Saturday, November 20, 2004

Here is a great leftover dish my Mom used to call:
Chicken Tits and Worms
Pick over your roast chicken or turkey from the night before and chop the meat into small bits with your kitchen shears
Put a pot of water on to boil and cook your favorite pasta
Thats about where I end following dear old mummy's recipe and forge ahead on my own.
Depending on how much you are making, here is a wonderful Bechamel sauce recipe that works great every time. It makes about a cup, but you can double it if you feel the need
3/4 cup milk or half and half
3/4 cup chicken stock
(or conversely, you can use 1.5 cups of milk and a bouillon cube)
put liquid in a glass measuring cup with:
1/4 wedge yellow onion
whole peppercorns or fresh white pepper
dash of grated nutmeg
1 bayleaf
pinch of cayanne
two pinches crumbled rosemary.
put in microwave for 6 minutes on low to medium heat. Make sure the milk doesn't boil over
but be sure it gets warm.
melt 2 tablespoons butter
and two tablespoons flour in a pot. Constantly stir to cook, but do not brown.
Strain milk and pour over flour butter mixture. Discard onion bayleaf mess.
stir until thickened.
Add 1 cup grated cheese...chedder works best, or some leftover cocktail cheeses gouda and havarti or something. Stir stir stir and take off heat.
Combine chicken and pasta in an ovenproof bowl and pour cheese sauce overtop. Place in 350 degree oven until you can smell the nutmeg cooking and the sauce is bubbly.
Makes a bit of a mess, but its super easy.
Went to see Bridget Jones II last night with the girls. Before that we went to Rollie's in Belfast for dinner. Tried to go to Darby's but the waitress essentially turned us away because we didn't have a reservation, nor did she feel like putting two tables of four together for us. She was extremely rude and we just turned around laughing because of the attitude at a restaurant in Belfast, off-season!

Anyway, I had a very nice calzone at Rollies, probably one of the nicer meals that I've had there. Just wanted to give you an update.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Wouldn't you know it, while I sat down here to write out the dish I'd made several nights ago for dinner, I spilled tea on my keyboard. I spent two days waiting for it to dry no I had to get a new keyboard and in the meantime I kind of forgot what I put in the recipe to make it good. Well, here goes.

Lamb and beef shepard's pie
We tend to eat the same dishes over and over again because they are easy and I can do them by rote and its easy to go to the store. We have what we call "Little Chickie" night at least once every two weeks where we roast a chicken and have veggies and taters or something like that. Its mostly comfort food in this house and essentially I am gathering some good recipes together for when I open a restaurant and call it "Comfort Food." This Lamb dish would be an excellent addition. I didn't know how it would go over with the boys, but they loved it and ate almost the whole pan full in one night!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
make your favorite mashed potatoes. I leave the skin on my potatos and toss them with lots of butter and salt..a bit of chicken broth and garlic and top it off with fresh ground pepper
olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb ground beef
salt pepper to taste
a few crumbles of dried rosemary and oregano
1/2 cup beef bouillon
a splash of red wine
tablespoon of melted butter and one of flour mixed together and stirred in as a thickener
Sautee onions and garlic together with hot olive oil in an iron skillet and add lamb and beef browning and cooking. Drain off fat and excess liquid while cooking. After draining, add salt and pepper and herbs..continue cooking. Add bouillon, wine and butter/flour mixture
1/2 cup cut baby carrots
1 bunch baby asparagus tops and middles cut into 2" lengths
any other veggies you want
Add the carrots and and stir into meat mixture. After 5 minutes add asparagus and take off heat. mix well. Add mashed taters to the top of the skillet and place in oven until the potatos are crispy and golden brown on top.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I'm reading this book, its a detective story where the amatur sleuth is a caterer of all things. Throughout the book, when the character isn't looking for clues to the murder, she's making stuff up in her kitchen and she supplies the recipes in the storyline! She had this one dish that was potato encrusted monkfish...since I'm allergic to seafood, I usually don't prepare I adapted the concept to bonless chicken breast. I remember reading the recipe, but I didn't follow it, and ended up making my own recipe up. Here it is...I think it needs tweaking here and there, but the crew raved, said it was the best chickenbreast recipe they had eaten. Go figure!

Potato Encrusted Chicken Breast with Sauteed Fresh Vegetables
Four washed and trimmed boneless skinless chicken breasts
3-4 cups of grated raw potato (i used purple potatos since its what I had at hand) dried
three eggs
two cloves fresh garlic or shallots
pinch of cayanne
ground sea salt
vegetable oil for frying
Add the garlic or shallots to your grated raw potato
wisk the eggs cayanne, salt and pepper together to make an egg dip.
salt and pepper the chicken breast, dip in the egg mixture and then roll in the potato to fully cover. (you may have to pat down the potato to make it stick)
Place chicken breast in hot oil and sear each side on high for 1 minute. Turn heat to medium and cover, allowing the potato to brown and get crunchy. About 5- 7 minutes a side. Drain on paper towels and serve with:
Fresh vegetables sauteed with butter and leeks.
broccoli crowns
baby carrots
sugar snap peas
heat up butter and add fresh vegetables except peas and leeks
sautee with salt and pepper for five minutes
add sugar snap peas and the leeks
sautee for another five mintutes and serve.
As usual yesterday, we got up early to go to church. Now for those of you who either follow this ramble religously or just plain know us in the flesh, church is a spiritual place for us on Sunday mornings because we see all our old friends and chat people up. They have great coffee, which one needs in order to bargain at the tables strewn with life's little cast offs. Thats right, church is a fleamarket where we go almost every Sunday morning. We like to expose some of our friends to church as well, and it has now become a ritual with people. Some call the night before to make sure the eccumenical express (my truck) comes and stops at their door the next morning...some, like Vicky, call at 7:15 to tell us they are dressed and ready to go. More often than not, Vicky calls to wake us up!
What does this have to do with restaurant reviews you say? We usually go to breakfast afterwards. I don't write about this every week, because we love going to Dudley's in breakfast we've found so far and for the best price too. Alas, Dudley's was closed for a weeks worth of R&R so we decided to try the CO-OP brunch.
Now the CO-OP is a strange place for me. I find it pretentious, expensive, and downright unfriendly most times. They do have good bulk food and some of those speciality items one cannot find elsewhere. Its apparently the largest and most successful food cooperative in the state, but try and get a question answered...forget about it if they don't know you! We get there and I commented on the fact that they were already selling Christmas wreaths in the parking lot. I thought they should be selling Christmas Wreath making kits on recycled paper instead. Greg commented that the wreaths were made from boughs that had been gently blown off trees and were found already lying on the ground. He He He.

The Co-op Brunch, Belfast Maine
The food sounded good. Greg ordered an omlette with scallions, mushrooms, and swiss cheese with homefries and multigrained toast. I had two eggs with bacon homefries, toast and black spiced chai. A side of what looked like a good piece of coffee cake completed the meal. Everyone else had eggs with the homefries and toast as well. We ordered, found a table, chatted and went to get our orders as they called our names. The presentation was very nice, but the eggs were a bit liquidy, the homefries hard and undercooked and the toast was very, very, lightly toasted and cold. Greg's was the same. His mushrooms were undercooked as well. The coffee cake was moist, but didn't have the gooey sugary-cinnamon taste that one craves in coffee cake....I mean, why have coffee cake if it won't get you going on a sugar high??? Oh, Heather found the guy behind the counter taking orders kind of rude, as did we, but she got into a flap with him over taking a menu off a table.
The chai was a nice complement and the place was pretty cozy. The photographs on the wall for sale were just excellent and I would recommend that you go just for that.
Anyway I rate the place an A- for atmosphere and a C+ for food.