Tuesday, June 29, 2010

For Tricia McSwain! The Baked BEANS!

I can not take credit for this recipe. I got it off of a Paula Deen!
"I been known to lick a stick (of butter)!" -Paula Deen

This recipe she actually got from another enthusiastic fan, actually TWO other fans. When I first decided to do this recipe I couldn't remember their names, So..., I kinda made up my own. I have made it vegetarian and meatetarian (sorry I couldn't help it), and both ways are big fat hits! 

Let me do the basic vegetarian way!

2 28oz cans of Bushes vegetarian baked bean
1 big bag of fried onions + 1 can of fried onions
1 c. of Molasses
1 c. of Barbecue sauce
1 8oz can of crushed pinapple
I also like to add in veggies with this one: bell peppers, carrots, you could put in whatever veg  you like! Actually the next time I make it I'm going to add raisins and see how that goes over!

Mix all ingredients reserving the 1 can of fried onions. Remember to taste! Adjust the taste with salt and pepper!
Put into a preheated 450* oven covered with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until the beans are bubbling! Pull the beans out and remove foil. Sprinkle the 1 can of onions over the top and bake for 10 more minutes!

Now you are ready for a cook out!

Meat version:

2 28 oz cans of Bushes baked beans
1 lb of pepper bacon
1 cup of molasses
1 cup of bbq sauce
1 bag +1 can of fried onions
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple

Same instructions as above, but 1 extra step. Fry the bacon, crush it, and put half in the bowl. Mix the other half with the 1 can of onions and reserve for the top of the beans!

This is not my photograph, but this is what they look like!

and because I will not post probably until after the 4th! Happy Independence Day! I hope you make some very special memories with the ones you love!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brought to you by popular demand!

Ok so last night I made Stuffed Baked Pork Chops. They were awesome, and quite honestly made of random stuff in my pantry.

I don't have any pictures of it, so I will try to describe them in great detail.

My grand idea for this dinner had originally started as italian based goodness, but it completely morphed into good ol' comfort food.

What you will need:
Boneless Pork chops (however many your family requires, mine required 4)

1 whole sprig of rosemary, or 1/2 tsp dried. (you'll want to strip your sprig of all the leaves and throw the branch away.)
Some ground thyme and sage. Salt and Pepper to taste.

1/2 an onion, chopped or diced

 1 of whatever your favorite squash is peeled and diced into small cubes. I used a lovely green and white striped summer squash. If it were fall I might have used butternut or pumpkin.

1/4 of a bag seasoned croutons crushed

8 multigrain crackers crushed

I find that the big round ones work best.

Chicken stock
Dijon mustard
Sliced Provolone cheese
1 leek

Ok, so start by preheating your oven to 375*. Peel the first three layers of your leek. Wash it of all the dirt. Then slice it like you see above.
If you have a cast iron pan, by the way, that is what I recommend you use for this recipe. Everything should fit in a medium one nicely! If not, then use one that can go from stove top to oven!
Melt a 1/2 a stick of butter or heat up 1 tbls of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, your choice, in the pan. As soon as it is melted (I did use the butter. I find I don't have to add more, and with oil you will need to) sautee the leek slices on medium low heat until golden brown. Turn off the heat.
Next make your stuffing.
Mix together the chopped onion, croutons, crackers, and 1 big squeeze of dijon mustard. It should look fairly dry and crumbly. Chop up the rosemary leaves if you are using fresh, and add them in with 1 1/2 tsp of thyme. Salt and pepper to taste.
These next two steps are important: you will be alternating them until you have the right mushiness and flavor. Add 1 tsp of sage and stir, then add 1/4 cup of stock. Stir. Taste. Ask, "is this the right flavor for me?" If you don't think so, add 1/2 a tsp more of sage. Remember about your mushiness. No one likes dry stuffing right? So you want your stuffing to not be quite a river, but the consistency of oatmeal. At this point forget about the measuring cups and do little bits at a time. Remember you can always add more, but you can NOT take away! Do these steps until it is where you want it to be.  ( I know that this is vague. To be honest this was a learned tecnique from my memaw and mom, and I'm not quite sure how to put it in writing. I hope it works for you.)

