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14 Apr








A librarian was very sad and alone in the library one day as there was no one around for her to help. These two chickens came through the door screeching “bouk bouk.” The librarian quickly got up and gave them each 5 books. The two chickens left satisfied. Just a few minutes later the same two chickens come through the door with no books screeching “bouk bouk.” The librarian once again jumped up and gave each chicken 15 books this time. The chickens leave satisfied once again. Then for the third time the chickens returned screeching “bouk bouk”, but this time being suspicious the librarian gave each chicken only one book and explained that they could only borrow more books once that had returned the others. As the chickens left the librarian slowly followed behind to see where all the chickens and the books were going. The chickens came to a stop by a pond and started throwing the books into the water. Appalled the librarian ran forward to tell them to stop but she suddenly noticed there were some frogs in the pond grabbing the books and throwing them back croaking behind “red-it… red-it”.


           HA!            HA!           HA!




This is not only pretty darn good it’s a


That pan being a cast iron frying pan. If you don’t have one ,  you need to go out right now and get one.

They are very sturdy and will last forever.

They can go from stove top to oven with no trouble at all and you can even take them camping and cook over a wood fire.

You can use them to get someone’s attention.



They are non- stick if you season it right:

Wipe it down with a thin layer of olive oil, bake in a 250′ oven for 90 minutes, let cool and wipe it down again and you are all set.

DO NOT USE SCRUBBING PAD ( SOS ) OR SCOURING POWDER. Wash with a drop of soap and a plastic scrub pad .

If you really need to scrub it use salt.

Then wipe down inside with a little dab of Crisco shortening. This will continue to season the pan and keep it preforming at it’s best.

Lodge pans come pre-seasoned.  A 12″ pan will only cost about  $ 20.00.

or you can find one in a garage sale for a few bucks.


On to the dish………………..

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

2 tsp garlic – smashed and minced

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp  Hungarian Paprika   


1 tsp dried oregano

2 lbs skin on  chicken thighs

1    lb red potatoes – cut into 1 ” chunks

1 cup tomatoes   – cut in half     

Cherry tomatoes always taste like tomatoes should . Use these when you really need the taste and texture.

2 cup zucchinicut into 1/2-inch thick round slices

1 red bell pepper  – cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.

2 sprigs Rosemary or 2 Tsp dried

1 lemon  – cut into 6 slices

pitted Kalamata olives     

1 oz. feta cheese –  crumbled

1 tbsp. chopped dill


Place oven rack in the middle position. Set oven to 400′ F

in a small bowl wisk together – 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 Tsp garlic, 1 Tsp salt a grind of pepper, paprika and oregano.

Add chicken to oil mixture in a zip-lock gallon bag. Evenly coat the chicken with oil and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

In a medium bowl mix together 1 Tbsp. olive oil, potatoes , tomatoes 1 Tsp garlic and 1/4 Tsp salt.

In a 12 inch skillet , heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat.

Once oil is hot add chicken. Sauté for 5 minutes then flip and cook another 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate. Turn heat to medium and add potato mixture, sauté for 3 minutes. Transfer pan to oven and roast for 5 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, take a medium sized bowl, combine zucchini, bell pepper, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 Tsp salt and a grind of pepper.

Remove pan from oven and use a spatula to carefully stir an scrape the bottom of the pan to release the potato mixture.

Add the zucchini mixture to the pan and then evenly place chicken on top.

Sprinkle with rosemary.

Add lemon slices to pan.

Roast in oven until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of165’F ( about 20 minutes)

Sprinkle chicken with crumbled feta , olives and dill.

Serve hot.

Eat and Enjoy !



Buttermilk Bucatini with Turkey

11 Feb





Rachael Ray



Okay, So the other day I’m flipping channels and there is Racheal Ray getting ready to make something,


“Oh, I haven’t seen her in quite a while , ”   I say to no one in particular.

She goes on to describe what she is going to make , some turkey spaghetti thing ,

but what caught my attention was she was going to cook with buttermilk. 

I have only used buttermilk  with fried chicken,  so I stayed tuned  in to see what she was up to.

Well it looked good so I had to try it.


Gotta tell you,  this is a pretty fantastic dish.

I was more than surprised at how rich this is.

So I get the recipe and the first thing that hits me is




I have never ever heard or seen this .

So I go looking…………


Bucatini resembles thick, hollow spaghetti, with a hole running through the strand of pasta.




The engineer side of my brain says, “How do they make that ???

Standard pasta machines will roll out sheets of flat pasta which are then cut into ribbons to make flat, ribbon-style pastas like fettuccine, tagliatelle or pappardelle.

