June 21, 2011
Easy as Skillet Tamale Pie!
Guess who was more enthusiastic about cooking today. It was Dooley!
It is hot today--in the mid 80's--and on the way home from work Doolia ran a mile and a half and walked another half-mile in the heat. So I (Doolia) was overheated and didn't want to do anything for a while when I got home. Both daughters were away, and at 6pm, Dooley was hungry and ready to cook. He brought the cookbook in and we looked at recipes to see what we could make with ingredients on hand. The Skillet Tamale Pie exactly fit the bill. We read it over and it looked pretty easy to make.
So we defrosted some ground turkey and while Dooley cooked it up with the minced onions, garlic, chili powder, and diced canned tomatoes, Doolia mixed up the cornbread (from scratch, mind you). Since we don't have a frypan that can go into the oven, we used a casserole dish. Dooley mixed in the shredd chedd and cilantro, and we poured the cornbread mix over the top. And into the oven it went. Shortly thereafter, we were eating, and laughing over how simple and delicious this recipe is. It's definitely going on our 'repeats' lists. I think next time maybe we'll add some corn to the meat mixture.
June 12, 2011
Deep Dish Pizza
For dinner tonight, Dooley and Doolia made Deep Dish Pizza from the The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. We started out with great uncertainty, which continued until the finished 'za came out of the oven.
This recipe, made entirely from scratch, surprisingly calls for an idaho potato and no tomato sauce. What kind of pizza is this, we wondered.
To add to our confusion, we had shopped at three stores and couldn't find a deep dish pizza pan anywhere. (Finally, we were able to order one at GFS, but it won't be in for 2 weeks.) So we looked around the kitchen to find a suitable substitute, and settled on using two traditional pie plates.
We boiled the potato, grated and measured it, then added to it the flour, yeast, oil, and water for the pizza dough. Even with the extra flour that the recipe says you may add if the dough is too wet, the mixture was incredibly loose and sticky. But we trusted the book and let it rise. And rise again, and finally we put it into the well oiled pie plates. On such loose dough, there was no hope of it hugging the sides of the pans or creating any sort of lip to hold the toppings. After a third rise, we "docked" the dough with a fork. Docking means poking a lot of holes through the dough, thereby preventing big air bubbles from forming on the bottom.
The crusts get pre-baked before any toppings go on. When they came out of the oven, we arranged over the top thinly sliced tomatoes that had marinated for a while with freshly cut basil and minced garlic (plus a little salt and pepper). Then shredded part skim mozzerella cheese, and because my family are meat lovers, we added pepperoni slices and some crumbled bacon. These two ingredients were not in the recipe, but ended up as nice additions. And finally, a sprinking of freshly grated parmesan cheese. And into the oven again until the mozzerella was melted.
They turned out utterly fantastic. So we'll make this one again. On the weekend, though, because it takes over 3 hours from beginning to end. But it's totally worth it!
June 06, 2011
Dooley and Doolia are getting back on track toward our goal. Last week we made some favorites, but this week we're making new recipes again. Tonight we made Chicken Teriyaki. Since most of the Dooley family doesn't like dark meat, we substituted boneless skinless chicken breasts for the leg meat that the The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook calls for. BIG MISTAKE! The recipe calls for quite a long cooking time on the stovetop in order to give the meat a "mahogany" color. By the time the breast meat had the right color, it was dried out and super stringy. But it was beautiful to look at, and the Teriyaki sauce was delicious. So next time (and we all agree that there WILL be a next time) we'll buy bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and see how that turns out. Live and learn!
June 05, 2011
Reprise Week--some favorites revisited
Dooley and Doolia cooked together last week several times, but only took a baby step toward one goal, of making (almost) every recipe in the book, The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.
We did progress in our other goal of improving Dooley's health especially, and Doolia's annual physical proved that we are both headed in the right direction. And the further goal of improving our relationship is very much on track too. We feel closer than we have for years!
So what did we cook this past week? The baby step was on Monday, Memorial Day: We grilled corn on the cob. It turned out perfectly done and was so sweet and had the beautiful grill marks all around. And was the perfect accompaniment to the grilled cheeseburgers. MMmmmmmmMMM!
We're still on our Sushi--California Roll kick, so we made those for dinner twice. They're quick, easy, and healthy!
And we revisited four favorite recipes, Cincinnati Chili served "Five Way", Simple Pot Roast, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Doolia made the multi-grain bread. Everything turned out picture perfect and so delicious!
Dooley commented to me that he enjoys cooking way better than eating out. The advantages, as he sees them are: 1) it makes our condo smell great! 2) If we're making something that takes a long time, we can do other stuff while it's cooking/roasting/baking. We're not tied to a chair in a restaurant. 3) It's much cheaper to buy and cook it ourselves. 4) No tipping is required. 5) If you're thirsty, you just go get something to drink! No waiting for the waiter. 6) You know just how fresh the food is, and that it's been handled safely and cooked properly. 8) You know exactly how much fat and sugar go into what you eat--and can trim those down to suit your own needs and taste. And 7) we're always happy and chatting while we cook. It's just so fun!!
So of all the recovery strategies we've tried over Dooley's 12 year illness, this one is the one that's really working. It's such a blessing!