I decided to try out a recipe I found when we made the Bennigan’s Broccoli Bites a few weeks ago. Especially when I saw that I had a skillet full of bacon grease from making BLT sandwiches. The idea of a hot bacon dressing intrigued me because I am getting bored with my usual salad dressings. Obviously I chose to ignore the fat content. Let’s not talk about that, okay?
The recipe is pretty simple. Put your chopped onions in the bacon grease and let them caramelize.
Mix the water, honey and red wine vinegar.
Add your cornstarch and whisk it until it gets smooth.
The recipe mentioned something about the onions being black! I swear! It’s not like I wasn’t paying attention (as if). This is when you add the Dijon mustard, by the way. Just letting you know. See how simple?
Pour the mixture into the skillet. Continue stirring until it starts to boil.
I just stored mine in a canning jar because it’s handy, not because you have to can/process this.
I omitted the Tabasco sauce because a) the recipe said in some parts of the country they omit it and b) I didn’t have any in the house. All I know is that this made for a very good salad dressing. It’s obviously not something that should be eaten every day, but the taste was fabulous. But then again, bacon grease…how could it not be good?
Every Monday, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was from Christy Jordan’s book Southern Plate. (She has a web site of the same name, here.)
Nance got to pick this week’s recipe. We both own Christy Jordan’s cookbook, but it wasn’t ’til we started this site that I made anything from it. Actually, even though Christy is local to me it wasn’t until my friend Katherine pointed me to Christy’s site and specifically the Butterfinger Cake recipe a couple of years ago that I even knew who she was. Now that I’ve started using her cookbook, I want to make EVERYTHING from it!
So Nance chose this week’s recipe and I was ALL about making lemon bars. I love all things lemon and I knew I’d love these.
Don’t you like my super-awesome way of labeling my confectioner’s sugar? I am klassy with a capital K. Also, I like how the no-name brand of butter just says “BUTTER” on it, that cracks me up for some reason.
Anyway, these are the ingredients for the crust. As you can see, super simple. Confectioner’s sugar, all-purpose flour, and softened butter (you can use margarine if you want. I don’t know why you would, but I’m not here to judge.)
Apparently I didn’t get a picture of the part where you sift together the flour and sugar and then cut in the butter. It went about as you’d expect. I used a pastry blender. It was amazing.
Then you pat the dough into the bottom of a 9×13-inch dish. Christy didn’t say anything about greasing the dish, but the idea of not greasing the dish made me nervous, so I used the butter wrappers to butter the bottom and sides of the dish. Could I say “dish” any more often there? Dishdishdishdishdiiiiiiiiiiiish.
Put your crust in the oven to bake for about 25 minutes or until it’s lightly browned. Like such:
These are some fabulous pictures this week, aren’t they? Hey, I never claimed to be a food photographer. I tried offering the crust some catnip, but it refused to roll around and look cute.
Now, warning: I am a dumbass and I skim when I read recipes. So I missed the part where you’re supposed to let the crust cool. I didn’t let it cool at ALL, and in fact I made the filling while the crust was cooking and dumped it right on the hot crust. It turned out okay, but perhaps if I paid attention to what I was supposed to be doing, it would have been BETTER.
Here are the filling ingredients:
Eggs (from our very own chickens), granulated sugar, lemon juice, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and confectioner’s sugar. You mix it all up (except for the confectioner’s sugar, which is for sprinkling on the top) and then you yell for your husband to come dump it over the crust so you can get a picture of it.
Then stick the whole shebang in the oven and bake it for 15 minutes or until slightly browned and set. Now, my bars weren’t set at 15 minutes, it took another 3 minutes in the oven. Pro (HA HA HA) tip: if the filling is still jiggly, give it a few more minutes.
Perhaps a little more brown around the edge than it should be? But still, they turned out really really good. Fred and I each had a small piece once the bars were cool and they were SO GOOD. They were even better the next day – I’m not sure if that’s because sitting made the flavors blend better or just because we were hungrier the next day.
The verdict? These were oh so good. Perfectly lemony, but not overwhelmingly so. I am definitely going to make these again and I think you should too!
It was my turn to pick the recipe and, once again, I went for The Fattening. Y’all (yunz – shout out Western Pa!) should just get used to it. I’m sure that Robyn will take care of all that healthy stuff. Something tells me that I’m going to see zucchini and okra in my future. Barf.
