Tag Archives: Lunch

Menus For The Quarantined Life ~ Part 1

As of April 1st, 2020 the Governor of the State of Arizona, instituted a “Stay At Home Order” for the entire month.  We are asked to only to leave our homes for essential things.

So …
My larder is well stocked, which includes a case of Three Buck Chuck 
I’m pretty confident that I won’t need to go to any stores for at least two weeks.

 

DAY 1:

 

 

Breakfast

Bacon and Trader Joe’s Pecan Kringle,
add a cup of Tea and I’m good 

 

 

Lunch

PS Spam Fried Rice

 

 

Dinner

The rain let up long enough for me to grill a nice
Flank Steak & Crimini Mushrooms,
add an Oven Baked (vs microwaved) Potato with all the fixin’s,
a chopped Salad and a glass (or three ) of Wine

*belch*

~Author’s Note: No, we don’t HAVE to staying in,
we are simply choosing to do so.
At this rate, we may be gaining a few pounds 

Char Siu or Chinese Bar-B-Que Chicken

Since moving to the ‘Middle Of The Desert’, I have been looking for ways to make dishes and/or ingredients that I use in dishes inspired by Hawaii.  One dish or ingredient that I’ve been experimenting with is Char Siu or Chinese Bar-B-Que. I’ve made mention that I’ve tried acoupla different sauces or dry mixes that season the meat to achieve the desired flavor.

[photo credit to Walmart.com]

On this go `round, I tried Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce.

My favorite Green Grocer had lovely little Organic Chickens on sale and you know me already, a light bulb went off over my head  💡 … let’s try Char Siu Chicken.  I was going to make it Huli Huli Style but the Monsoon storms finally started and they can be very unpredictable, so I  tossed the birdie in the oven in stead.

I marinated the deconstructed whole Chicken in a half jar of the Lee Kum Kee sauce for three days and then roasted it off at 375° until the breast meat reached 165° and the dark meat got to 175° … DONE!  I mean come on man, how ONO  (delicious in Hawaiian 😉 ) does that look?!

Looks pretty, but the taste isn’t quite there, for me nor DH anyways.  So, what to do with all of this Chicken you ask?

Fried Rice! 

Mise en place or everything in place before you start is always a good bet.

HEH!  What happened to the photograph of our finished product?

OOPS!  Sorry, I got so excited, I forgot that part of this story, but you know how it all goes, right?

WHOA! That’s alot of Fried Rice

[File Photo]

I packed up some of our trial run Char Siu Chicken Fried Rice to share with the gals in our Community’s Office and then we had the rest for our lunch.  DH wasn’t all that thrilled with this version, “I like Char Siu Pork!  Stick with tradition!” 😀

 

 

 

I Really Shouldn’t

…but okay.

Cheeseburger @ Five Guys

My husband was working so I went over to do some bulk warehouse shopping, and what do I spy?

FIVE GUYS!

@ Five Guys

This one is ALL for ME!  A double cheeseburger, sautéed mushrooms, BACON, lettuce and pickle, oh a schmer of mayo, thank you very much.

Now, if I only had a beer.

 

Hope You Had A Happy Thanksgiving

Some years back, I would watch FoodNetwork every holiday season to get ideas for our family’s table.  I saw Ted Allen make a De-constructed Turkey and wow, the bells and whistles went off in my head.  I’ve struggled with whole birds for many, many years.  Dry white meat, under cooked dark meat, crummey gravy… Do I really need to go on?  You know!  This is how I make a whole turkey.deconstructed turkey

Deconstructed Turkey and Gravy

• 10-12 lbs. Whole, fresh, natural Turkey (read the labeling, make sure it does NOT say enhanced with sodium soultion)

Butcher the bird yourself (or purchase it in parts), leaving breast whole and reserve the carcass for homemade stock, much better!

Brine: (I do this part the day before I’m going to serve the turkey)

• ½ C Kosher Salt

• 1/3 C Brown Sugar

• 1 Onion, sliced

• 1 Carrot, sliced

• Peel (no white pith) from 2 Oranges

• Whole head of garlic, cut in half horizontally

• 1 tsp each, dried Thyme, Rosemary, Rubbed Sage

• 3-4 large Bay leaves

In my 12qt. stock pot, I add the salt and sugar, dissolve in 2 cups of hot tap water; add remaining ingredients, along with 3 quarts of Ice Water, stir well. Add the turkey parts (make sure that the water covers all parts of the bird), cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Pour off all of the brine, leaving turkey parts in stock pot. Cover and put back into the `fridge until ready to roast.

Roast:

Pat turkey parts dry with paper towels, arrange on the half sheet pan, fitted with a cooling rack. Try to give as much space between pieces. Schmear with soft butter; sprinkle with S&P. Pour about 1 cup of turkey broth or stock in the bottom of the pan.

Roast at 425⁰ for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown; lower the temp to 400⁰ and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the breast reaches 165⁰ and the thighs are 175⁰.

Tent with tin foil until ready to serve.

Make the gravy by pouring all of the juices left on the bottom of the pan into a cup.

In a saucepan melt 4 tbsp of butter; add 4 tbsp of flour whisking for a few minutes. Slowly stream in 2 cups of the broth/juices and bring to a boil to thicken. For richer gravy, use some dry white wine and milk with the broth/juices.

Happy Thanksgiving

I Didn’t Quite Get This One Right

When I take my mother to lunch at her favorite Taquería, she orders the pork chili verde, ever time! I figured I needed to make some for her at home.

I emailed to my chef-friend Joey for guidance; she recommended that I follow any Rick Bayless recipe. I did several internet searches and the easiest recipe I found was from Rick Bayless.  Thanks Joey!

ingredients for chili verde

I actually morphed a few different recipes into my own using a jarred salsa verde made with tomatillo. If I made my own from scratch, it would have cost me a whole lot more and I just wanted to experiment with this idea first.

The rest of the cast of characters were a small onion, oregano, coriander, ground clove, lots of minced garlic and S&P to season the Pork Butt, about a pound and finally homemade vegetable broth.

I browned the pork chunks, set those aside and then sautéed the onion. Next, in went the spices and the meat was returned to the pot with the salsa and broth.

pork chili verde

The pot was left to simmer most of the day, until the pork was fork tender.

Meh, it was pretty salty, but I think that was because of the jarred sauce.

After conferring again with Joey, she concluded that I try it next time with canned salsa verde rather than the jarred stuff.  Now we know, we’ll try it again mom.

Turkey Day Is Coming, Are You Ready?

In my X number of years in the kitchen, believe it or not, I have never brined anything. Well, let me say that I did once, unfortunately I brined a turkey that already had 8% salt solution enhancement, ACK!  It was a Thanksgiving of side dishes only that year, so I never tried it again, until now.

All of the turkeys or parts thereof, that I have prepared I’ve just chucked into the oven and said a pray, oh please kitchen gods, let my meal be good this once? Recently, I have been buying Jenny-O turkey breast tenderloins that are already flavored. It took me till now to look at more than the calorie count. MAN!

So back to the basics.

I searched the `Net, looking for a brine recipe that I,

a) had all/most of the ingredients for, and

b) sounded tasty

I settled on my own twist of a Bon Appétit recipe, with a few changes due to the lack of certain items.

I left out the Allspice, Juniper berries and fennel seeds, didn’t have `em; I used dried thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, 4 smashed garlic cloves and a palm-full of whole black pepper corns. In addition, rather than using fennel bulbs, I added the peel (with no pith) from a fresh orange, subbed the white sugar for brown and boy howdy! Let me tell ya’ friends and neighbors, that solution smelled mighty fine!

I had a fresh bone-in half turkey breast weighing a little more than 2 pounds. I gave that puppy a good wash and dunked him into my largest dutch oven containing the brine, covered it and stashed the lot into the ice box.

After reviewing the procedure yet again, I started to second guess myself, how long is ‘leave overnight’? 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours? When I Goggled that, the consensus was 8 hours.  I pulled my turkey from its bath, gave it a rinse, patted it dry, discarded the now used brine solution, wiped out the pot and put the birdie back in and covered it back up… Into the chillbox until morning.

In the am, after my usual cuppa Joe, I preheated the oven and prepared the turkey for roasting.

homemade polutry seasoning

I brushed it all over with melted butter and put together my own poultry seasoning in my mortar and pestle. Dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme… hey, isn’t that a song? … and savory.

Not having a rack small enough for such a meager amout of protein, I placed three ribs of celery in my quarter sheet pan and the bird atop those. Finally some Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper and into the oven with him!

Oh My GAWD!

Juicy, moist, savory, just gosh darn delicious if I do say so myself.

This was lunch as well as dinner for the two of us, well and lunch again the next day all for less than $5

Turkey isn’t just for the holidays or big family events. This can be an economical meal anyday.

