Don’t read my blog….

No Really.

Don’t read my blog. Read my amazing friend (and fellow dweller of the same suburb) Shannon’s blog.

She is a writer of truly clear and gifted voice, and we are all so grateful and honored to have her here continuing her battle right now.

http://www.sunshine-and-shadows.com/

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Eat – Klassy Crisp Chicken and Parmesan Artichoke Hearts

Ahh, pork rinds.

Yeah, no, wait, WHAT!?

Seriously though – I don’t particularly care for pork rinds, just as a “sit down and plow through a bag” kind of snack.  I will leave that for bare-foot-at-the-gas-station Britney Spears, circa de 2004. BUT – there is a time and a place for everything, and for pork rinds that place is in the coating for crispy baked chicken.

Yep.  It’s the stuff low-carb dreams are made of (if you are into that sort of thing.)

It also happens to just be damn tasty.

Follow me here… I won’t do you wrong.  (On this particular night we had Parmesan Artichoke hearts as a side dish, so those are in the pics too.)

WHAT YOU NEED:

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2 small or 1 large B/S Chicken Breast  (not pictured here, because airhead Keri left them out,) cut into chunks (I go for chunks that will yield about 2 or 3 bites each.)

1/2 bag Pork Rinds

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – the Klassy kind in the shake-y thing (plus more if you would like to par-take in the Artichoke Hearts with us.)

WHAT YOU DO:

Either remove half of your bag of pork rinds into a zip-top baggie, or, if you are down to your last half (what up, Brit Brit,) then you can just leave them in the original bag and fold the top down so none of your pork dust (yep, said it,) escapes – using your hands crush and smash those pork rinds until there are no chunks you can feel and it has the consistency of bread crumbs:

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Coat your chicken pieces in the mayo:

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Add the garlic powder and shaker parm to the bag of pork rind dust (man, this is a high falootin’ recipe, isn’t it? Hold the top closed, and shake to mix the dry coating ingredients.

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Toss your chicken chunks into the bag:

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Close the bag well, and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE to coat those chunks.

Say it with me “It’s Shake and Bake, and ah ha-alped!!” (If you are way too young to get this reference, then do it in front of your parents – it will get a good laugh.)

I like to bake my chicken in a super hot oven because I am REALLY impatient and don’t want to wait to eat – this works well as long as you DON’T forget it, because it will dry out fast!  I cook this on a wire rack (for extra crispiness at 450 for 18 minutes.)  Here it is in the oven:

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For the artichokes, I arrange them on a baking sheet and pull them open a bit, and sprinkle parmesan on each one, then put them in the oven to bake with the chicken:

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Crispy, flavorful, juicy chicken and creamy, cheesy, artichoke hearts.

Nothing wrong with that, people.  (Even if I do hide my pork rinds behind things in the pantry so someone doesn’t stumble upon on them and make assumptions I am not prepared to live with.)

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Eat- Braised Short Ribs

So this is the part where I confess that I made this dish almost completely to show The Hub what short ribs are supposed to be like.
In short, he had a kinda crappy example of them during a meal out recently.  (The restaurant shall remain nameless, as we actually love it and I am going to chalk it up to an off night.)
Short ribs should be tender and juicy and the meat should just fall/pull apart and off the bone.
(No knife required! ! Come on!)

So what’s the secret? Braising and low, slow, all day cooking.

They are meaty, and rich, an amazing cold weather comfort food.
(And honestly, they are pretty easy to do, if you have a few minutes to get everything going in the a.m.)

