Oh, hey there! Have a summer vegetable tart!

So my last posts on this blog were in March. Well, then. Here’s what I’ve been up to since then:

  • April: On the road 12 out of 30 days.  What does my house look like?
  • May: Please allow me to hide in my house until I leave the state for another week and then madly prepare for a board orientation for the day job.
  • June: Did I mention I was taking a stats class over the summer?  No Monday or Wednesday nights for you!  Oh, and most of your other nights are doing homework, lol.
  • Also June: You know what would be a great time to run a major conference? While you’re taking an intense summer stats class!
  • July: Stats class.  Oh, and running another major conference, because that’s just brilliant timing.
  • August: What better time to screw up my meds? (No thanks, insurance company.) I spent most of August hiding under a rock. (Except for the weekend I spend running around Gen Con dressed as one of the iconic characters from the Pathfinder RPG.)

I can’t say I’ve been making a ton of food until the last few weeks, and even then it’s been “easy mode” – baba ganouj, grilled corn and X meat.  Spouse has been taking on a lot more of the cooking than usual.  But I’m loving the summer produce that’s available.  Ohio’s peach crop was frost-killed this spring and lots of stuff has been later than usual, but we’re seeing lots of melons, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes (finally), squash, and even some cucumbers still – as well as the first apples of the season.

Last night I made this roasted vegetable tart with odds and ends lying around the house, and it was both easy and tasty.

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Here’s how it went:

  • One single-sheet pie crust (or two if you want to make a huge one).  I made mine from this recipe (the food processor does make it easy!) plus a half-teaspoon of extra-fine garlic powder for a bit of extra savory yum.  You could also use store bought pie crusts, puff pastry, or phyllo dough following the package instructions.
  • A medium bowl of summer veggies: I used two small eggplant, one medium yellow summer squash, one onion, four small sweet peppers, and a handful of cherry tomatoes which had all split on the vine due to the ridiculous amount of rain we got yesterday.
  • Some cheese.  I used goat cheese; you could also use feta, gruyere, parmesan, whatever.
  • Some kind of savory spread.  I used some olive tapenade that I got at Aldi a while back; you could also use bruchetta topping, hummus, a spreadable cheese or cheese-and-egg base, baba ganouj, whatever.

Slice/dice your veggies (except the tomatoes), toss them in a bit of olive oil, salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar (or not).  Roast them at 425° for about 15 minutes or until they’re nice and tender.  Your onions should be translucent but nothing should be caramelized or burnt (unless you want them caramelized, in which case go a little longer.)

Do whatever you need to do with your dough situation to make it a single flat piece.  Or you could do several small tarts, in which case you want several small flat pieces.  Moral of the story: flat.  Spread your flat piece(s) of dough with the savory spread, but unless you’re using a pan which your dough fills edge to edge, you might want to stop a little before the edge.

Spread out your roasted veggies on your prepared dough-and-savory-spread situation.  You’ll want them a little bit layered, but not so high that they aren’t going to cook through.  Maybe 1″ high, tops.  I had leftover veggies, and I threw them in the fridge to make an awesome roasted veggie pita with later this week.

Put any tomatoes you plan to use on top.  You don’t have to slice small cherry/grape/pear tomatoes, but you might want to slice larger ones.  Apply cheese.  Fold up the edges of your dough, if that’s an appropriate thing to do with the type of dough you’re using.

Throw the whole thing back in the oven (still at 425°) for about 15 minutes or so, until the dough is a nice golden brown, the cheese is browned and/or bubbly depending on the type of cheese you chose, and it smells awesome.  Go find something engaging to do while it cools for 10 minutes (otherwise you’ll try to eat it too soon and burn the heck out of the roof of your mouth).

This thing is awesome warm and also awesome at room temperature, making it great for really hot days.  I suspect you might also be able to adapt this into a kind of hand-pie recipe and take them out picnicking.

Oh, and I realize it’s not Friday.  Too bad; you get food on Labor Day instead.

 

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Foodie Friday: [Lamb] Stew

We had a wonderful, beautiful, sunny, 55+ degree Saturday last week.  It was lovely.  Now it’s cold again, although at least it’s normal winter cold (lows in the 10s, highs in the 20-30s) and not stupidly absurdly cold, and the snow almost all melted.  I can deal with this.

But even normal winter likes nice warm cozy food.  Therefore, stew.  You can make stew out of just about anything: beef, lamb, veal, venison, goat.  I guess I probably wouldn’t make stew out of chicken or fish, because I have better things to do with those.

