Monday, August 24, 2015

Midnight Chicken Stew

Okay, first off I have to say that I rarely look forward to cooking when I get in from work as it is, most often, after 9:00pm or later. Sometimes it's because I had a late "lunch" around 6:00 that consisted of a big sandwich or some other culinary delight from Chef Al at Magruder's deli. Sometimes I'll be in a rush because of some event at work and end up with one of my junk faves, a Double Whopper with Cheese from Burger King (though, personally, I like Wendy's better but there isn't one nearby). That being said, I'm not really hungry when I get in. The problem here is that I know I'll be up as late as 2:30am unwinding. I listen to my records or watch TV or watch DVDs of "Fringe" or "Wonderfalls". I then realize that, if I go to sleep, I'll just wake up later hungry. So then I decide that I have to eat dinner but I want to make something quick and easy because I don't want to stay up all night cooking Carbonnades de Boeuf  à la Flamande but I also don't want go to to sleep on just a bowl of cereal (or, worse yet, a bag of Kettle chips!).
     One of my go-to meals is perfect for staving off the 4:00am rumble tummy, a quick chicken stew. Made with ingredients that I try to keep stocked in my "Armageddon Cabinet" it's hearty yet light enough that I won't have nightmares like a character out of Windsor McKay's "Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend".  In the recipe I use chicken thighs, sometimes the skinless boneless kind, because I like dark meat. You can use whatever parts you like just be aware that cooking times may differ slightly.

4 to 6 chicken thighe
14oz can of diced tomatoes (I like DelMonte Zesty with Jalapeno Peppers)
3 cloves of garlic chopped as fine as you like
1 med. onion cut up how you like
2 potatoes cubed
some sliced mushrooms
dried basil to taste (if I use fresh I don't add it until I add the broccoli)
some fresh broccoli florettes
about 1tbl oil for sauteeing
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet and sear chicken on high heat until a little golden. Remove from pan. I usually just put it in a bowl on the stove. With the skillet still on high heat sautee the onions and garlic until the onions are soft. Put the chicken back in, add tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil and cook for about 15 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer on medium heat until they are fork tender. Add mushrooms and broccoli and continue to simmer until is tender and bright green. Serve with hot rice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cornbread, Erroll and Me

Okay, so it snowed a little today here in the City Without a State. It didn't amount to much but I didn't feel like going out because I was having too much fun playing records, doing a little housecleaning and playing with DevilKitty. As the day wore on I started to get a little hungry and thought to myself, "Hey, I sure would like some cornbread". Alas, as I was getting the ingredients together, I realized that I'm almost out of flour and the milk in the fridge was actually quite a bit less than I needed. Not to worry though as the flour turned out to be just enough and the milk, well, I stretched it with some honey flavored Greek yogurt and it was damn tasty!

With a wire whisk mix together
3/4 cup of flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbls brown sugar (i used a fork to mash it into smaller grains though I'm sure there's an easier way to do that)
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups cornmeal
3tbls butter or bacon fat
2 eggs, beaten
In measuring cup I poured all the milk I had (about half a cup) and added a 5oz. container of honey flavored Greek yogurt and a little water to make up a cup of liquid. I had some maple-flavored bacon for breakfast and saved the drippings. In a large bowl, mix cooled drippings with the eggs and milk, then stir in the dry ingredients until it's all moistened but still a little lumpy, being sure not to over mix.
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet add a tablespoon of bacon fat and heat on medium until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add the batter and place in the oven preheated to 350-degrees. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes which is about the length of side one of Erroll Garner's Solitaire" album.