Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chicken Stock

This is loosely based on Alton Brown's chicken stock recipe from, of course,

The good thing about something like stock is you can use whatever you've got. This is what I had:
  • Raw bones from 8 thighs
  • 2/3 of a large onion, quartered
  • 8 baby carrots
  • Celery (I didn't have any celery so I threw in maybe a scant tsp of celery seed)
  • Thyme (yay, CSA from last year!)
  • Bay leaf
  • Peppercorns
  • Garlic (didn't have a clove so I put in a heaping tsp. of the jarred chopped stuff)
Cover with water. Boil for about an hour, adding water to keep covered, until you re-read the recipe and realize you're supposed to turn it down to a simmer.

Simmer for 6 hours, or until it's finally DB's bedtime and you have time to strain and cool it off and put it in jars and refrigerate.

I actually did put the hot stock into 2 different containers and put it in an ice bath in cold water in the sink as the original suggests. I couldn't find my thermometer (even though it was right in front of me), so couldn't check if it got to 40 degrees, but I did cool it off.

Yield this time: 7 cups.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cider-Cured Pork Chops

This recipe is from Sam Sifton for The New York Times a few years ago.

We made the whole meal as part of Mother's Day 2009:
Cider-Cured Pork Chops
Caramelized Apples and Onions
A Cheat's Bordelaise Sauce

But the shopping, oh the shopping! made all the difference. We got everything on Saturday so the meat could brine for at least one whole day.

We went to Butcher Block in Sunnyside for the meat. (We call it "the Irish butcher." Db is willing to go with us becuase the story carries all kinds of unusual British chips, like onion flavored and bacon.

In order to get the meat the way he wanted it -- whole bone instead of sliced through -- Husband asked for "loin chops, frenched," and apparently the butcher thought that was a lot of work so he told us how to order next time: "Just ask for thick-cut chops, bone-in."

I was skeptical of the description in the article (from the Magazine, January 23, 2005) of the bed of "pillowy apples" the chops were on, but lo and behold, those Granny Smiths really were pillowy. And delicious. They were also from the Irish butcher.

The white onions, though, were from a bodega by the shoe store where we had to go to get our son's new shoes. I ran in to get Husband a soda and noticed how nice the onions looked, and decided to grab them right there. produce is so hit-or-miss around here, especially onions -- our next stop store might not even have white onions or no good ones.

We've never cooked with white onions before, they were really good. Mild.

Husband was a little disappointed not to have demi-glace for the sauce, but I thought it was good. 25 hours? 2 recipes to cook before you can even get to making the demi-glace? 2 gallons of sauces to boil down? Maybe we'll buy some online for next time.

I have to agree with Sifton's last sentence of the article: "It's a fiddle, sure. But it makes for a fine Sunday night dinner." It definitely did.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

* Appetizer: Baked Brie en Croute
* Main dish: Cider-Cured Pork Chops
* Side dish: Twice-Baked Potatoes
* Dessert: Vanilla ice cream

* For DB: Chicken Nuggets in Sleeping Bags

The Baked Brie recipe came from Food Network and a chef named Jill Davie from Josie in Los Angeles, a contestant on The Next Iron Chef. We haven't been into the US version of Iron Chef; too formalized, I guess. We prefer the organic chaos of Hells Kitchen and Last Restaurant Standing. Maybe we just like the Brits, too. But I like the sound of some of Jill's other recipes, too. We found this one because we were looking for brie in puff pastry.

We didn't find as big of a wheel as she calls for; maybe ours was 5 or 6 inch. So we only needed 1 sheet of puff pastry and didn't use all quarter-cup of the dried cherries. Oh, and it only had to bake for 30 minutes.

Oh, now I see it says to turn the oven down after 20-30 minutes. Uh, we didn't do that. Maybe that's why ours was so liquidy. We though we needed to let it rest longer before we served it. (We'll try both things next time.)

We've had this recipe for a while.

I thought we'd be too full to eat twice-baked potatoes but they actually were a really good complement to the pork, which was much lighter than beef. Following an recipe, we baked the potatoes at 350F for an hour (my in-laws kept trying to convince us they had to cook at a higher temp but we held firm), then cut off the top and scooped out the inside, mixed in the other ingredients (we left off the bacon but it sounds delish) and let them sit on a baking sheet until it was time to put them back in the oven, again at 350, for 15 minutes or so.

Since it was Mother's Day I actually didn't help with the potatoes. Thanks for your help, Anna!

I for one was very excited to have a whole sheet of puff pastry left over from the baked Brie. I made Chicken Nuggets in Sleeping Bags for DB. I actually saw the recipe on but don't want you to have to join the site to see the recipe, so I've linked something very similar at Recipezaar, another site we trust.

I was so pleased he not only tucked right into them but also really liked them; we just never know about something new. I left off the ham. The cheese baked really nicely, almost disappearing into the pastry. And DB himself had the best idea for making the face -- I told him I left off the faces since he doesn't like ketchup,and he suggested using Easy Cheese next time!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Welcome to Blue Bear's Kitchen

Blue Bear has been told by the Internet Marketing Fortune Teller that blogging might be a good way to boost his coaching business, based on his socialization preferences.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad are thinking we might use this blog to post Dad's weekly recipe tryouts.