Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pressure cooker - chickpeas

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One of the things that has got me the most excited about my pressure cooker is the idea that I can cook beans in it.  I really love beans, but hate boiling them for so long because it seems like they are too done, or not done enough, or have completely broken apart.  Don't even start me on cooking beans in a crock pot.  That sh!t doesn't work!  But lets try the pressure cooker.  I had some chickpeas in the pantry and wanted to make some hummus for the Super Bowl.  I just followed the instructions from the little booklet that came with the pressure cooker, which I think was to cook for 5-7 minutes over high pressure and then let the pressure come back down slowly.  I did soak my beans over night, but that cook time still seemed really short to me.  I used the longer time, and may have even let it go longer.  The result?  The beans were very soft and probably a little over done.  However, it make the most amazing hummus ever.  I have some more in my freezer and that I need to remember to use!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pressure Cooker Easy Ziti With Sausage

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So, this pressure cooker is my dad's thing.   It was only fitting that I use the pressure cooker to make him his birthday dinner.  My dad is pretty suspicious of anything I made because I used to be (and sometimes still am) a "vay-gan".  That's how he says it.  At any rate, I thought a sausage pasta dish would be something that everyone could agree on.  For the most part that is true, but James's doesn't like meat or pasta-with-sauce, so he just had more salad.  Yeah, I know.  This one came together pretty easily, but for some reason, it seemed to take a long time getting up to "high pressure".  I might have shorted the cooking time a bit, but for the most part, I think everything was cooked just right.  The result did not look so good.  Reminded me of something we used to get in the dorms, some hamburger helper wannabe.  But the taste was pretty good.  Not outstanding, but pretty good.  One major sub, I did not have any fresh bells peppers like I thought I did, so subbed some roasted peppers instead.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Kiev- Set the Table

I know this is a little late, but that is kinda how thing work for me...  So here it is, take it or leave it.  My husband and I have been watching old episodes of Mad Men.  He's really taken with it. So much so that he drank Old Fashion's over Christmas break and really wanted to try a Chicken Kiev.  So it was his idea, but somehow I ended up doing all the work...   I was working off of a Alton Brown Recipe and a Rachel Ray one:)

First you pound out the chicken.

Then you make these seasoned butter stick things to wrap in the chicken.
 You roll them up and wrap them in saran wrap.

 Coat them and fry them.

Look... so fancy with the parsley.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pressure Cooker Parmesean Risotto

I am a huge fan of risotto.  Huge.  Love it.  I don't make it, not because I don't like the constant stirring (I never did that anyways and it always turned out fine), but I stopped eating it because it was a simple carbohydrate.  Apparently, we need more fiber.  At any rate, I found this FREE recipe from Cooks Illustrated for a risotto and I decided to make it even though I think it had no nutritional value what so ever.  Turned out to be a great Friday night meal.  Andy helped me get everything started:

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Then we locked the lid into place and allowed the pressure to build:

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I made the kids back up!

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I think 7 minutes later, it was done!

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Result was that it was pretty good.  The kids called this cheesy rice.  Again, it came together quickly and ended up being a very tasty and special Friday night meal.

This was a free recipe, so if you want it, print it out ASAP before CI takes it off the web!

February - Pressure Cooker

Ok, so this is 9 days late...sorry!  But I did tell everyone last month that this month's challenge would be using a pressure cooker.  Here's the backstory:  My dad is a huge fan of the pressure cooker.  Can you hear his slightly Alabaman accent "cook-ker"?  He has been blown across the room from one of these contraptions and he is still a fan.  I think my mom threw out his original one, but he uses his current cook-ker at least once a week when we come for dinner.  His favorite dish - Thai Style Pork Chops. 

A few years ago, he said he was going to get my sister and I a Pressure Cooker, but couldn't find one without the apparently federally mandated safety features.  I guess the new fangled ones don't let the pressure get high enough.  He was mad.  Keturah and I were, well, yeah, we were disappointed as well.

THIS Christmas he could barely contain his glee...."you are never going to guess what I got you!"  I think for half a second...."is it a pressure cooker?"  My dad glares at me.  I actually think I am wrong for a half a second, then he mutters something about me not being able to keep a secret.  Whatever.  Had the exact same reaction from my sister.  At any rate, we are the proud owners of our very own pressure cook-kers.

