Ginger and Licorice

Ginger and Licorice
Our cats and Labrador

Sunday, March 1, 2015

So far so good, after a change of course

Prepping for the week, I made the biscuits for my pulled pork today.  I used the recipe from  New recipe to me, and I didn't have all flours listed, so I used what I had on hand.
At this point, I did think of using GF Bisquick, but then realized that there is already leavening in the Bisquik, so I put that right back in the fridge.

I didn't have coconut or tapioca flour, so I substituted an all-purpose flour that I always keep on hand.

The recipe directions are straightforward and simple.
The players for my version of the biscuits are 1 1/4 Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour, 1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp Ground Flax, and 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp raw honey, 1/4 cup almond milk, 2 whisked eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.

Score 1 pt for me.  I actually remembered to turn the oven on to 350 F before I started mixing!  SCORE!!
1 More point for grabbing the cookie sheet and lining it with the parchment paper!  So far, I'm 2-0!!

I then grab two bowls from the cupboard for mixing the wet and dry separately.  I also grab and a small glass dish for cracking eggs and one of my soup bowls for melting the butter.

In one bowl I measure the 1 1/4 cup of general purpose flour, 1/3 cup almond flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp ground flax seeds, and 1 tsp baking soda (yes, I am well aware that the baking soda is one of the boxes for keeping your refrigerator, but that was the only box I could locate.)  I grab a whisk to combine the dry ingredients and make sure everything is well blended.

In my microwave bowl, I drop 1/4 cup of butter, stick it in the microwave.  Heat it for 20 seconds.   Then 15.  And another 15.  Perfectly melted with no explosions!  While the butter is melting, I crack the eggs in the small glass dish. Are there shell bits?  No.  Good!  Add them to the empty bowl for the wet ingredients.  Measure 1/4 cup of almond milk and add it to the eggs.  Next step is to spray my measuring spoon with non-stick spray and squeeze the honey bear's stomach for the golden sweetness that is preferred in paleo cooking.  Grab the butter from the microwave and add it to the eggs, honey, and milk.  Mix all the wet ingredients together with a small whisk.

Since the dry ingredient bowl is the larger bowl, I add the wet to the dry and then use one of my many wooden spoons to mix my biscuits.  At this point I look at the recipe and realize I messed up by adding the butter to the wet ingredients.  I was supposed to add the butter after the other wet ingredients.  Not sure why, but it's too late now.  Following the directions, I let the batter rest for 5 minutes (pour a glass of juice).  Return to mixing for a few minutes (at this point the batter is a LOT too stiff and dry so I add a splash of almond milk.  Mix twice and add another splash.  Once it is nice an moist I use my ice cream disher to scoop the biscuit dough into 6 relatively even sized biscuits and place the cookie tray in the oven and set the timer to 13 minutes.

While they are baking, I clean the prep station and turn my attention to tonight's dinner.  I planned on salmon and asparagus, but.......

 Somebody (probably me) forgot to get the rosemary for the salmon, but luckily I used my brain and some pantry staples to make a compound butter of 1/2 stick of butter, 1 shallot, zest of 3/4 lemon, and 1/2 tsp of a dried dill spice mixture.

Get out the mini electric chopper and whiz the shallot to a large mince.  add the garlic and whiz again.  Bzzzzzz.  Add the semi-softened butter, bzzzzzz.  Add the lemon zest.  bzzzzz

By this point, the biscuits are done and I turn the oven off.

Obtain the salmon and asparagus for dinner from the fridge.  After removing the woody stems from the asparagus, I place the asparagus on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil and drizzle olive oil over the green stalks of goodness.

Pause here to take the buns/biscuits out of the oven and then turn the oven back on and set it to 425 for the roasting of the asparagus.

 Then I  grind a little salt and black pepper over the asparagus and proceed to toss the olive oil, salt and pepper to make sure every stalk is coated for roasting.   I place the salmon filet inside a tinfoil lined pyrex dish and dot the compound butter on the top.  I say dot, because the butter isn't quite soft enough for spreading and attempting to do so would most likely break the flesh of the salmon.  I proceed to tent the tinfoil around and over  the salmon.  *BEEP*  Place the salmon on the lower rack and set the timer for 10 minutes..*tidy up a little* *BEEP*  Place the asparagus cookie tray on the top rack and set the timer again.  This time for 15 minutes.  I obtain 2 microwave sweet potatoes from the fridge and place them in the microwave and nuke them for 12 minutes.

set myself down on the couch for some well-earned rest between beeps



Overall the taste was good.  Not remarkable, but not as horrendous as last month when I cooked the salmon with the lemon slices on top of the salmon.  That version came out sour as all get out and inedible.