So anyway, you start with some vegetables.  I always include an onion and some carrots. This time I also put in some celery, half a sweet potato, and one very small sad turnip (you might also use parsnip, celery root, rutabaga, potatoes, etc.) – all chopped into bite-sized pieces:

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The onions and celery are separate from the carrots and other stuff because they’re going to go into the pot first.  These are what we call “aromatics” – things we cook first to make their flavor wonderful.  The other ones will go in later.

Then you’ll need  some stew meat.  I used lamb, because I had a small package of lamb stew meat from my local butcher.  You can buy your stew meat pre-cut, or you can buy a larger cut and cut it up yourself.  You don’t need tender cuts for this – stewing as a technique works best on tougher cuts with more connective tissue.

Mix up a handful of flour, salt and pepper:

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Then dredge (also known as “toss” or “push your meat pieces around until covered”) your meat in the flour mixture.  You want them all nicely covered, but not with giant lumps of flour attached. They should look like this:

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Great!  Set that aside for a few minutes.  (Out of reach of cats, dogs, small children, etc.)

Apply your favorite soup pot to the stove.  (The pot I’m using here was overkill for this batch of stew.) Put a blob of your favorite cooking fat into the pot – you might use vegetable oil, shortening, lard, or – my favorite – bacon grease!  You don’t want to use butter or olive oil, though – they’ll burn at the temperature you need them.

Get it good and hot:

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And then toss in your meat pieces:

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Brown them on one side (1-2 minutes) and then turn the pieces over and brown the other side:

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Om nom.  Some of the flour mixture will stick to the bottom of the pan and get all tasty and brown. You want this!

When your meat bits are browned, take them out and set them aside for another minute.  (Continue to keep out of reach of dogs, cats, small children, etc.)

Add your aromatics (onion, celery, garlic, etc.) to the pot and stir them around for a while:

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You want them to get a bit cooked but not browned, and do your best to start scraping up the tasty browned bits from the bottom of the pan:

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Then throw in your other veggies:

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I added my herbs at this point (rosemary and marjoram):

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And then you’ll wanna toss your meat back in:

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And enough broth to cover everything:

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While that’s coming up to a boil, add in some other seasonings.  Most red-meat stews can benefit from a bit of tomato paste:

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(Yes, I use my knife to get tomato paste from the can.  I also use my knife to get minced garlic, stock concentrate, and many other things out of jars.  I don’t want to get a bunch of spoons dirty.)

Now, stew is extremely flexible, but runs the risk of being exceptionally bland.  So add in your favorite seasonings.  Salt and pepper are mandatory.  My standard additions are A1 Steak Sauce (I don’t put it on steak, only in stew and pot roast) and worcestershire.  You could also add a bit of a seasoning blend (like a steak seasoning or Mrs. Dash), or a bunch of herbs like tarragon, chervil, savory, thyme, etc.  Goat in particular lends itself to some crazy seasonings like Jamaican jerk.  My rule of thumb is that if it smells good with the flavors already in your kitchen from getting you this far, it’ll probably be tasty.  A teaspoon total is a good measure for dried herbs and spices, a tablespoon each for any liquid flavorings – use these as starting points and adjust from there.

Stir it all together, bring it to a boil, and then turn down the heat and put a lid on it.  You want to let this stuff go for a while – probably around an hour if not more.  A few really cool things happen in this time.  The flour that mixed in with the fat when you browned the meat formed something akin to a roux, which during this time will thicken your stew into a nice rich texture.  The connective tissue in the meat will melt away, which makes the meat super-tender while making the stew even more rich in texture.  The flavors meld together (the tomato paste in particular, which almost vanishes and just leaves a subtle depth), the onions and carrots become lovely and sweet, and everything mellows out.

Incidentally, you can also make this whole thing in a crockpot.  Do everything exactly as described above, but switch to a crockpot after you cook up your onions and celery, and let it go on low for 8-10+ hours.

You can also make this recipe in larger quantities.  Just use more of everything.  It keeps well for leftovers and also freezes pretty well, so it’s a good option to make a bunch of.

Either way, when you get to where you want to be, it’ll look about like this:

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Except hopefully you chose a more appropriately-sized pot than I did.

I forgot to take a picture of it in a bowl, so let’s just pretend that you have a lovely photo here with a few sprigs of fresh herbs (that came from ??? because my herb garden froze over months ago) and some nice toasted french bread.  Or something.

Also, in case you’re wondering, I no longer have a vegetarian in the house.  Just so you don’t think I’m being a giant jerkface here.

Foodie Friday: Vegan Joes

Hey, look at me, actually posting a Foodie Friday on a Friday. It’s like maybe I sneakily wrote two posts this past weekend and scheduled one to go out ahead so I actually have something up on time for once. Who knew?

Anyway, let’s talk about Joe. In fact, let’s talk about several Joes. Vegan ones. Vegan Joes.

So I love sloppy joes – not gonna lie. They’re quick, easy, tasty, and a nice protein blast for gym days. But good ground beef is expensive, and for reasons that I haven’t really gotten into yet on this blog, I only buy good meat. So when I found this tasty recipe for sloppy joes that swaps out lentils for the ground beef, I was pretty much sold.

Lentils are awesome. They’re little, inexpensive, quick-cooking, buy-in-bulk-and-store-forever, protein-packed legumes. They come in a bunch of colors, from the thin red ones that melt away when you cook them to plain old brown ones to fancy marbled french puy ones to crazy black ones. There’s probably more out there – go to town. I usually keep a bin of brown lentils (usually the cheapest) in my pantry for things like this (or for this amazing mushroom-lentil pot pie that you should totally make if you haven’t yet).

The really awesome part about this particular recipe – originally from the Veganomicon – is that it’s super flexible. It calls for an onion and a yellow pepper. I usually have onions on hand; I rarely have yellow pepper – but it doesn’t matter! I’ve used just about everything else instead – from celery to turnips to eggplant to sweet potatoes. Today’s candidate was zucchini, left over from the package I purchased to make veggie lasagna a while back:

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First, though, you need to start your lentils. One cup lentils plus 4 cups water is the standard. In my world this translates to “some” lentils and “enough water to come to the second knuckle of my first finger.” I’m a really precise person when it comes to cooking. Bring to a boil and then turn them down and simmer. They’ll take about 20 minutes – just enough time to get the rest of everything going.

So, you chop up your onion and your zucchini a bit more finely than you normally would. The weirder your extra veggie, the more finely you want to chop it. (The turnips, for example, I chopped pretty darn small.)
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Put olive oil in your favorite big skillet or saucepan.  This is my favorite skillet.  It’s the most expensive pan I own, and it’s also my favorite – every time I use it, I’m always happy about it.  Worth every dollar.  It’s very sturdy, thick enough to distribute heat evenly, and 100% stainless steel – so I can throw it in the dishwasher, or the oven, or use a scrubby on it to get stuff off (unlike every other skillet in the universe, which is covered with useless, potentially-toxic, lifespan-dimishing, not-dishwasher-safe teflon).  And it has an extra handle opposite the long handle so I can carry it to the table.  And a lid.  Amazing.

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Add your onion and other vegetable, and sauté over medium-high heat until the onion is cooked enough to eat.  When it’s sautéed to your liking, add your seasonings – oregano and chili powder, according to the original recipe, but you can use whatever floats your boat.  Remember, adding your spices and herbs to the oil now (as opposed to the finished stuff later) makes the flavors better.  This is also a good time to point out that chili powder and other “hot” spices get hotter from this treatment – so you maybe want to go easy.

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Ok, rant time.  One of the big reasons I don’t eat more vegetarian or vegan food is because evidently the entirety of humanity that chooses not to eat meat has decided that they must make all of their food spicy instead.  No meat = must be spicy.  It’s like the veg*n cop-out: “This dish would be bland without meat, but I’m too lazy to put actual flavors in it, so I’ll just dump in all these chilis instead.”  Spicy food makes Lyz cry, but because flaming fiery pain is evidently the only flavor available in most veg*n cooking, most recipes are right out, brain-meltingly bland, or require me to figure out how to make them tastier.  (Usually I end up adding bacon or cheese – a pro strat for vegetarian food, right?)  This recipe, for example, calls for THREE FREAKING TABLESPOONS OF CHILI POWDER in a FOUR-SERVING RECIPE.  That’s almost ONE TABLESPOON PER SERVING.  DO YOU WANT ME TO DIE??

So I used a little less than one tablespoon in the version I made, and I often put in other spices as the whim strikes me.  See, doesn’t this look amazingly delicious?

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Then you’ll need some tomato paste and sauce. I was making a bit bigger of a batch here, so I’m going to use a little more than the recipe calls for – two cans of tomato sauce and one full can of paste. These little cans are stupidly cheap at Aldi and keep forever (the ones I used today expire in December… of 2015) so you should always have a few on hand.

