Kitchen Bitch Episode 1

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, February 2012, Main Course, Seafood Dishes, Soups

 

Three of us ladies decided to start a little club. A club where we can get out of our house (most of the time), enjoy each others company and some fab food, possibly some entertainment and also to rave and rant about whatever is on our mind or contaminating our souls from the inside out. There have been others invited but for the first installment (Episode 1) there were only the 3 of us. We shall call ourselves the “Founders of the Bitch Revolution” or the “Fab 3”.

We had the first “meeting” at Amandas house (aka. The Girl with Blue Balls of the Soul www.blueballsofthesoul.com).

Our Classy LunchLady photo! (don’t worry…this was staged and the cigarette didn’t even come anywhere close to the food! ;))

Classy Lunch Lady

Amanda had decided to make pseudo Angels on Horseback, Lobster Bisque, Belinis and Cherry Cheesecake. Kind of a retro, throwback, 50s/60s dinner party.

So first course started with the Angels on Horseback. Apparently “authentic” AOH are made with oysters wrapped in bacon. I am SOOOO happy she made pseudo ones. I am NOT an oyster fan. What Amanda made instead were these…

Angels on Horseback

What she did was pound out slices of Wonderbread and cut off the crusts. She spread a thin coating of sweetened condensed milk, Frenchs mustard, a dash of Worcestershire and a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese and then wrapped it up in bacon. She then placed it in a 400 degree oven until done (about 15 minutes).

These were DE-Licious! I could not stop eating them and have been craving them ever since.

 

Second course was the Lobster Bisque. This was an impressive undertaking. I was seriously blown away. Amanda is a foodie like me. A lot of the fun in cooking for me is the adventure along the way…this was quite an adventure, a lot of steps to do this right. She got the recipe from Tyler Florence on FoodNetwork.com and she MOSTLY followed directions. 🙂

This is the exact recipe as found on FoodNetwork.com:

 

Ingredients

Directions

Dispatch the lobsters by plunging a sharp knife directly behind its head.

Cut the lobster in half lengthwise; make sure to collect the juices that will run out. Remove the claws and tail pieces and set aside. Remove the head sac and liver and discard them; cut the body into pieces. Alternately, you can have your fishmonger do this.

 

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt 3 tablespoons butter in it. Add the chopped lobster bodies and heads and their juices, the leeks, 1 onion, celery, carrots, 1/2 the thyme, 1/2 the orange zest and the tomato paste.

veggies lobster bodies tomato paste

Cook until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour in 1/4 cup cognac.

cognac

 

lighting the cognac

 

Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Return to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add water to cover and stir up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately decrease the heat and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes.

pre strained soup

Strain this into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper if needed; keep warm.

straining the soup

 

more straining

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add remaining onion, thyme, bay leaf, and orange zest along with the peppercorns and let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Add the lobster claws and tails; toss to coat with the fat and flavors. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the remaining 1/4 cup cognac. Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Put the pan into the oven and roast until the lobster pieces are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the lobster pieces and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the lobster meat from the claws and tails.

loster meat from claws and tails

Chop the meat roughly and add it to the strained bisque.

 

To serve, ladle the bisque into warmed soup bowls.

finished bisque

 

 

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I added Amandas pics along the way. Now she made a couple of changes. We had some difficulty zesting the orange, she couldn’t find her zester so tried using a small grater. It was not working so instead she halved the orange and juiced it into the pot. Also she used more butter then originally called for in the recipe. I am not certain HOW much more because I was already into the spiked punch and Belinis at this point. Lets say a dollop more. A large dollop.

After straining the bisque she also felt it was missing something so when in doubt….add white wine. And fresh cracked black pepper.

I thought the bisque was DIVINE. I am looking forward to making it myself sometime.

 

For the Belinis it was about an ounce of peach Schnapps, an ounce of peach puree, 2 ounces of pure peach juice and topped off with champagne. YUMM!!

belini

We had Cheesecake for dessert. There was a slight incident (that shall remain secret) with the cake but it was still delicious.

 

I am hosting Februarys Kitchen Bitch at my house and I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to it. It will be a themed soiree as well…full of fun food, decorations, games and party favors to take home. Bring on the Anti-Valentines day party!

Stay tuned for the next episode!

 

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Artichoke and Cheese Dip

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, November 2011

 

My great friend Lisa introduced me to this recipe a few years ago and I still haven’t decided yet whether to thank her or curse her. It always gets rave reviews at parties and barely lasts long enough to cool, but I tend to crave it and want to make it when its just me at home with the dogs, a glass of rum and some good tv shows. But I don’t. Mostly because of cost not because it isn’t the easiest dip to make. I will share the recipe with you but don’t blame me if you get addicted too!

