Mar. 12th, 2010

thesoupfairy: (garlic)
Oops, I forgot the pictures again! Hope you guys can be patient with my process here! We went to our son's mother's house this evening to celebrate her birthday with her, and I almost forgot to post anything at all.

This is a favorite - it makes everybody happy when I make it.

Maka's Mealoaf

I use this same mixture for my meatballs, too! It's delicious. (Decrease the baking time if you're making meatballs - the length will depend on the size of the meatballs; just check them often.)

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5-10 minutes
Bake: 60 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced

  • 3/4 cup finely diced onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound ground round

  • 1 pound ground lamb or pork

  • 1-1/2 cups oats

  • 1/3 cup catsup

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 4-1/2 tablespoons milk

  • 1/2 cup catsup


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat oil in large skillet. Sauté celery, onion, and garlic in hot oil.

Combine all ingredients except last 1/2 cup catsup. If the mixture isn't quite thick and sticky enough, add some more oats or some fine breadcrumbs. Shape into a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf in a 13-inch by 9-inch pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Spread last 1/2 cup catsup on top of loaf and return to oven for 15 minutes more.

Remove to platter, let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Maka's Mashed Potatoes

These are my basic mashed potatoes. I make them often.

Prep: 15 minutes (or more, depending on how fast you peel potatoes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 4 pounds potatoes, preferably the golden ones

  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled but left whole

  • 1 stick butter

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, half and half, or milk

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Optional:

  • sour cream

  • chives

  • cooked crumbled bacon

  • grated cheese


Peel the potatoes or just scrub them, as your family prefers. Dice and drop into a bowl of cold water as you go. Peel garlic cloves but leave them whole.

Bring a large pot filled three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil. Drain cold water from potatoes and add them carefully to the pot with a slotted spoon. Don't burn yourself!! Add the garlic cloves.

Stir occasionally until boiling hard again, then reduce heat to medium and boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until fork-tender. Be sure to stir now and then. Drain potatoes and set aside.

Heat butter and cream in empty pot until butter is melted and cream is hot - but do not let it boil or the cream will curdle.

Mash potatoes, adding seasonings, optional additions, and cream mixture, a little at a time, until smooth and fluffy.
thesoupfairy: (coffee 2)
Every morning when I get up, I make a pot of espresso for my husband and myself. My former roommate gave me this nice little stovetop espresso maker for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it is truly one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever received! <reminds self that the computer upon which this is being typed was also a Christmas gift...>

These little "moka pots" make pretty fabulous coffee in a few minutes' time. But mine came with no instructions whatsoever, and I had to scour the internet to find out how to make coffee in it!

So, to make perfect espresso in your cute little moka pot, you must start with excellent coffee. I prefer Equal Exchange coffees, with Cafe Campesino being my next favorite. Beans that are specifically roasted for espresso make the best cup, with other dark-roasted beans being next on the list. I highly recommend buying whole-bean coffee and grinding it yourself for the freshest cup of coffee.

So you need a coffee grinder. Burr grinders are best, but if you have a blade grinder, that will work too. (This really does make a difference in the taste of your coffee.) Set your grinder to the "espresso" or "fine" setting, or if your grinder only has one setting, grind the hell out of those beans so they're ground as fine as possible.

Unscrew the top part of your moka pot and remove the little coffee basket from the bottom part. Fill the bottom chamber with water, just up to the level of the valve on the side of this chamber. I recommend using softened or bottled water. Your coffee maker will last longer, and the flavor of the coffee will be so much better.

moka pot valve outside
This little valve....

moka pot valve inside also visible on the inside. This photo sucks, but you can see that the water is just touching the valve.

Drop the coffee basket into its spot on top of the lower chamber.

coffee chamber empty
Dry off the rim of the bottom chamber first if necessary - your goal is to have a perfect seal with no water or coffee grounds to muck it up.

