cissalj: (scribe)
This is not any particular kind of soup. This is just Soup- basically, a meat and vegetable dish in a tasty broth, with things like noodles, rice, dumplings, etc. optional. Change it out, use what you have and/or what you like.

Start with a rich broth. This can be the broth from a pot roast or corned beef boiled dinner (but with the corned beef, dilute well if it’s too salty!), or a purpose-made stock from poultry bones and carcasses, or one made from a nice ham bone.

Stock- make the day before
If you’re making the stock, take the bones from a poultry roast- after stripping the meat from it and reserving it for the soup- and break them up. Roast them at 400F for an hour or so, along with coarsely cut celery, onions, and carrots, and a couple of cloves of garlic. Stir every 20 min or so. Go longer if you have to- you want a deep brown caramelization.

Put bones and roasted veg into a large pot. Add seasonings if you like- a bay leaf or 2 and some peppercorns are good. Deglaze roasting pan with a half cup-1 cup of wine- white usually- until you have dissolved all the fond and boiled off the alcohol. Add to pot with veg and bones. Add water to cover, and simmer for hours- at least 2-4, and more is not a problem. Strain stock and discard bones and played-out veg.

Ham is different. Take a meaty ham bone and simmer, with bay leaf and peppercorns, until the connective tissues have melted. Remove, cool, and pull meat off bones. Discard bones and chop up meat.

If your stock has a LOT of fat, refrigerate it overnight, or put it on the porch in the winter, then pull off most of the hardened fat. You really do want to leave some fat- it helps both the flavor and the “fillingness” a LOT.


Now it’s time to craft the soup. I always include onions, carrots, and potatoes (usually gold or red). More celery is possible. Sweet potatoes break down and thicken and enrich the broth- I especially like them in our annual goose soup. Turnips and/or parsnips are great in most soups. Ham-based ones, to my mind, require legumes- split peas are easy, and beans are good. The trick here is sequencing. If you are adding dried beans, add them first and let them get mostly cooked before adding anything else. If you are adding brown rice, add it with the tougher veg- carrots and celery. Basically, move from the stuff that takes more cooking to the stuff that requires less. Potatoes are in the middle, and turnips and parsnips toward the end. The chopped meat is added right before serving the first day.

(Ham soup, for us, usually has beans or split peas, carrots, celery if we have it, onions, and potatoes; corned beef has carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips; goose has sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips, maybe parsnips; etc.)

If you are wanting noodles, I strongly suggest cooking them separately and adding them to the bowls right before serving. If dumplings, cook in the pot but remove and reheat them separately- else the whole thing becomes a porridge. Tasty, but not great-looking.

You can always add more water to soup, for texture or quantity.

If you are not happy with your soup, think about what’s missing. For several years I was not pleased with mine because I thoroughly de-fatted it, which is a Bad Idea; even if you forswear fat, leave a tablespoon or 2 for a batch of soup. It may also need salt. I often add a pinch of salt to the veg before roasting them, and that suffices- but we tend to eat pretty low-salt, and you might want more, especially with poultry soup rather than ham or corned beef.

This generally makes at least 6-8 servings. Lots of good veg, “bone broth”, and very frugal. And delicious!
cissalj: (scribe)
OK, this may be redundant. But it's really good coleslaw!

Bubbe’s coleslaw

Barbara: Bubbe taught me to make the cole slaw when I was a kid. I've made a few changes. I used to shred the cabbage in a processor, one head green, 1/2 head red, but it's easier to buy it shredded and add some more red. The pieces should be fairly uniform, so is the bag has some larger prices, cut them up. Add a few shredded carrots and some thinly sliced red/green bell peppers, no pith.The next part I never measure, but maybe a half cup of white wine vinegar diluted with almost as much water, a tablespoon or so of honey or brown sugar. A little salt (doesn't need much), black pepper to taste. Bubbe always liked to add those dried onion flakes. Add several tablespoons of Hellman's mayo. Mix thoroughly. Let sit for a while in the fridge. Garnish with chopped fresh dill and smoked paprika. Let me know if you make it. Great for Thanksgiving.