It is only costly because of the artichoke hearts and fresh parmesan cheese. Both can be found at your local grocery store for around $5 each. Now you are going to use the whole can of artichokes but the cheese will last for multiple recipes (or batches of dip!!).

What you will need:

1 can of Artichoke Hearts

1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

1 tsp chopped garlic

3-5 Tbsps of mayonaise

 

Open your can of artichoke hearts and squeeze each one individually until most, if not all, of the liquid is out. Do a rough chop and place in a bowl.

Mix in your garlic

cheese

 

mayo.

Place in a pie plate.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes or until browned on top and bubbly.

This dip will be EXTREMELY hot. Wait at least 5 minutes before eating.

 

This is a fab dish to bring to potlucks and parties. Folks will think you slaved hours over it….or think you bought it! They will be in awe when you tell them you made it from scratch!

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

The quest for Fluffy Biscuits

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, September 2011

 

I think about, and miss my Nanny J, almost every day but even more so when I am craving tea biscuits. She made the BEST tea biscuits ever. They were always tender and oh so tall. Seriously they were about 4 inches tall.

I have been using the very same recipe as her for years but for some unknown reason mine look NOTHING like hers did. Mine always came out short and stout but still tasty.

I can remember going to her house every sunday for Sunday dinner and leaving with a Ziploc bag full of biscuits for the week. She was the master. A skill i’m sure that took years to perfect…I am still working on it.

I was reading some tips for fluffy biscuits online and one from Bobby Flay was to have your biscuits touch. It helps them to rise (??). Not sure how this helps but at this point i’ll try anything. One persons comments on this was that the biscuits in the center didn’t cook well so a good idea was to group them in 3’s. Sure. Why not.

Also a good tip was to have your shortening (or butter) cold. So I froze mine. Can’t get much colder then that!

One other person stated that the addition of an egg made her biscuits fluffier. By the grace of GOD all these changes had better produce some fluffy biscuits!

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

 

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (I shredded mine with a cheese grater into the measuring cup since it was frozen…a trick I got from Chef Michael Smith).

Beat egg with milk and then stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Turn onto a well-floured surface and knead NO MORE THEN 20 times.

Roll to 3/4-inch thickness and cut with a floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Or a wine glass (I didn’t have a “biscuit cutter” but had PLENTY of wine glasses!)

Place on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

I was AMAZED at how tall these biscuits came out. Sure they weren’t as tall as Nanny J’s but they were wAAAAy better then my usual turnout.

AND they are delicious. Had a couple (ok…4) right out of the oven…all nice and toasty with melted butter. YUM!

Plus they go GREAT with my Wedding Soup!

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Extra crunchy, crispy Mozza sticks

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, May 2011

 

One of my all time favorite appetizers is mozza sticks. As longs as they are done right.

The other night a friend and I were at a restaurant and the sticks we a wee bit soggy…and they served them with Ranch dressing. Eww. I had to ask for some sort of tomato based sauce….salsa, marinara….whatever. I’m not a fan of Ranch dressing on a normal day but serving such a great Italian fare with that white goop is just blasphemy (IMO).

So I made the decision right then and there to make some myself. You know what they say….”If you want it done right….”

Obviously you will need some cheese. You could go high end here and get the fresh mozza balls but since I had never made it before I will save that for once I have the recipe down pat. I just bought regular mozza in a block and sliced it. You will also need bread crumbs. Since I wanted them CRUNCH-tastic I used a mixture of regular bread crumbs and Panco (Japanese) bread crumbs. Panco are uber crispy. Grab some eggs (about 3 for an order of 8 sticks), grated cheese (I used Pecorino-Romano but you could also use Parmesan), oregano (1 Tbsp), parsley (2 Tbsps, divided) and black pepper (1/8 tsp). You are also going to need about 3 Tbsps all purpose flour.

In one bowl mix together the bread crumbs (1 cup), grated cheese (2 Tbsps), oregano, parsley (1 1/2 Tbsps) and pepper.

In a second bowl whisk your eggs with 1/2 Tbsp of parsley. And in the 3rd bowl have your flour.

 

First dip your mozza stick into the flour, then into the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture.

 

 

Now here is where it gets a little messy. Take the mozza stick and gently roll it between your 2 hands. This will help compact the crumbs tightly onto the cheese. See the flour helps the egg to stick and the egg helps the crumbs to stick but you still need to smoosh it onto the cheese a little or the crumbs will come off in the frying process. Repeat the egg and the crumbs 1 more time until the mozza stick is a little thicker.

 

Set the sticks on a plate and refrigerate until you are ready to fry them.

 

Heat your oil to 350 degrees. It only takes about 3-4 minutes (depending on how dark you like your sticks). I cooked mine for 3 minutes. They were perfectly golden and super duper crispy.

 

Of course I served mine with my homemade marinara sauce.

