Sunday, September 4, 2016

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew



This may seem like a strange combination of ingredients but it is delicious.



  • 2 Chicken thighs, cooked, shredded off the bone
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 Sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chili
  • 1 TBL tomato paste
  • 2 TBL peanut butter
  • 1 Cup red wine
  • 2 Cups Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 TBL brown sugar


Sauté onions and peppers and garlic in olive oil until transparent and caramelized about 10 minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir.  Add peanut butter and stir. Add wine, diced tomatoes, sweet potato and carrots, spices and sugar.  Simmer for 10 minutes.   



Add to crockpot with chicken and chicken stock.  After an hour add about a TBL of flour to thicken it up. Cook for about 3 hours.

Serve with yogurt and lime juice.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Buffalo Chicken & Ranch Pasta Salad



I got this idea from Damaris Philips of the Food Network.  Of course, I had to put my own spin on it.

Here is her version:  Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

She makes a buffalo blue cheese from mayo.  I also like ranch with buffalo wings so I went with ranch.  And I just bought a bottle of Hidden Valley dressing.

Warning:  These measurements are not exact.  I eyeball everything.  You should learn to do that.  Except for baking.  You need to be more exact for baking.


Dressing



  • 1 1/2 Ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 Tbl Honey
  • 2 tBL Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper



Marinade for Chicken





  • 1 Cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbl buffalo sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Chicken




  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up, soaked in yogurt marinade over night
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 3 eggs, beaten



Put the flour in one bowl, eggs in another and breadcrumb cornmeal in another

I learned this trick from Rachel Ray.  Add a little salt to every stage of the dredge mix.  It doesn't have to be a lot, just a pinch or so but it really does season the chicken well.  I also add quite a bit of pepper to the flour

Heat frying pan.  Remember, cold oil, hot pan, food won't stick. Add a little less than an inch of vegetable oil.  Keep on medium heat.




Dredge the chicken first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and fry in oil.  Move the chicken around from hottest to less hot parts of the pan (or move pan around) to cook well but keep from burning.  You just get a feel for how long this takes. About 6-8 minutes.  Cut the chicken open to make sure it's cooked.  You'll want to slice it for the salad anyway.  I've had salmonella twice.  You don't want that.

Cool the chicken.





Veggies:



  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6-7 green onions, chopped
  • 8 small sweet peppers, sliced


Cook about two cups of your favorite pasta.  I used Rigatoni.  This is my way of cooking pasta that works every time.  Bring about 4 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta.  Bring to a boil, then turn down fire and simmer for 8 minutes.  


Drain and cool the pasta.  I add salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over it, then add veggies.  I store the chicken separately and only add it to pasta when I'm ready to serve it. 

You could add crumbled blue cheese to this and it would be really awesome. 

PS.  You could eat this with lettuce and skip the pasta and it's be pretty good.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Flan



I'm not much of a custard lover myself but I had yen for flan.


 My sister, Cathy, really liked flan. 


If a Mexican Restuarant didn't serve flan for dessert, she didn't think it was a real Mexican restaurant.    


I dedicate this post to my sister.


While looking for a recipe on  the internet I found a LOT of variations.  Heavy cream, half and half, condensed milk, 3 eggs, 5 eggs.  

Below is the recipe I settled on and I like it.  I like creaminess that sweetened condensed milk adds.  I always make my pumpkin pie with sweetened condensed milk.




 I also thought it would be fun to use a real vanilla bean.  What a messy pain that is.  Good vanilla extract is fine.


Preheat oven to 325


Start with the top, or the bottom.  This is the best part of flan - the caramel on top.


Watch this video to learn how to cook it.









This works perfectly.  I used a glass pie tin and melted the sugar right it.

DO NOT stir the sugar before it melts, it will just get hard



When it begins to melt, stir it in a circular motion, just like the video.  I found it worked better to let it cool and thicken and then move the pan around to coat the sides.

While it's cooling, mix the custard.


  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 Tbl vanilla extract



Put the pan in the pan you are going to bake it in.  BEFORE you put the custard in it.  I learned that trick the hard way. 
Pour boiling water to fill the pan halfway.  






