Showing posts with label MP Cooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MP Cooks. Show all posts

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Red Chicken in a French Pot

Roasted Red Chicken in a Red Pot with Red Fire Peppers and Red Onions

That's what we call this recipe that I make in my red French Braiser oven. My husband got it for me for Valentine's Day/Birthday/ILoveYouAlwaysEveryDay.  We have a few, a very few poulet rouge chickens left in our freezer (translates Chicken Red Chicken). I love red onions best for cooking, had red potatoes and red bell peppers in the fridge, and nothing is complete without red cayenne and red/pink sea salt.  I also brine the chicken. I brine all poultry, always in sugar and salt water. Actually, this is how I thaw the frozen bird.

Put the chicken in and tuck quartered onions, potatoes, red bell pepper, and some butter all around. I also put in a few slices of citrus, this time it was clementine but lemon and blood orange work well too.  I put melted butter all over the bird and then sprinkled with salt and cayenne and white pepper. Sometimes I use our Swamp Fire mix, but your favourite seasoned salt will work. I have used the North African Berber seasoning from Pensey's and that is good too.

350 degrees until it is done. Usually 75 minutes, but this one was done in 45. Check. I start to check with the meat thermometer when it starts to smell good and brown on top. Always use a good meat thermometer. Always.

I cooked the chicken upside down. Not on purpose. I could not remember which way it was supposed to go.  We carve it up, leave the onions in the pot, put the bones back in, add carrots, celery, and vinegar. Fill pot with water and put back in the oven over night= 3-4 quarts of good bone broth.

The kids fight over the drum sticks and both girls eat all the meat off to the bone. Isaac gets a mini drum from the thigh. He eats it to bone too. The breast meat is tender and juicy and very deep in chicken flavour- that's the breed of chicken though, not the cooking method. Breed and feed matter, this hertiage bird is raised outside at our farm and fed goat milk whey. It takes a fabulous breed and makes it that much better. When we raise these to sell, we post on facebook and sell out 80 chickens in 20 minutes, with a waiting list. They are that good. They average 4-5 lbs each.

I had to hide my last 10 to keep them for our family. ;)

We do chicken at our house every 3 weeks or so. Each chicken will provide 4 meals. We don't waste any of it.


1 Whole Chicken, brined
8 small red potatoes or 4 large yellow potatoes quartered
1 red onion quartered
1 stick of butter
1-2 red bell peppers chopped into 2 inch chunks
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste (or seasoned salt)
1 orange or lemon (citrus)

350 degrees until done

Friday, 17 August 2012

Preface/Background to Our Chinese Unit Study, Unschool Style, plus an introduction to newbies to "strewing".....

We homeschool. We unschool as a philosophical approach. For those who are unfamiliar with that term, it is like Montessori without the large class management of other people's children aspect.

Our classroom is our home, our farm, our community- you get the idea. Our home is filled with books, seriously thousands of books. No less than three bookcases hold "kid" books, the rest are all over- history, science, literature, classics, antiques, newest editions, science fiction. We love books.

In our dining room, at kid level, I have art supplies. I do keep the higher quality paints and inks up high but only so Zap doesn't eat them and Holly doesn't take up Interior decorating- again. They can have them down when they ask, just not when I am in the shower or on the phone. You know? This.

I have a whole huge bookcase with kid history, math, and reading books. Whole curricula..

"Hold up, lady, you just said you unschool!" Yes I did. That doesn't mean we don't learn things or enjoy using books. We all do. Especially me.

That's where something called strewing comes into play. Strewing is where we make available items of interest and leave them in accessible places to be found and explored at will.

So I thought about how we will handle school this year, since I am going back to work away from home a couple days a week and fall is pretty busy with deliveries and craziness of farm stuff. My kids have been begging to learn more about China, love Chinese food, music, and art. We've also fielded some questions from them about why we don't buy Made in China products (we actually do though), especially packaged food and art supplies (which end up as food unintentionally toddler style). A really negative bias has crept up in our whole culture regarding products from China, mostly from teh massive lead poisoning issues that have happened. Plus we like to buy local, as local as possible in all things. But that doesn't mean we have to bash a whole culture, you know?

And I realized too that I know very little about China. I mean, I have seen Mulan a million times with the kids, and I know I like crab Rangoon, and I can point to China on the map....and that's about it really.

So what better way to organize our lives and learning than to have mama learn some more about China? And that's how we'll do this, I will learn and do projects and if they are interested then they can too. I plan on creating a syllabus, with books and supplies provided for each mini lesson, here on the blog, in case anyone wants to replicate what we are doing. Label will be China, Dragons, and Yummies.

A brief summary of items we will cover in the groupings:

Art: watercolor, calligraphy, kite making, origami, paper making
Culture: Tea ceremonies, religion, etiquette, medicine, agriculture, puppetry
History: Time lines
Geography and cooking are paired. We'll study regional cuisines and cook them every week, in reference to regions and types of ingredients. Food can really be a good way to teach other aspects of culture. Plus, YUMMY. Oh, and animals. Geography=animals to my kids. Maybe a zoo trip.
Science: inventions, building, medicine, agriculture, earthquakes
Math: fractions in cooking, calculating for science, abacus, money measuring, weighing
Reading: stories and books from China, about China, writing to a pen pal, writing messages in cards, creating fortune cookie messages, calligraphy
Dragons. My kids like dragons a lot.
Chinese New Year and holidays.
We plan on attending the Asian Festival here this year too.

Things I have purchased so far:
  • A calligraphy set, a real one with ink and stone and hair brushes and bone chine dishes. Not expensive and yes, made in China.
  • Toy dragons. Yes I did.
  • Paper dragons to hang from the ceiling.
  • Real stainless steel chopsticks and bone china spoons
  • Cast iron tea service
  • Tea
  • Books on calligraphy, craft and building projects, books on Chinese history for kids, Chinese mask book
  • Pandora, Traditional Chinese station
  • Netflix, Wild China and Studio Gibli movies. Dress up clothes with Chinese theme.

We'll start this October 1st ish. Expect lots of cute pictures of kids doing stuff and cooking. These items are on the shelves and ready to explore. We already listen to the music every day. At the end of the week, we'll have lunch at the local Chinese buffet (yay rural Iowa!). We'll cook from the recipe books twice a week, maybe more at lunch time.

Each time we do an activity, I will post book and supply list with links to isbns, mostly because that is where I shopped for the stuff.  I'll also post a reflection on what worked, ect.

I'd love additional ideas to work in too.....and that's about all of it. The ideas of it all will unfold as we live it. The girls want to trade out our dining room table for a lower standing coffee table so we have to sit on pillows to eat meals. Is that even how people eat in China? Where did they get that idea?

Friday, 28 November 2008

Giving Thanks for Food!

Every meal that we say grace Lil'Bug says, when it is her turn, "I AM THANKFUL FOR OUR FOOD!"
I am too.
The last couple weeks I have taken pictures of a couple beautiful food moments.

This is the very successful attempt at preparing a Shank Boil. I altered the recipe just a bit. I used a Dutch Oven, skipped the parsnips, and instead of cooking on the stove top, used my oven at 350 degrees for 3-4 hours. Good stuff. One of the best beef meals that we've done from our grass fed local side of beef, ironically on of the cheapest cuts and I was so nervous about it I set aside the cut with the tongue, heart, and liver. Sooooooo very good.

This is how we roast pumpkin to make pumpkin puree for pies and soups. Under each half is a tablespoon of salted butter.

Beans and ham. Easy. The beans are actually underneath the onions too. This is the heartiest, simple meal I know of. Usually I also add celery, but we were out. Another local mama adds cabbage. I want to try that in the future. The beans soak overnight, the soup cooks all day until the ham falls apart. Even yummier as leftovers and freezes very well.

One random afternoon Aunt Bee showed up bearing these. Tur-oreo-crispins. A play on turduckens of our heritage. She is so cool. I am thankful that I lent her my kids a cookin' cook book. ;)

I am thankful that we eat as well as we do, for less than most families manage, and that we've been blessed to live the life we do. Food is our fuel, how we maintain our bodies and mind, nourish. We thank God for the abundance we are granted, the generosity of friends and family that have helped stocked our pantry this year after our miserable garden output.

May you and yours also be blessed this Thanksgiving and the Thanksgivings following.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Things I Have Recently Learned About My Food Processor....

And through experience I might add....

The food processor is an amazing tool. I use it to chop onion, mince garlic, and dice ginger. It does a better job for these if not overloaded. If overloaded, the items turn to mush.

Bread is hard. But not as hard as some people make it out to be. It is way easier with a food processor.

Food processor makes pie crust easy as pie. If the butter is properly chilled and not left out too long, the blades do the work of cutting up and in the butter. Then since it is really fast, you don't even have to re-chill the dough to work it. Time saver!

Something you should know about the food processor is this: DO NOT try and use it to mash potatoes unless you like potato glue. Not fluffy mashed taters but instead super runny, potato glue. Yuck. Also, sorry about that. Some things are worth doing by hand.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Mead and Lamb Burgers

Some thoughts I am distracting myself with while Hobbit is undergoing x-rays and the vet is discussing surgery.

Last week I had the opportunity to try Mead for the first time (thank you, Cousin David!). Those of you who know me, know that I do not drink alcoholic beverages because I don't like the taste. Well, Mead is yummy! I only had a couple sips, but it was mild and sweet. Something else to consider making once we get the bees established!

We also ordered a whole lamb this year. It was a luxury item, but we had hoped it would fill the gap between running out of pork and beef and getting the new supply. As it happened, the pork came before the lamb. We also wanted to cook with it, see if lamb meat would be versatile enough to justify raising sheep.

So far I made a delicious batch of lamb burgers (though not as tasty as the former Chat Noir, in Des Moines, used to serve). They are supposed to be paired with fresh mozzarella and focaccia buns, but the bread was frozen by mistake and I was so flustered by the thought of eating LAMB BURGERS on Sara Lee white bread yuck buns that I forgot to get out the cheese. The meal was good anyway AND, though she wouldn't eat at dinner time, Lil'Bug announced she was hungry at bedtime and raided the fridge for leftovers. She ate almost all of the leftover meat from dinner. Cool.

I think next time I will try and spicy the recipe up a bit. Chat Noir's were spicy. Of the things I really miss from there, lamb burgers, mufalatos, and their caramel pumpkin pecan cheesecake really top the list.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Wish Me Luck

In the next of our using all the beef series, I am making a Shank Boil. Wish me much luck.