Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Xmas Presents that Keep on Giving! Starting 2011 in the Kitchen!

So due to the lack of popularity on my golf blog-and my lack of my motivation to write anything in it-I've decided to try something new for this year. This Christmas I was extremely blessed and received a LOT of cookbooks. It turns out one of my hobbies is collecting recipes :S I figured this would be a great way to keep track of what I've made each week, as well as my reviews of each recipe I tried out.

First Weekend of January-The Weather Outside is Frightful...

This weekend saw the first snow event in Calgary for 2011. We didn't receive a ton of snow, but the winds were high and blowing snow was the big problem, keeping Matt and I inside all weekend. As we also are at the beginning of the annual Calgary January deep-freeze, I decided to spend the weekend in the kitchen, with the oven going quite a bit to help warm up the house. I started Friday morning by throwing chicken breasts into the slow cooker. I found a recipe similar to my Nana's "floating chicken" on my fave recipe website, and thought I'd give it a try. The main difference between my version and Nana's tried and true recipe was that I added 1/4 cup of Hernder Vidal (Niagara white wine) to the mix in substitution for mushrooms, which Matt dislikes. 8 hours on low = a wonderfully fragrant house to walk into at the end of a work week! Paired it with Hernder Vidal to bring out the new flavor, and sides were garlic bread from M&M meat shops and a salad of green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, feta & bottled vinaigrette. Matt's review: he loved it! Super delicious and I think this one's going to go into regular rotation-as much of one as I have! I modified the recipe and added onions, garlic powder (will use minced cloves next time) and paprika sprinkled on the breasts. Special thanks to my Nana R for being such a great cook & inspiration; I only hope that one day I can be as good in the kitchen as you are! Both the chicken recipe & wine pairing are an A+, but still not as good as Nana's original!

Saturday night I decided to make my version of Cornflake Chicken, another Nana-inspired recipe. I found a great version of it on my fave recipe website (again), that incorporates cheddar & parmesan cheese into the cornflake mixture. I tried a few things different this time, including poking holes in the chicken while dredging in margarine to increase juiciness, and topping the cornflake mix with the shredded cheddar instead of mixing it with the cornflakes and herbs, and it was a winner! Matt's review: best version I've made to date, and I've made it quite a few times already. Slow cooker Sunday is a weekly event in the Holyantle household, but this time I decided to get it out on Saturday and made Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots in it. The recipe came from a cookbook binder given to me by my godmother a few Christmases ago. I made a modification to the recipe as I didn't have any OJ in the house (I don't like it), and used Grand Marnier for the orange flavor in it's place. It worked out great! I'll definitely make that one again. Paired again with the Hernder Vidal to finish off the bottle (I consider it "crack wine" in my world!), I rate both recipes A+ and the wine pairing an A.

Sunday morning I made the first recipe from my loot of 2010 Xmas & birthday cookbooks, which was from The Food Network Kitchens given to me from my "seestor" Ang! The recipe: Potato Pancakes with Pink Applesauce. I made the applesauce the night before. WOW! I plan to make this again and again, it was sweet without having a lot of sugar in it (only 3 tbsp for 2lbs of apples), and brought out the flavor of the gala apples I used wonderfully! I might even try sweetening it with honey in the future too! I made the potato pancakes this morning, and despite the messiness and the 2 cooking wounds I sustained (grated my finger & burnt a knuckle on the skillet) they turned out great, albeit a bit bland for our tastes. The few modifications I will personally make in the recipe are to add some chopped garlic and more seasonings (salt, pepper & nutmeg) to the "batter", and will always pair it with the applesauce. I rate the applesauce an A+, and the potatoes a B due to the modifications and stickiness of the wax potatoes - although they held together well in the skillet.
*Note to my vegetarian family: if you come out to visit us in Alberta, I WILL make this for you for breakfast!

This afternoon for lunch I am making Holiday Spinach Pinwheels, something I made while spending time with my mother-in-law when in Ottawa for Christmas. A great simple recipe that yields yummy results! The recipe:
-mix cream cheese with sweetened dried cranberries, green onions, and a bit of feta cheese.
-mix together in a bowl, and then
-spread evenly on spinach tortillas - to add to holiday ambiance!
-roll up tortillas and refrigerate for about an hour
-slice them into pinwheels-I use a diagonal cut.
-eat & enjoy!
Thank you for the recipe Nancy :)

After this I won't be in the kitchen much as the work week begins again, and I will have my first "Tubby Dog" experience on Wednesday with a friend. To see what I'm getting myself into:

Thursday night is my estimated next cooking experience, and I am planning to make Mulligatawny Soup-another one from my fave recipe website! I tried good curry for the first time 2 years ago, and love to cook and experiment with it now. More on that later! Thanks for reading!

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