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Add your tomato products to your skillet:

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And stir them up real good. Add some maple syrup (about two pancakes’ worth) and some plain yellow mustard (about two hot dogs’ worth). Bring them to a simmer and let them hang out and meld and become wonderful.

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Your lentils should be getting done around now. You’ll know when they stop being crunchy and are instead a texture really not unlike browned ground beef.

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Dump those into the skillet of goo, and mix them in. If you have a few minutes, let them hang out there together to soak up all the tastiness. (The book recommends 10 minutes.)

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I used this time to slice up this amazing fresh loaf of bread my spouse made. This bread, as it turns out, is not vegan, and so if you’re intent on keeping your dinner vegan, use vegan bread, rolls, buns, tortillas, rice, or just eat it plain.

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I gave up on eating sloppy joes on buns a long time ago. Now I eat them open-faced with a fork, because I’m old and have no sense of fun in my life anymore. But I do put home-canned bread-and-butter pickles on them, because they are amazing things and really go very well with sloppy joes.

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Bonus points – this recipe keeps *very* well in the fridge, so you can make a whole bunch and then use the leftovers for lunch at work during the coming week.  And it’s cheap – I think this whole giant skillet may have cost a total of $5 in ingredients.

Foodie Friday: Stupid-Simple Butternut Squash Soup – with Bonus Biscuits!

Well, then. Hello, Sunday! The weather here has only gotten better insofar as it no longer hurts your face to go outside – it’s still mostly gray, sloppy, and cold. My day job is still bonkers, and because that wasn’t enough for my crazy self, I also took on a pretty big freelance gig with a pretty tight turnaround. Such is my life.  I hope you can all forgive me.

Thankfully, I have a spouse who is willing to make dinner.

On the one night this week I did get to cook myself, I wanted easy, warm, and cozy food. I’m also still working on a budget, and I still have a vegetarian in the house. (Vegetarians are great; I just need more practice at cooking veggie-friendly food.) So of course, I decided that soup is the way to go.

Butternut squash is warm and cozy no matter what you do with it.  Soup is kind of a cop-out with this wonderful veggie, but it’s such a delicious cop-out that I don’t mind.  It’s very quick – maybe 30 minutes start to finish? – and very flexible.

So, we start with Le Butternut Squash:

These things last forever, by the way.  Buy enough in the fall to last until the following May, and just store them somewhere cool and dry.

These things last forever, by the way. Buy enough in the fall to last until the following May, and just store them somewhere cool and dry.  I use about one a month.  (Bonus points, sometimes they’re hilariously phallic!)

So you want to start by peeling and cubing your squash.  First, I want to say that peeling any other squash is a royal pain in the ass, so don’t even try it with anything else.  Second, the only way to peel butternut squash is with a very sharp steel or ceramic peeler – then it’s actually pretty easy.

This is probably ~4-5 cups of squash cubes.  You can buy pre-cut squash if you'd like.

This is probably ~4-5 cups of squash cubes.

You can also buy this stuff pre-cut at the grocery store these days.  Or, if you want to DIY but don’t have a sharp peeler, you can halve the thing longways and either roast it with a little olive oil, S&P (350°) for about 45 minutes (drool), or nuke it for 5-10 (fast!).  These latter two options have an extra bonus of reducing the simmer time for the soup itself.

Ok, squash get!  Now chop up an onion:

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And throw it into a soup pot (also known as a kettle, pasta pot, or very large saucepan) with some olive oil over medium-high heat.

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Then throw in the squash, assuming you haven’t otherwise cooked it yet:

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You’re gonna cook this stuff for a while, maybe 5-10 minutes or more, until the onion is translucent and maybe juuuust beginning to brown. Stir occasionally – you want the heat high enough to do something but low enough that you don’t have to stand there tending it the whole time.  You can use this intermediate time to do something like make a salad or whip up a batch of biscuits.  Hmm…biscuits…

Once your onions look tasty (the squash won’t look anything more than a bit soft/wet on the sides – it won’t brown), add about 4 cups of broth.  If you have pre-cooked your squash, now is the time to add it. I used vegetable broth made from Better than Bullion, but I’ll often use homemade chicken stock.  Bring that up to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Put a lid on it if you have one handy.

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You may need more or less liquid depending on how much squash you have. You want just enough that your squash cubes are just covered.