I spilled some custard in the water while moving it to the oven but I don't think that hurt anything.  Back 50-60 minutes until the center is still soft but not runny




After it cools what you are supposed to do is run a knife around it and turn it upside down on a plate.  That didn't go so well for me.  Oh well.  It's not the prettiest flan anyone ever made.  But it does taste pretty good.




Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tomato Jam & Feta Cheese Spread Crostinis






We have this weird tradition in the Northeastern Iowa Synod Office.   You get a birthday card when you bring treats for everyone.

Well, we have staff that are gluten free and diabetic, so cake and ice cream doesn't really work.  I saw some sample cheese boards on Pinterest and thought "Ah cheese!"

There's a whole thing about cheese boards.  And the things that go with it.  Like nuts and fruit and olives.  Which I don't like, but it sounded like a fun treat to bring.



So I brought a cheese board to the office today.  Well, no actual boards were involved.  

On the menu


  • Sugared pecans
  • Grapes
  • A nice hard salami
  • Marinated mushrooms & artichoke hearts (instead of olives)


And the nice cheese monger at the Hy-Vee helped me pick some good cheeses


  • A VERY sharp Cheddar from Wisconsin
  • An Iowa Cheddar
  • Wisconsin Havarti
  • Smoked Gouda 
  • A soft mild Blue Cheese

It may not jive exactly with the ideal variety of cheeses for a traditional cheese board but they went over very well.


And a delicious tomato jam that paired really well with a feta spread.  Here's the recipe for that:

Tomato jam





  • 1 16 oz container cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar (depends on taste)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 or 5 leaves basil
  • tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes




Cook the tomatoes & garlic on low in tomato sauce until they break down.  You want there to be small, soft pieces, but not mush.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Add sugar.  



Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Turn heat down, add salt, pepper flakes, basil and lemon juice and simmer until it is a thick consistency.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Let it cool.  It may get thicker in time.

Feta with Cream Cheese Spread


16 oz cream cheese, room temp
16 oz crumbled feta
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 Tbl Italian herbs
pinch of salt
2 Tbl olive oil

Mix all this in a bowl.  If you have a small food processor you can do that, but it's easy to mix and I didn't think it was worth dirtying my processor.


Put the cheese spread on a cracker or crostini.  Put a little tomato jam on that.  If you really want to go crazy, top that with shaved parmesan.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Italian Potato & Green Bean Salad





I got the idea for this from watching Giada at home make these:  Lemon Mustard Potato Salad

They looked really good.  Then I thought they would be good with green beans and what do  you know?

Italian Potato and Green Bean salad is a thing.  

Giada put hers on arugula.  What is with Arugula?  Every cooking show has to use arugula.  I hate arugula. 

I don't like Kale either while we are on the subject of what I don't like.

So this my version. It's really really good.


Potatoes



  • 1 dozen small yellow potatoes, quartered
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • tsp Penzeys Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • salt and pepper


Wisk all the ingredients (except potatoes) together in a bowl.  Toss the potatoes in the dressing.

Put potatoes, nonskin side down on the baking pan, bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

You will want to eat those potatoes right after you take them out of the oven because they smell and look so good.  Go ahead and have or two.  Then let the rest of them cool. 


Salad


Blanch 2 cups green beans for 5 minutes in boiling water, then plunge into ice water to stop cooking


Dressing:


Juice and zest of one large lemon
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbs sugar
2 sprigs of rosemary cut up
A few hot pepper flakes
salt, pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Wisk all this together.

Mix all these in a bowl and pour the dressing over it.

Potatoes
Green Beans
2 small red sweet peppers sliced
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces
About a tablespoon grated parmesan cheese


Trust me, this is good.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sauce



The French have their Mirepoix, which is just chopped onions, celery, and carrots.  These form the basis of nearly all soups, stews, and sauces.  

The Cajun version of this is the Holy Trinity of onion, celery, and bell pepper.   That used to be the basis of all my cooking until I discovered red bell peppers and I ditched the bitter green peppers.  Then I ditched celery unless I’m cooking for a crowd.  I just think celery is kind of a waste of time.



Then I discovered these little sweet peppers.  They are fun, a little sweeter than bells, come in different colors and slice up into nice rings.  I always have some in the fridge.

So Enchiladas.   Lots of ways to make them.  You can make them with ground beef, shredded beef, shredded pork, chicken, cheese, spinach.  I love em all.

Now my mom used to fry up the corn tortillas before rolling them up.  And who doesn’t love a fried tortilla?  But you don’t need to do that—just make sure they are moistened with sauce.  Or heat them over a flame.  



Don’t have a gas stove?  I’m sorry, that sucks.  But you can lay it on your burner and get the marks.

Now I have made my own enchilada sauce but that’s a lot of work.  Canned is fine.  I’m not a snob.  I usually use red with beef and pork, green with chicken.  



When I gardened I made a green tomato sauce that was really good.  Could have sworn I posted the recipe somewhere but not on this blog.

Chicken:  You can cook boneless skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker, shred it and freeze it and use it as needed. But I prefer dark meat so I used thighs this time.  

I buy the family packs and freeze them in twos in ziplock bags.  I just used two thighs for these.  I cut the skin off and marinated in for a half hour with

¼ cup tequila
¼ cup olive oil
Zest and juice of half lime
Garlic powder
Cumin
Lots of pepper
Green chili powder
Chili powder
(so I just put a few shakes of everything)



Then I cooked the chicken in my George Foreman Grill.  I never worry about the chicken being cooked enough in this thing.  About 6 minutes on each side. 

Do cut it open to check. I’ve had salmonella poisoning twice.  You don’t want that. 

Thighs don’t shred as easily as breasts so I just took the meat off the bone, tore it up and cut it up with kitchen scissors.



Now for the veggie filling:

Saute ½ yellow onion, chopped & Four small sweet peppers in a little olive oil.  Add salt and lots of pepper, green chili powder, chili powder, zest and juice of the other half of lime. A little splash of tequila, and a little brown sugar.  Add just enough of the enchilada sauce to moisten it.  



Cover a flat glass or casserole pan with enchilada sauce. 
In each tortilla add a little sugar, a little veggie mix, and a little cheese.  I used Colby Jack.  



Roll it up tight and place seam side down in pan.  Cover them all with enchilada sauce and make sure all the enchiladas are covered.  



Cover with cheese and sprinkle a little chili powder on top.



Bake in 350 oven for 35 minutes.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Barbecue Baked Beans with Apples & Sweet Potatoes



I love the convenience of slow cookers.  But nothing beats the way oven baking caramelizes a barbecue sauce.  So on some things like ribs and beans, I do both.

  • 4 Cups dried pinto beans
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 4 or 5 small sweet peppers (or one red bell pepper)
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled & chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbl tomato paste
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 4 tbs ketchup
  • 5 slices of bacon cut into 1-inch strips
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Salt


Cover the beans with water in a large pot and bring to a boil.   Take off the fire and let sit an hour or so.  Drain the water

Cook 4 slices of bacon and either eat it or feed it to someone in your house that likes bacon.  Leave the grease in your pan and add ½ stick of butter and melt it. 

Add onions, a little salt and lots of pepper, sauté until they are transparent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir. 



Add half the bourbon and simmer until it cooks down and gets thick.  Add the rest of the spices.  Add molasses and brown sugar.  Add the wine, apples, and sweet potato and simmer about 10 minutes.  Add more bourbon when it gets too thick. 

Line the slow cooker with the bacon, and add the vegetable mix and beans.  Add barbecue sauce and ketchup.  Mix and add enough water so beans are covered.  Cook on high for an hour and low for 3-4 hours.

Pour mixture into greased casserole and bake in 300 oven for an hour.  These are really good.




Saturday, April 30, 2016

Church Potluck Enchilada Casserole



Our synod is hosting Bishop Ernst Gamxamub of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia and his traveling companion, Leonard de Vries, who serves as finance director of the ELCRN.  I’ve been serving as chief chauffeur. 

Wednesday night we had a potluck to welcome them.  What better way to show them Iowa but a potluck?  Since it was a Wednesday night we invited pastors and youth leaders to bring their confirmation classes.  We had close to 300 folks. 

