Monday, January 31, 2011

Russian Chicken with Gooseberry Sauce

4 chicken quarters
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 can (16 oz) gooseberries in light syurp
1 3/4 cups chicken broth, heated
2 tablespoons white wine (optional)

~ mix together salt, thyme, rosemary, and oregano; rub lightly on chicken, and arrange on rack in baking pan. [or you could just use salt & pepper and omit the other spices] Bake at 375 for 30 (no more than 45) minutes, being careful of over cooking.
~Remove chicken to warm platter. [I like to set an oven-safe plate in the oven while baking, and replace chicken to plate and cover with foil--this works well to keep it warm]
~Drain gooseberries, reserving 1/4 cup of juices.
~Place flour in saute pan and heat over medium heat for just a minute. Add butter and mix until melted.
~Add gooseberry syrup and wine to hot broth and slowly pour in pan. stirring until thickened and bubbly.
~Add gooseberries gently, then add chicken and let simmer for 3 minutes.

This is a recipe I found out of a very old cookbook. The gooseberries are really easy to find as well (can is in the canned fruit/veggie isle). It is a very tart dish--so if you have sweeter taste buds, omit the wine (or use sweet white)and add a few tablespoons of sugar (before adding chicken). Be very careful of over-cooking the chicken, it dries out quickly on the rack. Chicken breasts and thighs can be used as well, just adjust cooking time (lower).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Resaurant Review: Ocean Zen Pacific Rim

My husband and I got the privilege of a date night (thanks to the grandparents!) and we wanted to see a few movies and have a nice dinner. We drove down to Springfield, MO (about 1 1/2 hours away) to a really nice big theater. We saw "True Grit" first. Absolutely fantastic! We love the original movie with John Wayne, and the remake was not a disappointment. Then, as we were looking for a place to eat, I just googled resaurants in the area and came across this place called

 We are big fans of sushi and all kids of foods in this category, and it has wonderful reviews. There was a 45 minute wait, but reservation can be made (and I would recommend on a weekend night). After being seated, our service was wonderful. Our waiter was really friendly and KNEW what he was talking about when we asked about some of the dishes. We decided to go the full sushi route--since it had been a while! And I have to say....WOW. We got the "California Roll" "Tempura Shrimp Roll" "Spiderman Soft shell Crab Roll" and the "Ocean Zen Roll (the house sushi)" YUM YUM YUM!!!! Every bite was delish.

Our time was starting to cut short (for the next movie) so we ordered dessert to top off the night....and we happened to picked the "S'mores for 2" dish. I didn't know this was a dessert to take your time with a savor every bite. I honestly had no idea what to expect.

It was so awesome--I really wish we had more time to enjoy. But we had to scarf it down and skidattle!
Over all, I give this place 5 stars. The atmosphere was totally Zen, huge fish tanks everywhere, and a wonderful menu. The price is a bit high, however. The sushi rolls were between $6-$15 and the main dishes ranged from $20-$30. But for a date night, totally worth every dime.

Then we went a saw "Black Swan"....which I can't say anything about except that it was [curse word] up. Not what I expected at all--total mind bender, several jumpy moments (I'm not a big fan of), and a little too much sexuality scenes. Natalie Portman, however, should be awarded something for it--absolutely fantastic and she remains to be on our list of top actresses. But this is not a movie for everyone--just a little warning.

So if anyone is is the Springfield, MO area--check this restaurant out. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Homemade Granola

I found this lady's blog about a year ago, and have "followed" it since. Simple food, more "home-body" and simple. That's why I like it. This recipe I found a while ago on her page, and use it quite often! This is the only recipe that Patrick (my hubby) actually requests! It makes a lot, and we usually pack and freeze in small containers so it'll last a while.


4 cups old fashion oats
2 cups chopped walnuts/pecans
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

In a small saucepan, melt honey, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until blended. In a large bowl, mix oats and nuts, then pour honey mixture over top and mix well. Pour oat mixture on  large jellyroll pan and put in oven. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes--"stirring" every 5 minutes. Let cool on pan a few minutes, and put in air-tight container.

Thank you Brandi for the yummy recipes!

Its really good with  vanilla yogurt in the morning! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

A.K.A. Pain in my rear.
I tried. And I failed. Miserably. And it hurt. Ha! Mostly because I had to clean the oven afterwards. It was a really neat challenge--but I think it was way up and beyond my talents.

I will say, I will blame the recipe for part of it--it called for "special" ingredients which I didn't have or couldn't get, and I had to substitute or try to make them. is my failed recipe.

See the bottom of the oven? Thats not a good thing. Its not suppose to do that.
And its not suppose to look like this either. Like, not anything like this BY FAR.

So, here is proof that I'm not perfect--I think we all need to be reminded of that every once-in-a-while! Ha!

PS I will NOT try this again--unless I find Almond Flour and a Culinary School Degree. The End.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

Ok, so me an my hubby we craving a sweet last week. We're trying to be more "healthy" this year....but its just sooooo hard, especially when you have one of THOSE cravings.... And I didn't have ANYTHING in the pantry--not even a boxed brownie mix! EEEK! So I whipped out my cookbooks and went on a hunt. This is what I found. Then we ate it all. In a week. Yup--so much for that "healthy living."


Chocolate Cake

3 cups sifted flour

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cup sugar

~Sift all dry ingredients well. Put in large bowl, dig 3 "holes" in the mix. In each hole put in one of the following:

12 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoon vanilla

~Pour 1 cup cold water over all and stir and beat until well blended. Pour in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes. After it cools for 10 minutes, invert onto cake pan and cool completely before frosting it.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

3 egg yokes, lightly beaten

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

~Combine milk,sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla in saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in coconut and pecans. Beat until frosting is cool and reaches desired spreading consistency. Spread over cake!

