Sunday, December 17, 2017

Looks Like Christmas Sausage and Peppers

Wasn't really going for a Christmas theme, but once I put the peppers and mushrooms on the baking sheet it just screamed Merry Christmas.

Super simple to make and a crowd pleaser. I coarsely chop up the veggies and toss them in a large mixing bowl with olive oil and italian herbs. Today I had oregano, basil and some roasted garlic powder. I cook the italian sausage separate in my cast iron fry pan, cut it into bite size pieces and add that at the end. Not sure mushrooms are traditional but I like them. I use purple onions too and hadn't added them yet to the pan when I took the picture.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Why Haven't I Heard of Hasselback Potatoes Before?

I watch most of the cooking shows always looking to find ways to make tasty dishes. I haven't ever seen a cooking show demonstrate hasselback potatoes and only found out about this technique from listening to a radio show discussing acorn squash.

I thought the idea was interesting and tried it yesterday. Hasselback potatoes have multiple parallel cuts in them, not all the way through. This allows you to get seasoning down into the potato and should shorten cooking time.
Here is my first attempt at hasselbacking. After slicing the potatoes, I sprinkled some Tony Chachere's seasoning and inserted butter and american cheese into alternate cuts. I then microwaved for 90 seconds.
Then I added some jalapeno slices where the butter has melted away. Back in the microwave for another 90 seconds.
The cuts were opening up and the american cheese was falling out, so I sprinkled some grated Parmesan cheese and finished cooking with a final 30 seconds in the microwave.
A little salsa on top and there was lunch. After this I looked up hasselback on the web and saw that the cuts are usually closer together. The technique I saw, and used later, used a larger knife to make the cuts. Leave the tip on the cutting board and press down on the potato only cutting halfway through.

Later that day I tried this on some baking potatoes I bought for dinner. Lots of thin slices and then I brushed olive oil on top generously and salted. Again, once the potatoes are cooking, the cuts open up allowing more olive oil to get into the potato with subsequent brushing. At this point more salt or other seasonings can get deep into the potato.

This is a technique that I have barely begun to explore. Looking at the ideas on the web there are lots of variations. Maybe I'll get to trying the squash idea I heard on "The Splendid Table."

Friday, December 1, 2017

My New Favorite Way to Make Chicken

I learned how to spatchcock a chicken and that has become my favorite way to prepare it. Spatchcocking is basically butterflying a chicken.

You use kitchen scissors to cut the backbone out of a whole chicken, save that backbone to throw into the stock pot. Most directions will tell you to simply cut the cartilage between the breasts to make then lie flat. Instead, I cut the cartilage and then use my fingers and the kitchen scissors to remove most of the chicken  bones. Throw those bones in the stock pot.
The only bones left on the chicken when I'm through are the thigh, drumstick, and wing bones. I cut the flapper section from the end of the wings and, yes, throw them in the stock pot along with the neck. One benefit of buying a whole chicken is the giblets and neck. The giblets are the dog's favorite.
Once I've removed all those bones, I use my hands to separate the skin from the body being careful not to rip it. I then put seasoning under the skin and on the bottom of the bird. Penzy's Foxpoint is always a hit for this. If there was a wad of fat I've cut off I'll place it under the skin between the breast haves for automatic basting.

Despite what the picture shows, I tuck the "wrist" wing section under the skin to make a compact package with even thickness. I cook to 160 degrees F at the thickest part of the breast. Putting the bird on the grill and smoking at a low temperature first is delicious.

Go fire up that stock pot and cook those giblets while you are waiting.