Archive for January, 2009

Grandma McKinley’s Famous Griddle Scones

Recipe saved from an elderly woman’s mind

Makes 36 to 40 scones

My wife’s mother is of Italian descent and she is a spry 93 years young. However, back in the day, she married a Scotsman named McKinley. And Mr. McKinley’s mother made these wonderful griddle scones for my wife while she was growing up. Grandma McKinley taught her daughter-in-law how to make these griddle scones and she taught my wife.
Trouble is that the recipe was not written down. If you asked how they were made, you would just get something like: dump some flour in a big bowl, add a pinch of this and a handful of that followed by just enough buttermilk. Then bake on a griddle until done.
Well, that will never do for a recipe in this day and age.
So, we had my wife’s mother make these griddle scones while we measured everything as she was putting it into the bowl. And thus, this recipe has been saved for posterity.
And that’s a very good thing, because these are such a treat that everyone should know how to make them. They are especially good fresh off the griddle with a slice of cheese added and  run under the broiler to melt the cheese. Or, toast them.
Hummmmmmm good either way.
These griddle scones are easy to make and the recipe makes lots of scones. We bake them on an aluminum griddle that spans two burners, but, an electric griddle would work, too.

Recipe follows.

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Crock Pot Chicken and Vegetables Braised in Beer

Based on an Internet recipe
Serves 4 to 6.

I was bouncing around the Internet one night looking for something new and easy to do with chicken. I found this recipe and thought, “beer, chicken and chili sauce, how bad can it be?”
Well, let me tell you it is not bad at all. In fact it is a great chicken recipe.
And, simple, too. Brown the chicken, sauté the vegetables and then dump everything into the crock pot and cook on low.
This dish has flavor to spare and is absolutely delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat

Based on a recipe from Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread.

Yield: 2 Loaves

Awhile back I posted a way of making sourdough starter from the Oregon Trail which you can find here. And, I posted a way of feeding sourdough starter which you can find here.
I also promised to post my favorite sourdough bread recipe. Here it is. Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread is amazing. Lots and lots of great bread recipes as well as more than most of us ever want to know about bread baking.
This is one of his most famous recipes for sourdough bread and it is great.
The simple change I made to the recipe is to feed my starter a couple days ahead of time and then make the final feed the night before I am going to bake the bread. Just take 10-3/4 ounces (304 gr) of starter out of the main feed, cover it with plastic wrap,  and allow it to sit on the counter over night. Then use the whole amount the next morning to make the bread.
This is delicious sourdough bread. It keeps well. It’s chewy and has just a slight tang of sourdough. It is absolutely great toasted.
And, like most bread baking, there is a lot of time involved, but not a great deal of work.

Recipe follows.

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Sourdough Pizza Crusts for Barbequed Chicken Pizza

Adpated from an Internet recipe.

Makes two pizza crusts

Recently I posted an English Muffin recipe here that uses up excess sourdough starter (the sourdough starter recipe is here). Well, here is another recipe that does the same thing only this time you end up with pizza crusts. They are easy to make and they freeze wonderfully; you just have to pre-bake them first.
Assuming you have excess sourdough starter, one of the nice things about this recipe is that you can have pizza in about 45 minutes from the time you start.
You can make just about any kind of pizza using theses crusts, but we really like barbecued chicken pizzas.
To speed things up, we just buy a rotisserie chicken and cut it into chunks. Then once the pizza crust is pre-baked, rub some olive oil on the hot crust, spread your favorite barbecue sauce on the crust, toss the chicken with some additional barbecue sauce, add some chopped onions and/or green pepper, and top with mozzarella cheese. Then bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and browns a little on the top.
Yummy!

Recipe follows.

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Mom’s Fabaulous Caramel Corn

Makes about 10 cups

My Mom used to make caramel corn. We loved that caramel corn. We don’t make it very often these days because we gobble it down faster that you can shake a stick. But, boy is it good.
Making caramel for this recipe involves heating sugar on the stove to achieve a hard-ball stage. This requires you to use a candy thermometer to keep the temperature of about 255 degrees F. This will put the caramel just into the hardball range. The different stages of heating sugar for candy making are listed below for reference:

Stage                       Temperature                      Sugar   Concentration

(degrees F)

Thread                    235 to 240                                        85%

Soft-Ball                  245 to 250                                        87%

Hard-Ball                250 to 265                                         92%

Soft-Crack               270 to 290                                        95%

Hard-Crack             300 to 310                                        99%

Tips for popping popcorn: Place three tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottom pot and drop in several popcorn kernels. Put a lid on loosely and wait for a few kernels to pop. When they do, take the pot off the stove (leave the burner on), remove the lid and dump in the popcorn all at once. The amount of popcorn kernels you use should cover the bottom of the pot or less in just a single layer.  Let the pot rest off the heat for one minute. Immediately put the pot back on the burner and adjust the burner to medium to medium high depending on your burner and how hot it gets. Place the lid on the pot so there is an opening for the steam to escape from the pot (a tight lid will lead to soggy popcorn). Several times during the popping, shake the pot.  The popping will be very vigorous at first and then will slow down.  When the popping almost stops, take the pot off the heat and let it rest for a minute or two.  Some of the last kernels will pop during this time.  This method results in almost all the kernels popping.
I learned this from a chef a long time ago and it works every time. And, yes, I have not idea why it works, just that it does work.
This recipe is easy and straight forward. Just watch yourself as you dump the caramel sugar mixture into the bowl with the popcorn. The caramel is very hot and it is easy to get burned if you are not careful. As the recipe states, feel free to add salted peanuts or other nuts to this. About a cup to a cup and a half of roughly chopped nuts should do it.

Recipe follows.

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Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken — Simple and Delicious

Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten
Serves three to four

Roasting a chicken in the oven is one of those things every cook should have in their arsenal.  It’s not a hard dish to do, but you can mess it up by over cooking the bird.
This recipe is easy.  And it is packed with flavor.  The chicken is salted before you start to add flavor from the beginning.  Garlic and lemon is stuffed into the cavity of the bird and the legs tied together.
The bird is then placed in a smallish roasting pan on a bed of roughly cut up vegetables (too big a pan and the vegetables will burn).  Then the whole thing is put in a 425 degree F oven and roasted for 1-1/2 hours for a four to five pound chicken.
The chicken then rests for 15 minutes and the roasting pan put back in the oven for the same amount of time to brown up the vegetables.
Just delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Is it done yet? What’s the best internal temperature?

Well? Is it done yet? That’s the question I am asked by my wife when I am cooking meat or poultry either in the oven or on the grill.
You don’t want to cut into an expensive piece of meat to check if it is done because all the juice will run out. So an instant read thermometer is the best way to check the meat. The one I recommend can be found here.  An inexpensive alternative is the CDN ProAccurate Quick Tip Digital Cooking Thermometer DTQ450. You can find out more about this thermometer here.
Now that you have a thermometer, at what temperature is the meat cooked? I have scoured the Internet and as usual I found different answers to that question. Generally I have found that the federal government wants you to over cook your meat to be on the really safe side. I have landed somewhere in between.
You do need to cook meat to a temperature at which certain bacteria are killed. The chart below lists the temperatures I use for various cuts of meat and poultry. To be on the safe side, you should develop your own list of temperatures to follow (this sentence is designed to keep me out of jail. LOL)

Internal Temperatures in Degrees F
Beef
Brisket……………………………….175
Eye of Round …………………..125
Roast ……………………………… 130
Chicken
Bone-in……………………………160
Boneless………………………….160
Leg/Thigh ……………………….185
Hamburger
Med Rare ………………………..130
Medium ………………………….. 145
Well Done………………………..160
Pork Chop……………………….140
Pork Loin……………..135 to 140
Prim Rib Roast
Rare……………………………………120
Med Rare:………………125 to 130
Medium…………………..135 to 140
Steak
Rare……………………………………..120
Med Rare…………………..125 to 130
Medium…………………….130 to 135
Whole Turkey
Breast…………………………….165
Thigh……………………170 to 175
(reading in thickest
part of thigh)
Yeast Bread……….190 to 205