 

I also re-made my ravioli to eat with the mozza sticks and the ravioli turned out perfect this time. I think just to frustrate me Brendan decided to have his sticks with BOTH marinara and Ranch dressing!

 

Oh well….ya can’t teach kids everything.

At least the sticks turned out fab….nice and crispy on the outside and gooey, stringy on the inside.

 

YAY ME!!! There could another 3lbs added on to my already imposing frame because of these sticks…I can see these being made frequently in our future. And maybe, JUST maybe, i’ll try them with Ranch next time….but i’m not making any promises.

Enjoy!!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick.

No more picking out the Shreddies! Bits & Bites.

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, March 2011

 

 

Growing up I always found that eating Bits & Bites with my sister was the best. I hated the Shreddies (and the Cheese Nibbys) and would only eat the Cheerios and the pretzels. She hated the pretzels so it was almost a match made in heaven. Except for the fact that she ALWAYS got into my stuff and would fake out my parents saying I hit her when I didn’t. Looking back I guess that is what little sisters are for. A source of great pain and angst but also a forever friend and confidante.

 

I decided I was going to make my OWN Bits & Bites with all the good stuff that I like….NO SHREDDIES!

I went to the Bulk Barn and found Cheerios, corn chips, crunchits (hard cheezies) and salted pretzels. I really wanted to get some Chex cereal and plain Bugles but they were nowhere to be found. I also picked up some garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt and BBQ spice. You can put whatever you like in it….Doritos, goldfish crackers, almonds, chinese crackers, peanuts…whatever strikes your fancy!

Making Bits & Bites is not difficult it is just very time consuming.

First off preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

In a measuring cup mix together 2 cups of canola oil, 2 Tbsps of each of the spices and 3 Tbsps of Worchestershire sauce.

Put all of your chosen snack items in a large roasting pan. Stir the oil mixture well and pour over the snack items and toss to coat.

 

 

 

 

 

Bake in 15 minute intervals for a total of 2 hours. Stirring between each interval. Yes….this is annoying but it makes sure each pretzel, each cheerios, each whatever is covered in the spices and stops them from getting soggy.

 

After the painstakingly long 2 hours is up, let the batch cool thoroughly. Keep stirring every 20 minutes or so until the roasting pan is cool to the touch. You can now package them up all nice and pretty in tins, mason jars or like I do….Ziploc bags! sooooo pretty!

 

 

 

 

I think I have enough Bits & Bites now to last quite awhile. Or at least until my hooverinator of a 14yr old son comes home from his Dads and has a snack attack.

I am also thinking that some Franks Red Hot added to the batch next time might give it a good KICK! I am also going to increase the amount of BBQ spice, maybe another tablespoon. Customize it to your own tastes.

I DO know that the best thing to go with this snack is an extra large, extra cold ‘Harmonica Virgin’!!!!

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Pendiente Mejicana Fresca (Fresh Mexican Dip)!!

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, February 2011

.

That’s all I have for you in Spanish and even for THAT I needed an online English to Spanish translator. The only other words I know in Spanish are cerveza, bano and “no no quiero ver su pene”. All are very useful when in Mexico.

The only other advice I can give for when in Mexico is tequila is a drug and sombreros are not attractive on anyone.

Not sure when I got this recipe or from whom but I have been making it for at LEAST 10 years and can probably attribute 10 pounds to it. I love it. Brendan loves it…although I never told him it has crab meat in it and he is none the wiser for it. You can leave the crab meat out if you want (or if you have an allergy) but it adds a slight briney flavor that leaves the dip lacking if left out.

What you’ll need is:

1 block of cream cheese

1/2 cup of sour cream

1/2 cup of mayonnaise (REAL mayo…NOT miracle whip)

1 can of crab salad meat or chunk crab meat

veggies like green pepper, red pepper, tomatoes, green onion, diced very small

salsa

cheddar cheese

Start by combining cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in Kitchen Aid

If you have crab salad meat, drain and add to bowl. If you have chunk crab meat you need to flake it first in a food processor. Either or, make sure to drain VERY well….squeeze as much liquid out as you possibly can or its going to make the dip too salty and too runny!

THEN add it to the bowl.

Blend together and spread in the bottom of either 1 large 8×8 pan, 4 small square Ziploc containers or 8 small snack sized containers.

Add your salsa. Fresh made is best (see previous post on B@#chin Salsa) or you can use your favorite jarred salsa instead.

Add your choice of chopped veggies. I like green pepper and tomatoes.

Top with shredded cheese.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before eating to allow the cream cheese base to set and firm back up a little. I only make it in one pan when I am taking it to a party otherwise I use multiple smaller containers. It stops me from eating too much in one sitting!!! 😀

Enjoy! and be careful….its addictive!!!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick