Sunday, March 10, 2013

Which Came First?

The chicken? ...








           Or the Eggs?...


I have been thinking about making this for awhile! I just think it is funny to have eggs inside a chicken. Ha Ha!

I have become one of those people who has to decide whether to buy medicine or food.* I mentioned this to the pharmacist, when I went to the store to pick up my $10 thyroid medicine. I had $11.25 to last until next payday. She "accidentally" gave me $1 change when I handed her two five dollar bills. So then I had $2.25 to spend on food this week. Chickens were on sale for 88 cents a pound, and I found a little one for exactly $2.24. Yay!

I picked some herbs growing in my garden - chives, celery, thyme, sage, marjoram, bay leaf. There is a lot of the wild weed "winter cress" sprouting up everywhere now, so I gathered some of that. I even found a couple of carrots that had overwintered in the garden. I had some dried shallots from last summer's garden.

I cleaned and dried the chicken. Did you know, the FDA now says you aren't supposed to wash a chicken? Just pat it dry with towel. I used a cloth towel. 
{From the FDA Site: Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking. "Washing these foods makes it more likely for bacteria to spread to areas around the sink and countertops,"}

I've been pondering how to do an egg-stuffed chicken for awhile. Apparently there are some Russian and Middle Eastern dishes with whole eggs incorporated into chicken stuffing. And I saw a drool-inducing Indian recipe for chicken with masala spiced scrambled eggs and rice. 

But I wanted whole eggs inside and I've been thinking about the best way to do it. I decided that if I use peeled hardboiled eggs they would probably overcook inside the roasting chicken, and I REALLY dislike overcooked hard boiled eggs (dry pale yolks with that green rim - Ugh!)  I decided to put unpeeled eggs inside. I wasn't sure if raw unpeeled eggs would cook all the way inside the chicken, so I precooked them for 3 minutes first. I added the carrots (peeled) and shallots (whole unpeeled) to the simmering eggs, with a pinch of turmeric , just to get everything started a little. 

I stuffed the hot eggs with the herbs and veggies (and a little salt) into the cavity of the  chicken and closed it up with toothpicks. I sprinkled some coarse salt on the outside.

I had preheated the oven to 425° and put the in Bird-&-Eggs. I immediately turned the heat down to 350°, and roasted for about 40 minutes. The FDA has dropped the recommended safe temperatures for all cooked poultry to 165°F (it used to be higher, and that makes for dry, unappealing chicken).

I took it out of the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes. I turned it upside down for this part, so the juices would run into the breast.) If I'd had a thermometer, I'm sure it would have read a perfect 165°.

Then I opened that birdie up! 


The egg was cooked perfectly!
And the breast meat was juicy & moist.

* My standard of living has fallen steadily in recent years, having been laid off from jobs five times in recent years. After the last layoff at the end of 2009 I lived through 2 years of unemployment. I looked and looked and looked for work and I've finally found a job that pays a little over minimum wage (with a 2 hour commute each way).  But really, I am lucky. I am resourceful and have made wonderful meals with my garden and stuff I have in my cupboards. There are lots of people like me, trying to appear the same as usual, but living with much less.

Not to mention that there are huge numbers of people in this world who are truly hungry. "Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day."

Monday, February 11, 2013

1 cup whole grain cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill medium grind)
1 cup flour (for a gluten-free batch I used part brown rice flour and part cornstarch)
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs separated
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp.)
 juice of 1 lemon to equal 2 T.
2 T honey (optional)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed frozen)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  Separate the eggs and whisk the whites until fluffy but not dry. Beat the yolks a little and add the buttermilk, the lemon juice and zest, oil, and honey.  Preheat the waffle iron before the next steps. When waffle iron is hot, mix the wet mixture with the dry ingredients, then fold in the egg whites and corn.  Spoon or ladle into waffle iron and bake according to your waffle iron's requirements. Serve with butter, yogurt, apple sauce, or maple syrup.

For pancakes: reduce oil to 2 T. and increase buttermilk by 2 T., and you don't need to separate the eggs. 

For a savory, non-sweet version, you could add finely minced peppers, chopped cilantro, a pinch of cayenne, and 1/4 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese. Serve with butter and jalapeno jelly.

 with plain yogurt and honey:


dry ingredients, sift together:
1 cup whole grain cornmeal
1 cup AP flour (for gluten-free use rice flour, or other GF flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T sugar (or honey or molasses or maple syrup - add to wet ingredients)

wet ingredients, mix together:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt or part yogurt/milk)
1/4 cup oil or melted butter or bacon fat
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)

Heat oven to 425°. Liberally butter or grease an 8 x 8 x 2" pan or a large loaf pan (I used a non-stick loaf pan well-buttered). Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Spread evenly in the pan, making sure to get evenly into the corners. Bake about 15 minutes, then turn temperature down to 375° and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Serving suggestion! Corny cornbread French toast with butter & blackberry jam:
 Serving Suggestion! Serve with collard greens soup and garlicky tomatoes:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012!

This was super-frugal Christmas this year. (Thank you Heather for bringing the salad and thank you Sooz for providing groceries!)