Bucatini, on the other hand, has to be extruded rather than rolled.

This means that the pasta dough is fed into a machine that forces it through a perforated disk, very similar to a meat grinder. The shape of the pasta depends on the shape of the perforations. Bucatini is made with a disk with tiny circular perforations, which forces the pasta dough to emerge in long tubes. The tubes are then trimmed off to the desired size and then either dried or cooked fresh.



Good to know

“HOLDA DA PHONE ” says my good friend

Father Guido Sarducci


“Dats Perciatelli,     Like my Nona makes.”


Okay so officially :

Bucatini   is hollow, long strands, slightly thicker than spaghetti; The name comes from Italian: buco, meaning “hole”,

while bucato or its Neapolitan variant perciato means “pierced”.

So now you have

Perciatelli, pronounced: “pear-chuh-TELL-lee” is the term for the pasta in Naples.

Pretty much everywhere else, the cut is referred to as bucatini.


And if that’s not confusing enough for you


there ‘s  –  long pasta (spaghetti, angel hair), tubes (penne), soup pastas (orzo, alphabet), stuffed (tortellini, ravioli) and special shapes (farfalle, fusilli).
There are approximately 350 different types of pasta around the world — and about four times that many names for them!

For example, due to its shape, farfalle pasta is often called “butterfly” or “bowtie” pasta.

Cooks use different shapes and sizes of pasta for different purposes. For example, different shapes hold different sauces better than others.
Some cooks say thin pastas, such as angel hair, should be served with thin sauces, while thicker sauces work better with thicker, heavier pastas. People often pair flat pastas with cream sauces, while tomato sauces seem to cling better to round pastas.


Back to the recipe ——–


Sot this is Racheal’s recipe that I ‘ve tweaked a little .

Easy to make and really good. Thanks Rachael !



2 cups  rustic  style bread ( could use Italian)  cubed into 1/2 ” or so  pieces

Hand full  of  fresh flat Italian  parsley  -minced

1 tsp  each –  rosemary . thyme,  sage

2 tbsp. butter, melted

Salt and pepper

About 3 tbsp. olive oil

2 small ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large bay leaf

1 lb. ground turkey, white and dark meat combined

1/2 cup white wine , I like Chardonnay

About 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock

2 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 lb. Bucatini pasta

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Preheat the oven to 350°.


In a bowl, toss the  bread cubes  with the herbs and butter; mix well , season with salt and pepper.

Spread the crumbs out on a foil lined , rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the oil, , over medium-high.

Add the celery, onion, garlic, and bay leaf. a little salt and pepper.. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the turkey and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

In a second large pot, bring the buttermilk to a gentle simmer over medium heat.

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta.

Cook for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, then add to the buttermilk.

Simmer the pasta for 3 to 4 minutes, the pasta will absorb most of he buttermilk.

Add the turkey sauce and cheese and toss to combine.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and top with the breadcrumbs.


Eat and Enjoy






Green Pozole

30 Dec



Pozole : [po’sole], pozole), which means “hominy”, is a traditional soup or stew from Mexico.





Okay, So this is a soup / stew that although it looks like a lot of work it really goes pretty smooth.

You might have to make a trip to your local Mexican grocery store ,  but maybe not. Most big stores carry everything you are going to need.

It use Hominy as one of Its main ingredients and I’ll bet most of you don’t know what that is.


Hominy is a food made from kernels of corn which are soaked in an alkali solution of either lime (the mineral, not the fruit) or lye. The corrosive nature of the solution removes the hull and germ of the corn and causes the grain itself to puff up to about twice its normal size.

Hold on ,…… don’t get all excited about how your not eating anything soaked in lye 

This is truly a wonderful food and here’s alittle history you might not know ……………..

Here’s is how Anson Mills tells it:

Pre-Columbian Americans regarded everything they grew and cooked as sacred and alive, and they considered everything within their cooking sphere to be bound by nature and magic.

Thomas de Bry engraving modelled after John White's watercolor.

Thomas de Bry engraving modelled after John White’s watercolor.


At the moment a breeze swept ashes into a pot of corn simmering in spring water on the fire, magic became a prime ingredient. The water that cooked this corn, known as limewater today, gave the kernels fresh dimensions beyond the familiar flavor of sweet corn—it brought forth floral notes and layers of mineral and clove. But that’s not all. The corn ground easily into meal and made flatbreads that were soft and pliable, not brittle. And those who ate the corn felt like a million bucks.