1 head green cabbage, shredded*
0.5 head red cabbage, shredded*
A few carrots, shredded*
1 sweet pepper, red or green, pith removed and thinly sliced

For dressing- all amounts approximate
0.5 cup white wine vinegar
scant 0.5 cup water
1 tablespoon or so of honey or brown sugar
Salt- small amount
black pepper to taste
dried onion flakes- optional (but Bubbe’s choice!)
Several tablespoons good mayo

Fresh dill
smoked paprika

Mix cabbage, carrots and peppers in large bowl.

Mix dressing ingredients.

Pour dressing over veg, mix in, and let sit in fridge for at least a couple of hours.

To serve, garnish with dill and/or paprika.

*Can use shredded coleslaw mix- add red cabbage and/or carrots as necessary
cissalj: (scribe)
This is a recipe we make most years. It tastes like the Danish butter cookies that one buys in the tins, but is very easy to make, and makes a LOT! It is a "traditional family recipe" that I clipped from the paper many years ago. :)

Danish Strips

Makes a LOT- 150-200?

2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups or 1 pound butter, and quality matters here!
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups AP flour
1 scant teaspoon salt

Decorations: sugar- colored or not, pref big crystals; finely chopped nuts; small choc chips; various seasonal sprinkles, etc.- we usually use colored sugar and/or seasonal sprinkles

Separate 1 egg, reserving white.

Mix other egg, yolk, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat until fairly light. (This is very forgiving, and while the end result will differ, they are all yummy!)

Stir in flour and salt. Can be refrigerated or frozen here; if frozen, thaw before proceeding.

Grease cookie sheet. Roll 3-3.25 oz dough into a cookie-sheet-long cylinder. Put 3 such cylinders on sheet. Pat out until they are roughly 1.5 inches wide and 0.25 inches thick.

Beat reserved egg white with 1 teaspoon water till frothy. Brush patted-out dough with wash; sprinkle on decorations. Do not go too heavy; these are delicate cookies!

Bake at 350F for 8-10 min (more like 12-15 min in our oven). I like the edges somewhat browned, though that is not supposedly not ideal; go with what you prefer! It will take longer if the dough has been chilled than if you are doing it straight from the mixer, and straight from the mixer it will spread more.

Remove when at your preferred doneness. While hot, use a pizza wheel cutter to slice them into diagonal strips. Allow to cool till stiff, remove from pan with a long flexible spatula.

Cool completely, and store in closed container.
cissalj: (scribe)
Even someone notorious for loathing vegetables gobbled this down!

Green Bean Succotash
(from Cook's Country)

Serves 4

Green beans replace traditional lima beans in this easy succotash. If you don't have fresh thyme, finish with 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or basil.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off, beans cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice


1. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to boil.

2. Add beans, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add corn, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is heated through and beans are very tender, 3 to 7 minutes. Remove lid; simmer briskly to further reduce cream if necessary.

3. Stir in thyme and lemon juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Notes: we used basil. We made it a couple of days ahead and nuked it before serving, and it was gobbled up by even someone who hates vegetables on principle. :) Easy and good!
cissalj: (scribe)
This is a really good, easy recipe that can be put together from mostly pantry ingredients. From Penzey's catalog (they sell great herbs and spices).

Northwoods Chicken Stew
Serves 4-5
Prep: 20 min; cooking time:1 hour (or so they say- close to accurate)

1 tablespoon butter
1 med or 1 large red onions, chopped
2 tablespoons Northwoods (or Northwoods Fire*) seasoning
1 cup carrots, cut into coins- about 3
4 med potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 whole bone-in chicken breast, cut into 2 pieces
1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
0.25 tsp sugar
2 tablespoon flour
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium), or 3.5 cups and 0.5 cups red wine
black pepper to taste, pref fresh ground

In a large pot with a lid, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and the Northwoods seasoning. cover and cook for 5 min.

Add carrots and potatoes (the recipe says peeled, but we don't.) Cover and cook another 5 min.

Add chicken, vinegar, and sugar, cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 min.

Push the pieces to the side of the pot, mix in the flour until it's smooth. Add wine (if using- simmer it until the alcohol burns off if so), bay leaves, and chicken stock, stirring until smooth. Cover and simmer 30 min, stirring occasionally, keeping it at a simmer.

Remove chicken. Remove skin and bones, and cut meat into bite-sized pieces.

Taste and add pepper if desired.

Simmer 5 more min and serve.