It was a great night.


I made my Enchilada Casserole.  All of the goodness of enchiladas without the tedious work of rolling them up.


I bought a big aluminum pan so I wouldn’t have to worry about bringing it home.  

Open a large can of enchilada sauce and pour about a fourth of it in the pan and spread it around. 




I spread a can of refried beans over about 10 corn tortillas.   Then I sprinkled half a cup of shredded co-jack cheese over them.




Veggies:


  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 or 4 small sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 8 oz bag frozen corn
  • 1 small can tomatoes with green chilies
  • Chili powder, salt, pepper





Sauté the onions and peppers in about a Tbl olive oil.  When they are caramelized, add the corn and tomatoes and seasonings.  Simmer that for about 10-15 minutes to cook off some of the liquid.  Pour that over the tortillas




Now I would have liked to have at least 2 lb of hamburger for this size a casserole but I only had 1 lb so that’s all I used but it was fine.   So you decide.  Fry it up with a packet of taco seasoning.  Spread that over the vegetables.   


Cover that with another 8 or 10 tortillas and pour the rest of the enchilada sauce.  Make sure all of the tortillas are moistened.   

Then pile a bunch of cheese over that.  I used a bag of Mexican cheese and a bag of cheddar.  Then I like to sprinkle a little chili powder on top.  It looks pretty.



Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Day I Got Called a C**t in the ELCA Clergy Facebook Group




People tend to love me or hate me on social media.


I don’t usually elicit a “meh” response.  

This is the thing—I’m not “nice”.

People often wish they were something other than what they are.  On Downton Abby, Baxter the gentle quiet *nice* maid wishes she was more like Barrow who is not nice and doesn’t care what people think.  But Barrow does care about what people think about him and he envies Baxtor’s ability to get people to like her.

Scarlett O’Hara is not nice.   But she often compares herself to her cousin Melanie who is nice.  On the other hand, Melanie admires Scarlett’s boldness.

This is the thing.  Baxter’s niceness ended her up in prison taking the fall for a man who took advantage of her.   Melanie was alive because Scarlett wasn’t nice.

My father wasn’t nice.  He was a union organizer for the railroad workers.  It got him beat up.  He didn’t help change lives by being nice.

My mother wasn’t nice.  

She was a single mother and having had me at age 43,  was too old for this shit. I didn’t keep my room clean and every few weeks she would take out her frustrations by trashing my room, throwing things at me, screaming at me and telling me how worthless I was.  When I was little, I was nice.  I would cower and beg “Please stop, Mommy”  She didn’t stop.

When I reached puberty I stopped being nice.  

Most of us do.  I stood calmly, coldly watching her throw things, ducking.  Then I said “Do you feel better now?” in a very snotty way.  She smacked me hard across the face.  I didn’t flinch.  And she never trashed my room again. 

(If you are interested in how *that* relationship turned out, see Saying Good Bye (or not) to Mom)

All of this background is to help you understand why some guy I don’t know calling a c**t in a Facebook group is neither going upset me or shut me up.

It all started with a suggestion that maybe white men over 35 could try just listening to younger clergy, people of color and women for a week.  And some men just can’t do that.  

One, in particular, had what I thought was a temper tantrum, complete with bad language and references to his penis. 
And I couldn’t leave it alone.  I poked him.  He struck back.  I poked him again.  

And he responded with this:

"Joelle Colville-Hanson (He tags me so there is no question who this remark for) It gives women a bad name when a few are condescending c**ts and demeaning bitches"

And a little voice in my head thought “maybe I shouldn’t have poked him”  

I told that voice to shut up. 

 And I called him out on it.

And the wrath of the community came down upon him.   The C word is over the line.  I mean had he just called me a bitch I would have thanked him.  

People who know me know that in private I curse like a sailor.  But I never use that word.  To me, it is  very close to the n-word.  It  is a violent, ugly word that is used by men who want to put a woman in her place, on her knees under his control. 


And I’m glad that most people in the group were outraged.  I’m also glad they saw how little it can take for some men to go there.  


