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Friday, February 18, 2011

Lentil Curry Soup



I haven't much experience with lentils. They have not landed on my dining room table very often. My lentils have sat in their storage container for some time and I have wondered "What to do" with those lentils.

In the mood and really in the "need" for something healthy I thought I would give those forgotten lentils a try.



I just used what I had handy and this soup was delicious. It had just enough spice and lots of veggies.




The Recipe:

2 cups dry lentils
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
2 Cups diced tomatoes
1 onion chopped
6-8 cups chicken stock or water
3 cloves garlic minced finely
2 cups fresh spinach rinsed and chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons curry or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste


Rinse lentils and “pick” for debris. Place in stock/soup pan and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes covered.

Meanwhile heat olive oil in skillet, add carrots, celery,tomatoes,spinach, onion, garlic, pepper flakes, ginger, and curry. Stir and cook until onions are clear.




Add vegetable mixture to lentils, cover and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, serve with rice underneath or mmmm mixed in...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fiery Angel Hair Pasta



I decided to join in over at IHCC this week. This week's theme is "Use Your Noodle". The featured Chef is Giada De Laurentiis.

After reading through some of her recipes I decided to prepare Fiery Angle Hair Pasta.

The recipe uses chili oil, a little cheese, parsley and angel hair pasta. I added chicken breast that was already prepared and waiting to be used in the freezer and chopped bell pepper.

I LOVE garlic and sauteed it along with the bell pepper and chicken.

There was also instructions on how to prepare chili oil, which I had never prepared.



I did half the lemon used in this recipe.

The dish was great and each bite had a nice touch of heat.

Next time....I see shrimp in my angel hair.




Fiery Angel Hair Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup Chili Oil, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, optional
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the angel hair pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Stir the oil, parsley, lemon juice and lemon peel in a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and toss with enough reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. Sprinkle grated lemon peel over pasta for extra flavor and texture. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Chili Oil:

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
Combine the oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over low heat until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180 degrees F, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a 4-ounce bottle. Seal the lid. Refrigerate up to 1 month.
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours



IHCC

I am also sending my post to Presto Pasta Nights 2011.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mustard Rubbed Fried Pork Chops


Iron skillets just get better with age.

Most things do.



We have those great, heavy, seasoned iron skillets that are passed down from our Grandmothers and those special to us.

I have a few rescue skillets that were resuscitated by cleaning and seasoning with TLC.

New iron skillets are purchased, with the anticipation of the beginning of a family heirloom.


I pulled "Old Betsy" out and decided to put a good scald on some pork chops.






This recipe is wonderful. It tenderizes and marinates at the same time. The hint of mustard with each bite is very nice too. I have used Prepared Mustard in the past and this works wonderfully.






Really any spice would work. Ideas of Cumin or curry or floating about in my thoughts and on my palate as I type.







The Recipe:
6-8 Pork Chops
1 Teaspoon seasoned salt
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Cups all purpose flour
½ cup or so of Vegetable Oil


Rinse pork chops and pat dry. Line a plate or flat pan with foil or parchment paper.

Mix: seasoned salt. Garlic powder, Paprika, Pepper.
Add Prepared Mustard to spice Mixture.
Mix well and apply to both sides of pork chops.
Dredge pork chops in one cup of flour. giving a fine layer of coating.
Refrigerate for one hour.





Heat oil in a heavy skillet until at a good frying temperature.

While oil is heating, dredge chops again in reserved flour.

When oil is hot and pork chops to skillet. Careful not to overcrowd, fry a few at a time.

Cook for approximately ten minutes on each side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I HEART Biscuits!



I learned how to make biscuits as a young girl, standing beside my Maw Maw. She never measured, and neither did I. We always "eyeballed" it and the results were always wonderful.

As the years progressed and life became busy,I left behind Maw Maw's recipe. I began to use self-rising flour. White Lily to be exact. White Lily is a Southern Standard in most homes here in the south. Results were always good. However, they were not my Maw Maw's biscuits.

Today, I read a recipe that is VERY Similar to the one Maw Maw would use most days, early in the morning before the day became too busy or too HOT. I wish I could remember her exact eyeballing it measurements.



I happened to just glance at the heart shaped cookie cutter that has taken space for awhile now and thought. "I'll make heart biscuits." After all, this is the month for love. Well the month that it is official. I like to think everyday is a day for love.




Using Alton Brown's Recipe for Southern Biscuits took me back to my Maw Maw's kitchen once again. Isn't just a wonderful thing how food can bring back warm feelings of the past back to us.

The recipe is simple and I did measure!




I left the buttermilk, shortening and butter in the fridge until the last minute.

Handling biscuit dough with care is very important. You have to hold yourself back from kneading. Always remember gentle touches, yields heavenly fluffiness.

I made two batches of biscuits. Heart Shaped and the other batch "big ole cat heads"

My baking time was 12 minutes. Oven temperatures are not all alike. After 10 minutes I would do a peek and check.




The recipe was great.."Make your tongue slap your cheek and ask for more!"


SOUTHERN BISCUITS: (Alton Brown)

Ingredients

* 2 cups flour
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons shortening
* 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

This is my entry for Foodie Friday hosted by http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hoppin' John Hopped onto a Waffle



Hoppin' John hopped onto a Waffle!

I love black eyed peas served with cornbread. I wanted to dress up my peas and decided to prepare my version of Hoppin' John. Hoppin John is a Southern Dish and there is not one certain way or recipe to prepare this satisfying meal. Everyone has their own recipe. "It's ALL good!"

Traditional Hoppin John is prepared with ham hocks, bacon or fatback. I had none of these handy, and to avoid a trip to the grocery store, I used bone in pork chops. After cooking in the slow cooker they fell apart and away from the bone. I did not need to pull the chops apart, they were so soft and tender they fell apart into chunks of goodness all throughout the peas.

I used dried black eye peas. However,canned peas would work just as well. Just remember to rinse peas. Careful not to over cook the dried peas as they will become mushy and if this happens, you can drain the cooked peas into a colander and rinse the "mush" away. But do this before you add the spices and vegetable mixture.

The greens were from a batch I had prepared a few weeks ago and froze. If fresh greens are used, rinse greens several times, and pull each leaf away from the thick center vein, roll up like a cigar and chop. Canned collard greens would work well in this dish too.

The cornbread waffles were the best companion for this dish. All the juice settled into the squares of the waffle and with each bite of the Hoppin' John you got a bite of cornbread too!


The Recipe:

Hoppin’ John

1 pound of dry Black Eyed Peas
1 pound Smoked Sausage
2 bone in Pork Chops
1 large Onion chopped
3 stalks of Celery chopped
1 green Bell Pepper chopped
2 cups diced Tomatoes (fresh or canned)
2 cups Collard greens rinsed, and chopped thin
2 cups Rice
2 Bay Leaves
4 cloves Garlic chopped
2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoon Canola Oil




Pick the peas, or “Look” the peas. Soak covered in cold water overnight or for 6-8 hours.

Place peas, bone in pork chops, greens and 2 bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover chicken stock or water. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours. Careful not to overcook peas.

When peas have two hours or so left to cook; Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, add onion, garlic, celery, smoked sausage, bell pepper, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions are clear and the veggies begin to soften.




Using a ladle remove bones from the cooked pork chops in peas. Add skillet mix to crock pot and mix into peas, stirring gently.

Continue to cook for the last two hours on low.

Cook white rice per directions.




CORNBREAD WAFFLES:

2 large eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk or any milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Self rising corn meal ( I prefer yellow)
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat waffle Iron.
Mix all ingredients. I use a little more milk for cornbread waffles. They seem to turn out better if you can somewhat “pour” the batter onto the waffle iron.

Close waffle iron and leave for about 5 minutes. Check and cook until firm and golden.


Place waffle on plate, top with rice and spoon the peas from slow cooker on top.





Yum!

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