I thought the Lemon bars would be good because Holy Two Sticks of Butter Batman! I have never had lemon bars, but rumor has it that it’s pretty popular in the south (per the husband). I figure I like butter and I like lemonade. How bad can it be, right? And I noticed that the ingredient list wasn’t full of freaky stuff that I didn’t recognize. Plus, I have tried a few other recipes in Christy’s cookbook and they all turned out excellent. Can you see where this is going? Oh, just wait. It’s going to get ugly up in here.
It cracks my shit up that Robyn and I both took a picture of the butter. Please note that the placement of my butter was well thought out (unlike someone who just chunked it down on their counter and snapped away, ahem). Yes, I had to open up a new package of butter and that’s why they don’t look the same. I’m wishing now that I had taken the extra time to do that. And if you believe that shit I have some beautiful lemon bars for you to try.
Since Robyn and I are both doing the same recipe (and reviewing it) I follow the directions exactly. I even busted out the SIFTER for this bitch because Christy said that’s what I was supposed to do and I did it. Oh look! Canisters that don’t have masking tape labels. I guess I’m just not as cool as Robyn. And I don’t see anything about where Robyn SIFTED her stuff. Maybe she couldn’t be bothered, hmm?
I cut the butter into the flour until I couldn’t stand it anymore. And this is what it looked like when I got ready to press it into the pan. You like that purple casserole dish? Get used to it because I use that thing a lot.
Me and my man hands pressing that mess into the pan. I thought about making it pretty and then I woke the fuck up and realized that there is no hope. And no, I didn’t grease my pan because hello, two sticks of butter!
Even Felina (the ridiculous chihuahua) was concerned about how this situation was going to turn out.
It didn’t turn out bad at all. I took this picture so everyone could see what “lightly browned” meant. Or at least my version of it anyway.
This is where I think the situation took a serious turn for the worse. I had Rick beat the eggs and he went to town. And I let him because I was having fun snapping pictures of that it.
See, action shots! What? We were bored.
I even sifted the flour and baking powder. I did what I was supposed to do, dammit! If this was Robyn she would have typed damnit because she’s so perfect.
And yeah, we were really into catching it while it was happening. Get a life, Nance & Rick!
Looks good, no?
Set the timer. Did everything just like the book said. And guess how it turned out. Well, let me show you…
How do you say FAIL?
I managed to get 3 pieces out and on a plate (dug from the center, gah!) and the shit was oozing everywhere.
I was thoroughly disgusted and as I was walking out the door to go grocery shopping my mother asked me what she should do with them. “Throw them in the garbage for chrissakes!”
And then I went to the store and saw this. How rude!
I am still trying to figure out where I went wrong. And no, there isn’t anything wrong with our stove. The only thing I could come up with is the over-beating (whisking, whee!) of the eggs. If anybody has a clue, feel free to let me know in the comment section. For once, this bitch needs to buy her own vowel. Sigh.
PS: Even though I screwed it up (oh, trust me, I know it was something I did) I would definitely recommend this recipe based on how Robyn’s turned out. I’m going to have to try this again (once y’all tell me where I messed up).
Every Monday, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was from Chelsea at Mmm…Cafe.
This week it was Robyn’s turn to pick the recipe. I was kind of nervous because I’m well aware that Robyn is a huge lover of vegetables. Now my favorite vegetable is corn (with lots of butter) with my second being potatoes (also with lots of butter). Robyn eats stuff like squash and okra on a regular basis (and she doesn’t even have the sense to deep fry it). I think you get where I’m coming from here. One of us is way more healthier than the other. Ahem. I was also in a tizzy because the only rule (for lack of a better word) that I dictated about this venture is no seafood (I hate seafood more than I hate my ex-husband and that’s saying some shit). Now before you all get yourselves into a snit please note that the rule is only for the tandem recipes. Miz Robyn may post as many seafood recipes as she would want on here. She just can’t make me cook them. Heh.
So the first recipe that Robyn threw at me: Some kind of garlic shrimp mess and OHHELLNO! I suppose I should add that I didn’t tell Robyn of the no seafood rule because I figured she would already know that…because we’re friends and friends don’t let friends eat stuff that lives in its own toilet! Some friend she is. Hmph.
After a flurry of emails denouncing seafood, etc., she sent me her second choice recipe. Honey Sauced Chicken. I was all happy because I like honey and I like chicken! And then I saw the soy sauce and I was all, “Oh, barf!” But I decided to suck it up because nobody likes a big baby (or a picky eater). Wah, wah, wah.
I’m one of those knuckleheads that only reads the ingredient list when looking at a recipe. The other stuff is what happens when you actually go to make it. So I never realized that it was supposed to be made in a crock-pot until about 5:30. Oops! Fortunately, she includes instructions on how to make it a 30 minute meal. So that’s what I did.
There are days when things that I do in the kitchen are effortless. And then there are days when it has to be a todo. Can you guess what day this was? I’ll give you a hint. Iced tea AND coffee cup sitting in my area. I was obviously having a time of it. And things didn’t get any better once I realized that I sprayed my dish with Pam…for baking! I wiped it out and started over. Sigh. The recipe doesn’t even call for doing that, but I wasn’t about to have a sticky (hello, honey!) mess all burned up in my dish (I tend to ignore things once I put them in the oven, including the oven timer at times, heh) so I took the extra precaution.
I also doubled the recipe (there are four of us eating). We (and by we I mean Rick because he’s the resident math dork over here) figured out that 3/4 of a pound of chicken doubled would be about two of those giant chicken breasts you get at Sam’s club.
I was an adult before I liked honey. Isn’t it weird how your taste changes over the years?
This is what it looked like before I put it in the oven. I have to admit I was a little nervous because I had visions of serving up a hearty bowl of soy soup.
I spooned it over rice and was pretty dubious about the whole mess because the sauce had not thickened like I expected it to. I had it in my head that it was going to be like Chinese take-out Sweet and Sour chicken. I then remembered once eating General Tso’s chicken over shredded lettuce so I decided to try it that way.
It was FABULOUS. And the rice eaters loved it too! Everyone agreed that it should go into our family meal rotation and that right there is a freaking miracle!
Okay, look. To be fair, when I suggested the garlic shrimp recipe to Nance, I DID say “I know you hate seafood, so probably not this one?”
I’m pretty sure that “lover of vegetables” is going to need to go on my tombstone because that cracked me up. I have a friend (this is not Nance I’m talking about, for the record) who eats vegetables so rarely that when she does, it’s a noteworthy event and a couple of weeks ago she posted on Facebook that she’d eaten a salad for dinner and we were all “!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Also, she loathes peas and considers their existence to be a personal affront.
I have a habit of seeing a recipe that looks interesting to me, and printing it out. I have a stack of recipes at least six inches high, dating back three or four years (every so often I go through them and admit that there are several that I’m never going to make), and so when it was my turn to choose a recipe, I grabbed my stack and picked one I thought Nance might be okay with.
(Fred is not super crazy about soy sauce, and since Nance and Fred think alike about MANY things – I’m pretty sure they were separated at birth – I wasn’t sure Nance would go for it. But she decided to be adventurous!)
I’d already chopped up the chicken (and salt and peppered it) earlier in the day because I like to get the annoying prep stuff done beforehand. 3/4 pounds of chicken breasts equaled three chicken breasts from our (free-range) chickens. You’ve also got honey (the big-ass bottle from Sam’s. How often do I use honey? How many years do you think I’ll be using honey from that bottle, for god’s sake? It’s already at least a year old! I love Sam’s, but there are some things a two-person household doesn’t really need to buy in bulk). There’s soy sauce, 1/8 cup chopped onion, ketchup, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and the big-ass bottle of olive oil from Sam’s. The recipe calls for vegetable oil, but the generic “vegetable oil” we have on hand smells funny so I opted for the olive oil.
This recipe really could not be easier – put the chicken in the baking dish, mix up the sauce and pour it over, stick the whole thing in the oven.
(The recipe I printed out has crock pot instructions, but I’m trying to convince y’all that I can make dinner without using the crock pot, so I opted for the oven instructions.)
I hate handling raw chicken, by the way. It ooks me out.
Bake for 10 minutes, stir it, bake another 10, and voila it is ready. We had ours over angel hair.
Fred’s not a huge fan of rice, he’ll always prefer pasta if given the choice. I really like Nance’s idea of eating it over chopped lettuce and will probably give that a try next time around.
I really liked this a lot – Fred, on the other hand, was more lukewarm about it. I think he might like it more if the sauce was thicker, so next time I make it I’m going to add some cornstarch to the sauce and see if I can’t get it to thicken up a bit. If I can’t get him to like it as much as I do, I’ll likely add it to my own personal rotation and eat it for lunches during the week. Two thumbs up from me, and a “Meh” from Fred, that picky motherfucker.
Robyn & Nance try the same recipe - Honey Sauced Chicken