Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A&J Tackle PW: Week Seven


Okay.  Originally, when I first typed this, the intro was "Week seven!! We're such badasses!!  We are cooking our way thru the Pioneer Woman's second cookbook, and we're REALLY doing it!!  I already want to do book one when we're finished!!"

But that was like two months ago, so I feel slightly less badass now.  What can I say, between vacation, Angela moving, and my mom coming over, we weren't cooking.  At all.  But we're back, and ready to be badasses again, and we picked up right where we left off.

Anyway.  For week seven, we did Peach Whiskey Chicken (p177), Crash Hot Potatoes (p217), Apricot Shrimp Skewers (p183), Caprese Salad (p98) and maybe the donuts (p8).



~Peach Whiskey Chicken~
Okay, the version from her website is different than the one in the book, so I will use parenthesis and let you know what's different.  Does that make sense? During this challenge, I always go by the book.  Unless I'm changing things.  Duh.

Hmm.  Well, I made this just like it says.  It was good, really VERY good.  However.  I'm not sure it was any better than it would have been had I just stuck some legs in a pot, covered them with a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's, and baked them for two hours.  You know? It was sort of a lot of work, with the browning and the onions...okay.  It doesn't sound like THAT much work.  But for some reason it took me quite a while from when I started until I got them into the oven.  And I don't know anything about how expensive alcohol is supposed to be, but is there like a generic whiskey I could buy? Because the bottle of Jack Daniels I got was like eleven dollars.  And this recipe used the whole bottle.  Am I being cheap? That just seems like an expensive meal.

Also, I didn't have any peaches.  I can't find fresh, and using canned just seemed gross.

Here's what Angela says:


Changed a few things in this recipe. I used skinless boneless chicken breasts. My experience with the soy plum chicken made me think I didn't need skin or dark meat. I only used one peach, again experience dictated other than what the recipe stated. I served it with rice, not potatoes. Other than that, I followed the recipe. This is a good dish. The flavor was more subtle than I expected. If I make it again, I will not add the water. I like it when sweet dishes get carmelized and sticky, this was just soupy. It was good and the sauce is good. I froze it and used it in a crock pot with ribs later in the week, that was tasty.


Ingredients

  • 12 whole Chicken Thighs, Bone-in, Skin-on (book says 12 legs)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1-1/2 cup Whiskey
  • 12 ounces, fluid Barbecue Sauce (book says four cups, which is 16oz)
  • 1 jar Peach Preserves (book says one cup, which is different if you have a different sized jar, I guess...)
  • 1/2 cup Water (book just doesn't have any water) *actually, it does, later in the instructions, just not in the ingredients list.  That's a little annoying. 
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled (book doesn't have garlic either)
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin
  • book calls for 4 peaches, pitted and sliced into eight slices each
  • book calls for mashed potatoes, and chopped fresh parsley

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat oil and butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs, four at a time, in the pot, skin side down. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate and repeat until all chicken is browned.
Pour off half the grease(book doesn't say to pour off grease), then return pan to stove. Add onions to pan and stir, cooking for 2 minutes. 
Pour whiskey into the pot, being very careful if you're using an open flame. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing whiskey to reduce for a minute or two. 
Pour in barbecue sauce, peach preserves, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Throw in garlic cloves. 

Stir until combined, then return chicken to the pot, skin side up. (Here the book says to throw in the sliced peaches.) Cover and put pot in oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from oven.
Serve pieces of chicken over a big pile of smashed potatoes. Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top.





~Crash Hot Potatoes~

These were good.  Easy, basic, and good.  I love potatoes.

Sounds like Angela and I were on the same page for this one.  Here's her two cents:


These are very good. I love potatoes. LOVE potatoes. And this is just a slightly different way to enjoy them. I used my Tony's seasoning instead of rosemary to give it some kick. Other than that, it's the same.  So good.  The kids liked it with ketchup, I like mine with a little bit of sour cream. They'd still be good plain. And they are pretty healthy, for a starch. 


Ingredients
  • -12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • -3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • -Kosher Salt To Taste
  • -Black Pepper To Taste
  • -Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.





~Apricot Shrimp Skewers~

Gag.  More shrimp? This lady is WILD about shrimp!! And of course I can't find it on the web.  You better appreciate me typing all this out.  Ugh.  Especially considering I won't even be eating it!!

I can't find apricots, so Nick will have to make do with pineapple.

