Food Friday: Dorito chicken

Burger-based fast food leaves me cold, but I am an unashamed fan of Taco Bell. Recently the Bell has added a Meal Deal option akin to McDonald’s Mini Meals – one item (I usually go for the shredded chicken burrito), a side, and a soda that’s actually not large enough for a small child to drown in. The side is a bag of Doritos, and while I can dig a Cool Ranch Dorito once in a while, the regular nacho cheese flavor is not my thing. Thus I end up with the odd snack-size bag of Doritos lying around, never getting eaten.

Such it was when I found myself staring down the barrel of a package of chicken on its use-by-date (how’s that for an overly-dramatic mixed metaphor?). ‘Self,’ I said, ‘what about Dorito-crusted chicken?,’ and a great light shone down upon me… No, that’s not how it went. First I laughed at myself, second I verified that the spouse might actually eat such a thing, and thirdly I checked the Internet, where of course many had trod these paths before me.

The recipe I ended up using as my base is this one for Doritos Crusted Chicken Fingers. I didn’t change much, although I did end up making faux buttermilk out of milk and lemon juice, and only letting it sit for a half hour or so before breading. I only had one snack-sized bag of Doritos, so I paired it with panko breadcrumbs which also kept the whole thing from being too Dorito-y (another made up word for ya). The result was pretty tasty, and I’d imagine would go over well with kids and the chronically immature, I mean young-at-heart.

Food Friday: Belly Water

Earlier this summer, Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen posted a link to Belly Water, apparently originally from the Steve Harvey show. I thought the idea of steeping water in lemon, cucumber, ginger and mint sounded pretty nice for summer and I’ve been drinking variations on this for the last few weeks. I’ve got a pitcher that belongs to an iced tea maker that I chuck a sliced lemon, cucumber, some ginger, and fresh mint into and leave in the fridge. You can refill the water and reuse the stuff inside 3-4 times until you need to pitch it and start over.

(Does this even count as a recipe?)

Food Friday: Rhubarb Ginger Syrup

Sorry for the blog silence; moving and settling in to the new place has turned out to be an even more time-consuming process than I expected. The great part is that I’ve got my sewing room 75% functional and am slowly unpacking all the bits and bobs. Maybe I’ll actually sew something (other than mending) soon!

The kitchen is 90% there and I’ve begun cooking a lot more. I recently purchased a charming new cookbook called The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, by Alana Chernila. Apparently Alana has a blog, called Eating From the Ground Up, and I suspect a lot of the recipes started there. The book is a bit of a rambler, not focused on any one type of food or cooking/preserving process. I’m not sure that I’ll actually use that many of the recipes as written; I might recommend it as a library book before you see if it’s worth the price for you. There’s a section on drinks, including making your own tea blends, homemade hot chocolate, and that sort of thing, which has the following rhubarb ginger syrup recipe, designed to be used as a concentrate with seltzer, etc.

I love rhubarb, but the spouse is not the biggest fan, so I only test his patience with a strawberry rhubarb pie once every month or so in summer. This is a nice alternative that encourages me to drink more from our Sodastream. It’s very good mixed half and half with plain Sodastream carbonated water and ice. I made it basically as written using mint; if I were to make it again I’d cut the water down so I’d end up with a more syrupy consistency for my purposes, and I’m not sure that the mint really did that much at all. If you don’t have any fresh herbs around, don’t stress.

Rhubarb Ginger Syrup
from The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila

2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste
a few sprigs of fresh thyme or a handful of lemon balm, mint, or a combination of the two

1. Combine the rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb is almost dissolving. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the rhubarb.
2. Add the lime juice to the rhubarb water, along with the ginger and sugar. Raise ht heat to medium-high and cook at a low boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened.
3. Remove it from the heat, add your herb of choice, and cover. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Taste and add sugar if needed. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a jar or bottle and let cool.

Maybe a pie for the 4th?

Hi all. Blog silence is due to a move into a new house and its associated logistical shenanigans. It’s a bigger place, with room for a sewing room so that’s very exciting. Right now the sewing room is just a pile of boxes of fabrics and notions thrown about willy-nilly. More immediately necessary areas of the house, like our bedroom and the kitchen, have gotten higher priority unpacking service, but soon I’ll be able to tackle the more discretionary corners. Once I get everything reasonably into shape I will definitely post some pictures.

Since there hasn’t been much Food Friday action for a while, I will share this fabulous link, from An Oregon Cottage: The Ultimate Rhubarb Guide. All about planting, growing, cooking with, and preserving rhubarb. Rhubarb has always been one of my favorites, and I will definitely be planting shoots at the new place as soon as possible. To me, a strawberry rhubarb pie is the epitome of summer. Hope your summer is going well.

Food Friday: Cornbread with feta

I recently read Anya Von Bremzen’s memoir-slash-history-slash-cookbook, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, and I recommend it. The personal stories and the lens of food makes a complex and sobering subject like the history of twentieth century Russia a bit more approachable. In the book, Von Bremzen calls this Cornbread for Khrushchev, because of the leader’s obsession with corn and attempts to replace wheat with maize on Soviet farms, policies which were partially to blame for food shortages and famine in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Here’s the recipe, reproduced at Food & Wine: Cornbread for Khrushchev. The only changes I made were to substitute plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and only use 6 ounces of feta (what I had, but also, 3/4 pound of feta for one pan of cornbread seemed like a crazy huge amount). It makes a nicely moist result and the feta adds interest, although it’ll be a bit of an acquired taste if you’re used to sweet Southern (American) cornbreads. If I make it again, I might try adding chiles, or something else spicy, to balance out the richness of the bread and the pungency of the feta.

[Link to the book is an affiliate link.]

Food Friday: Carrot & Parsley Salad

There’s a local cafe that gives out a shredded carrot salad with all of their sandwiches. Theirs suffers a bit from sitting around all day, but it lead me to try to replicate/improve it at home. I started with this recipe from Carrot Salad. The only big change I made was to use pre-shredded carrots, increase the amount of parsley – more like a salad green than a garnish – and add slivered almonds. The proportions, for a 10 oz bag of shredded carrots, works out as follows:

1 10 oz bag of shredded carrots
1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Penzey’s country French vinaigrette*
salt & pepper to taste

*Optional, obviously, but it is a great flavor for this. The Penzey’s website lists the following ingredients: sugar, brown mustard, salt, garlic, black pepper, lemon, onion, French tarragon, white pepper, chives, thyme, cracked rosemary. You could substitute with some thyme, chives, rosemary and garlic powder.

Food Friday: Short Ribs

Hi folks! I’ve been doing a fair bit of cooking recently so I’ve got some recipes to share in the upcoming weeks. The other day I made some short ribs in the slow cooker, basically using this recipe from Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs. I made a few adjustments – a little less brown sugar, and no Worcestershire sauce because I was out of it. In general it was pretty tasty although if I made it again I’d reduce the amount of vinegar.