*We used N'wds Fire- we love the stuff!- and it made the soup spicy-hot.
cissalj: (scribe)
This is our current moussaka recipe. It's based on the recipe in the Victory Garden cookbook, but cut in half and with some additional embellishments. I have not yet tried subbing chicken broth for the milk in the white sauce layer, but have read that that makes it very excellent indeed.

Also, we tend to have a mix of parm, romano, and maybe asiago cheeses in our ground hard cheese, and we use what we have.

Moussaka- makes 6-8 servings (definitely 8 if you add the potato layer; reheats wonderfully, esp in the microwave)

2.5-3 pounds eggplant*
Salt and pepper
Spray oil

0.5 tablespoon Olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 onions, chopped
1.5-2 pounds ground lamb**
1 tsp chopped or minced garlic (garlic press fine)
3 cups tomato sauce or crushed- 28 oz can fine
0.5 cups red wine
0.5 teaspoons rosemary***
1 teaspoon dill***
2 eggs
6 tablespoons grated romano cheese
0.25 cups bread crumbs

3 tbsp butter
0.25 cups flour
1.5 cups milk****
0.25 cups romano cheese
2 egg yolks OR 1 egg

Set oven to 350F

Wash the eggplant, slice it, and salt it on both sides. Allow to drain for 30 min to 1 hour.

Wipe off moisture and salt, spray with spray oil if you like, and broil until browned on both sides.

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauce pan. Saute chopped onions until soft. Add ground meat and garlic and cook until browned. Drain fat if necessary.

Add tomatoes, wine, and herbs/spices. Simmer until reduced. Let cool some.

Beat 2 eggs. Add them and 6 tbsp romano cheese to the meat mixture.

Spray 9x13 pan with spray oil. Scatter bread crumbs on bottom.

Put 1/3 to 1/2 eggplant in pan. Cover with half the meat sauce. Put another 1/3 eggplant (or potatoes) in pan; cover with remaining meat mix. Add final layer of eggplant.

Make béchamel sauce: melt 3 tbsp butter and mix in flour. when cooked, add milk or stock; cook till thickened. whisk in remaining cheese and egg. Pour over casserole.

Bake at 350F for 45-60 min. Allow to sit for 15 min before slicing.

*More is OK. If less, add 1.5 pounds or so of boiled potatoes to the layering, cut similarly.

** We usually use 1 pound ground lamb and 1 pound ground beef; you can use all ground beef especially if you have lamb fat to saute it in.

*** and/or 0.5 teaspoon cinnamon, and add parsley and basil at the end

**** Or chicken stock
cissalj: (scribe)
I lost the recipe for this, and so have done my best to re-create it. I think it turned out well.

Excellent with ham. it is more assertive if cool, and more succulent when warm. Both are good, as it is with or without the butter.

Apricot Scallion Sauce

4-6 scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tsp finely minced ginger
4-6 oz dried apricots, sliced into ribbons
0.5 cup water or more for simmering
white pepper to taste

1 tsp+ sugar IF using sour apricots
1 tsp+ white wine vinegar IF using sweet apricots

2-4 Tbsp butter, cold (optional)

Slice white- lt green parts of scallions. add to small saucepan. Slice tops of scallions and reserve.

Add garlic (garlic press is fine) and 2 tsp ginger to pan. Add apricots. Add water.

Simmer until the apricots can be mushed up with a fork, covered. Keep an eye on the water level; we want a texture that’s a bit loose but not wet.

If the apricots are sweet (Turkish), add vinegar to make it sweet/sour; if the apricots are sour, add sugar to make it sweet/sour. Simmer briefly to blend flavors.

Add scallion greens and remaining ginger.

Remove from heat. Add cold butter, a tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while to thicken and enrich sauce. Do not allow the butter to separate!

Serve with ham.

Note: it is also good without the butter.
cissalj: (scribe)
Chili Mac recipe

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1-2 poblano chilies, chopped*
1-2 jalapeno chilies, chopped*
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 pound 90-percent lean ground beef
2 cups water
1(15-ounce) can tomato sauce, or diced
8 ounces (about 2 cups) elbow macaroni **
1(8-ounce) package shredded Mexican cheese blend (2 cups)***
1 cup frozen corn****
2tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and chopped peppers, and stir until softened. Add chili powder, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook, breaking apart the meat, until lightly browned and no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the water and tomato sauce, then add the pasta. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, 9 to 12 minutes.