Next you will want to butterfly your chops. If you don't know how to do this HERE is a great tip video!

To stuff your pork chops:
Take one of the butterflied chops lay half of a slice of provolone cheese on either side. Then add one spoonful of the stuffing. Close your chop, and toothpick it. Salt and Pepper both sides of the closed chop.
Once you have all of the chops done this way, start heating up the pan again. Add more oil if you used oil (this is your call, but I find that it may need it).
You should have a significant amount of stuffing left over too! This is a goody bonus!
Once the pan is sizzling hot, add in your chops. Cook them for 4 minutes on each side. Add the rest of the stuffing to your pan, and slap it in the oven. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes.
The cheese should be bubbling out of the the chops and the stuffing should be golden brown. And, do you remember the leeks? They have caramelized and become part of the stuffing! Lovely!

I served these with corn on the cob and Alfredo mashed potatoes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day: My dad's favorite dish

Pork and Beans. Seriously. He loves them. He emailed me in January of this year stating, "I'm doing a 365 days and 365 P&B recipes challenge." My dad is hilarious, and I'm proud to be his daughter, so in honor of him today I'm writing a post about his favorite food.

When you look it up on Wiki., it has a simple page, or so it seems.
Pork and beans in the general sense of a recipe is rendered pork fat and navy beans. If you buy them at your local gorcery then you get a can of these two ingredients also stewed with tomatoes. This however didn't happen until the 1800's. "it was well established in the American diet by the mid-1800s. The 1832 cookbook The American Frugal Housewife lists only three ingredients for this dish: a quart of beans, a pound of salt pork, and pepper.[3] According to the 1975 Better Homes and Garden Heritage Cookbook, canned pork and beans was the first convenience food." Wikipedia

Where do they come from then? While wiki says it is unknown, I'm bound and determined to find out.  Well to find that out my little mousey mouse has to do some clicking!

I believe that pork and beans is derived from basic bean dishes.  Pork and beans is considered to be a typical cowboy, on the trail, type food. You might think that the closest thing in the USA to be the ancestor of pork and beans are Boston Baked Beans, however P&B showed up around 1832 in the frugal housewife cookbook. Boston Baked Beans didn't come about until 1919 when Boston was flooded with Molasses.

Haha....my mom's favorite Molasses joke: "3 moles, a papa mole, mama mole, and baby mole were in their hole. Papa and Mama Mole stuck their heads out the top. Baby mole asked Papa mole what he smelled, and Papa said, "I smell pancakes with butter!" Baby asked Mama mole, and mama mole said, " I smell Bacon and eggs!" Baby mole said, "All I smell is Mole-asses!"

So a no for Boston Baked Beans. Let's see what else we can find.

One link was for Fabada. It's a spanish dish in origin. I think it looks awfully familiar.

There is also and egyptian dish called Ful Medames. This has been a traditional dish in daily egyptian life. As a matter of fact, the cooking method (which is that they are buried to cook) is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud. The only difference in this dish is that there is no meat except the boiled eggs on the the side.

The picture below is ful medames.
Ok, ok, I was just having fun with these. They will establish though that beans even pork and beans have ancestors from all over the world.

So my mouse finally clicked on Baked Beans. They are generally made from pork.

The traditional beans, navy beans, used in baked beans, are originally from North America. They were taken to Italy in 1528 and France in 1547. Some say that France brought cassoulet and that is where, with the addition of other nation's traditional bean recipes, we get baked beans.
Now according to the first article I read about Pork and Beans, tomatoes were not originally used in Pork and beans. I submit therefore that the original ancestor of Pork and Beans is.....CASSOULET! :O
Well there you go; those are my findings. Remember to make the dad's in your life some special food today!

I made my dad his favorite!

P.S.: this is a creepy little boy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dinan Family

Our friends Aldo, Megan and their three kiddos had us over for dinner tonight.
Aldo made Mauritian food for us. Yummy!
That is where Aldo is from, Mauritius, Africa.

Mauritius is an island country off the east coast of Africa. To understand the flavors that we experienced you have to know what the history of rule in Mauritius has been, and where it's cultural influences have come from.

