23 September 2011

The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: Bette Davis' Red Flannel Hash

Her gravestone says, "She did it the hard way," but she made it all look so easy.

from The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes From More than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen by Frank DeCaro (on sale everywhere 3 October 2011).

There are lots of fun recipes here, Elizabeth Taylor's Chicken with Avocado and Mushrooms, Gene Roddenberry's Lima Beans and Ham, Mabel King's Banana Fritters, Patrick Swayze's Chicken Pot Pie, Dom Deluise's Doodlewoppers and Madeline Kahn's Foot Cookies (no feet involved, only sugar, flour and regular cookie stuff)

Bette Davis was my Grandma Florence's second favorite actress (Debbie Reynolds was her first).  When I was twelve, I came down with a bad case of bronchitis right before Thanksgiving vacation and my grandma stayed with me while my mother and stepfather left town to visit family.

Grandma wasn't a great cook, in fact, she was famous for her dreadful cooking (peanut butter and mint jelly sandwiches, buttered pizza, crunchy apple marshmallow strudel) so we ate jello, crackers and store bought pumpkin pie while watching old movies.  I remember staying up late (my cough medicine made sleeping difficult) and watching A Pocketful of Miracles with Grandma, we both cried at the end (it is such a sweet movie, you really should check it out if you haven't seen it before).

Here's Bette Davis' Red Flannel Hash
from The Dead Celebrity Cookbook by Frank Decaro

2 cups cooked corned beef

3 cups cold boiled potatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked beets.

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup or more of cream

1/2 stick butter

Chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl.  Season to taste and moisten mixture with cream.  Place in a hot buttered skillet.  Stir and spread evenly in pan.  Brown slowly over medium heat.  Serve with Poached eggs on top.

Sounds nummy, right?

This is my adaptation; with extreme liberties taken for modern tastes, sorry Ms. Davis!

1 cup of shredded, cooked roast beef (this is what leftovers are for ladies and gents)

1/2 onion, sliced

2 shallots, sliced

3 or 4 beets, peeled and chopped

2 red potatoes, chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1.  Melt butter in pan.  Add olive oil.

2.  Cook the onions and shallots til golden brown over a medium heat and then add the potatoes and beets.
3.  Sear the beets and potatoes on one side for three minutes, then stir and allow the other side to get crusty.  Turn the heat lower and add the reserved shredded meat, cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.

4.  Salt and Pepper to taste and Presto!  Red Flannel Hash Nirvana!
Well, almost red.  I had these pretty candy beets sitting in the veg drawer for weeks (oops, I forgot about them) and as tasty as they were, there wasn't enough red in them to turn the hash red, but it tasted insanely good.  I wasn't sure about sauteed beets and wondered if they'd ruin my shredded beef goodness.  Nope, they only added to it!

Try this recipe on beet haters, I bet they'd convert.

02 September 2011

Sookie Stackhouse's Sour Cream Chicken with biscuits

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

This is the fifth book of the Southern Vampire series and my favorite, so far.  Like the rest of her books, there's a murder and Sookie is smack dab in the middle of it.

Here is my version of the tasty southern meal Sookie Stackhouse brings over to Calvin Norris' house after a bunch of stuff happens that you'll just have to read the book to find out about.

Sour Cream Chicken with Biscuits

My kiddo loves mushrooms.  He likes them with eggs, he likes them on a shish kebab and on burgers.  He is a bona fide mushroom fanatic.

Which is why I'm dumbfounded by his dislike for this dish.  IT HAS MUSHROOMS!

Oh well, can't please everyone.

My husband and I really liked this.  The creamy tart sauce was offset by the flavorful firm mushrooms, add in herb-y seared chicken breasts and wowza, you got yourself one heck of a tasty weeknight dinner and nice leftovers for breakfast too.

I made so many biscuits that we had them for breakfast the next two mornings.

First gather up your ingredients;
sour cream, white wine, thyme, red onion, garlic, shallots, parsley, mushrooms, paprika, pepper, salt, olive oil and oregano
chicken breasts
Pour olive oil in the pan and give it a swirl over a medium heat.

 Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and thyme and brown it on both sides.

Chop the veggies.  Try not to chop in your knuckles (youch, I can't believe I did that).

Melt a couple of pats of butter, scrape up the tasty bits left by the chicken.

Add in the chopped veggies, cook them until everything is a bit wilted.

Add the wine, let it cook down a minute then stir in the sour cream.  Heat through over low heat.

Now we can make biscuits.
Now roll 'em and pat 'em and mark 'em with pink heart shaped cookie cutter for family and me!

Cut out the biscuits on a floured, dry surface.

Plop them onto a parchment covered baking sheet about an inch apart.  They look kinda anemic, right?

Look how edible they look after a few minutes in the oven.  There's a big empty spot in this picture, someone ate two of the biscuits from the middle of the pan.  I found the crumbs, scattered across the table.  They were drippy with butter and strawberry jam.  What a mystery, I really have no idea how that happened.  Bigfoot, the cookie monster?  Sadly, we'll probably never know what happened.
Sour cream chicken with biscuits

3 large chicken breasts

2 tblspns. olive oil

1/4 tsp. each of the following, black pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup white wine

1 1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

7 mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

handful of fresh parsley

2 Tblspns.  butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spinkle dry herbs, salt and pepper on chicken.

2.  Heat olive oil in pan, add chicken and brown on each side for a few minutes (four minutes should do) over medium heat.

3.  Remove chicken to oven safe dish and bake for 25 minutes.

4.  Melt butter in pan, add vegetables and saute until the everything is wilted, about seven minutes.

5.  Add wine, allow to cook down for three minutes, then stir in sour cream.  Heat through until the sauce is just starting to bubble. 

6.  Remove chicken from the oven and spoon mushroom cream sauce over the chicken.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Buttermilk Biscuits
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, Homemade Bread Cook Book (1978)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 Tblspn. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup + 1 Tblspn. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450.

1. Stir thoroughly the dry ingredients.  Using a fork, knives or a pastry cutter, add in the butter, working it into the dry ingredients until it is pebble size.

2. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk all at once.  Stir just till the dough clumps together. 

3.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough gently, 10 to 12 folds.  Roll out and cut out biscuits that are no thicker than 1 inch thick.  Set them an inch apart on a baking sheet.

4.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.