Menu: Christmas Mojitos*, Roast Beast, Polenta Lasagne* (gluten free), Heather's Salad, Christmas Trifle*, Schober Springerle, Peppermint Extra Chocolatey Brownies*, Coconut Shortbread Cookies*, Oatmeal Raisin Blondies* (gluten-free), Orange-Chocolate Swirl Blondies*


Tomato Sauce Layer:
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. oil
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil (I used Herbs Parisien cuz that's what I had.)
Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. Add the basil or (Herbs Parisien if using). Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. I did this part the day before and stored in the fridge overnight.

Polenta Layer
2 cups polenta (corn grits. I used Bob's Red Mill coarse-grind polenta)
6 cups broth (I used Better than Bouillion  Chicken flavor)
1/2 tsp salt (omit if your broth is salty)
teeeny pinch of turmeric (less than 1/8 tsp.)
 Mix together the broth (cold) and polenta and salt (if using) in a cooking pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium low and slowly cook and stir occasionally for 30 minutes until thick. Use a long handled spoon because it may bubble and splatter. Stir in 2 T. butter or olive oil.

"Ricotta" Layer:
This is poor (wo)man's ricotta. 
1 pint cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used mace cuz that's all I had)
Buzz ingredients in a blender (I used a stick blender).

Pesto Layer: (I had some pesto on hand in the freezer. I used about 2 T. total)
Basil leaves, garlic, sunflower seeds, Romano cheese, olive oil, orange juice.

Shredded "Italian Blend" cheese - 8 ounces. (I used Kroger brand w/ mozzarella, assiago, Parmesan, Romano blend.)

To assemble: spoon 1/4 of the tomato sauce into a large lasagne pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon on 1/3 of the polenta (don't spread it into a layer - just leave in blobs). Add 1/3 of the ricotta mixture (in blobs) and little blobs of pesto. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers again twice, reserving the last layer of shredded cheese to add at the end of cooking. You can cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to heat and serve it. 

To heat: Cook in 350° oven for 45 minutes, then add the last layer of cheese and cook another 5 - 10 minutes.



12 oz. container frozen limeade mix (don't judge! this is low-budget Christmas!)
3 limes
1 cup mint leaves
fizzy water
rum (optional)
garnishes: mint sprigs, cranberries, lime slices.

To "frost" the glasses: Powder sugar, meringue powder (1/2 tsp. mixed with 2 T water). Put the egg white in one bowl and the powder sugar in another. Dip edge of glasses in each and let stand to harden.

In a large pitcher mix the limeade mix with 2 cans of water (instead of the 3 cans the container calls for), the zest of 1 of the limes and the juice of 2 of them. Put a little of the lime juice mixture into a glass or jar with the mint leaves and muddle until the mint is crushed (or use a stick blender.) Add to the pitcher.

To make a mojito: put ice cubes in a glass, add lime juice mixture halfway full, top with fizzy water, rum (if using), and garnish (cranberries, mint sprigs, lime slices.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Frugal Eatin': Dandelion Greens Fritatta
The recent rains have helped lots of tender new dandelion greens sprout up.  Gather up new shoots of dandelion leaves before they form flowers. (Don't pick them where doggies do, or where sprayers spray.)

 Heat up some oil / fat in a fry pan (I used about 1 tsp each bacon fat, olive oil, butter):
Cook some chopped garlic and shallot / onion just a minute or two (heat medium/high), then add the greens:
With a fork, beat some eggs in a bowl (I used 5, cuz that was what I had), and pour over the greens in the pan. The temperature should be hot enough that the eggs start to set/cook immediately, but low enough that they don't burn:
Sprinkle on some shredded cheese (I used Peccorino Romano).
Turn off the burner (the top of the eggs are still runny) and turn on your oven broiler. Put the skillet under the broiler for 2 - 3 minutes until the top of the eggs set:
Served with foraged fig & pear, and milky coffee-in-a-bowl (the way they do it in French movies).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Made with black rice noodles, broccoli-carrot slaw, sesame/pineapple vinaigrette, lots of garden herbs (celery, mint, chives, lemon-mint), tangerine marmalade pickled red onions, apples, orange peel and fruit, shoyu, sesame oil, sunflower seeds.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rosemary Waffle Fries

I found two potatoes so I decided to try to emulate the rosemary waffle fries I had at Burgerville last year (and have been remembering them ever since!) I got a little waffle edge knife at Ross for a couple bucks. It isn't easy to cut the waffley slices from the potatoes - you turn the potato after each slice, and you have to get close enough to make waffle holes but not too close or it just cuts off a useless sliver.

Put the sliced potatoes into a bowl of cold water for awhile (one recipe said 4 hours but I only lasted about 1 hour) then drain them and spread them on a towel. Cover with another towel and blot away all the moisture.

Get your receiving place ready before you start to fry.: line a pan or bowl with brown paper (I cut up a shopping bag).

Heat 1" of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until it is 325°.

Using tongs or a spider tool, ease the cut potatoes into the oil a bit at a time; don't over-crowd the pot. You will be frying in batches, so only cook as many as will fit in one layer at a time. Cook them for 3 or 4 minutes or just before they start to turn golden, then lift them out and place them on the prepared paper.

Bring the oil up to 375° and fry the potatoes a second time (again, in batches. Don't crowd them!) Cook them for 3 or 4 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to the prepared paper and sprinkle with seasalt, chopped fresh rosemary, & parsley.