Tag Archives: food

The Next List (finally!)

“Ask not what you can do for your country.  Ask what’s for lunch.” – Orson Welles

I have once again been thwarted by distraction:  I had a cold, then I was busy at work, then one night I was sidetracked by “Gossip Girl” (I know…shameful.)  But, I have stalled long enough.

But I'm so distracted by the antics of Upper East Siders on the CW....

Last week I figured out that I was 31 weeks from my 31st birthday.  Being Type-A, I work well with even artificial deadlines, so it seemed fortuitous.  So here goes nothing (cracks knuckles).  Time to conquer another list of quintessential recipes….all of which are new to me.

Strap on your aprons, sharpen those spatulas….we’ve got one ambitious/delicious list in front of us.  Here they are, in the order God intended:

1. Saltimbocca- it means “jump in your mouth”.  Sold.

2. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic- to keep the vampires at bay

3. Egg Drop Soup

4. Baked Alaska – I literally have no idea what this is

5. Calzones

6. Perogies – especially for my mom

7. Baba Au Rhum- “Rhum” = rum so it should be good

8. Pommes Annas- I think this is pretty much layer cake made out of potatoes and butter

9. Pasta Carbonara

10. Rack of Lamb- Valentine’s day dinner?

11. Beer- no really, I’m brewing beer.

12. Gnocchi- pasta made of clouds

13. Plum Pudding- suggested by my London-loving friend

14. Weiner Schnitzel- for the German in all of us

15. Croque Monsieur – or the egg-tastic Croque Madam

16. Homemade Sausage – I didn’t get a sausage stuffer for Christmas for nothing!

17. Eggplant Parmesan

18. Boef Bourguignon – per a request from a Francophile friend

19. English Muffins – my favorite

20. Steak Au Poivre – the Handsome Husband’s favorite

21. Ceviche – hopefully I will not poison anyone.

22. Pickles – totally trendy

23. Something “en flambé”- gather round while I light things on fire!

24. Pheasant- hunted and donated by a friend!

25. Classic Fish and Chips

26. Baklava – from another friend’s family recipe!

27. Crepes

28. Quail with Rose Petal Sauce – from the book “Like Water for Chocolate” 

29. Real macaroni and Cheese – the good stuff!

30. Summer Rolls- fresh and delicious

31. Chicken Kiev – for a “Mad Men” themed night, perhaps?!

Quite the list, huh?  I’m so excited to start cooking/burning/stuffing/eating.  In factI’ve already started!  Thanks for helping with all the ideas….now hit the gym, there is butter ahead.

xoxo The Flyover Foodie

Headin’ South

“Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke.” – Joliet Jake, The Blues Brothers

There are a few things I don’t understand about Southerners.  I love the south and know some fantastic folks who whistle Dixie: my sister in law is the sweetest Southern girl ever and we have a best friend from law school who is a credit to to the South.

BUT, despite these friendly North/South relations, a few “Southern” things remain a mystery to me.  An abbreviated list:

1. Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast.

2. How are those drive through margarita places POSSIBLY legal?!?

3. Okra.

4. “A Coke” vs. A soda or pop.   I don’t say “I’ll have a beer” and then order the Chardonnay.  (shakes head)  Agree to disagree.

5. And a recently uncovered mystery: how do Southerners keep their homes from smelling like a diner for days after frying chicken?

Lingering smells of oil aside, fried chicken was pretty fun and it’s easy.  I followed the recipe in ye ol’ Joy of Cooking, but its a pretty basic process, even for someone like me with really no knowledge of frying.

Step 1: Marinate Chicken overnight.  I used salt, pepper, and buttermilk and a mixture of drumsticks and thighs.  I have a picture of the chicken marinating that I was going to insert here, but honestly, it was sort of scary looking.  And you all know what raw chicken looks like.

Moving on….

Step 2. Dredge chicken in egg and then in flour.   Note: when I make fried chicken again, I will try a different breading material.  The flour was good, but it absorbs quite a bit of oil.  Anyone have suggestions?