3. Off the heat, stir in 1 cup of the cheese, corn, chiles, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese over top, cover, and let stand off the heat until the cheese melts, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve.

*For milder, remove the seeds and ribs; leaving them in increases the heat.

**We like using a whole-grain macaroni in this, because the texture is not a problem in this dish.

*** I default to cheddar, maybe with some jack or pepperjack.
**** Trader joe's frozen roasted corn is WONDERFUL in this!
cissalj: (scribe)
Here is our traditional clam chowder Xmas eve recipe. It's not a brilliant recipe, but it's convenient (meaning, no fresh clams necessary!). Adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetite, if I recall correctly.

4 oz fatty ham, or bacon (note: NOT highly flavored maple bacon; lots of smoke OK)
3+ medium onions, chopped
2 med celery stalks, chopped

3-4 medium potatoes- I like red or golds

2 ~10 oz cans baby clams, drained with liquid reserved

2 cups water (optional)

0.5 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
white pepper to taste
salt to taste (we usually do not add extra, except a wee amount when sauteing the veg)

2 cups milk, or 1 can evaporated milk (around 1.67 cups)*
1 cup cream (unnecessary with evap milk)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour

Brown ham or bacon till almost done. Pour off fat if you have more than 1-2 tablespoons. Add chopped onions and celery, and a tiny sprinkling of salt. Saute slowly until the veg is soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, cube the potatoes, in roughly 0.5-0.75-inch chunks.

When the onions and celery are softened, add the potatoes, plus the liquid from the clams, the water (start with 1 cup), thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. simmer slowly until the potatoes are just done, probably 15-35 min.

Meanwhile, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring and cooking until it's bubbly. Add the milk/cream or evap milk slowly, stirring it in. Once it starts to thicken, add some of the liqiid from the soup.

When the milk mix is thick, and the potatoes are done, stir them together. Add the clams and heat until warm.


*I usually use the evap milk- skimmed or not, as you prefer- it then re-heats better. Depending on the consistency you want, you may want to add more water if you go this route.
cissalj: (scribe)
Fruit-Nut Poultry Stuffing

This is another Traditional Family Recipe I got out of the newspaper. It was originally a stuffing for turkey for Rosh Hashanah, but it works wonderfully in fatty birds like goose and duck, since it has nothing really absorbent to soak up the fat.

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped

0.5 cup orange juice
0.5 cup sugar
1.5 cup cranberries

12 prunes, chopped
6-8 dried apricots, chopped
1 cup raisins or currants
3 med or 2 large apples, diced (I use Granny Smiths, and do not peel)
1.5 cups slivered or sliced almonds, or other nuts
2 lg eggs, beaten

0.5 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon cinnamon
0.25 teaspoon ground cloves
0,125 teaspoon ground ginger (more is OK)
salt, pepper to taste

Melt butter (or goose fat). salute the onions and celery until tender. Set aside in large bowl.

In same pan, mix juice and sugar. Bring to boil. Add cranberries and boil. Lower heat and cook until the skins pop, usually 10 min or so. Add dried fruit, mix, remove from heat, and add to veg. Cool to room temp.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Stuff bird and bake.
cissalj: (scribe)
We are still working on the leftovers for dinner! Although tonight I do need to make julekaga for us and for Game Night tomorrow.

And here's the recipe I use, slightly tweaked from previous versions:

This is the recipe for the Norwegian Xmas bread I always make. The traditional version uses fruitcake mix, but a very yummy alternative is the diced fruit mix Trader Joe's has sometimes had, with apple, apricot, and cherries.

I'm not Norwegian by heritage, but Swedish (in part). I grew up in a heavily Norwegian part of the country, though, and hey- it's all Scandinavia, right? :)

This recipe is designed for hand mixing, but I usually make it in a Kitchenaid, except I knead in the fruits by hand.