I’m sure it was very shocking to see that word used towards a white middle-class clergywoman.  In public.


What I don’t think everyone gets is how often it is used to demean and subjugate women of color, women who are in service positions, girlfriends, wives, women in bars, women on the street, women and girls who are trafficked.  


 I hope that the outrage at me being insulted is outrage at all women being reduced to a body part.   And a commitment to fight any effort to reduce a woman to a vagina or a uterus.

It all started with an idea to do some work in intersectionality.  


As a white woman clergy who is churchwide and synod staff, I have an enormous amount of privilege.  But it didn’t stop some guy from publicly calling me a c**t. 


And I really am glad it happened.  So we can talk about it.  

And talk about why it’s not okay for other men to tell me I need to forgive him.  Nor it is appropriate to say “sorry this happened to you but you know, not all men….”  And it’s not okay to make stupid jokes because you feel like you have to say something and you have nothing to say but if you make joke and I don’t think it’s funny then I’m the one with the problem.  Those were some responses to this event.  And honestly some of the responses bothered me more than being called a name. 

But all of this coming out in the open and having the discussion is a good thing I think.  And makes me feel better about not being *nice*.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Pasta Primavera




I brag on my food a lot and I like what I cook.  



But THIS was REALLY good.
Pasta Primavera is about spring vegetables.   Asparagus is usually an ingredient but I don’t particularly care for asparagus.  So I used green beans. 

2 or 3 Tbl butter
3 carrots, sliced
Handful of green beans
4 small sweet peppers, red, orange and yellow
1 red onion
Zest of one lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Tbl flour
2 cloves garlic
Half and half
White wine
2 Tbl grated fresh parmesan cheese
Salt
Pepper 
Tsp Basil 

Bring a saucepan of water to boil and throw in the carrots and green beans for 3 minutes. 

Melt butter in skillet.  Add onions and peppers and sauté until onions are translucent.  Add carrots, onions, garlic and stir so all are coated in butter. Add salt, pepper and basil.  Fresh basil would be best but all I had was stuff in the tube which is better than dried. 




Add zest and juice of a lemon.   Now if you want a light version you can just spoon this on pasta, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and it would be fine.

But if you are feeling a little more decadent, add the flour to this and mix so that it gets kind of gloopy.


Now about measurements. 


 When I make a sauce, I just pour in liquid until it is the consistency is what I want.  I like a thicker, pasty consistency.  You may like it a little thinner.  So pour in the half and half a little at a time and stir until it is how you like it.  Do the same with white wine.  I used barely a quarter cup, just enough to provide a little counter to the sourness of wine.
Add the cheese.  For me, a little parmesan goes a long way but make it the way you like it.   Serve it over any pasta you like.  It is delicious. 




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rice Pilaf



I never really knew what Rice Pilaf was exactly until a cooking show this morning when I discovered rice pilaf is pretty much the way I make rice.  

It's basically rice cooked with onions and chicken stock instead of water.   


I eat a lot of rice.  Sometimes I cook plain rice.  Most of the time I make rice pilaf which I just called doctored up rice. 


Here's tonight's Rice Pilaf



  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 TBL orange zest
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt 
  • pepper


Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the onions, stir and cook on medium until translucent.  Add the pepper, cook another couple of minutes.   Add the orange zest and raisins and wine and cook that down.  Add the rice.  Stir and cook the rice with vegetables for about 10 minutes.  Add salt pepper, cayenne pepper.  

Add two cups chicken stock.  Turn heat high until it boils, then turn down, cover and cook 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.  


That's all!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs




Meatballs



1 lb ground chicken
1 egg
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Penzeys California Pepper
1/2 tsp Penzeys Barbeque of the Americas
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 oz blue cheese
about a cup Panko bread crumbs

Mix all together.  Mix well so cheese is mixed throughout.  Roll into small balls and roll in Panko breadcrumbs. Cover with sauce
Bake about 45 minutes at 350.


Sauce


1/4 c. butter
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Penzeys Barbeque of the Americas
2 tbs apricot preserves
2 tbs brown sugar

Mix all in a pan and simmer about 10 minutes.  Makes about a dozen.