Step 3: Fry on each side until brown, about 6 minutes or so.  Make sure your oil isn’t too hot, or you’ll only cook the outside.  Only cooking outside = unhappiness inside.

Last one in's a chicken!!

You can put in several pieces at once, cooking in batches.

Into the vat of liquid hot magma

And flip to the B Side

Step 4: Let cool slightly.

Step 5: Plate and eat.

Easy summer dinner

Step 7 (optional): Take leftovers, cold, to Shakespeare in the Park.  Watch for looks of envy from other picnickers.   Enjoy the charmingly retro delight of eating a cold fried chicken drumstick on a picnic.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: This fried chicken was nothing like mass produced, dry fried chicken you might encounter elsewhere.  It was tender, moist, and soft.  It tasted deliciously chicken-y….a taste you often lose in other cooking methods.  I think these Southerners might be on to something…..

So open the windows, run your exhaust fan**, and fry yourself a picnic treat before summer is over!  The smell will dissipate in a few days.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

** Skip the exhaust fan if it terrifies your pup and sends her into hiding under the bed for several hours.

A dinner for Shepherds, or Lumberjacks, or the English

“No soldier can fight properly unless he is properly fed on beef and beer.” – Duke of Marlborough

Sunday night I welcomed the Handsome Husband home from his annual foray into the wilderness, where he was hunting bear and eating bark and channeling Bear Grylls.  He usually returns home looking like a lumberjack.  And he tries to tempt me with stories of pristine wilderness and mist covered lakes.  I will not be fooled into joining him.  But I digress.  I figured something hearty and home-style would be a nice treat to welcome him back to civilization.  And coax him into shaving.

Shepherd’s pie fit the bill.

Just like a Shepherd's pantry

Shepherd’s pie is an English favorite, served in pubs all over their craggy hillsides.  A filling is made of ground meat, cooked with vegetables and lots of seasoning in a deep pie dish.  Then the “crust” of mashed potatoes goes on top.   There are easy recipes for the pie here and here and here.  All have subtle variations, but the same general assembly and methods.

Disclaimer: For those keeping score, Shepherd’s Pie is actually made with ground lamb, therefore I technically made “Cottage Pie”, which is the same thing just using beef instead of lamb.

I began by making mashed potatoes: boiling, draining, adding cream and butter, and mashing.   Tip: this recipe would be a FANTASTIC way to used leftover mashed potatoes.  If you’re like me, you have trouble making leftover mashed potatoes re-edible.  Shepherds probably have this same problem.

Next up is the filling. Cook the onion and carrots until softened then add the garlic.  The ground meat goes in next and you cook until browned.  Toss this mixture with some flour to help thicken the sauce.  Now all the flavor: rosemary, thyme, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste.

Cook for 10 minutes or so and then add the peas and corn.  And into the baking dish it goes.

The filled pie

Now the filling gets covered with the mashed potatoes.  The potatoes go all the way over the edges to seal in the filling so it doesn’t bubble over.  Of course mine bubbled over anyway.  Bake at 400° for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes have started to brown.  Let the pie sit and cool for a full 10 minutes.  This ensures that the sauce inside will thicken nicely.

And the Shepherd's rejoiced and brought glad tidings of savory meats

The classic seasonings of rosemary and thyme made a savory sauce of familiar meat-and-potatoes flavors.  The pie was delicious and like many items on the list, made easy lunch leftovers.  I added a little sour cream on top when I reheated for lunch at work, which was fabulous.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: The concept of this dish is easily applicable to numerous different meat and veggie combinations.  Hello, day-after-Thanksgiving dinner!

Enjoyed by the Handsome Husband...who did look rather shepherd-like at the time

I cannot confirm whether the pie is best enjoyed on a hillside, but I can see why the English, both shepherds and “regular” English, flock to this dish.  Simple ingredients. Familiar flavors.  Perfect on a rainy day.

