Thursday, June 25, 2015

SalleeShares - Cool Food


Been at the pool, or outside working and feel too hot to eat? Chill down with some cool food! Try these five cool foods and lemon water the next time you are going to be out in the summer heat.  

1. Melon Balls
Use a melon ball tool and fill a bowl to the brim with melon balls to keep chilling in the 'frig. For an appetizing bowl - Mix watermelon, cantaloup, and honey dew melons. You can freeze the melon balls and eat them frozen, too! A super light alternative to ice cream. 

2. Mini Pops
Turn fruit juices and instant pudding into mini pops. Simply pour them into an ice cube tray and place a stick - a round wood toothpick, a short skewer, or a craft stick -  into each compartment. The sticks do not have to be straight up and down. Be adventurous!

3. Lemon Water
Keep lemon water in the refrigerator. Create your lemon water by adding about a tablespoon of juice to each quart of water. Add more if you love the taste of tart lemon.
4. Tropical Fruit Salad 
 I love eating tropical fruit salad! Combine a can of drained, tropical fruit mix and a can of drained, mandarin oranges. Add about a quarter cup of flaked coconut, and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Stir lightly and refrigerate. Feeling adventurous? Sprinkle lightly with one of the following: dried ginger, cinnamon, garam masala, nutmeg, or mace 

5. Veggie Sticks 
Cut celery stalks and carrots into sticks. Keep the sticks in a container in the refrigerator.

6. Grammy's Chicken Salad 
My favorite, chicken salad! Finely chop left over chicken in the food processor, mini-food chopper, or by hand. Add thinly sliced celery, sweet pickle relish, and just enough mayonnaise to hold it together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool in the refrigerator. Serve on a bed of mixed salad greens. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Arroz con Pollo


Puerto Rico was my home for three years, 1978 - 1981. 
One of the Puerto Rican dishes that I love is Arroz con Pollo, or Chicken with Rice. 

Arroz con Pollo is an easy, one pot main dish that has many different variations.  
My pantry style version does not use fresh peppers. Instead, I get the pepper flavor from my secret ingredient - Hunt's Manwich sauce. 

Tonight, give your family a taste of Puerto Rico on a budget!

3-4 Servings - use three leg quarters               
4-6 servings - use four leg quarters
1- 1/2 hours from start to finish

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. dried cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 3 chicken leg quarters, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup long grain rice
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cubes, 0r 2 tsp. chicken boullion
  • 2 ½ cups of hot water
  • ½ of a 15 oz. can Hunts Manwich sauce
optional - half a cup of frozen peas

Directions

  • Place the first five ingredients into a one gallon, zip top freezer bar.  Shake the seasoning mix until it is mixed well.
  • Using a paper towel, pat the chicken pieces to remove all moisture.
  • Place the chicken pieces into the gallon zip top bag with the seasoning mixture. Seal the bag and shake until all of the chicken pieces are evenly covered with the seasoning.
  • Heat the canola oil in a deep, twelve inch skillet until the oil is hot, but not smoking.
  • Add the chicken pieces skin side down and brown for about six minutes on each side over medium high heat.  Do not let the oil smoke or get dark.
  • Put the browned chicken on a plate.
  • Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook until soft, stirring occasionally

While the onion is cooking

                                               
Dissolve the chicken bouillon in the hot water.
Add 1/4 tsp. garlic powder and ½ can of Hunts Manwich sauce to the chicken bouillon. Stir until blended. 
Set aside.
  • Add the uncooked rice to the skillet with the soft onion and cook for about one minute or until the rice turns golden. 
  • Carefully add the bouillon-Manwich mixture to the browned rice. Stir to make sure the rice is evenly distributed in the skillet and covered with liquid.
  •  Place the browned chicken into the skillet and pour in juices that collected on the plate into the skillet.
  • Bring the rice mixture back to a boil.
  • stir in the frozen peas
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is done and the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. About 30-35 minutes.
Notice that the onions are on top of the golden brown rice and the tender, pull apart with your fingers, chicken. 
  • Turn the heat off and let the covered skillet stand for about ten minutes before removing the chicken and fluffing the rice with a fork.


Adapted from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian

Watch for my next post - I will show you how to make another main dish that will use the other half cup of Hunt's Manwich sauce.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

SalleeShares - Eating at the Rib Crib, Springfield, Missouri


Bill and I rode our motorcycles to Springfield, Missouri this week. The purpose of our day trip was to shop at the Springfield Leather Company on Glenstone Avenue. psst...they sell beads and jewelry supplies too! Click Here to see their website.

After buying glass beads, a small roll of s-lon cord, and assorted leather working items, Bill asked me if I was hungry. Well heck yeah! I had not eaten breakfast, had ridden over 135 miles, AND it was 2:00 in the afternoon. 

We rode our bikes to the Rib Crib  at 1640 N. Glenstone Avenue. What a joy to sit down in air-conditioning and enjoy a glass of unsweetened ice tea! Did I mention it was 85 degrees and sunny? I'm not complaining. I swear I'm not. 

My First Experience at Rib Crib
Anyway, Bill has eaten at Rib Crib before, but this was my first visit. The menu isn't overly cluttered; it is a typical folding menu with sections for lunch, dinner, salads, sandwiches, sides, and drinks. I spent about three minutes looking at the menu. Prices for most lunch choices at Rib Crib are in the $8 to $10 range. 
Click Here to see the menu.

Smokin' Sandwiches Since I was going to be riding another 135 miles home, I didn't want to tackle a combo platter and was hungry enough that I wanted more than a salad. The "Smokin' Sandwiches with Seasoned Fries" section of the menu seemed like a good choice. My sandwich pick was the Smokestack BBQ Sandwich basket with pulled pork.  Click Here to see a picture 

Fast n Friendly Service - Large Portions Even though it was mid afternoon - not prime dining time -  my food order arrived within ten minutes. The friendly, attentive waitress brought my plate and I was surprised to see what appeared to be a half pound of hot, nicely smoked, pulled pork between the toasted halves of a bun. Plus, the sandwich was framed by an extra large portion of seasoned fries. Seriously, the sandwich and seasoned fries I was served looked just like the menu picture. You know how rarely that happens! 

The House BBQ Sauces Two bottles of house BBQ sauce were on the table, a hot sauce and a mild sauce. I squirted a penny sized puddle of the hot and the mild BBQ sauces into the basket and sampled each one. The mild was nicely sweet with a slight tang, too tame for my liking.  I like spicy sauces, but not fiery, melt-my-tongue sauces. My initial opinion of the hot BBQ sauce was that it was slightly sweet and mildly spicy. I applied it to my pulled pork sandwich and started eating. Five minutes later, I realized that my mouth was warm and getting warmer, but not unpleasantly so. 

The Entire Experience
Bill won some points with me. My entire dining experience was pleasant and enjoyable. The waitress was attentive, kept showing up at my elbow to ask if I wanted more ice tea, the food was fresh, and the bathrooms were clean. All in all, a four star dining experience. 

I definitely want to go back to the Rib Crib on N. Glenstone Avenue, the next time we are in Springfield,MO! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SalleeShares - Where's Chef Lenny?

The five minute teaser for Food Network Star was recorded on my DVR this morning. Just a quick look at a few of the new contestants. Four, or was it five, contestants did a thirty second bio about themselves and their food point of view. Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentis, who is always looking elegant, were on hand to give a snap critique. Then it was over. Yes, just a taste of the show to make us come back for more! However, a question popped up into my head, " Where is Chef Lenny?"

The winner of last year's Next Food Network Star  is no where to be found on Food Network. I started following Chef Lenny on Twitter during last year's season of the show, but his last tweet was June 16, 2014. In an effort to find something current, I clicked on the cheflenny.com link on his Twitter page. The website is just a collection of food recipe categories that lead to sponsored links - Paid ad links - nothing personal is to be found at cheflenny.com

A Google search led me right back to the Food Network's "Chefs and Hosts" page. Everything on Lenny McNab is from Season 10's show. Nothing new there. As I scanned down the search results, I started seeing references to Chef Lenny and obscenities he had posted online before he was a contestant. Grub Street had a post"Click Here for article"  and so did The Braiser. "Click Here to read" Uh oh, not good news. However, The "Food Network Gossip" was the most enlightening about ,"What happened to Chef Lenny?". Read here.

If you remember, I am a big fan of Chef Luca della Casa. Chef Luca is now front man for Isabel Tuna. Congrats Chef Luca. My next question is: "Why isn't Food Network featuring a show with Chef Luca?" Seriously, he has camera appeal and fan appeal with his 100 watt smile. Read the latest tweets from Chef Luca by clicking here

I hope the contestants this year had thorough background checks. You would think that would be the FIRST thing a network would do. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Repurposing a Jello Mold as a Cake Pan

I love vintage jello molds. I do not know why, but the intricate details and shiny, molded metal just grabs my attention and begs me to buy the mold. What do you do with jello molds when you do not make jello salads? Bake small cakes to use as gifts or as a cake topper for a larger cake! The Mirro jello mold below is about 10 inches by 5.5 inches and about 3 inches deep.
A vintage, fruit basket gelatin mold by Mirro. The mold's capacity is three and a half cups.
The mold sits completely flat and level on a hard surface.
Grease with shortening and flour generously with about 1 rounded Tbsp. of flour
Place in a glass baking dish and fill about 2/3 full with batter

Because a jello mold pan is very thin, make sure you place the batter-filled mold into a cake pan, or casserole dish to bake. Also, bake in at about 325 degrees to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The cake will bake slower, but your final product will be more tender and moist. This cake took 55 minutes to bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, or follow the cooling directions for your cake recipe.
Unmolded cake cooling and waiting to be decorated.
Next time you see a vintage jello mold, buy it and make a cute, one layer cake to give as a gift, or to surprise your family.  Or, use your mold to make a cake topper for a larger cake. 
This spring flower basket cake topper was quite a hit with my coworkers.