Howdy and Happy Autumn!

Which One?

Going to see one of these three lovely ladies next Saturday night!!!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Greetings from sunny Florida!

I don’t even remotely remember how to use this site, but am hopeful this will go through. Just thinking of you all and wanted to send my love and best wishes for a happy holiday season. Warm regards always.
Steve ” Winnie at Bay” Krauss

Hey all! Boy, we haven't used this site in a long time! Hope all are well!

Happy Memorial Day, y'all!

It’s Sunday, and I’m mellow and lazing around the house.  Memorial Day was the beginning of summer wonders in the days of ol’ SGE, and I’ve found myself nostalgic for times of Barton Springs and Hippie Hollow, Annie bbqs, Kerbey Lane brunches and Aunt Melissa’s Summer Tonic-fueled Skip Bo games, Bullfrog pool parties and Uncle Charlie’s/Boathouse dance parties.  (Is it just because this is college nostalgia that most of these memories contain massive amounts of alcoholic beverages, or were/are we a bunch of lushes?)  Madonna’s “Holiday” came on the radio the other day, and my geezer brain shifted to remembering when no one knew who she was (or whether she was white or black) and that song would cause a buzz of excitement on Austin gay bar dancefloors.

For some reason, Becca will ALWAYS be summer to me.  Is it because we inherited the Estate in the early summer before our sophomore year?  Is it because the school year was too busy busy busy with classes and crew and rehearsals and life, while summers in Austin always slowed down to ‘jes hangin’ with our posse at The Posse?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that when I think of Becca, it is always her smiling face glowing with suntan and freckles, wisps of Austin-humiditied hair curling around her happy face, a sheen of summer shimmering her smile as she laughs and pours me another beer from a shared pitcher.  Said together we’re one and divided we’re though.  Happy Memorial Day, all my college friends.  May this weekend be the beginning of new laughter and friendship, warm nights and camaraderie, balmy happy memories for now and for always.

As to food (always a favorite topic):

Here’s my newest concoction which I am loving like NOBODY’s business.  Bring it to your next potluck barbecue and be the hero.

There’s a divine market near our house which has the cheapest produce I have ever encountered, and it is all fresh and delicious and flavorful.  Everything in this lil salad is in season, so its a great Slow Food summer treat:

three nectarines, pitted and cut into cubes with skin still on
two pints of fresh blackberries
one half of a fresh pineapple, cleaned and cubed
one pound of bing cherries, pitted and halved (these are firm when ripe, so its not too hard to cut them and remove the pits.  Not like pitting pie cherries – and so worth it)

I know, I know, it sounds labor intensive but its a zen thing to do.  Put on some music, pour a glass of wine and cut the damn fruit.  It’s worth it.

Combine the cut fruit in a bowl. Then, zest the peel of one medium-sized lemon over the fruit.
Then grate a thumb-size piece of peeled ginger over the fruit. (I keep mine in the freezer in a baggie.  It’s easy to chop or break a piece off and peel with a potato peeler.  Then grate it with the zester.)
Then pick about twenty leaves of fresh mint, chop and add in.  (Should be about 2Tb of mint)

I happened to have some Trade Joe’s dried wild blueberries in the house, so I tossed a handful in and stirred it all together.  I added no other juice or sweeteners.

Chill.  Scoop into small bowls.  Garnish with another couple of mint leaves.  Pour another glass of wine.  Enjoy.

I mean REALLY.

Chicken Veggie Soup: W! Style

Okay, people. I’ve been threatening to post this, and now here it is.  It features my and Randy’s favorite ingredient the GARBANZO BEAN.  I’m not sure what this says about us, but I believe Randy like his bean much harder and stiffer than I like mine.  I have to cook this soup for the missus, that likes the beans to melt in her mouth.  But I digress. . . .

As always, I will be giving you crock pot cooking times.  However, this can also be done on a low simmer in a big pot for a minimum of three hours.  I say “minimum” because of the carrots to be included and cooked all the way through. Once again, if you like your sticks hard, cook for two hours.  If you like ‘em to melt in your mouth:  more than two hours.  And contrary to conventional thinking, sometimes soft is much more desirable than stiff.  Uh oh:  there I go again

Final note: while I state specific measurements for spices, I only do it because we should have a starting point.  To be honest, I don’t really measure anymore — except for measuring the salt. 

Ingredients:

  • Swimming goggles
  • two large onions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 4-5 medium size carrots
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh dried garbanzo beans (soak overnight before using)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb diced boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tblspoons curry powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I tend to go lighter on the salt0)
  • 3 shakes of worscheshire(sp) sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 large 28 oz cans diced tomatoes and add the juice from the cans
  • 1 serrano pepper (just one — this is NOT Suppressed Desires chili)
  • 1 can of low sodium chicken broth (or regular chicken broth and reduce the amount of salt you add — don’t kill the soup by being too salty)
  • Optional — 1 cup of frozen corn, blackeyed peas or other frozen veggie you don’t have to chop up or take a lot of time to prepare

So, you guys know how I work.  The night before, soak the garbanzo beans.  If you forget to soak the beans, don’t even try this.  Don the swimming goggles and chop the onions and put in bowl.  In the same bowl put your chopped up garlic and celery.  In another bowl  put in chopped up bell peppers (you should probably get rid of the seeds in the bell peppers) and the serrano pepper. Keep the seeds in the serrano pepper.   If you have any bowls left, SLICE (not dice or chop) the carrots into semi-thin slices.  Didya note I don’t have you chopping up the chicken?  Enough’s enough with the chopping, for Christ’s sake.  Stop and have a scotcharita.

The next morning, get early and really martyr yourself to your partner, or to yourself for being so dedicated. At this point I suggest cooking the garbanzo beans for two hours before you drop it in the crock pot.  However, You might be able to get away with cooking them for 1 hour.

While the beans are cooking, whip out your deep skillet, and with a bit of olive oil or butter, sautee the celery/onion/garlic for about 5 minutes.  Then add the green bell pepper /serrano pepper mix to the pan and skillet and sautee for about 5 minutes.  Now, mix in the curry and salt and sautee for another couple of minutes.

So, you’ve probably cooked your beans as long as you want to cook them.  Add the canned tomatoes and chicken broth to the crock pot (or regular pot — remember to adjust your time accordingly). Drain off the beans but reserve a cup or so of the water you cooked the beans in if you need a more soupier soup in a separate cup.  Add the beans, the sautee mixture, a couple of dashes of worsteshire(sp) or soy sauce. And oh yeah.  Add the carrots. Now you got yourself a kickass veggie soup.  Set your crockpot for at least 6 hours.

Ah yes.  The chicken.  Don’t ask me why — I think it’s just our schedule at W!s house when we cook this.  I usually dice up the chicken and add it a couple of hours later if I’m crock potting this, or one hour later if I’m cooking in a big pot.  But make sure the chicken gets a chance to cook for at least two hours in a regular pot, three hours in a crock pot.  

However you cook it, let it cook at least half way and get watery before deciding to add the reserve garbanzo water if you think it’s too thick for your liking.  Remember that as these stews, soups, and chilis cook, the natural juices of the ingredients add water the longer they cook.

I almost forgot.  About an hour before you serve, throw in those frozen vegetables if you really need them.  I only do it to add some variety and color to the soup.

And there you have it.  Along the way you should test and add season to taste.  I just chose curry as the foundation spice.  Knowing the readers of these recipes, I’m sure there will be some great variations.

Bon Apetit.

Birthday wishes and memories

Happy Birthday to two of the original 4 bodacious Estate ladies. April brings such astounding, breathtaking gifts each year, but none more special than the two of you. I send love and wishes of joy and laughter to you, beautiful Lannyl, and bask in memories of Becca’s throaty, sensuous laugh, blinding smile and warm, wicked wit.

Chicken with White Beans, Fennel and Rosemary from Randall

I wish I had a dowry cauldron to cook this in, but alas I don’t.  It’s probably best done in a dutch oven, but I don’t own one of those either.  So, I just use my largest saucepan with a lid.  This freezes well, too, for later quick and easy meals.

