Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas

For more reasons than I care to remember I have never been the Christmassy sort. Something about the choreographed, ritualized on demand celebrations that never quite worked for me. But we still need to play along with all the fuss.
Yes, you can call me a grumpy bastard but I'm only in it for the food
One of Annie's needle point nativities
Thanks for all the cards folks . . .
And just to prove I am not a lost cause check out The Piano Guys



Monday, December 23, 2013

Zucchini Carbonara

Heavy Cream, a couple of small zucchini, one egg yolk, 6 oz of bacon, about 12 oz of Penne pasta and a handful of Parmesan cheese.
Quarter the zucchini lengthwise
Slice the inner most core off and discard as this only gets gooey when you cook it.
Note: that index finger healed up nicely
Dice them diagonally in to small bits
One egg yolk, and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese chopped up
Add a splash of heavy cream and the cheese to the egg yolk and mix up. Get your pasta boiling.
Half of a 12 oz package of bacon chopped up in to little bits. Cuts best if cold.


Cook down the bacon till crispy . . . a non stick pan works best for this one . . . and when your pasta is ready and not before
Toss the Zucchini in with the bacon, add a good bit of ground pepper and toss for about 2 minutes on high heat.
Add your drained pasta and shut the heat off and toss for a minute so until it absorbs all the bacon fat and things are nicely mixed.
Add your egg, cheese and cream mix and mix up well til it all gets glazed in melted cheese.
Serve and enjoy - - - the grown up version of Mac and cheese

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pulpo Gallego, Octopus in paprika

A classic Spanish way of preparing octopus.
Two pounds of octopus cleaned.
Dunk in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes
Until they curl up like this
Pop them in a heavy dutch oven lined with some chopped up fennel, parsley, garlic and a splash of white wine, cover and put in to a 300 degree F oven for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours they will be tender enough to cut with a fork. Cut them up in bite size bits. Toss them in a bit of olive oil and set under the broiler or on a grill for about 3 or 4 minutes just to char them a little bit. Be careful don't over do it. Toss them in a bowl with some more olive oil, some chopped garlic, salt, pepper and teaspoon of paprika. I use the mild smoked kind.
Serve with some roasted fingerling potatoes, half a dozen steamed little neck clams and a side salad.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snow, Bread and Chicken Piccata

I am still waiting for the coconuts to drop from the maple tree in the front yard. Thirty six hours after Monday's snow storm, temps dropped even further we had an other 18 inches of Al Gore's BS.
This is the sight that greeted us Wed morning. To give you an idea the round cement pad on the stump on my deck is 24 inches in diameter and was clear of snow 5 pm on Tuesday.
19 deg Celsius below zero
A good day to stay inside and bake bread. Tuesday night I made up an other batch of my No knead bread. This is what it looks like after rising overnight at room temperature.
This time I followed a slightly different procedure. Dump it out on a floured counter and fold in a little bit of flour and make the dough in to a loose ball. Clean out the bowl and dump a splash of olive oil in the bowl. Dump the dough back in the bowl and coat with oil. Invert on the parchment paper and put the bowl over it and let rest for 2 hours.
Spend the next hour and a half clearing the snow off the driveway, deck and patio.
Feed the birds. Go inside and heat up the oven to 450 deg F. and take a break.
After about two hours the bread will look like this
Pop it in to a 450 deg F oven and let it rip for 30 minutes.
 Thirty minutes later pop it out of the oven and let it rest.
Go back outside for another hour and half rake the 3 tons of snow and ice off the roof and clear the deck, patio and paths around the house for a second time. Those snow banks out my kitchen window are five feet high and its not even officially winter yet. Last Friday we had bare grass on the lawn.
Come inside and enjoy fresh bread.
Pop a couple more Advil, take a nap and try to ignore the world.

For dinner a quick Chicken Piccata
Trim off the fat and excess skin from 4 chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Leave the skin on as it keeps the moisture in the meat and adds flavor to the dish while it cooks.
Toss in a bowl and coat with flour.
Skin side down in to a hot pan with a generous splash of olive oil for about 5 minutes at medium temp.
Flip over and brown the other side.
Add about 3/4 of a cup of white wine and a handful of capers.
Cover and simmer on low flame for about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and squeeze half a lemon in to the sauce and reduce to make a creamy gravy.
Serve and enjoy.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

16 inches of Global Warming

It has been wretchedly cold here for the last three days.
 
7 degrees Fahrenheit
 
That's minus 13 Celsius for you metric folks.
6 pm when we drove home it had not started snowing yet. By midnight we had 6 inches of snow. This is what it looked like out the living room window.
And Looking out the bathroom window to the garden shed. Yes its midnight but due to the snow and the refection of the street lights it looks like dawn.
Sunday dawned just plain miserable. I think the poor dove tells you all you need to know.
Some tried to hide under the bushes
While others sheltered from the wind behind the tool shed
The back patio with 16 inches
The barn
Screw you Al Gore
I swear, the next idiot that tries to tell me about global warming will get chained naked to the maple tree in the front yard till it starts dropping coconuts on his head.
Three hours of back breaking labor got us this far.
I worked the snow blower while Annie cleared up behind me with the shovel
Of course as soon as I put the blower away, got my Carharts and boots off the snowplow dumped another load across the driveway
At least the birds are happy they can finally get some food
And soon discovered the fresh straw I laid out for them.


I'm still with these boys from Minnesota 
 If we had some Global warming!!!