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Kitchen Diary of a Madman

The highlight of every week for me is a weekend of cooking. Now that it's cooler outside I love having food projects going all day. Every weekend is a little different. I don't like to waste, so often, one thing leads to another thing. I often have little idea what the final dish is going to be as I start cooking it. Other times I prep little things for a couple days to be specifically used in a dish.
This will tell you what I did this weekend.

Why I did it;
Well, I like to cook and I need to eat. Most weekends I do cooking that will last me all week. This often includes cooking a whole bag of red potatoes then keeping them in the bottom drawer of the fridge for quick home fries, soup or potato salad. Fresh and ready to eat. This week I also had baked a bunch of russets. Lately I have also been cooking extra amounts of rotisserie chicken. I have some for nibbles all weekend then have meat left for sandwiches for lunches during the week.

What I had in the fridge;
  • 2 leftover rotisserie chicken breast on the bone.
  • 8 or 9 baked potatoes
  • some boiled redskin potatoes
  • onion, celery, and carrots
  • cheddar cheese
What I picked up at the store;
  • Aprox. 4 pounds ground beef
  • 2 Doz. whole chicken wings
  • sour cream
  • T. Marzetti Bleu Cheese Vegetable Dip

How I did it;
Friday night after work I began by removing the breast meat from the bone and set the meat aside. In anticipation of my weekend, which is Sunday-Monday, I started a chicken stock with the bones and smaller scrap pieces of the chicken breasts. For more flavor I also cleaned and added the celery butt and end pieces, as well as an onion cut in half and some salt & pepper.  After cooking long enough to scent the house with that home cooking aroma, I left the whole mess in the pot and stuck it in the fridge. That was my prep work for the night.

Saturday night after work I started soaking a pot of red beans.

Sunday morning I woke up early and ready to kick some food butt. First I started the beans on one burner and the chicken stock on the other.
When the stock pot was warmed up a bit, I separated the bones and meat from the stock and then put the stock back on to almost a boil. In the meantime I added the diced chicken breast meat, some carrots, celery and onion, all diced large. I like my home cooking big and chunky so it doesn't break down so much when reheating a few times. This only needed cooking a short time. I seasoning to taste with some garlic, sage and a wee bit of grated nutmeg. Lastly adding some large diced pre-boiled redskin potatoes. (I wished I had some frozen peas to throw in too, but was I out) I then thickened it with corn starch and water. Quick, translucent and thick.
I was not sure what I was making yet. I just like cooking and working with what I have to use up. Kind of a something from nothing dish. If nothing else it was to be chicken stew for lunches next week.

Next I started the beef cooking in a big pot with a bunch of onions, diced large, and some garlic. By the time this was done, the beans were done as well and had been drained and waiting on the side. I decided to finish the concoction in the crock pot. I have a real big crock pot so I dumped the meat and the beans together adding 1 big can of crushed tomato with basil, and 2 small cans of stewed tomatoes Mexican style. (all natural)  Next a bit of cumin and chili powder, then a stir with my favorite big wooden spoon.  The rest of the cooking and marrying of flavors would happen on their own over the next few hours of slow crock pot cooking.

I won't mention the constant keeping up of dishes. I like a clean kitchen so I wash as I go.
I guess I won't mention the beers that I enjoy as I cook either. It's a cookin' party, after all!

Now the previous projects are all cleaned up and out of the way so I started cutting the baked potatoes in half length ways and scooping the flesh into a bowl. I filled a couple cookie sheets with half shell potato skins anxious to be reunited with it's flesh. I mashed the potato with some sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Next I refilled all of the skins with this mix and sprinkled gently with paprika. These I just stuck in the fridge until I needed them in the oven.

First order of business with the wings is to separate the drumettes and the tips. I freeze the tips for a future chicken stock. The rest of the pieces are about to become art. I tossed them in onion powder and garlic powder then layed them out on a broiler pan and cooked them for about a half hour at 350. As I pull them out of the oven, I put in a tray of potatoes. Next I put the wings back in the big bowl, which is miraculously clean again, tossed them in the sauce I made, then baked them another 15 or 20 minutes. The potatoes finished at at about the same time as the wings. I topped them with grated cheddar and served them with a dollop of bleu cheese dip. 
About the sauce...
Chicken wings. I love 'em! Usually the more spicy the better. Today I started with some super hot pepper sauce made by a friend of mine. Seriously, you could dip a toothpick in this stuff, touch it to your tongue and catch on fire. I added some of this to my favorite barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray's. It was a tolerable hot before cooking, meaning a spoonful would make me sweat immediately. But somehow, after cooking it was less than mildly spicy but very sticky sweet. In a word, Awesome! I had gourmet nibble for two days plus.

First thing Monday morning I stuck the chili back in the crock pot and lunch and dinner was working by itself. I had some wings left so when I got the munchies I just stuck them in the oven while I preheated it to cook off the other half of the stuffed bakes.

Then I remembered the chicken stew I made the day before and decided to make a simple pie crust and make pasties. I made enough pie crust for four pies filling each crust with stew and folding it over on itself like a calzone. I then put a small slit in the top of each one and stuck some butter in the slits. Then baked them for about 45 minutes at 350. I put a little pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven to add some moisture. These turned out beautiful. After cooling them completely I wrapped them in newspaper, then baked them to use for my lunches at work this week.
(I use newspaper because I don't buy things like baggies or wax paper. Why should I when they keep sticking this stuff in my mailbox for free?)

What I created;
  • Buffalo Wings
  • Double Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Beef & bean Chile
  • Chicken Pasties
  • vegetables and dip

There you have it. A weekend in the kitchen with me.

Bon Appetite! Chez Dande'



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
I like the rhetorical turn "I won't talk about the beers ..." Which means I had me some beers. Like, "I won't mention your criminal record..." Also, I like the wrapping in newspapers... We should all think a little more about not falling into consumerist traps. Those pasties sound good. I know that Jim Dandy doesn't use previously made pie crusts!

Edited at 2010-10-13 08:00 pm (UTC)
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:03 am (UTC)
why, just yesterday
I followed your example and baked a whole bag of potatoes. Now I'm ready for home fries and tater salad later in the week. Thanks, Uncle Dandy.

Edited at 2010-10-26 12:51 am (UTC)
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
Last night's menu: home fries and mussels (garlic, lemon, parsley) And there's still potatoes left.
Oct. 26th, 2010 11:09 am (UTC)
Awesome! Way to got Mahk!
I didn't write about this week. I was sort of a rerun. I had chili ready to reheat in the crock pot, but I did make home made pizza and a mountain of chicken wings that I'm still eating! Yummers. I'll share my secret pizza dough techniques next time! Stay tuned. haha
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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