Today, corn cooked by this method is called both nixtamal (a Mexican Spanish adaptation of an Aztec term) and hominy (anglicized Algonquin). (Since you asked.)
Its precise origins aside, early nixtamal cookery involved wood ash, water, and maize. Properly concentrated, wood ash and water form a naturally caustic chemical called potassium hydroxide (colloquially, potash) that dissolves pericarp (the cellophane stuff that gets stuck in your teeth when you eat popcorn) straight off the kernels. Today, more often than not, taking the place of the water-and-ash brew is culinary lime, a white powder purified from natural calcium deposits, that is stirred into water to make limewater.

The kernels are left plump, naked as a baby, and infused with an intoxicating flavor that is part corn, part exotic spice, and part mysterious scents that seem to alert your primal sensors to anticipate exceptional nutrition. It is an authentic American flavor very few of us have experienced. But you can experience it now.
Fresh hominy can be used whole, as in hominy fried in brown butter and herbs, or ground into masa to make tortillas, tamales, and huaracitos,

( which I have just discovered by the way and they are great !)

or pulsed coarsely in a food processor to make fresh hominy grits. It can be included as a bright accent in soups and stews or deep-fried to a supple yet crisp result. It also freezes well, maintaining its unique and exceptional character.



2 29 oz cans of Hominy    drained 

4 lbs chicken thighs

2 lb pork rib tips



.1 large white onion


5 cilantro sprigs 

NOTE: Make sure you get Cilantro and not Flat Italian Parsley, for some unbeknownst reason the grocery store puts them right next to each other. 

I’m really hooked on this !

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp.  Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

Pozole Sauce

1 Tbsp salt

1/2 cup  raw pumpkin seeds 



Yes! You finally get to buy and use some of those green tomato looking things.. you never really knew what they were.

Take the PAPERY skins off !



1 Serrano pepper 



These a little longer and hotter than a Jalapeno , maybe another first for you !

5 sprigs cilantro

1/2 onion – peeled

6 cloves garlic – peeled and smashed

1/4 cup onion chopped

1 Tsp salt Few grinds of pepper

1 Tbsp Mexican oregano (  it makes a difference ….     Mexican oregano is a relative of lemon verbena   ,    although this herb shares the basic pungent flavor of Mediterranean oregano, it also has notes of citrus and mild licorice.)

2 Tsp cumin

2 tbsp vegetable oil


Radishes – sliced thin

Danielle Levy


Thin Sliced cabbage



Mix Soy sauce ,Worcestershire sauce  and garlic powder in a medium bowl and add pork rib tips.

Marinate for 20 minutes

Place chicken in a large soup pot and cover with 1 inch of water.

and onion, cilantro , 1 tbsp. of salt , 3 heaping Tsp of chicken bouillon   

Bring almost to a boil , turn down to simmer

Heat a cast iron frying pan add a little vegetable oil  ( or lard if you have it from the Mexican store   )

Add the rib tips and sprinkle with alittle Adobo Seasoning 

Brown on all sides and add to pot with the chicken.

Simmer 30 minutes until chicken is cooked and pulls of the bone.

Remove chicken and pork tips to a baking pan and let cool until you can handle it with your hands .

Remove meat from bone , shred with your fingers and return meat to pot .


Let’s make the Pozole sauce.

Place the peeled tomatillos and the Serrano pepper and onion  on a foil lined baking pan and place under the broiler

Turn tomatillos and peppers every 3 minutes until charred all round.


While that’s happening ………….

Roast pumpkin seeds in a  Dry small frying pan , until slightly roasted


Then fine grind in a blender


Vibrational Greens,

Add tomatillos, Serrano pepper, onion, 6 cloves  garlic ,  and 1/2 cup chicken stock.

Blend until smooth.

Add to soup pot.

Add drained Hominy, Oregano,  Cumin, mix  well,  and simmer for 30 more minutes.

Serve in bowls , garnish with Radishes, fresh squeezed limes , cilantro , sliced cabbage.

And you really need this brand of Tostadas       

Eat and Enjoy !

Di Vegan



Polish Chicken Meatballs in Dill Sauce

16 Dec


Chicken Meatballs in Dill Sauce


Pulpeciki w sosie koperkowym

For all my Polish friends    

Okay , So you are going to really like this little surprise.

This is a dish I have had only once when I was a little kid in Chicago at My Dad’s Aunts house.

I didn’t really now what it was , but I knew  it was really good.

I ‘ve thought about it every now and then ,  although I never really tried to find the recipe  . Now I have found it,

this will be a regular supper meal at my house ,  I’ll tell you that.






