Monthly Archives: January 2016

CHICKEN POT PIE – WHOLESOME – FEEL GOOD

With all the healthy people in the house now we have a lot of chicken. Sometimes there are leftovers, so what’s the best thing to do with left over chicken you ask? CHICKEN POT PIE!!! This is a wholesome, feel good meal with all sort of good vegetables, savory filling and, of course, chicken. This is always a great family meal, but what makes a good chicken pot pie? It’s not the chicken, let’s face it, chicken is chicken and the same can be said for the vegetables so that leaves only two other THINGS. The first is the savory mixture and it must be “saucy” enough, but the most important ingredient and what makes the chicken pot pie, THE CHICKEN POT PIE is the CRUST. It’s all about the crust! It must be flaky, the right thickness and have a touch of sweetness. If the crust ain’t right then it just ain’t Chicken Pot Pie. I’ve seen people, my family included, eat all the pie “innards” and save the crust for last. Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t make my own crust, I can but I’m usually in a hurry – hungry kids, husband, I’m sure you know what I mean. If some want to know the recipe let me know and I will post it but I like to save time and when there is a product out there that meets the grade – I will use it! Trader Joe’s has the best pie crust there it and you guessed it, with my handy-dandy discount you bet I use it!

Plated Pie

Ingredients

  • 8” X 8” Baking Pan
  • Package of Pre-made Pie Crust (of course I use Trader Joes’ – employee discount and all)
  • 3 cups of Roasted Chicken Meat (White and dark. If you are using leftovers and this is a good recipe for leftover chicken, using 2 cups is okay)
  • 2 cups of Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome or your favorite mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp. of Light Olive Oil
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s Mire Poix
  • 4 tbsp. of Butter
  • 4 tbsp. Flour
  • 2 cups of Milk
  • 1 cup of Chicken Stock
  • 14.66 oz. packet of Knorr Chicken Concentrated Stock.

This is awesome stuff! But use what you got. Go to that Awesome Pantry that you have. OH! You Don’t! Well check out my last blog on what it takes to have a great pantry.

  • 1` tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. or to taste Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Egg whisked with 1 tsp. of water

Defrost Pie Crust according to instructions.

Heat a large Sauté pan with 2 tbsp. of oil to medium high heat. Add mire poix and sauté for approximately 4 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the 4 tbsp. of Butter to the pan. Heat until melted then add the flour whisking them together until they form a paste. Heat for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the flour does not taste raw and the mixture bubbles slightly.

Now add the Milk and Stock, whisking continually to avoid lumps. Add ½ of the container of Knorr chicken and incorporate (add more if you like according to taste).

Add additional seasonings and continue to cook whisking gently until sauce is thickened to a light gravy texture.

Add Chicken, Frozen vegetables and mire poix to the sauce and simmer another 3-4 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, get a bowl and add the 1tsp. water, break the egg into the bowl and whisk together.

Roll out the pie crust as directed. Now pour Chicken filling into the pan. Cover with the crust, trimming the edges. Brush Crust using a pastry brush with the egg mixture. Cut 4-6 one inch slice in the pie crust to release steam.

Butter Brush

Place in a 375 degree oven (or temperature indicated in the pie dough package) for approximately 30 minutes or until the Crust is golden brown.cooked Pie

Remove from the oven and allow to set for 20 minutes.

Add a nice green salad and you have an AWESOME meal!!

Enjoy – Serves 4 – Generously!

FOODISTORY

Pie is where the dough meets the meat going all the way back to the Greek and Romans. I would imagine that there was a cook way back in ancient Roman looking at all the leftover meat from one of those Roman orgies and wonder what could be done with it all. We all know that the Italian are big on bread, so you got the dough on one table and the meat on another table and some clumsy help bumped into the tables, knocked them over, meat on top of dough, dough on top of meat well enough said. Fruit parties were always popular with the Greeks and Roman so it was a natural progression from sweet to savory. The Greeks placed cooked meat in open pastry shells called “artocreas.” The Romans were credited with putting the top crust on.

The pot pies got their names form England. The English formed a pie in what was called a coffin which was done by molding the pastry along the bottom of a pie pan or a pot. Thus the Pot Pie and with the chicken added we get the famous Chicken Pot Pie.

The Chicken Pot Pie was the first frozen pit pie made available in the US. It was developed by Swanson Company in 1951. My personal opinion is one of best chicken pot pie is made by Marie Callender’s.