WHAT YOU NEED:
8-10 bone in beef short ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or high smoke point oil of your choice)
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1-2 cups beef stock
1-2 bay leaves
Optional dash liquid smoke

WHAT YOU DO:
Heat a dutch oven with 2 tbls of oil in it (or deep skillet if you plan to transfer to a slow cooker for the day,) until you can hover your hand just over the bottom surface of the pan and feel the heat coming off of it- the oil may JUST start to smoke or pop a bit.
Season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper, and add to the pan:

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Brown well on all sides (turn on your fan – this gets smoky, but that color = flavor, people.)
Remove the short ribs, adjust the heat to medium, and add shallot and garlic (you can chop or slice yours if you would like- The Hub likes the flavor, but not the texture, so I leave mine large to avoid serving it to him,) and the tomato paste and allow everything to cook just a couple of minutes while moving everything around:

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Bump the heat back up to high, add the wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape and release the bits from the bottom of the pan (“deglaze the pan”)

Add the meat back to the pot/ or transfer everything to your slowcooker:

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Add beef stock to almost cover the ribs, toss in a couple bay leaves (and a dash of liquid smoke if you want,) cover, turn heat down LOWWWWW:

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I actually cooked mine for 5 hours and then turned off the heat and let them sit on the hot burner WITHOUT removing the lid AT ALL for another hour.
Mmmmm:

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Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or (my favorite) creamy polenta with some fresh parmesan stirred in:

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Enjoy. And leave your knives in the drawer, people.

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Drink – Big Girl Egg Cream

In high school I was one of those kids that spent too much time at the coffee house. (Not the S-Bux for goodness sakes… anyway, there were only 2 of those within driving distance by the time I graduated, just FYI so we can all marvel at my ancient-ness.)
We had a few we liked, but the king daddy coffee house around these parts back then was Paris on the Platte.
And that, my friends, is where Keri’s love of the Egg Cream began.  They made a fabulous version of this soda fountain fave and I ordered it often.
I still get a hankering every-so-often,  so I make ’em myself.   Only I make ’em better.  Because booze.

Fun facts, “soda jerk” is not an insult,  just a term that is even older than me…
So let’s make this soda, jerks. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

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1 Tablespoon Chocolate Syurp
1 Shot Kahlua
Milk/Half and half/Cream
Seltzer water

WHAT YOU DO:
Add Kahlua and Chocolate Syurp to chilled tall glass (Like my classy Pints In The Park glass here )

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Fill 1/4 – 1/3 of glass with milk (whole milk or even half and half or cream all work well… alas we have none of those now.)

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(I like to mix these together before continuing,  but they will probably end up blended either way.)
Pour seltzer water to top of glass and stir to blend.

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Belly up to the (soda) bar and enjoy.

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Eat: Keri’s Ying Yang Bourbon BBQ Sauce

I love BBQ in all forms.  Wet, Dry, Beef, Pork, Chicken, Links, Veggies… Texas, Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis…. Lean, Moist…. WHATEVER – it all has goodness in it’s own fabulous regional BBQ-y way.

THAT BEING SAID – If we are going to have a sauce at home, I like a balenced mix of sweet, tang, heat, and smokieness.

Oh and bourbon.  Because for goodness sakes, why not!?

It recently came to my attention that I don’t actually have my  Basic BBQ sauce recipe anywhere on ED&BK…  My Southern Sloshed Party Pork recipe uses bottled sauce (and I tend to use bottled when I do that recipe, which I do often, because I doctor it up so much and it all just cooks so long anyway… why not take the help on that one?)  But for other applications – something to slather on Brisket after it has cooked with a dry rub, basting chicken or ribs at the end of cooking on the BBQ,  dunking anything I can get my hands on into, etc, I start with this basic recipe.

Then I branch out.

Sometimes I add honey and make it a little sweeter.  Or an adobo pepper for lots of heat.   Or a teaspoon of my favorite Tomato Basil Chipotle seasoning from Mondo Market to give it a certain “hmmmm, what is that yummieness?”

But just as it is, it is the best of all the things I like – it isn’t too sweet, or too vinagary, or so spicy that you can’t taste anything else.