3 medium carrots, chopped

one large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

one medium fresh fennel bulb, trimmed & chopped

1 T Olive Oil

1/2 T sea salt

1/4 T of coarsely-ground pepper

1 T all-purpose flour

1 can of cannellini (white beans) rinsed well and drained

1 can of diced tomatoes

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 T grated lemon zest

2 bay leaves

4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs

1.  In the large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until golden (about 8 minutes).  Add the carrots and fennel, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

2.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux browns slightly – about 1 minute.

3.  Add tomatoes, broth, wine, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

4.  Add chicken.  Lower heat and simmer until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender, about 40 minutes.

5.  Add the rinsed and drained beans, rosemary and lemon zest to the pot.  Return to boil.

6.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, remove bay leaves.

This recipe is REALLY really good.  When in a hurry, I’ve used the Trader Joe’s pre-chopped onion, celery and carrots soup starter.  Just add the celery with the fennel and carrot after cooking the onion w/garlic.

I use organic, low-sodium beans, but whatever you do rinse them well to get rid of the extra sodium added for canning.

I use the Italian-style tomatoes with garlic and olive oil.

This recipe is WeightWatchers friendly:  only about 7 points per serving.

Chef's Coconut Chicken in White Chocolate Sauce

Chef’s Coconut Chicken in White Chocolate Sauce
2 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Egg, beaten
Chopped Coconut
Grated Walnuts
3 oz. White Chocolate
1 Teaspoon cognac
1 Tablespoon butter, unsalted
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Lightly pound the chicken breasts to flatten out slightly and tenderize. Coat with flour and then dip in beaten egg, cover in coconut and nuts. Heat olive oil in pan and lightly brown both sides of breasts. Continue to saute’ until completely cooked, no pink inside.
Melt chocolate on low heat being careful not to burn. When almost melted, add cognac and butter. When melted and blended, drizzle on top of chicken and serve.

Suppressed Desires Turkey Chili

Adapted from the Wholefoods Cookbook Tailgate Chili Recipe

Necessary ingredients:

  • Swimming Goggles
  • 2 large onions  or 3 small onions
  • 1 red, 1 green, and 1 color of your choice bell pepper (3 bell peppers total — go all green if you feelin’ it)
  • 1.5 habanero peppers or 2 serrano peppers
  • 1 1/2 small red beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 lb to 1 3/4 lbs ground turkey, 97% fat free (don’t get the 99% fat free stuff)
  • 1 1/2 cup basmati, brown, or “complex carb” rice (anything but white rice, puleeeze!)
  • 32-34 oz  can diced tomatoes (meaning a large and regular  sized can of diced tomatoes from store)
  • small can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2.5-3 tbspn chili powder
  • 1.5 tbspn  ground cumin
  •  1.5 tbspn coriander
  • Main cooking apparatus:  for crock pot/slow cooker.  However, original Wholefoods recipes gives time for cooking stove top in a big ass pot for minimum 2.5 hours.  You can do it this way too. Go for the slow cooker if you have it.
  • Cooking time including prep: Two days, kinda.  If you don’t use the crock pot,  3 1/2 hours, inclusive of one hour prep.  Instructions to follow are for crock pot, but you’re smart enough to adapt

