Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Blog Host

Dear Readers...ok, I know you're all really just friends & family at the moment,

I have set up The Kitchen Coven on a new blog host.  Google had somehow tagged me as "inappropriate" and therefore were not spidering my posts.   This meant that unless someone knew exactly what to write in a search bar, they were not being directed to my website.  Because of this, I have decided to set up The Kitchen Coven with Wordpress.org though DreamHost.com.  I was able to successfully transfer all my old blogs, future scheduled blogs, and comments to the new host.  This also means that I now own the domain name The Kitchen Coven (YAY) and it is an official "website" www.thekitchencoven.com (YAY)!

What does this mean for you?  Well it doesn't really mean anything unless you signed up to get subscription emails.  If you signed up for subscription emails, you will have to resign up at www.thekitchencoven.com.  That is it!

I hope to continue our love affair for non-corporate food on a much freer and friendlier forum!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bar Top: Coco Rico Mojito

I was at the local ethnic food market and came across this:


Coco Rico is a coconut soda from Puerto Rico.  Now, I don't drink soda but I was extremely intrigued.  I grabbed it and bought it.  I immediately though of rum.  I knew that this soda would go great with some rum.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Orange Marinated Red Pepper

I love bell peppers but I can't eat them raw so I don't buy them often because of that.  Which is a shame, really, because bell peppers add a lot of flavor to salads and can be a great snack.

I read Marc Matsumoto's blog "No Recipes" (and you should too!  His recipes are amazing!) and one day I received a post about "Grapefruit Pickled Peppers" and was very intrigued.  I read through the recipe and I had to try the method immediately.  This method makes a very crisp, marinated pepper that you can eat right out of the jar.  Marinating the peppers in a citrus juice "cooks" the peppers as the acid will break down the fibers a little bit. I have been eating these peppers almost everyday in an afternoon snack salad.  I hesitate to call these peppers "pickles" because technically they are not pickles, so I call them "marinated" peppers.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Knowing How to Can Rocks!

Knowing how to can rocks!  Learning how to can really opened my eyes to a whole different aspect of cooking and I've learned so much from it.  It also taps into my cheap skate side in that I can take advantage of sales.

Weis was having a huge sale the other day and knowing how to can allowed me to turn this:



Into this:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kale and White Beans

I have the never ending bag of kale right now.  I can't go through it fast enough!  I get a new bag of kale every week!  So, I've been thinking up ways to use it up and every time I try a new recipe, I fall more in love in kale.  It's just so darn versatile!  This time I wanted to make it with some beans.

White beans have become my favorite bean.  They don't break down during cooking and tend to keep their shape and flavor, plus they have a smooth, buttery flavor that just goes great with all kinds of vegetables.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Saga Continues: Vegetable Plants

The plants thank you for your prayers!
 
The plants are doing pretty well!  The tomatoes have really rooted down and are growing rather magnificently!  The lettuce was doing so well that I had to transplant one of them into it's own container, so now I have two containers of lettuce.  One of the cabbage was encroaching on the other one, so I transplanted that one into it's own container but I'm pretty sure that I was too late.  That one may be a goner.  We'll see if it thrives in it's own container, keep your fingers crossed for that one.  I also had an onion that started to sprout so I planted that in it's own container as well!  The basil has seen better days but I replaced the soil with new soil and planted it deeper into the soil.  Maybe that will help it root down some more?
 
I started with four pots and now have seven!  Oh, and my buddy, The Mountain Man, has a huge pot that he wants to give me.  I'm still mulling it over on if I will take it or not.  I don't want to plant anything else in case this turns out to be a complete failure!  Haha.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Maple Sugar Apple Rings

This is what goes through my mind when I'm walking through the farmers market:

