Quote

"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leftover Chicken & Dumplings and Cuchulainn Sheehan Mocktail


Bad Start Ends with a Good Recipe, Mocktail and More

My internet is so SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW, I have to have three projects in the works, so I can use the downtime for another project while I wait for internet access or a webpage to load. And that is just one of my technology problems.
So, I get frustrated.

I am working on two cookbooks. One is an enlarged version of Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook and the other is about mock cocktails.

One thing I have learned about cocktails is you can add a shot of liquor to just about anything and call it a cocktail.

I wanted to try a recipe called “Easy Chicken and Dumplings” because I love recipes that have “easy” in the title.

But, it calls for “cooked chicken”, so now I have to cook two dishes.

I need to cook chicken, so I can dice it for the recipe. So, how do you cook chicken?

Simple question, try an internet search and you end up with things like “Margarita Chicken”, not what I wanted to see.

So, I guessed. I added about 1 inch of water to a pan. I put my chicken legs in the pan on the electric stovetop and cooked them on medium high (low boil) for 20+ minutes. It worked, I got cooked chicken. Plus, some chicken stock.

Try pouring hot chicken stock into a jar; it can get messy if you aren’t careful. I firmly believe the kitchen is a dangerous place.

I put the chicken in the frig to cool, to dice later for the recipe. Now, I have lots of dirty dishes and I haven’t even started on the recipe.

This is perfect example of why I hate to cook and why I admire good cooks like my mom, who made it all look so easy. After doing five sinkfuls of dishes over the last three days, I could not help but appreciate my mom more. Plus, I am daydreaming about going out to eat. No dirty dishes in my daydreams.

Anyway, the dishes are washed and chicken has cooled.

After pulling the meat off the bones, I diced up a small bowl of chicken, more than the recipe called for.

While I made a few adjustments to the recipe, I wondered, “How do you know when dumplings are done?”



I don’t know. I was too tired to research it. All I could remember about dumplings was I liked them. I think they came out ok. They were hmmm, how to describe dumplings? Cooked dough in a chicken sauce. Not doughy, but dough-like, a bit like a biscuit.

The dish survived and so did I.



Also, I made a Mocktail I created and named “Cuchulainn Sheehan.” It turned out nicely -- refreshing, light and a bit tart.



At the end of the day, the computer technician came to provide me with an ethernet cable, so I could access the internet directly with the hope it would speed things up a bit.

So, a day that started badly ended successfully.

Now, I will call this recipe “Leftover Chicken and Dumplings”, so I will only use it when I have leftover cooked chicken.


Leftover Chicken and Dumplings (In Two Steps)

Step One

Chicken Mixture

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 chicken bullion and 1 cup water)
salt
pepper


Add flour to pan. Add water.
Stir to make smooth. Add more water if necessary.
Add broth. Stir.
Cook at medium heat until mixture thickens.
Add chicken.
Season to taste.


Step Two

Dumplings

1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2 tablespoons milk


In a bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder.
Stir to mix.
Add milk.
Stir to form dough. Add more milk if necessary.
Form small mounds of dough with a tablespoon and drop into chicken mixture.
Cover pan. Reduce heat.
Cook on simmer 15 minutes.



Note: this post was done while using the ethernet cable and there were no drops in service!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mocktail Passion


Opps, I think I have ventured into a passion.

While researching non-alcoholic drinks for my next cookbook, I became intrigued with making a variety of mock cocktails.

Soon, this intrigue turned into a passion.

In a decidedly non-tightwad fashion, I went out and bought googobs of ingredients to make at least 15 mock cocktails.




In researching various non-alcoholic drink recipes, I did revert back to adapting various recipes to suit my budget, pantry, kitchen, and tastes.

Of course, I immersed myself in the lore and technique of making cocktails and their mock counterparts.

I discovered that a trend may be developing for dry bars as discussed The Guardian article "Dry bars: will they be the next big thing?"