It was about this time that I decided I wanted biscuits with my soup – nice cheesy herby biscuits. So I started working on those. They’re easy-peasy – you just take your favorite biscuit recipe (even Bisquick) and stir in some shredded cheese and herbs when you mix the wet and dry ingredients.

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Shredded smoked gouda, and dried parsley, dill, sage, and savory. Savory, as it turns out, is a cranky little plant and will stab you if you try to rub it to break it down, so don’t try to rub it with your fingers.

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Dry ingredients!

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Wet ingredient!

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They’re mixed together! It’s biscuit dough!

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Biscuit dough on the baking tray! Here’s where you want to learn from my mistakes – if your biscuits have cheese in them, use parchment paper on your baking sheet.

Then I decided I wanted decadent biscuits, so I brushed them with melted garlic butter.

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Into the oven with those bad boys – whatever your biscuit recipe tells you.  Mine took a little longer than advertised.

When those get close to being done in the oven, you want to blend up and season your soup.  I have a stick blender that I totally love for this kind of thing, but you can use a regular blender, too – just let the soup cool a bit and be careful.  I blend the everliving daylights out of mine, since I like a silky velvety soup like the ones I ate in Australia a few years ago.

Now, seasonings.  Salt and pepper is almost mandatory, but from there, you can do wherever you’d like. For an eastern style, try adding some coconut milk, ginger, and curry powder.  You could do a southwestern hint with lime juice and chili powder.  A sweet-style soup might have a bit of maple syrup and maybe some cloves, mace, or allspice.  You can add some cream or crème fraîche or yogurt if you’d like a creamier soup.  I ended up using salt, pepper, and just a hint of ginger and curry – just enough to add some flavor complexity, not enough to make it taste like squash curry.

You may have to reheat the soup a bit depending on how much stuff you put in it and how cold it was.  Do that.  Then serve this soup with your wonderful cheesy-herby-buttery biscuits.

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Le Wonderful Soup. This pot may have been overkill, but better too big than too small.

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And the biscuits, in all their cheesy-herby-golden-brown-glory.

Foodie…Sunday? Thoughts on Getting By

I owe you all an apology.  The past two weeks have been bonkers for me, and that resulted in my not having a post for you on Friday.  It’s not that I’m not eating (believe me, I am!), or even that I’m not cooking (gotta kill that stress somehow).  No, it’s a much sillier problem than that: evidently when I get busy, I forget to take pictures of what I’m making.

I tried!  I have first-stage photos of…

Oven-roasted chicken breast:

Proto-Roast Chicken Breast

Intended as part of the “what you do with a chicken” post, but I forgot to take pictures of the previous parts AND the parts that come later.

From-scratch caesar salad:

Proto-Caesar Salad

Totally worth the extra time and effort. I’ve been using the recipe at http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/classic-caesar-salad, with the shortcut of that tube of anchovy paste because what on earth are you going to

And yesterday I made some ice cream using the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook.  I have pictures of starting to make sugar-plumped apricots:

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Blackstrap praline pecans:

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And the ice cream itself:

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But I completely forgot to take pictures after this point, for each and every one of them, except the roast chicken, which wasn’t quite ready for prime time:

This chicken is not done.

This chicken is not done.

But I want to talk about that for a minute, in the interests of making small improvements in life.

Sometimes your chicken doesn’t get done, and you’ve carved it up and you now have two servings of not-quite-done chicken.  It’s not the end of the world!  I just plopped it back in that pan, now in two pieces, and stuck it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.   Dinner.  Sure, it wasn’t quite as glorious as my roast chickens usually are (I really do need to share that with you) but it was a perfectly tasty, wholesome meal regardless.

Likewise, one of the most interesting dishes I made this week was the least photogenic.  I didn’t even bother taking pictures of it because it was ugly from step one.  See, I had some leftover spanish rice and some leftover seasoned beans.  I thought, “hm, rice and bean skillet.”  So I chopped up an onion and sautéed that, then threw in the rice and beans (the rice immediately sticking to the bottom of the skillet and making a mess).  Then I thought, “hey, this would be pretty good with some corn!”  I quick-thawed a package of frozen corn under hot water and stirred it in.  “How about some shredded cheddar?”  In it went.  Topped it off with a sprinkle of a spanish-style spice blend from my market bag (although simple salt and pepper plus maybe a little chili powder, or a sprinkle of taco seasoning, or anything else would have been perfectly fine), and called it good.  Served with sour cream, lime wedges, and tortillas: warm, filling, wonderful food.  (And vegetarian, to boot!)  But let me tell you, it sure didn’t look like much.

