Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hearty Chicken, vegitable, and Rice Soup & Crusy French Bread

Chicken and Stock:
2-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or one whole chicken
3 Tbs Thyme
1 Tbs sea salt (or regular table salt, but I like sea salt better)
1 Tbs black pepper
3 Tbs minced jarred garlic
4-6 Tbs Garlic juice
Enough water to cover the chicken by 2 inches

Boiled chicken, chopped or shredded
4 Large stalks of celery, chopped
1 Bag frozen carrots or 6 cups chopped carrots
28 oz packaged (canned or boxed) chicken stock (2 14 oz cans)
3 cups chopped broccoli
1/8 of a medium white onion, chopped
4-5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbs each Thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and basil
Salt and pepper to taste
28 oz water
Broth from cooked chicken
1 1/2 cup rice
1/2 stick of butter, divided

Chicken and stock:
-Place chicken into a large stock pot or pot you want to cook your soup in. Cover with half the spices, flip and cover with the rest of the spices. Fill the pot with enough water to cover chicken by two inches.
-Cover pot and boil the chicken for at least 45 minutes or until the water has reduced to half.
-Once chicken is cooked, remove to a plate to cool, keep the stock on low.

-Once the chicken has been removed from the stock, add 14 oz canned or boxed stock.
-In a saute pan melt 1/2 of the butter over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted add the onions and garlic, remove from heat and season with salt, sweat the onions and garlic until they turn translucent. Add celery and the rest of the butter return to heat, stir well and cook until the celery is tender and the butter is melted. Once finished, remove from heat.
-Chop or shred chicken and return to the pot along with the celery, onions, and garlic.
-Bring soup to a low boil, add the broccoli and carrots along with the rest of the seasonings and chicken stock. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
-Add rice, stir, and cover. Cook until rice is done

Taste: 5
Ease: 2

Winter is in full swing here in Oregon and this soup really hits the spot, as well as warm you to the bone on cold winter nights. Since this soup is so hearty one bowl will fill even the biggest of appetites so it's great for a large family, or for a few days of leftovers. A slice of fresh crusty french baguette with a little bit of butter makes a nice addition to this soup. If preferred noodles can be used instead of rice, precook and drain 4 cups of egg noodles before adding them to the soup 5 minutes prior to serving.

Normally I pair beers with recipes, but the flavor of this soup should be enjoyed on it's own.

French Bread
3-6 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tbs water

-In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand or hand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
-On a lightly floured surface knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for at least 8 minutes but no longer than 10 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once (I usually use Crisco and the same bowl I mixed the ingredients in, no need to wash it). Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
-Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
-Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
-With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf (make sure the knife is SHARP and make the cut in one fluid motion otherwise the bread will collapse).
-Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done (sounds hollow when you knock on it). If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.

Taste: 4
Ease: 4
Yields 2 loaves

This crust bread makes a great addition to any soup or pasta dish, or even alone with a bit of butter. Making bread is both easy and hard, the ingredients are quick to mix and there is a lot of time just waiting for the dough to rise. On the other hand though, the measurements MUST be accurate, the water temperature has to be spot on and you have to let it rise enough so that it will rise again/ stay risen. All the hard work and effort is well worth it though; the smell your house will be filled with, and a delicious loaf of bread are great rewards.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tacos al Pastor (ish) and Spanish Rice

2 c White rice
2 c Tomato Sauce
2 c Water
1/4 c Diced onion
1/4 c Diced red and green bell peppers
2 tbs Oil (vegetable or canola)

1 sm. can Crushed pineapple (with half of the juice)
1/8 c diced onion
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
2 tbs Lime juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 lb. Pork loin

1/2 c Julienned onions
1/2 c Julienned green bell peppers
1 sm. can Pineapple chunks (drained)
1 tbs Lime juice
Lime wedges
Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream

-Combine all ingredients for marinade (except pork) into a food processor, pulse a few times to combine/ liquefy.
-If you do not have a rotisserie cut the pork into 1/2 inch chunks and mix with the marinade. If you do have a rotisserie slice into 1/2 inch thick steaks and mix with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, if not overnight.

