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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Creamy Butternut Squash and Chile

   It's time to say so long to Jamie Oliver and all his divine recipes. Over at  I Heart Cooking Clubs we are all bidding ado to Jamie and gosh how time has flown by. I thought for our last potluck I'd give it my all,I mean really I gave it my all tonight.So here's to you Jamie Oliver: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Creamy Butternut Squash and Chile .

  If you would have told me at this point: "Hey Meredith you are sooo  going to love this meal,oh and the butternut squash is the best part!" 
    I would have flung the vegetable peeler at you and been done with the whole thing. Now I know that's a little much,but it's been a long week,let's be honest I didn't think I'd wind up peeling a butternut squash tonight. Patience and endurance paid off in the form of a fine meal full of flavors galore.

   Rinse and pat dry some chicken thighs. Salt and pepper them,then brown on each side.While the chicken browns,slice up two serrano chiles and toss them in the pan.Sprinkle 1 tsp dried oregano over the browning chicken thighs at some point while they are in the pan.
 Line a baking pan with foil and gently place the browned chicken thighs in the pan. Scrape a little of the cooking juice along with the chile pieces into the pan with the chicken.Nestle the butternut squash pieces around the chicken and drizzle a little heavy cream over the BUTTERNUT SQUASH ONLY,not on the chicken.Last but not least, sprinkle the best part: 


Nutmeg!!! It makes this dish. I used whole nutmeg ( obviously),but you could use ground nutmeg instead,BUT!!! just a pinch. It doesn't take much and this dish really doesn't need a whole lot.


  My husband I were pleasantly surprised by this whole dish. We loved the roasted chicken,all crispy and spicy.The chile-infused heavy cream was silky smooth and people, the squash was just wonderful. Roasted squash was perfect. I'm glad patience persevered and a fine dinner was had by all. Jamie it's been real. 

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Creamy Butternut Squash and Chile
adapted from Jamie Oliver/jamieoliver.com
Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs,bone in and skin on
1 medium - large butternut squash
(halved,peeled,seeds scooped out and cut into smaller slices)
2 serrano chiles,sliced thin (for less heat remove stems and seeds,before slicing)
1 tsp dried oregano
satl,pepper
pinch of dried nutmeg ( or a few scrape of whole nutmeg)
1/4c ( or so ) or heavy cream
Directions:
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Rinse and pat dry 4 bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs. Salt and pepper each thigh. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over med-hi heat,brown chicken thighs 3 minutes on each side.Add to the skillet the chile slices and dried oregano.
2.Line a baking pan with foil,place browned chicken thighs in the pan along with chicken cooking juices,chile slices and oregano from the bottom of the pan.
3.Pack squash slices around the chicken thighs,drizzle heavy cream over the sqaush only!,not on the chicken.Sprinkle nutmeg over the whole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes,rotating dish halfway through.ENJOY!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yellow Rice

  Remember Helen Partlow?... She is home cook that bettered the lives of others through food. Yeah that Helen. Well I love her cookbook. I've decided I want to cook my way through this cookbook and tell you about it.I think you'd love it AND if I EVER find another copy I will give it away on here.It's a stretch if I find another copy,but what not a stretch,LOVING THIS COOKBOOK. It's simple,solid and has some wonderful recipe in it that CAN NOT be passed up on. Yellow rice is one of those recipes. It's a quick side dish for any meal,try and you'll see.

       Gather your ingredients: onion,green pepper,tomato,butter,water,chicken bouillon, salt,long grain rice and turmeric. >>>>>> Stop the presses,you saw that right: turmeric.
   Chop the onion and green pepper. Seed and chop the tomato. Add some butter to a medium size saucepan,add the chopped veggies and some salt to the pan.Cook until tender,a few minutes tops.
  Add the rice and turmeric,stir it around to combine.
 Next add the water and chicken bouillon,stir to combine.Bring to a boil,reduce heat and simmer for 15-16 minutes.
  Fine. Fine. Fine. It's simple,fluffy and perfect. The rich flavors of the turmeric really pairs well with roasted chicken. I should know I made it with my favorite roasted chicken recipe not to long ago. I love easy dinners,makes my week so much easier.

