Sometimes it’s good to look back and see where you’ve been. It helps me be grateful for how far I’ve come, and gives me clarity about where it is I want to be going. With that in mind, I’m starting this new weekly series, Throw Back Thursday, to highlight past posts and reflect on what it means for my present and future.
This week, I’m taking a look back at my garden. In August of 2011 I was able to start my first in-ground garden at our new home and it really took off. The tomato plants got so huge they crowded out everything else. Eventually I had to crawl into the belly of the beast and prune like my life depended on it. Continue reading Garden Through the Years
I don’t measure when I cook. I don’t measure mostly out of laziness; I just don’t have time to grab my measuring cups/spoons and try to pin down a precise formula for whatever it is I’m making. I just throw things in a pot, based on past experiences of what works and what doesn’t, and hope for the best. It’s something I’m trying to change about myself. Since I have no written recipe I can never duplicate results when they turn out well. So this time I actually measured stuff AND wrote it down! Well, sort of. I measured everything, and then tried to remember what I had done after it was cooked. Some measurements may be a little off…
My recent foray into Potato Chowder made me realize how easy delicious soup can be so I tried it again last night. This time I took my mom’s advice of making the base out of butter, flour and milk. I also added a chicken dish I had made a while ago, but, of course, never measured or wrote down. But it was delicious so I figured I’d try again.
Meg’s Cajun Rum Chicken
Makes… several servings.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- olive oil (oops, forgot to measure this one. Maybe 2 Tbsp?)
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
- 2 Tbsp spiced rum
- 1 tsp Penzey’s Cajun seasoning
- Cut chicken into strips. Mine were probably 3″ long, 1-2″ wide and 1/2″ or less thick
- Add olive oil, worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning and rum to a pan; stir until the cajun seasoning is evenly distributed. Add the chicken and stir to coat evenly
- Cook chicken, covered, over medium heat until done (should be 162°F at center of thickest piece), flipping once during cooking
Notes for next time: Double the rum, worcestershire sauce and cajun seasoning. Or only use 2 chicken breasts.
Meg’s Corn & Mushroom Chowder
Makes 3-4 servings
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 1-2 C milk
- 1 can whole kernel corn
- 1 can mushrooms
- 1/2 tsp Penzey’s dried oregano
- 1 tsp Penzey’s dried basil
- 1/8 tsp Penzey’s garlic powder
- Hot sauce (we are partial to Louisianna Hot Sauce)
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- pinch or two of kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp drippings from Cajun Rum Chicken (optional, but STRONGLY recommended)
- Shredded Cajun Rum Chicken (optional)
- Melt the butter. Slowly whisk in the flour to make a nice, thick-ish paste. In a saucepan (I say this because I melted in a microwave and whisked in a smallish bowl, then transferred to a sauce pan) add the milk, stirring all the while, to get the consistency you want for your soup.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and heat through, giving a little time for the spices to really work through the liquid.
- Optional: The chicken drippings. Up until this point it’s a vegetarian chowder, and it tastes… ok. When I added the rum/olive oil/worcestershire/chicken broth it became delicious.
- Optional 2: Shred some of the Cajun Rum chicken and stir it into the soup! This was my original intention, but my timing was way off so the chicken ended up being served on the side. I did shred some up and stick it in my soup for lunch today. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Notes for next time: less corn and mushrooms or more soup base (butter, flour, milk). Also, use fresh mushrooms.
A note about my selling out to Penzey’s: Well it’s simple. Their spices are the best, hands down. You’d never believe the difference between the dried spices you get in the grocery store and those you get from Penzey’s. They’re much fresher and smell amazing. They are pricey, though. We are working, slowly, on our collection of Penzey’s spices but it’s worth it. The spices are more flavorful than store-bought spices so you end up having to use less and they last longer. If you can, definitely invest in some key spices from Penzey’s like oregano and basil. Your food will thank you for it!
Corn on the cob is a summer tradition that is only made better by a charcoal grill. And butter.
Here in Duluth it’s been raining for WEEKS and we finally have a beautiful day with a bright sun, blue skies, and a puffy white cloud every once in a while. So we’re taking this opportunity to grill out. Husband took over the main course (chicken and beef steak marinated in something that includes lime, chipotle peppers, and garlic) and that left me with finding something else to do. Continue reading Black Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing