A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I had mentioned in another post that I like to keep some potato slices left over from making scallop potatoes and this is why:

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I put the thin slices in a light brine to ‘crisp them up’ then I heat the oil in our deep fryer.  I then remove the slices from the brine, dry them well and put them in the hot oil.  In a few minutes you have the freshest most wonderful warm crisp potato chips you’ve ever had.  I add a little sea salt.  This is a great muncher before dinner.

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^This is my slow cooker contraption for reducing sauces.  For the Pizza Sauce I kept it going for 24 hours.  Works like a charm. 

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And, lastly a sampling of my tomato bounty.  Sauce, soup and stew all winter long.

Pizza Sauce!

Of course we HAD to test run a part jar to see how the sauce came out.  Since I could make it to our personal taste…I have to say it was marvelous!  I added cayenne pepper, tons of garlic and Italian seasoning.  It was a 24 hour simmer in the slow cooker with the lid off.  I’ll post a picture next of the simmer situation.  I have 8 250 ml jars.  It will make an excellent cooking sauce as well.  Yum.

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Pleasant Surprises!

Last spring Peter and I put in a small garden.  We were doing a lot of work on the house, but I bugged to get at least a little garden in.  I put it in and Peter helped hoe it a couple of times.  Well, we got so busy with the house and the plants didn’t look too healthy, so we stopped working on the garden and let the weeds take over.  Even so, I did get a good helping of green beans for the freezer, some beets canned and eaten and some nice fresh carrots. 

The tomatoes pooh-poohed out on us, decaying as they turned red for the most part and I only got about a bushel for my canning.  The rest I bought from a local farmer.

So, long story short:  I was in the grocery store looking at the green peppers because I am doing my chili sauce tomorrow.  (today I’m canning pizza sauce)  I remembered last week I saw a couple of small peppers on my plants in the garden so I decided to take the risk and not buy any in the store.

This afternoon I went to pick my couple of peppers…and this is what I got: enough for the whole winter’s cooking and more.  They are happily washed and in my freezer.  Should have bought a lottery ticket.  Oh, and that sad little garden has about 60 to 70 lbs of potatoes ready to be dug…. Smile

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Scalloped Potatoes, The Real Deal.

I have seen some very inventive creations that have been called ‘scalloped potatoes’.  Everything from nice looking ah gratin potatoes to pre-cooked potato chunks baked in canned mushroom soup.  I am posting my pictures of the ‘real authentic scalloped potatoes’ like your great grandmother would have made. 

Star with a nice cream sauce.  Melt 1/2 lb of butter in a good saucepan and cook until it turns a creamy white colour.  Whisk in while cooking, 1/3 cup of all purpose flour, continue to cook this until it is a very smooth paste.  Slowly whisk in 2 cups of heavy cream.  Whisk under medium heat while it begins to bubble and thicken.  Slowly whisk in 2 cups of milk.  Whisk until this becomes a nice thick-ish cream sauce.  Add 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and slowly add salt a bit at a time and taste until you have it at a perfect saltiness…not too much, but enough to taste.  Remove from heat, set aside covered.

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Next, peel and thinly slice potatoes until you have 6 to 8 cups depending on the size of your large casserole dish.  I went out to my garden and got a mix of fresh yukon and russet.  I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes ‘potato chip’ thin, making sure to have some left over.  Now, slice a large onion just as thin.  Butter your casserole dish.  put a layer of potato slices on the bottom, then a layer of onion, cover with a good layer of cream sauce.  Repeat this until the casserole dish is full.  Make sure potatoes are covered.

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On top, crush a few soda crackers. 

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Bake at 325, for the afternoon, keep a watch on them.  Some ovens vary and you don’t want them undercooked or worse, burned.  I don’t have a picture of the finished product as they are still in the oven as I am typing this…making the house smell glorious.  I know this is a lot of work…but it’s worth the effort…it’s the real deal!  Enjoy!

Mileage.

I always challenge myself to see how much mileage I can get out of a good roast of beef, a plump juicy roasting chicken, a turkey or a ham/pork roast.  Yesterday, I roasted the most gorgeous chicken money could possibly buy.  Chicken pound for pound is not expensive, especially when you get a good sale.  It’s always better in my opinion to buy the whole chicken as apposed to parts.  This chicken for example is a gift that keeps on giving.  Not only did it provide a great supper last night and made our house smell fantastic, but right after supper I put the carcass (after cleaning off the meat) in the stock pot, covered it in water and let it simmer right until we went to bed.  I put it in the fridge over night, then continued the simmer most of the day today.  The broth is so rich in flavour, just wonderful!  Okay, so I took some of that broth, and cooked down some nice vegetables in it, with onion, garlic etc. etc. thickened, whipped up a fresh pie crust, added the seasonings…and bob’s your uncle, chicken pot pie.  Had to be the best we’ve ever had…so creamy…dreamy….delicious.  I made enough ‘filling’ that I had lots to spare for the freezer and it’s a great base for ‘Chicken a la King’ in the near future.

I also had lots of broth left over and I have about 8 cups frozen.

Tomorrow for lunch we will have left over chicken pot pie.  Looking forward to it already.

That single chicken sure is going a long, long way.  Oh, don’t forget to click on the pictures for the full yum effect!

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When It’s Good, it’s really, REALLY Good!

Tonight, I had a very nice time in my kitchen and it still is going on.  I did a beautiful ‘crackle’ chicken, a plump juicy roaster from my favourite butcher, VG Packers.  To celebrate the cooler air moving in I added some nice spaghetti squash to the oven, which added to the aroma throughout the house. 

As a gorgeous side, I did up an authentic Italian risotto with arborio rice and parmesan cheese.  I used Chef Michael Smith’s recipe as a guide line and it was creamy delicious and so worth the extra effort. 

To end my evening kitchen marathon, I now have the chicken carcass in the stock pot making some really great chicken broth and who knows what that will become.  Ahhh, fall weather and cooking….that is the good stuff of life.

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Autumn…Home

There is something about this time of year, that makes me happy.  I love my home and I love the feeling of snuggling in.  And, I absolutely love to make our home smell like a little bit of heaven.  With the cooler weather, cooking has been for me so therapeutic, so restive, so calming.  The first dish is a fall/winter standard in our home.  This is healthy eating yet the flavours would put anything McDonald’s or Wendy’s could possibly offer to shame.  On the bottom is a squash, either butternut or acorn will do, then the meat mixture, then the potatoes (green from being cooked with kale) and topped with extra old cheddar cheese.  Served with a little coleslaw and there’s always extra meat mixture…anyone want the recipe…let me know.  The second is a cinnamon sticky bun, still warm from the oven.  They were so fresh, soft and tender….a real treat for the family.  Again, recipe needed, just ask. 

 

This is a just taste of things to come.  Our cool weather is going to turn very hot in a couple of days…+30 degrees. 

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