*****Soooooo until I can give away a copy of Helen Partlow's cookbook,I want to give away some almost as wonderful: Red & Green Pepper Jelly. Comment on this post and tell me about a cookbook that has recently made it way into your cookbook library. Helen Partlow and Lisa Fain are my two favorite cookbook authors as of late,what are yours??? The giveaway will end Saturday night at 12:00 a.m. I will announce the winner in my post on Sunday night. So get to thinking and make some Yellow Rice.*****


Yellow Rice
adapted from Helen Partlow's Recipes
Ingredients:
1/4c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1 tomato,seeded and chopped
2 TBL butter
1 tsp salt
2 c water
2 tsp chicken stock base or 2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c long grain rice
1/4 tsp turmeric
Directions:
1. In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter over med-high heat.Add the onion,green pepper and tomato.Toss in the salt,stir to combine.Cook until tender.
2. Add in the rice and turmeric,stir to combine. Next add the chicken bouillon and water,stir to combine.Cover,bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 15-16 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #41

"A true friend is someone that thinks you are a good egg even though he knows you are slightly cracked."
-Bernard Meltzer

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Homesick Texan Cookbook Review


  I could not wait to get my hands on this cookbook. The Homesick Texan has a cookbook!
Say it ain't so.

   Well it was so and I had the chance to cook from it. I also had to wait to read my copy of The Homesick Texan Cookbook. Really I had to wait until I got off the road to read through the pages of this fantastic cookbook. I was driving a friend and myself to a dinner party about an hour away. I received my copy in the mail about one hour before I left for the party so my friend got first crack at it in the car on the way to the dinner party.
Lucky. 
I finally got my chance, later that night when I got home, to flip through the pages of The Homesick Texan Cookbook.

Dang.
Well let me tell you what I found...some amazing photos,rich recipes full of so much flavor and some fine writing from a true homesick Texan. Lisa Fain has written a cookbook that shows her love of Tex-Mex cuisine and tells a story of who she is through the food of Texas.She enlightens us to the different culinary regions within the state of Texas. News to me. The flavors are as wide as the state of Texas,but the ingredients are simple,deep and perfect.

    Pork Tacos,Dallas Gas Station Style made for a fine dinner made up of slow-marinated pork fried to crispy edges and rich flavors of pasilla pepper.The Austin-Style Black Beans were hands down the best black beans I have ever had. I loved the sweetness of carrots and onions wrapped in chipotle peppers took these black beans just a little bit further. Hand me a bowl if these beans, a spoon and a side of corn bread and I'm done.
   Well almost. I got a little ahead of myself,sort of. I was showing the cookbook to a family member of mine and she saw a recipe that looked good real good. Only she wanted me to make it. Well fine with me. It was the Tomatillo-Jalapeno Jam. See I do my fair share of canning and preserving. The Tomatillo-Jalapeno Jam is just amazing,touches of apple with a kick of jalapeno. Just perfect. Well I couldn't stop there,I made the Chow-Chow recipe too! And canned it too!

   See that's what this cookbook does. Yay!

   Next was the Poblano Macaroni and Cheese. My kind of mac and cheese. The poblano pepper is a tasty pepper on it's own,but roast it and mix it into some mac and cheese,LOOKOUT! The other flavors that really put this bowl of cheesy goodness on the map for me,lime zest,cilantro white cheddar and Cotija cheese. I don't think without this cookbook, I would have ever made my way to this combination in a bowl of macaroni and cheese. Way to go Lisa Fain. Loved it.
   I also loved the Sopapillas. My first experience with sopapillas was a very long time ago in a great Mexican restaurant. I couldn't have been more than twelve years old and I fell in love at twelve. The crispy,cinnamon and sugar covered fried dough pillows were just amazing. Fast forward and things haven't changed a bit. I still have moments when I act like a twelve year old and my love for sopapillas is still there. Crispy fried dough coated in cinnamon and sugar and dripping in honey. Dang.

    And now could there be more,yes Smoky Deviled Eggs. Lime and cilantro in deviled eggs,one taste of these and they would make any Southern girl blush. I have grown up with and will always love deviled eggs. I have read in recent years a few food articles on different variations on this Southern picnic staple.Honey the Texan way of making deviled eggs is just fine by me.Smoked paprika,cumin and chipotle chile powder gives this dainty appetizer a sultry foundation to stand on. I know sultry,really!?! but yes it's true,make them and you'll see.
   
   Lisa Fain you have outdone yourself. The chapters are packed full of of solid Tex-Mex cuisine and my cookbook library thanks you.The writings served alongside every recipe fill my heart with a little bit of Texas and I thank you.


*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*

Friday, September 16, 2011

Smoky Deviled Eggs

   I can't guarantee a lot of things in life,but I can guarantee you in about half of the cookbooks ( on the middle shelf) have a recipe for deviled eggs in it's table of contents. I just know it.

    Deviled eggs are a staple in Southern cooking.I haven't been to a cookout,church potluck or Christmas day lunch at Aunt Dorothy's house that didn't include deviled eggs on the menu.

It would just be odd.

   The classic egg dish has had many a makeover in the last million years,but I never thought I would add lime juice and cilantro among other ingredients to deviled eggs.Lisa Fain of Homesick Texan has made me a fan of cilantro and lime juice in deviled eggs.

Way to go Lisa.

    I chose the Smoky Deviled Eggs as my Blogger's Choice recipe for the third week of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight/Cook-Off. It was a perfect recipe for the occasion and fit in nicely with the menu: Grilled Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce, mixed greens salad, Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese and Bacon Potato Salad and for dessert simple tiramisu made with vanilla almond biscotti .The occasion was family dinner nite. We gather around the table once a month and enjoy a meal together. We (my husband and I ...and 4 cats...) moved five months back and the faces at family dinner nite have changed. I sure do miss my family back in Memphis,BUT! I have been blessed with the chance to get to know my husband's family more and spoil them rotten too!
*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*


         The meal came together nicely for lots of reasons,but mostly because of all the menu items could be made ahead! Yipppeee! So here goes it with the Smoky Deviled Eggs:

  The ingredients are pretty simple and pack so much flavor : eggs,lime juice,cilantro,yellow mustard,mayo,cumin,smoked paprika,chipotle powder,minced garlic and salt to taste.

   Find that classy deviled egg tray,mix a;; ingredients for the smoky deviled eggs and...
   Ta-da! Smoky deviled eggs appear magically in classy deviled egg tray!

Smoky Deviled Eggs
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook 
written by Lisa Fain
Ingredients:
6 large hard-boiled eggs,peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 TBL yellow prepared mustard
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1 clove garlic,minced
salt,to taste
Directions:
1.Scoop the yolks out from the eggs into a bowl and mash until smooth.
2.Stir in the lime juice,cilantro,mustard,mayonnaise,ground cumin,smoked paprika,chipotle powder, and garlic.Mix until well combined. Taste and add the salt and adjust seasonings.
3. Scoop or pipe the mixture into the halved eggs and sprinkle with additional smoked paprika.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #40

"Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room on both sides."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Honey Lemon Glazed Carrots

   I have been on a V-8 kick lately. I need to mention I am not a V-8 person.

   I am valiant efforts every now and then to be little bit more healthy. Not diet by any means,just eat better.
( I so wanted to say more better there,but I figured you would completely disown me. So yay for better grammar.) I drink a 12-ounce can of V-8 vegetable juice drink every other day or so. I make sure to get in my greens,oranges and reds when it comes to the vegetable choice on my plate.


     We shop in the big,bulk wholesale clubs. I like buying some things in bulk,but produce in bulk can cause a problem. We made a trip to the wholesale club for some bulk buying last week and we came home with half of their produce section.I had some canning recipes to make that involved a fair amount of vegetables    ( hooray for some chow-chow relish) so I figured "Hey let's buy in bulk and (novel idea) eat what we don't use in the chow-chow relish."



   Word to the wise: When you buy vegetables in bulk,be it at a wholesale club or your local farmers market YOU HAVE to DO SOMETHING with ALL of that PRODUCE in a TIMELY FASHION. It will spoil at some some point SOOOO get your act together.




      Well the chow-chow relish turned out just fine and believe it or not all of the produce is gone.We had some tasty fresh carrot and celery pieces with ranch dressing.I had a lovely lunch of bell pepper slices and pimento cheese all week long.And ta-da I found a new roasted carrot recipe just in time for Condiments Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs!!! Our spotlight chef is Jamie Oliver. He has written some fine cookbooks that have become favorites of mine over the last 5 months. I have made every effort to use the two cookbooks of his that I own and nothing else for each recipe I make for the different themes.
I have a slight addiction to cookbooks.Not so much slight really. I tried,I tried to find a recipe for this week's condiments theme in the actual books that suited my fancy.

  I couldn't,I just couldn't.
   
     SO I have gave in I went looking on the worldwide web. I am sure glad I did. The recipe for Honey Lemon Juice Dressing made my efforts to be more healthy a little bit more tasty. The last handful of carrots from the MASSIVE amount we bought that previous week, got roasted in the urven (read: oven. Urven is hip for oven. I'm hip.) and glazed with the most delightful dressing. I am still not the biggest fan of V-8,but these carrots have me thinking if healthy taste this good,heck I GOT THIS ! Enjoy!

Honey Lemon Glazed Carrots
adapted from jamieoliver.com
 and Jamie's Dinners
 Ingredients:
6 large carrots
3 garlic cloves,peeled and smashed
For the dressing:
6 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
3 TBL lemon juice
1 TBL good honey
salt and black pepper to taste
Directions: 1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse,peel and slice carrots. Grease a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2.Whisk together dressing ingredients. Toss carrots and garlic cloves in dressing,in the same bowl the dressing is in. Now using a slotted spoon remove the carrots and garlic cloves from the bowl and put them in the baking pan. (this helps because I just poured the dressing over the carrots in the pan and it was too much liquid,so next time I'm going to toss the carrots in the dressing and put the dressed carrots in the pan.)
3.Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until crispy brown around the edges.ENJOY!!!





      
   

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese & Sopapillas

  So these are the last of the summer tomatoes.

Sad.

Now yes, I know summer tomatoes are still making an appearance at local farmers markets and are still hanging around the produce section at the grocery store. I am well aware of all of that,but these were the summer tomatoes from our family's garden. The garden my father-in-law planted for us,one fantastic garden. He picked the last few tomatoes last week. Funny thing was the same week we finish off the last few summer tomatoes,fall makes it entrance due some tropical storms in the gulf. The rain was wonderful. The clouds gave me every reason to take a nap. And I took a nap. It was wonderful,quiet cool house with a hint of fall.

   I got home this evening from work and sat on the front porch for just a bit.I enjoyed every bit of the cooler breeze . No not a ton cooler,but just enough to not sweat. I don't like sweating and was happy to see the tripel digit temps hit the road. Peace out.  Two thoughts crossed my mind as I rocked in the rocking chair: A. Dang I'm gonna miss fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and. B. Well dang!  no more Poblano Mac n' Cheese.

Dang,dang,dang.

   I took a nap on Sunday. Apparently the energy from that nap lasted through to Monday. I am a true believer in resting on Labor Day. It's a day off and heck I'm not gonna labor. Mmmm... yeah ok. I was rested,rested enough to make a real dinner for that sweet husband of mine.

 I also knew that wonderful husband would help do the dishes...so why not.


The menu: simple roasted chicken , poblano macaroni and cheese,green beans and for dessert sopapillas. Yum,yum,yum. This meal would also help me spotlight one fantastic blogger,Lisa Fain. This month we ( me and some other amazing bloggers) are spotlighting Lisa Fain and her cookbook The Homesick Texan.
   *This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*
 Now let me tell you about two recipes in The Homesick Texan cookbook that made my Labor Day pretty relaxing: Poblano Macaroni and Cheese & Sopapillas.

    First up: Poblano Macaroni and Cheese. Roasted Poblano peppers,white cheddar,lime zest and cilantro take this mac and cheese to a whole 'nother level.A Texan level.

 Poblano Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from The Homesick Texan
written by Lisa Fain
Ingredients:
 2 poblano chiles
8 ounces elbow pasta ( 2 cups)
2 TBL unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic,minced
2 TBL all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and black pepper,to taste
4 cups grated white cheddar cheese (12 ounces)
1/2 cup Cotija cheese,for serving
Directions:
1. Roast poblano chiles under the broiler until blackened,for about 5 minutes per side.Place chiles in a paper sack,close it tightly and let it rest for 20  minutes.Take out the chiles,gently rub off the skin.Remove the stem and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch pieces.
2.Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to package directions and then drain the pasta.
3.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Grease a large baking dish and pour the drained pasta into the dish.
4.In a pot ( I used the same pot that I cooked my pasta in),on low melt the butter.Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook until light brown,toasty brown paste is formed about 1 minute or so.Whisk in the milk and stir until it's thickened a bit but still fluid,about 1-2 minutes.Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder,cayenne,cumin,lime zest,cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles.Adjust  seasonings and salt and black pepper to taste.
5.Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until melted.(if the sauce has cooled too much the cheese won't melt.Return the pot to the heat,low heat).Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine.Top with the remaining half of the cheddar and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.Sprinkle with Cotija cheese and serve immediately.

And now on to the fried,cinnamon and sugar covered pillows of dough: Sopapillas!!!

    Sopapillas require a dance with yeast.It's not tough AT ALL I promise. 
    It's a pretty simple recipe that involves some flour...a wee bit of flour.
  Good heavens did I mention you serve the fried dough with honey and cinnamon and sugar!?!?

   Sopapillas
adapted from The Homesick Texan
written by Lisa Fain
Ingredients:
For the Sopapillas:
1 TBL or 1 1 packet of yeast ( I used active-dry yeast.)
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour,plus more for kneading
1 TBL granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TBL unsalted butter,melted
Vegetable oil,for frying
For the Topping:
2 TBL granulated sugar
2 TBL ground cinnamon
honey,to taste
Directions:
1.Mix the yeast with the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.Meanwhile,combine the flour,sugar, and salt.Add the melted butter to the yeast mixture and then slowly stir the liquid into the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.Knead the dough for 2 minutes until it is smmot and elastic. Cover and let rise in a well greased bowl for 1 hour or so until the dough has doubled in size.
2.After the dough has risen,punch it down on a floured surface;then roll it out into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle.Using a knife or pizza cutter,cut out 3-inch squares and then cut squares on the diagonal into triangles.
3.Heat 3 inches of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven to 350 degrees.Fry two triangles of dough at a time in the oil for 1 minute on each side.The dough should puff when it hits the oil. Drain the sopapillas on a paper towel,then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.Serve hot with honey. GO all out and serve the hot sopapillas with vanilla ice cream-absolute luxury.










 




Mid-Week Moment #39

Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only to our own interest,but also to the interest of others.-Peter Farguharson

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pear Preserves

Canning has become my "thing." I like canning,preserving and the art of all things mason jars A LOT. It's been neat to watch people's reaction to my new hobby and my love for it.(I'll digress on that later.) I have also enjoyed some of the "perks" of canning and really when the word got out about my new-found skill...well let's just say I have been blessed.

Big time.

  My father-in-law's first cousin,Nell. Nell makes my day all the time. Last year ( I don't remember exacttly when,sometime late summer) I received a donation of sorts to my canning adventure. Nell's family did some canning and preserving in their time and they had some jars. Oh did they have jars. Nell gave me some of those jars and whether she just wanted to do some cleaning out or donation to a worthy canning cause,kid in a candy store doesn't begin to describe my excitement level.  I mean really....


   Another fun story...last July a co-worker made my day. Tammy asked me if I wanted some pears. She told me she had a pear tree in her backyard and she had pears to spare. Well yes mam I will take your donation,don't you worry none they will be the most loved pears EVER! I didn't know they would be the heaviest pears ever and really let's be honest the prettiest pears ever.Pears are pretty.