Food Pet Peeves

I belong to an online chef’s forum, and I was reading a thread started on the small annoyances that non-foodies commit. What they were lamenting over was the little things that folks who are not died in the wool culinary experts do with their food. Well, I’m not saying, I’m just saying, I was a foodie from as far back as before there was such a word as foodie. And yet, I allegedly must irritate several people, because I could name a few no-no’s that I do.

So what's so wrong about this?

#1 – I don’t drink my wine from a proper vesicle.

and what's wrong with this too?

#2 – I eat my pizza, sometimes anyways, with a knife and fork.

if I'm not suppose to use these, then why are they on the table?

#3 – Keeping in the pizza theme, both DH and myself enjoy dried red pepper flakes, oregano and grated cheese on our pizza. The chefs feel that these ingredients should be added prior to cooking and not after. If that’s such a faux pas, then why the heck do all of the pizzerias that we go to have it on the table when you sit down?

I’m just sayin’, that’s all.

Aloha!

BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON!

Love it! Can’t get enough of it! GIMME!

Not so long ago, our two nephews came to visit during their Spring Break. Jack, the younger of the boys, asked me when we picked them up at the airport, “so Aunt Doni, I hear you’re a good cook. Is that true?” Well, Jack, this one’s for you.

The first morning’s menu was BACON! I made two trays of that glorious meat and it was gone in a flash. I had been thinking that we’d make sandwiches with the leftovers, yeah right!

A few days ago, I was on the phone with the boys Mom and she said that she got a great compliment on her bacon from Jack, “Mom that was Aunt-Doni-worthy bacon.”

 

 

I Gotta Write This One Down

I came back from an afternoon of vegetable shopping at the green grocer and was starting to put my haul away when it struck me. The ingredients that I had would make some ‘Whole Foods worthy’ assorted cold salads for later in the week.

Three different salads, all restaurant qualty stuff!

At the top of the photo is the lentil salad, which was simple, simple, simple. I bought more of Trader Joe’s steamed lentils to toss in to the deep freeze, but why do that? I added:

Diced- celery, sweet white onions, sweet red bell peppers

Minced- flat leaf Italian parsley and garlic

Dried spice – basil and oregano

S&P

House made white balsamic with fresh garlic vinaigrette

All of the above was to taste, just chop and toss into the bowl, give it a mix up and refrigerate overnight.

To the right of that is a take on what I saw on one of my fav TV programs, America’s Test Kitchen. Curried Chicken Waldorf Salad (shhhhh don’t tell DH he claims to not like this). I had some poached boneless-skinless chicken thigh meat (the same way they did in the hyperlink from ATK) in the `ridge, HMMM, just expand on that. I added some curry powder from the spice aisle to a small amount of `mayo to bloom the flavor. Next into the mixing bowl was:

Diced – apples, celery, sweet white onions and tart dried cherries

S&P

Finally some crushed slivered blanched almonds. Into the `fridge with this one as well.

Lastly, the Tuna Salad. To a can of tuna packed in water (drained), I added:

Diced – celery and sweet white onions

Chopped – pitted black olives

Dried spices – garlic powder, cayenne pepper and chives

Minced – flat leaf Italian parsley

Some dill pickle relish and `mayo (not too much, DH claims to hate mayo as well, so long as he doesn’t see me making it, he’s okay). Oh and S&P to taste. Stash this into a container and it’s time for a chill down.

These three gorgeous concoctions where served atop a bed of mixed baby greens with some chopped: English Cucumbers, Sugar Plum tomatoes, Sweet white Onions, Sweet Red Bell Peppers-dressed in the same vinaigrette as the lentils (I always have a mason jar of it in the `fridge). I portioned them out with a 1 ½ Tablespoon disher (small ice cream scooper). That is restaurant quality stuff… I make good food!

ALOHA!

I’m Getting Ready!

I took my Mother grocery shopping the other day, and you know how I like to shop… I LOOK at stuff. Mom, well, she has her list and goes up and down the aisle like a drill sergeant; not paying any attention to anything but what she knows and needs. When I pulled out my camera and started to take photos of stuff that I WISH  we could eat, she was all… “what are you DOING!” (sssshhhh, I haven’t told her that I have this blog) I told her that I was taking pictures of stuff that I am putting on the list.

Mom: “what list?”

Me: the list of things that we’ll have once we’re off of our diet, I mean different way of looking at food

Mom: “oh, that’s nice dear”

Well, she buys EVERYTHING that I wanted and said, “I’ll try it and let you know how it is”.

Thanks Mom.