"Ok, Jessica, you are here for fruit and vegetables that you will eat.  Don't get carried away.  Focus on your list."
"Yes, I will focus on my list.  I only need a few things:  carrots, onions, spinach - Oh look!  Smoked garlic!  That's interesting!"
"FOCUS"
"Yes, focusing on my - OMG!  Plants!  Aren't the peonies so pretty!  I should buy some!"
"You already started a container garden and it's...well - "
"- Oh, hush you, the tomatoes are doing fantabulous!"
"Yes but the cabbage has seen better days"
"Good point. Oooh look!  Bread!  I could buy a baguette and put it in my canvas grocery bag...it will be très français!"
"You bake bread from scratch for a fraction of what that bread costs!"
"You're right.  I don't need bread - but look!  Apples!"
"You don't eat apples out of hand!"
"I know but they are organic AND sustainable!  I have to support a sustainable farm! Right?  Right!"
"Ok, but you *will* eat the apples!"
"Of course I will eat the apples, silly!"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Marinated Red Peppers

Sweet Red Bell Peppers were the first vegetable I canned.  When I first canned them, I wasn't sure what I was going to make with them.  By the time winter came, I made up a recipe with these marinated peppers and sausage that has turned into one of my favorite winter recipes.  Now, I make sure that I have enough cans to last me through the winter.  I will make sure that I can about 7-10 jars.

Before I tell you about the recipe, there are a few important notes I have to inform you of.  As discussed in "Let's Talk About:  Boiling Water Bath Canning" you can only safely BWB can vegetables if they are pickled or fermented somehow.  Also, it is important to note that you should never can with oil; this marinade has oil in it.  So, how does this recipe become safe to can if canning in oil is a big no-no? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Carne Asada

I haven't had carne asada in....hell, since I left Arizona.  Well, *real* carne asada that is.  Many places get really close to the real deal but don't quite make it there.  Carne Asada has a particular flavor that you know when you taste it and I never really knew what it was in the past, I always just bought pre-marinated carne asada from the carniceria in my neighborhood.  When I came across skirt steak at the commissary, I knew I had to make carne asada.  The weather has been warming up, the grass is growing, the leaves had exploded into all their vibrant green glory, it was time to fire up the grill.  I did some research and came across a recipe that sounded promising.

It's really hard to come across skirt steak in MD.  The steak most similar to skirt steak that I have found is flank steak and while it's similar, it does not give the same flavor as skirt.  However, you can still use flank if that's all you can find.

Skirt Steak, see how long and thin it is!

Skirt steak is the long piece of meat taken from the diaphragm.  It is known for it's flavor but it is not very tender so you must marinade it.  The marinade is the secret to carne asada and this marinade is the real deal.  The marinade is what I shall share with you today.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ball Heritage Collection Jars

I got them!  I got them the other day!  I have been anxiously waiting for my set to come in the mail!


My Blue Ball Heritage Collection Pint Jars from Ball!  Aren't they soooooo pretty.  You see, it's Ball's 100 year anniversary this year!  They started making canning jars in 1913.  They are famous for their antique blue jars; and, they are very hard to come by now-a-days.  For their 100 year anniversary, they released a series of blue jars.  Now the modern blue jars are not made the same way as the antique blue jars and the blue color is not exactly the same but they are still pretty!  I bought a pack of blue jars because I know that these jars will be with me for a long time, I know that canning will be with me for (probably) the rest of my life, and I wanted to have my own set of blue jars to pass down to my kids/grandkids (if God ever blesses me with children...someday it may happen!).  I can't wait to fill them!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Red "Curry" Kale

My Early Spring CSA from Brad's Produce started and I have an endless supply of greens.  Around this time of year, my diet turns virtually vegetarian.  My favorite veggies are spring veggies:  asparagus, kale, spinach, spring lettuce, spring onion, etc.  Since we have been getting a bag full of kale every week, I've been eating kale in some way, shape, or form, almost every day.  One of the great things about kale is that it's so versatile and the leaves cling to any sauce that you toss with it.


Because it's still very chilly in MD at the moment (come on, Arizona girl here!  60s is COLD!), I thought that a nice warm curry would be awesome.  There was one catch.  I had everything in my pantry for Red Curry Kale...except the coconut milk.  I had cream and wanted to use the cream in place of coconut milk.  "But Jessica," you say, "You can't have curry without coconut milk!" 

I know.  I was in a conundrum.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mexican Taqueria Pickles

Do you know how you know you are in a *real* taqueria?  Or at a *real* taqueria food truck?

