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Posts Tagged ‘homemade recipes’

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Chicken Thighs with Cabbage

Pantry cooking is in many ways, a luxury.  Although we think of it as money- and time-saving, a cook has to have the space, the budget and the hours to build a storehouse of ingredients that will make putting a meal on the table an easier task.  As COVID-19 has shut down my city as well as many other cities and towns across the world, pantry cooking has become the online talk-point of the moment.  Chefs and home cooks alike are featuring recipe videos telling us how to cook with what we have on hand.  It is almost overwhelming to be told constantly that there is nothing easier than cooking with what you have on hand.

I have to say that this is something I’ve been doing for most of my life.  There are a number of reasons for this.  My mother remembered the Great Depression only too well and was very careful with her food budget – she always had something on hand to create a tasty meal and leftovers were turned into another dish.  For years, because I lived in a lively neighborhood in NYC, I shopped daily from all of the extraordinary shops that lined the Avenues – butchers, bakers, produce markets.  I loved the thrill of deciding what our meals would be on these spur of the moment shopping forays.

Then, for some years we lived in a rural setting in upstate New York where the winters were long and harsh.  I learned to keep a stocked pantry if I intended to cook and bake as I always had.  Powdered milk, yeast, powdered buttermilk, canned goods, frozen meats were never out of reach so that I could bake bread and cakes, make tasty dinners and filling breakfasts every day.  And, when I returned to the city, I just kept the country ways.  I keep my kitchen pantry stocked so that I can entertain unexpected guests, feed my grandson on his lunch break or simply save myself daily shopping trips.  In addition, because I am more and more aware of people going hungry even in our richest cities I am increasingly careful about food waste.  Going back to my mother’s thriftiness, I recycle all leftovers and do my best to use what I have on hand before opening a new package, preparing a new vegetable or ordering a take-out meal.  

This recipe is a good example of cooking with what you have on hand.  If you don’t have shallots, use a small onion.  No garlic, omit it.  No chicken stock, use water.  No preserved lemon, use a fresh lemon – with this charge, the taste will change but, the dish will still be tasty.  And the only reason you seem some green is that I had a bunch of cilantro that was wilting fast so thought it would give a bit of freshness to the finished dish – certainly not necessary at all.

Chicken Thighs with Cabbage and Preserved Lemon

Serves 4

4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs

Wondra flour for dusting

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ large head cabbage, cored and shredded

1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

1 large shallot

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

1-½ cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

Juice and zest of 1 small orange

1 small preserved lemon, seeds removed and finely chopped

Trim off and discard any large pieces of fat from the chicken thighs.  Lightly coat each one with Wondra flour and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, add the coated thighs and cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and beginning to cook through.

Remove the thighs from the pan and set aside.

Add the cabbage to the pan.  Toss in the carrot, shallot and garlic and cook, tossing occasionally, for about 5 minutes or just until the cabbage begins to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper, add the stock and orange juice and zest along with the preserved lemon and toss to blend well.

Nestle the thighs into the vegetable mix.  Cook, without stirring, for about 20 minutes or until the vegetable mixture is soft and mellow and the thighs are cooked through.

Remove from the heat and serve.

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It’s been quite a while since I wrote my last blog post.  I don’t exactly know why I stopped. Maybe I felt I had run out of things to say. Maybe I just got lazy.  Maybe I wondered if I had been at it so long that I couldn’t write another recipe that was interesting.  But if I really wanted to speak the truth I think that after I lost my oldest son to lung cancer, my heart just wasn’t interested in doing too much of anything other than watching my grandchildren grow up, particularly our youngest granddaughter who is 15 years younger than our middle granddaughter. Watching her as she celebrates her birthdays gives us one more chance to feel the joy of watching a little one grow up to be an amazing adult.

One day last week the thought came to me that I’d like to be back at it.  So here I am.  I hope that I have a little stick-to-it still in my bones and that I will keep writing recipes for years to come.  More than anything, I would love to hear from you if you come across the blog. I would love to hear about the foods you enjoy, favorite recipes, and, of course, tell me if you enjoy the blog or even if you hate it.  If the latter I’ll try to do a better job.

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This recipe comes from An American Family Cooks, my family cookbook which is published by Rizzoli. I will, from time to time, share recipes from the book. If you enjoy them and would like more, the book can be ordered from your local bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

This is my oldest family recipe. Unfortunately I did not know my mom’s mother who brought the recipe with her from Scotland where it had been taught to her by her Aunt Ann. The recipe card still reads “Gram’s Aunt Ann.” These scones would not be recognizable as such in modern bakeries that bake giant, fluffy fruit-filled mounds called scones. Most scones today have absolutely no relation to these flat, griddled gems which are somewhere between pancakes and biscuits. In fact, the recipe card says “Have griddle same heat as for pancakes and fry on a dry griddle.” They should be eaten hot off the griddle with sweet butter and homemade jam.