Jenns Blah Blah Blog

Polish Dill Sauce or Sos Koperkowy

To say that Poles love Dill is an understatement. Dill is used liberally on buttered potatoes. In fact, baby reds boiled in thier jackets in the spring covered with butter and dill is probably one of every Poles favorite dishes. Dill is also commonly used on fish, in stuffings for meat, some pickles, Compound Butters, soups, I could keep going.

Sos (pronounced “Saws” and meaning “Sauce”) Koperkowy (pronounced “Kopper-KOV-ih” and meaning “Dill”) is a quintessential Polish sauce. It can be paired with many dishes, such as meatballs, mushroom and rice balls, fish, mashed potatoes, and chicken. To many Poles, this sauce tastes like summer. Once you see how delicious and simple it is, I am sure it will become a family favorite.




1 pound lean ground chicken
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves , minced
3 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper , to taste

How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t let them brown; you want them to be soft and not at all crisp.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and place the onion mixture in a medium bowl.
Add the bread crumbs, egg, milk, salt, pepper, and tarragon to the onion mixture in the bowl and mix well.
Add the ground chicken; mix everything gently with your hands just until combined. At this point, the mixture should be chilled so the meatballs are easier to shape. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours.
Then form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Place them on  parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake the meatballs for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked to 165°F.




1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

While chicken is cooking, prepare the dill sauce by heating oil in a large skillet over medium heat.Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.Stir in white wine and chicken broth, bringing everything to a boil. Mix in the sour cream, dill, and butter. Stir until butter is melted.
Scoop out a few ladles of broth mixture into a small bowl, and add flour. Whisk to combine, and pour back into the skillet.Stir, and let simmer for 5 min.

Plate meatballs and pour sauce over the tops.

Garnish with chopped fresh dill and serve.

Makes 16 Meatballs

You can serve these meatballs with rice, potatoes, orzo pasta, salad, etc…



Eat and Enjoy !





28 Nov

  Okay ,  So  ,    you have cooked your little fingers to the bone the last 3 days getting ready for the BIG MEAL .

So  YES,    You deserve a break !     And Besides,    I’m just tired of cooking.

So here are 2 , yes count ’em      TWO    Quick and easy ways to use that left over turkey . ( unless you don’t have any left over turkey…… then you can pick up one of those   ALREADY – COOKED –   Rotisserie  –  CHICKENS      from the grocery store  ,     just so as to keep this as easy as possible )

They are both dump and go recipes so you will have plenty of time to shop the Black Friday or the other Post Thanksgiving sport–

Vegging out on the couch .







8 oz. thin whole wheat spaghetti, uncooked
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms 
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups shredded/cubed cooked turkey
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  Lay spaghetti flat on the bottom of your crock -pot .
 Pour cream on top of the spaghetti.
 Then pour water on top.
 Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder on top of the liquid.
  Sprinkle the mushrooms and celery evenly over the spaghetti/liquid.
  Cut the butter into 8 cubes and spread evenly.
  Layer the turkey evenly on top.
  Cover and cook on HIGH for 90 minutes.
 Sprinkle the cheese on top and let it melt for about 5 more minutes.
 Salt and pepper to taste
Eat and Enjoy !






4 garlic cloves –  minced

2 medium carrots, –  scrubbed  and thinly sliced

1 small green pepper – cut into 1 ” pieces

1/2 small onion – thinly sliced

4 cups leftover roasted turkey –  cut into 2-inch chunks

1 cup chicken stock ( or bullion )

3/4 cup teriyaki sauce   

1-1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground  pepper

1-1/2 cups  pineapple –   pine2  

White or brown rice, for serving, cooked according to package directions

3  thinly sliced green onions


In crock pot, stir together garlic, carrots, green pepper , onion ,  turkey, broth, teriyaki sauce, ginger and pepper.

Cook on low 6 to 8 hours,

Add pineapple during last 10 minutes of cooking.

Serve turkey over rice sprinkled with green onions


Eat and Enjoy !


4 Nov


Juan-Carlos Cruz



Okay, So this a TEX- MEX  dish you may or may not have heard of.

This stacked version ( kinda like a stack of pancakes ) is  a particular classic

from El Paso and West Texas.

What is Tex -Mex,?  Well that is a little hard to pin down.

Food writer Waverly Root defines it as,

“Tex-Mex food might be described as a native foreign food, contrary as that term may seem.

It is native, for it does not exist elsewhere; it was born on this soil. But it is foreign in that its inspiration came from an alien cuisine; that it has never merged into the mainstream of American cooking and remains alive almost solely where it originated. “


Although we all use it as a noun,  enchiladas  is actually an adjective in Spanish.

The real name of the dish is   Tortillas Enchiladas, –  Chilied Tortillas.

