending quest for "something new and different" on our dinner plates, I found this one at Simply Recipes and gave it a try.  The lady I live with has a very conservative, and midwest I might add, pallette, so I figured she would only give it a cursory try.  She liked it.

photo taken with my android phone