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Lots of Food!

So, I have been home for a long time. This whole month actually. I didn’t take pictures of everything I made but anything new, I got pics of. I had a bunch of bell peppers in my garden this year so I decided to pick them and make some stuffed bell peppers. I chose to make cheese scalloped potatoes along with it. They were really really good. I followed both recipes pretty much exactly. They were both recipes from Emeril Lagasse.

Mr. John’s Meat-Stuffed Bell Peppers

* 6 green bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
* 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 1/2 pound ground pork
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* Pinch red pepper flakes
* 2 cups cooked long or medium-grain white rice
* 8 ounces tomato sauce
* Water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell peppers and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, pork, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, not rinsed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook onion in butter until soft, add flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking. Whisk in milk and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup of cheese, stirring until melted; season with salt and pepper. Layer half of potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with half of sauce. Layer remaining potato slices on top of sauce and season. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.


Next, I made some carrot cupcakes from scratch along with cream cheese frosting. I didn’t really like the way they came out but I took pictures of them anyways so I will post the recipe here as well. For me, the cupcakes were too oily. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I changed the recipe into cupcakes… I am not sure. The frosting was mighty good tho!

Carrot Cake

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

Show: Good Eats Episode: Carrots: A Taproot Orange

  • Unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
  • 12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
  • 2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 ounces plain yogurt
  • 6 ounces vegetable oil
  • Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.

With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese

2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Yield: approximately 2 cups

Today I made Alton Brown’s 40 Cloves and a Chicken Recipe. Carter helped me smash the garlic cloves to take off the paper on the outside. I butchered a whole chicken, (thanks to Bean for the video for that!) and roasted it for a good hour and 15 minutes with the garlic and thyme according to the recipe. Then Ashlee and I took the chicken apart for the pot pie casserole.

40 Cloves and a Chicken

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Show: Good Eats Episode: In The Bulb of the Night (Garlic)

  • 1 whole chicken (broiler/fryer) cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 40 peeled cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss with a 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown on both sides in a wide fry pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add oil, thyme, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove chicken from the oven, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, carve, and serve.

Curry Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Show: Good EatsEpisode: Casserole Over

  • 4 cups frozen vegetable mix, peas, carrots
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 package puff pastry

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss frozen vegetables with canola oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place into oven and cook until golden brown.

In a saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. In another saucepan, heat the broth and milk. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and curry and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk mixture and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Toss the browned vegetables and the chicken. Pour into a shallow baking pan, or a large terra cotta pot base, lined with foil, and top with 6 to 8 circles of puff pastry. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

This is the leftover garlic from the roasting. I am not sure what I am going to do with it yet but Bean gave me some good ideas!

This is all that is left of the casserole. Everyone seemed to like it alot! I am very happy about that for sure. I also made some chocolate chip oatmeal raisin cookies from a recipe out of my Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies.

Favorite Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate covered raisins

For oat flour, place 1/2 cup of the rolled oats into a blender or 1 whole cup into a food processor. Cover and blend or process til the oats turn into a powder. Transfer to a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium high for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in the oat flour and AP flour. Stir in the remaining cup of rolled oats and the walnuts and raisins with a wooden spoon.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 36 cookies.


Bean brought up a good point. If the cookies are warm when you put them in the oven, they will spread. I have had this problem with doughs before at other times. I think if the dough is refrigerated for a couple of hours at least before you bake them off, they will not spread so much. I noted it in my cookbook so I wanted to note it here as well. With the chicken pie, I used Pillsbury Grands flaky biscuits on the top instead of puff pastry. They were yummy. I didn’t use the curry in the recipe either… instead, I added some of the roasted garlic cloves to the celery and onion mixture before I put in the milk mixture.
We are going apple picking tomorrow so I will probably be making some fun things with apples next week! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2008 in General Food, Meals!, The Bakery!

 

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Home again.

Well, we are home again and I decided that after cleaning the house all day, I didn’t want to cook anything. However, the guys in the IRC convinced me that I should make pasta with sauce for dinner. I took a can of diced tomatoes and a tiny can of sauce and added some oregano, 3 cloves of fresh garlic, 2 yellow tomatoes from our garden, 2 green bell peppers from our garden and let it cook for about 20 minutes. It was at that point that I decided that I should try adding some of our new dried Gourmet Mushroom (porcini, oyster, brazilian, ivory portabellas, and shiitake) mix to the sauce. I rehydrated them according to the directions on the canister and added them to the sauce. They cooked in the sauce for a good 5 minutes. I figured the angel hair was done cooking so the sauce should be pretty well done as well. It all tasted fantastic but the mushrooms definitely needed to be soaked longer. Some were perfect and others were still sorta hard and weird tasting. All in all, topped with mozzarella and parmesan, the pasta dish was awesome enough for me to try making it again.
Here are some pics of this easy pasta dish!

Pasta cooking:

Sauce cooking:

The finished product!

Gourmet Mushroom Blend:

I am going to need some mushroom recipes for this baby!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2008 in General Food, Meals!

 

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