Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Throw Down with Caroline!

So, it happened yet again. After a completely miserable day; physical, boob flattening and scraping of private parts scheduled but only the last two done and only the mamo done after raising holy you know what, blah blah blah, I headed to Dick's house to lay on the sofa and feel very sorry for myself. (I have a wicked cough that the doctor refused to discuss...I need another appointment for that, and my finger where that stupid little cat bit me is still not working correctly, but I need another appointment on top of the other appointment to take care of that!) Dick and I discussed dinner plans and decided that because there were only four of us scheduled to eat he would make his chicken and rice recipe using pork chops instead, so out of the freezer came exactly four chops. Then the phone rang and I was informed by my daughter that another big eater would be attending. No problem, there is left-over meatloaf in the frig, we'll have that too. BUT, I was then informed that I was to make Dick's recipe for dinner, not Dick (and it's his house and his kitchen and he wouldn't budge an inch). So miss pouty-faced Caroline when into the kitchen and threw all Dick's dinner plans out the window and began making plans of my own...but what to have?....It's time to raid the refrigerator and the pantry.

Now I'm feeling very sorry for myself and not very creative. It's 5:15 and I'm perusing cookbooks to no avail when I remember something we used to have as a child...veal Parmesan. That gives me an idea.

Bread crumbs from freezer, add some Italian seasoning, beat two eggs together, put a cup of flour on a plate...dredge pork chop through flour, in egg, in bread crumbs, set aside (repeat for last three chops). Frying pan, 2 TBS olive oil, brown chops about 5 minutes on each side on med-hi heat. Put about 2 cups of chicken stock in a pot and begin to heat.

Slice four pieces of meatloaf the same thickness as the chops. Alternate meats in a 9x13 baking dish. Open a small can of tomato sauce and pour a goodly amount on each cut of meat. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake at 375 until ready to serve (about 25 minutes).

Meanwhile, in same pan that was used to fry chops, add a TBS butter to remaining oil. Heat. Add one chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic. Cook one minute. Add 1 pkg (I had to use a can of drained mushrooms) sliced mushrooms, cook until wilted. Add one cup risotto and stir until shiny and a bit translucent. Begin adding heated chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time stirring as it becomes absorbed. Do this for about 15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup white wine and stir until absorbed. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with salad and meat cuts. It took about 35 minutes and tasted great. But I'm still pissed that I had to cook dinner!!!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Throw it Together Dinners are the Best!

I wish I had taken a picture of it...Paella meets, oh I don't know what. But the dinner was fabulous and everyone in the house raved. A definite "do over" by all votes so I thought I would share it with you.

I thawed 8 skinned chicken thighs and thought...what can I do? Having spent many summers in Spain and truly craving some of that atmosphere right now I went digging through the drawers of the frig. Low and behold, I found a half sleeve of Chorizo, a lovely, spicy, dried sausage that I like to nibble on when the mood calls for a little heat. So I took what was left and cut it into large slices. I roughly chopped 2 small onions and about 10 cloves of garlic. I then measured out 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of short grain (risotto) rice.

Large skillet, a bit of olive oil, medium high heat. First I cooked the chorizo and chicken (4 minutes per side) then removed it to a plate. In the leftover oil (which was now a lovely red from the sausage) I cooked the onion until translucent, added the garlic and cooked another minute. I added the rice and stirred into the oil until all shiney, added the 2 cups of stock, returned meat to the pan, covered it and continued to simmer for another 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I took a red capsium (bell pepper) and roasted it over the gas flame on the stove until completely black. I put it in a paper bag and sweat the skin off, pulled the char from it, stemmed and seeded it and cut it into large pieces. About 5 minutes before the rice was finished, I added about a 1/2 cup frozen peas and the roasted red pepper.

And oh my God it was delicious. Chicken Paella without realizing I was making Paella. Makes me want to have dinner all over again.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

My ex-father-in-law sent me these yesterday. The woman in the photographs lives in a "Hummingbird Fly Zone". As these birds migrated, about 20 of them stopped in her yard. Just for a lark, she took a little red dish and filled it with sugar water and these are the results. Isn't this amazing? Can you imagine holding a hummingbird in your hands, much less three or four? WOW!

I didn't mean it, really!

On an earlier blog I made a comment regarding snow and Easter. I want to apologize to everyone in the area and beyond. I had no idea God was listening to me and thought the comment was a request or prayer or wish for frigid, wet weather for this spring holiday. Believe me, it wasn't; it was just a random comment. There was no "I HOPE it snows for Easter", or "wouldn't it be FUN if it snowed for Easter". No, it was more or less an "I wonder if" kind of thing.

I wonder if I could win the lottery the same way? I could actually do a blog on "Caroline Can Win the Mega Bucks Lottery" and see if God, once again, is listening to my random comments. I guess that means I'd actually have to purchase a ticket. Hmmmmmm...stay tuned!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Gas Prices

Does anyone actually believe our government as well as the oil industry when they tell us that the gas prices are going up in part due to the British hostage situation in Iran? Has no one else noticed how the oil price gouging works? This month is the spring vacation season and gas prices ALWAYS go up during driving holidays. This has NOTHING to do with hostages. This has EVERYTHING to do with making money, law of supply and demand, economics 101. Why lie when the truth makes so much more sense?