1. The Dutch claimed the little island first in the 15th century, that's the 1400's. Then they abandoned it.                                                            
 2.The French took over and taught the people: Frère Jacques, frère Jacques, Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines! Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.

3.  The Brits took control during the Napoleonic Wars (that was in the early 1800's). 

4. In 1968 Mauritius became independent. 

 Let's not forget that Mauritius has it's own culture and influences from being apart of Africa and in the Indian Ocean. The have a Creole Culture which according to wikipedia means: "The usage of 'creole' in the islands of the southwest of the Indian Ocean varies according to the island. In Réunion and the Seychelles, the term 'creole' includes people born there of all ethnic groups.[3] In Mauritius, on the other hand, the term excludes white people.[3] In all three, 'creole' also refers to languages derived from French." Mauritius is considered to be a blend of Indian, Creole, European, and Chinese influences.

Two facts you may not know:
1. Mauritius was the fifth location ever to use postage stamps.
2. Mauritius was the only know habitat of the extinct dodo bird.

So, last night we had a delicious meal of sausage with a gingery tomato sauce. There were clounds on my plate of lovely fluffy white rice. A beutiful river of garlic-ee Lentils flowed care free around everything else. 

 This isn't what we had last night, but it does look similar. I can still smell the heavenly aroma as if it were hugging my nose.

I hope that if you aren't someone who likes to be adventurous in what you eat, that this will inspire you to try something new. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Posole or "Pozole"

I love this soup! It makes my day everytime I get to eat it. I first learned about it when I worked at Eat-Rite Health Promotion Center. The best thing about it is that it's so tasty, and bonus, it's super simple! I love it!

Pozole is traditionally from Mexico. It's a dish that you would typically find in Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Morelos, México and Distrito Federal.

hmmmm......there were names on states a minute ago.

Well get on with it.

Researchers find this dish of particular interest. Because, ancient Mexicans believed that humans were made from Masa or cornmeal dough. Seeing as the soup is made with meat they believe that it was reserved for rituals and special occasions.

It has been speculated by anthropologists that the meat used traditionally was human. As is well known that cannibalism was present in ancient Mexico, they speculate that after prisoners hearts were torn out in the human sacrifice their bodies were chopped up for the soup.
Of course, after the Spanish stole the land and planted cathedrals they outlawed cannibalism. They then started using pork for the dish, because it "tasted very similar" according to one Spanish priest. Anyone hungry for some bacon?

This is disturbing sorry!

Ok now that non of you want to try this soup let me just say that my recipe calls for chicken.....not pork. However, if you are not grossed out and want to switch out pork I would recommend pork shoulder.

Meg's Posole:

2lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 cup of chicken broth. 
1 onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
6 garlic cloves minced
3 large leaves of kale rough chop
1 1/2 tsp of oregano
Fresh cilantro (1 handful chopped)
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp of cumin
2 cans white hominy (look by the canned corn)

Put your chicken in a large soup pot and cover with water. Add 1 cup of chicken broth. I prefer the chicken broth, but if you are without it add 1 1/2 tsp of salt to the water. You can always adjust the saltiness of your dish later. You can always add, but you can not take away! Cover your pot and bring it to a boil.

While you are waiting for the chicken to cook...probably about 10-15 minutes, chop and mince away. Open the cans, and measure your seasonings!  

Once your chicken has cooked remove it from the water. Bring your broth to a gentle simmer. Once it is at a gentle simmer add your veg and seasonings! Don't add your hominy yet.

Now you will want to cut your chicken in chunks. Add that to your soup. Now add the hominy.

Bring all of this to a boil together. Taste it and adjust your seasonings (if it tastes good to you don't change it). Once it comes to a boil turn off the heat. Let your soup cool for about an hour, and then put it in the fridge overnight!!!
Putting your soup in the fridge overnight gives all of the different flavors fighting for your mouths attention time to get along and meld together.

Whenever you are ready the next day take it out and warm it up on the stove. Serve with homemade tortillas or cheddar cornbread!!!!

I made this today! My sister is coming for lunch tomorrow! It's healthy so I know she will like it! She calls it "happy food"! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
 These were taken next day for your benefit!!!