Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mid-Week Musings

As a young man, my husband loved to be outdoors. Nothing could stop him from climbing up, over or into things that sparked his curiosity or challenged him. One of his passions was spelunking, and for a couple of summers he'd spend weekends in caves, crawling through tunnels with the weight of the world just inches above his shoulders. While cave exploration was not a passion of mine, he was, so more often than not, I could be found crawling behind him, elbowing my way to caverns we had not yet seen. My father, insisting that it had taken men millions of years to emerge from the caves, couldn't understand why anyone, much less his daughter, would want to return to them. He applauded progress and believed the survival of men, as well as sharks, depended on forward motion.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - 15 Minute Chicken Hash O'Brien

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Including hash in a collection of my favorite recipes will seem strange to some. A quick glance at the recipe will show just how easy this dish is to make. As a matter of fact, it's so simple that there are foodies who will reject it out of hand. That is their loss, not yours or mine. While I make it less these days, this was a staple in my kitchen when the children were at home and I was working. When the clock and calendar got the better of me, I, without embarrassment, would buy the chicken and frozen potatoes needed for the hash on my way home from work. This hearty dish can be made in one large skillet and you can have on the table in about 15 minutes. While it's completely lacking in sophistication, the hash makes a great weeknight meal, and if you are rushed and the gang is hungry, you might want to give this recipe a try. The only caution I have to share with you regards the amount of salt you add to the dish. I use a chicken bouillon paste to add quick flavor to the hash, but it is salty. While this dish will need additional seasoning, you'll want to add additional salt in small increments if you use the paste. Frozen Potatoes O'Brien contain peppers and onions. Make sure you use them rather than regular hash brown potatoes which are not seasoned. I think you'll like this hash. It is hearty, easy to make and tasty. Your family will enjoy it. Here is how it's made.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mid-Week Musings

Photo Courtesy of the Carpe Diem Couple

The notion for today's musings began simply enough. We'd stopped for a donut and coffee on our way to the Oregon coast. The weather was terrible and business was slow, so the gal who waited on us kept one eye on the television as she poured our coffee. We could hear her mumbling, "Man, he's really cooked his goose." It made me smile because it was the first time I'd heard a cooking metaphor used politically. Others sitting at the counter shared her grim assessment, and while I was severely tempted to chime in, I thought it best to leave them to their thoughts and let the matter lie.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Harvest Moon Pumpkin Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderful cake for family or informal fall gatherings. It relies on fall harvest products, so I know you'll have no trouble purchasing or picking the ingredients needed to make this simple cake. You'll also be happy to know that the recipe is so easy that young and inexperienced cooks can put the cake together in a matter of minutes. The end result is a cake that is moist and delicious. It also transports well. I like to bake the cake in a 13 X 9-inch pan, but if you want something with greater presentation value, pull out your bundt pan and have a go at it. You'll have to plan on at least an hour for baking if you go the fancier route. I must admit I cheat a little when I make this cake. I soak my raisins or cranberries - cranberries are my preference - in orange liqueur because I've found it adds wonderful flavor to this amazingly simple cake. If you want really happy raisins, brandy or rum could also be used. Like most cakes that are made with fruit and nuts, the flavor of this one improves with age. I bake the cake at least a day before I plan to serve it, and because it is so moist, I like to keep it in the refrigerator to mellow. The cake can be served without icing, but the Silver Fox likes his with a dollop of whipped cream that's been flavored with orange liqueur. If I'm taking the cake to a meeting or another home, I'll dust the top of it with confectioners' sugar. I do hope you'll give this family treat a try. Using field pumpkins, apples from the orchard and cranberries scooped from the bog, would make this dessert truly spectacular, but we do have to get real here. So, take out your can opener and grab what you need from the pantry and have a go at this one. You won't be sorry. Here is how this pumpkin cake is made.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mid-Week Musings

It's becoming obvious that vaccines have been tossed into a pot that already contains politics, religion, abortion and money. These are topics that sensible people avoid discussing because they trigger polarizing arguments that rarely change adult thoughts or behaviors, but some of us are stubborn and sometimes you have to try. This weekend, I had a dust-up with an anti-vaccine advocate that will help explain why a photo of an iron lung is being used as the lead-in to this week's musings.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Greek-Style Chicken Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite..."Mm! Mm! Good!" That slogan and the sound of a can opener marked, and possibly marred, my childhood. My mother made only brand named soups, and it was years before I knew that the chicken and tomato varieties came from anything other than a can. When my children were small, I developed a reputation for making the best peanut butter sandwiches in town. My own children took them for granted but their friends couldn't get enough of them. My secret then was threefold. I used homemade sandwich bread, spread the bread with butter and then topped it with peanut butter and homemade jam. Over the years, I've also developed a reputation for soup that rivals that of my PB&J's. I, of course, have another secret that I'm going to share with you tonight. I use concentrated (double strength) beef and chicken broth to make my soups. Normally, I make my own stock and boil it down, but I've come across a couple of products that I use when my homemade version is not available. I also use them when I'm rushed and want a soup I can get on the table quickly. I like the reduced sodium varieties of Better Than Bouillon and the relatively new Knorr Homemade Stock. If you use either of these products, you'll want to use additional salt judiciously. I really like the soup I'm featuring tonight. Because it uses orzo and deli chicken, it is simple to make and you can have it on the table in less than 45 minutes. It's a riff on the famous Greek Avgolemono, but this chicken soup is more substantial and a perfect way to stimulate peckish appetites. I do hope you'll give it a try. I make it at least once a month and once you taste it I think you'll see why. Here is how this very simple soup is made.

Greek-Style Chicken Soup with Orzo...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced white onion
1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 cups hot double strength chicken stock, divided use
1-1/2 cups orzo
3 cups boned coarsely chopped deli rotisserie chicken
4 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1) Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and salt and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Do not brown. Add carrot and saute for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with salt.
2) Place 1 cup chicken stock in a blender. Add 7 cups of chicken stock to pot and bring to a simmer. Once stock is simmering, add orzo. Cover pot and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Add chicken and warm through.
3) Add eggs and lemon juice to the cooled stock in the blender and blend until the mixture is frothy.
4) Slowly pour egg mixture into hot soup, stirring constantly until it is completely mixed in. Do not bring to a boil or eggs will curdle. Add oregano and stir into soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

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