December 11

I have put a dutch oven on my Christmas list.

I don’t have one and I need one.

Yes, need!

Let me make my case for you.

You see Tuesday, I made Coq au vin (that’s French for Chicken in wine) for today’s BB, that Bethany of this little piggy went to market chose for us.

It is a humble recipe that calls for the most basic ingredients.

Carrots, onion, garlic, bacon,mushrooms,  chicken and liquor.

You are to sautee the bacon in a DUTCH OVEN, of which I have none, so I used my largest All-Clad pan that I have been using on my stove top for the last 5 years.

Remember this, Internet, it is important.

Take the bacon out and brown the chicken.

Sautee the veggies in the chicken/bacon goodness toss in some chopped garlic and add some liquor to deglaze the pan.

Put the chicken, bacon and drippings back in the pan, add some chicken stock and the rest of the liquor.

Put your dutch oven pot in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Take it out of the oven, put it on your burner, mush some flour and butter together and add it to the pot to thicken.

It was at this point where things got just a bit hairy in the kitchen.

You see, at the same time I was taking said dutch oven pot out of the oven, I had some venison(deer) meat cooking on another burner for the girl, and some rice that needed attention too.

I took the lid off the coq au vin, turned the girl’s meat, and checked to see if the rice was done.

Then I went to get the knife for the butter (to mash into some flour).   I had inadvertently set the lid half on the knife, so I picked the lid up.

Without a pot holder.

Because I have NEVER put that pot in the oven before, I just didn’t connect that pot lid straight out of 350º oven + human fingers = burning sensations that will make you throw said lid and second degree blisters will begin to form.

That will cause the girl to come running, Superman call from the other room to see if I was ok, and my girlfriend to sit there and just shake her head.

Superman will come to fuss over you, you will sprinkle Wondera into the coq au vin, call it good, and walk around for the next 4 hours with an ice pack between your right thumb and forefinger.

You will also not have a single thought of taking a picture  of the lovely, delicious coq au vin, because…see above.

So you are just going to have to  imagine a serving dish full of Coq au vin.

Isn’t it the best coq au vin you have ever seen???

This recipe is so simple.   So humble.   So delicious.

And as soon as I get a dutch oven, I am definately going to make it again.

Superman…ya want to eat???

Buy me a dutch oven!

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Coq Au Vin

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces good bacon, diced
  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy ~~I used brandy
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy~~I used Burgandy
  • 1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound frozen small whole onions~~didn’t use because helloooooo there is already onion in this
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced~~I used button mushrooms, because even though Pothole has cremini mushrooms, they want an arm and leg, and I happen to like my arms and legs right where they are, thankyouverymuch!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 tbsp.  olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done.

Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot.

Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew.~~or you can sprinkle in some Wondra and call it good. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. ~~ I did this while the coq au vin was in the oven. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer.  Season to taste. Serve hot.

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December 10

A lesson in how to reclaim heat loss in your home.

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First you plop $10 down at your local Stuffmart for one of these.

Wait till a Sunday right after church so that Superman your man is properly attired.

In a suit and tie.

Allow your man to remove his suit coat for ease of movement.

Find the largest window in your home and have  your man start with that one.

Put double sided tape around the entire window.

Brush off those pesky comments that ‘you are only having him start with that one because it is closest to your computer’.

Measure your plastic BEFORE cutting.

Press it down onto the tape.    Taking great care that it is neatly done.

Get the wife’s blow dryer and warm up that plastic.

Trim up the excess.

If you don’t, you are in danger of seeing your wife’s head spin in circles like something from the Exorcist, and she will make you do it again.

Neatness counts.

Re-hang curtains, taking great care that the ruffles are evenly spaced apart.

If you don’t, she will make you do it again.

That whole neatness thing… it comes into play a lot around here.

Repeat ad nausium till one of 2 things happen.

  1. You run out of plastic
  2. You run out of windows

When your finished, you receive a well deserved rest.

And maybe lunch.

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December 9

This might come as a surprise to some, but I can not stand to make anything that you have to roll out.

I think it has to do with that little lazy thing I’ve got goin’ on.

All that flouring the board, then flouring the rolling pin, then you have to flour the dough.

Then the rolling out.   All that physical exertion.

Not to mention trying to wipe up that flour that ends up being all gummy on your wash cloth….ewwwwwwwww!

It’s just to much for a  Chocolatechic to deal with.

So when I make pie, biscuits, or anything else that involves a rolling pin and flour, it is truly a labor of love.

And when I can find a short cut to the whole rolling out thing…score!

Today’s TWD recipe, Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies, that Ulrike of Küchenlatein chose for us today, provides me with just that, a short cut.

Double happiness.

You just mix the dough.

Roll it into a log.

Refrigerate.

Then slice and bake.

I added orange zest to my sugar before creaming it with the butter.

Rolled my chilled logs in sparkling sugar.

Then I made an icing with 3/4 c. powdered sugar and 1 tbsp. of freshly squeezed orange juice.

It perfectly topped off these cookies.

These are so quick, so easy, and so very tasty.

Perfect for parties.

Perfect for Christmas gifts.

And perfect for eating after the chips kids are in bed, so you don’t have to share.

Go check out Ulrich’s blog.   He has the recipe.

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December 8

Saturday, when the girl and I got home from  shopping,  our Saturday thing that we do so well, there was a box on my porch.

I hadn’t ordered anything, so why in the world would there be a box on my porch?

It was from a friend!!!

Yahoooooooooo!

Maybe there is a giftie inside.

So I brought it in and opened it up.

I love boxes from friends.

Low and behold, there was hot pink tissue paper inside.

Someone hearts Chocolatechic.

oooOOOOOooooooo  Chocolate and more pink tissue.

Someone really hearts Chocolatechic.

Do you know what happens when you get something wonderful, and you squeal with delight?

Other family members come running because they think you have hurt yourself.

Then the family responds something like…

The girl:  ooOOOOoooo pretty pink tissue

Superman:  What is saffron?  can I have some of your chocolate?

Chefboy:  Way cool!   Saffron!   Can I have it.

Thank you Sheri for such a wonderful giftie.

I heart you.

Bring on the Saffron recipes.

I am all prepared!

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December 7

Internet, I am so ashamed.

I have heathen cats.

I have tried so hard to convert them, but they won’t be converted.

Every morning they worship at the feet of Kibble.

And in the afternoon, they worship at the feet of Kerosun.

They are beginning to convert the girl too.

I have failed misserably.

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December 5

I heart hot chocolate.

Surprised?

I didn’t think so.

I have had all sorts of hot chocolate, even the really fancy schmancy expensive stuff, and it still doesn’t compare to my hot chocolate.

If you haven’t tried it, Internet, I highly suggest that you do.

The recipe is on the side bar.

Make some.

I dare ya.

Make it and drink it all for yourself.

Make it and give it away as gifties for Christmas.

Just make some and revel in the total goodness of it all.

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Yesterday morning, I made myself a cup of my fabulous hot chocolate, and I put mini marshmallows in it, ’cause that is what I had.

I really would love to know  when you drink hot chocolate, do you prefer marshmallows, mini marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, or whipped cream?


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December 4

Can you believe that only a week ago, we all were sitting around a table, making gluttons of ourselves on turkey and mashed potatoes?

Some of us had to leave early.

Some of us laid around and ate dodo’s.

Some of us the girl couldn’t find matching socks in her Grandma’s dresser.

All of us missed those that weren’t with us.

I was the one sitting around making a glutton of myself.

How can you not when there is turkey and mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, and rolls that didn’t raise, and gravy, and sweet potatoes and this fabulous salad that my mom made.

Salad.

Yes, salad at Thanksgiving.

It was fabulous, but I only ate 3 bites of it, because who wants to eat salad when you are surrounded by turkey, mashed potatoes and 6 different desserts.

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I had to have this salad again.

I could eat it every day, and this girl is not a salad eater.

So I called up the mother and asked for the recipe.

Turns out it is a quick throw together salad that you can take all of 5 minutes to make.

First grab yourself a bag of romaine or baby spinach.

A green onion, a handful of pecans (chopped), a handful of craisins, and a handful of feta or blue or gorgonzola cheese.

Throw these all in a bowl together.

Get some red wine.   I got this cute little bottle of Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvingon from Aldi.

Do you know why that cute little owl is winking?

I do.

He is winking because he knows that only suckers purchase $3 bottles of wine and Internet, it tastes like a $3 bottle of wine.

Get a better red wine that this.   Don’t fall for the cute owl.

For the base of your dressing, there is sugar, salt, pepper, soy sauce, red wine, vinegar and curry powder.

I went ewwwwwwwww when ma told me there was curry powder in it, but it makes the dressing.

Don’t leave it out.

Whisk in about 1/3 cup of olive oil, et voila.

Dressing done.

Right before serving, chop up your apple.   I used a Jonnagold, but a Honeysweet or a Gala would be just as good.

Toss the apple in  your salad.

Add the dressing.

Toss again.

Eat for supper.

Internet.   This stuff is so good, that Superman had seconds.

I almost fainted when he… the ‘master of meat and potatoes’… the king of ‘don’t put anything green on my plate’… the ‘I wouldn’t eat broccoli if it were the last thing to eat in this world and I haven’t eaten in 3 days’ man,  put seconds in his bowl.

You must make this, Internet.

Even your meat and potatoes man might like it.

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Would y’all like the recipe?

Becky’s Favorite Salad

  • Romaine or baby Spinach
  • Green onion
  • apple
  • cashews or pecans
  • dried cranberries
  • fetta

Toss the above in a bowl.   Right before serving, drizzle dressing over top and toss.   Serve.

Dressing

  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. olive oil

Mix first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.   Whisk in olive oil and drizzle over salad.

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December 3

Superman was on vacation all last week.

Something about the way his employer has once again changed the way they take vacation time.

Pardon me while I sigh, and roll my eyes.

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Since he was home all last week, I figured that since I don’t get a vacation, neither should he.

muahahahahahhaha

You see, something sinister lies behind this door.

And since we all know that Superman deals with sinister on a daily basis, it is a perfect job for our resident superhero.

See…I told you it was evil.

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.How in the world can one family cram so much stuff junk treasure into one little closet?

It really does have a floor.

I hadn’t seen in in 5 years, so I had been wondering.

Poor Superman worked so hard, for 20 whole minutes, I gave him the rest of the day off.

I’m generous and kindhearted like that.

Any bets on how long it will stay like this?

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December 2

I remember the first time I made strawberry jam.

An Amish friend of mine was going on and on and on about how much produce she was putting up, and compared to her, my few batches of salsa, chow chow, zucchini relish, and apple butter was paltry, bordering on nothing.

So, I decided that I would make some strawberry jam.

I picked a little over 20 quarts of berries thinking that with all the chopping and cooking down, it would make 10-20 little jars of jam.

I must have been in my left mind, because had I been in my right mind, I would have remembered that 1 quart = 2 pints.

Two trips to the store, and 40 pounds of sugar later, Superman asked me if I was about finished, because the clerk asked him if I was making jam.

It is a good thing that we like strawberry jam because It took us almost 3 years to eat up 40+ pints of jam.

By the year and a half mark,  Superman was begging for some grape jelly, but I refused because….hellooooo 20 pints of strawberry jam are still left in the cupboard.

I have not made strawberry jam since, and Superman and the chips rise up daily and call me blessed.

I immediately thought of strawberry jam when I saw the recipe for Linzer Sablés that noskos of Living the Life picked for today’s TWD.

I also knew that I would be using ground pecans instead of the ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts that the recipe called for.

And I didn’t put in the cinnamon or clove.  I just didn’t think it would go well with my pecans and strawberry jam.

These cookies are fabulous.  Before you serve them, dust them with powdered sugar.

They would be wonderful to give away as Christmas gifties or to munch on whilst you are wrapping presents.

Noskos has the recipe on her blog.

Go check it out and make these cookies.   You’ll be very happy that you did.

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December 1

I seriously need someone to explain to me how if I  do my hair the very same way every day, and on Sunday, when I will be at church, my hair looks like Big Bird’s hairdresser had a go at my head.

And on Monday mornings, when no one will be seeing me except the girl, my hair looks perfect?

I think there is a conspiracy afoot.

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