Corned Beef and Rice….Trini style!

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, Main Course, October 2011

 

I sit at work with a lovely lady named Joy. Joys family (not sure if its on her husbands side or hers) is from Trinidad.

One day we were discussing Caribbean food, where I do quite a bit of Jamaican cooking and she does Trini cooking. One of her quick and easy (and TASTY!) go-to’s is called Corned Beef and Rice. When I asked her what was in it she gave me the typical sideways “Joy” glance and said “Corned beef and Rice.” Smart ass. Then we laughed and she told me what she does.  It sounded very simple and she assured me that it would be ready to eat in 10 minutes or less. Depending on how fast your knife skills are!

I love corned beef hash so thought there was absolutely no way I wouldn’t enjoy this dish. Joy swears its better with hot sauce but thats not really my thing so next time I think I will add some more diced hot pepper or maybe even some dried chili flakes. I actually REALLY liked this recipe. I think it will be something I will make again and again. My son had a little trepidation at first. His initial reaction was “Mom, it looks like cat food” but once I convinced him to try it he also enjoyed it. Of course he had to put grated Parmesan cheese on it but that is typical of him. He always adds either “shakey cheese” or ketchup to his food. We are a quirky family.

What you will need:

1 can of corned beef

1 small onion, sliced

2 medium to large tomatoes, chopped

chopped garlic

hot pepper, diced (I used a Fresno pepper)

Minute Rice

butter, margarine or oil for cooking

 

Saute your onions in butter, margarine or oil.  Add some pepper. Salt is not needed because the corned beef is salty enough.

Add your chopped garlic and continue to saute until onions are translucent.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until broken down into a sauce.

Add the diced hot pepper.

Add the corned beef.

Break up the beef and cook until warmed through.

In a separate pot cook your rice. Serve the corned beef mixture on top of the hot rice.

 

Its true. It is not the prettiest meal. It does kinda look like cat food….with bits of tomato and onion. 🙂

It IS delicious. Trust me!

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

 

Fricot à la poule. With pâtes!

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Chicken Dishes, Main Course, October 2011

 

How’s THAT for some french talking! If you are unfamiliar, that is Chicken Fricot with dumplings (for us Anglophones).

My sons Pepere makes a chicken soup/stew all the time and Brendan loves it. Since Pepere is from Tracadie I figured it must be his version of a Chicken Fricot. My friend Lisa was making a Fricot the other day and was raving about it on FaceBook so I asked her for the recipe and decided I would make it. I love making soups so I guessed that I could handle this dish…as long as she gave me the instructions in English!

The recipe Lisa gave me called for adding water to the whole chicken once cooked. I quickly realized that I did not have a whole chicken but I did have a BBQ chicken carcass in the fridge and a couple of chicken breasts. Anyone that has made a soup from scratch before knows that its the bones from the chicken that add flavor and depth to the stock. I decided to use the carcass and pick the meat off the bones like I usually do for soups. Then I would add that stock instead of water to the recipe. That would increase the amount of chicken I had available because 2 measly breasts just wasn’t going to be enough in an entire pot of Fricot.

To make stock all you need to do is put the carcass in a big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour. You can add carrots and celery if you want to enhance the flavor of the stock but its not necessary. Once the chicken falls apart and the bones are boiled clean you can remove from the heat, strain off the broth and allow the meat and bones to cool before picking through to remove any meat.

Set the meat aside for later.

Cube your potatoes into bite sized pieces.

Dice your onion.

In the stock pot, melt some butter and cook your chicken until browned.

 

 

Now if you are using a whole chicken like Lisas recipe had called for you would just skip to this point and not bother with making the stock. If you have a whole chicken START HERE! Cut your chicken into pieces breasts, leg, thighs, etc (or even better…have your butcher do it!) and brown them in the butter. Once browned add enough water to cover the chicken (about 10 cups). Boil for about an hour. Strain off the broth and reserve. Let the chicken cool and again pick the meat off the bones and set aside. There….we are all caught up.

Take the empty stock pot and add more butter. Saute your diced onion until softened.

Remove the onion and set aside with the chicken.

Add the broth back into the pot and add 1/2 tsp of savory and salt and pepper to taste.

Lisa gave me a tip…savory can be known to induce heartburn so if you find you suffer from heartburn frequently add a pinch of nutmeg to your 1/2 tsp of savory. There is some quality in the nutmeg that counter acts the heartburn.

I didn’t have any savory. Apparently not a spice I use often…ever. I had sage but thought “Just because they both start with the letter ‘S’ does not mean they are interchangeable”. Had to make a quick run to my parents house and raid my moms pantry. Thank goodness she had some and since OCD runs in the family it was rather easy to find on her spice shelf that is organized alphabetically! (Love you Mom!)

Back to the fricot instead of dwelling on my familys unique quirks (now you know where I get it from!)

