Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thai Style Chicken with Basil and my favorite food podcasts

Most every morning I go jogging  - I really don't enjoy running all that much, but I find it is the most efficient form of exercise there is....I can do it just about anywhere and I don't need any special equipment.   If I don't exercise first thing in the morning, it won't happen.   One thing I do to keep it more interesting is to listen to cooking podcasts.   Currently I am enjoying listening to:

NPR Food Podcast - Recipes, interviews and the story behind your favorite foods from Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs.

Earth Eats - from Indiana Public Radio, it features lots of Midwest local food information and recipes

Edible Radio - I enjoy most everything on this feature of the local food magazine Edible, but I especially like "Blue Plate Special".

The Splendid Table - I've always liked Lynn Rosetto Kasper's radio show, but I am rarely not busy during it's broadcast time here on our radio station, so I can catch up listening to the podcasts

America's Test Kitchen Radio - Hosted by Christopher Kimball, it's like a radio version of his show on PBS.

It was while listening to ATK Radio one morning that I found this recipe to use up the abundance of basil I have in my garden this year.   One can eat only so much pesto.  The tomatoes might not like the cool summer we've been having, but the herbs have been loving it!  In addition to the basil, I've got oregano that is the size of a small shrub and thyme that is overflowing it's container. I've got to find some way to use all that up, but for the basil, I've made this recipe several times and it is just delicious.

Thai Style Chicken with Basil
(my take on America's Test Kitchen's recipe)

2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 serrano chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 t. (or more) red pepper flakes

Process 1 cup basil leaves, garlic, and chiles in food processor until finely chopped, 6 to 10 one-second pulses, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once during processing. Transfer 1 tablespoon basil mixture to small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon fish sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar; set aside. Transfer remaining basil mixture to 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet. Do not wash food processor bowl.  Pulse chicken and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in food processor until meat is chopped into -approximate 1/4-inch pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Don't go too far or it will turn into ground chicken.  Stir shallots and oil into basil mixture in skillet. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic and shallots are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add chicken, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring and breaking up chicken with a wooden spoon, until only traces of pink remain, 2 to 4 minutes. Add reserved basil-fish sauce mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining cup basil leaves and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until basil is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. Serve over hot rice.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Currant Jelly

I was given a gift of currants from a work friend - he has an awesome garden and had a surplus, so I stopped by his house on Thursday to pick some.  I've never made anything with currants and actually have never really made jelly....only once I made a May Wine jelly...but  that doesn't really count.  A few years ago, I bought a jelly bag, but I never had occasion to use it.   Now was the time!!

I stemmed the's debateable whether you need to do that or not.  For every lb of currants, you need to add 1/2 cup of water and heat it for about 30 minutes, mashing with a potato masher.   Then you strain....I had about 6 lb of fruit, and it made about 6 cups of juice.  Let it strain for about 6 hours.  If it's cloudy (mine was) strain it twice.  DO NOT SQUEEZE THE BAG! That will make it even more cloudy.  Making the jelly was super easy.....for each cup of juice, add one cup of sugar.   Here's how mine came out:

Currant Jelly
makes about 6 half pints

6 c. currant juice
6 cups sugar

Heat juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Turn up the heat to medium high, and boil, stirring occasionally, until you hit the gel temp of 220F.   Add to half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space, and process for 10 minutes.  couldn't be easier, and I actually LOVE THE TASTE! I think currrant jelly is my new favorite.  very tangy and beautiful.  I can't wait to plant some currant bushes myself.

I tried out the new Ball Platinum Jar just to see how they would look and I think they will be great for gift giving.    Lovely! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Camping Pot Roast for 30

This past weekend, I went whitewater rafting at the New River Gorge in West Virginia with my son's Boy Scout troop.  It was a total blast!

It rained a little bit the last day we were there - the scouts went ziplining; I stayed back in camp to make pot roast in our dutch ovens.  Pot roast is an excellent choice for a dutch oven dinner; it takes a long time but is very forgiving and can serve a lot of people if you have to do so.  I made it with extra au jus so we could have it "French Dip" style on french bread rolls.

Dutch Oven Pot Roast
This serves about 6 people, multiply by 5 to serve 30.  I made enough beef for 30 in a 12 inch and 14 inch Dutch oven.  

3 lb chuck eye roast
1/4 c. flour
salt and pepper
3 T vegetable oil
3 onions, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
1 large carton beef broth
2 bay leaves
Crusty rolls or bread, for dipping

Heat a chimney of coals until the top ones are ashy, about 20 minutes.   In a plastic bag, shake roast, flour, salt and pepper until the roast is covered in flour.   When the coals are hot, empty about half of them into the fire pit, and heat the dutch oven until the bottom is hot, add the oil and brown the meat on each side.   Remove the meat, and then add the vegetables and place the meat on top; add broth and the bay leaves and cover.   Pour about half the remaining coals on the top of the oven and arrange them evenly on the top, and then refill the charcoal chimney with new coals to heat up.  Cook until the beef is tender; about 2 hours, replenishing with hot coals as needed on top and bottom, and rotating the pot and lid every 20 minutes or so to assure even cooking. Charcoal usually only stays hot about 30 minutes, so always keep some in the chimney heating up so you have it when you need it.  If I can hold my hand a couple inches over the coals for longer than 5 seconds, I know it's time to add more coals.   Serve sliced on crusty rolls with the broth for dipping.