Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pigeon Anyone?

Not really, but amazingly enough a lot of people think of that when they hear the words "Cornish Hen". Here in the States, a Cornish hen, also known as  a poussin , or a Rock Cornish Hen, is a hybrid chicken sold whole. This was always one of those foods I wanted to try, but never really stuck in the front of my brain as something to put on the short list of meals to make. However, I was at the store the yesterday getting some chicken and I saw these little guys staring at me and I finally just jumped on the chance to buy them.

Here they are all dressed up!
I did a little research since I had no idea the best way to prepare the little buggers and ended up with a Roasted Citrus and Herb Cornish Hen. Leave it to my girl Giada De Laurentiis to have an amazing way to make this meal. It had a citrus and olive oil rub all over it and it roasted in a chicken stock and sherry liquid with cranberries in it. Then when the hens were done you took all the liquid and reduced it down to make a sauce to put drizzle all over.  Here is a link to the recipe!!

We made the hens per the recipe and then we also did steamed veggies and wild rice with it. It had an amazing citrus flavor and it almost had a holiday feel to it with the cranberries and citrus. I thought it tasted super fresh but when Richard said it reminded him of the holidays, it immediately clicked in my head as well. It had such a bold punch of flavors and went perfectly with the rice and veggies. I would certainly make this dish again and recommend you give it a whirl as well.

Wide Shot

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grow your own herbs and vegetables!!

Hey everyone, figured I would share something new we are trying with you and maybe you can enjoy it too. I think most people enjoy the thought of having a garden where they can grow their own fruits, veggies and herbs, but who really has the room or the time for such an undertaking?? We found an easy way around it all, container gardening!

As we have started doing more cooking, we quickly realized the benefits of fresh herbs and ingredients. While going to a Farmer's Market is a great way to get fresh items, it can be a little pricy if you are driving across town just to get a couple things. Finding fresh quality items can be a challenge at your local grocer especially when it comes to fresh herbs, or items that are not the everyday produce items. We decided one day while at Lowe's to try our hand at growing some of these items to save time and money, and who doesn't love that idea.

We don't have a lot of room in our backyard to dig out a garden, but what we do have is space on our big patio. We got a couple of whiskey barrels and even just some old plastic pots from other gardening projects to make homes for our new garden residents, asparagus, shallots, eggplant, potatoes, squash,strawberries, chives, cilantro, parsley and basil. (give or take) In hindsight we should have labeled everything a little better, most items have a tag, but the ones we grew from seed, fell by the wayside. Live and learn I guess.

Something else to consider before beginning such a venture, is researching what you want to grow and how to grow it. A perfect example of this would be asparagus. We planted it according to the instructions and as it grew we got 1 tiny little asparagus that popped out of the ground. Excitement followed but then a couple days later we had what looked more like a weed where the asparagus stalk used to be. Confused, I did some research and it turns out that if you don't harvest the stalks, they sprout out into little fern like plants. Also learned that it will take about three, yes 3, years until the asparagus stalks grow big enough to be worth harvesting. Second lesson learned.
Looks like a baby asparagus
Tsaketa!! Now it's a fern.

Container gardening is great because it requires as much work as you want to put into it. Keeping your items in smaller containers makes it easy to move around if you need more or less light or moisture as well. If you have a pest problem, it can usually be contained to just a small area if you have things in separate containers. And a biggie is that in containers, the soil gets warmer faster and veggies love that. Be sure your containers have adequate drainage in them since moisture build up can be a bad thing. Just drill several holes in the bottom of your containers, or use containers that already have drainage in them. This is one instance where simple can be best!! Go big or go home just doesn't always apply.
It has been very fun to spend a little time each day checking out the progress of everything and seeing what changes have happened. You get a great feeling when you see what you are growing. I didn't think it would be this exciting, but it really is. So I recommend you give it a shot. Start small, maybe just a tomato plant or just a simple windowsill herb garden.  I think you will find it as rewarding as we have.Leave comments and let me know what you are growing and how it is working for you. Feel free to ask questions too, I will be happy to give you any help that I can. I look forward to your comments!! Until next time remember, "A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something brussel sprouts never do." (P.J. O'Rourke,The Bachelor Home Companion)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cooking 101 Top Ten, Mig Style!

I figured that since everyone has been commenting on the foods I have been posting, that I would come up with some sort of Freshmen level info to help everyone see that you can do it just as easily. This top ten list is merely my opinions and what I have found from spending more time in the kitchen. You may agree or disagree, or have items you feel that I left off the list and that is ok. In fact, if you do have things you think are important that I didn't cover, please leave them in the comments section for everyone to read. Also, don't hesitate to throw suggestions at me, as I would love to cover any food topic out there. Until then, here is my top ten!!