Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm Looking Through You, You're Not the Same

Split Pea soup in the slow cooker.  No big shakes.  I used smoked turkey wings instead of ham or ham hocks. 
The snow is dirty.  The dirtiest I've seen it yet. 

There's lots of trash on the street because the garbage was buried in the snow at some point and the bags broke open.  Now the street cleaners can't get to the curbs.

At this point the snow left over is like that dried up crustry scab that needs to be scratched off and done with. 
If this winter doesn't end soon I'm gonna go into orbit.

You have to be creative to see beauty in Brooklyn in the winter.  All the green gone from the trees and the flowering blooms, the blue erased from the skies, the pedestrians in all black.  Winter really strips off the make-up from the old girl and it's not necessarily a pretty site.

Thank goodness for the beauty I always seem to see in food.
In any season.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

She's Gonna Listen to Her Heart, It's Gonna Tell Her What to Do

I like the idea of cooking once and then making several meals throughout the week.  I guess it normally requires planning.  It seems I'm allotted one clear energetic day a month and this time it happened on my day off.  Somehow I instinctually knew exactly what to buy and for once it actually all worked out.  I made 4 key components like chicken, chicken stock, corn meal masa and roasted seasoning sauce that worked well in several meals.  The seasoning sauce was a base of roasted tomatillos, onion, a full head of garlic and plum tomatoes.  This was an answer to two problems.  It's a fix for my search for an alternative to chicken seasoning cubes and powders which have so much salt or they have MSG.  I need bold flavors and dry spices are great but sometimes you need to taste a fresher vibe. Fresh herbs will come with spring and in the meantime, this salsa is perfect as a winter flavor base.
As I mentioned in the last post I added it to the corn meal masa along with yogurt.  After it cooled and set in the fridge, I made little dumplings and threw them into this Mexican Chicken Dumpling Soup.
I used my homemade chicken stock, chopped cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, a can of diced tomatoes, chili and a cup of my roasted seasoning sauce. And one can of rinsed black beans.  A splash of balsamic vinegar.
Then I seasoned little ground chicken meatballs with cumin seed, garlic, oatmeal a little egg. Brought the soup to a boil and threw the meatballs in.
So the only fail was the masa dumplings mostly dissolved in the boiling soup.  I should have added them last after lightly steaming them separately.  Next time. 
But they did add a great surprising texture to the soup and I loved it.
A topping of cilantro, fresh avocado and green onions took this soup into orbit. .

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tonight's the Night

How to make this deconstructed chicken posole from yesterday even better?


by taking more of that roasted seasoning sauce to my fine grain corn meal masa made with home- chicken stock and then adding a dollop of Greek yogurt for extree creaminess!  THIS was the brilliance I was shooting for this week.  The masa completes the meal and adds that certain something to take it over the top. I love the course grain masa most but this extra fine really worked well for this particular dish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

We Can Be Heroes, Just for One Day

I was out sick from work yesterday.  I'm not sure if I'm the only one, this seems like a girl thing, but when I don't feel well and things don't get done, I end up going into overdrive trying to catch up the next day.  I got groceries first thing in the morning. Before I cleaned the apartment, I pulled and cut the skin off a full family pack of chicken thighs, put them in the crockpot with carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns.  I wanted stock and meat for the week's meals.
Then, I roasted some tomatillos and red plum tomatoes, onion and a head of garlic, put them in the blender with 1/4 cup of stock and salt & pepper.  I didn't have chilies or cilantro but you know what? This was so damn tasty as a seasoning sauce to add to just about anything.  And that week, I did add it to everything.
I sort of made this up as I went along because I had put pressure on myself to come up with something brilliant, which is always dangerous.  At first I was going to do a chicken posole in the slow-cooker but more soup was not a thrilling idea.  I kept hearing about all these 'deconstructed' dishes last year and so here is my Deconstructed Chicken Posole.  I shredded some of the chicken, added whole cumino seeds and ancho chili powder, sautéed with onion and green bell pepper, then added a good amount of my roasted seasoning sauce, let that simmer.  I added a large can of hominy and then adjusted the seasoning, added some dried Mexican oregano. 

You will love this when you're hankering for Mexican comfort food but don't want to spend all day making it.