By the time I remembered to take a picture, this is all that was left. Thank goodness we gave about a third of it to my neighbors. We're pullin extra work-outs because of it. My hubby did say, this is the BEST German Chocolate Cake....or ANY cake...that he's ever had--and I agree. A-MAZING. The recipe looks kind-of weird, using vinegar and such, but go with it. Trust me. Enjoy =)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

This dish took a lot of time. Was it worth it? Ehhh.....not sure. The taste was absolutely delish, fall off the bone goodness. But it took me a total of 5 days to cook it. And trying to cook in between those days made my brain hurt =) its complicated when you haven't done it before.


The recipe is several pages long, and if anyone really wants to try this...I can just email ya with it.  My family loved it, and I'm glad I made it when family was all was a lot of food. Even with 4 eating, we had about 5 "lunch/leftover" containers. The kids even ate up their portions!

This was a more difficult challenge, and I hope the next few will be a little easier! =)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Entertaining Guests

Entertaining guests can be a lot of fun, and easy, when you know what to do. This can be done for any number of people! We had friends over totaling 6.

Cloth napkins are really nice, and can add a special touch, but not necessary-- nice plain white paper napkins can work just fine and can look just as great.

I'll break everything down one by one.

 This is the individual place setting. We served Thai food, so chopsticks shouldn't be forgotten! Don't forget knives if its needed for the meal. These dishes are also my every-day dishes, turned to make a fun design.
White dishes make it easy to put any color of place mat underneath. 

These are the goblets I used. They are actually some of my husbands "specialty beer glasses," but work just
as well for other beverages! The napkin fold is a very simple design, and I'll show that on another post.

This is the over-all look of the table, set for 6. It was a huge hit, and even made it feel like we were in a restaurant! It is also fun to mix-match colors and designs. Clearance racks are the best place to look for those. I will show other examples of table-setting and napkin folds as we entertain more guests.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Thai Food

I'm coming around a lot of recipes that are just amazing...these will defiantly stay near by after I'm done with my "Thai Week."

Some of the kitchen products you need won't be found in any grocery store. You might need to find a local Korean or Oriental Food Store. This is one of the "hard to find" ingredients. Believe me, I know. But I would say 99% of recipes will give you an alternative, so this isn't mandatory at all.

As I was cooking, I picked up this container. I wanted to see if I needed to refrigerate it or not after opening it. I saw this was a product of Thailand....but the Company name is what cracked me up....

.......Yup. Porn Coconut.

Moving on.....

Yellow Curry Chicken with Potatoes

2 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons yellow curry paste OR 3 tablespoons red curry paste plue 1 tablespoon curry powder

6 boneless chicken thighs, cut into big chunks

2 cups chicken broth OR water

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium onion, cut lengthwise into thick wedges

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon palm sugar OR brown sugar

Bring 1 cup of coconut milk to a gentle boil over med-high heat and cook 2 to 3 min. Add curry paste and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until dissolved into the milk. Add chicken and cook another minute or 2, tossing to coat it with the sauce.

Add remaining 1 3/4 cups coconut milk, broth, potatoes, onion, fish sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. (I cooked them for more like 13 to 15 min).

Serve over a big pile of rice.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Basic Ingredients when cooking Thai Food

There are a few things to keep in your pantry and spice rack that are crucial when cooking Thai food. I will list a few that I learned to stock up on this week.

Red curry paste

Curry (spice, yellow color)

Fish sauce (stays in fridge and lasts soy sauce--haha--just kidding)

Coconut milk (always have a few cans on hand)

Chicken broth (this is used whenever coconut milk isn't...also good to keep a couple cans in pantry, but most of the time water can also be a substitute for the broth)

Chopped garlic (I started with fresh, chopping my own, but then realized how much is used, and now I just buy a big jar--it stays in fridge for a while too.)

Rice (I like using different variety: Jasmine, Sticky rice, regular long grain white, and instant)

Angel hair pasta (a wonderful change from rice, and better with some recipes)

Other ingredients used often, but you can just get them when you make the ingredient list:


Lime (and lime juice)


Thai Week

Ok, I had all intentions on starting this blog way before Christmas. I joined a cooking group and every month there is a challenge, and it needs to be posted yada yada yada. Well, holidays came and went and I did nothing. OOOPS. So whether or not the cooking blog group will still let me participate, I guess I'll find that out later.

But for now, I wanted to share my recipes and experiments. I know my family has enjoyed everything I've cooked, especially around the holidays, and I would like to share a few.

MY GOAL: To post at least once a week. Maybe more, no less.

So, as my official first post, I will start....

A wonderful friend of mine, Catherine, received a cookbook over Christmas. It was called "Quick and Easy Thai" by Nancie McDermott. I looked through it and was in LOVE!! I took it hope and practically copied the entire book--then my husband said "just go buy it!" So that's on my list next visit to St Louis.

So this week is Thai week. Everyday, different recipe, good times. And its quick. And easy. So far everything has been incredible! I just love love love Thai.

Here is the recipe I cooked today:

Crispy Pork Spareribs with Black Pepper and Garlic

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 or 3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar (but I like sweet Thai, so mine was more like a tablespoon)

2 lbs pork spareribs ("baby" ones worked perfectly)

vegetable oil for deep frying

Grind in a food processor first 4 ingredients. Put in a bowl and add fish sauce and sugar. Ribs--cut into individual pieces. Then put ribs in bowl and pour paste over top, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Add about 3 inches to deep-frying pan and bring to temperature of 350-375. Add few ribs at a time, cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Between each batch, make sure oil is back up to the right temperature. Remove ribs and place them on paper bags (to soak up grease). When ribs are all done, place on a platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.

I served mine with jasmine rice and sauteed asparagus. Pure Yumminess.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!
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