Also, while researching the differences between mineral water, carbonated water, club soda and seltzer water, I found an interesting bit on Wikipedia on "Two-cents Plain" carbonated water, the cheapest beverage served at luncheon counters during the Depression.

But, it was the IBA (International Bartenders Association) Cosmopolitan cocktail recipe on Wikipedia and the Virgin Manhattan mocktail I found at: Convivial.org that clicked with me regarding how the right proportion of ingredients and combination of ingredients can produce a unique flavor.

In particular, it was interesting to see how various mock cocktails recipes used other ingredients like brewed tea or various juices to try and create flavors that mimicked the original cocktail.

I am proud of my frugal recipe for a Boyhattan Mocktail.




If you try this recipe, don't forget, you can adjust the ingredients to your taste and even experiment with other ingredients including the garnishes.

So, now I am working on two cookbooks. One -- an enlarged version of my Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook and two -- a collection of mock cocktail recipes.

Researching mock cocktail recipes has made me appreciate the judicious use of various ingredients in all types of recipes.

Enjoy!

Note: I would have added captions to the images but the caption text affected the post text and I could not fix it. Not all the groceries in the grocery picture are for mock cocktails nor are all the mock cocktail ingredients shown.






Sunday, February 16, 2014

Darwin's Lost Theory by David Loye

Becoming an author has opened a new world of connections for me.

I heard an interview on the "radio" with Dr. David Loye regarding his latest book, Darwin's Lost Theory.

The topic grabbed my attention. Loye was promoting the same idea I expressed in my eBook, Gina's Dream.

I had raised concerns about how our society has adopted the so-called theory of "survival of the fittest" and now uses it to support rampant selfishness to the point of theft, lies, and brutality.

The theory of "survival of the fittest" has been credited to Charles Darwin in his book, The Origin of Species, when in reality, Darwin's research supported another theory, the theory of "cooperation."




Dr. Loye is a prolific author. He has written over sixteen books and several on the topic of Charles Darwin.

You can find Dr. Loye's book at: http://davidloye.com/DLTpromo.html

Also, Dr. Loye is affiliated with several organizations that promote Darwin's theories and other perspectives such as The Darwin Project: http://thedarwinproject.com/library/library4.htm

Because I have not read or studied any of Dr. Loye's books or projects, I can not offer any recommendations.

While Dr. Loye approaches the topic of Darwin's theories from a scientific point of view, I feel that the idea of cooperation in society also needs to be expressed in different genres and on different levels of understanding.



Mocktails


The best parts of a cocktail are a beautiful chilled glass and the garnishes.

These are simple recipes, so treat yourself!



Sparkling Rose Champagne

Regular 8 oz glass
Champagne glass
1/2  cup cranberry juice, chilled
1/2 cup club soda or carbonated water, chilled

Pour ingredients into a regular glass.
Stir and pour into champagne glass.

^^^^^^^^^^

Cremesicle

Regular 8 oz glass
Champagne glass
1/2 cup orange juice, chilled
1/4 cup plain yogurt, chilled
1/4 cup ginger ale, chilled
a dash of vanilla

Pour ingredients into a regular glass.
Stir vigorously.
Pour into champagne glass



^^^^^^^^^^^

Shirley Temple

Regular 8 oz glass
water
sugar
small bowl
small plate
Champagne glass
6 oz lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled
a dash concentrated jamaica juice or cherry juice, chilled
1 slice of lime

First, dip rim of Champagne glass into shallow bowl of water.
Then, dip rim into a small plate of sugar and set aside.

In regular glass, mix ingredients.
Stir well.
Pour into champagne glass.
Garnish with a slice of lime.



^^^^^^^^^^^^

Virgin Mary

8 oz tall glass
Tomato juice
dash of salt
dash of black pepper
1-2 dashes of tabasco sauce
2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
dash of lime juice
ice
garnish: celery stick

Add 6 oz of tomato juice to glass.
Add salt, pepper, tabasco Worcestershire sauce, season to taste.
Add dash of lime juice.
Stir.
Add ice.
Garnish with celery stick.