It refers to the original method of preparation. which called for tortillas to be dipped in chile sauce and lightly fried.

The earliest enchiladas in Texas, as in Mexico, usually consisted of a tortilla dipped in sauce, sometimes sprinkled with cheese and chopped onions.


Stacked chili-dipped enchiladas became a classic in West Texas and New Mexico.

In Mexican restaurants, the enchilada plate eventually evolved into a dish the featured a couple of chilied tortillas wrapped around some kind of stuffing.


In West Texas ,the old-fashioned purist’s look down on the rolled tortillas as some kind of modern  heresy.



Tex-Mex food really  is not  Mexican food.


You could use canned Verde salsa ( green enchilada sauce ) but don’t you do it!

Roasting the peppers is easy and making your own fresh  sauce is so much better!


First, we are going to get the chicken going.


2 lb. chicken breast cut into 1 inch wide strips

1 onion quartered

5 garlic cloves – smashed

3 tsp bouillon base or 3 bouillon cubes

1 bay leaf

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp salt

4 cups water

In a large sauce pan bring the water to a boil.

Add everything else.

Reduce heat too a simmer and cook for 40 min.

Strain chicken and let cool.

Save the broth !

Shred chicken .

Sprinkle with 1 tbsp.  Adobo ( with bitter orange )seasoning , and mix well.

While the chicken is stewing , lets roast the peppers.

3 poblano peppers  Poblano Peppers 03252011 Av2

2 yellow Hungarian peppers  hungp

This is pretty easy if you have a gas stove.


Place the whole fresh peppers over a high flame and turn until skin is blister on all sides.

After most of the skin is blistered wrap the warm pepper in a damp paper towel, place it inside a plastic bag and set aside to steam for 15 min.

When you remove the towel,  most of the skin will come off easily. Scrape the rest off with a butter knife. Remove seeds and mince up.

If you don’t have a gas stove put the pepper in a skillet with a little vegetable oil and blister it over high heat on you electric burner.


Now for the sauce:

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups roasted peppers – minced

8 large tomatillos – minced  tomatillo

Hey ! Speaking of mincing, as for a sauce, just like we are doing.

A cusinart cussin or a blender blender

will certainly work


BUT,     bb22

I got one of these, It’s great !

It $15.00 and worth every penny.

Lets you chop up stuff to just the size you want and in  lickety split time .

This is what I use for most of my mincing!

1/2 onion minced

2 tsp Mexican oregano

Yes , it makes a HUGE difference , Mexican oregano is completely different from what we consider “regular” oregano, a fact that would become obvious if you tasted the two side-by-side. Where Mediterranean oregano is sweet, with anise notes, Mexican oregano is grassy, with citrus notes.


3 cloves garlic

Handful of cilantro – minced

1 tsp salt

Couple of grinds  of  pepper

2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp. water


Put everything except cornstarch in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min.

Add cornstarch, mix well and cook for 10 more min.


Corn oil

12 corn tortillas

el milagro the only kind to get !



Chile Sauce

Sewed Chicken

1 red  onion diced


2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese


Preheat oven 450′

Heat a little oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Using tongs , place a tortilla in hot oil for 30 seconds until lightly browned, turn over and cook other side .Place on absorbent paper towel.

Ladle a thin layer of sauce into a baking dish large enough hold 4 stacks of tortillas.

I used a 9 by 13 baking dish, had to cram them in a little bit but it worked okay.

Place 4 tortillas in dish.

Divide half the chicken filling between the first layer of the 4 enchiladas.

Top with some cheese, a little onion ,  and a ladle of sauce. Add another layer of tortillas and top with rest of chicken and some more cheese, onion  and sauce.

Finish with a third layer of tortillas and top with some sauce and the rest of the cheese and onions.

Bake for 10 minutes until cheese melts and sauce bubbles.

Place each stack on a plate and divide the remaining sauce among plates


Brian Leatart

Eat and Enjoy !




Spicy Wok-Fried Chicken with Chilis (Chongqing Chicken)

14 Oct



Okay, So if you like Kung Pao chicken. (Which if you haven’t had it is a little spicy) This is going to kick it up a notch.

(Lazi jiding is the name in Mandarin, so you don’t get confused) .

Where is Chongqing ?

Right here :

And why might we want to know that ?

Chongqing (Chinese: 重庆), formerly transliterated as Chungking[a], is a major city in southwest China.

Not to be confused with Chun King

An American line of canned Chinese food products founded food products founded in the 1940s by Jeno Paulucci, who also developed Jeno’s Pizza Rolls



But ,…………..back to the Chongqing Chicken


Chongqing used to be part of Szechuan( Sichuan ) so they share a lot of the same tastes.