It’s like the perfect Ying Yang BBQ Sauce.  Let’s call it that – Keri’s Ying Yang Bourbon BBQ Sauce.  :::pausing to alter post title:::

WHAT YOU NEED:
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2 cups kechup

4-6 dashes liquid smoke (I like the liquid smoke, but it is concentrated, so be careful if you don’t like a lot of smoke – I go 6 dashes)

3/4 cup Bourbon (I like Jim or Jack for this – but here I am using the The Hub’s Weller, because I wasn’t impressed with it, and because I am tired of hearing him affect a wierd southern general accent when he says it “I duh-CLARE – it’s the Well-ahhh”  (no)

1 cup brown sugar (I pack it down pretty good in the cup)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne/ground red pepper

4 tablespoons apple cider vinagar

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

3/4 teaspoon garlic paste (I use the tube because I don’t want chunks)

2 teaspoons dry mustard

 

WHAT YOU DO:

This is an “everybody into the pool” situation – combine everything into a pot (I spray mine with cooking spray before adding the ingredients, as it gets pretty sticky and the spray makes clean up easier.)
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Then give it all a good wisk over high heat and let it come to a boil:
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Drop the temp to low or medium low and let the sauce simmer 30 minutes (you want bubbles, but not a thunderous boil) uncovered.

A NOTE:  It is messy – get your wet paper towel ready and just wipe things down when you occassionally stir the sauce – if you cover it, it isn’t going to thicken, and that will make you a sad sauce panda.  Embrace the mess (but look out for the spatters, molten, sticky sauce leaves marks.)

After 30 minutes, pull the sauce off the burner and coat the back of a spoon with it, then run your finger through.  Does the line you made stay clean?  That is what the french folks call “nape” and it is sauce-consistancy perfection. Also, this sauce thickens a bit more as it cools, so you will get a good coating on your desired sauce carrier.
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Cool and store in a covered container in your fridge – I have kept it up to 10 days and had no issues (keep in mind, you are reheating as you use.)

Here’s a country-style pork rib that has been given the Ying Yang treatment.  Mmmm.  Lunch.
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Or package some up as the perfect fall party host gift!
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Drink- Palisade Peach Citrus Fizz

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It’s peach season – YAAAAAYYYYY!!!
I love peaches.   Peach was my favorite color in childhood.  Peach was Jr’s first “favorite food” (well, peach puree, but still. )  Peach ice cream and peach cobbler are both long-standing family obsessions traditions on my mom’s side.
Peach is the reason that boring no-carb Keri has been tamped out, releasing EAT-ALL-THE-THINGS Keri back into the kitchen to whip up more deliciousness to share with you.
Peach is just Peachy to me.

So are adult beverages.
Put them together and you have sure-fire Keri Bait… and something that is sure perk up your waning days of summer.

WHAT YOU NEED

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– 2 ounces vodka
– 1 very ripe peach
– 1 lemon wedge
– sparkling water (I like the lemon lime variety )

WHAT YOU DO
-Peel and slice the peach into a shaker (or other sturdy container)
-Add vodka and squeeze lemon wedge to release the juice into the cup as well. (You can muddle with the lemon in the shaker for extra lemon flavor if you’d like)
-muddle like crazy (seriously – Searching for that perfect gift for Keri? Get her a muddler!)

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– pour into ice-filled glass and top with the fizzy water – you can strain it if you like, but I wouldn’t dream of wasting those fabulous peachy bits!!
*Some optional additions or variations, should the mood strike you: a sprig of mint or or a drizzle of honey before muddling; substituting lime for the lemon; or switching out the vodka for bourbon (mmmm, peach and bourbon – yes please! )

Cheers to squeezing the last bright, glorious, beautiful bits out of summer!!

 

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Drink – The CLASSIC Daiquiri

Disclaimer – I am not (much to the chagrin of my Southern-raised husband,) refering to the sugary frozen booze bombs served at the Daiquiri Shacks of his fresh-from-college Louisianna memories.

No – this is not the daiquiri you over-indulged in last winter while on the run from the snow south-of-the-boarder on vacay.

This is the real, true, original.

A true and perfect classic.  Like Sinatra.  Or Ford Mustangs.  Or Keri.  (A-ha.  ha ha. ha ha.)

Simple simple simple.

What You Need:
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1 oz lime juice

1 teaspoon simple syurp* (or super fine sugar if you would like, but I can never get that to truly blend)

2 oz white rum

What You Do:

Put all of the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, and shake to blend and chill.

Strain into Cocktail glass
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Enjoy the sweet, pucker-y perfection.  Just enough of everything – perfectly balenced.

 

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