I'll tell you.  Always look for the salsa bar but that's not it.  Go to the salsa bar and look for one thing:  taqueria pickles.  Do you know the type?  The mix of carrots, radishes, onion, and peppers that you can put in those little plastic condiment bowls.  If the taqueria has those pickles, you know you've picked the right spot.  These pickles complete any taco...especially a carne asada taco.

Being from Arizona, I could find these pickles everywhere.  Whenever I would get a craving, just go to the grocery store!  They are always there and always in abundance.

Living in MD it's hard enough to find a Mexican restaurant, let alone a place that serves something that resembles taqueria pickles. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Waste That: Mushroom & Persillade Stuffed Chicken

Now *this* recipe was *not* a miscalculation!  This was yummy.  Really yummy.

I had a handful of mushrooms rolling around in my fridge.  These were the remaining few from a package that I had bought at the farmers market and I had to do something with them before they dried out.  Thinking of how bright and nutty I found the persillade, I though that it would go great with the woody flavor of the mushrooms.  However, I didn't have enough mushrooms to make a big enough side -and- I had only one lone chicken breast defrosted in the fridge (which needed to get used up too before it went bad).  I thought that I could oomph the serving of the chicken by making it a stuffed chicken.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Appalling Miscalculation: Chicken Liver Pasta

I'm always up for trying something different so when I came across Martha Stewart's recipe for Rigatoni with Chicken Livers, I was intrigued.  Mister loves fried chicken gizzards so I thought that I would surprise him with Chicken Liver Pasta for dinner.  Gizzards, liver, same difference right?

The Nutless Wonder, back there, is eyeballing my Chicken Livers!
 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Persillade

I went to the farmer's market this past weekend and came across a smoking deal for some parsley.  Two bunches for five dollars!  So many things were running through my head on what I could do with that parsley.  One of them was Persillade.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Vegetable Plants

OH.

MY.

GOD.

What did I just do?  I came home from Home Depot with this:

What the heck got into me?  I'm a city girl, damn it!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chardonnay Kumquat Marmalade

From a distance, it may seem like I really love me some kumquats.  I mean, kumquats are tiny little fruit and I've already posted many recipes about them...but, while I do enjoy kumquats I do not luuurrrrvvvvvvveeeeee kumquats.  Let me tell you a little story about this batch. 
 
This batch of kumquats was the "original" batch of kumquats that I ordered.  I ordered them through a certain online distribution company (not a farm) and when I received an email back confirming my order I was extremely excited, "Kumquats!  I will finally get kumquats!".  So I anxiously waited and waited...and waited...and waited.  After the first week and a half I tried to send an email to the distribution company to ask when my fruit would be delivered.  The email was bounced back as not deliverable.  Hm.
 
oh sweet kumquats, you have been on quite an adventure!
 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Triple Sec

I came across this recipe just in time.  I was fresh out of Triple Sec and down to my last dash of Cointreau and I was going to go out and buy an orange liqueur when I came across this gem.  I love, love, love margaritas and since I love making my own homemade liqueurs I decided, "why not?" (if you've been following me from the inception of this blog, you probably have realized that I just go for it when it comes to making my own food.)  I had just gotten my crate of oranges from Pearson Ranch California Oranges and wanted to use a few for this liqueur and am I glad I did.

Homemade Triple Sec!  Can't wait to try this!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beer Brats & Kraut

One of my most favorite - favorite - winter dishes (ok, I'll eat it no matter the season!) is Beer Brats & Kraut.  I was first introduced to this method of cooking brats and kraut by my college boyfriend who was the stereotypical Johnny America.  Tall, blond hair, blue eyes, and from small town USA; Keokuk, Iowa to be exact.  I was never a big fan of bratwursts until he made them for me this way.  Apparently, this is the main way they make bratwursts in Keokuk, Iowa (he also taught me how to eat steak but that's another story for another day.  Apparently my whole life, up until I met him, I was eating steak the wrong way and was he ever right.  Those Iowa boys know two things very well:  corn and beef!)