Thursday, July 29, 2010

Turtles anyone?

From Mark:

Try this for the kids this BBQ season!

…this is a heart attack waiting to happen.

Handmade ground beef patties, topped with cheese, wrapped in a bacon weave.

Then the next step, add hotdogs as the heads, leg and tail.

Place on an oven rack, covered loosely with foil and baked for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees.

A little crispy, not too crunchy...just how a turtle should be!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


This could be fun! I will have to work on it! Our profile pics don't show up on this one guess we will have to sign our names!


Crystallized Ginger

Crystallized (Candied) Ginger is a wonderful thing.  You can use it as a snack, in marinades, in baking.  And ginger has many medicinal properties.  Most notably it aids digestion and cures and prevents a variety of ills relating to the GI tract.  Matthew likes it for bedtime snack and I give it to him in lieu of Dramamine for motion sickness.  It really works.  I take it for nausea often & carry it with me in my purse.  I can't say enough good things about it.  I even put it in my turkey brine at Thanksgiving.  Its both sweet and hot to the tongue.

That being said, Penzey's charges about $3.50 an ounce for the stuff.  I made a batch that amounted to almost a pound, and it cost me about $4. 
However, be warned:  this is a little time-consuming.  A good portion of it, though, does not require constant monitoring, so you can do other things -- you just need to be there.  Count on an hour and a half to two hours total.

You will need:
Ginger Root.  A piece about the size of your hand will do.  It really doesn't matter, but I figure, if I'm making the stuff, I'm going to make a big batch.  It keeps for weeks in an airtight container.

That's it.

First, peel all the ginger.  I do it with a paring knife, but some say you can use the side of a spoon, and you save more of the ginger that way.  All I got was a cramp in my thumb, so I went back to the knife.  Cut off the knobs as you need to in order to peel it.  They don't have to be pretty.

Next, slice it up, as thinly and evenly as possible.  I used my mandoline.

Unfortunately, I lost the little guard thingy, and my blade is dull.  However, not dull enough, evidently. (I think I need a new mandonline.)

Don't do this!

After returning from the ER (just kidding!  I didn't have to go -- I just put Super Glue on it.  Really!), place all the ginger slices in a large pot and generously cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil, turn heat down, but keep it at a good simmer, and put the lid on askew -- just so all the water doesn't boil off.  Cook this for about 40 minutes.  Your kitchen will smell wonderful.

After that, reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and drain off the rest.  (One time I reserved it all, strained it, made it into a simple syrup and mixed it with seltzer it to make home made ginger ale, but the kids didn't really like it, so I've stopped doing that.)

If you have a kitchen scale, weigh your drained ginger.  Put it in the pot, and add an equal amount, by weight, of plain sugar.  Add the 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid.  (If you don't have a kitchen scale, just eyeball it.  I used about 2 cups of sugar for this batch.  You can't add too much -- just too little.)

Now, bring this mess back up to a rolling boil and don't cover it.  Keep it at a boil.  For a while, you can just stir occasionally.  As more of the water boils off, you will need to start stirring constantly.  You will also get a ginger facial.  Continue to cook it at a rolling boil until ALL the water is gone and the sugar re-crystalizes.  Be very careful.  This stuff is like napalm.  Use a hotpad!

Start stirring constantly now:

Now it's done:

Spread it out on a baking sheet to cool.  The rack really didn't work, as the ginger just fell through, and its not necessary anyway.  When I package it up, I just use a slotted spoon to get the ginger but leave most of the sugar behind.  Put it in a plastic container, but NOT in a plastic bag.  I don't know why, but it will get gummy in a baggie.

This will keep for about 6 weeks.  Maybe longer, but I've never had a batch stay around that long -- we eat it. 

Don't throw that yummy, gingery sugar away!  Its great for sweetening tea, sugar cookies, ginger snaps, frosting, just about anything. 

Nothing wrong with this pot that a good cold water soak can't fix:

Oh, and in keeping with my original rules regarding not getting sued for copyright infringement, I must say that this recipe is based on Alton Brown's, over at the Food Network:

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beer Can (OK, Really 7-UP) Chicken, Caprese Salad & Flat Bread

Welcome to the first installment of Koszuth Kitchen!  I thought a whole chicken would be an appropriate way to start things off -- Grandma would approve. 

I acually made this a week or so ago, but since I want this blog to have plenty of pictures, I was experiencing technical difficulties (well, actually operator ignorance), and things got delayed.  Now that I'm writing this, I wish I had more pictures to post.  I'll get better at this as I go. 

Family and friends should have gotten their invitations by now to become contributors.  If you haven't, and want one, please let me know via e-mail and I'll get you set up.  Remember, you have to reply to the official invite to become a contributor.  Now, for the chicken.

This is pretty basic.  You will need:

1 Whole chicken, washed & patted dry, with yucky stuff from the inside removed
1/2 (or so) stick of softened butter
2 Tbls. Penzey's Jerk Chicken & Fish, or other spice mix of your choice
Zest & juice of 1 lime
1 can 7 up or beer of your choice (my brothers in law drank all my beer the last time they were here, so I only had 7-up in the house).
1 can Crescent roll dough
Penzey's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle
Fresh Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh Basil, washed & torn into bite sized pieces
Fresh Mozarella Cheese, sliced
Really good Olive Oil
Really good Balsamic Vinegar

OK, let start with the birdie:
1.  Mix the spices & lime zest with the butter
2.  Rub him (or her) all over the outside with the butter/spice mix.  Be sure to get under the skin as much as possible.  Congratulations.  You are now all gooey, but your hands will be nice and soft.  If you  have time, let the bird sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, uncovered.  This makes for crispier skin.
3.  Open the can of soda/beer.  With a church-key, put 2 or three more holes in the top.  Pour off and drink about half the contents of the can.  (If using beer, I take no responsibility for any culinary accidents that occur after this point).
4.  Give the chicken a soda/beer can enema.  That is, sit the bird, legs down & wings up, on the can.  Refrain from Jr. High-level humor.
5.  Here's where I'm not so exact.  I put it on my gas grill, over very low, indirect heat, for about an hour and a half.  The temp of the grill hovered around 225-250.
This is what it looked like:

And it tasted good, too!

The hard part was getting it off the can, which still had a good amount of soda in it.  Let it rest first for about 10 to 15 minutes.  It was still hot, but I managed with a pair of tongs and a hot pad that then needed to be washed.  After carving I squeezed what was left of the lime over it.

Now, for the Caprese Salad, which is just a fancy name for tomatoes, cheese & basil.

Take all three and lay them out on a plate.  Make it look pretty!  Drizzle with Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar.  Here it is:

Oh, except I forgot to take a picture after I dressed it!  (I actually GREW these tomatoes & basil all by myself!)

And finally, the bread.  This is soooooo simple!  And my children think I'm a goddess when I make it!

Lay out the crescent roll dough flat on a baking sheet (I usually line it with parchment paper because I'm lazy about clean-up, but Wally World was out this week).  Sprinkle with the Brady Street Cheese.  DON'T ROLL UP!  Bake at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes.  Voila!

Mine mutated a bit when I was trying to lay them out.  I put the ugly ones on the bottom and the pretty ones on top!
See?  Aren't they pretty now?

So, that was our meal last Sunday.  It was really good, and so were the leftovers. 

Well, I acually envisioned more "in process" photos, but I forgot to take them.  Its hard to operate a camera when your hands are covered in chicken goo.  But, I'll do better next time!

So, everyone get cooking!  Take photos!  and Post!  I'm hungry!

And, (In my best Julia Child Falsetto) "Remember to SAVE THE LIVERS!"