Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sarah's Egg Casserole for Big Breakfasts

This was one of the very first recipes that a sweet girlfriend and neighbor gave me as a young bride.
It's the kind of recipe you don't need to read ever again once you've made it.  It's so simple your left brain could make it, as mine has a few times.
The ingredients can be anything you have on hand, or think would be good to throw in;  bacon, ham, cheese, chile, tomato, spinach, onion, turnips.
Hah! Gotcha.
Anyway, the basic recipe is:
1 dozen eggs
1 large (24oz) container of cottage cheese. (1 egg per every 2 oz. cottage cheese)
And whatever you think would be good.  In my case, this was chile and Monterrey Jack Cheese.  Cooked sausage is a very good addition, as well.
(Note: I'm making a half-sized recipe here)
1. Grease an oven-proof dish.
2. Turn the oven on to 325°.
3 Whisk the eggs.
4. Add the cottage cheese, mixing thoroughly.
5. Add your own "embellishments." (Or don't.)
6. Pour it into the dish.
7. Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes. (Or, keep refrigerated until morning, as I did, and cook it then.)
8. Cut in squares to serve.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baked Chiles from Seasoned with Sun

This is an oldie-but-goody recipe and a fine side-dish to serve with beef. My mother  liked to serve it for "company" dinners, but it only takes about 15 minutes to put together, and if you've got this, a steak and a salad, you're set.
You will need :
Original recipe from Seasoned with Sun
1 or 2 chiles for every person.

1 egg for every two or three chiles.
A can or two of stewed tomatoes
*Stewed tomatoes are peeled and cooked just a little with  celery and bell pepper.  Plain stewed tomatoes are very common in southern food.
Sometimes they are also Mexican style or Italian style.  For this I like the plain Stewed.

Monterrey Jack (or cheddar, colby or longhorn) cheese.  I found a blend of cheeses in my refrigerator, but I prefer just Monterrey Jack.

An onion.

Butter.  Forget about "margarine".

And( this is my own addition) about a tablespoon of flour.
Here are the steps:

1. Grease an oven proof dish.

2. Stuff the chiles with cheese.

3. Lay the stuffed chiles in the dish with a little space between them.  Let the stems climb up the sides.

4. Chop the onion and saute it in butter (or ok, olive oil) until it's translucent.

5. Add the can of stewed tomatoes (and a pinch of sugar) and saute a few minutes.
6. Pour it over the chiles.

7. Separate the eggs.

8. Whip the whites.
9. Then add a tablespoon of flour to  the yolks with a teaspoon of water and good pinch of salt.  Mix well.

10. Fold the whites in with the yolks.

11. Spread this over the chile/tomato mixture.

12. Bake about 30 minutes in a 350° oven.  I don't know why the recipe in SwS says 45(to 60!) minutes, that's just wrong.

This is definitely good enough for "company", or just your favorite people!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fried Chicken, Redux

Again with the chicken?  Why?

Well, because,  last summer when I had to make a TON of Fried Chicken for a couple of fried chicken lovers' Very Important Birthdays,  I decided I needed to streamline my method of frying chicken a bit.  I needed to move things along, get it going, hurry up, dammit, too many other things to do!  Like sitting down to rest!  And then I decided that I liked the finished product better after the streamlining.
And so, for the sake of complete and full disclosure, and to help others sit down and rest, I am changing the way I fry chicken.  Forever.

And in honor of "Justified"'s 2nd season on AMC,  here is the newer, cleaner, quicker, more powerful way to fry chicken!  Less cleanup,  less standing, less dipping, less worrying about raw chicken.  I think Raylan would approve!

The only hitch is this: you need to plan ahead.  This method of frying chicken 
requires that you give it enough oven time to ensure thorough cooking.
Here is what you need:
Peanut Oil
Self-Rising Flour
Regular Flour
Garlic powder
White Pepper
Chicken.  Size of the pieces doesn't matter.
Here are the steps:

1. Start with rinsed and dried unfrozen chicken.  Soak the chicken in buttermilk.  Just buttermilk.  This  is not technically a brine, but the buttermilk is salty and the enzymes in the buttermilk tend to break the meat down a little.  You can do this for a couple of hours or overnight.

2. Mix self-rising and all-purpose flour in equal proportions.   I had a lot of chicken to fry for this batch,  so I used 2 cups of each.

Then I added
1tsp. white pepper,  1tsp. paprika,  1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1 T. salt.
Mix all this with a whisk in a large bowl.

3.  Set your oven to Bake at 200°.  Line a roasting pan with brown paper and a rack if you have one.  If not, just the paper do.  Put that into the oven.

4. Put about 4 cups of peanut oil into a heavy dutch oven and crank it up.  Give it about 5 minutes to heat up really well.

5. While the oil is heating up, take two or three pieces of chicken
directly from the buttermilk and put them on the seasoned flour.  Lay them down gently, and leave them for a minute, then gently flip them over.  Make sure all parts have been dredged in the flour. Then let it sit for a couple of more minutes to bond.

6. When you are convinced that your oil is hot enough (bubbling),  carefully put the (3 or less, never more) pieces of chicken in.  Turn the heat to medium.

7. After about 5 minutes turn them over.

8. When the chicken is dark golden brown all over, (in other words, about 5 more minutes or until it 
looks perfect) take it out and put it into the roasting pan.  Don't worry about pink insides, it's going to cook some more.  But it's not going to get darker, and it will stay crispy.

Continue with the rest of the chicken, and when you are finished, leave the chicken in the oven for at least another hour to make sure it's all
cooked.   If you are nervous about it, check the deepest part of the biggest piece of chicken with an instant read thermometer and see that it's over 165°.  It should be.

This beats KFC.  Any day. 
So, what do you do with the left-over oil?
As well as making a very fine coffee, Chock full o'Nuts makes a dandy old oil receptacle.