Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lemon Thyme Chicken and Pan-Steamed Asparagus with Lemon Caper Mayonnaise

Sometimes I let my vegetables tell me what's for dinner. Case in point... the other day I was scanning the produce at the grocery store and I noticed some very nice-looking asparagus.

Now, I know it's not asparagus season but they were pencil-thin and a beautiful color. I dutifully ignored the "country of origin" portion of the price sign and snagged a full bunch off of the shelf. The next day I came across this delightful recipe. The best thing about it is the fact that the only ingredient I didn't already have was the lemon...

That was easy enough to fix.

That's about all you need to know about the asparagus.  It took all of 8 minutes to make. You should try it (though, if you want to wait until next spring, I understand.)

But now, what do I do with the other half of that lemon? What do I have in my freezer? Chicken! Specifically, my favorite cheap-like-a-fox protein... chicken thighs.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Burger in the Oven

I'll admit it. I am an Adam Roberts fan. You could say that he is one of the top 5 influences of this humble experiment of mine. So naturally when I googled "How to broil a burger in the oven," I was very happy to see this 2011 post of his come up first. It gave me all of the inspiration that I needed to make a delicious burger out of the 1/3 lb of lean ground beef that I took out of the freezer this morning while I was making coffee.

Some of you may still be stuck on one part of that last sentence.

Yes, this burger was made with 95% lean ground beef.

Do not fear for my (remaining) sanity, my friends. I will admit, up front, that I stuffed this burger with 1/2 tablespoon of cold butter before I put it into the oven. So yes, you can keep reading. I'm not blowin' smoke here.

I'm not going to go into a tedious step-by-step for this recipe. All I did was mix the meat with a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, stuff a chunk of butter in the middle of the patty, and roast the burger on a rack at 475 degrees for 14 minutes, plus another 30 seconds to melt the sharp cheddar I placed on top.

Next time, I may cut the cooking time down by a minute or possibly two, but if you're looking for a solid medium (cooked all the way through with the interior meat retaining just a hint of beefy color,) 14 minutes is perfect.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Convenience Store Breakfast Sandwich

So, the title of this post is somewhat misleading. This post is not about one of those frozen, pre-made breakfast sandwiches that are nestled next to the frozen pizzas and burritos in the gas station freezer section.

I admit that I am a breakfast sandwich snob. A connoisseur of sorts. I have searched far and wide through many a freezer section for a microwave-friendly quick sandwich treat... with disastrous results. I have not found a single edible sandwich... and there is an incredibly small list of foods that I will not eat.

Part of the problem is this. In the time that it takes you to microwave one of those hideous concoctions, I can toast bread, fry an egg, and clean up any mess that I made. A basic egg on toast is somewhere near thirty-thousand times better than those gummy, hot on the outside, frozen on the inside monstrosities. (Yes, these numbers are based on incredibly complex calculations that I just made up.)

What this post is actually about is the very questionable act of shopping at a small convenience store while hungry.  And I don't mean "a small bag of chips will satisfy me" kind of hungry.  I mean the "holy crap, I've been awake for about 5 hours and still have not eaten a single bite of solid food" kind of hungry.

There is a little country convenience store less than two tenths of a mile from my house. This place is fantastic... for what it is.  This is not a farmer's market.  In fact, the only "fresh" items it has are the occasional small tubs of local seafood (clams, wrinkles, etc.) The #1 reason I go to this store is on the oft-encountered occasion where I have made a pot of coffee and realize that I have somewhere between 1 and 2 teaspoons of milk or half-and-half left in the refrigerator.

It is also fantastic as it contains a single wall full of the most eclectic and useless pantry items I have ever seen. Yes, there may be a single can of tuna, but it is sitting next to several tins of kippered herring. Yes, there are canned tomatoes... however, they are not whole, diced or sauced.  They are "stewed and sliced" tomatoes.  In a can. W.T.F.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sausage and Mushroom Gravy

Oh man, you should definitely check this recipe out.

However... don't do what I did.

Don't eat it for dinner at around 9pm.

It is almost certainly going to give me nightmares...

And heartburn...

And nightmares about heartburn.


Mustard-dill Pork Chops and Green Beans

I often try to plan ahead when I think I'm going to have enough free time to make a good meal. Case in point, the other day I thought I was going to be home from work before 8pm, so I wanted something quick but delicious because I knew I could have something ready before 9 o'clock.  Before leaving for work, I scanned the options that I had in the freezer.

The sausage was already earmarked for something special.
I'd been eating chicken thighs quite a bit recently.
Fish sticks were fast, but not fancy enough.

Then I noticed a bag with two pork chops, each about 1/3" thick. That was going to be the perfect protein to make a quick an easy dinner. I took them out, popped the bag in a bowl and set it in the refrigerator to thaw while I was at work.

Sadly, I did not get home that evening until late.  Like, 9:30 late. I was certainly in no mood to make anything too involved, so the pork chops were left in the fridge overnight. Luckily, the next morning I was hungry and I didn't have to be to work until 1:30. This was when I decided that lunch would be my fancy meal of the day. (Also, I wasn't scheduled to get home until after 10 that night anyway).

So here I was... searching for pork recipes at 7:30 in the morning on a random weekday.

First, I looked at this recipe. While it looks simple at first, it requires the triple-dredging technique to make the pork crispy.

I love crispy.

I love crispy long time.