Scratch that, I did get some apricots.  No one liked this at my house.  The kids didn't like the mushy apricots, they just pulled all the shrimp off and ate that.  Nick said he wouldn't bother with this again.

Naturally, Angela was the opposite.  Here's what she thought: (FYI, I'm not editing this anymore for you Angela!! Use your shift key, it's VERY easy!!)


this was yummy. i did not blacken my jalapenos. i'm just too lazy and i don't have a convenient grill on my stove top (as i assume most people do not). so i just used non blackened jalapenos. it probably has a little more kick that way, but i LOVE jalapenos. i did leave the seeds out so it wouldn't be overwhelming. i just followed the rest of the recipe as is. it was super easy and very good. i like the sweet glaze on seafood, so i already knew i'd like it. the grilled apricots were interesting, this is the first time i've even had apricots. but it is good. i will do it again. it is very summery. i think it'd be very good with pineapple (i LOVE grilled pineapple). 





Apricot Shrimp Skewers p 183
Ingredients:
-4 fresh jalapenos
-1/2 apricot preserves
-4 apricots, pitted
-1 red onion, halved and peeled
-1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
-chopped fresh cilantro, to taste


Directions:
1. Soak your bamboo skewers for at least an hour so they don't smoke and catch fire.


2. Roast the jalapenos over an open burner or grill.  Alternatively, you can blacken them under the broiler in your oven.  Keep on the fire until skin in totally black, then pop them into a plastic ziploc and seal them inside.


3. While the jalapenos are steaming, pour the preserves into a bowl, at 1/5 cup water and whisk it together to thin.  


4. Remove the jalapenos from the bag and use a knife to scrape off the blackened skin.  Chop them up, discarding most of the seeds and inner membranes, and stir them into the apricot glaze.  Set glaze aside while you assemble the skewers.  


5. Slice the apricots into six wedges, then cut the wedges in half to make chunks.  Cut the red onion into chunks.  Rinse the shrimp under cool water.  Thread the shrimp thru the top and the tail to keep it in place, then build the skewers to your heart's content.  Be sure to double up the apricot chucnks so the really make their mark on society.  


6. Grill the skewers over medium heat.  Divide the glaze in half in 2 separate bowls.  Turn skewers over, brush on the glaze form one of the bowls.  Continue grilling until the shrimp are opaque and the apricots have nice grill marks.


7. Remove them to a clean plate.  Use the fresh unused batch of glaze and a clean brush to brush on more glaze at the end.  Sprinkle on cilantro and serve immediately.  Serve with rice or pasta.


*Variations*
-Add chunks of red, yellow, or green peppers to the skewers.
-Substitute pineapple chunks for the apricot chunks.
-Substitue jalapeno jello for the apricot jelly for more spice, and omit the roasted jalapenos.



~Caprese Salad~
Nick liked this.  I made some with tomatoes, some with peaches (that's what she suggests in the book) because I do NOT eat tomatoes.  I think I'm not a fan of mozzarella either.  The whole time I was eating the slices together, I was thinking man I wish I were eating that dubliner cheese.  Or the beehive cheese from Whole Foods.  Or pepperjack. But Nick loved it, licked the plate, and made it again the next day for work.  He's so weird.  Ava ate a few bites, the boys didn't even try it.  It's hard to make them try something that I'm not trying.  They're getting too smart for their own good.

Angela's (unedited) input:



i did this a little differently. a little easier to serve. i cut up the mozzarella into square type pieces and used grape tomoatoes that i halved. i chopped up the basil. other than that i followed the recipe and just tossed the vinegar and oil with it. this was very tasty, but i only like a little bit, not a huge serving of it. but whole milk mozzarella, yu-mmy.  





Ingredients
  • 2 cups Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 whole Ripe Tomatoes, Sliced Thick
  • 12 ounces, weight Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thick
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Olive Oil, For Drizzling
  • Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preparation Instructions

In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or cruet. Allow to cool.

When you’re ready to serve, arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Arrange basil leaves between the slices. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, getting a little bit on each slice. Do the same with the balsamic reduction, making designs if you want. Store extra balsamic reduction in fridge for a later use.

End with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Serve as a lunch, with crusty bread. Or serve alongside a beef main course for dinner.
~ ~

We didn't get to the donuts.  And, sweet surprise to me, I thought we had a bunch of other recipes for this post, but they're for the next week!! So I should be back with that tomorrow.  Assuming my kids quit dicking around and go down for their naps.  Not holding my breath.

Did any of ya'll do any Pioneer Woman cookin' these last two months? I'd love to hear about it!!

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