Bring the broth to a boil and add your cubed potatoes.

Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the potatoes are just done. Add back to the pot your chicken and onions.

While you are waiting for the potatoes to cook you can get your pâtes ready (dumplings).

In a small bowl combine 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 cup of milk.

With the Fricot at a rolling boil drop the dough in teaspoonfuls. Or pinch off with your fingers like I did.

Immediately cover and reduce heat to low. *DO NOT REMOVE THE COVER*. Simmer for 15 minutes. Lisa suggested to let them simmer for 30 minutes before eating because it will allow the flavors to blend more.

 

This soup….excusé moi…Fricot, is delicious. Very homey. Great for a cold day when you are chilled to the bone. Or even on a day like today, oddly warm for October when you have to cook in a pair of shorts with all the windows open because its so warm. Either way this is a winning recipe that will be made over and over and over in my house. I hope you enjoy it too!

ps- Thanks Lisa for the recipe!

 

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Gingerbread cake

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, October 2011

 

Growing up there were two cakes that my Mom made that I adored. Gingerbread cake and Oatmeal cake. The Gingerbread cake is way easier to make so that is the one I usually turn to for some comfort.

I had seen a program on The Food Network where the restaurant used fresh ginger in their gingerbread cake so I thought I would try that addition to my Moms recipe. It added a little kick…a bite…in the after taste. Really nice. Its not necessary so don’t feel as though you need to run out and get some fresh ginger root. But if you have it….add it!

This time of year, when you realize summer is over and it is DEFINITELY fall, and that winter is really just around the corner…I take comfort in fall like foods. Not a fan of gingerbread men or houses but for some reason ginger is very fall-ish to me so I rely on Moms cake. Ginger, cloves, cinnamon, squash, pumpkins and the like scream FALL to me and make the transition into winter an easier one. Wow…I really am a foodie. If thats all it takes to get through fall and winter then YAY me! That and a lot of sweaters, a snowblower, slippers and a hot toddy (or 6) and i’m good to go!

What you will need:

1/2 cup of softened butter (not margarine)

3/4 cup of sugar

1 egg

1 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups of flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1 cup hot water

 

 

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg and the molasses.

Sift together your dry ingredients less the spices.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, slowly. About a 1/2 cup at a time and mix well.

Add the fresh ginger (about a thumb size) if you so desire.

 

 

Blend in the hot water.

Pour into a greased 13’x9’x2′ pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.

 

 

Today was damp, overcast and rainy periodically so I ended up baking for closer to the 45 minute mark. The center of my cake fell but was cooked. Just bake until the cake springs back to the touch.

 

My Mom and sister like this cake with a lemon sauce (:P) Dad and I prefer it with whipped cream! You choose for yourself and let me know what you think!!

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Pillowy, Pumpkiny, Chocolate Chippy Cookies

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, October 2011

 

My family and I used to live in Woodstock, NB. I like Woodstock, don’t get me wrong, but in 1978 there wasn’t a whole lot to do. They didn’t have a McDonalds. No shopping. No movie theater. To have some entertainment you had to go across the border to Houlton, ME.

One thing Woodstock DID have was an AWESOME little bakery and in that bakery there were Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. Even after we moved away we still had friends/family in Woodstock and we continued to visit them and that little bakery. As Woodstock grew over the years in came the chain grocery stores, the chain donut shops, etc. and before long that gem of a bakery closed.

For years we searched for a recipe to replicate those cookies we all loved so much and to everyones surprise my Dad found it. I don’t know how and I don’t know where it came from but about a decade ago he came home with this recipe and has become a favorite in my family. My son actually BEGS me to make it. It is very close to the bakery cookies but a little moister (is that even a word?) I have fiddled and tweaked the recipe until it now comes out just right.

What you will need:

 

3/4 of a 796oz can of pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsps baking soda

1 cup vegetable oil

2 tsps milk

2 cups sugar

1 cup chocolate chips (I like a mix of regular semi-sweet chips and mini chipits)

4 tsps baking powder

2 tsps vanilla

4 cups of flour

2 tsps cinnamon

 

In a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs (make you you beat your eggs in a small bowl first).

If you like cakey-er cookies you could use the entire can of pumpkin. I like mine moist but not too wet….pillowy….so I only use about 3/4 of the can!

 

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk, in which you have dissolved the baking soda.

 

 

Mix well.

Add the vanilla.

Add the chocolate chips.

Stir and then drop by tablespoon full on cookie sheets.

Put in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 13-16 minutes or until when touched the cookies bounce back.

 

 

These cookies are so soft, so chocolatey, sooooo good that your family will be begging for them too!

If you want them a little spicier you can add a teaspoon of pumpkin spice. Its not necessary but it will give them a more ‘pumpkin-pie-flavor’. I like them just like they are…with a big glass of milk. Very fall like!

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick