Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pork Chops, Potato & Onion

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To Be Or Not To Be...A Foodie (Shrimp & Peas Couscous)

A non-foodie orders a meal in a restaurant and just eats and enjoys it. A foodie orders a meal in a restaurant and dissects the ingredients so it can be recreated at home. I am that foodie. Some eat to live....that's my husband Steve. Some live to eat...that's me, his wife. Steve tries something new, usually at the end of my fork as I stick it in his face and comments, "Pretty good." I try something new and exclaim, "Oh my God, this is unbelievable." My eyes nearly pop out of my face. Steve, well, he just shakes his head and smiles indulgently. How can two people be so different, yet so much in ya hear that, honey?
Let's take a walk down Memory Lane....I was born at a very young age....the third child of seven. You ate what was put in front of you. There was no...this child doesn't like this or that child won't eat that. If lentils were put in front of ate lentils. You could sit at the table for three hours and gag, but you still ate that bowl of lentils. I now love lentils. We pretty much ate in silence and listened to Mom and Dad chat. "Children should be seen and not heard" unless one was asked a direct question. Actually, this wasn't at all unpleasant. We learned to listen...we learned what made our parents tick, we learned respect, self-control and good behavior.  It was a time for my parents to have adult conversation, plan out loud and have the opportunity to look at their kids, really "see" their kids and be proud of them.  Believe me when we weren't at the table...the chatter never stopped. At some point in the day, my parents heard everything that went on in our, almost everything.
This blog's recipe comes from the original point I was trying to make.... foodies dissect their meal...blah, blah, blah. Each day at work, we receive the daily faxed menu from local delis so we can order lunch beforehand. We rarely do. But boy do we memorize, discuss and debate each dish they'll serve that day. 
Although, the usual fax menu is panini, salads, sandwiches, soup, chili, pasta dishes and day a particular dish jumped off the page. It didn't have an actual name like Eggplant Rollatini or Chicken Caesar Wrap just Grilled Shrimp over Couscous with Broccoli and Pistachios. That was good enough for me! I actually had all the ingredients in my cupboard or freezer. It being Friday, when Steve has his homemade meatball pizza and I put together whatever I can lay my hands on...this was a perfect meal to try. I figured it out, changed a few ingredients and got it right on the first try. Was mine as good as the deli that inspired this meal? "Oh, my God it was unbelievable!"

Shrimp Couscous Peas & Pistachios
1 box couscous
1 can (14 1/2oz) chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cup peas
1 doz shrimp, peel, clean/devein
1 cup flour seasoned with salt garlic powder & onion powder
2-3 T Crisco oil
1 T butter
1. Cook couscous according to directions but substitute broth for water 1 1/4 cup. Stir very well and add Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
2. Cook peas seasoned with salt, garlic powder & onion powder
3. Heat Crisco oil. Dredge shrimp in seasoned flour. Brown until cooked through and golden 3-4 min each side.
4. Warm 1/4 cup of remaining broth in a cup in microwave and add to cooked couscous. Stir and add a pat of butter.
5. To Plate: Put couscous on a platter, top with peas and pistachios then top with shrimp.

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Enjoy...And Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Go Ahead.... Make My Chicken"

Okay, Ronni doesn't do chicken. She likes chicken. She eats chicken. She just doesn't cook chicken. Don't even leave her alone in the kitchen with a chicken....I'm not talking about a live, squawking, pecking chicken...I'm talking about a plucked, trussed chicken from the supermarket. I'm not quite sure what traumatized her. Was she attacked at a petting zoo as a youngster? I've seen this happen. Awful and emotionally scaring, I'd say. Now, I will admit this fowl isn't my favorite to clean. It's rather yucky. There's always too much yellow fat to remove, and that extra skin...what's that about? If I had that much droopy skin, I'd be having liposuction. Then there's that glop....a mucus substance should not be on anything consumed by humans. And all you hear is, "Wash. Wash your hands, the cutting board (you know the separate cutting board we all own just for chicken), wash the counter, the kitchen shears, wash your hands, again..." Salmonella is lurking and can kill ya! You know what...I'm beginning to understand Ronni's chicken phobia.
I don't ever remember my grandmother defrosting fowl in the refrigerator.  The chicken thawed on the counter even in the blazing summer. She probably cut the chicken with the same knife as she diced the vegetables for that meal and patted us on the cheek with chicken gooky hands! Did any of us get sick...nope...heck, we gulped down raw eggs in our Ovaltine to put on weight. Gosh, I did that all through was a raw egg in beer with a whiskey chaser, but you get the point. I don't remember all this scrubbing and disinfecting that we do. Whoever thought we'd be a generation of people who carry around a bottle of sanitizer in our cars and handbags? Mine hangs from a chain on my purse. Even after the Handshake of Peace at Mass, some congregants discreetly squeeze a drop to cleanse their hands. (I'm talkin' to you, Judey.) Isn't there something about holy germs not harming you?  And whatever happened to, "You gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die"? Anyway...back to chicken.
I do enjoy it. I'd rather a thigh than a breast, the more fattening section, of course. We are told that chicken is a healthier meat to eat and it's versatile. Heck, anything odd or exotic tastes like chicken...rattlesnake, alligator, iguana. My husband, Steve, thinks exotic meats should be banned, "If the darn meat tastes like chicken, than why are you eating something chicken." From previous posts, are you surprised he thinks this way? In my opinion, one of the most mouth-watering aroma is a chicken roasting in the oven. What better comfort food is there? When you bite into a roasted piece of this bird and the clear juices ooze out, the crispy skin crackles and that salty, buttery taste kisses your 'o man it's heaven.
My "tribute to chicken" recipe is an old family favorite. I use only thighs, boneless if I need to roast them quick and bone-in on a unhurried weekend. I'd love to say it's not a diet-buster, no squawking please, but I can''s just so darn good! Don't forget to make memories at the table.

"Go Ahead,  Make My Chicken" Dirty Harry McCluck
(Roasted Chicken Thighs with Rice & Corn)

6 chicken thighs   clean and remove skin and excess fat, pat dry
Season the thighs with salt, garlic powder, onion powder & pepper
Sprinkle thighs with parsley flakes
1 cup uncooked rice
1 stick butter
1 small can corn, drain
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare and season chicken and place in a large pan. I prefer a dark metal pan because the chicken crisps better.  Cut up 3/4 of the stick of butter and place pats on chicken pieces. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes if boneless. 55 to 60 min. if bone-in. Prepare rice according to direction and set aside. Turn chicken over just once in roasting process. Baste a couple of times. When chicken is 10 min from being done, remove to a separate plate. Put cooked rice in the chicken pan with the remaining butter and mix well with drippings. Make sure all the brown-bits are scraped into rice. Add corn and mix. Place chicken back in pan mixing rice all around the chicken. Cook final 10 minutes. Serve with a salad.
Serves 3. Enjoy!
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Remember To Make Memories At The Table