Taking A Break

Hey  all, I just thought I would let you all know I  am taking this week off from the blog to prepare for my Whole30.  I am going to be doing a lot of cooking, even more than I already do, if you can  believe that.  So I need to get my kitchen clean up and organized, my 1st week’s menu planned and a grocery list ready. I will be back once I start my Whole30 next week.  I think you will be pleasantly suprised with the recipes I have planned for you in April.  See you then.

Deconstructed Moroccan Chicken Tangine

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Some of my friends are concerned about the Whole30 I am doing in April.  They think I am going to starve myself to loose weight and do myself some damage.  I can’t convince them that the Whole3o isn’t a diet.  I am not restricting calories, counting carbs or denying myself food.  When I am hungry, I can eat.  I’ll just eat whole, unprocessed food when I am hungry instead of the crap I am used to grabbing when I am hungry.

Since I can’t convince my friends I am not going to starve myself, I thought I would just show them some of the things I can eat on the Whole30.  Today I made a lovely Moroccan inspired  chicken dish.  I have used dry rubs hundreds of times but this dish was the first time I ever used a wet rub. It’s going to look like there isn’t going to be enough rub to coat the 4 chicken thighs but, trust me, there is.   I served it with a side of brussels sprouts.

To my friends, I love you for being concerned about my health and well being.  Don’t worry, though, I love cooking and eating too much to stop.

This recipe is the work of the bloggers from Paleo Grubs. I placed it here only to show my friends the kind of food I can eat on the Whole30.  Please go check out the rest of Paleo Grubs amazing recipes

Deconstucted Moroccan Chicken Tangine

4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

‹2 bay leaves

3 TBS olive oil

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped, divded

1 medium red onion, chopped

1/2 cup green olives, sliced

1 1/2  cups chicken stock

In a small bowl, combined the cumin, black pepper, paprika, red pepper, ginger an cinnamon.  Add the olive oil and stir to mix.  Add the bay leaves and half the chopped cilantro.  Rub the mixture all over the chicken and under the skin.  Refrigerate 6 – 24 hours.  When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the chicken thighs, skin side up,on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes.  While the chicken is cooking, add the onions to a medium pan  over medium high heat.  Add whatever rub is left in the bowl to the onions.  If there isn’t any rub left over, add a pinch of each of the spices you used for the rub to the onions.  Cook until the onions are just starting to brown, 3-5 minutes.  Add the olives, cilantro, and chicken stock to the pan and simmer until the chicken is  done.  The skin should be nice and crispy.  When the chicken is done, add any juices left in the pan to the pan with the gravy.  Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.  Serve the gravy on the top or the side of the chicken.  

 

Cleaning Out The Pantry #9 Pressure Cooker Bone Broth

I have slowly been preparing for my Whole30 for the last couple of weeks.  In addition to using up as much of my non compliant food as possible, I have been trying to buy compliant food a little at a time.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  One of the Whole30 rules is not to  use anything with added sugar.  The problem is there is added sugar in hidden in a lot of things, even things you wouldn’t suspect to have added sugar.  As I cleaned out my fridge, I expected to find added sugar in a lot of my condiments and I wasn’t disappointed.  As cleaned out my canned goods, I was absolutely shocked to find my favorite brand of canned tomatoes and boxed stock both have added sugar. WTF?!!! Why do tomatoes and broths have added sugar? It’s sooooo frustrating.  So I am looking for a brand of  compliant canned tomatoes that I like.  I have decided instead of relying on boxed stock, I am going to make my own.  I have made vegetable broth dozens of time because I prefer its more neutral flavor in most dishes.  However, I saved the carcass from a chicken I made in the pressure cooker a few weeks ago so I decided to try and make chicken bone broth.

The first time I made bone broth, it was totally unintentional.  I had tossed a chicken in my pressure cooker to cook.  When I took it out, I kept the broth and put it in the fridge.  When I came back to use it the broth, it had set up like Jello.  I was totally freaked out.  I had  no idea it was supposed to do that.  I thought there was something wrong with my chicken. I almost threw the broth and chicken out. Fortunately, my friend, Derek, was over and he told me that the solid broth is actually very good for you.  So we ate the chicken and used the broth for soup the next night.

When you use the bone broth, don’t add any water to it, just gently warm it up.  The Jello like substance will melt back into liquid broth.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Bone Broth

2-3 lbs chicken bones

1/2 medium onion, with the root end cut off, your don’t have to peel it

2 stalks celery, cut into thirds

2 medium carrots, cut into thirds, you don’t have to peel them

2 bay leaves

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

10 cups water

In a 6 quart pressure cooker add the chicken bones, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and water.  Lock the lid.  Bring to high pressure for 2 hours ( 120 minutes). Release the pressure naturally.  I let the broth cool and package it in 1 cup portions in Zip Loc snack size bags.  Lay flat and freeze.  

Cleaning Out The Pantry #8 General Tso’s Tempeh And Pumpkin Millet Pudding

 

 

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I always laugh when people leave comments on a recipe saying they changed, this, this and this and it didn’t work out. This is a terrible recipe.  I am not saying you should never change a recipe.  I totally hope you take my recipes and totally make them your own.  However, if you make changes to a recipe, you can’t blame it on the recipe if it doesn’t work out.

This week I made a couple of recipes that I substituted ingredients or changed the cooking method.  The recipes didn’t turn out quite the way I hoped but that was my fault for making significant changes to the recipe, not the recipes’ fault.  I am posting them here so I can come back to them after my April Whole3o and try them again, this time without the changes.

Pantry items used — tempeh and canned pumpkin

General <strong>Tso's</strong> Tempeh

Tempeh

1  8 0z package tempeh

2 TBS cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Sauce

Oil drizzle for the pan

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/ 4 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar

1 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Preheat a steaming pan.  Cut the tempeh into halves or thirds & steam for 10 minutes. Remove from heat & cut into bite size pieces.  Mix the cornstarch, garlic powder, & paprika & pour into a plastic bag.  Lightly coat each piece of tempeh with the cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess.  Preheat a skillet to medium heat. When hot, coat the bottom of the pan with oil.  Add the tempeh pieces & cook until golden brown. When crispy, remove from the pan.  Sauce prep : Using the same pan, add a drizzle more of oil & toss in the fresh garlic & ginger.  After a few minutes, mix vegetable broth, tamari, rice vinegar, tomato paste, hoisin sauce, & maple syrup in the pan with the garlic & ginger.  Add the tempeh & stir to coat each piece with sauce.  Turn down the heat & sauté for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve hot.  

Pumpkin Millet Pudding

1/4 cup millet
1 cup milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon honey
1/4  tsp ground cardamom
dash of cinnamon
handful of almonds

In a heavy saucepan combine milk, millet, ground cardamom and ground cinnamon. Cook covered, over low heat for 30-40 minutes until tender and almost all milk is absorbed. Stir occasionally and add more milk if necessary. Mixture should be creamy.  Remove from heat and stir in honey, pumpkin puree and chopped almonds. Serve.

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef And Cabbage

My counter top oven is dying.  I know they don’t last forever (this is my second one) .  I bought it for about $55 dollars about 3 or 4 years ago and I use it atleast once daily, so I know I have gotten my money’s worth from this particular kitchen item.  It’s just that they no longer make this particular brand of counter top oven any more.  I am going to have to make a a decision on a new one soon.  I know it isn’t the worst thing I could have to happen to me.  I just suck at making decisions and I hate change, especially in my kitchen.

My dying counter top oven may not be the worst thing that has ever happened to me but it is currently the most annoying thing.  I wanted to make a baked corned beef brisket today.  With my unreliable oven, I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining it. I was so bummed because today was the only day I had time to do the long, slow cook that a corned beef brisket needs to become tender.  After a good pout,  it occured to me I could make a corned beef brisket in my pressure cooker.  A quick internet search for a recipe, I found one by Gutsy By Nature.  I absolutely loved how the cook tossed out the spice packet that came with the brisket and made her own.  I also loved how the pressure cooker cut the the cooking time from over 3 hours in the oven to just over 90 minutes in the pressure cooker. The corned beef brisket was very lightly flavored (I would probably double the spices next time) and not overly salty like corned beef brisket sometimes gets.  I will always bake my corned beef brisket whenever possible but when I can’t I will use this recipe and my pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

3-4 lb corned beef brisket

4 cups water

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

2 bay leaves

3 whole black peppercorns

1/2 tsp whole allspice berries

1 tsp dried thyme

1  1/2  lbs small potatoes

5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small cabbage, quartered

In a 6 quart pressure cooker, add the water, onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries and thyme.  Lock the lid and set the timer for 90 minutes at high pressure.  Release the pressure with a 10 minute natural release.  Remove the meat and keep warm.  Add the vegetables.  Lock the lid.  Set the time for 10 minutes at high pressure.  Release the pressure with a quick release.  Server the corned beef with the vegetables and a side of soda bread.