Saturday, June 15, 2013

Quick Pickled Radishes

These are INSANELY easy! I defy anyone to find an easier pickling recipe.
I grow my own radishes, and sometimes when they're ready I'm just not in the mood to munch on them right away. So...pickling them is the obvious choice, at least to me.

Jar with Lid
Wet Measuring Cup
Cutting Board

2/3C. Coconut Vinegar (it's what I had, but Red Wine Vinegar is good as well)
1/2C. Sugar
2t. Coarse Salt
15 or so radishes

Thinly slice radishes and place in jar. Whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved. Pour over radishes and screw on lid. Let sit for about 30 minutes and serve, they can be kept in the refrigerator for a day if needed.

I planted Easter Egg Radishes, but they all have come out this color so far.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Citrus-Dill Roasted Chicken

It started pouring down rain towards the end of my work day today, and I instantly started thinking about roasted chicken with a nice gravy. Do not be daunted by roasting a chicken, it really is quit simple. This post was started several weeks ago, but I didn't have a final picture to go with it. So it sat on the back burner, I have decided to put it up though and the next time I make it I promise to add a "fully cooked bird" photo.


Roasting Pan (or deep dish big enough for a chicken)
Baster (spoon is fine too)
Kitchen Sheers
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Liquid Measuring Cup
Microplane (or other zesting tool)


1.5 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
Zest from:*
2 Oranges
1 Lemon
2 Sprigs Dill, minced

Using a fork, mash your butter until creamy and can easily be spread about. Add in the zest and dill and mix well.

Whole Chicken, trimmed of fat
2 Oranges, quartered
1 Lemon, Quartered
2-3 Lrg. Fresh Dill Sprigs
3 Whole Garlic Cloves
1 Lrg.Onion, Quartered
Water or Broth (If using broth use a low sodium version, because you have salted the Chicken and are covering it in bacon)
4-6 Strips Bacon (depending on size of chicken)

*After you have zested all your citrus, do NOT toss them out. Quarter them and use them for the cavity of your chicken and for the pan. There is no need to waste perfectly good citrus, just because it has been zested already.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Now, the chicken! Clean it well, remove all the organs in the cavity, rinse and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is nice and dry so it will hold the butter and get a nice crispy skin, you don't want water in the cavity either.

Stick your hand under the skin to separate it from the body (do NOT take the skin off though) giving yourself "pockets" to shove the butter into...make sure you get the legs as well. Once the skin is separate continue to smear butter in between the skin and flesh. A good way to distribute it is slide a big blob under the skin then massage the top of the skin pushing the butter around beneath your hands. Generously salt and pepper the entire bird, inside and out.
Next quarter your onions, and citrus and shove half in the bird (along with the garlic cloves and dill sprigs) and reserve the other half to be placed in the bottom of the roasting pan.

In a large dutch oven (or other roasting pan of your choice)heat up some oil or bacon fat. We are going to brown the bird all over before putting it in the oven.

When your bird is nicely browned on all sides you may now add the reserved onion, orange and lemon quarters to the bottom of the pan. Along with the liquid you have chosen to use. Just about a cup and a half so things don't burn on the bottom as your beginning to cook. Lay the bacon on top of the chicken, covering as much of the bird as you can.
Put the bird in the oven and check on it after about 20-30 minutes. Because the bacon is acting as a "moisture shield" for the chicken, you do not need to baste it until close to the end. If the bacon is cooking too quickly and beginning to burn feel free to remove it and just baste the bird as needed.

After 45 minutes remove the bacon, and set aside. You will now need to baste the chicken a couple times in the 30-45 minutes of cooking. You're internal temperature of your chicken needs to reach 165 degrees. When your chicken is fully cooked remove it from the oven, and transfer to a platter or cutting board to rest for 20 minutes. Resting the chicken insures that you do not lose all those wonderful juices that have been building up...nobody likes a dry bird.

If you like you can make a gravy from the drippings, while the chicken is resting.
Remove all the large chunks and items from your roasting pan. Strain out any excess fat (you can strain this into a new pan if you think you won't be able to get all the little pieces and extra fat out) and set on the burner on medium heat.
Whisk together a mix of two parts cream (or milk) and one part flour to use as a thickener for your gravy. If you mix the flour and milk directly into the gravy without combining them first, you will have a difficult time getting out the flour lumps.
Allow the drippings to come to a simmer before adding your flour/cream mixture. Once you have added this mixture give it a nice whisk to combine then allow it to come to a simmer again until it has thickened, and any danger of "raw flour" taste is gone.

You can now slice up your bird, pour some gravy over it and enjoy with a side of you choice.

*I realized while writing this post, that I haven't given any strict directions or pictures on how to do certain things. So, I will make a point to post "how to" posts every once in a while with tips and pictures.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Evil Bunnies

No doubt if I were to tell that there is a Rex Rabbit and a New Zealand White Rabbit wandering in and out of my yard, this is what you would think of. Your next thought would probably be "awwwe they're so cute and cuddly looking" NOT SO! These bunnies are pure evil!! These rabbits have driven me to fits of running around the side of my house waving my arms and screaming like a mad woman. It was apparently the "non-thought" of my neighbor that we live on a farm and it is perfectly natural to just open the cage of ones rabbits one day, and simply turn them out into the neighborhood. A small neighborhood I might add, that is a direct offshoot of the highway. Needless to say I have waged war on these bunnies

This was my morning ritual...until yesterday.

I embarked on a quest to the massive keep that is Home Depot, to acquire the necessary materials for a Hoophouse!

Which after really not as much money as I was thinking it would cost, (and only about an hour of work) resulted is this lovely enclosure for the hard work and patience that is part of my garden.

There is netting over the pipe, that you probably can't see.


Rosemary Chops w/ Grilled Apricot Sauce & Seared Asparagus

This is one of those dinners where I had absolutely no advanced plans, and was just "flying by the seat of my pants". It came out very nicely if I do say so myself. It's a bit early for Apricots (and normally I would wait a little longer) however these smelled so tasty when I walked by them that I couldn't resist picking a couple up. All of the herbs are from my garden that has recently been plagued by evil about them to follow.
Anyways...I digress, as is normal for me. Without further adieu, I give you......DINNER!

Grill Pan (you can of coarse BBQ these outside)
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Immersion Blender
Small Glass Bowl

Oil for pan
2 Pork Chops (bone in or boneless, I had boneless on hand this time)-room temperature
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Ground Pepper
2T. Melted Unsalted Butter
3T. Fresh Minced Chives

2 Apricots, halved and pitted
1.5t Honey

Turn oiled grill pan to medium heat (this can very if you're chops are very thin, I happened to have VERY thick chops so I didn't want the outside to burn but wanted a nice "crust")
While pan is coming to temperature, generously salt and pepper your chops on both sides. When pan is warm lay down the rosemary sprigs directly on the grill pan.

Let them sit for a moment until you just begin to smell them, then place your chops directly on top.

Now, at this point I must apologize because I did not once look at the clock to see how long cooking was taking. It's a very bad habit of mine since these recipes are posted for people to make at home if they so chose. SO, since I don't time things these times will be an estimation. Pork should be cooked to 145 degrees internal temperature. Back to the recipe.
Cook the chops about 8 minutes per side. Once both sides of your chops have been cooked, flip them back over to the original side.

Melt your butter and stir in the chives. Spoon this delectable mixture on top of each chop so the flavors soak in and it just drips down onto the pan.
You may now put your apricots on the pan. By putting them on the same pan after the seasoning and flavors from the chops have begun to secrete, you are adding all these wonderful flavors to your apricots. Cook them (flipping as needed) until soft and slightly caramelized.

When chops reach an internal temperature of 145 you may remove them to a plate or cutting board and allow them to rest for about 3 minutes, before cutting into them to enjoy.
While your chops are resting, toss your apricots and honey in an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Your sauce is finished!


1T Olive Oil
Handful of asparagus, trimmed
1T Each - Fresh Chopped Cilantro and Chives
2t Fresh Chopped Oregano

Heat your pan to medium to medium-low eat. Add in oil just as pan is coming to temperature. Toss in your asparagus and salt, stirring occasionally (so as to prevent them from burning) and cook to desired texture. When you are just about to remove your asparagus, turn off the eat and throw in all your herbs and toss a few times to evenly coat. Serve them along side your chops.