How to cook it

  • Start prep evening before. Usually, have some sporting event or movie or facebooking planned for the next day.
    Soak your beans overnight
  • Put on swimming goggles.  Chop onions and garlic and throw in same bowl.  Chop conspicuously so significant other or partner can marvel at your dedication in kitchen.  Martyr yourself as much as possible without being caught.  But not too much.   That’s what the swimming goggles are for.  None of that crying over your onions bullshit.  Just chop the suckers.
  • Get another bowl.  Chop up ALL peppers  Exclude the seeds from the green, red, and whatever other color big pepper you got.  INCLUDE the seeds from the habenero or serrano pepper.  Do not rub your eyes or rub your neck after chopping habenero peppers.  And especially don’t scratch where the sun don’t shine after that.  It’s not fun.  Trust me.  Throw all the peppers in the same bowl.  Hopefully, you’ve got seals  or covers for the bowls, cuz when you put all that stuff in your fridge overnight it’s gonna smell real oniony in the morning. But put them in the fridge. 
  • Go to sleep, making lots of references to the hard work you’ve done.
  • Next morning.  Get up early. Hopefully it’s Sunday.  Significant others love the sounds of their partners clunking around in the kitchen for them.
  • Start cooking beans.  Figure out how much water to boil the beans in (I never measure, but put in enough so it doesn’t simmer off).  Bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour.  (Note: if you decide not to use a slow cooker, then cook for 2 hours).  While the bean action is going on:
    • In a big  skillet with olive oil, saute the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes
    • Then add the chopped peppers to the skillet and sautee for 10 minutes
    • Add all seasons to the skillet and mix in, saute for an additional couple of minutes
  • Meanwhile, the beans should be where you need them.  They should be semi firm (a little less firm if you’re NOT using the slow cooker). Drain off the liquid, but save about a cup or so for later use
  • Plug in slow cooker.  Put in diced tomatoes (including liquid from can), onion & pepper mixture, and beans.  Stir in about a half can of the tomato paste. It’s gonna be kinda thick.  No worries. Deal with it as you stir it
  • Cover and set slow cook timer for 6 – 10 hours, depending on how much basketball or football or facebooking you have to do all day
  • Ah yes.  The turkey.  Just so you don’t feel like such a slave to the kitchen, you can add the turkey two or three hours later.  But no more than that.  I prefer to take that same skillet (wash it out first)   put a little olive oil in it, and “semi-brown” the turkey first.  Meaning — cook it just a bit to get some of the fat out.  Pour out the fat, and then stir it into the mixture in the slow cooker.  (Note: stove top cooking you should folllow this step immediately after putting all the stuff in your big pot)

Now, at this point, all is rocking and rolling with your chili.  But don’t let it deceive you.  It will look like a thick hodge podge of glue when you start and you will be tempted to add liquid.  Especially for  the slow cooker, wait two or three hours before you add anything.  Slow cooking will release more water from the veggies, and you can better gauge how thick you want it then.  If need be, add the liquid you reserved from the beans judiciously.

Oh yeah. The rice.  You set your own timing on this.  Follow instructions for rice cooking, but the rice should be started near the end of the cooking process because you will serve the rice with the chili.

Serving Instructions

 Okay, it’s been 6 – 10 hours.  The rice  has been cooked.  Here’s how you serve it.  In a bowl (we have some cool flat bowls where this works great) put a scoop of the rice in the middle.  We use  a stiff, high fiber rice that has a lot of body.  When we put a scoop in, it hold its  shape and doesn’t crumble. Ladle chili around the rice, kinda making the rice look like it’s an island in a chili sea.

Knock yourself out.  By the way, the long it cooks, the hotter the peppers become.  That’s the point. This makes a butt load of servings.  For two people, you can have this at least three times.  It will refridgerate, and you can even freeze portions.  You will probably have rice left over if you’re only serving two people.  This can refridgerate as well, and you can microwave the rice for two or three minutes.  Again, you’ve to have sturdy rice to do this. 

Use chili as leverage to get favors from your significant other, reminding them of how early you got up to prepare the chili.  Also use as leverage when they ask you to get off your butt to do chores around the house while you’re on Facebook.

Here’s what’s cooking today.  (I posted it to FB a while back, but let’s get it here where it belongs.

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN N DUMPLINS (WeightWatcher’s Friendly – cuz JHud knows from whence she speaks!)

about 8 servings (WW: estimated at 5pts per serving)

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, diced

1 pound of chicken breasts

5 Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Reduced Fat Buttermilk Biscuits

1 tbsp butter

non-stick cooking spray

1 cup fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth

1 can 98% fat-free condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 can 98% fat-free condensed cream of chicken soup

1 bag frozen peas and carrots

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Season chicken with paprika, parsley flakes & black pepper to taste.  Place chicken, butter, soups and onion in cooker and fill with enough chicken broth to cover.

Cover and cook for 5 hours on high.  Stir in frozen vegetables.  Flatten and tear biscuits into small pieces and place on top of mixture.  Cover and cook until dough is no longer raw in the center, approximately 45 minutes.  It may look like it has a lot of liquid, but the biscuits will soak it up to become fluffy and delicious.  Save the other biscuits for morning breakfast or for making individual lunch pizzas (sauce, cheese, toppings in the toaster oven).