Sichuan dishes, as you all know,  are a bit  spicy .

The spicy and hot tastes were created by the use of horseradishes, ginger, botanical peppers and mustards, among other spices.

That’s why they have the little peppers next to them on the Menu. 



Yes, the food of Sichuan was always known for being spicy, as far back as  Confucius, in the 5th Century B.C.E., he  mentions  the numbing hot spice of Sichuan peppercorns ,

Which by the way ,

Are called peppercorns because of their flavor, not because of any actual relation to pepper.

They are actually dried berries from a tree (a shrub, actually) which grows in parts of Asia called the “Prickly Mountain Ash” tree.




Among the different Chinese cuisines, Sichuan cuisine is best known for its chili dishes.

  Chao tian jiao, or facing heaven chilies, are so called because they grow upward toward the sky.

This  hot spice originated in South America. People have eaten chili for almost 10,000 years, but it was not until the 15th century, when Columbus brought the pepper seed to the Old World, that the plant started its fantastic world tour.

Chili was introduced to China either through the Silk Road, or on water through the Strait of Malacca into southern the Portuguese.

Although the exact time that the chilis entered the country remains unknown, the earliest Chinese document to mention chilis dates from the Ming Dynasty. Zunshengbajian (1591) describes the plants this way: “The clustered fanjiao (chili peppers) with white flowers and round fruits are red and incredibly beautiful.”



Even tho this dish looks a little dangerous because of all the peppers, it is very good.

You can always reduce the amount of peppers to lower the heat.

Or if you really like it hot, You can break open 3 or 4 of the peppers to turn up temperature.

(  My mouth is watering and I’m sweating just writing about this )



Spicy Chicken

Serves 4

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying 
  • 8 to 10 dried red chiles
  • Spices at Penzeys Tien Tsin Chili Peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced and smashed
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced rinsed
  • What’s a leek ? Oh !
  • Those big fat green onion looking things You never know what to do with.
  • It is part of the onion family. How would you describe the difference between leeks and onions? The flavor of leeks seems more refined and subtle.
  • 1 small piece ginger, minced


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 egg whites


  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar, or substitute a good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
  1. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken with the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the sauce: chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock or water, Chinese black vinegar, cornstarch, and Sichuan pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or plate, mix together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in cornstarch mixture and shake off the excess cornstarch.
  4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.
  6. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chiles to the wok and stir-fry until just they start to blister, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add the leeks, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in sauce mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add the fried chicken, toss to combine, and remove from heat. Serve immediately


Eat and Enjoy!



30 Sep


Okay, So this is pretty simple . My Mom  use to make this with Chicken legs and Thighs.


Although you  do need a couple of cool toys to make it.

First your going to need a Rotisserie

This is the one that I got to fit my Weber


or whatever kind you have



Then you also need one of these:

a Round Rotisserie basket

This makes some dynamite chicken wings, or you can also use Chicken Thighs.


4 lb bag of  chicken wings   

(Aldi’s have the most meat on them if you have an Aldi store near you}

A little Emeril’s Essence  

I really like this stuff and I make my own( recipe is on Google ) or you could use your favorite rub.

Thaw the wings and place them on a cooling rack.

Pat Dry with a paper towel and sprinkle a little essence on – BOTH SIDES



















Star your fire, and get some wood. Hard wood like oak— DO NOT USE PINE !

Yeah, from the forest or from one of those bundles you can buy

cut a piece in   half  ,    then split it,   you only need 3 or 4 pieces added to the charcoal
and it really adds some nice smoke flavor to whatever you may be grilling.

( pssst ….that’s one of my secrets so don’t tell anybody   ….okay? )


Put the chicken in the basket , then on the spit , then on the grill and then turn on the motor.

The chicken fat melts and  bastes  itself.  Pretty cool !




Turn on some tune-age  and get a bucket of beer and watch the chicken.

It going to take about a six pack or an hour ,

whichever comes first.


You can use you favorite BBQ  sauce for dipping or you can spice it up alittle .

Here’s  what I use.

1 cup BBQ sauce

2 Tbsp  Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. if you have it

or if you don’t.


Or you can just eat them plain .

They’re good either way


    Eat end enjoy







Cool Picnic Chicken

9 Sep



Hey !  before fall really gets here there ‘s still time to get out to the lake for one last


No lake by you ? The back yard and some tunes will be just fine.


You can have a great outdoor feast with out a lot of messing around.

