Category Archives: Home Meals

2018 Cookery Project — Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

 Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken is another of those one-pan, 10-ingredient dishes from the A Spicy Perspective website that come in handy when I want to make something beautiful and elegant, but fast and easy. (“Fast and easy” was my middle name, back in younger and more adventurous times.)

I could probably have put this together blindfolded. It didn’t require learning any new techniques, and there were no unfamiliar ingredients. Like so many things I cook, it began with diced onion and minced garlic. I seared the chicken in butter. then added, at various stages, finely diced roasted red peppers, chicken broth, cream cheese, crushed red pepper, and basil. If you look closely, you can see that I sliced the chicken before serving.

Another good one. I think I’m getting the hang of this cookery thing.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

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2018 Cookery Project — French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

This was a first attempt at making French Onion Soup, one of my favourite things, right up there with raindrops on kittens and whiskers on roses.

And it worked! I knew I’d succeeded from my first sip, because It tasted unmistakably French.

I’ve been building up to this for a long time, comparing a number of recipes and finally settled on this one from Epicurious. I even bought a special set of ramekins and soup spoons, for authenticity and because I liked saying “ramekins”.

I started by slow-cooking four sliced Vidalia onions in butter. It took about an hour to get them to the perfect state—soft, and golden brown. Then I added white wine and beef broth, thyme and bay leaves, and simmered to reduce.

To finish, I poured a bit of sherry into each ramekin, filled them with the onions and broth, added lightly-toasted baguette slices, and covered the whole thing with Gruyère cheese.

Five minutes in the broiler gave me the delicious result you see above.

Bon appétit!


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

The description of this Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken, from a website called The Recipe Critic, says, “This meal tastes like it is straight from a restaurant.  I couldn’t even get over how amazing the creamy sauce was!  It has such a delicious creamy garlic taste with spinach and sun dried tomatoes.”

All of which is totally accurate. It was like something I’d be happy to find on the menu of a good restaurant, and after tasting it, I’d make a note to order it again next time I visited.

The chicken was boneless, skinless breast, sliced and then cooked in batches in a skillet. When it was done, I moved the chicken to a plate, deglazed the pan, and added heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, chopped spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.

While the sauce was thickening, I cooked the pasta, which turned out to be the killer secret ingredient. On a whim, I’d picked up a small package of Pasta Valente’s Garlic Parsley Fettuccine at Giant. I hadn’t heard of it before I bought it, but I now think it’s the best packaged pasta I’ve ever eaten.

The chicken went back into the skillet to reheat, and a few minutes later, it was ready to serve.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

I have my defaults.

My default Breakfast Cereal is Open Nature Naturally Flavored Granola with one or more servings of fresh fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or bananas), Golden Raisins, and heavy cream.

My default Ham Sandwich is Black Forest ham on hand-cut slices of sourdough bread, with my own honey-mustard spread, some cress, and a sprinkling of bleu cheese.

And now I have a default recipe for salmon.

The recipe for Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce that I found on a website called A Spicy Perspective turned out so well that I’m sure I’ll be using it over and over.

Here’s how it works: You spread brown sugar over the salmon, then add liquid smoke to the sugar and rub the mixture to coat the entire fillet. Bake it on parchment paper for 15 minutes. The liquid smoke and brown sugar blend give the fish a wonderful, shiny glaze.

The Horseradish Sauce is a mixture of grated shallot, sour cream, milk, mustard, and, uh, horseradish.

Add some capers and parsley, and you’re ready to go.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Late summer this year was not a good time to be me. What at first seemed like a minor medical issue turned out to be both more serious and much more expensive than I was prepared for. That double whammy depressed me to the point where I wasn’t much good for anything more challenging than lying in bed, eating Dark Chocolate Klondike Bars, and watching British “cozy” mysteries on Acorn and Britbox. (If you want to know anything—anything—about Miss Marple or Father Brown, Miss Fisher or M. Poirot, or the innumerable homicidal residents of Midsomer county, I’m your guy.)

I let a lot of things lapse, including this blog.

But now I’m back in action, and caught up with my Summer Restaurant Week adventures—a mere two months after they took place—so it’s time to start updating the 2018 Cookery Project. First off: Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice.

I stumbled across this recipe on a website called The Recipe Critic. It looked delectable, the instructions consisted of only three steps, and the whole meal could be made in a single skillet. The neat time-and-effort saver was that the uncooked rice was added to the same pot as the chicken and mushrooms, instead of being made separately. Once the rice was done, I only had to add heavy cream and parmesan cheese to finish the dish.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.


*Midsomer has the third highest homicide rate per capita in the world, exceeded only by Chicago, Illinois, and Cabot Cove, Maine.

“Five Years, That’s All We’ve Got”

Well, that was fast…

I started posting these notes five years ago today, and 1,645 postings later, I’m still at it. Today I took a look at some of the items I ran during my first few weeks online.

Some Things Haven’t Changed


Music Videos

Here’s the first video I ever posted: “70 Million”, by the Paris-based, Franco-American band Hold Your Horses.

It was complemented by another video about the inspirations for the images in the “70 Million” video. Try playing them simultaneously.

Still posting music, and still love this one.


Saying Goodbye to Breaking Bad

Was it really five years ago? For me, Breaking Bad was the Greatest Series Ever, and I still post about it at the drop of a pork pie hat.

No change; still obsessed.


Anglophilia

Rule Britania.

Dorothy Parker said she hated to talk to people from the UK, because they made her feel like she should be carrying a papoose on her back. I, on the other hand, am a pushover for anything said in one of the 684 recognized British accents.

And I love British comedy. Here’s Chris Turner, performing at The Glee Club, Cardiff:

Still a passionate Anglophile, still posting a disproportionate number of entries about the UK, even though Britain’s future looks grim, because of the self-inflicted damage resulting from Brexit. But then, it’s probably inappropriate for an American to criticize Brexit, since that was only the second most idiotic electoral result of 2016.


Restaurant Week

Summer Restaurant Week 2013 was what gave me the incentive to start blogging, and gave me the material I needed to get through the first few weeks.

Still at it. Posting Summer Restaurant Week 2018 pictures over the next two weeks.

 Some Things Have Changed, Thank God


On the left, the first Home Cooking picture I ever posted, long before my self-improvement Cookery Project started in 2016. On the right, the most recent Home Cooking picture

2013’s Poached Halibut and Asparagus with Basil-Tarragon Sauce vs 2018’s Cajun Chicken and Rice

I remember being so proud of the halibut, because I’d never poached fish before that.

I think my skill set and style have improved since then.


Much more to come in the next five years!

2018 Cookery Project — Cajun Chicken and Rice

Cajun Chicken and Rice

Cajun Chicken and Rice

I got the recipe for Cajun Chicken and Rice from a new-to-me website called Host the Toast, and I was elated by the results. It’s a one-pot meal that looked and tasted like New Orleans!

Most of the times I’ve cooked chicken dishes, I’ve used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This time, though, I tried boneless, skinless thighs. I rubbed a lot of Cajun seasoning over the chicken thighs and cooked them until they began to blacken, then removed them from the skillet.

After that, I sauteed garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, and andouille sausage—variously chopped, diced, sliced, and minced— in the pan, until they were soft. Here’s the nifty part: I added chicken stock and uncooked brown long grain rice, put a lid on the pan and simmered it for half an hour, until the rice was cooked. Didn’t know you could do that.

All that was left to do was return the chicken thighs to the pan for reheating, and serve.

A happy result. As I said, the finished dish actually tasted like New Orleans.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.