Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cool Kitchen Gadgetry: Funnels

Many people might not think about getting funnels for their kitchen, but I use mine all the time. I especially like mine because the opennings are actually big enough for things to pass through without clogging them up; and they are so colorful.

Here I am using one to refill a smaller container with sea salt. Have I mentioned how great sea salt is?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cool Kitchen Gadgetry: Marble Cheese Slicer

I know that every house already has a cheese slicer. Probably one like this one. I grew up with a slicer like this in my house and never really cared for it. It is difficult to get straight slices. You usually end up with knocked knuckles and a block of cheese that is scooped on one end.

So when I was out looking for new gadgets for my kitchen and saw this cheese slicer at $8.99 (Fleet Farm of all places), I had to have it. Isn't it beautiful? AND it slices beautifully too. You can get super thin slices or really thick slices, whatever you need. It is really easy to use, you don't have hold onto the block of cheese, and the marble keeps the cheese cool too.

I have used it on all sorts of cheese and haven't had a problem with any of them. THough this one did come with a couple extra slicing wires in case one does break.

The only thing that I don't like about it is that it is so big (I have a small kitchen and like small, collapsable, or multi-use items) and really only has one use. But, it's pretty enough to sit out on the counter if I can't find room in a drawer. So I think it is a keeper.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Traditional Manicotti

I got this recipe from the 1000 Vegetarian Recipe book. I'm telling you, I LOVE that book!!

In this bowl is two heaping cups of cottage cheese (it was supposed to be ricotta, but I had to substitute cottage cheese + romano), 1/4 cup Romano (see, I told you), 3/4 a package of frozen spinach, a cup chopped mixed sweet peppers and 3 chopped scallions.

This is what it looks like all mixed up. I also added some salt and pepper.

This recipe is actually called "Traditional Canelloni" in the book, but I didn't have canelloni, I had manicotti. Hey, it's all just pasta.

Cook the pasta most of the way. Drain and run cold water over it to cool it down enough to handle it, because you have to stuff them.

The book showed someone using a spoon to stuff the pasta, but good luck with that. I used my hands. We evolved them for a reason, you know.

Here is Neo asking if he can have some yet. Doesn't it look like you could just stuff him in one of the manicotti?

Awe! What a cutie!!

But NO!! You can't have any!

Put the stuffed pasta in a grease baking dish. Pour pasta sauce over the top. I made my own with tomatoes I canned from my own garden, but you can use what you want. The sauce should just about cover the pasta.

Sprinkle romano and parmesan on top and cook in for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees; or until the pasta is completely cooked and the cheese on top is browned.
Mine didn't quite make it to the browned stage since my son kept hounding me about when it would be done.

Like every five minutes!!

It was pretty good. Well, I'll say it has great potential. I would definitely try this again, with a couple of changes...

Changes I would make:
* Cook it longer.
* Use thicker sauce. I did not spend a lot of time making sure the sauce was right before I used it and I added extra water to it because I didn't have enough to cover the pasta sufficiently.
* MORE CHEESE!!! Hey, I'm from Wisconsin! Maybe a little mozzarella grated on top. Yummy!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Marmarumalade Chicken

I'm finally over my cold and have started cooking again. Today I was inspired by the large quantities of clemetines that were left over from when I had a cold and the marmalade that I made with some of them for my son the other day. I thought the marmalade would go very well with chicken, so I devised a recipe to bring the two together.

I started the recipe very similar to how I made the marmalade: slice the clemetines thinly, add 1/4 cup lemon juice -- or you could also thinly slice a lemon, add 1/4 cup sugar -- I used brown sugar for extra flavor and because I was going to jazz up the marmalade with a little spiced rum, about 2 cups of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum to be exact (or as exact as I ever get in my recipes!).

I also added a couple tablespoons of dried cilantro. I mixed everything together in a large bowl. You need a large enough bowl for the chicken that you are cooking since you will be marinading the chicken in the marmarumalade. By the way, my clever husband came up with that name. I like to name my dishes fun names, and I think that name fit well.

When I put the chicken in the bowl, there wasn't anough marmalade marinade to cover the chicken sufficently, so my husband suggested using fruit juice. I used 2/3 of a can of 100% apple/passion/mango frozen juice concentrate.

I let the chicken marinade about 20 minutes, then flipped it over and let it marinade another 20 minutes.

Then it was into my clay pot cooker. I stuffed the chicken with the sliced clemetines and poured the marinade into the cooker.

I let it cook in a 450 degree oven for about an hour and twenty minutes.

It came out a little crispier than I had intended but the clay pot cooker did its job of keeping the chicken moist, and it was DELICIOUS!!

I would definitely make this again!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coronation Chicken Salad

Coronation Chicken was invented by Constance Spry who wanted to serve something new and special for the Queen's Coronation lunch in 1953.

I learned about it while in Scotland. I was getting lunch from at the Dalkieth Palace (where I was taking classes). Along with various cold cuts and cheese was a dish of something that I could not classify. I asked the chef and he told me all about Coronation Chicken.

Always up for something new, I took some. I was the only one who did. But that just left more for me. It was DELICIOUS!!

Today, I came home for lunch with not much time to eat. I decided to see if I could recreated Coronation Chicken. I think I did pretty well. Of course, my recipe is a highly simplified version of the real thing; but it tasted fab anyway. And who doesn't like easy?

  • canned chicken (drained)
  • mayonaise to desired consistancy
  • curry powder to taste
  • chopped nuts (I used pecans, because I LOVE pecans!)

Mix it all up and pile on bread for a sandwich, or you could just eat it plain.