Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Definitions!

I've been searching through the "Poultry and Wildfowl" section of the Joy of Cooking for a recipe for tomorrow, and I found a recipe that called for "1 jigger brandy."
A jigger is an instrument used to measure liquids that looks like this:

Apparently, one side is 1oz. and the other is 1.5oz...and jigger as a measurement (not the actual measuring instrument) means 1.5 oz. of something (generally alcohol). You can sub with a "shot" depending on what kind of shot-glass you are using (short, tall, etc). Just make sure it's 1.5 oz. and you're good to go...cook that is!

Also, a cute start to their section on leftovers:
"The minister's bride set her luncheon casserole down with a flourish and waited for grace. 'It seems to me,' murmured her husband, 'that I have blessed good deal of this material before.'" Bahaha!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chicken Casserole (Potatoes, Carrots, & Onions)

So, if you put me on the spot by asking me outright and randomly what my favorite food is, I'll probably falter and make something up. Andrew, on the other hand, will immediately say something very vague, like "chicken." Eventually, you will squeeze "chicken Fettuccine" out, but it's an ordeal. Just FYI, in case you ever wonder, this and crawfish etouffee are my absolute favorite foods.

So...have I convinced you? Do you want to try this amazing "chicken casserole" that is made by mom? Well, because my casserole dishes were not clean (I'm not too lazy to wash; they're storing things right now), we had to cook it stove-top. Luckily, Andrew has this really nice skillet-esque thing. It's about 4'' deep and has a diameter of about 13''. It also has this awesome handle thing going on opposite of the regular handle so you can carry it easily! Well, here is our bastardization of the deliciousness:

- Chicken MAKE SURE YOU DEFROST BEFOREHAND!! (honestly, it doesn't matter what kind. I don't suggest boneless because it cooks too quickly in my opinion, but do what you want. We used chicken thighs)
- 1 box of chicken broth (go with the larger box)
- water
- 1 1/2-2 cups of baby carrots (washed)
- 4 small potatoes at least.(try to use the ones that won't really work for baked potatoes)
- 3 tbs butter
- Tony's or a similar seasoning
- Rice
- Foil (not really an ingredient, but it's good to know you need it ahead of time)
- 1 1/2-2 yellow onions
*note: You can add more potatoes/carrots/onions at will. It doesn't really matter. It won't destroy the dish because they pretty much remain independent ingredients (aka there isn't any chemical reactions going on there :) )

*During this process, add Tony's liberally right before you cook it for a long period of time :)
2. Take a nice, large knife that is sharp enough to slice well. Chop the potatoes into large chunks (about 2'' by 1'' [at least]). You'll see how big ours were from the pictures. Add chopped potatoes and carrots to skillet.
3. Slice the onions. DO NOT DICE!!! Add to skillet.
4. Cover with about half the box of chicken broth. Add two tbs of butter.
5. Add water until all vegetables etc are just covered.

6. Cover in foil and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes. Then check and see if the carrots are cooked all of the way through.

7. Remove from heat and drain out juice. Place veggies somewhere else and add broth back to skillet.

8. Add the chicken to the skillet with broth. Add more broth if necessary. When we cooked the chicken, we cooked six thighs at once. Add a pat of butter to the mixture.

9. Cook for about 45 minutes. Check on it often. If you leave the heat too high, the broth will evaporate and you'll have to add more, so be careful!!! I would keep it between low and medium... just below the boiling mark.
10. Around the 45 minute mark, see if your chicken is cooked. MAKE SURE YOUR CHICKEN IS COOKED!!! Salmonella isn't fun for anyone. If it is cooked, add the vegetables back and add a little more broth/water if necessary.
11. Simmer for another ten minutes. Cook your rice while you do this: MULTITASKING FTW :D :D


The chicken just fell off the was amazing. I made the mistake of waiting too long to cook the rice, so I had a finished "casserole" and no rice...I suppose you could eat it as a soup, but I love rice with everything (I'm a true southern gal). Andrew likes it...he says it's a little spicy (weenie), but good.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tilapia Meuniere Jury-rigged (We're gettin' fancy here)

So, as with everything, there's a story behind this. July 3rd, I had the "meet the mom" dinner with Andrew's mom and her husband, Jeff. We were eating at this awesome restaurant called "Ralph and Kacoo's." It's a seafood place (mmmmm my favorite). One of the specials for that day was the "Trout Meuniere." We all had no idea of what it was, and none of us ended up getting it, but it sparked my curiousity.
Turns out, it's a fish that is lightly floured and then pan-fry it. There are a lot of variations, so if you're curious about more, then just wiki it. We didn't have trout, but we did have a ton of tilapia. Andrew bought a 4lb bag back in the day, and we've been trying to come up with unique ways to cook it (shake-n-bake, cook in balsamic-vinaigrette, use actual fish-fry and then bake, etc).

