Friday, October 21, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mid-Week Musings

Photo Courtesy of the Carpe Diem Couple

The notion for today's musings began simply enough. We'd stopped for a donut and coffee on our way to the Oregon coast. The weather was terrible and business was slow, so the gal who waited on us kept one eye on the television as she poured our coffee. We could hear her mumbling, "Man, he's really cooked his goose." It made me smile because it was the first time I'd heard a cooking metaphor used politically. Others sitting at the counter shared her grim assessment, and while I was severely tempted to chime in, I thought it best to leave them to their thoughts and let the matter lie.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Harvest Moon Pumpkin Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderful cake for family or informal fall gatherings. It relies on fall harvest products, so I know you'll have no trouble purchasing or picking the ingredients needed to make this simple cake. You'll also be happy to know that the recipe is so easy that young and inexperienced cooks can put the cake together in a matter of minutes. The end result is a cake that is moist and delicious. It also transports well. I like to bake the cake in a 13 X 9-inch pan, but if you want something with greater presentation value, pull out your bundt pan and have a go at it. You'll have to plan on at least an hour for baking if you go the fancier route. I must admit I cheat a little when I make this cake. I soak my raisins or cranberries - cranberries are my preference - in orange liqueur because I've found it adds wonderful flavor to this amazingly simple cake. If you want really happy raisins, brandy or rum could also be used. Like most cakes that are made with fruit and nuts, the flavor of this one improves with age. I bake the cake at least a day before I plan to serve it, and because it is so moist, I like to keep it in the refrigerator to mellow. The cake can be served without icing, but the Silver Fox likes his with a dollop of whipped cream that's been flavored with orange liqueur. If I'm taking the cake to a meeting or another home, I'll dust the top of it with confectioners' sugar. I do hope you'll give this family treat a try. Using field pumpkins, apples from the orchard and cranberries scooped from the bog, would make this dessert truly spectacular, but we do have to get real here. So, take out your can opener and grab what you need from the pantry and have a go at this one. You won't be sorry. Here is how this pumpkin cake is made.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mid-Week Musings

It's becoming obvious that vaccines have been tossed into a pot that already contains politics, religion, abortion and money. These are topics that sensible people avoid discussing because they trigger polarizing arguments that rarely change adult thoughts or behaviors, but some of us are stubborn and sometimes you have to try. This weekend, I had a dust-up with an anti-vaccine advocate that will help explain why a photo of an iron lung is being used as the lead-in to this week's musings.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Greek-Style Chicken Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite..."Mm! Mm! Good!" That slogan and the sound of a can opener marked, and possibly marred, my childhood. My mother made only brand named soups, and it was years before I knew that the chicken and tomato varieties came from anything other than a can. When my children were small, I developed a reputation for making the best peanut butter sandwiches in town. My own children took them for granted but their friends couldn't get enough of them. My secret then was threefold. I used homemade sandwich bread, spread the bread with butter and then topped it with peanut butter and homemade jam. Over the years, I've also developed a reputation for soup that rivals that of my PB&J's. I, of course, have another secret that I'm going to share with you tonight. I use concentrated (double strength) beef and chicken broth to make my soups. Normally, I make my own stock and boil it down, but I've come across a couple of products that I use when my homemade version is not available. I also use them when I'm rushed and want a soup I can get on the table quickly. I like the reduced sodium varieties of Better Than Bouillon and the relatively new Knorr Homemade Stock. If you use either of these products, you'll want to use additional salt judiciously. I really like the soup I'm featuring tonight. Because it uses orzo and deli chicken, it is simple to make and you can have it on the table in less than 45 minutes. It's a riff on the famous Greek Avgolemono, but this chicken soup is more substantial and a perfect way to stimulate peckish appetites. I do hope you'll give it a try. I make it at least once a month and once you taste it I think you'll see why. Here is how this very simple soup is made.

Greek-Style Chicken Soup with Orzo...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced white onion
1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 cups hot double strength chicken stock, divided use
1-1/2 cups orzo
3 cups boned coarsely chopped deli rotisserie chicken
4 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1) Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and salt and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Do not brown. Add carrot and saute for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with salt.
2) Place 1 cup chicken stock in a blender. Add 7 cups of chicken stock to pot and bring to a simmer. Once stock is simmering, add orzo. Cover pot and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Add chicken and warm through.
3) Add eggs and lemon juice to the cooled stock in the blender and blend until the mixture is frothy.
4) Slowly pour egg mixture into hot soup, stirring constantly until it is completely mixed in. Do not bring to a boil or eggs will curdle. Add oregano and stir into soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

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                     Chicken Long Rice                                                        Thai Rice Noodle Bowls

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mid-Week Musings

My musings meander today because their scope is so broad. My thoughts regarding political correctness began simply enough. I was working on an assignment that explored the origins of Indian pudding. As I read through my notes, I stopped when I came to the expression Indian summer. Back in the day, we were taught that Indian summer referred to a warm spell that followed the first frost of autumn. I never for a moment considered it might be offensive to Native Americans, and thought it was a lovely way to describe the final flush of summer. Then I started to think. That's always a mistake and it never fails to get me into trouble. I live in a liberal community where political correctness is taken seriously. Sometimes I, by extension, take it too seriously. I had no problem with the expression Indian pudding. It was a recognized dessert that's been served in American homes for years, but for some reason the expression Indian summer made me uneasy. As it happened, I met with some local writers that day and shared my hesitation with them. Out came the iPads and before you know it, my research became a group project.

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