Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How The Pioneer Woman lost her groove

I'm a fan of The Pioneer Woman blog.  Over the years, I've gotten so many ideas for meals from that site that I could honestly be thought of as some sort of groupie.  But lately, I find myself skipping over more than 90% of her posts.  Why the change?  As her blog has become more popular, as she has become more of a media darling with guest spots on The Bonnie Hunt Show, Good Morning America, and The View, she has let her blog slip.  A few weeks ago, she flatly stated that she was going to be doing a lot less posting on her blog.

That's a shame.  Because what she has chosen to do to fill in the gap is invite others to post on her blog.  There is a much greater portion of posts devoted to home schooling, which matters to me not at all.  There are reviews of meals others have posted on other food blogs.  There are posts by people I don't know, don't care about, and have never heard of.  It's like The Pioneer Woman has turned into the Huffington Post.  Lots of content, exceedingly little of it by the person who attracted me to the place, and most of the rest of it is just noise.  Unfortunately, The Pioneer Woman blog doesn't speak to me anymore.

The Pioneer Woman is now doing book tours and writing children's books and doing television.  You know what?  More power to her.  She deserves success.  But.  While she insists when she does write on her blog, that she is ever so much happier if she never had to leave her ranch and slip out of those holey yoga pants,  I'm really not buying it anymore.  The Pioneer Woman is no longer little ol' Ree Drummond from Nowheres, OK.  She is now THE PIONEER WOMAN, media maven.

I'm glad she's growing as a person.  I'm glad she's getting money for her efforts.  But I still feel a pang in my heart for the old Ree.  I'm going to miss her old site.  I'm really going to miss the recipes.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Deviled eggs three ways

Today being Easter and all, I thought I'd do something traditional and eat eggs. But I wasn't much in the mood for the whole dying the eggs and hiding them.  So I decided to make eggs my favorite way:  devil them!

But even then, I was in the mood for something different.  So I went with some different ideas.  I ended up with chipotle deviled eggs with adobo, yellow curry deviled eggs, and bacon and chive deviled eggs.  All were delicious.  And here's the process, I used.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Venison roast and cheesy polenta

I'm the first to be straight up with you.  I'm not a fan of salt.  Sure, I'll shake a little on popcorn.  Maybe on fried chicken.  But that's about it.  Salt started getting a bad rap about the time I was in junior high school, and my junior high school answer to bad health news was to stop using salt altogether.  It has literally been decades since I was a regular salt user. Before I became interested in cooking, my salt shaker would gather dust on the shelf.  I think I carried the same one-pound Morton salt container through four different moves.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My turn as a chicken farmer

One day back toward the middle of February, a package arrived at Bek's house. It contained three dozen chicks. Two were destined for the chopping block.  The last was destined for the chicken coop and life as a laying hen.  Mind you, you can't sex chickens easily as chicks.  So, you aren't really sure if you are getting hens or cocks.

You have to raise them and hope for the best.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saffron rice

Sorry I haven't been posting.  Believe it or not, I've been eating out of my freezer for weeks now due to high work demands.  Oh well, clearing out the old so I have room for the new.  Bek and Matt let me partner with them and a few other families on a chicken ranching endeavor.  Last Saturday we harvested our crop!  I promise I will post on that soon, but for now I'd like to tell you about the first dish I made with one of our chickens.

It was a six-pound chicken, by the way.  That's a lot of chicken.  I deboned the breasts and they weighed a pound each!  That's three meals worth of meat from just one breast!  Owing to the large size of this chicken, I only used half the chicken (and the wing I mostly fed to Scout).  But the rest of this wonderful, savory dish is mine.  All mine I tell ya.

Saffron chicken and rice.

It is golden and delicious. Sweet with a subtle flavor that reminds you of something that you can't quite put your finger on.  I came upon this recipe recently and remembered that I had some saffron in my spice cabinet.  Yes, it was several years old, but maybe it would still do the trick.  (Spoiler alert:  use your saffron in a timely manner.  What are you waiting on?  You paid a fortune for it, use it while it's still fresh!)

So with chicken and saffron in hand, I embarked.

I'm not going to repost the chicken recipe, since I followed the recipe for Saffron Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen nearly exactly.  Except that I used a cup and a half of chicken broth and allowed it to reduce for added flavor.

For the saffron rice, I would have liked a long-grain rice like jasmine, but I only had botan.  So botan is was.  It is really very simple.

Put a half cup of water in the microwave and heat to boiling.  Remove it from the microwave and add about 1/8 teaspoon of saffron threads.  I used Spanish saffron but you can also use Indian saffron.  I steeped the saffron in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, I put a teaspoon of butter in a pan on the stove to melt.  When melted, I added a cup and a half of rice.  Ok, so I didn't wait until the butter had melted.  Sue me.  In any event, it was on high and as soon as the butter melted, I stirred the rice around and coated every piece in lovely butter molecules of tastiness.

I went back to the microwave and heated to boiling one and a half cups of water with one vegetable bullion cube.  (You could also just use vegetable or chicken broth.) When that was boiling, I added the vegetable broth and the steeped saffron water to the rice.  It began to boil immediately.  I stirred the dish once well, covered it and set the flame to low.  I set the timer for 20 minutes.  Twenty minutes later, I had lovely saffron rice from heaven.  Finally, I thawed some frozen peas (thawed, not cooked!) and added them to the finished rice as a kind of quickie pilaf.

Serve with the chicken, onions, and fresh parsley and you have a dish sure to make any man swoon.  I promise a picture tomorrow.  I meant to take a picture, but I couldn't stop eating my dinner long enough to focus.  :-)

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