Posts Tagged ‘Fondue Pot’

Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan

December 14, 2010

Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of those family traditions we just do – There is no such thing called a recipe. All that is involved is making the fried eggplant which as discussed previously is a critical but messy job, placing it in a pan, spreading sauce to cover each piece and placing fresh, whole milk, mozzarella cheese on top. If you start with great fried eggplant, you will make great Eggplant Parmesan, Depending on on your preference, you can sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on prior to cooking or as I prefer after cooking. For sauce we use whatever is in the refrigerator. If it was good enough to serve with pasta it’s good for Eggplant Parmesan.

The tradition method in out family is to layer it in a pan and if the pan is to be frozen we use a disposable aluminum pan. The following photo is a completely frozen pan of Eggplant Parmesan prepared at the same time I fried the eggplant as a side dish which I am saving for my niece at the end of December. Of course in the freezer it is covered with aluminum foil.

Frozen pan of Eggplant Parmesan

When I cook it, I will leave it out on the counter for about an hour or two to defrost and then the covered pan will be placed in the oven at 350 for ½ hour. After that the foil cover will be removed to cook as needed for 15 to 20 more minutes to develop a golden brown cheese on top.

Consideration in cooking meals for one.

When I scale down a recipe for myself, I don’t want excessive leftovers, I want it easy to clean my mess, and I hate to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen for a single meal for me. These criteria make the fondue pot the ideal choice for this meal. My pot is Teflon coated for ease of cleaning, has a precision temperature control, and is the right size to cook a meal for one.

The steps are almost the same except, as will be shown below, you do not get the golden brown color that my wife shrived for but in my mind you get a fresher tasting melted cheese.

  1. Place the friend eggplant in the cold electric skillet (fondue pot) and cover with tomato sauce.

    Fried Eggplant Covered with Tomato Sauce.

  2. Slice the cheese and place a slice or part of a slice on each piece of eggplant.

    A slice on each piece of eggplant

  3. Cover the pot and turn the temperature on the dial to 300 Fahrenheit

    Cover the pot

  4. Cook for about 10 minutes until you hear the sauce and melted cheese sizzling in the pan.

    Cook for about 10 minutes

  5. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.

Since I love eggplant fried and fresh mozzarella, I like this version just as well as the golden brown one and when making meals for one it is just the right amount. Don’t worry, when you come to dinner I’ll put the pan in the oven and make yours that beautiful golden brown but in the meantime I can cook great tasting traditional meals without excessive leftovers.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this great meal is vegetarian.

Thoughts on the Versatile Eggplant

December 13, 2010

Fried Eggplant

Years ago, eggplant never made it as one of my top ten vegetables for several reasons. Leftovers can be bitter when eaten after a day or two and it is messy to bread and fry the eggplant. Fortunately, I discovered several pieces of information years ago which pushed it to my top ten list. First, if you peal the eggplant and only cut off the pieces that will immediately go into the milk and egg mixture, you can prevent that ugly gray color and the breaded and fried vegetable is sweet and never develops that bitter flavor.

That first discovery lead to the second which is you can fry a couple eggplants at the same time and use it as a side dish one day and then preparing a tray of Eggplant Parmesan which can be held for future use in either the refrigerator or freezer. This is a perfect meat to prepare ahead, clean up the mess and then bake and serve for company in a day or two if refrigerated, and up to a couple of months, if frozen. So even though preparing breaded fried eggplant is messy, the one clean-up can create sever meals.

I also discovered that my children love the breaded fried eggplant ans they used to sneak up on their mother and steal pieces while she was cooking them for Eggplant Parmesan . I have to admit that she and I were just as bad so instead of yelling at the kids, she would just cook more than needed because it’s not the cooking that’s an aggravation, it’s the clean-up of the mess. When I operated a restaurant in St. Croix, I discovered that West Indians also eat fried and breaded eggplant as an appetizer or side dish, however they customarily cut them in to sticks about the size of fish sticks instead of discs like the Italians.

So for one clean up I actually made thee meals. After frying all the eggplant I set some aside to use as a side dish with lunch and set some aside to be used for Eggplant Parmesan. I also made a tray of Eggplant Parmesan and froze it for when my niece comes at the end of the month. Since the Eggplant Parmesan has too many pictures for a reasonably sized post, I have split the post in half. The first half shows the breaded fried eggplant and the second will show the Eggplant Parmesan.

These meals are a tribute to my Mother-in-law, Anne Cocozza Hill, who died yesterday at 103 years old. She was a great Italian cook who loved to cook for me because I loved to eat her food. She inspired both my wife and I to learn to cook real Italian, Naples Style, and she served everything from brains and sweet breads to liver and pigs feet. And Honest to God, it was all Great. In her kitchen, there was no vegetarian food and other food, it was all just food. Her Sister-in-law, Adel Cocozza was an equally good cook who focused more on seafood from eel to stuffed squid and it was all equally great. These meals are real Italian and they just happens to be vegetarian.

Ingredients:

1 Egg

1 cup Milk

1-2 Eggplant

Flour as needed

Olive Oil as needed

1-2 cloves Garlic

Method:

  1. To start Mix together one egg and one cup of milk. Mix with fork. Add another egg and another cup of milk as needed.

    Peal and slice the eggplant

  2. Peal the eggplant. Slice off pieces as needed and put into the milk/egg mixture.

    Soak slices in the egg and milk mixture.

  3. Cover the pan bottom with olive oil and put in garlic slices. Remove as they char and add fresh. Replenish oil and garlic as needed.
  4. Place flower on plate about ¼ to ½ inch deep. Place the eggplant from the milk/egg mixture on the flower and turn over until coated.Coat the eggplant with flour or bread crumbs
  5. Place in hot oil when garlic starts to sizzle.

    Cooking in Olive Oil

  6. Fry until golden brown.
  7. Serve as a side dish or appetizer or set aside to make Eggplant Parmesan.

When was the last time you had delicious fried eggplant?

Indian Curried Shrimp

August 23, 2010

Lemon Grass

Yeah, I know all curry is Indian except when it’s American or Caribbean and the difference is the richness of the spice blends. The Europeans knew what they were doing when the set out to discover a shorter route to India to get spices. I am just surprised that as bad as English and German food is they didn’t get there first.

The biggest difference is that so called Curry powder from the Western Hemisphere has coriander and cumin as the principle ingredients with lesser amounts of garlic and turmeric in the blend whereas the Indian blend of garam masala is built around cumin, black pepper, and coriander and you are expected to add your own garlic and turmeric. In the Caribbean or American version you are expected to add either hot pepper or black pepper respectively.

Now many people would think I am nuts to make a spicy Indian Curry for my Granddaughters, but I was just dying to try Indian Recipes with all the spices I found in the DC area so I could see the real difference between eastern and western curry. I chose three curry recipes from Monica at spicediary.com, curried pinto beans, curried garbanzos and curried king prawn. Then I let my older granddaughter choose the one she wanted to eat. And she chose curried shrimp which is more readily available and cheaper than King Prawns. I also made a back-up dinner in my coffeepot of Chicken and red beans to be served over white rice which is the way I also chose to serve the curried shrimp.

Staging The Spices

I read the recipe carefully and recognized that this was a fast moving recipe using spices I simply wasn’t familiar with so I staged the spices in bowls and scaled it down at the same time. This way I would be sure I wouldn’t make any mistakes while exploring food in unfamiliar territory. I was so excited after making and sampling my first masala (spice blend) that I had a mental meltdown and stopped taking pictures.

The meal came out fantastic. My oldest granddaughter loved it and ate up plenty of shrimp while saving room for some chicken. The youngest ate a couple but as expected preferred the chicken and I ate only the curried shrimp.

Unless you make it yourself from fresh spices, it’s difficult to describe how delicious this meal is and how different it is from what the Western world refers to as curry. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t take pictures of this meal you can go to Monica’s site and check out her original recipe as I altered a couple of ingredient and also scaled it down to being a little more than enough for one big eater.

Curried Shrimp Ingredients

First spice blend

1 small Onion

5 small garlic cloves

2 inches of ginger root peeled

bunch fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) (2 Tablespoons)

Blend all together in food processor or blender, you may have to add a little olive oil.

In my fondue pot at medium heat, add;

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 dried black cardamom crushed

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 stalk lemon grass cut in 2 inch pieces.

Once the pot starts to sizzle, add the First spice blend which is a paste. After everything was uniform, I added the bowl that had

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Tumeric powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garam masala

I stirred on high for 10 minutes and added a can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)

After 5 minute,I added

½ pound shrimp

After cooking for 10 minutes

2 ounces of water was added and the heat tuned to low and

I tablespoon of sour cream added.

The heat was turned of and the food let sit in a covered pot, while I put out the white rice and chicken on the table and everything was served together.

This sounds like a lot of work but everything moves extremely quickly which is why I pre-measured the spices and put the spice portions in their separate bowls.

I think this was definitely worth the effort and will probably cook this with my daughter when she comes down next week.

A note on the spices:

There is absolutely no substitute for black cardamon, fresh ginger or fresh coriander (cilantro). You could make a simple garam masala or simply use West Indian Curry with a substantial portion of black pepper. You could probably get away with lemon zest instead of lemon grass. However, if the goal is to taste the difference between east and west , than take the time to find the real ingredients. For me Lemon Grass was the easiest as I had just replanted my lemon grass bed in order to rejuvenate it so I had some fresh young sprouts.

Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)

August 10, 2010

Fondue Pot Pigeon Peas and Rice

For those who know little about St. Croix, our foods reflect our diverse cultural background. About 40% of the population speaks Spanish so you would expect Spanish influences in our foods. Then another 40% is descendant from eastern Caribbean heritage and as you would expect, it has influenced our meals from roasted corn to stewed goat and the rich flavors of Asian Indian cooking transported from Trinidad. Without even consciously thinking about it, our local restaurants offer a Crucian Fusion Menu with almost every cultural reflected in their menus.

Years ago one very successful local restaurant (Oscars) offered Curry, pasta and meatballs, steak and baked potato, Arroz con Gandukes, Rice and Red Beans, Stewed Goat, Conch in butter sauce and more. Jimmy Carter visiting at Christmas village was so impressed with the local sweet potato stuffing, he asked for the recipe to take home with him. It is tough for a natural Fat Savage to not want to partake of all of the culinary offerings and learn to make them.

Arroz con Gandules is traditionally served as a side dish, but since the recipe included 4 oz of ham, I used it as the main course. I made it twice this year four months apart, but if I were a true Islander the frequency would be closer to every four days. Perhaps this is so popular because a can of pigeon peas and 50 cents worth of rice will feed eight people and it is fine when reheated or microwaved. The first time I tried it was in my coffeepot, but the more traditional and easier method is in my fondue pot which is essentially an electric skillet. So I will describe that First.

Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)

Recipe:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

4 ox ham (cut from picnic steak)

1 small onion chopped

¼ cup green bell pepper chopped (1 very small)

2 cloves garlic minced

4 oz of Goya Tomato sauce

½ can Goya Pigeon Peas undrained.

1 slice 1/16 inch scotch bonnet or other hot pepper

1 packet Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote

1 ½ cup water

1 cup rice

The Goya label says you will make 8 portions with a full can and I believe it because even cutting the recipe in half, I had more than enough for 3 meals with no other food on the plate. The biggest challenge other than making good rice was splitting the can of pigeon peas in half and splitting the water that came with the peas in half. I froze the extra peas and water with the other half can of tomato sauce because I hate to feel obligated to plan meals around leftovers and if it doesn’t survive freezing, I will simply through it out. The two extra cooked portions were also frozen and I know from experience that frozen rice is just fine.

The fondue pot process was just as it said on the can. Turn the heat on to 250 (medium) and add the ham, onions and peppers and cook about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat to just the boiling point, cover the pot and walk away and have faith you can’t do any better.

If there is too little heat, the rice won’t cook as fast but 20 minutes is usually enough on even exceptionally low heat. If it is too hot, the rice will stick to the pan which is not a big problem as you gently remove the Pigeon Peas and Rice from the pot leaving behind any burnt rice sticking to the bottom of the pot.

The hardest thing for a novice cook is to leave it alone for 20 minutes. If you open the lid and stir the pot to check and see if it’s too hot, you will turn the rice into a pasty mess that is definitely not Caribbean Style.

Coffeepot Pigeon Peas and Rice

Now if making good rice in a stove top pot is tough it is almost impossible to do in a coffeepot and even worse in a Crockpot so don’t even try. The work around is to leave the water out of the recipe above and use microwave rice or buy cooked rice from a Chinese restaurant and then mix it in and serve your pigeon peas and rice right away. I ran one test where I left out the water and added an ounce of Cruzan Dark Rum to the pot and poured the microwave rice on top of the mixture of Peas and spices and ham and covered the pot with foil. About 45 minutes later, the rice was done so I stirred everything up and ate the delicious Arroz con Gandules.

Smoked Turkey and Collard Greens

July 28, 2010

Collard Greens and Smoked Turkey

One of the great advantages of cooking for one is you can eat whatever you want. The methods and meals are easy to prepare that Dolores and I could have each had our own coffeepot and cooked whatever we wanted. Dolores would have eaten steak (grilled) or Italian (stove top) everyday of her life particularly because there is such a rich variety of Italian foods. The only greens that Dolores would eat are cabbage, lettuce and fresh spring spinach, the latter two preferably uncooked and she certainly would never have eaten the neck of any animal if avoidable.

Regular readers know that I just love my old fashioned poor people food like ham hocks. Although at $5.99 a pound for ham hocks, it’s hardly poor people food after you discard the fat and bones and even worse if you eliminate the skin which I admit I still eat. I figure my ham hocks cost more than a Porterhouse steak for Dolores when you calculate it on a pound of actual meat basis. Regardless, when I fabricated the French name “Dinde Fumée au Vert”, it got me thinking about smoked turkey and collard greens and I got a craving for them.

Cutting The Bag in Half

Finding a recipe is easy, scaling it down to cooking for one is the hard part, Most of the recipes I found have olive oil, garlic, chicken stock or broth, red pepper, collard greens and believe it or not salt. Well I was on a mission, so I checked on the collard greens and couldn’t find fresh but did find a one pound package of frozen collard greens. Now no one needs to eat a pound of greens at one setting but fortunately this package was reasonably fresh and I could separate the frozen greens in haves without defrosting and cut along the fold.

I would have preferred smoked turkey legs or wings, but all they had was a 2 pound package of smoked turkey necks which I divided into thirds right away and froze the other two portions. That meant including bones and meat, I was using about 11 ounces but probably more than half was bone.

As with most of my meals for one, this is a one-pot meal because I hate to clean pots.

Recipe:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Cloves minced garlic

1 thin slice fresh hot pepper

1 can chicken 14.5 oz .broth

8-12 oz smoked Turkey Parts

1 can water

8 oz frozen collard greens

I really don’t know why I chose my fondue pot over the coffeepot but I am glad I did. I put the olive oil, garlic and pepper and simmered for about 15 minutes, and from experience, that could easily be done in a coffee pot. The next step was to put the broth and smoked turkey necks in the pot and simmer for half an hour.

Cooking the Turkey Necks

At. this point I found out that the turkey necks are very tough and stringy. I added another can of water and let it simmer at a low boil for an hour while I left to have a glass of wine. I am glad I used the fondue pot as I was getting a late start on dinner and in the coffeepot, you cannot add too much liquid as it dilutes the flavor and there is no way to reduce it. In the fondue pot the reduction of liquid which intensifies flavors occurs naturally.

When I returned from my glass of wine an hour later, the broth was flavorful, the turkey was tender and I added the frozen collard greens and followed the package directions. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes more.

It was good and I ate the whole pot so I’m really glad I didn’t cook the pound of greens and the two pounds of smoked necks because I am sure I would have eaten all that.

Goya Oh Boya! It’s Black Beans and White Rice

July 24, 2010

Black Beans Over White Rice

Goya is a family owned global food processor who was started by a Spanish Couple in New York to Serve the Hispanic Market. There pledge is if it’s Goya , its has to be good. They have an interesting web site with hundreds of authentic Hispanic Recipes serving all of Latin America and the Caribbean supporting the sales of their 1500 products.

Now there is tremendous variation in Hispanic cooking. As an example, the Dominican Republic is only 40 miles from it’s neighbor Puerto Rico and many families are related. Yet, in the Dominican Republic raw fish marinated in lime juice is an appetizer and in Puerto Rico, a starving man would pass it up preferring the cooked marinated variety.

When I brought my bag of black beans for the Caribbean Black Bean Soup I made note of the fact that I had never eaten or been served it in St. Croix, but still liked it as I like Black Beans. Goya has recipes on the package and most are quite good. The recipe on the package was for black beans and white rice which I had also never eaten in St. Croix but a friend gave me the answer. When he asked what I was making and I told him he responded that I was cooking Cuban Style as Puerto Ricans prefer and mostly use red beans.

Most Goya recipes are authentic and quite good, but I still had to make the substitutions and additions that my friend Chino would have made, I added a bay leaf which grows in my yard, and also added cubed ham. I used a slice of locally grown hot pepper instead of black pepper, Cruzan Dark Rum instead of cooking wine and chicken broth instead of water. It contributed to a very rich rice and beans and a complete one pot meal. I also substituted Recaito for the peppers and onion because I was too lazy to go out shopping for bell peppers and had all the other ingredients.

Black Beans and White Rice

Recipe:

1 cup Died black beans (Soak over night in 2 cups water,

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

¼ cup Recaito ( A natural blend of Peppers and onions)

1 clove Garlic minced

¼ tsp Oragano

1 Bay leaf

1 thin slice of hot pepper

4 oz. Cubed ham

1 packet Sazon Goya

1 can 14.5 oz Chicken Broth

1 oz Cruzan DarkRum

In this preparation I used my fondue pot and had it on the 200 setting which was actually a simmer setting.

The oil, garlic, Recaito, Ham, hot pepper and spices were added to the pot and simmered until uniform.

All in the Pot

The chicken broth and rum were added to the pot and the slice of hot pepper removed and discarded as the ham had already adsorbed enough pepper flavor. The washed and drained beans were added to the pot and the meal allowed to simmer until the liquid was almost completely gone and the ham and beans had adsorbed all the flavors about 3 1/2 hours.

3.5 Hour Reduction of Liquids

I loved my black beans and white rice just as I love my red beans and rice which I cooked a couple of weeks ago with chicken,

Black Beans and Turkey Ham

I tried this same recipe in my coffeepot and there was no reduction in liquid level so the beans and ham did not carry all the flavor when drained of the sauce. I saved the meal by serving the drained beans and ham over seasoned white rice and wild rice blend. My new found fondue pot certainly expands my ability to make flavorful meals for one at almost any temperature.

Is it “Coq au Vert” or “Poulet au Vert”?

July 21, 2010

Poulet au Vert or just Chicken and Greens

This recipe comes with a story about Internet censorship and high paid lawyers with far too much time on their hands. Seems that prior to my paralysis when I probably did have too much time on my hand I was surfing the slow cooker section of WordPress on a daily basis and had found a recipe for Coq Au Vin and then a short time later found one for Coq au Vert based on white wine.

Before making any meal from a single recipe, I usually surf the net and check to see if there are variants of the recipe. The original posting which I fortunately printed out said that the author had heard about a traditional meal Coq au Vert while watching the  “Next Iron Chef” and found so many recipes on the Internet but the best was from “Real Simple Magazine”.

Well, I searched the Internet and couldn’t find a single recipe for chicken including the words “au vert”. I am a certified Google hacker and know all the advanced searching techniques and all I could find were recipes for “Anguille au Vert” which is eel in green sauce; recipes for mussels, steak and ox tongue “au vert”; and “Pot au Vert” which is the name of a vegetarian restaurant in Switzerland. If you search for “Poulet au Vert”, there are 189,000 references globally but noting germane in English. And I could find nothing in English for chicken “au vert”.

Now I know I am not dreaming because I have my original printout. I went to “Real Simple Magazine” and found  no record of “au vert”. I then went to WordPress to do a search for “au vert” recipes and found none. Now one of the idiosyncrasies of WordPress is that the address created when you first write the post is retained throughout all of the modifications so if you go to:

“Coq au Vin” at sweettreatssavorybites.wordpress.com you will see the words “au vert” in the address bar.

The only person who seemed to have survived withe the phrase  is a designer who still has an English Language site describing a piece by her, entitled ‘Coq au vert’ in oil

Now my original guess was that  smart lawyers at the Food Network scared the crap out of the lawyers at WordPress and Google and all references to a recipe with “au vert” have been erased. While the  name was a cute play on Coq au Vin and that’s what attracted me, it appears that the author made a mistake and used the word green for wine and Coq au Vert is a whole new concept.  Actually,  while the name is unique,  it is hardly meaningful or precise.

It seems that Coq means rooster and Poule means hen. The word Poulet is used for androgynous body parts of unspecified gender so indeed “Poulet au Vert” is the correct name for my recipe since I started with two chicken legs of unknown gender and surfed a whole bunch of recipes in French.

I prefer the correct and very popular “Poulet au Vert” even if no one can find an English Recipe for the meal.

Poulet au Vert

Ingredients:

¼ pound diced ham

2 chicken legs rinsed in lemon juice

1 cup dry sherry

12 oz water

1 chicken bullion cube

1 small onion sliced

3 cloves garlic sliced

½ tsp rosemary

bay leaf

fresh basil chopped

celery greens chopped

3 green onions

1 package chopped spinach (if using a thickener, skip this)

Traditionally this is thickened with cornstarch or a rue but I skipped it because I like my greens just the way they are.

Frying the Meat and Aromatics

The traditional source of flavor and fat is bacon but I prefer the lower fat level of diced ham browned in a little olive oil. The garlic was sliced and added to the ham along with the onion and slices of the white part of the green onion. The lemon rinsed chicken was then added to the pot.

I used a temperature around 250 Fahrenheit in my fondue pot for this stage but dropped it to about the boiling point (212) after the wine, water and bullion cube were added.

After the liquid was added, all of the spices were added to the pot and let simmer for an hour.

My Available Greens - Basil, Parsley, Celery & Onions

My available greens were parsley, celery greens, spinach and the green parts of the scallions which were all cut to size before adding to the pot. The French use almost any available green so you see many different combinations if you check the recipes. Unfortunately, they are all in French and you have to wait for Google to translate. My advice is use what you like and what you have on hand whether you are an “Iron Chef” or not.

All in the Pot

I chose not to thicken the greens and ate them like a vegetable instead of a sauce. Also, I skipped a starch substance because I’m still on a diet. I only ate one chicken leg and half the greens so this meal was not a diet buster. This is a pretty good meal and is similar to my sous vide ham and greens previously described. Maybe I’ll try “Dinde Fumée au Vert” one night in the near future. For those who don’t care to go to Google translator to find out, that’s plain old smoked turkey and collard greens with a fancy name.

As to censorship, it’s probably not true in this case. There simply never was a meal called “Coq au Vert”

Coq au Vin – Worth the Effort

July 18, 2010

Coq au Vin Over White Rice

Coq au Vin is a complex meal to make and will only be as good as the wine you use. The balance with the wine is the better the wine, the higher the cost. One acceptable compromise which has become the house wine of many happy hour bars is Barefoot Merlot. I’ve had more than a few happy hour glasses of the stuff at the Palms Beach Hotel and it is acceptable for the price. At home I drink a more expensive wine but went out of my way to buy the bottle for cooking this meal and the other half didn’t go to waste.

This is definitely not a coffee pot meal and is so rich, it barely qualifies as a meal for one. The only major substitution is that I used olive oil instead of butter and diced ham instead of bacon. Additionally, I used both cocktail onions for their appearance and ½ of a small yellow onion for flavor. I also modified the method so I only had to clean one pan because I hate to dirty every skillet and pot in the house to make a meal for one person.