Sorry there are no pictures of tonight's dinner, I was so focused on just making it and creating a recipe, I forgot about pictures altogether.

This Week's Menu - Well, this week's planned menu

I'm sure we all know that life gets in the way of most things so here's my plan for the week:

Sunday - Salmon with Rosemary and Pecans and mixed veggies

Monday - Maple-Walnut Chicken with Green beans

Tuesday -  Frittata served with soup and salad (Maybe meatless Tuesday if I can get BGS on board...*fingers crossed*)

Wednesday - Caribbean Jerk Chicken - yeah...there will be NO jalepenos...

Thursday - Paleo Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders - not sure if I'll have time to make the buns or not...

Friday - remake of the Chinese Shrimp and Broccoli mess from this week with the changes I mentioned in the post

Saturday - not sure yet :)

That's the dinner plan - For breakfast it's gonna be a zucchini, sausage, egg casserole for BGS and a crockpot oatmeal for me - more on that later.

I was serving the fritatta every Monday for a couple weeks- different ingredients of course-....ok, maybe a cpl months...BGS finally cried out and said STOP with the fritatta every Monday.  So while I search for a meatless Monday of which he will approve, I will rotate the frittata to other days of the week.

If you have suggestions for which meatless meals have met your family's approval, please, please share!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

At Home Chinese Dinner - Revisited again - with Shrimp -too much salt :(

     The menu BGS had this week had a beef and ginger meal that we had 2 weeks ago, so I substituted the Shrimp Noodle dinner I made a couple years back - because I felt like it :)

The players
Sad part is I didn't read my recipe early enough to help myself this time.  Case in point, I forgot to defrost my 1 lb of shrimp.  And now begins the peeling and de-tailing of frozen shrimp. Cue frozen fingers.  *sigh*  Oh well, we move on.

The players have changed up this time around so pay attention: 1 lb shrimp, 1 10 oz bag of broccoli, 2 tbsp sesame oil 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock, 1/2 cup GF Soy sauce, 1 garlic clove smashed, 2 tsp fresh grated ginger, 2 tsp cornstarch, 4 tsp room temp water, 1/4 tsp five-spice (again, this five spice has seven spices), and rice noodles.

Last time I made this BGS was not yet GF, so I used egg noodles.  I also used low-sodium soy sauce (one of my pantry staples).  This time signals got mixed and the GF soy sauce that was purchased was most definitely not low sodium.  With the soy sauce being 1/2 of the sauce for this dish, the meal came out much saltier than BGS or I liked.  And he doesn't usually mind extra salt.

Before I started documenting tonight's meal, I ran to to add some low-sodium GF soy to my cart.  I think I will also add a different style rice noodle.  Tonight's noodle worked, but I think I would prefer noodles that were thinner and/or shorter.  Maybe something like this soba noodle (a BGS request).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Honey Ginger Apple Shredded Pork - Revisited

     Last week's attempt at this recipe came out dry and flavorless, so I decided to try it again with the recommended cut of pork and more liquid.  I also rearranged the order of operations/layers.  My camera batteries are still dead, so I took a few pictures with my phone.

The players - same as before, mostly: 2lb pork shoulder roast, 2 apples, cored and sliced, 1 onion sliced (thanks again to the grocery store for not making me cry), 1 bay leaf, 2 tsp dried ginger, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 

It's important to note the change in the ginger measurement.  I forgot to pick up fresh ginger at the store and I can't even imagine 2 tablespoons of dried ginger in one dish....

The recipe says that I should I add the onion first, then broth, then pork, then apples, then spices.  I decided to mix it up a bit.  I put most of  the spices on top of the pork this time instead of  adding the spices  on top of the apples and rubbed them in to the pork a bit,  then I put the apples on top and tossed on the rest of the spice mixture.   I put some of the spices on top of the pork in an effort to infuse the pork with some flavor that I noted was lacking last week.  I just hope I didn't end up overdoing the spice.

*Enter BGS stage left* "You didn't add more liquid this time.  We talked about this..." 

