Monday, July 21, 2014

Change isn't always a good thing.....

After attempting to alter my URL to make things easier, I found that I cannot edit all the page references and make it all work so I changed it all back to the original obscure URL that starts with icxcpainter.

ICXCpainter was originally chosen because I paint icons and the Greek abbreviation for Christ is IXCX. I thought it was clever at the time but now it is difficult to share the blog. Changes however are difficult to manage and after this attempt it is better left alone so I don't orphan all my posts. I use this as my own personal recipe book besides and I have my whole cooking experience to date here. Some of these recipes I just don't want to lose.

Sorry for the confusion. Back to normal.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

4th of July Feast

We had a few pounds of ground Lamb in the freezer and I was looking for something unique for the 4th of July weekend. Nick and Mackenzie were in the house as well as Jill. Despite my immobility, I wanted to try my hand at hamburger buns again. The first time were Ok but I could do better. It took about 4 hours to make the rolls most of rising time and it was well worth the effort and there was not much. I let the mixer do all the work and heavy lifting. I set the time for the knead at 7 minutes and walked away. What a difference! Bread is all about hydration and developing gluten and that long, mechanical knead produced a beautiful crumb and soft delicious bread.

Mackenzie also wanted a salad to use her figs and candied pecans. We used spinach and baby kale with a Balsamic Honey Dressing to die for.

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Honey
S & P to taste

Now the Lamb Burgers are on the blog already so search for them. The rolls are as follows:

Hamburger Buns (8)

1 Tbl yeast
3.5 cups AP flour
1 c warm water
1 egg
3 T sugar
3 T melted butter
1 1/4 t salt
1 teas olive oil
1 teas Sesame seeds

Put yeast, 1/2 c of the flour, sugar and the cup of warm water in the mixer and whisk well. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes till foamy.

Add the egg, salt and butter, whisk well then add the remaining flour. I used the Kitchen Aid and mixed till it came away from the sides of the bowl. Scraped it down and then mixed with the dough hook for 7 minutes. Dough will be sticky bu not stick to your fingers.

Turn it out, clean the bowl, coat it with the olive oil and add the dough back. Cover and let rise till double. I let mine go a solid 2 hours.

Deflate the dough and divide evenly into 8 pieces.

I lined a baking sheet with parchment and placed the 8 disks of dough (turn under the balls till smooth on top) and flatten them slightly. I used the 2, 1, 2 arrangement of the pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until large and puffy. Mix and egg with a tablesppon of milk and lightly brush the tops of the rolls, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 375 for 15-17 minutes till golden.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Laid up and not cooking much

As many know I had a total knee replacement paying for the sins of my youth I guess. Since I hardly ate at all the first week and a half post op we hardly cooked last all. I have been in 'stir' for a few weeks now and itch to get out for as change of scenery. So far Brenda has let me go to the grocery with her. I have had a few cravings now that my appetite has come back of sorts. Still not a lot sounds that great to me but we whipped up some NAC and cheese today and are having it with the carry out wings we picked up last night. So far so good. Brenda has been making a most excellent Banana Blueberry Bread. Fantastic!

Banana Blueberry Bread
1 3/4 c flour
1tsp baking powder
1/8 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c buttermilk
1/2 t vanilla
3 ripe banana mashed
1 c blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts (op)

Combine dry ingredients.
Cream butter and sugar.
Mix wet ingredients incl banana mash.
Combine  dry and wet till just mixed. Add blueberries and nuts. Mix well and pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 350 for 30-35 mins until pick comes out clean.

Brenda's seriously cannot eat enough of this.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dessert, the best part of some meals

We had a dinner date Saturday night and we were in charge of dessert. This one,  fresh off of Pintrest,  looked promising and it was. Delicious and light it was a big hit. Of course the meal was fantastic as Matt has a way with a steak. The salad was non stop eating and we made pigs of ourselves. But the dessert, well that was kind of unexpected. Very nice and here is how it goes:

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Tart

1 puff pastry sheet
pint of fresh raspberries
4 oz cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
2 T heavy cream
1/3 c lemon curd (Trader Joe's)
1/3 c raspberry preserves heated
egg yolk/1 Tb water  egg wash
Decorative clear sugar crystals
Powdered sugar

Consider doubling the filling recipe above as I did.

Roll out pastry to 11 x 13 or so. Score 3/4 inch from the edge, wet lightly and fold over itself. Prick the bottom with a fork and paint with the egg wash, sprinkle with sugar. Place on a baking pan lined with parchment and  bake 425 for 10-15 minutes.

Mine puffed big time in the middle but was easily deflated and pressed down with a spoon. Allow to cool completely.

Mix softened cream cheese, cream, lemon curd and sugar. (The recipe called for this much but I doubled this and it filled nicely). Fill the pastry shell. Top with raspberries and drizzle over the jam. Top it all off with powdered sugar. Chill till ready to serve.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


It's not like we haven't been eating. I just haven't ate anything noteworthy. Well, with a minor exception, we hit Nichola's again in the Old Market area for an anniversary dinner with good friends.

Gads I hope I am not as big as I look in this photo but we had a great meal here again. Moderately priced and delicious Italian food. Fresh and frankly too much for me to finish, I took half of it home. 

We spent the rest of the weekend out at Brenda's folks and had a nice visit and a Birthday party to attend. The drive home was peppered with bad weather typical for this time of year but we mostly beat the storm back to Omaha. We both had our leftovers from Friday. Hopefully I will be cooking again in a few weeks after I get my legs back under me again. Meanwhile I will have plenty of time to research some recipes and make some new things.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eating Omaha....The Warehouse

Actually it would be Eating Bennington since we drove about 10 miles out of Omaha to this sleepy little hamlet on the outskirts of town.

For a Saturday night it was not terribly busy but we arrived early for a Saturday about 630. Nice and open, clean and inviting it is a family establishment with very friendly staff and patrons.

The menu was pretty ordinary for this type of place which on hindsight was pretty typical of a sports bar and small town eatery.  Very family oriented and affordable. Not quite what I was expecting though.

We started with wings and potato skins and a house beer. The wings were good but we did not care for the "Down and Dirty wings" which had too much of just a teriyaki taste to them. The skins were great but I don't skins often so I am no judge.

Matt had the pork tenderloin sandwich, Brenda and I split a 1/2 pound burger as did Lori. I ordered a side salad and Brenda had fries. The burger was tasty but typical of the area and really it was a pleasant place to come if you were in the area. I don't feel the need to drive all the way out there again.  If I did I think I would try some delicious looking fare from the larger dinner menu and they have steaks for a reasonable price.  All in all a pleasant experience but 2 beers, wings and 1 burger set me back $35. plus tip so....

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pizza Redemption

I was so disappointed with our pizza the other night I need a fix, badly. Last night I made a family favorite hamburger pizza with my usual homemade sauce. The only real difference is that I used Trader Joe's crust. I love this stuff. Sadly it is everything my crust is not. Brenda actually had a program to attend for work so she wasn't even home. I had this beautiful pie all to myself.

Look at that bubbly crust! So tasty I have to admit I wish my pizza dough was half this nice. I am sure the secret is it is very, very wet. It does not stick tot he bag and I oil it right out of the package, spread it out on a parchment paper and top it. It is so much easier to move to the oven on the paper.

So about 1/2 pound of hamburger, a few mushrooms, 1/2 cup of sauce and a cup of shredded Jack later...voila!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Eating Omaha....Piezon's

A local establishment opened next to King Kong's for pizza. We have been eyeballing this place for a while and finally took the plunge and ordered a large Supreme style pizza. $22. is  a hefty price tag for pretty much a mediocre pizza. The crust was unimpressive and the toppings were okay but no gooey cheese overall it was pretty dry. I had one piece only and didn't care much for another. I think we will have to stick to Sgt Pfeffer's although it's quite a bit father away.  Too bad. we have not had a great pizza place in the neighborhood since Don Carmello's closed up shop.  Not sure this place will last too long. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chow Chow the easier way

After I had assembled all the ingredients for the previous post, I decided it was way too complicated and long so I went the easy way.

Hot Chow Chow

1 small head of cabbage
1 medium onion
1 Anaheim Chili
3 Jalepenos seeded
1 large Red pepper
3 Tomatillas

Shred the above either by food processor or by hand

I did salt and drain this overnight then rinse and squeeze in the a.m. but then I realized I had to add a cup of water to the mix so why?  Just place all the shredded veggies in a pot and add the following:

1 cup white vinegar
1 c cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 T salt
1 t mustard seed
1 t celery seed
1 t pickling spice
1 t turmeric (makes it yellow)

Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning adding more salt or sugar as desired or whatever flavoring you have in mind. Some recipes called for bay leaf.

Can in pint jars and process 10-15 minutes. I added a healthy squirt or 3 or 4 of Siracha cause it need more heat.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hot Chow Chow

Because I can never find Mrs. Renfro's when I want it...I found this recipe on line.

...................Hot & Spicy Fermented Chow Chow...................
- Fresh ingredients -
12 Jalapeno-diced
4 Manzano-diced
2 peach Habanero-diced
3 green bell-diced
3 red bell-diced
2 Green Anaheim Chile’s-diced
3 green tomatoes (or 6 tomatillo’s) -diced
1 large Vidalia onion-diced (more/less to taste)
1 small head of cabbage (1 Lb or so)-shredded

- Dry ingredients -
2 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cayenne flakes
1TBS pickling salt
1 Cup sugar

- Liquid ingredients -
2 TBS whey (harvest from yogurt)
Distilled water (as needed)
Vinegar (see note)

Glass container with air tight lid (gallon pickle jar works well)
If your glass container has a metal lid, I suggest a couple layers of plastic wrap between the lid and the jar, otherwise the lid might begin to rust on the inside during processing and/or storage.

- Instructions -
Wash all fresh ingredients thoroughly, drain and mix together.
Combine the dry ingredients,
Pack tightly into the glass container 1/3 at a time, adding the dry ingredients at each layer, Fill to within 3 inches at the top.
Add the whey, then slowly pour in the water, until it completely covers the contents.
Make sure to leave at least 2 inches of air space at the top.
Secure the lid, and sit aside to ferment for 2 or 3 days at room temperature.
Soon after sealing the container, you will begin to see small bubbles forming and becoming active.
Occasionally you might need to release some of the natural gasses that form during the process, by quickly opening and re-sealing the lid.

After a few days of fermenting, move the jar to the fridge, where your chow-chow will keep for several months, if it happens to last that long.

If a tart vinegar flavor is desired, pour off some of the liquid, add cider vinegar to taste and then refrigerate.

The whey (optional)serves as a starter, to get the fermentation underway more quickly.
If you choose not to use a starter, add one additional TBS of salt and allow to ferment 3 full days before refrigeration.


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