Fast Food, My Way

Mon, Nov 10 • 0

A friend of mine sent me an email specifically asking about what I make when I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen — when we’re hungry, and I need to make something quickly, and don’t have time to marinate, macerate, or equivocate.

Oddly enough, my mind usually turns to breakfast, regardless of the time of day.

Omelets. You can usually whip one of these up in no time flat, and it’s a great way to use up left overs and odds and ends in the fridge. I’ll usually start by frying up some diced bacon, or kielbasa, or pancetta, or country ham… small dice, a quarter of an inch… in some butter in a non-stick pan. Then I’ll throw in some diced onions and peppers. Short of that, I usually keep a frozen vegetable medley that contains potatoes in it. I’ll nuke it to take the freeze off, and then put a portion of that in with whatever I’ve started frying. You really don’t need much to get a good omelet going. In fact, if you’ve got too much, you’ll more than likely end up with a scramble instead (not that that’s so bad). Then I’ll take three eggs, and break them into a bowl, and add a good pinch of salt, and some grinds of pepper, and whisk that with a fork until well blended. I’ll pour the eggs into a pan, and shake the pan, until the bottom is well coated with egg. My wife doesn’t like runny eggs, so I probably cook the whole thing for more than I need to. And though some might find this last part cringe-worthy, I’ll add a slice of velveeta cheese. This recipe makes enough for 2 people, unless they’re really starving — and from beginning to end, no more than 15 minutes, not counting clean up.

Other things you could add — browned hamburger and jarred salsa; leftover steak with onions and horseradish and sour cream; beef stew…

Pancakes & Sausage. I usually fall back on the premixed, but you can find a detailed recipe for pancake batter anywhere on the net (like here). I’ll mix the batter up while I fry up the sausages — which I put in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter and a quarter cup of water. I bring the water to a boil, and clamp on the lid, and let the water heat the sausages through, then remove the lid to let it all evaporate, and then let the butter brown them. As for the pancakes, well, I probably don’t need to tell you how to make these, since it’s probably the first thing (after cereal) that most of us learned how to make as kids. I use a cast iron griddle pan over medium, with a spray of canola. I ladle the batter on, and wait for the bubbles to set. (I usually add a couple or six frozen blueberries into each pancake as they cook on the first side.) I flip em, and let the second side cook. Use whatever syrup you like — I like organic grade B, because it has a stronger taste. Again, this meal takes about 15 minutes, from start to finish.

So maybe you’re more into dinner-type meals? Well, I’ll point you to some of the recipes I’ve already posted … Slumgullion is a deep comfort food for me, and probably only takes about 20 minutes to make, and can feed a small army for about $5; Sausage and Peppers is another winner. I’ll post more recipes in the coming days with a special mind to quick, and easy prep.

Have you got any simple and quick, go-to recipes to share?

Easy Chicken Stew

Wed, May 21 • 0

Saw this recipe for a chicken stew with wine demonstrated on a cooking show last weekend, and thought I’d give it a go.

The results were ok, but I think it could use some tinkering, as the broth was a little too astringent for my taste. The recipe called for oyster mushrooms, but one of us is allergic, so I replaced them with carrots. The recipe also called for serving it over buttered noodles, but I chose to add an Israeli couscous and grains mix that Trader Joes sells. The leftovers taste even better the second day.

4 oz bacon, diced
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
8-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 bay leaves
1t fresh thyme
2 carrots, sliced
1 bottle riesling wine
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the bacon in a dutch oven. Add the leeks and soften. Add the chicken thighs — no need to brown the thighs. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the couscous, and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 45 minutes. Add the couscous and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

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