^^^^^^^^^^^^


Sunset Cooler

Fancy 8 oz glass
5 oz orange juice, chilled
Ginger ale, chilled
juice from slice of lime
a dollop of cranberry juice concentrate (or grenadine, or jamaica concentrate), chilled

Pour orange juice into glass.
Pour in ginger ale.
Run lime slice around rim of glass.
Squeeze juice from lime slice into glass.
Stir.
Add  dollop of jamica concentrate.
Do not stir.

Option: add ice

^^^^^^^^^^^^^


Notes

I am currently short on garnishes. Look for updates to this page.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mug: No Cook Fruit Oatmeal Treat

This recipe needs a new name.

I could not resist a recipe with the term "No Cook" in the title.


Mug: No Cook Fruit Oatmeal Treat

This recipe is a good example of how recipes evolve. I adapted this recipe from an idea I found on: http://realmomkitchen.com/11339/no-cook-berry-oatmeal/and the author of that recipe adapted her recipe from a recipe from another source.

In most cases, I struggle to make substitutions in recipes. But, various fruit and yogurt combinations seem suited to this recipe. I also try to use what I have on hand.


Ingredients

One 12 oz mug

6 oz of pineapple yogurt or plain yogurt

2/3 cup of oatmeal (about 5 ounces based on an 8 ounce cup)

2.5 tablespoons of pineapple chunks, canned, or other fruit (3/4 ounce)

1.5 tablespoons of pineapple juice or other fruit juice (3/4 ounce)

1/2 banana, sliced (slice banana in the morning)

1 tablespoon peanuts, crushed

honey




Process

Reserve 1 tablespoon of pineapple chunks and banana slices.

Stir remaining ingredients together in mug.




Refrigerator mug overnight.

In the morning, top with additional pineapple chunks, banana slices, nuts, and a drizzle of honey.

Imagine banana slices and a drizzle of honey.



Notes

Yogurt containers vary in size. My yogurt container was 242 grams or about 8.5 ounces, so I had to save about 2.5 ounces.

This is supposed to be a breakfast dish. I found it filling and sweet; I would consider also it a dessert.

Note: because I forgot to put the banana in the ingredients picture or to top off the dish with the slices and a drizzle of honey, my pictures are not accurate.









Friday, February 14, 2014

If My Mother Could See Me Now -- Chicken Picadillo -- My Way


My mother was a good cook. I could hardly boil water. But, as I work on this new cookbook, I am tackling more complicated recipes.

I think that mom would have liked this dish.

Adapted from original recipe from Dinners_Cookbook_508-compliant

Ingredients

2 tblspns olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 chicken thighs, if possible remove skin

1/3 cup tomato sauce (no salt)

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth (use 1/2 cube chicken or vegetable bouillon)

1/3 cup lemon juice or lime juice

1/4 tspn ground cumin

a few raisins

Garnish of choice

Parmesan cheese

Garnish choices: fresh cilantro, capers, green olives, chopped


Process

Gather all the ingredients together.






Make spaghetti or rice, first.

Save the spaghetti water, if possible after draining.

Add olive oil in skillet, set at medium heat.

Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, cook until soft about 5 minutes. Note, I added a little of the spaghetti water to keep the vegetables from burning.

Add chicken, cook for 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked (no longer pink inside).

Add tomato sauce, broth, lemon juice.

(I used a coffee cup and added the tomato sauce, then the broth using 1/2 a bullion cube and spaghetti water, then the juice of 1/2 a lime and topped it off with more spaghetti water.)

Add cumin and raisins.

Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or spaghetti and black beans.

Add garnish and parmesan cheese.





Notes

I got off to a good start by collecting all the ingredients in the same place. Plus, I started chopping the onion and green pepper as I made the spaghetti.

Unfortunately, my electric stove top seems to have two temperatures, boiling hot and warm.

While I think the dish came out good and I love olives, they were a nice touch, next time, I think I will punch up the curry powder.

But, I am beginning to see a problem. I am making too much food for me to eat, better start calling friends over for lunch or dinner.