Saturday, 26 February 2011

Slow Cooker - Chicken Stew

Speed post.  Well it's like the first half the recipe.  I'm getting the slow cooker ready before I go to bed and thought I'd share quickly.  It's hardly step-by-step but since the recipe instruction are "throw it in the pot" I figured I could skip the step-by-step fuckery.  I know you'll miss my fuckawesome photography.

Anywho this is what I've thrown in the pot:

About a dozen or so mini red potatoes
3-4 celery cut all purdy
3-4 carrots also cut purdy on an angle
2 medium onion cut into eighths
1 tsp of sage, thyme, oregano
2 cups of stock (I suspect that was too much - but I guess we'll find out)

I didn't throw in the chicken just yet because it's bad to mix the meat and veg before you add heat.  It's like asking for food poisoning.  I'll toss 'em in in the morning and cover them up as much as I can with the celery and carrots.

Next up - what the fuck to do with this once it's cooked.

Update: I was going to post a)how to thicken this and b) how to make cornmeal dumplings to go on top but I've had a shitty day and don't feel like it.

So to thicken it - crank the heat and combine water and cornstarch until you can just stir it.  Pour and leave for about 20min.

If you're going to add dumpling thicken it then just put the dough on top.  Here's the recipe:
 3/4c flour
1/4c cornmeal
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

 Combine these in a bowl.

2/3c buttermilk (or milk with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice)
2 tbsp melted butter.

Combine the two and put the batter in small drops over the chicken.  Cook about 20-25min.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Fantastic or Fuck up? - the muffin editon

New segment on el blog - fantastic or fuck up?  The part where I try a new recipe and deem it either a fantastic recipe or a total and utter fuck up.

First up: A delightful recipe call "Simple Spiced Whole-Wheat Muffins"  I thought I'd give it a shot because it had a ton of options for variations.  It also called for a few ingredients that I don't normally use in a muffin recipe - cake flour and sour cream.

Shit you're going to need to make this recipe.  Except for the bread flour - that was a fuck up on my part.  And the slow cooker - that was for supper that night
So I'm a big fan of sifting flour, especially stuff that's been sitting in a bag for months.  But feel free to skip this step.

Sift 2 cups of cake flour into a bowl.  Now it also calls for 1 cup of whole wheat flour and if you sift that you'll end up with a pile of bran flakes after you get all the flour through.  So skip sifting that like I did.

Add in 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice.  If you don't have allspice just up the cinnamon.

Now take 6 tbsp of unsalted butter that's been softened.

And beat the crap out of it. 

And in one cup of sugar and keep mixing it. Until it looks like.....


Scrape down the side of your bowl.  Toss in 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

Now beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time until they're combined.

Now measure out 1 1/2 cups of low-fat sour cream.  I ran out of sour cream so I topped it up with plain yogurt.  Worked just fine.

So the next part is basically adding in the flour and the sour cream.  But if you dump both of them in a the same time you're going to have to beat the shit out of batter to get it all mixed up.  So alternate adding the flour and sour cream.  Bit of flour, mix it in, bit of sour cream, mix it in.  Don't over mix this.  Get it?  Excellent.

A little flour...

A little sour cream..
Now I was going to make these blueberry muffins. However, since my blueberries looked like this:

A solid mass of blueberries. Solid.  And maybe only a quarter of the amount I needed.

And the stores were all closed.  I had to find a substitution for the blueberries.  They gave a whole wack of options for these muffins, cherry-almond, banana walnut, morning glory, blueberry and cranberry orange.

Did I have any of the ingredients for their substitutions ready to go?  Nope.  Cherries - frozen solid and no almond extract.  Walnuts? Check!  Bananas? Check? But of course they call for brown sugar to be used instead of white. Fuck.  Morning glory? No pineapple.  Orange-Cranberry well kinda.  I didn't have 1 1/2 cups of dried cranberries, but I did have frozen ones.  Ta da!  Cranberry it is.

Apparently I forgot to rotate this photo.  But it's not like you come here for the stellar photography right?
I coarsely chopped up some cranberries - which is really hard to do if they're frozen.  Little fuckers refused to stay still.  I ended up giving up on the chopping cranberries bit - decided to keep my thumbs intact instead.

Tossed them in some flour.  This is my tip of the day - adding frozen berries to something?  Coat them in some flour - it'll prevent the batter from getting discoloured and from the berries sinking to the bottom of whatever the fuck your baking.

Zested some orange.

Threw in a handful of walnuts. And folded into the batter.

Spray the crap out of a 12 cup muffin tin.  And take a 1/3 of a cup measuring cup and spray it too because this batter is thick.

I know it's blurry - but this is me holding the measuring cup full upside down.  That thick.
Plop el batter into the tins.

Shove them in a 375F oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached or they look like this:

The verdict:  Despite the shitload of substitutions - they turned out looking pretty good.  I loved the frozen cranberries as opposed to the dried ones.  I also like that for once a recipe that says it makes 12 muffins actually did.  Taste wise - pretty good, but a little on the crumbly side.  I like a muffin that I can eat while I driving and not lose half of it to the filth of the floor.  Bottom line: I'd have to go out and buy more cake flour to make another batch of these and I'm not sure that they're worth it for making on a regular basis.  I would however make them if I was giving them away - beautiful to look at, and this way I don't have to clean up the crumbs.  Not fantastic but not a fuck-up either.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Hey all!

You found me!  Now follow and let's have some fucking fun.