   I got to work that day and she mentioned she brought the pears. They were in the back of her truck and they were heavy. At lunch that day,I took them home to show the husband. Bless his heart his initial reaction to these sorts of situations usually goes a little like this:

 "What are you gonna do with all of this ________________?"

           You fill in the blank.
   Go on I'll give you time and really he doesn't even say some dirty word ( I know that's what you were thinking).Really I think he names said items just so it is made perfectly clear that I have a interesting/mounting task ahead of me...clever husband. Well pal I had a few recipes in mind for those gorgeous pears,pear preserves anyone?

    I have stated many times and will proclaim it from the mountain tops a million more that my husband is so dang patient.He also has a fine work ethic. I decided that I... I mean we had to act quick with those pears because there we 75 million of them and I'm a weekend canner. Weeknight preserving is not my thing.I'll explain:
1. Last year I did all my water bath processing on the stove top. It took a million years for that water to heat up.On the weeknights I don't have a million years.
(This year I have moved on to  fish cooker.And propane is ok by me..)
2.Go big or go home. Sadly this tends to be my motto when it comes to canning and preserving...well really most any hobby I take on.When it comes to food,namely canning and preserving this motto can get me in trouble.I will tackle 2-3 canning recipes on a Saturday. Start to finish the simple 2-3 recipes can take all day,hence I want to be sane when I finish all of that canned goodness the weekend just works out better for my schedule.
3. On the weekend I have a kind,sweet,patient and sometimes sassy,don't let all of this saintly husband stuff fool you around to help me with my canning adventures.He's there,he helps and reaps the rewards of fresh summer salsa in the middle of February.Enough said.

    So back to the pears,we divided the work load in half and went at those pears with a vengance. He peeled 25 pears and I peeled 25 pears.I found two recipes that I wanted to make,one I will tell you about now and the other one in a few weeks or so. Pears are in season in my neck of the woods for a while so hooray for me! Pear preserves are simple goodness. The search for a simple pear preserve recipe is not hard,Ball has done a fine job in that department. Pears are in season and you should make some pear preserves very soon .And if you need help peeling those pears,weeellll I guess I could help.

Pear Preserves
adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
pears donated by my friend Tammy
(bless her generous soul and her "Arlington" pears)
Ingredients:
4 cups finely chopped cored peeled fully ripe pears
2 TBL lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg,optional
1 package regular powdered pectin
5 cups granulated sugar
Directions:
1.Prepare canner,jars and lids.
2.In a large,deep stainless steel saucepan,combine pears,lemon juice,cinnamon,nutmeg ( if using). Whisk in powdered pectin until dissolved.Bring to a boil over high heat,stirring constantly.Add sugar all at once and return to a full,rolling boil,stirring constantly.Boil hard,stirring constantly,for 1 minute.Remove from the heat and skim off foam.
3.Ladle hot jam into hot jars,leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed,by adding jam.Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met,then increase to finger-tip tight.
4.Place jars in canner,ensuring they are completely covered with water.Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.Remove canner lid,wait 5 more minutes. Then remove jars,cool for at least 8 hours and store in a cool,dry place.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pork Tacos-Dallas Gas Station Style,Austin-Style Black Beans

      Sooo a few weeks back I was asked to participate in a cookbook spotlight cook-off,I jumped at the chance to not only cook with a bunch of fantatstic fellow bloggers,but support Lisa Fain of Homesick Texan.( *This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*)
  I have read Lisa's blog for a few years now and have formed a real appreciation for tex-mex cuisine.She really is a homesick Texan and through her writing has made me a homesick Texan too!
             Lisa has written a phenomenal cookbook titled Homesick Texan and it is one fine cookbook.I received my copy of this darn fine cookbook and I haven't put it down since...some folks read suspense novels I read cookbooks. The recipes are simple,rich and transport you back to the heart of a Texas kitchen in no time flat.I am from the South and I love that I know recipes that are rich in southern tradition,but folks after reading this cookbook a small part of me wants to be Texan. The recipes in this book are filled peppers,tomatillos,cilantro and so much more.I love cilantro. I love cilantro almost as much as Lisa Fain loves Texas. I am thrilled that she put her love of Texas and it's cuisine on the pages of this cookbook. She has shared her heritage with us through this cookbook and the next few weeks I will share with you the recipes from her cookbook.
So let's get to it:
  First up: Pork Tacos,Dallas Gas Station Style.
        Lisa explained the in gas stations all throughout Texas there are short-order cooks cooking up amazing taco creations.Dallas,Texas is the sort-of mecca for gas station tacos and she has recreated her version of gas station tacos. The pork pieces are marinated in a rich pasilla pepper marinade,fried in a skillet and stuffed in a tortilla. Perfect.
Pork Tacos,Dallas Gas-station Style
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
written by Lisa Fain
Ingredients:
For the Pork:
4 dried pasilla chiles,stems and seeds removed
2 lbs pork shoulder ( I used pork boston butt, I couldn't find pork shoulder for some reason.)
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo
4 cloves garlic,chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
small pinch of ground cloves
1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c pineapple juice
1TBL white vinegar
2 TBL olive oil
 salt,to taste
1 TBL vegetable oil
For the tacos:
6 jalapeno chiles
tortillas,either flour or corn
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c medium yellow onion,diced
1 lime cut into wedges
salsa,for serving
Directions:
1. In  a dry skillet heated on high,toast the pasilla chiles on each side for about 10 minutes or just until they puff up.Fill the skillet with enough water to cover the chiles. Bring to a boil the cut the heat off and let the chiles soak until soft,about 30 minutes.
2.While the chiles soak,rinse the pork and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
3. Once the pasilla chiles are rehydrated,drain and rinse.Place the chiles in a food processor along with the chipotle chile,garlic,oregano,cumin,cloves,orange juice,pineapple juice,vinegar and olive oil.Blend until smooth,puree form.Taste and salt.
4.Toss the pork with the chile puree,place in a nonreactive bowl and store covered in the fridge for 8 hours.
5.Before cooking let the pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.To cook the pork,heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat.Fry the pork in the skillet for 15 minutes,stirring occasionally.
6.While the pork cooks,place the jalapenos under the broiler for 10 minutes,or until blackened.Serve with warmed tortillas,cilantro,onion and lime wedges . Serve salsa on the side. **I sprinkled a little cotija cheese on my tacos,perfec
And now the best black beans I have ever had... Austin-Style Black Beans:
   I really liked black beans before making this recipe,now I love them.I also love this recipe for two reason a.All of the love and flavor that goes into this recipe shows in every bite.b. I reread the recipe a few times before realizing that you don't have to soak the beans overnight.You use dried black beans,plain and simple. I understand that the beans cook for a little bit,but no need to soak them overnight.Huh...It doesn't take much for me some days.Ok on to the beans.
Austin-Style Black Beans:
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
written by Lisa Fain
Ingredients:
1 lb dried black beans
1 TBL vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion,diced
1 carrot,diced
4 cloves garlic,minced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo,chopped
1/2 c chopped cilantro,divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBL tomato paste
1/4 c lime juice
salt,to taste
Directions:
1.Rinse and sort through the beans,removing any shriveled beans or stones.Place the beans in a large pot and cover with one inch of water.Bring to a boil and then cook for 15 minutes.
2.Drain and rinse the beans in a colander in the sink.
3.Return to the empty pot on the stove and on med-low heat the vegetable oil.Add the onions and carrots to the pot and stir occasionally.Cook  until the onions are transluscent and the carrots have lightened in color,about 8 minutes.Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
4.Returns the rinsed and drained beans to the pot along with the chipotle and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.Cover with 2 inches of water,bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.
5.After 1 1/2 hours,add the remaining cilantro,cumin,tomato paste and lime juice.Taste and add salt.Cook uncovered for 30 minutes more or until the beans are tender.When the 30 minutes is over,smash a few beans on the side of the pot or with a potato masher to thicken the broth.Stir the pot and serve.