Btw- The “flock” pun above was totally unintentional.  Even better.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

A little flyover fame

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals of one’s life” – Anthony Bourdain, chef and tv host of “No Reservations”

You know it and I know it: flyover country is full of great food and talented chefs and artisans.  And now, fans of Anthony Bourdain’s fantastic show “No Reservations” will know it too.  Tonight’s episode will feature two great flyover food spots: the french restaurant Bistro Montage in Des Moines and the local Stanhope Meat Locker in Stanhope, Iowa.

Check out the details on the Travel Channel’s site here:  No Reservations

My foodie sources tell me that Clint Eastwood tasted the jerky made in Stanhope while he was in Iowa filming “The Bridges of Madison County”.  Now, a decade plus after his fleeting romance with Meryl Streep, his love affair with the jerk continues: they still ship to him today!

Hope you can tune in tonight: 9 pm flyover time.

p.s. Here is more info on Bistro Montage and more info on the Stanhope Meat Locker, under the “Businesses” section.

UPDATE:  After watching “No Reservations” I have a few concerns:

1. Am I the only one who doesn’t think that Texas is part of the “Heartland”? Texas is Texas.   Period.

2. I’m pretty sure both Bistro Montage and the Stanhope Meat Locker hit the cutting room floor, which is too bad.   But, I’m ready to take a road trip and let all you readers know how great these places really are.

3. I’m making reservations at this place immediately. On the show they talked about a dish served with pine cone syrup. I literally shouted “PINE CONE SYRUP!!!???”. A-mazing. I am beyond intrigued. (Any of you intrepid eaters know anything about it?)

All in all, you get a C from me Mr. Bourdain.  Come back to flyover country and do another round…we deserve it.

An Appetizer of Sorts

I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”  He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich. – Men At Work, “Land Down Under”**

It’s been weeks.  A month, even.  And I have been cooking and eating and crossing things off lists.  And yet….nothing for you.  Not even the proverbial crust of bread.  So…I have a short and, hopefully, entertaining list of some of the things I’ve been up to.  Accompanied by some illustrative photos.

The goal of this little exercise is obviously to pique your appetites for more.  (Already a pun!  Yes!)  Basically it’s my ploy to get you to come back for more when I finally have the next series of posts ready to go. So a few little blog canapes…a little crudite….a chip and dip serving of thoughts:

1. If you eat smoked cheese and drink lite beer, both taste vaguely like root beer.  Credit goes to one of last weekend’s house guests for noticing this phenomenon.  Also, I love that at my home you will be served a cheap domestic beer and fancy smoked Gruyere at the same time.  Excellent.

2. When making a sour dough starter, do not seal the lid.   It will explode and terrify your household.

3. It is possible to eat an entire souffle in a single sitting.

4. It is also possible to lose part of your groceries.  Our house is currently trying to solve “The Mystery of the Disappearing Chicken Thighs”.  Not in the fridge, not in either freezer… Coq au Vin was on the agenda for this week, but

After a year in the freezer...delicious!

seriously…where did that chicken go!?!  Does this happen in your house?

5. Wedding cake can be delicious after a full year in the freezer.  (Love you, Husband!)  Also, aforementioned wedding cake is delicious with coffee.  For breakfast.

6. To make a simple and fancy looking summer drink: freeze raspberries in an ice cube tray.  Mix these fancy ice cubes with a few regular cubes, add vodka, and lemonade.  As the ice melts you get a lovely raspberry hint in the lemonade.  Ahhh…summer in a glass!

So there you go. A little spread complete with souffle, cake, explosions, and beer to get you ready for the main course.

Up next: a blow by blow account of Chicago style pizza recreated outside of its urban home.  How will it adapt to its rural surroundings?!  Will it panic at the sight of my small town oven? Check back to find out.

More soon…thanks for sticking with me!  xoxo Flyover Foodie

** I woke up this morning with “Land Down Under” in my head.  No idea where that came from…but its easy to sing in the shower.