Fill the basket with your finely ground coffee. I use a deep-welled measuring spoon for this. Again, you want to try not to get coffee grounds on the edges where your seal will be. You don't have to tamp the grounds down hard like you do with the big commercial espresso makers - I just press them down a bit with the back of my spoon as I put in each spoonful.

coffee chamber full

Now screw the upper chamber onto the lower one. You want this tight but not too tight. Once a friend of mine was visiting us and he got up early and made coffee before the rest of us were up. He put the pot together so tightly that none of us could get it open for weeks, until finally a friend who is a mechanic and has amazingly strong hands showed up! On mine, I know it's right because the valve and the handle are lined up. You may have to experiment a bit.

pot screwed together

Set the pot on your stovetop burner and turn it to the setting/flame height that would give you a "high simmer" - my electric burners have settings all the way to "10" and I put it on "8". You don't want the water to boil too quickly, but you do want it to boil. When the water begins to boil, it will expand as it turns into steam, which will pressurize the lower chamber and force the steam up through the coffee grounds and into the upper chamber, where it will condense again into beautiful, rich espresso. Stay close by - you don't want your lower chamber to boil dry! You'll know it's done when the sound changes as the coffee spilling into the upper chamber begins to spurt and sputter. Remove it from the burner right away and pour immediately. Ideally you want to get your espresso and milk combined within 10 seconds.

hot steamy espresso goodness
You don't get to see the lovely crema in this pour, but it was present in the pot.

We prefer just adding cold half-and-half to our coffee, but if you like the steamed milk experience of a latte, feel free to heat your milk or half-and-half in a small saucepan. (To make sure it's just right, use a thermometer and heat it to 150-160°F.)

perfect cup of coffee

If you have a guest who doesn't like espresso, you can heat some water to almost-boiling and add it to the espresso in equal parts, to come up with the "Americano" drink sold in coffee shops. It's close in strength to regular drip coffee, but more tasty.

My moka pot makes 6 shots, and sometimes there's not enough people drinking coffee to finish it all. I save the extra to use in cooking. Once it's cool enough to put in the fridge, put the leftover coffee in the fridge to cool further. Then when it's good and cold, pour it into a canning jar and store it in the freezer. You can keep adding to this jar as long as you chill the coffee well before adding it.
thesoupfairy: (garlic)
Garlic Lemon Chicken

This fabulous wonderful delicious - I can't figure out enough glowing adjectives - chicken is a new favorite!

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Plated!

Prep: 35 minutes
Stovetop: 15 minutes
Crockpot: 4-6 hours
Servings: 6

  • 4 heads of garlic, cloves peeled but left whole

  • 4 celery stalks, sliced

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry

  • 1 medium-large lemon

  • 2 tablespoons dark beer

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)

  • dash habañero or cayenne powder


Garlic Lemon Chicken - Four Heads of Garlic!
Peel outer skin off heads of garlic and break individual cloves apart.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Smashing Garlic
Place a clove of garlic under the flat of your knife blade. Use the palm of your hand to smack the knife blade to break the skin of the garlic clove. You don't want to hit it very hard because for this recipe, you want your garlic cloves to be as whole as possible. (If you're mincing garlic for a recipe, you don't have to be quite so cautious.) Drop each peeled clove into the crockpot.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Slicing Celery
Stacking your four ribs of celery once they've been cleaned and trimmed makes slicing them super-easy.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Celery & Garlic in the Crockpot
Add celery to garlic in crockpot and stir a bit to combine.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Browning the Chicken
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet and brown chicken in oil in batches.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Browned Chicken Breasts in Crockpot
Transfer to slow cooker, arranging on top of garlic and celery.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Mixing up broth
In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.

Garlic Lemon Chicken - Ready to crock
Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until chicken is done and very tender.

Simple Savory Rice

Nice as a side dish with almost any meal.

Cook: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2 cups parboiled white rice

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 cups water


Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Stir rice once then lower heat to a very low simmer and cover. Set timer for 25 minutes and do not lift the lid until the timer goes off. Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.
thesoupfairy: (Default)
The Soup Fairy

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