So here is our version of trout meuniere:

-Tilapia (however many pieces you want, defrosted)
-Tony's or something similar
-Half a Lemon
-Rice (still using instant!)

1. Take a mixing bowl and fill it with flour. At this point you can do one of two things. You can either season the flour, or you can season the fish and THEN flour it. Make sure the fish isn't soaking wet, but it is slightly damp. Lightly coat the fish.
2. Take a saucepan and add some butter. Keep it on the higher end of medium heat, the borderline. You can pan-fry it in oil, but our SMOKED like crazy. We thought it would set off the fire alarms, but we were lucky. Wait until the butter is browning, and then add a piece of fish. Cook it about three minutes on each side.
3. Repeat for each piece.
4. Cut down the heat on the pan to the lower end of medium, and add more butter. Season the butter with Tony's, and squeeze half a lemon's juice into the pan (be careful, cold + hot = maybe ouches). Cook the sauce. There may be flour in it, meaning there could be a brownish foam looking stuff, but don't worry about it.
5. Place the fish on the plate and pour sauce over it. Add a side of rice (keep it plain).

The reason the rice should be kept plain is that the rest of the dish is SO RICH. It took us forever to eat because it almost hurt. Think about it; the butter is infused into the tilapia from being cooked in it (so it almost melts in your mouth), plus you're adding a primarily butter sauce on top. The lemon that is added gives it a sharp taste to contrast the richness of the butter. Taste it before pouring it on your fish to make sure you like it, but it's a really good flavor combo.
Also, be careful of how many pieces you eat. I'm not saying you'll get sick, but you won't be able to move for a little while.

This is a super easy, SUPER cheap dish to make that is also somewhat fancy. I don't have a picture...we ate it too fast :P

Not a Recipe, but Exciting Nonetheless.

Hi all!

So we've mainly been finding recipes using stumbleupon and other internet sources (plus cookbooks, but even my southern cooking cook book is an version), but while shopping in a giant thrift warehouse with my friend L., we stumbled upon Joy of Cooking. The 1975 ed. Since this thrift place does not take debit cards, L. enabled my joy of cooking and lent me the $0.82 to purchase it. Whoever had it before me kept it in beautiful condition, and even used the bookmark to link related recipes. It's full of post-it notes with her favorite recipes and pages marked. I'm sure the lady who owned this last (and you can tell it was a lady by the hand-writing; I'm not being a chauvinistic jerk or anything), truly loved to cook. I can only hope that the situations that led to me receiving this book were positive.

So hopefully we'll be cooking more "legit" meals; although, the next post will be about the tilapia meuniere we jury-rigged (I looked up whether this was jury-rigged or jerry-built, and apparently they are both correctish...jerry-built applies to a permanent but poorly constructed situation/item, while jury-rigged implies a temporary solution made with the materials at hand). I suppose jury-rigged would be the more appropriate one, and eating it makes it a temporary solution :D.

Cookies -n- Cream Fudge (sorry it's been so long everybody)!

- 3 cups of granulated sugar
-3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter or margarine (oh come on, of course you should get butter haha)
-2/3 cup (.5 fl.-oz can) Evaporated Milk
-2 cups White Morsels (aka white chocolate chips)
-1 jar of marshmallow creme (if you're choosing between the little and big jar, it's the big one)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup of finely crushed Oreos(TM)
-1 cup of crumbled Oreos(TM)

1. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil (We used an 8x8 and didn't line it; it was fine).
2. Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk into a medium, heavy-duty saucepan (this will produce a LOT, so make sure that you get a big enough pot. Ours was a 2-quart pot, and it was barely big enough). Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in morsels (chips), marshmallow creme, finely crushed cookies, and vanilla extract. Pour into the pan. Sprinkle crumbled cookies on top. Push them into the fudge so that when it hardens, they'll be stuck in. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

You're done!! It's delicious, although you kind of feel like you're going to fall over dead if you eat too much; it's that kind of delicious. I mean, check out those pictures. How could something that looks that good be...anything but amazing?