Hungry Visitors who came to play

Thursday, April 21, 2016

DRIVE BY RECIPE: EASY Bread and Butter Pudding with a little caramel, aka, I was home, I was hungry

I had bread, I had eggs..  that sounds like breakfast to me  The fun of breakfast when you're faced with bread and eggs is the combination that you use.  Anyone can make toast and throw an egg on it.  Not me, not today, sweetie, not today. 

On this particular day I thought to myself, "self...I need a good old fashioned british food... some bread and butter pudding". 



I mixed up 3 of my backyard eggs, some milk, a little salt and a small palmful of sugar. I add milk till it measures about 1 3/4 cup liquid.  Mine is screaming yellow because of my chickens' yolks are that color.  They are happy birds.

Then cut up some ciabatta slices, buttered the slices, sprinkle the smallest amount of sugar on the bread, slice it into little squares and toss it all in a dish.

Pour the eggy mixture over the bread and turned the oven on to 375.

Mmmmm, eggy gooey goodness. Press the bread down so it will  soak up the yummyness. I also was sure to let some of the pointy bits stick above so they'd get crispy and crunchy.

While the oven heats and the bread soaks, I read a little of my book...with company, it's weird to be me sometimes
375 degrees and 45 minutes later !!DING!! Lookie what I found in the (toaster)oven waiting for me *joy*

I will admit, sometimes my food tries very very hard for me and this is absolutely one of those times.  LOOK!  IT's a mountain!  oh I love the puffiness when it comes out of the oven.

Pouring a little caramel sauce on while it's puffy and hot... the more in my bowl.

I'm pretending this is my serving serving size but we all know I'm going to eat it all... well, I'm sharing a bit with teenageson but then, the rest is all me.

I poured a river of thick and sticky warm caramel down over for it to settle into the hills and valleys of my breakfast. It's warm and crisp and soft and thick and sticky and sweet and salty. As good as you think it is - it's better.  I officially don't care what happens for the rest of the day.


There are no measurements here because this is a process not a recipe, quantity doesn't matter here, it's how you do what you do.

Put some sugar, maybe 3/4 cup? in a saucepan, I put a couple of tablespoons of water to moisten it and get it started and put it on high heat.  
NO stirring, swirling is fine. 
Swirl until it's the color you like then let it go one more second, take it off heat and pour in heavy cream until it's the color you like.  It WILL boil up so use a BIGGER pan than the size you think you need.  
Boil a minute or so then add more cream if it needs it, add a little salt and a little vanilla. 

There you go, it'll thicken a bit when it sits.  I like it pourable when it's cold so I added a little extra cream, oh yes I did.

Oh look at my lovely!


There you have it, breakfast :D  


Friday, April 1, 2016



I'm back in CounterTop roaster land.  I finally bought the Rival, no frills, no insert, basic, cheapie $19.00 full size roaster and I am HAPPY!

I've added a few countertop recipes, I'll add more.

TODAY thought FRESH turkeys were on sale at HEB for $1.10/lb so I grabbed a 12.66 lb girl and rushed home.  There are few things so lovely as a roast turkey dinner for no reason.  We will have a load of leftovers that are easily transformed into "not another turkey dinner" meal and I'll have more time to art this week so it's all good.



1 turkey, mine is 12.66 lbs
1 countertop roaster, preferably the Rival, base model,
salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, olive oil, herbs


Remove innards and fatty bits from turkey and throw them in a pot covered by a couple of inches of water to simmer so you can use it later.  Don't season it, just the innards, fried in a little fat then cover with water.  You can season it later, you want pure stock here.

Dry bird inside and out and put in a foil tray, I like using a foil tray.  if you don't have one, don't use one.  The cooker comes with a rack take that our of the oven and put it in the sink and use that.  OR use a pan that fits in the roaster... pretty easy.   Sprinkle bird with seasonings of your choice.  Drizzle with a little oil or butter.  if you're using a pan, throw a carrot, celery and onion under the bird,  if you're not, throw them in the roaster when you put the bird in.

\PREHEAT roaster for at least 30 minutes to 450 degrees.

Pour about a cup or so of water in roaster and put the bird in.  Cover

Set timer for 45 minutes.  Go do something.  NO PEEKING

After 45 minutes turn the roaster to 325 NO PEEKING and set a timer for the rest of the time.
THIS is where math happens.
It's easy, it's me, I hate math.

The calculation to cook any turkey perfectly in a roaster is 8 minutes per lb IF
 you do a 45 minute heat blast, which we are because we're cool like that.

My turkey is 12.66 lbs x(multiplied by)x 8 (minutes per lb) = 101.28 minutes of total cook time.
101.28 minutes - (minus)- the 45 minutes of initial cook = 56.28 minutes.
Always round up
SO when I turn the roaster down to 325, *I* will set a timer for 57 minutes.

SEE?  even I can do that math

After the 57 minutes, I will turn the roaster off, still not peeking and leave it about half an hour.  These roasters cool down FAST so this is some well needed resting time.

Remove the bird from the roaster and set it somewhere to rest some more, tent it with foil till we slice it up and divide the meat.

Remove any juices, defat them and use as a juice for the meat or make gravy by adding a roux or just boiling for a while, we're not going into that here, i have loads of other gravy instructions.

Slice up the turkey how ever you like, I cut it all, divide into two containers and freeze half.

Keep the turkey covered, it'll be happy and room temperature all day, easily.

Make whatever vegetables makes you happy.

Serve it up to the delight of your family.  I think it's easier than dealing with a couple of chickens, truly, get a roaster, make turkey this way on a Tuesday just to mess with their heads, be happy.

Here's the quick pics:

I put the roaster on the side of my gas grill, perfect fit :)  Set the bird on the rack.  I did double the foil pan because I think it'll help me carry it later
 I add a generous cup or so of water under the bird, put the lid on and leave it for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, I turned it down to 325 and set timer for 57.  No peeking.  After 57, I unplugged the cooker and left it sitting on the porch.  STILL NO PEEKING:

After about 45 minutes (I got busy)  THIS is what I found:
OK, these birds are not pretty, I don't care.  IF you do care, throw it under the broiler for a few moments to brown it.  I pull the skin off anyway so I leave it.
I pulled it from the pan after about 30 after I turned it off and put it in a clean foil pan, covered it with foil and put it aside.  I drained the juice and added the broth I made from the innards.  I defatted it, made gravy and sliced up the turkey into two containers, one half each, to help be sure we eat the whole bird evenly, it also makes even leftovers which makes me happy. 
Here's some more shots of the last bird. 


I cut the turkey up into two pans one of each body part in each pan. Sliced and the carcass thrown in the pressure cooker for stock.

Tender, delicious, moist, so lovely... the only way I will ever cook turkeys

Here's dinner... mid week and really, I didn't have to DO' anything and even though it took a few hours, it wasn't actually time that I had to DO anything other than monitor and have a glass of wine.  That's my sort of cooking. 

I started to take pictures and Connor found me and had to sneak some :) 
Connor's plate and mine, I added a stuffing ball :)  

So tender, so yummy and no holiday stress :)  go make a turkey for no reason other than just to eat a delicious turkey


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

PRESSURE COOKER DRIVE BY recipe for what to do with leftover Ham - get peas or lentils and make some soup!

I made a ham for Easter dinner   In my humble opinion, it was absolutely delicious.

After a couple of meals and sandwiches, there's really not a lot of things that *I* like to do with leftover ham.

The number one thing on my list is soup, split pea or lentil soup with the remains of the ham bone dinner... there are few things finer.

I love my (Nesco) pressure cooker, as we all know, and I will admit, sometimes I buy food thinking about how I can use the leftovers in my pressure cooker.

Ok, back to the ham, here we go, it's quick, easy and delicious....



One bone from the ham you cooked the other day
bay leaf

split peas or lentils

fresh onions, chopped
fresh carrots, chopped
fresh swede or potato or whatever veggie you love, chopped
Throw the bone in the cooker, add water to almost cover, about 4 cups.  Add some onion, with skin, carrots broken up, celery broken up, bay leaf and pepper.  