Cold beer and wine , no brainer there.,  a bucket filled with ice  buck

Pickles  , 2 or 3 kinds of olives ( including the stuffed ones from the deli)


And while your at the deli pick up 3 or 4 different kinds of cheese –  Swiss,

smoked gouda , hot pepper jack ,  sharp cedar , some 3 bean salad and some crackers.


A picnic  with all the fix’ns ,  is always  a good time for everyone !


And one of the side dishes to go along with  this  wonderful  Cool  Picnic Chicken  is of course ,


which is right here:


So, A day or so before the picnic:

WE are going to brine the chicken.

Now I know some of you might not be familiar with this  technique but I gotta tell you


since I took the plunge

I do this all the time.


I had heard about this for a long time  , and all I could ever think of  was ,

I am going to ruin the chicken and have a lot of really salty chicken that I can’t eat and everyone will laugh at me and worse tell me what a bad cook I am


Brining before cooking, is an effective way to increase the moisture and tenderness of the meat before roasting. This is especially important for chicken, which often gets dry in the oven or the grill .  The process of soaking the meat in salted water causes the chicken to absorb some of the water through

J. Kenji López-Alt



noun: osmosis
Biology / Chemistry
a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.
the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.  —- Like the Idea of brining all of your chicken before you cook it

J. Kenji López-Alt     over at Serious Eats 

tells it pretty well;
Turns out that the real answer has to do with the shape of proteins. In their natural state, the muscle cells are tightly bound within their protein sheaths—this doesn’t leave much room for excess water to collect in the meat.
salt has a powerful effect on muscles
But as anyone who has ever made sausages or cured meats knows, salt has a powerful effect on muscles. A 6% solution of salt will effectively denature (read: unravel) the proteins that make up the sheath around the muscle bundles. In this loosened, denatured state, you can now fit more water into those muscles than in their natural state. Even better, the denatured proteins in the sheaths contract far less as they cook, therefore squeezing out much less moisture.

*Disclaimer: I know I’m going to eventually get beat up in the comments section for not mentioning this, so I will say now that yes, osmosis does actually enter into the equation in a minor way: as salt diffuses into the actual muscle cells, they break down some of the cells internal structure, releasing solutes into it. Provided your brine concentration is low enough, this can create a difference in osmotic pressure that will cause some water to actually migrate into the cells themselves instead of just into the protein sheaths surrounding them.


So besides all the SCIENCE …………………….

This will make  it moister when cooked



Brine :

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 gallon cold water, divided

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

3 sprigs rosemary 0r 2 Tsp ground

5 sprigs thyme or 3 tsp ground

4 cloves garlic – smashed

2 bay leaves


To prepare the brine:

In a large soup kettle, dissolve the salt and sugar  in 2 cups water over medium-high heat.

Add the remaining water, stirring to blend in the salt. Add the black peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves and bay leaves.

To prepare the chicken: Place the chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. .


For the chicken:
2 whole chickens, cut into 10 pieces each — or buy a mix of legs,  thighs and breasts.

For the egg wash:

1 quart butter milk

6 large eggs
1 Tablespoon hot sauce 
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons  fresh  ground black pepper


To prepare the egg wash:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk ,  eggs, hot sauce, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.

Drain the chicken from the brine  and place it in the bowl with the egg wash.

Turn the chicken pieces to coat them with the egg wash. Let sit 30 minutes.


For the dredge:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup corn starch

3 Tsp salt

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

2 Tablespoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

A few grinds  black pepper    



Deep fryer or large, heavy pot with cooking thermometer


Combine the flour, cornstarch and seasonings in a shallow bowl or resalable plastic bag.

Remove 2 pieces of chicken at a time from the egg wash, letting the excess liquid drain off.

Roll in the seasoned flour. or shake in bag .

Shake off any excess flour and place the chicken on a wire rack until ready to fry.


To fry the chicken:

Place Crisco  into a large cast-iron pan to a depth of 1 inch and heat over medium heat until it registers 350 F on a deep frying thermometer.

Place 4 to 6 pieces of chicken into the oil. Take care to use long tongs to move the chicken and do not crowd the pan

chick oven

derek on cast iron


Turn each piece about every 2 minutes. If the chicken begins to darken, turn the flame on the stove down slightly to adjust the temperature.

Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 F.

(You have to get one of these )

Be sure to give the oil 5 minutes to return to the proper temperature before dropping in the next batch of chicken. Place the fried chicken on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil .

When the chicken is at room temp,  wrap in foil and stick it in the fridge for at least 6 hours , better overnight.

Take it out to your picnic. Bring salt and hot sauce.

Eat and Enjoy!