This challenge is to use a pressure cooker!  If you don't have one, I can't imagine they would be hard to find at a thrift store.  Get one and play along!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our try at a sit down meal.

I'll admit.  We never set the table.  Since we moved up to DC for only a year, I brought absolutely no serving pieces with me.  Plus, I always make double portions of meals, so if I set it all out in front of me, I would easily eat double portions of everything.  (More than I already do.)

Regardless, we had a friend coming up to visit and I spent the morning making a Sri Lankan meal. 

From the top left clockwise, steamed basmati rice,  seeni sambol (Sri Lankan salty, spicy, fishy, sweet and sour condiment of the gods), pol sambol (a close second choice of condiment- coconut and onion based and very spicy), pineapple curry, and appa (otherwise know as hoppers), a fermented rice and coconut milk crepe with an egg steamed on top.   
And the whole spread in its glory.  And like I promised, we ate every last crumb.  We've made hoppers before and they might be my favorite meal on earth, but the pineapple curry was surprisingly good too.  I'm not usually a fan of hot fruit, but the combination of the pineapple with onions and spices was amazing.  It's going on my list of regulars.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sunday 3 - limping it in...

For this dinner, again, so busy.  I marinated some flank steak, made some cranberry-orange Brussels sprouts, and some potatoes....totally didn't take a picture.  Didn't set the table, nothing, but I did make dessert.

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Now, I am not the world's best food photographer (hey, I gotta eat!), but this was good.  I used the recipe from "French Kids Eat Everything" for chocolate mousse.  They talk about it in the book that this was an easy recipe.  And yes, it was very easy!  I put it together in about 20 minutes and then it chilled until dinner.  It was very good!  The kids liked it!

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Truth be hold, it was a little rich for Andy, but James and I cleaned our bowls!

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Look at Mark eating raw eggs.  Shhh...don't tell!

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One more week...not sure I am going to make it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sunday 2 - Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

This Sunday we kept it a little lower key. 

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No guests, just us.  Ate in the kitchen.  I am not going to lie, this isn't easy.  James has choir until 5:30, plus just regular weekend stuff.  It is hard to make a nice dinner.  While setting the table, I gave James the job of making the centerpiece and helping me pick glasses, etc.  He enjoyed it. 

The meal was from a Deliciously Organic meal plan.  It was butterflied chicken....which I have never done.  Very simple, but a good sunday dinner with asparagus and a baked potato. 

But we promised two courses, so here is dessert.  Strawberry Shortcake!  Also from Deliciously Organic!

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sunday 1

Posting on my blogger ap, while watching twilight breaking dawn part 1, we will see how this goes. X

Had a Sunday dinner last week: Beef stew, salad, and cookies for dessert. We even invited someone over, but he was born in 1990, so I am not sure that counts. The stew was good, but I have posted it before.

The salad, boring, but again, 1990 and plus James wanted salad?

The only new different thing was the cookies. I used a chocolate dough recipe that I then used to make ninja cookies that the kids decorated! I got the recipe from my new smitten kitchen cookbook. Everyone liked them!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2013 Challenge - Set the table!

Alrighty, going to try to get back into this and see how it goes.  Sometimes I need a challenge and I hope that someone else out there joins me.  A few months ago, I read the book "French Kids Eat Everything" in hopes of getting some ideas to help my kids eat more of a variety of foods.  I have one pretty good eater...who won't eat pizza... and one very stubborn eater (I'm not going to call him picky, he is just stubborn).  He will eat pizza.  This book was interesting in pointing out some of the differences between our cultures, but honestly, its not really earth shattering.  The one controversial rule was no snacking.  The French apparently do not allow snacking AT ALL.  No snacks!  Ruin your dinner.  Well, except for that little one at 4pm but that has a fancy name of aperitif so it is OK.  (as an aside I have tried not giving snacks and don't really find that it works).

The other thing with the French is when they eat, they eat.  They eat with all their senses including their eyes.  The book talked about they make a big deal about every aspect of dinner.  They set the table.  When I set the table for dinner, I may...but not always...brush the crumbs off from breakfast.  So, for this challenge, I want to feed the eyes as well as the stomach.  I want to set the table.  I am going to try to make a pretty nice Sunday dinner through out the month of January where we eat on our nice china, in the dinning room with more then one course.  Please join me.

Also, just a heads up, the February challenge is going to be using pressure cookers so if you don't have one...get one!