Commence measuring and adding an additional 2/3 cup of chicken broth.....

*BGS commentary - I bet it would taste good with beef broth*   "Yes, hon. The recipe said I could use beef broth, but I refuse to mix chicken and beef broth...."

Set the timer for 7 hours.....
And now we wait....

Halfway through cook smells flipping amazing (again) ...almost drooling...almost.....MUST NOT LIFT LID.....

3hrs left -
*ENTER BGS stage left  

"Do you want me to lift the lid and flip it?  If I don't it will dry out again*
No.  Absolutely do NOT lift that lid.   "But...." No.  "Ok.  don't blame me if it fails" 

*Exit BGS stage left*



Lift the lid - apples are perfectly wilted across the top of the pork.  The liquid appears to have doubled in amount.  I call BGS.  He lifts the pork..well....he tries to lift it.  It falls apart in the tongs. *SCORE*.  Scoop out some apples and sit down to dinner.  Have to admit I cheated on the veggie tonight - I forgot to grab a veggie for tonight and there is no way I am leaving the house in this weather.   Thank goodness for backups - aka frozen steam veggies :)

I forgot to take a picture of the finished plate.  I just couldn't wait to eat the wonderful smelling meal.

I can confirm that the change from pork tenderloin to pork roast  did indeed aid to the success of this recipe revisit.  The pork is moist, mildly tasty with strong hits of cinnamon on the top of the pork in certain areas.

at this point in the evening, BGS informs me that he is not a fan of cinnamon with pork.....*sigh* I thought about smacking him, but decided against it.

He cleans his plate, though, and said he enjoyed the meal :)  

Cook's notes - I didn't notice the ginger, but maybe it's because the cinnamon was so strong this time.  Time to tweak this recipe for my house.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crockpot Cranberry,Chicken, Quinoa, and Green Beans - almost a "dump dinner"

        My camera battery is dead :(  I started charging it after last week's post and it still isn't charged.  *sigh*  Looks like it's time to get a new battery.  So you will have to settle for my description of the prep (really wasn't much) and the ingredients. Sorry :(

The players: 1 box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa, 6 chicken breasts(2 lbs), 1 pound of (12 oz fresh, 4 oz frozen) green beans, 1 15-oz can of whole berry cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup of  Vogue Cuisine GF Onion Soup Base, 1/4 tsp of Smoked Paprika, and 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper.

Oh and since the recipe suggested using either pork or chicken, I decided to prep and make dinner for tonight and prep dinner for another night.   The recipe site actually wrote the recipes for prepping and freezing.  I just didn't feel like prepping it last night, so I made one today and prepped one for another night.  I prepped the second one with 2 lbs of pork tenderloin (instead of chicken breasts) in the freezer.

At the advice of the recipe author, I label the freezer bag first.  (Good thing they said that as the first instruction, because labeling the filled bag would be pretty dang tough)  What was my label?   "Cranberry, Green bean, pork tenderloin 2-18-15," of course.  I place the green beans in the bag first, then the onion soup mix, then the cranberry sauce, and the pork tenderloins last.  That way the meat will go in the crock pot first.  I will need to get a bag of green beans (fresh or frozen) before I make the tenderloin meal.  I only had 1 12-oz bag of fresh beans today, so I added in approximately 4 oz of frozen green beans to today's chicken dinner, resulting in 4 oz less in the bag of frozen green beans intended for the pork meal.

Speaking of which...things that drive me a little nuts- when a recipe calls for ingredients in amounts that don't match the amounts sold in stores. Spices, flour, sugar, oils, and flavorings of any kind are the only things that are ok to not match ;)  *shrug*

 Darnit!  I forgot to get all the air out of the pork dinner right back.  Ok.  now we wait 4 hours.  The recipe said 4-6 hours for chicken.  I set the timer for 5 hours, but I had to get myself some lunch before I sat back we wait...

*more hold music.  different station this time, I promise*  While we wait,  I work on my other endeavor at Red's Stitch Niche

*BEEEEP*  BEEEEEP  *BEEEEP* Hrmmm - doesn't smell like should smell awesome.  Time to see how I did or what I need to tweak for next time......

*hold music*

Ok, so apparently I put the quinoa on the wrong layer.  silly me.  it needed water to cook...i put it on top of the green they were the top layer. next time i will put the quinoa between the chicken and the cranberry sauce.

Pretty darn good, except for the crunchy quinoa.  "Tastes like Thanksgiving dinner," says BGS.   SCORE!!  For for those us lucky enough to live near a Capriotti's, it tastes a bit like a Bobbie®.  Double Score!

The chicken had little flavor and was a tiny bit dry.  So I think the next I make this meal the layers will be chicken on the bottom, 1/4 cup unsalted broth, soup mix, then quinoa, then cranberry sauce, then green beans.

I apologize in advance if Capriotti's is copyrighted or registered by the subshop and I didn't note it here.  I searched the website and couldn't find out anything.  If someone knows the proper notation, please let me know and I will correct this post.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

(Almost Overnight) Ginger Honey Apple Pork Tenderloin

First, I apologize for the lack of prep photos.  I completely forgot :(

Tomorrow night's dinner is going to be Honey Ginger Apple Pork Tenderloin.

Knowing that I have to leave tomorrow morning -  usually before I finish my first cup of coffee..mmmm coffee....wait....where was I?  Oh right, leave early and not return until noon-ish..... I prepped everything  tonight.  Including putting a slow cooker liner in the crock and putting the lid on.

As  many of you know I do my best to not alter a recipe or substitute ingredients until after I have made the dish once or twice.  That said....
Notes on the pork - the original recipe found on PaleoOMG's site called for pork roast.  My dad did my shopping for me this week, thanks dad :)  Out of habit I wrote pork tenderloin on my list....not roast.  So guess what he purchased....a tenderloin. I hope it turns out just as well.....

The players: 2 lb porkloin
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 apples, cored and sliced
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf

I grated the ginger, smashed the garlic, measured out the spices, and opened the pork.  I put the pork in  baggie number one, the honey in a small container 1 (with cooking spray),  measured and poured the low-sodium chicken stock in container 2, measured and placed the spices and put them in baggie 2, grated the ginger (baggie 3), smashed the garlic (baggie 4), sliced the apple and put it in baggie 5(with lemon juice), and saved myself some time by buying pre-sliced onion (THANK YOU, GROCERY STORE!!)  Stash the pork, the apple, the chicken stock, the ginger, and the garlic in the fridge and head off to bed.
. . . *insert sleepy music here*...

*Yawn* While my favorite Keurig ®pod  is brewing, I grab my oatmeal, creamer, and my mise en place (ingredients) out of the fridge (except the honey, since honey and refrigerators do not make for easy pouring).  Heat oatmeal here.

First, layer the onions on the bottom of the lined crock, then pour the chicken stock on top of the onions.  Toss the loin, ok maybe not the loin on top of the onions. add cream to coffee here Top the loin with the lemon-tossed apple slices, then empty the ginger baggie, the garlic baggie, and the spice baggie on top of the the apples.  Put the lid on and start the crock.  I set it for 9 hours and sat down to gobble up breakfast and coffee before dashing out the door.  ........*insert nice hold music here*....

Come back 4 hours later...walk up to the kitchen and almost fall over from the amazing smell coming from the crock pot.  It's BEYOND tempting to lift the lid, but I resist temptation.  I don't want any moisture to escape.  Now I just have to wait.  *sigh*  Had to warn BGS against opening the lid, also - just because I know he has a tendency to do exactly that...routinely....

*more hold music while I work on my passion of digitizing.  You can follow that passion here - Red's Stitch Niche*

Smelled fantastic, but I think I must have executed the recipe wrong(besides using the wrong cut of pork)...even though I followed the steps exactly, because it came out tasting like none of the flavors....and dry.

Note: when I pulled up the lid, I noticed that all the spices were sitting on top of the apples

I plan on trying the recipe again next week with the right cut of pork.  And maybe this time I will remember to buy and prep a vegetable and starch to go alongside the meal :)

Notes on the website from another person who also ended up with a dry roast - the author said to add more water next time.  Author said to make sure the liquid of choice comes up slightly higher than halfway up the roast.  I will try that and let you know.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Don't Care What the Calendar Says

I don't care what the calendar says.  The first day of winter for ME is the day that it is 35 degrees F or below outside at 3 in the afternoon.  To warm myself up on my first day of  my winter I made myself a cup of Ghiradelli®Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa plus a teaspoon of Medaglia D'Oro® Instant Espresso Coffee.  Add a dash of cinnamon and it's the perfect chocolatey afternoon pick-me-up.