-In a medium sauce pan heat oil over medium heat. Add rice and brown slightly, stirring occasionally. Add onion and bell pepper, sautee a bit longer then add tomato sauce and water. Cover and let simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the liquid is gone (do not stir)

-Remove pork from marinade (reserve) and skewer onto rotisserie and add some of the marinade to the top and sides. Cook to 160 degrees. In a separate pan sautee the onion, green pepper and pineapple with some of the marinade as well as some of the drippings from the pork.

Without a rotisserie:
-In a cast iron skillet cook the pork, along with the marinade, over medium high heat until the liquid is gone and the pork starts to brown. Add in onion, bell pepper, pineapple and lime juice. Cook until peppers and onion are tender and the pineapple starts to caramelize.

-Heat tortillas however you like.
-Place two tortillas (one on top of the other) on your plate, add meat, garnish with cilantro, and sour cream, squeeze lime onto tacos. Repeat and enjoy with rice on the side.

Ease: 3

If you don't love these tacos you're crazy! They're not authentic tacos al pastor, but they follow the same basic concept (thus the "ish" in the title). This recipe feeds 4 people but would be easy to make for more. Beers to pair with these tacos include: Rogue's Dad's Little Helper, Dead Guy Ale (my number one favorite beer of all time), Double Dead Guy Ale, or Hazelnut Brown Nectar; Widmer's Broken Halo IPA (one of the only IPA's I like), Hefeweizen or Oktoberfest; Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, Kellerweis, or Torpedo Extra IPA.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Peach Pie


Pie Crust:
2 c Flour
1 c Butter or butter flavored Crisco (I do half of each)
1/2 tsp Salt
5-7 tbs ICE water (make sure it is ice cold, this is very important)

4 large ripe Peaches peeled and sliced or 1 large bag of frozen peaches (never use canned)
2 tbs Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 tbs Flour


-Peel and slice peaches into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, let sit for an hour on your counter, covered with saran wrap, two hours if using frozen peaches.
-Stir in flour to thicken the juice and pour into pie crust.

Pie Crust:
-In a large bowl combine flour and salt.
-With a fork, two knives or a pastry cutter cut butter/ Crisco into the flour until it there are pea sized chunks.
-Slowly add in water 1 tbs at a time mixing thoroughly with a fork until the mixture holds together. Be careful not to use too much water or crust will be soggy and hard to work with.
-Divide into two parts, and roll out on a lightly floured surface.
-Line a pie pan with one crust and set other aside to top the pie with.

-After filling first crust and arranging the peaches so they are evenly distributed, cover with second crust and pinch the seams together. Cut a few slits in the top of the crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.-Bake at 400° for 30-45 minutes.-Allow to cool for about 15 minutes (it will still be warm) and serve with frozen whipped cream or french vanilla ice cream.

Taste: 4.5
Ease: 2

I used to make this pie monthly at a job I had, everyone loved it. I have had the crust recipe for years but came up with the filling after a lot of trial and error. This is great for a cool autumn night with a great seasonal beer like Sierra Nevada's Stout or Pale Ale a Samuel Adams' Octoberfest, Widmer's Oktoberfest or Brrr (a favorite of mine), or even Rogue's Mocha Porter, Shakespeare Stout (another fave), or Old Crustacean Barleywine (which comes in a cool bottle but is pricey).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken and Spanish Rice Burritos

1 Large chicken breast
2 Cups white rice
15oz Tomato Sauce
1 1/4 Cups water
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 Cup green bell pepper
1/2 Cup green onion, divided (1/8-3/8)
1/2 Cup Colby Jack cheese
8 Flour tortillas, warmed

-In a medium sauce pan brown rice in the olive oil as it browns add in bell pepper and 1/8 c green onion.
-Once the rice is browned add in tomato sauce and water, stir well. Cover and simmer at low medium until done.
-Meanwhile season the chicken breast with thyme and pepper as desired. Steam chicken in a large covered skillet until done. Once done shred or chop the chicken.
-Once both are done layer Chicken, Rice and remaining ingredients. Garnish with sour cream, hot sauce, salsa or whatever you please.


These burritos are tasty and quick. They're great for an easy lunch with friends, or a low key family dinner. Tastes great with Rogue's Juniper Pale Ale or Maierfest Lager or Widmer's Hefeweizen or Broken Halo IPA.

Note: As you may have noticed I'm starting to do beer pairings with my recipes. As a beer enthusiast I'm always interested in trying to find great beer to go with great food. Any beer suggestions are welcome.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicken with Nectarine Chutney and Basmati Rice

4 Firm-ripe nectarines, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs packed light brown sugar
1 Tbs curry powder
1/4 Tsp salt
4 Boneless/ skinless chicken breasts
2 Cups basmati rice
4 Cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste

-In a large pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce to medium heat and add rice. Cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the water is gone.
-In a separate pot simmer nectarines, tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, curry powder and salt over medium heat.
- Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and cook in a large skillet or on the grill. Do not bake as it tends to dry out the chicken.
-Once the chicken and rice are done serve with the chicken and chutney over the rice.

Taste: 5
Ease: 3.5

This dish is delicious. The flavors are fun and it even looks pretty. A great wheat beer like Rogue's Somer Orange Honey Ale pairs great with this dish.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Curry Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Soup

1 Tbs olive oil
1 Small yellow or white onion, diced
4 Tsp yellow curry powder
2 Tbs minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Cups chicken stock
2 Cups water
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1/2 Tsp dried thyme
1 Cup basmati rice
2 Medium bunches of broccoli chopped
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1/2 Cup chicken stock
1 Cup half and half

-In a large sauce pan or dutch oven sauté the onion in oil until tender, add in 3tbs curry powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Coat onions and sauté until fully cooked.
-Add in chicken, mix well with the onions. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and add rice and stir well. Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes add in broccoli plus 2 cups of water, stir and cover again.
- In a separate pan over low heat melt the butter, once melted whisk in the flour. Once the flour and butter make a nice paste, slowly whisk in 1/2 cup chicken stock and continue to whisk until it starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken whisk in 1 cup half and half and 1 Tbs curry powder. Whisk continuously for 3-4 minutes. This makes a rue
-Once the rue is thick and the broccoli tender add the rue to the rest of the soup and stir well.
-Bring the entire thing to a boil once more for 5 minutes.
-Remove from heat and serve.

Ease: 3 1/2

This is a delicious and hearty soup (or as my fiance said, a bastardization of a soup and stew since it's thick like stew but cooked quickly like soup) that is going to be great for the winter months when it's cold. It's a little time consuming as there are many different steps and times to add things, but it's well worth it. If you like curry then you'll love this.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Spicy Chicken Soft Tacos

2 Medium size boneless/ skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c White or yellow onion
4 tbs Garlic
1/4 c Ale (I used Rogue Brewery's Sesquicentennial Ale)
10oz Rotell diced tomatoes & green chilies
1c Precooked rice
2 tbs Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

-Season chicken with salt and pepper and chop it into cubes
-In a large skillet partially saute 1/4 of the onions before adding the chicken and garlic
-Lightly cook the chicken before adding the beer, once the beer is added, cover and simmer for 10 minutes before removing the lid and letting the beer evaporate.
-Add the rest of the onions, the rice and tomatoes, cover and simmer on low medium heat for 15 minutes.
-Meanwhile warm the corn tortillas in a small covered skillet on low.
-Once the tortillas are warm serve up, no need to garnish with anything other than a bit of cilantro.

Ease: 2
Taste: 5

This recipe is great for a fun night with friends or just a quiet night at home with your family. If you aren't a big fan of spicy food substitute a mild Mexican diced tomato or just plain diced tomatoes. These tacos go great with beer, drink the same kind you used while making the tacos for consistency in flavor.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tatziki Sauce and Hummus

Tzatziki Sauce

8oz (1 cup) Plain or Greek yougurt
8oz (1 cup) Sour Cream
2 Cucumbers peeled, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 tablesoon fresh Dill or 2 tablespoon dried Dill
3 cloves of Garlic

-After peeling, seeding and dicing the cucumbers place them in a strainer and salt them to remove excess moisture. After 30 minutes they should be fine.
-In a food proccesser combine all ingrediants and puree until a sauce is formed.