Release pressure, strain bones and meat out and return clear liquid to the cooker. IF you want meat in the soup, then wait for the bones to cool and pick any meat you want :)  I add meat after I blend the soup.  

Add raw chopped carrots, onions, swede, potato, whatever you like, throw it in the stock.  Add one bag of picked lentils or split peas, add some pepper. 


Release pressure and get in there to taste, add salt more pepper and any green leafy veg, like kale, if you want and cook open till it's wilted.

Serve chunky or blend with a stick blender.  I like it blended and toast a ciabatta roll (that I always have in the freezer) crunchy with lots of butter and, well, there's nothing better... ever... 

Here's the driveby pics: 

Pressure cook the bones and veg in water, strain
chop the fresh veggies and pick any meat off the bones to reserve for later

Strain stock and return to pot with the veggies
Lock and load, pressure cook on high for 18 minutes
  Eat, blend, don't blend, add meat, don't add meat, add croutons, don't :D  See where I'm going here... do what makes you happy.  This soup, blended or not, freezes beautifully so you can have a bellyful of leftover ham bone lentil soup any day! 


Saturday, March 26, 2016

HAM! (not spiral sliced, we have knives!!)

Pet peeve time.  It drives me crazy that suddenly the only ham I can find, easily, for Easter or Christmas or thanksgiving or whatever I want a ham for, is a spiral sliced ham.  Am I the only one who realizes if you cut meat THEN heat it, it'll be dry?  I have never, ever, had decent, moist, juicy, spiral sliced ham.  If you make one, then I apologize, but in my extensive experience, nope, they're dry and weirdly chemical tasting.  I like a smoked ham, a regular old ham.  (truth be told I prefer a RAW ham but yeah, try finding that in Texas)  SO, I'm here to share how I cook a regular old ham for Easter.


Get a smoked ham, I like Smithfield but get what you can, get what you like.  I am a firm believer in buying the biggest ham/roast/steak you can because if you're going to cook it anyway, you might as well cook the biggest you can for leftovers and the freezer.  It's shocking how much extra food you get from a slightly bigger piece of meat.  Go big or go home :)


Line an enormous pan with tin foil, put about an inch of water in the foil,
Put the ham, flat side down, in the foil and water,
Wrap tight
BAKE at 350 for about 10 mins per lb
This ham is 10 lbs so I'll cook it about an hour and 40 mins.  I cook it less than on the packet, which says 15mins/lb because I'm going to glaze and bake it again



Preheat oven to 400
Open the foil and put the ham up on it's side.
IF you have the need, make decorative cuts in the ham, about 1/4 inch deep,
Slather ham with mustard, just use your favorite mustard, there's no rule here.
Sprinkle brown sugar on the mustard.
Put ham, open, back in the oven until it's beautiful
Slice, eat

LOOK!  :)  at the beauty shots.

The skin was sort of fatty today so I cut it off when it came out of the oven, 
then smear it with mustard and brown sugar, back into the oven till it's gorgeous

I didn't take any pics of the first cuts because I cant take pics and cut and there was no one to hold the camera.  Don't even get me started on that... anyway

Slice and eat.  Truly, it's that easy.  There is a easy way to cut this piece of ham.  Put the ham on it's side and you can see a natural line by the bone that if you stick your knife in, and run it along the bone, will remove the whole half of it and you can put it on a board and slice it beautifully.  Flip the ham over and remove the other pieces and do the same.  Save the bone and bits you don't want to eat for stock and split pea soup.  Throw them in a bag and into the freezer to use later if you're not in a soup mood.

I cook all the vegetables, except the green ones, the day before so my "big cook" consists of this ham and some broccoli  The scalloped potatoes, swede, carrots are all popped in the oven to warm up when the ham comes out and the rolls, well, I made those yesterday.  OH and I made individual pavlovas which baked this am and are currently sitting in the oven cooling down.  I'll move them to the laundry room to wait till we need them :)

The ham is moist, tender, flavorful and just lovely.  Now, to see if I can save enough of it from THEM to at least get a few sandwiches and a good feed of egg benedict tomorrow......

Happy Easter to you from me x