So what’s the point?  Something I tell myself often: don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.

Maybe you forget to take pictures while you’re cooking.  Maybe you don’t have the time and energy to cook from scratch, but instead of dropping by the fast food joint, you drop by the market and pick up a rotisserie chicken.  Maybe you throw your hands up altogether, but you go to the little Korean food truck instead of the Bland-O National Chain Restaurant.  Much as Anthea was saying earlier this week, don’t criticize yourself for good decisions just because they aren’t perfect!

Oh, and maybe your Friday blog post went up on Sunday.  Better late than never!

Foodie Friday: Comfort Pot Pie

Yesterday, I did not want to get out of bed.  I spent most of the day wishing I could go back to bed.  The high was 10° F (with a windchill high of 0° F).  When I left the office, this is what it looked like outside:

Yeah, that sky only looks blue in this photo. It's about the same color as the road, snow, house, and trees.  And cars, since they're all covered in salt.

Yeah, that sky only looks blue in this photo. It’s about the same color as the road, snow, house, and trees. And cars, since they’re all covered in salt.

And I was starving.  All together, an urgent call for comfort food.  Chicken pot pie, here I come!

Incidentally, many of the ingredients in this recipe come from a chicken.  I’ll have to show you what to do with a chicken someday.

Here’s the cast of characters:

An onion, celery, a red carrot (I grew it!), and some sad little hakurei turnips from my CSA last fall.  Those things last forever.

An onion, celery, a red carrot (I grew it!), and some sad little hakurei turnips from my CSA last fall. Those things last forever.

Some chicken leftover from Sunday's roast.

Some chicken leftover from Sunday’s roast.

Chop up the veggies:

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By the way, this is a great time to introduce the stock bag!  Any veggie trimmings, peels, etc. (usually onions, celery, and carrots) go into this gallon ziploc bag that hangs out in my freezer until I make a pot of stock.  (Stock recipes coming soon.)  No brassicas, though – broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc. – they’ll make your stock smell like farts.

This is my stock bag.  Any ends of veggies (usually onions, celery, and carrots) go into this gallon ziploc in my freezer.  No brassicas, though - broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc. - they'll make your stock smell like farts.

This is my stock bag!

And sauté them in some butter until they’re tender, the onion is just barely browning on the edges, and the carrots are not rock-hard.  Chop up your chicken, if you need to – big chunks are nice, or you can chop it a bit finer if you have less chicken and want to stretch it.

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I had plenty of chicken, so nice big chunks here.

You can throw your chicken in now, or you can wait until after you make your gravy.  In general, if your chicken is frozen, wait until you make the gravy.  In general, actually, you’re supposed to put the chicken in after you make the gravy, but I got all excited and threw it in early, and it didn’t hurt anything.

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Then throw in a small handful (1/8 cup?) of flour:

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And stir that in until it’s mixed.  Then you add some chicken stock (do you sense a theme here?), somewhere around a cup or so, stirring as you go.  You want to end up with a nice thick bubbly gravy, but not glue.

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Homemade is best, but use whatever you’ve got – a carton, can, “Better than Bullion,” or even just a bullion cube dissolved in water.

And, because I forgot to throw this in before I made the gravy, add a handful of herbs, plus some salt and pepper:

I grew these!  And it's totally not weed - that's sage.

I grew these! And it’s totally not weed – that’s sage and thyme.

If you’re a little confused about the order here, the point is that it doesn’t actually matter all that much, as long as you have sautéed veggies, gravy, chicken and herbs together in a pan/pot/skillet at this stage in the game.

Put that in a baking dish that’s big enough to hold it.

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And then top it with your favorite biscuit, pie crust, or puff pastry.  I whipped up the biscuit topping from this (awesome on its own merits) recipe using whole wheat flour instead of cornmeal and mixing the cheese right into the dough:

Hell yeah, food processor.

Hell yeah, food processor.

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Biscuits on top.

And then you bake it.  I’ve found that when in doubt, bake on 350° F until it’s lightly browned and/or bubbly.  In this case, I left it in for about 30 minutes.

Golden brown on top, bubbly around the edges.

Golden brown on top, bubbly around the edges.

It’ll be kind of like napalm when you take it out of the oven, so let it sit for a few minutes.

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And let me tell you, it was terrible.

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And then I climbed into bed and went to sleep.