Because of the complexity set aside about 4 hours to marinade the chicken and another four hours to cook the meal. Since I worked in the morning and it was a rainy miserable afternoon, it was an ideal day for Coq au Vin. The chicken was marinated for 4 hours at room temperature but could go a day if refrigerated.

This meal is definitely worth the extra effort.

Ingredients:

Step 1:

2 chicken legs or any other pieces you have and like.

12 small white cocktail onions

1 carrot quartered

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon thyme

1 tablespoon parsley

½ bottle Barefoot Merlot or other wine made from grapes of the Burgundy District

Step 2:

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

4 oz diced ham instead of bacon

4 oz mushrooms

Step 3:

½ small yellow onion sliced

Step 5:

1 teaspoon minced garlic

This is the most complex meal for one that I can remember cooking so I will present it in steps.

Marinade the Chicken Legs

Step 1: Place the chicken, cocktail onion, quartered carrot, bay, thyme and parsley in a bowl and cover with a half bottle of Merlot.

Browning the Mushrooms and Ham

Step 2: Brown the ham at about 275 for 10 minutes and add mushrooms and stir for another five minutes. Remove from the fondue pot or skillet and set aside in a bowl for later use.

Browning the Legs and Onions

Step 3: Remove the Chicken from the wine and add it to the fondue pot or skillet. Add the sliced yellow onion.

Step 4: Remove the cocktail onions from the wine and put in bowl with ham and mushrooms.

Wine, Carrots, Chicken, and Onions Cooking

Step 5: Add the garlic and carrots to the chicken and stir for 3-4 minutes then add the wine to the skillet or fondue pot. Reduce the temperature to 220 and simmer for 2 hours. Drink the other half bottle of wine while your waiting but don’t forget to make rice or noodles.

All in th Pot

Step 6: Add the mushrooms, ham and cocktail onions back to the pot and let come to temperature, about 15 minutes.

Step 7: Serve over rice or noodles.

This was really good except that it is so rich that I only ate half. I never would have believed that statement a year ago. I love my new Fondue Pot as an additional tool in cooking meals for one.

Bon Appitit

La Quinta Fondue Stew

July 17, 2010

Finished Stew in Fondue Pot

Everybody loves a new toy and mine is my fondue pot. I purchased it specifically for sous vide but noticed that the temperature is controllable from about 125 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit which is an extremely wide range. It goes from sous vide lamb to wok temperatures and has a beautiful shape for stir fry in addition to being deep enough for sous vide. I noticed the versatility right away and decided to test it out while in my hotel room in Florida.

Of course one of my simplest recipes was the hobo stem with available, and in this case very limited ingredients. It was raining too hard to walk to a restaurant and flooding too much to safely drive so it was time to make do. I had a left over piece of London broil from a sous vide experiment, celery, garlic, carrots and potato. I had restaurant salt and pepper and a small jar of olive oil. I didn’t even have an onion but if I had one I certainly would have used it. Ditto for flower to thicken the rather acceptable “ditch gravy”.

Recipe

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

2 cloves garlic sliced

½ pound London Broil cubed in to 1 inch pieces

1 stalk celery diced

1 potato diced

handful of baby carrots

3 packts hote4l salt

3 packets hotel pepper

water to simmer

dash of soy sauce

Browning the Meat

The heating element on the fondue is powerful so above 300 the oil splattered as the meat and garlic browned. I finally settled around 250 to brown the meat which is definitely a task I can’t do in my coffeepot.

The Stew is Cooking

After the meat and garlic were browned all of the vegetables were added with about a cup of water and simmered with a lid for about 40 minutes at 212.

The plate used to cover the pot was removed and some of the water evaporated as it boiled. Salt and pepper and soy sauce were added to the pot. Total cooking time was right about 1 hour.

Well it looks like I finally found a new useful tool in cooking rightsized meals for one without dirtying ever pot in the house. This thing is Teflon coated and very easy to clean. I never owned a wok so don’t know what I will be missing as I try another Thai meal in my new toy.