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 scant teaspoon baking soda

Sugar to taste

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons butter

Enough buttermilk to make a soft dough, usually about 1 cup

 

Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt – I use about 2 tablespoons sugar and no more than ¼ teaspoon salt. Cut in the butter using your fingertips.

Slowly add the buttermilk, beating with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

Lightly flour a clean work surface.

Scrape the dough onto the work surface and divide it in half. Pat each half into a fairly neat circle about ¼-inch thick and then cut each circle into 6 wedges.

Heat the griddle over low heat until very hot.

When hot, add the scones, a few at a time, and cook for 3 minutes to just set. Then, increase the heat slightly and cook for another 4 minutes or until the dough begins to puff up a bit and the underside has begun to color. Using a spatula, turn and cook for an additional 6 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Watch carefully, adjusting the heat as necessary, to keep the scones from burning.

Remove from the heat and serve hot with butter and jam.

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succotash

 

Succotash is a very early American recipe combining our native beans and corn, but I only seem to make it in the summer when I can get fresh lima beans and corn locally.  I never think of making it in the winter with frozen vegetables, although I suppose it is probably still pretty good.  Fresh limas are not so easy to come by even in the farmers market.  I don’t know if this is because people don’t buy them or farmers don’t like to grow them.  But I do know that whenever I see them, I snap them up.  I got great ones the other day at the farmers market and although we haven’t had great luck with corn this summer, I bought some ears to make a Sunday supper of succotash topped with sliced grilled (on my stove top grill pan) chicken breast.  What a tasty meal – with a side of sliced heirloom tomatoes and a bowl of pickled beets.  Summer at its best!

¼ cup finely diced slab bacon
¼ cup finely diced sweet onion
2 to 3 cups fresh lima beans
Kernels from 4 large ears fresh corn
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the bacon and onion in a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add the butter and cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes or until the bacon has begun to color and the onions have softened.  Add the lima beans and corn, stirring to blend.  Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, cover,  and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or just until the beans are tender.

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Sorry to have been away from posting for so long, but when summer arrived our family was unexpectedly hit with a few medical emergencies that kept us away from our love of cooking, hitting the farmers markets, and generally enjoying life with our friends, including YOU.  We’re back with some of the emergencies solved and some being worked on.  We send you flowers as so many friends sent us to brighten your day and to let you know we didn’t forget those of you who visit my kitchen.

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Obviously I have been on an Asian adventure what with egg rolls and dumplings and dipping sauces.  There’s been a lot of stir-frying, also, but since I mostly just throw whatever is on hand into the wok, I can’t really share those recipes.  You can make these dumplings with chicken, turkey, beef, or vegetables, alone.  Finely chopped kale and/or other greens make terrific dumplings.  You will need a bamboo steamer or a saucepan with a steamer basket to make these.

½ pound minced lean pork
½ cup finely diced water chestnuts
3 tablespoons finely diced bell pepper, either red, orange, or yellow or a mix of
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 large egg whites, separated
1 teaspoon sherry wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 package wonton wrappers
A few large iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves

Ginger Dipping Sauce:  Combine 1 cup rice wine vinegar with 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon lime juice, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Add ¼ cup finely diced hot house cucumber, 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves, 1 teaspoon grated ginger root and however much finely diced hot chile you like.

Combine the pork, water chestnuts, bell pepper, cilantro, and shallots in a medium mixing bowl, stirring to blend completely.
Heat the canola oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  Add the pork mixture and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or just until the pork is almost cooked.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Combine the 1 of the egg whites with the sherry, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  When blended, add to the cooled chicken mixture, stirring to combine completely.
Using a biscuit cutter, cut the wonton wrappers into 3-inch circles.  As cut, stack and cover with a damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.
Place the remaining egg white in a small bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and, using a whisk, beat until slightly frothy.  Set aside.
Working with one wrapper at a time, place it on a clean, dry work surface.  Place a teaspoon or so of the pork mixture in the center.  Using your fingertip, rub a bit of the egg white wash around the edges of the wrapper.  Then, fold one half over the filling and, using your fingertips, pleat the edge of the dumpling around the filling.  Set aside as you continue to make dumplings.  Don’t let the finished dumplings sit around too long or they will get too wet and won’t hold together.  I make a few and cook them up quickly so we can nosh as I continue to make more dumplings.
Fill a saucepan large enough to hold a bamboo steamer or a steamer basket with about 2-inches of water.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
Line the bamboo steamer or steamer basket with lettuce leaves and add dumplings, as many as can fit into the basket without touching.  Place over the simmering water, cover, and steam for about 6 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.
Lift the dumplings from the steamer and continue making dumplings.  The lettuce will have to be replaced after a couple of steams.
Serve hot with dipping sauce.

 

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Steve showed me this photo and I said “That’s beautiful, but whose old hands are those?”  Guess what, they were mine —- sometimes I forget how many years I’ve been peeling, scraping, searing, and so on —– guess I’ve earned those old hands.

 

Old_hands_P2020023

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