Archive for February, 2010

Birthday Chili

February 25, 2010

Birthday Chili is, in fact, different from any other Chili in the UNIVERSE. It’s a fact. I’m not even kidding. This Chili is special because not only is it packed with vegetables that my husband will eat, not only is it made in Italy with the Italian equivalent ingredients of the ingredients I would have used back home, but it is made specifically to fit the request of my Mother-in-Law for her birthday supper. She didn’t want us to buy her anything, she didn’t want a party, but when I asked her if she’d like me to cook; her invisible tail began to wag and I KNOW how much she likes my home made Chili.

This Chili is VERY versatile. You can put just about anything in it and have it still come out awesome. I’ve put Artichoke Hearts and whole cloves of Garlic in it before and it came out perfect. This recipe is just BEGGING for fresh veggies and hot peppers. Don’t be afraid of experimenting! It really feels good to just throw a bunch of random crap into a pot and let it stew for a while, then try it and feel like a champion when it is oddly awesome. You’ll look at yourself in the mirror and see a side of you never before seen and say ‘WHO ARE YOU!?… and WHY is this Delicious?!’

For Birthday Chili for 4 people, here is what you’ll need:

2 cans of Red Beans
2 good sized Handfuls of Ground Beef
1 can of Tomato Pureé
1 large Tomato, disemboweled and maimed.
1 medium Onion, Karate Chopped
1 smallish Red or Green Bell Pepper, Samurai Sworded
1 small can of Sweet Corn
½ of a medium sized Red Chili Pepper, Mangled and Abused
1 Dried Chipotle Pepper, halved and seeded. (optional)
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Paste to taste

First, put on some latex gloves and chop up your onion, chili pepper, and bell pepper. Why the gloves, you ask? Because you don’t want onion and hot peppers on your hands the next time you have the urge to itch your eye or wipe your butt… Not forget to get rid of all of the seeds in the chili pepper or you’ll have a hot surprise later when you chomp down on one of them suckers.

Throw them in the pot with your handfuls of ground beef.

Crank the heat up to Medium-High and move the mix around until the meat it brown and the juices in the pot aren’t cloudy anymore.

Drain the cans of Beans and dump ‘em in.

Dump in your Tomato Pureé and stir it in.Use the back of your spoon to smash about half of the beans against the wall of the pot. This is IMPORTANT because this step will make your Chili nice and creamy and smooth in the end.

Bring down the heat to Medium-Low and let it stew for a little bit while you prepare your other ingredients. Cut your Tomato in half and use your finger to disembowel it. You don’t want any of those seeds in the Chili. Chop up the Tomato halves and throw them in the pot.

Drain your Sweet Corn and throw them in, too. Now is the time to season the Chili. Add a half a teaspoon of salt, a hefty dash of black pepper, a dried Chipotle pepper (seeded and halved), and a little turd of garlic paste or smashed garlic. Stir around and give it a taste. Adjust your seasoning to your taste. Let the Chili stew for about 40 minutes. Don’t forget to remove your dried peppers before serving or you might get a very spicy piece of wood on your spoon! Serve up hot with a side of either Corn Bread or Polenta.

Not bad, huh? Now it’s your turn to add something interesting to the mix. Chipotle peppers? Eggplant? Chickpeas? Asparagus? Why not!

Love Peace and Bacon Grease, Friends! Visualize Whirled Peas!
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Lazy Kate’s Green Tea Applesauce

February 24, 2010

Yeah, you read the title right. I’m Lazy. Oh… that’s not what you were surprised about? HA. Oops. Green Tea in Applesauce?! Sure as the gum on the bottom of your favorite shoes. ‘Why!?’ is the bigger question. Well, it all started with The Discovery Health Channel and a trip to the doctor. I heard from my doctor that drinking Green Tea can boost your weight-loss and boost the antioxidants in your system. Both of these sounded great to me, but I really don’t like Green Tea. Its kinda icky, so drinking it straight wasn’t an option. Then I thought to myself ‘Well, could I integrate it into some recipes?’. As it would turn out… you can! I’ve been able to put it into Sugar Glacé for cakes and tarts, Jams and Jellies, even roasted meat! But my most recent project has probably been the best ever: Green Tea Applesauce. The flavor of the Green Tea is subtle, but there. The Apples and a little sugar help to mask the bitter aftertaste of the tea and replace it with pure, unfiltered AWESOME. I’ve been able to figure out how to make it work in 20 minutes, or 2 hours. If you’re at home doing laundry and want to make your house smell like apples, I suggest the 2 hour version. If you’re trying to get rid of some apples that have gone down the River Styx and don’t have a whole hell of a lot of time, 20 minutes and a potato masher is all you really need.