Some Pot pies don’t make the grade.  would you dine on one of these:

  • Tongue pie
  • Ox tongue apples and sugar
  • Ox foot pie
  • Sea Pie made with pigeons, veal and pork

I think Marie probably passed on these!

Enjoy Life and Eat Well!  Pass up the Sea Pie though!

THE PANTRY – Saver of Time and Money

It’s 2016 and I’m looking forward to the year and blogging recipes and essays on my favorite subject and passion. We had a rough start. After spending a week in beautiful Palm Springs (hope you saw my blogs) we all came home with a Stomach flu. Fortunately everyone is healthy again and things are in full swing. The chicken soup is all gone and we are out of saltines. I am ready to cook again!!! The best way to start the New Year is to be prepared. In the culinary work there I an old saying “mise en place” – . “Everything in its place.” Preparation is key to being a chef or even just preparing the family meal. In staring a meal, the chef has the recipe and collects all the ingredients, measures things out and arranges them in order of preparation.   Where does one think all those ingredients come from? We’ll your right’ of course, the store; but you can’t keep going to the store every day unless you live in France. So where do you go to get that cup of flour or the special spice that you need to kick that meal up another notch. Well, your Pantry, of course. A pantry is essential to any household and a well-stocked pantry not only saves you time but money as well. This is my first blog for this year and we will be starting a new cooking adventure. With any adventure, being a good girl scout or boy scout (no prejudice here) you must be prepared and a chef that is prepared has a well-stocked pantry. So, what makes a well-stocked pantry, you ask? Continue on for my take on a well-stocked Pantry. Remember you don’t have to run out and buy everything at once – you “build” you pantry.

My In-Kitchen Pantry
My In-Kitchen Pantry

THE WELL STOCKED PANTRY

CUPBOARD

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salads
  • Olive Oil for cooking
  • Garlic Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil – your choice
  • Grapeseed Oil (frying high temps)
  • Coconut Oil – relatively new addition to the Pantry
  • Assorted Vinegars
  1. Balsamic
  2. White Wine
  3. Apple Cider
  4. Red Wine
  5. Rice Wine
  6. Sherry Vinegar
  7. White Wine
  8. Champagne Vinegar

BOTTLED ITEMS

  • Marinate Artichoke Hearts
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Italian style picked vegetables (olive salad or tapenades, pepperoncini)
  • Pitted brine cured olives (i.e. Kalamata)
  • Stuffed Olives (Spanish)
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Capers
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Whole Grain Mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly or preserves
  • Ketchup

CANNED OR SHELF STABLE GOODS

  • Assorted canned beans
  1. Kidney Beans
  2. White or Cannellini Beans
  3. Garbanzo Beans
  4. Black Beans
  • Canned Tomatoes
  1. Whole
  2. Diced
  • Canned or Boxed Broths
  1. Chicken
  2. Vegetable
  3. Beef
  4. Seafood
  • Tuna
  1. Oil packed for better flavor
  2. Water (calorie wise)
  • Salmon
  • Anchovies
  • Chipotles in adobo sauce
  • Chopped Green Chilies
  • Tahini

ASIAN INGREDIENTS

  • Soy Sauce (lite if necessary)
  • Hoisin
  • Fish Sauce
  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Cream
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Rice Wine
  • Star Anise
  • Dried Wasabi Powder
  • Soba Noodles
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Sirach Sauce

GRAINS, PASTAS AND DRIED GOODS

  • Assorted pasta
  1. Spaghetti
  2. Macaroni
  3. Linguini
  4. Orzo
  5. Others of your choice
  • Egg Noodles
  • Rice
  1. Long Grain or Cal rose
  2. Brown (if you prefer)
  3. Quick cook rice
  4. Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Bulgur
  • Cornmeal
  • Rolled Oats
  • Assorted       Lentils
  • Dried Mushrooms
  1. Shitake
  2. Assorted Wild Mushrooms
  3. Porcini
  • Assorted Crackers
  • Assorted Dry Beans
  • Dried Bread Crumbs _ Regular and Panko

BAKING INGREDIENTS (GLASS OR PLASTIC CONTAINERS, LABLED)

  • Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • Instant Flour (Wondra)
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar
  1. Granulated
  2. Brown
  • Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup (the real thing)
  • Baking Powder and Soda
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Quick Rising Yeast
  • Assorted Chocolate (good quality)
  1. Unsweetened
  2. Bittersweet
  3. Semisweet
  4. Chips (your choice)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa
  • Powdered Egg Whites (Just Whites)

SPICES

Sweet

  • Ground Allspice
  • Whole and Ground Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg (whole)Ground cloves
  • Ground ginger
  • Crystallized Ginger

Savory

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Bay Leafs
  • Oregano
  • Cumin (whole and ground)
  • Coriander (whole and ground)
  • Curry power
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Star Anise

Salty Spicy

  • Paprika
  • Sweet – Hot- Smoked
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Cayenne
  • Chili Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Sea Salt
  • Lawry’s Season Salt
  • Lawry’s Salt

ALCOHOL 

  • Dry Red Wine Dry
  • White Wine
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Dry Marsala and Sweet Marsala
  • Dry Sherry and Sweet Sherry
  • Brandy
  • Madeira and/or Port

VEGETABLE /FRUIT BASKET

  • Onions: Red, White, Sweet
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Russet (Burbank) Potatoes
  • Boiling Potatoes (Red or White)
  • Lemons, Limes. Oranges

 

REFRIGERATOR

  • Lemons, limes, Oranges
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour Cream
  • Plain Yogurt (Greek is Great!)
  • Milk
  • Large Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Carrots
  • Chiles (jalapeno)
  • Miso Paste
  • Lettuce (pre-package and/or whole)
  • Parmigiano – Reggiano or similar cheeses
  • Cheddar Cheese – Shredded / Sliced / Block
  • Feta cheese
  • Blue Cheese
  • Unsalted and Salted Butter
  • Fresh Ginger

FREEZER

  • Puff Pastry
  • Shrimp
  • Frozen Rice(s) and Quinoa
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruit

Remember! It’s your Pantry …. HAVE FUN!!!          

Foodistory (my compliments to Wikipedia)

A pantry is a room where food, beverages, household cleaning chemicals, provisions, dishes, or linens are stored and served in an ancillary capacity to the kitchen. The derivation of the word is from the same source as the Old French term paneterie; that is from pain, the French form of the Latin panis  for bread.  pantry (4)

In a late medieval hall, there were separate rooms for the various service functions and food storage.  A pantry was where bread was kept and food preparation associated with it done. The head of the office responsible for this room was referred to as a pantler. There were similar rooms for storage of bacon and other meats (larder).  alcoholic beverages (buttery) known for the “butts” of barrels stored there, and cooking (kitchen).

By the Victorian era, large houses and estates in Britain maintained the use of separate rooms, each one dedicated to a distinct stage of food preparation and cleanup. The kitchen was for cooking, while food storage was done in a storeroom. Food preparation before cooking was done in a larder, and dishwashing was done in a scullery or pantry, “depending on the type of dish and level of dirt”. Since the scullery was the room with running water, it had a sink, and it was where the messiest food preparation took place, such as cleaning fish and cutting raw meat. The pantry was where tableware was stored, such as china, glassware and silverware. If the pantry had a sink for washing tableware, it was a wooden sink lined with lead, to prevent chipping the china and glassware while they were washed. In some middle-class houses, the larder, pantry and storeroom might simply be large wooden cupboards, each with its exclusive purpose.[2]

In America, pantries evolved from early Colonial American “butteries”, built in a cold north corner of a Colonial home (more commonly referred to and spelled as “butt’ry”, into a variety of pantries in self-sufficient farmsteads. Butler’s pantries, or china pantries, were built between the dining room and kitchen of a middle class English or American home, especially in the latter part of the 19th into the early 20th centuries. Great estates, such as Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina or Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio had large warrens of pantries and other domestic “offices”, echoing their British “Great House” counterparts.

As you can see I included at photo of my Kitchen’s pantry. I also have a “great” pantry in my garage.

My Garage Pantry
My Garage Pantry

Send me a picture of yours and I’ll post it as well. It would be interesting to see all the different arrangement that a Pantry can take on; after all, they are an expression of ourselves!

Enjoy Life and Eat Well!

Chef Shay

 

 

FOOD TRIVIA – while we stall for time…

Okay, I am trying to start off the new year right and wanted to begin the year with an awesome blog on what it take to have a well stocked Pantry.  Sounds boring, but you will be surprised how a well-stocked Pantry will make your, or any chief’s life a lot easier.  Compiling the components of a Pantry is easy.  All I have to do is inventory mine and BAM! (Opps, sorry no intend to plagiarize) you got it!  My husband always helps me with my blogs and the way I composed it, …well he is having formatting problems.  He may have to start all over again…..so in the meantime here is some Food Trivia to bide the time.  We should have the Awesome Pantry blog up by Sunday.