Ease: 1
Taste: 10

On a scale of one to five this easily gets a 10 for taste. You will be searching your cupboards for things to eat this sauce with. It works great as a salad dressing, or dip. My suggestions include Gyros, pita chips, bbq chicken, spinach salad, bell peppers, pineapple, or rosmay & olive oil Triscuts.

1 can Garbonzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas)
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder to taste

-Drain garbanzo beans.
-In a food proccessor combine and puree garbanzo beans and garlic untill a paste forms.
-Slowly drizzle the olive oil and lemon in until smooth.
-Season to taste.


This is another one of those recipies where you just can't find enough things to eat it on/ with. Plus there are so many things you can add to spice it up, like roasted red pepper, cilantro, tomato and more!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chocolate Banana Muffins

3 or 4 over ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 bag chocolate chips

This can all be mixed by hand with a spoon, no need to bust out the mixers.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Mash the bananas, do not puree as you want some nice chunks.
-Melt the butter, along with a handfull of chocolate chips then stir into the bananas.
-Add in sugar, egg, vanilla and salt. Mix well.
-Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time, be sure to stir as you add so the flour is mixed in well. The dough will be thick, but easy to work with.
-Add in chocolate chips and give it a few more stirs.
- Spoon mix into a well greased muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes.
-Let cool on a clean towel upside down for at least 20 minutes. Makes a great breakfast or even desert.

Yeilds: 1 dozen

Ease: 2
Taste: 5

I love these muffins! I tried them for the first time today and they are amazing. Moist and the perfect blend of chocolate and banana. For the bananas use ones that are close to being spolied, they have the best flavor and are easy to mash, and even better if they have been frozen then thawed.

Hope you enjoy.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients (in the order you add them):

1cup (2 sticks) of butter (unsalted would be best)
1/2 cup pressed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pressed light brown sugar
4-5 tablespoons peanut butter (chunky is great, but smooth works fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (butter flavored syrup works well also, doing half and half is great)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 bag chocolate chips (no more or the cookies are hard to form)

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Cream together butter and both the light and brown sugar, add peanut butter, vanilla and maple syrup and blend until smooth.
-Once smooth add in salt and baking soda while still mixing. Sift in flour 1/4 cup at a time blending it in as you go along, it takes longer but makes a nicer cookie.
-When all the flour is in stir in chocolate chips by hand.
-Grease a baking sheet and roll out your cookies onto it. Be sure to flatten them as they don't really spread.
-Bake for 9 minutes.
-Cookies will be a light brown color and soft to the touch. They may not look done but they are.
-Let them cool for at least 10 minutes, then enjoy with a cold glass of milk.

Yields: approx 2 dozen cookies depending on how big you make them.

Ease: 2
Taste: 4.5

As you may have noticed, there is no white or "regular" sugar in this recipe. The original recipe had sugar in it, but I forgot it the first time and the cookies were fine. When I made it the second time I added the sugar but it made them too sweet for my liking. If you like your cookies a little sweeter simply add 3/4 cup sugar in with the butter and brown sugar for creaming.

Hope you enjoy!

There's Peanut Butter on my Screen: The Start of a Blog

Cooking is my passion, baking and brewing as well.

I was baking cookies at my mom's today when I got the inspiration for this blog. I had my laptop on a counter near me for music and the recipe I was using. While blending everything I manage to get peanut butter on my screen. I cleaned it off quickly and went back to baking.

While waiting for the cookies to bake I searched for a few more recipes I could try and realized that instead of searching all over the Internet to find something tasty then bookmarking it, I should just compile recipes I think are interesting into one spot.

Thus the blog.

I'm going to test recipes, and rate them on two different levels, Simplicity of the directions and Taste of the finished product. I'll rate on a scale of 1-5, 1 being easy 5 being difficult and 1 being just alright and 5 being amazing for taste.

Hope you enjoy.