Recipe Improvising – Potato Cakes

I have an Irish cookbook that my mom bought me for St. Patty’s day this year.  I hadn’t made anything in it until the other day.  My first choice?  Potato Cakes.  Seemingly easy recipe to start into the cooking of the Emerald Coast.  Yea – cause everything is easy, right?  I think my initial problem may have been the “Starchy” Potatoes ingredient.  I am never quite sure what that actually means.  I used yellow flesh potatoes which I find to be the best tasting…..plus they were on sale the last time I was at the store.

Ingredients:

Ready to roll out the dough while the potatoes are cooking

Mashing the potatoes.  Can anyone really get “smooth” potatoes using one of these things?  I have never been able to succeed.

I mixed in the four and rolled it out.  It was looking like it was going to go swimmingly:

Then, I tried to remove the dough from the counter.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  Of course I had issues, so I got annoyed and this happened:

I am calling it improvising.  I used my wonderous grill along with a cookie scoop to make little round potato pancakes.  I got a decent number of them when I was finished:

The first batch stuck a little but, but I figured out it was kind of like waffles – I had to let it sit on the grill long enough for the potatoes to release.  They definitely need more salt (I always suck at the salt part), but they were good.  I had them with some chicken and corn:

Not bad for a meal composed of mostly similar color foods.  I added Cilantro and Chive Yogurt from Trader Joe’s on the potato cakes.  They weren’t bad.  When I reheated, I threw on some salt and used ketchup.  Much better.  I am trying it with butter next – as the original recipe suggested.  I was really upset when I was having trouble lifting the dough from the counter.  I would try that next time, but I will have to research what exactly starchy potatoes is are.  I think maybe Idaho or baking potatoes?  I better figure it out before I make the next recipe 😀

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Eating the same thing…..I’m ok this time

This is the second chicken salad I have made for this blog and this one comes from the exact same cookbook as the first. I definitely enjoyed this one, but I think there is something missing from it. I must like it because I am having it for Lunch today, Dinner tonight and lunch again tomorrow 😀

Ingredients – minus the chicken. This time, it was intentional. Do you know how hard it is to get a good photo of chicken breast in a bag? It looks a little creepy. I didn’t end up using the canola oil, but I will get to that

Dressing – Yes, it is almost the EXACT color of my dishes *SIGH*

This is where I was contemplating adding more onion, but did not. I will see how it is today to form a solid opinion and mark up the cookbook (I LOVE doing that!!)

This is where I decided the recipe writers were insane. The original recipe calls for 1/8 cup canola oil and 1/3 cup of Cajun seasoning…..1/3 CUP???? The oil isn’t really that much, but I couldn’t get over the amount of seasoning that they wanted you to use! Well, since I was using this handy thing:

I completely cut out all the oil. I still covered the chicken in seasoning, but it wasn’t even close to half of 1/3 cup (did I mention I was making a half recipe?) I think I still managed to get enough on there. I also pounded out the chicken so it was the same thickness. This helped in only having to cook this for about 4 minutes. I think this is the biggest problem with people complaining about dry chicken. They really don’t realize how little time it takes to cook them – especially if they are the same thickness.

All done! Making you droll isn’t it? 😉

Messy all mixed up picture. I had to move it to another container to mix and back again – hence the messy. Still keep in mind this is a HALF recipe. I made it into 4 servings at about 6 ounces each. according to the recipe, this is supposed to be 3 servings at over 7.5 ounces each!! I think I am good with this 🙂

Here’s part of my dinner. I paired it with corn topped with butter and pepper……the pepper might have been a mistake.

It was really good. Different, but good. I want to eat my lunch now even – lol. The bread was iffy, I don’t think it had what it takes to hold chicken salad of that caliber. I probably will add more onions next time. I think the whole thing is missing something sweet. Not overwhelmingly, but just a burst every once in a while. I love corn…..I wonder if corn would work in it. Or even dried cranberries. Something that would not clash with the mustard in the dressing.