FOOD TRIVIA

  • Perhaps as a relic of an ancient Roman custom of planting parsley on graves, a sprig of parsley was either associated with the devil or as an antidote for poison.  Adding a sprig to a plate of food may have originated as a gesture of good faith and as a way to safeguard the meal from evil. So if you eat in a restaurant with less than an “A” rating and the garnish with parsley – eat at your own risk.
  • The Arabs invented caramel, which served as a depilatory (hair removal) for women in a harem.  Remember that when you dip your apple in your caramel dip.
  • Drinking fresh milk in the classical world was considered a luxury because milk was so difficult to preserve.   Got Milk!
  • At Delphi, the spiritual center of Greece, many cooks were needed to organize and direct sacrifices to the gods.
  • The warriors of Attila, king of the Huns, (A.D 450) preserved their meat by placing fresh meat under their saddles.  All the bouncing squeezed fluids from the meat, and the horse’s sweat salted the meat and removed more moisture.  When the warrior stopped to eat, they had a dried and salted meal.  I don’t even know how to respond to that – just – GROSS!!!
  • Beans have historically been a symbol of the embryo and growth in most societies.  The ancient Egyptians called the place in which the Ka, the souls of the dead awaited reincarnation, “the bean field.”
  • Chili peppers are hot because they contain a substance called alkaloid capsaicin and four other related chemicals.  It is also the primary ingredient in pepper spray.
  • The first soup was made from hippopotamus and dates back to 6000BC.  I wonder who figured that one out? probably found some 8000 year old recipe inscribed on a dead sea scroll.
  • Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved anchovies (including the bones) that have been soaked in vinegar.  Well anchovies are at least good for something – slimy little things!
  • During the Middle Ages, a lemon slice was served with fish because it was thought the juice would dissolve any bones that were accidentally swallowed. I wonder how long that myth lasted.  I find it hard to swallow.
  • This is I whole heartily agree with….Cooking food is one of the great revolutionary innovations of history because it not only transformed the way we prepare food, but because it also became a center of cultural communion and organized society.  RIGHT ON!!!

Enjoy Life and Eat Well!

Chef Shay

 

Palm Springs – Food Mecca

It been about a week since my last blog.  We spent a week in Palm Springs and came home with the stomach flu.  Over the past week all I’ve been serving up is chicken soup, crackers,  and a little bit of rice, trying to keep everyone hydrated while this viral bug worked  its way through my entire family, including myself.  So I do not have much to offer this week but I do want to clue you into one of my favorite places to eat.  There are many great places to eat in this desert community and we have tried a great many of them, but there is one place we always go while we are there.

We go there on the last day of our visit.  It’s essentially a tradition with us … and that is _AEB3nyM79enRXFv9mRTm8f-JelI-S65ZxMPZ1BOmJk[1]Sherman’s Deli.  I would go there just for the fresh pickles that they serve with every meal.

 

This is the classic delicatessen with all the things one would expect. We arrived at that time of day in which it was a little late for breakfast but too early for lunch.  Fortunately they don’t care.  The entire menu is available the whole day.  While several of us went for the traditional breakfast;  omelets, pancakes and bagels there were several that went for lunch.  My daughter loves the French Dip Sandwich. Another went for the Fish and Chips. My husband went for the Grilled Pastrami Sandwich. Now, I’m not big on these kind of sandwiches but this sandwich; the Grilled Pastrami, was the best I have ever tasted.

A pastrami sandwich is fairly simple to make.

DSCN0296

  • Rye Bread (toasted)
  • Pastrami (grilled)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Thousand Island Dressing (fresh)
  • Swiss Cheese

Served with their homemade potato wedged chips.

The things that makes this sandwich so incredible special is that it is all fresh.  They make their own bread, sauerkraut and Pastrami, even the Thousand Island dressing.  Fresh pastrami is incredible and they do it right!

I highly recommend that when you visit Palm Springs, pull yourself away from the Casino for an hour and go to Sherman’s Deli.  You won’t regret it.   Just looking at the display of deserts, pastry and cakes will want to make you want to move to Palm Springs.

Enjoy life and the food it offers!

Chef Shay

P.S. Everybody is healthy again and it will take me a few days to get back into the groove again.  I appreciate everyone’s support and please keep reading my blog.