Makes 3 loaves

6.25 cups + 2 tblsp flour
6 tblsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 teaspoons+ cardamon*
3 tblsp oil (optional)
1 heaping tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water (for yeast)
1 cup milk (warmed speeds up rising)
3 eggs, 2 plus 1 white beaten, yolk reserved
6 tblsp currants***
3/4 cup raisins***
3/4 cup candied fruit, chopped (aka fruitcake mix or alternative)***
1 egg yolk, reserved (for glaze)**
1 tblsp cold water (for glaze)
3 candied cherries (decoration)

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and cardamon. Dissolve yeast in water. Add yeast mixture, oil, milk, beaten eggs, and fruits to dry ingredients**. Knead 3-5 minutes, put in greased bowl, turn over to grease top, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down; let rise again (this second rising can be omitted, as I usually do.) Shape into round loaf, place on greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise till doubled. Preheat oven to 350F (don't know centigrade equivalent; it's a medium oven). Mix yolk and water to make wash; brush over loaf. make indentation in center of loaf, put in cherry, brush lightly with wash. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes; remove from oven, brush again with wash, turn cookie sheet around, and bake 10 more minutes. Give it one more coat of wash immediately after removing from oven, if you like.

Let cool, preferably on rack, slice, and serve. It makes great toast with butter and cinnamon sugar, and great French toast.

Where I grew up it was always sold with a powdered-sugar and water icing, but that makes it impossible to toast so I don't do it. The wash gives it a lovely sheen.

* Cardamon loses its flavor quickly at room temperature. I store mine in the freezer. some extra doesn't hurt- it loses potency in the baking.

** If making in a bread machine or mixer, DO NOT dd the fruits; knead the dough, then knead the fruits in by hand.

*** More fruit is always better.
cissalj: (scribe)
This is the best garlic bread, and suitable for tweaking.

Garlic Bread (for 1 loaf)

1 loaf good italian or french bread. You want a fairly smooth crumb and a crispy but not hard crust

1 head garlic
olive oil

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter or olive oil
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons parmesan (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped or dried parsley (optional)

Heat oven to 350-400F.

Cut garlic head(s) in half, put on foil, and sprinkle with olive oil and a wee bit of salt. Wrap well and put on cookie sheet.

Bake around 1 hour. Remove and let cool.

Meanwhile, cut bread in half horizontally.

When garlic is cool, put oil or butter in a small bowl. Squeeze out the roasted garlic into it, picking out the papery bits. Add parm or parley if using (I tend to add the parsley to the non-dairy version, to make the differences obvious when I make both, but if that's not an issue it's nice in the dairy one, too.)

Put half the garlic mix on each half of the bread and spread evenly. Wrap in foil and bake at 350F-500F for 5-10 min. Serve hot, ideally, but it's also great at room temp. If you use the cheese, opening up the foil so it browns is nice.
cissalj: (scribe)
This is my take on a lovely appetizer I had at Farmhouse in Burlington, VT. I think it's an improvement, because the beets are a bit more caramelized and the dressing is a nice contrast to the smoothness of the beets and goat cheese.

It would also be excellent on a bed of mixed greens, with some extra vinaigrette, and maybe something for crunch.

Roasted Beet Appetizer

Bunch beets, usually 3-4
olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons (cheap) balsamic vinegar
Thyme (optional)
Mild goat cheese- around 2 oz

Preheat oven to 350F.

Trim beet greens off beets, leaving roughly 1 inch of stems attached to the beets. Save the greens for another use (they are basically swiss chard). Scrub the beets, rub them with olive oil (or use spray oil), and wrap them in a pouch of foil. Put that on a cookie sheet.

Roast beets for around 1 hour, until done. The time can vary, but unless you have tiny beets you are not likely to overcook them. They should be tender throughout, and ideally a bit caramelized.

Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, you can easily slip off the skins. Dice them as you prefer- I like 0.5-0.75 chunks, but that depends on what you're doing with them.

Meanwhile, mix the mustard and the vinegar, and the thyme if using. Add around 3 tablespoons olive oil, slowly, whisking to make a vinaigrette. (Note that this is also my favorite salad dressing!) You can tweak the amount of oil as you prefer.

Add enough vinaigrette to the beet cubes to dress them.

Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle it on top of the beets. Serve. Room temp works fine.
cissalj: (scribe)
Here's a great, delicious, and dead easy mint sauce for lamb, adapted from Cook's Illustrated. It's so much better than mint jelly!:

Sweet and Sour Mint Sauce

0.5 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
0.25 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
Salt to taste

Mix together mint, vinegar, and sugar, till sugar is dissolved.

Let sit for 20 min, minimum, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, add salt if you think it needs it, and/or maybe pepper.

Serve with lamb.
cissalj: (scribe)
This is one of our favorite meals. SO easy and good! The juices from the roasting chicken permeate the potatoes, making them extra-tasty. The leftover potatoes do not reheat well, though, which is sad, but they are brilliant freshly cooked.

The underskin rub is optional, but really good, and it does flavor the potatoes. Do not over-salt the potatoes- the chicken juices have salt content themselves.


High-roasted Butterflied Chicken over Potatoes
Serves 4, generously, especially if you increase the potatoes from 2.5 lbs.

1 whole chicken- giblets and extra fat removed. Use a really high-quality chicken for this. You're looking for one free-range, and around 4 pounds (a bit smaller or largteer won't hurt, but the timing is for a fryer, not a roaster)

0.5 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt, or 0.5 cup table salt

2.5-3.5 pounds of russet and/or yellow potatoes, sliced thin (0.125-0.25 in)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper top taste

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
good pinch of dried thyme

Broiler pan in DARK color. Shiny silver does not work. Mine is enameled steel. This should be a shallow pan that fitys under a slotted, bumpy upper sheet.
Helpful: mandolin slicer, poultry shears

Butterfly the chicken by cutting out its spine. You may also need to use a chef's knife to break the front part of the breast keel bone. Once the spine is gone, flip it over and press down to flatten it. (save spine and neck for chicken stock; save fat for schmaltz; give the innards to critters or eat them.)

Mix salt and sugar into water in a bowl large enough to hold the bird. Once they dissolve, add the bird. Let brine for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, slice the potatoes- a mandolin is helpful if you have it. You do not want them paper-thin. Once sliced, soak in cold water.

Also mix up the butter, smashed garlic, mustard, and thyme into a paste.

When you near the end of the brining, heat your oven to 500F.

Line the bottom broiler pan with foil (easier clean-up). Spray with spray oil. Also spray the bottom of the top part of the pan.

Dry the potatoes- a salad spinner works well- and toss with a SMALL amount of salt, some pepper, and the olive oil. lay the slices flat into the foil-lined broiler pan. There will be several layers. make sure the corners aren't too scanty or they will burn.

Spray the top of the top, perforated part of the boiler pan with oil. Position the chicken on, it, flat- the legs should be together, and fold the scrawny tips of the wings under. Using the butter/mustard mix, put a quarter or it each under the skin of each thigh- moving it it the drumstick if possible- and under the skin on each half of the breast.

Dry off the surface and smear with olive oil, and/or salt and pepper if you like. Put the top part of the broiling pan- with the chicken- over the potatoes.

Bake 20-25 min. Rotate 180 degrees, and bake another 20-25 min.

Remove from oven, put the chicken on a plate and cover it to rest.

Meanwhile, turn on broiler, and broil the potatoes until the top is crispy.

Serve hot, especially the potatoes.
cissalj: (scribe)
I had thought this would be a bit meh, but it's really tasty, and I think will warm up well for the leftovers.

Monkfish Couscous

My notes: This is better with a meaty fish than a flaky one, which would fall apart (but still taste good). A garnish of chopped chives or scallions would be excellent. I used a pinch of tumeric rather than saffron, and replaced the couscous with millet cooked in the rice cooker- 1 cup millet, 2 cups water, small pinch of salt. We cook pretty low-salt, so a bit of salt as a garnish may be appropriate.

My notes are in parentheses.

Monkfish Couscous- Makes 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes (one 28-ounce can), drained and chopped, liquid reserved (or diced)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon packed saffron threads (see note above)

1 1/2 pounds monkfish fillets, membranes removed, fish cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 1/3 cups couscous (see note above)

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. (or more.)

Add minced or pressed garlic and cook for around 30 seconds.

Add enough water to the reserved tomato juice to equal 2 cups. (If the juice is over that, add it to the onion mixture and cook down some.) Add this to the onion mixture along with the drained tomatoes, the cumin, black pepper, and cayenne. Crumble in the saffron (or add the tumeric). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, (partially) covered, for 10 minutes.

Add the monkfish. Cook until the fish is just done, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. (Or cook 1 cup of miullet or quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water and an optional pinch of salt.)

To serve, mound the couscous onto plates and top with the fish and vegetables. Ladle the liquid over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. 
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