For Lazy Kate’s Green Tea Applesauce, here is what you’ll need:

Peeled Apples to the third power (That means Cubed)
Strong brewed Green Tea
Potato Masher (for the Express version)

I used 6 apples I bought yesterday that are terrible. They really are. They weren’t crisp, or crunchy, and didn’t possess the flavor you want out of an apple. They didn’t even go well with PeanutButter! I KNOW!  I peeled them…

…and cored them the easy way.

I cubed them and dumped them into a big pot. Next, I brewed  my Green Tea. Actually, ANY non-black or red tea will work. I’ve also used Tropical Fruit green tea, Hibiscus Tea (turned the applesauce bright pink), Mint Tea, and Peach White tea. All turned out SPECTACULAR.

After the tea was brewed, I took out the teabags (*snicker*) and poured the tea over my apples.

You want the tea level to leave the top layer of apples just a frog-hair uncovered. If you’re doing the express version, cut the liquid amount in half so you won’t be eating apple soup later. Crank up the heat to Medium-High and walk away. Don’t ask questions, just WALK AWAY. Give them at least 20 minutes to cook. For the Express version, give ’em a stir every 5 minutes or so, otherwise the apples won’t cook all the way through.

After 20 minutes or a half hour or so, check your apples. They should be soft, by now. For the express version, turn off the heat and mash ‘em up. For the lazy version, cut the heat to Low and leave them to cook until all of the liquid is gone and your apple start to look like this:

If you check your apples every half hour or so and stir them, they should basically mash themselves. Continue this process until 80% of the liquid is gone. We’re not making apple jerky, either. When your applesauce is almost all the way liquefied, cut the heat and use the back of a spoon to mash up any pieces you might have floating around in there. I like to leave the chunks in because I like them (and I’m Lazy). Leave the applesauce in the pot to cool to almost room temperature before you put it in the fridge or the fridge will hate you later, and so will your milk after its gone bad. You could also eat it hot with some cookie shovels instead of a spoon.

Love Peace and Bacon Grease, Friends! Visualize Whirled Peas!

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Rosemary Baked Chicken

February 24, 2010

Look… Oven Baked chicken is about the EASIEST thing in the universe. It really is. Put it in a baking pan, huck it in the oven, and pull it out when the juices aren’t pink anymore. But isn’t good flavor supposed to be a pain in the hiney to accomplish? With some fresh herbs, bouillon powder, and leftover oil from oven roasting vegetables, NO. It’s a lot easier than it looks. Last night I roasted some carrots and didn’t eat them all, so I was lazy and left the rest in the baking dish along with the Olive Oil. I covered them and left them alone because I knew I could use the oil and eat the carrots later. I also was busy reading. I didn’t want to get up and muck up my hands, then sit down and get my book all gnarly. The other situation to avoid was the ‘Turn the page, wash your hands. You turn the page, and then you wash your hands. And then you turn the page…’ scenario. Some of you will know this quote and equally want to avoid it. The best option was to dirty my hands once, wash them once, and not have to worry about supper until the end of chapter 6 (AKA Supper Time). This is a Put-it-together-then-huck-in-the-oven-and-forget-about-until-you’re-hungry type of recipe.

For Oven Baked Rosemary Chicken, this is what you’ll need:

1 small Chicken, dismembered.
¼ cup of lightly-used Olive Oil
Vegetable or Chicken Bouillon powder
Black Pepper
A sprig or two of fresh Rosemary

Turn your oven on to 275°F/140°C. Yes, ONLY 275°F/140°C. You know why? Because the chicken will be a LOT softer and more moist if you cook it on a lower heat for longer time. It will fall off the bone and make everyone a lot happier. Plus, with two hours of free time between putting it in the oven and supper time, think of all the wonderful things you can accomplish! You don’t have to watch the oven all the time, just let it cook. Its like a Crock Pot but easier to clean.

Take your leftover veggies out of the oil and add ¼ cup of water, a teaspoon of Bouillon granules, and black pepper. Lay your Rosemary along the bottom as well.

Roll your chicken pieces in the mixture so the oil makes the chicken shiny. Situate the pieces so there is a tiny bit of space between them.

Cover with Aluminum Foil and put the whole shebang in the oven and let it cook for about 2 hours. When the chicken is done, take the skin off and get rid of it. Its bad for your arteries anyway.

Use a fork to pick the chicken off of the bone and discard the bones.

Serve on top of some cooked rice and pour the juice from the cooking process over it all like a sauce.

Love Peace and Bacon Grease, Friends! Visualize Whirled Peas!