When we lived in Milwaukee, we’d sometimes have dinner at my mom’s. When it was time to eat, she’d start pulling out dish after dish from her kitchen. This was usually one of those dishes. When I cooked it for dinner tonight it smelled like her house. Mike really liked it and told me he didn’t think I’d made it before. I had notes on the recipe in my cookbook though, so I must have. I told him I probably left the Chinese mushrooms out if I had made it before since I don’t like them. He however, LOVES them! I always try ONE bite of mushroom to see if maybe, just maybe, this time I’ll like them. This time wasn’t it. I know I’ve used them cut up pretty small in other recipes, but in this one, they were left in larger pieces. They come dehydrated and you have to soak them in hot water for 30 minutes to make them usable again. I added this soaking liquid to the pan when the chicken was braising instead of plain water. I think that did the trick.
The dish is pretty easy to make: Soak 6-10 whole Chinese mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Brown 1 whole, cut-up chicken on all sides in a deep skillet with some oil, garlic and ginger. Add the Chinese mushrooms, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup (or so) water or liquid from rehydrating your dried Chinese mushrooms, 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes. Mix together 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water and add to braising liquid along with 3-4 green onions cut into 2″ lengths. Stir sauce until slightly thickened and serve.
Mike went fishing at a friend-of-a-friend’s farm pond last weekend. He didn’t bring any fish home but he DID come home with a huge paper grocery bag of apples. The farm pond owner’s wife told Mike dashed his hopes of a fresh-baked apple pie when she told him the apples were not good pie-apples and that she mostly used them for applesauce. Heeding her advice, I peeled & chopped up about a dozen apples and put them in the crock pot on low with a little water, sugar and cinnamon. Two hours later we had warm, chunky applesauce that we spooned over vanilla ice cream and ate with pie crust strips (store-bought pie crust cut into strips, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes). This tasty little topping only used up about one-quarter of the apples, though. I cut/cooked up the rest tonight and found recipes for an apple cake and apple cookies, so stay tuned!
Pesto from my friend Jayne’s garden + tomatoes from my boss’ garden + more tomatoes & basil from our garden = a delicious dinner!
But beware if you let her cut her own piece, because this is what you’ll be left with:
This is chocolate zucchini cake made from a recipe is from my boss’ mother. Audrey resisted trying it for 2 days after I made it for the first time. Then she tried it and realized I wasn’t lying when I told her how good it was. I think this is the 3rd one I’ve made. I brought one on our family vacation and it was devoured (by 6 children) in no time flat.
We had a big post-parade meal for lunch of BBQ beef sandwiches, pasta salad, chips & cherry cobbler. I thought it might be nice to go a little lighter with dinner (and had thawed salmon that needed to be cooked). I minced up a package of salmon filets and mixed in some breadcrumbs, cilantro, green onions, a jalapeno pepper (shh – Mike didn’t know about this), some lime juice, salt & pepper. Made some patties and cooked ‘em up! Then I put them on a bun with some lettuce, cucumber, and mayonnaise with a little more fresh, chopped cilantro and lime juice mixed in. Mike took one bite and said, “Did you take a picture of this?” And so a blog post was born!
We’ve had this wooden salt shaker & pepper grinder for YEARS. I remember buying them at Home Goods in Milwaukee a loooong time ago. I figured it was time for an update. My choice? Glass shakes with stainless steel tops you can find in any diner across American (minus the greasy grime). I found the perfect set at Wal-Mart. So much cuter and they only cost $1.97!
My neighbor’s cherry tree had a bumper crop this year. Her husband came to our door one day and said his wife had already made 2 cherry pies (which he had gladly eaten) but couldn’t take anymore. He pleaded with us to go and pick some cherries and share the harvest.
So here I was…standing in the kitchen with 6 cups of unpitted cherries in front of me and no cherry pitter to be had. Then I remembered a friend of mine making a comment on Facebook that she used to use a hairpin to pit cherries. Who has hairpins these days? Not me. I DO, however, have tons of floral wire in my craft closet. It’s amazing the things you hang on to. So I cut off an 8″ length of floral wire and bent it into a “u” shape. Voila! A cherry pitter! MacGyver would be so proud.