Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slow-cooker Garlic Apple Chicken. Maybe.

Well, this was completely winging it.

Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahha. Sorry. It's that kind of day. You know the days ... the ones where you actually have to wrestle the chicken into the crockpot as the kids come up and demonstrate their ability to make your eyeballs spin around in your skull.

Anywho, I have no idea if this is any good but I'll post when we eat it. Assuming the kids don't blow the place up first...

1 chicken : (yeah, no kidding)
1 head garlic, all cloves peeled & smashed (hint, do this the BEFORE you have a naked chicken balanced in a bowl that is too small, about to tip on the floor)
1-2 granny smith apples, chunked
Rosemary (fresh, powdered or finely crushed dried - I use powdered or fresh)
Sea salt
Ground pepper
Penseys Sunny Paris seasoning (if you want to approximate this blend it contains: shallots, chives, green peppercorns, dill, basil, tarragon, chervil & bay leaf - wing it, I think the biggest flavors are the first five)
Beer, margarita or frosty cold beverage of your choice.

Preheat crockpot on high while you are prepping chicken.
Season chicken inside and out well with, well, all the seasonings.
Slide garlic cloves under skin on breast. Slice some apple chunks into thinner pieces, sprinkle with rosemary & Sunny Paris. Slide under skin on breast.
Stuff cavity with garlic & apple chunks.
Dump in pot, cook on high until done - I just put it in for 6 hrs and call it a day.

Send kids to their room for the destruction of the living room, sit down and drink frosty beverage. Repeat as needed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Precious words.

It says, "I yuv you. Since I yuv you, I bake bwead. Bwead's done! The end."

Maddie, age 3, looking through my bread cookbook

Cozy morning cinnamon rolls

A friend pointed me in the direction of this recipe for mini-cinnamon rolls. I adapted it to make larger ones...

NOTE: This recipe requires rolling out dough. For a person with fibromyalgia or similar issues, dough-rolling relegates this recipe into the "only on good days" category. I found it took far more exertion than I anticipated.

Cozy Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Roughly 1lb bread dough*
1/2c brown sugar
2 tbl butter
2 tbl cinnamon
addl butter or shortening to grease pan

* Can substitute prepackaged biscuit, pizza or croissant dough. Follow baking directions on package instead of times below.

Prepare pan by greasing bottom & sides. I use a 3in high cast iron skillet but a muffin tin or a round or square cake pan would also work.
Roll out dough in a roughly rectangular shape about 1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle brown sugar & cinnamon from edge to edge, leaving a 1 inch margin on one long side of the rectangle.
Cut butter into small chunks and scatter across top.
Starting with the opposite long side from the topping-free margin begin snugly rolling the dough into a tube.
Pinch along edge to seal dough.
Using a sharp knife, cut into roughly 2 inch sections and set in pan with the spiral side visible on top. I like mine to touch so I always snug them in around the edge of the pan.
Allow to rise 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F
bake 35-45 minutes.

Remove from pan immediately before caramel hardens.

Allow to cool until the filling won't blister your tongue (or cool all the way - your call) and enjoy. If you like a glaze on these, mix confectioners sugar with milk or cream until its just a bit thinner than cake batter. Put in a plastic bag and make a teeny snip in the corner of the bag so you can pipe on easily. Sorry I don't have proportions on the glaze but I'm out of confectioners sugar. I would start with 1/3c confectioners sugar and go from there.

Hi,my name is Melissa...

... and I am addicted to Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day.

I've been struggling for the last year with my decreasing level of functioning - that's no secret. Like many people I'm a time-filler. When I was home alone with my first daughter I tried a number of neat, stimulating work from home jobs to keep myself other-than-momming fulfilled. I never wanted a full-time job as I love being home with my kids, but I always seemed to poke around for little extra things to keep me challenged.

Well now I'm benched. I closed my business, can't continue working in my past fields and am applying for disability.

I've spent a lot of time feeling various things - glum, lost, even guilty. I come from a family of entrepreneurs on both sides, going back as far as we can identify. When I lost my ability to work, I needed to reframe my sense of worth. The biggest challenge for me is my loss of independence. It's humbling to suddenly need assistance doing all the things were proud of accomplishing independently.

One day a precious friend introduced me to the book I linked above. I don't think either of us expected what followed. I picked up the book and some yeast and mixed up a batch of dough. No kneading, no long periods of standing in the kitchen, no complicated recipes or rising times that challenge my fuzzy thinking and poor memory. And then there was bread. GOOD bread, not passable bread machine bread. AMAZING bread.

Many folks know the feeling of amazing satisfaction that comes from handing their family something warm and nourishing and watching them enjoy it. This baking method has given me back my independence, contentment and satisfaction in the kitchen, given me away to create without triggering a flare or using up my small reserves of energy.

I never thought I could find healing in a cookbook! My special thanks to Paul, who never grumbles about running out for yeast and flour ... I couldn't do it without him.