Is it lunch time yet? 😉

 

Noodle substitution gone bad

I was going to show you the Vegetable Lo Mein recipe that I had pictured in a resurrection post.  I was going to be happy and eat my noodley goodness.  I was going to be soooo smart and substitute the rice noodles in the fridge instead of working harder to find some soba noodles.  If you couldn’t tell, it was a complete failure.  I don’t know if I didn’t cook them enough or too much or if they are just not made for warm dishes, but I ended up with some veggies and mush.  I am trying to have it for lunch tomorrow, but I have a bad feeling that the other two servings will go the way of the dodo.  (Edit to add – yep.  Crap.  Tossing) I be not happy and I be not sharing those pictures.

Slightly related, anyone have any recipes for napa cabbage?  I got over a half a head to use up.

I can however, show you the experiment with the split chicken breasts I bought.  I am not a fan of bone on chicken.  I am a bit squeamish when it comes to that stuff.  Why did I buy them?  Cause I needed chicken and look at this deal:

I cut the rib part off the chicken, why?  Because the interwebs told me to, that’s why.  If any of you are squeamish – there is a definite *HURK* factor here.  I also trimmed some of the excess fat on *HURK*.  I took some oil and garlic and basted them a little with it and even tried to get some under the skin *DOUBLE HURK* and got them ready for the oven:

Put them in for 40 minutes at 350.  When I took them out, the temperature was just below 165.  I put them back in for another 15 minutes, but 5-10 would probably be enough.

Closeup

There is just something about pulling the chicken off the bone.  I don’t like the texture of the chicken that is closest to the bone.  I don’t have this much issue with fried chicken.  I don’t know if I am cooking it wrong or what.  I might try it in the skillet next time and see what it is like.  For my next recipe, I will be using the good old boneless/skinless chicken breast.

Searching for a cookie for breakfast

I love oatmeal raisin cookies.  I hate oatmeal.  I know it is good for you and it is good to have different breakfasts in your arsenal so it doesn’t get boring.  I found this recipe over at Macheesmo last year I think.  It was the first one that even remotely looked appetizing.  I made it and loved it.  I didn’t put it in milk, but I did throw it in the toaster oven in the morning to get heated up.  I haven’t made it for a while, so I am excited about this rendition.  I added something a little extra.
Ingredients – missing eggs of course.  What will you do if I ever have an ingredients picture with all of the needed items?? I would probably pass out

Mixing the liquid ingredients.  I used my immersion blender to mix everything.  I don’t get to use it nearly enough and I thought it would help.  I also was pouring melted butter into eggs and didn’t thing I could mixed fast enough so the eggs didn’t scramble.  This is also the step that I realized that I forgot the nutmeg.  Not a huge loss to me, since I am not a huge fan

I added these with the oatmeal – so my thumb’s a little funky, so what??:

And mixed it all up and put it into a square baking pan.  I think next time I want to try baking it in a pie pan.

You store it over night and bake it in the morning.  I waited until after I was done with work to bake it.  I didn’t want to take the time to bake it in the morning.  It is hard enough getting out of bed to go to the gym let alone do some baking:

I usually cut it into 8 slices and eat it with some milk.  I wrap it in foil so that I can bake/heat it up in the toaster oven at work.  If I remember correctly, it is pretty filling.  I am excited about the addition of raisins to this round of baking.  It was definitely good enough to add into the handwritten cookbook.

On a not completely unrelated note, I found out that if you bake something with garlic and something resembling cookies, the tastes do not meld as you would think.

Beef Pie (aka Apology Pie)

I stumbled on this recipe years ago.  I love it’s simplicity and wonderful taste.  Sadly, it looks as though the author of the blog has not kept up with her blog.  I have tried it with chicken and my advices is….don’t.  It wasn’t as tender or moist.  Just not as good at all.  I also recommend making the recipe with chunks of potatoes instead of slices.  That’s just a personal preference for me though.  It may be because the slices I used were ultra thin.  I just liked the chunks better.

Ingredients:

Missing the crust and obviously there are a few other adjustments from the original recipe.  I didn’t use zucchini because I am not a big fan.  I replaced it with a carrot.  The original recipe calls for an entire onions, but this is all I had.  Because of budgetary reasons (not getting paid until Monday 😕 ).  I also didn’t have the required 2 cups of broth.  I added some water and some some of the vegetable seasoning and base you see in the picture.

The recipe said to brown the meat after coating with the flour.  No fat or anything made it difficult as you can see:

I tried to add some fat, but it was too little too late.  Next time I will add butter before browning.  Maybe if I had a non-stick pan, it would be easier.  I am not sure how I did it before.  Being as patience is not a virtue I hold, I decided to forge ahead and throw the broth in to cook the meat.

I was originally going to add only one potato, but it didn’t look like enough and I added another half potato.  Cut up the carrot and threw them in.

Honestly, you could just eat it here after it simmers for a bit.  It basically tastes like stew right now.  I love stew.  Beef and gravy and I am happy.  But seeing as I am making a pie, I put it in the crust like so:

And baked until it looked like this

Up close and personal.

It was more runny than I remember.  Maybe I only added a can of broth previously?  I was going to let it sit for a bit so it would, um, not sure of the right word to use here.  Congeal sounds gross.  Harden sounds unappetizing.  Be not so runny?  Why is this word eluding me?  Maybe I need a nap.  Regardless, I was too hungry and impatient to wait and therefore, I didn’t get a picture of it plated.  THICKEN!  That’s the word I was looking for.  Wait for it to thicken – whew!  🙂

I enjoyed it regardless of the runniness.  I think I always will.  It is basically stew in a pie crust.  I love pie crust and I love stew.  I just used Pillsbury ready made pie crust.  It is tasty and I am lazy – lol.  Seriously, quick, comfort food like this, who wants to spend time making crust from scratch.  This and a good chicken pastry recipe and I am in heaven.  Maybe that should be a requirement for a husband check list.  Must be able to make chicken pastry 😛

Chicken Fajitas

I wanted a quick dinner tonight and I always wanted to try making fajitas.  I dived in head first without a recipe.  Since I have never made it before, the biggest concern is the seasonings.  Other than that, fajitas are just peppers, onions and fixins, right?

Simple Ingredients:

See that taco seasoning in the picture?  Ignore it.  I didn’t use it.  I actually used this instead:

I wouldn’t recommend it.  Oddly enough, I felt like I was eating Indian flavored fajitas.  Next time, I will stick to my trusty Taco Seasoning.  In the picture, there are 2 chicken breasts.  I cleaned them, cut them into strips, covered them with 1 tsp of oil and seasoning to my heart’s desire.  That basically means shaking, mixing, shaking some more until I come out with this:

I put another tsp of olive oil in my non-stick wok.  I cooked the chicken until it was done one one side and flipped it over:

Turned up the heat to compensate for the frozen veggies, then threw them in, too.

More cooking:

The frozen veggies did add a lot of extra water that I was trying to cook off.  Next time, I will buy fresh and cook them lightly so they are still crispy.  Not to say that these were bad – just a little….floppy – lol

All done:

This is what was left in the pan after I made my dinner.  I added the cheese before I realized that you probably wanted to see what it looked like when it was all done.  I added these ingredients to make my dinner (like the collage :D)

And voila – dinner

It was good, but the chicken was somewhat bland.  I think all the extra water from the vegetables had something to do with that.  Next time – if I use frozen veggies, I will cook them separately.  Regardless, I think this was a success.  The cilantro and chive yogurt dip is proving very resourceful.  I have a potato patties recipe that I want to try it with.  This will make a wonderful lunch tomorrow for only 400 calories!

Crumb cake – update

I brought the Crumb Cake to work today and called it “Coffee Cake” so people wouldn’t feel guilty about eating cake in the morning 😉  I noticed with the first piece gone that there was a lot of the topping still there.  I cut myself a piece – to test of course…… and about half the topping fell off.  It was dried and didn’t stick very well.  Not sure if it needs less flour, less baking time or maybe I just need to press it down more into a crust like topping.  Maybe even only use half the topping recipe.  It definitely doesn’t need more butter, I could taste that.  The cake itself was good.  Using skim milk was a little noticeable to me – especially after having cake using whole milk.  I don’t regret using it, though.  I will have to try it the next time, though.  The only problem is that I always end up wasting the leftover whole milk.  I have no pets, kids or significant other to feed it to.  I cannot stand the taste of it, so I definitely won’t drink it.  😛

 

Thoughts for next time:
– Use whole milk
– Bake only for the exact time – no more
– Try pressing the crumbs down more