22 Jul

OKAY, So this is about the Dish you might have heard about , THE KING RANCH CASSEROLE



Yes , Kristine  , there is a king in Texas

left eye on the media




And he is a cowboy and does have a ranch

 Materiality & Spectacle




But that’s not the King we are talking about today.


There is also THE KING RANCH in south Texas



“Everything’s bigger in Texas!”  Have y’all heard that a few times?   In the heart of South Texas there’s a ranch that’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island! It’s the world famous, 825,000 acre King Ranch!

Los Kineños
The heritage of King Ranch is a fascinating and critical part of Texas history which is why it’s both a national historic landmark and a popular tourist attraction. In 1853, a successful steamboat captain named Richard King purchased 15,000 acres of untamed land along the Santa Gertrudis Creek. He bought cattle from an impoverished village in Mexico to stock his new ranch. While driving his herd back home, he came to the realization that he just took away the villagers’ main means of survival, so he headed back and invited the people to come work for him on his ranch. Many accepted his offer and became known as Los Kineños, Spanish for the King’s men.




They began by raising Texas Longhorns, but later the ranch developed its own breed, the Santa Gertrudis, which is regarded as the first new breed of beef cattle in America! Later generations developed more cattle breeds, planted crops and even raised thoroughbred horses, including Assault, who won the Triple Crown in 1946.



Alas, that is not were this recipe was perfected. As far as anyone can tell.

It seems that in the it does not appear that this casserole was created at the famous ranch known for its beef and the main ingredient for this casserole is chicken.  It has been said that the ranch owners wife cringes at the thought of this casserole:

One theory attributes that the rise of the popularity of King Ranch casserole coincided with post World War II cooking in the 1950’s.  Canned soups provided more cooking convenience for housewives to free up their time.  It is possible that the Campbell soup company introduced the idea of this casserole in recipe pamphlets that used to be sent to housewives in an effort to sell more product in the stores.




Another theory is the recipe could have been created by a Junior League Society club woman in Texas for one of their cookbooks.

Another rumor is that a lady from Robstown, Texas (which is near the King Ranch) may have entered the recipe in a national cooking contest for either Pillsbury or Campbells and used the name King Ranch since it was catchy.

Most people believe this casserole recipe originated sometime in the 1950’s.  In most cases, the creation of casseroles across the country came from the need for housewives to find inexpensive and filling ingredients to feed a large family or church congregation.
1950’s – Casserole gained popularity with the introduction of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

What’s Cooking, San Antonio Light, (TX), January 23rd 1966 (p.9-G):
“King Ranch Chicken is Mrs. William L Gill’s favorite casserole for luncheon or buffet. It was served to her Christmas Party for the Holly Garden Club of which she was the member for many years.  She finds the casserole a hit with men as well as with women guests.


This is the 1950’s recipe using mushroom soup:

Three to four pounds of chicken breasts, boiled until tender, then diced. (reserve stock):

1 dozen fresh tortillas,

1 can cream of mushroom soup,

1 can cream of chicken soup, 

1 cup chopped green pepper,

1 cup chopped onion,

1 tablespoon of chili powder,

pound of grated cheddar cheese.

1/2 small can of tomatoes (10 oz size)

1/2 small can of tomatoes with chiles.


Line the bottom and sides of greased 3-quart casserole with a layer of tortillas.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock.

Then make a layer with 1 can undiluted cream of mushroom soup, of the diced chicken and of the other ingredients in order.

Cover with tortillas, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock, and make a second layer with 1 can of undiluted cream of chicken soup and the remaining ingredients.

Top the last layer with 1/2 small can of tomatoes (10 oz. size) and 1/2 small can of tomatoes with chiles.

The casserole may be prepared in advance and refrigerated.  When ready to serve, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 1 hour. Served with a tossed green salad and French bread.”


king ranch chicken casserole



A version based on :


1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones ( or use a rotisserie chicken)
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp  chili powder
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced     king ranch chicken casserole
1 poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup of chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Vegetable oil, for cooking the tortillas
10 corn tortillas  
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded pepper Jack
3 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar


Season the chicken with the 2 teaspoons of the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of the chili powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. There should be about 3 cups of chicken.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium low, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion and peppers are soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder, and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the chicken broth and cook on low until the mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, the remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and the cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and have ready a 9×13 baking dish.

To heat up the tortillas, add about 1 teaspoon of oil to a large skillet heated on medium-high, and add the tortillas, one at a time, cooking about 30 seconds per side or until softened. Add more oil as needed.

To assemble the casserole, ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. If you like, top with additional sour cream and cilantro for serving.


 king ranch chicken casserole


“Eat and Enjoy!