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Monday, March 28, 2016

Recipe Review from 3/21/2016

Twas Minicon weekend!  Minicon 51 to be precise and my 22 time attending.   Usually Minicon warrants its own posting, but I have to say it was such a quiet and uneventful convention that I will only comment in passing.  I attended only a handful of panels:

Being a Fan of Problematic Things - How do we reconcile our love for fandoms that are less than perfect without making excuses? How do we critically examine things that we enjoy? Where is the line between enjoyment with understanding, and refusing to acknowledge the problems? Is the problem that some fandom is problematic, or is the problem that many fans don't see it as problematic?

The Aftermath of the Puppies - How did that Sad/Rabid Puppies thing turn out? What effect will they have on future Hugos? What did they do for the Hugos awarded in 2015, and what do we forsee for the future? Early on after the Puppy Slate, there was talk of amending WSF rules. What has been proposed?

Ask a Scientist - An old standard in the book of Minicon. A panel of scientists in a variety of fields takes audience questions on more or less anything.

Playback from New Horizons and Pluto flyby  -  There's a treasure at the edge of the Solar System. It's a data recorder, aboard the New Horizons spacecraft, slowly sending to Earth several gigabytes acquired during last summer's flyby of Pluto. That information is still coming down. At the mission's home base in Maryland, Bill Higgins witnessed the excitement during the encounter. Now he reviews results, downlinked in recent months, that are illuminating the mysteries of Pluto, its five moons, and its neighborhood.

Overheard Conversations during the Convention - A discussion of things that had been overheard during the convention, and conversations that are worthy of more discussion.

Most notable was a trip to a new (to me) yarn store in Minneapolis!  OMGosh!   Fun! Fun! Fun!   Steve Be

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) Leftover pasta   (S)  Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Mon (yoga/Legion)  leftover pasta and chili
Tues (Grand Rapids/Block) leftover chicken
Thurs - Sun (Minicon Weekend!!!)

Lunches (Husband) Sandwiches, veggies, fruit, yogurt, Luna bars
             (Me) ATK Vegetarian Chili, Fritos, fruit, yogurt, Luna bars

Whole Wheat Pancakes (modified from America's Test Kitchen)     vegetarian
These are 100% whole wheat, and the recipe works.  These were fluffy, nutty, and darn near perfect.  When I make them again, I would add a splash of vanilla extract or almond extract for a little flavor boost.  And I do mean 'little' boost.

These also made a nice amount - enough for breakfast for two, and leftovers for breakfast the next morning with some poached eggs.   Delicious!  Recommended!

2 cups unbleached whole wheat flour (11 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
5 tbsp oil, divided
2 large eggs
(1-2 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract)

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set inside baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; place in oven. 
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with few streaks of flour). Do not overmix.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides of pan. Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately, or transfer to wire rack in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as necessary.

Slow Cooked Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic  (Ckng Lght, April 2016)  gluten free option**
If your initial reaction to the recipe title is trepidation and apprehension about using 40 cloves of garlic, set those thought aside and make this recipe NOW.   This was absolutely delicious!  Melting tender potatoes and chicken all drizzled in a light, fragrant and aromatic sauce, the garlic just buttery and soft.  

Ease of assembly couldn't be quicker, especially if you use pre-peeled garlic, which I HIGHLY recommend.

I will note, I didn't see the point in using skin-on, bone in thighs after all was cooked and eaten.  I also recommend bumping up the amount of chicken - use a 2lb package and toss in about the same for potatoes.  There's plenty of sauce to go around, you don't have to pick out bones, cartilage and mushy skin, and there will be a bit more for leftovers.

I LOVE leftovers... can't wait to have some more of this.

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (I used 2 lbs or 8 thighs)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp flour** (gluten free flour blend of choice)
2 tbsp butter, melted
40 cloves of garlic, peeled (buy pre-peeled!!)
1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes, scrubbed and left whole
12 sprigs fresh thyme

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Mix together white wine, water, flour and butter.   Pour into prepared crockpot.  Lightly salt and pepper chicken thighs.  Place in crock pot skin down.  Add prepared garlic and potatoes.   Spread thyme over all.   Cook on LOW 6-8 hours, depending upon how fast your slow cooker cooks.  Remove thighs, potatoes and garlic.  Strain liquid and discard solids.  Serve with au juice. 

Vegetarian Chili  (modified from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook)  vegetarian
Oh my gosh.  Putsy putsy putsy.  And I kinda knew that going in, but still...putsy

Ah HA!  As suspected from copying this recipe from an online source, there was a typo in my cookbook.  Which I suspected when I went to grind the mushrooms, chilies and oregano and ended up with a mushy mess.  Shitake mushrooms should have been dried, not fresh!

I simplified this a bit - I pre-cooked my beans in the slow cooker and then combined everything at once for the final two hours of cooking.  Had I read the "blurb" more closely in the cookbook, I would have skipped the drying and grinding of the chilies and used pre-ground.   That would have saved an easy 15 or 30 minutes off of prep.

End result?  Was this worth it?  Yes.  This was a very hearty, flavorful, and rich dish.  It had the texture and appearance of a ground meat chili, but totally vegetarian.   This also made a lot and will feed a crowd - or freeze half for another day.  I guarantee, your meat eaters won't notice the difference.  

1 lb. (2 1/2 cups) dried beans, picked over and rinsed
2 dried ancho chiles  (I used 3 ancho)
2 dried New Mexican chiles
1/2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped coarse
4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 - 2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 lb. onions, chopped fine
1 tbsp. ground cumin
7 c. water
2/3 c. medium-grind bulgur
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

1. Bring 4 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt, and beans to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse well. Wipe out pot. 

1a.  Day or evening before, place prepared beans into slow cooker and cover with at least 2-3" of water.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4.   Rinse, drain, set aside. 

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange anchos and New Mexican chiles on rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and puffed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool, about 5 minutes. Stem and seed anchos and New Mexican chiles. Working in batches, grind toasted chiles, mushrooms, and oregano in spice grinder or with mortar and pestle until finely ground.  

3. Process walnuts in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl. Process drained tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapeño(s), garlic, and soy sauce in food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped, about 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add ground chile mixture and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rinsed beans. and water and bring to boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 45 minutes.

5. Remove pot from oven. Stir in bulgur, ground walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice. Cover pot and return to oven. Cook until beans are fully tender, about 2 hours.


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