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Thursday, January 26, 2012

My first goat

Today was my first time eating goat; It was also my first time cooking goat.

I used a recipe from the cookbook Cast Iron Cuisine: From Breakfast to Dessert.

Actually I had used this recipe before, but it wasn't with goat, but with leftover lamb.

It took me a couple of days to make.

Cutting up a goat is an adventure; Do not attempt without a cleaver and bone shears.

Where I live, goat is sold by the quarter. I had a forequarter.

After I bought it, I learned that the hindquarter is more preferable for grilling or roasting.

But since this particular recipe is meant for tough meat, the forequarter was fine.

After you cut up the goat into manageable pieces, season them with salt and pepper.

Heat some cooking oil in a cast iron pot and brown the pieces of meat.

Then remove the browned pieces, and in the same pot, brown some chopped onions and whole garlic cloves.

Reduce heat. Put the meat back into the pot.

Add sundried tomatoes and sliced mushrooms*, and enough beef broth** to cover halfway.

*The actual recipe calls for bell peppers but I don't like them.

**You could also use wine, or any other liquid you want.

Put the covered pot in the oven on low heat (250) for a few hours.

Remove the meat and veggies from the pot and strain the broth into a bowl. Refrigerate until a fat cap forms. Remove the fat cap.

Put the meat, veggies and broth back into the pot. Put back in the oven on low heat to simmer some more.

This recipe can also be done in a crock pot, or outside over coals.

The meat was "fall off the bone" tender. It had a different taste. I liked it.

As I understand, the sun dried tomatoes should not be omitted from this recipe, because it makes all the difference in the taste.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The "way too processed for me" sauce

So I found a recipe on the internet, that to me, sounded terrible.

It consisted of a sauce made of velveeta, rotel tomatoes, and cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup.

Now, I've always liked the "velveeta and rotel" dip. It was one of the first things I learned how to cook.

And I've always liked the cream soups; My favorite is cream of chicken.

But together? Ugh! Nevertheless, a few friends told me how great it was and that I should try it.

So I made a sample yesterday, just to see if I'd like it.

While I have to admit that it tasted good, I didn't like the way it made me feel afterwards.

It's the same feeling I get after eating McDonald's. That "way too processed" feeling.

The sauce would have been fine without the addition of the cream soup.

Regarding velveeta, I've liked it my whole life, and have always sworn by it for cooking purposes.

But in recent months, that has changed. I actually prefer white american cheese now.

White american cheese can be bought from any store deli, sliced or not.

White american cheese melts great, and I think it tastes better and has a better texture than velveeta.

White american cheese is commonly used in mexican dishes, and is awesome.

You may think that white american cheese is the same as traditional yellow, but it's not. It has a fresher, less "processed" taste, and a better texture.

It's generally better quality because it's purchased in the service deli, and not on the store shelf.

If you're a velveeta fan, I'd encourage you to try white american cheese at least once. You won't regret it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My first "mostly from scratch" french onion soup

I've made quickie french onion soup before, using campbell's canned french onion soup.

This was the first time I made it "mostly from scratch."

I say mostly because, I still used canned beef consomme and lipton onion soup mix.

But this time I cooked down the onions first!

Slice up a whole vidalia onion. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a cast iron skillet.

Heat the butter until it's foaming, and then add the sliced onions. Cook down until caramelized.

While the onions are cooking, start simmering your broth in a small cast iron pot.

I used 2 cans of Campbell's beef consomme. You could use beef stock, or even venison stock.

After the onions are caramelized, add them to the pot of simmering broth and keep simmering.

Add your seasonings; I chose to use lipton onion soup mix.

You could use dried onion flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, beef bouillon.

After it's simmered a while, add your bread and cheese.

I used freshly baked white bread and provolone cheese, with a little bit of white american cheese.

If I were to do this again, I'd use freshly baked french bread, in thick slices.

You can use most any white cheese, but I like provolone.

Into the oven at 400 degrees until the cheese is well melted.

It was the best french onion soup I ever had!

The only thing that might have made it better was, if I had added some red wine.

Should you use the 1 quart camp oven on the stovetop?

I used to think that you couldn't use a camp oven that has legs on the stovetop at all.

Which, for an electric stove, is mostly true.

It's not impossible, as the pot will heat up, but it is an inefficient use of fuel.

But then I got a gas stove, and discovered that if you take off the burner grate, you can indeed use a camp oven on the stovetop.

So, I figured the Lodge one quart camp oven would not be an exception; I was going to use it tonight, for the first time.

First, due to the legs being so close together, balancing it on the burner without it tipping, was "iffy". You can see how the center of the burner is raised a little.

Second, the flame from the burner rose up the sides of the pot, which would have burned me if I wasn't careful.

So, while not impossible, I don't recommend it. I ended up transferring the broth to another pot.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My first chicken cordon bleu

I made my first chicken cordon bleu!

I flattened some boneless skinless chicken breasts, then butterfly cut each one.

If I were to do this again, first I'd cut each chicken breast in half, and then flatten each half so they're really thin.

That would make it easier to stuff, and it would be a better balance of chicken to stuffing, instead of mostly chicken.

Then in each breast, I put one thin slice of ham, one slice of provolone and one slice of white american cheese.

I must warn you, american cheese will melt all over the pan. It was still VERY good, but if you don't want cheese all over the pan, then stick with the provolone.

You can use mostly any white cheese; Some recipes call for swiss.

Then I rolled each stuffed breast in parmesan bread crumbs.

Into the oven at 350.

The sauce is optional: Melt 2 tbsp butter, then whisk in 2 tbsp flour. Whisk in 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup cream. Add black pepper and oregano.

It was very good, just too much chicken and not enough stuffing. Hence, next time I'll cut the breasts in half.