I’m making over my kitchen. Well, not exactly my kitchen as much as the functionality of my kitchen. I’ve been thinking of easy, budget-friendly ways to help me stay organized. The other day I noticed that I have been dipping into two open boxes of baking soda when I bake. This madness must be stopped. So I did this…
Happiness. But it gets better. Each box easily holds an abundance of these supplies.
And, I don’t mean to brag, but they are stackable.
This might be a good time to admit that my recipes are in just as much need of organization as my supplies are.
But in the meantime, I shall not want for I have placed my favoritist recipes on my new storage tins which I made with left-over Tazo Tea tins (dotter works at Starbucks), double-sided tape (from my scrapbooking addiction) & kraft paper (which I already had for our B&B). Once I made my template, the rest was pretty easy.
Such great first step to a more organized kitchen. I shall keep you posted on my progress. If you don’t hear from me soon, please call for help.
Usually we grill our steaks.
Even in the Seattle sunshine.
But today is different. Today is Valentine’s Day. We shall make steak inside. We shall make it with butter. And wine. And butter.
First, the steak needs to sit out on the counter for about an hour so that it won’t be too cold to cook evenly.
Next, coat steaks in olive oil. And salt. And pepper. Preferably freshly ground salt and pepper.
Heat a medium-sized, oven-safe frying pan on medium high. Once hot, place steaks in pan. Preheat oven to 425F.
Brown steak well on every side (even the edges).
Yes, that’s it. Beautiful.
Place about 4-5 tablespoons of butter over the steak. Even more beautiful. Using same oven-safe pan, place steaks into oven. Allow to cook for about 6 minutes.
Place steaks on a clean plate & set aside to allow to rest.
Place frying pan with all its buttery goodness back onto burner onto medium heat. Slice a few cloves of garlic & add to butter. Whisk in about 1 1/2 cups of red wine and/or water (or chicken broth) to make a nice sauce. You can add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce. If you like mushrooms, a few sliced or chopped mushrooms are delicious too. Add any juices that have run off your steaks and salt & pepper to taste. Lemon pepper adds a lovely flavor. Allow sauce to simmer until it reduces to about 1/2 the amount you started with. Taste test to make sure your sauce is heavenly.
Pour sauce over steak. or serve on the side. Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy filet mignon.
The best way to know if your steak is to your liking is to measure the temperature with a meat thermometer before removing it from the oven:
- Rare 126F
- Medium rare 131F
- Medium 145F
- Medium well done 154F
- Well done 163F
It’s my birthday. It’s not a big deal, really. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve survived quite a few. One involved being snowed in but that was okay. I just pretend I’m Laura Ingalls Wilder (we share a birthday and we’re soul sisters). I’m pretty much a first-born introvert so that birthday was easier to get through than the one which involved a rotating restaurant, a piano and singing waiters. Or the surprise party which actually was a surprise.
My favorite birthday might have been the one that included Polynesian fire dancers. And grass skirts. And a roasted pig. It’s a toss-up between that one and the year I discovered Baskin Robbins ice cream cakes. It’s hard to choose, really. This year I’m starting my day with a Diet Coke, chocolate covered strawberries, a Facebook post from dotter that made me cry and a boiled egg so things are looking up. If anyone would like to send over a Polynesian fire dancer, I’ll roast the pig. But I digress. Laura Ingalls would not approve.
Once you begin being naughty, it is easier to go and on and on, and sooner or later something dreadful happens. – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Speaking of things that are nice to look at, part of my birthday celebration this year is sharing a beautiful and super easy recipe with you. Cream horns. You’re welcome.
To prep strawberries, rinse a small container of them off then drip dry on a paper towel until very dry. Dip in chocolate and allow to cool while you make the cream horns. Dipped strawberries can be made the night before.
Remove a box of puff pastry from the freezer (Puff pastry is found in the freezer section of the grocery store). Puff pastry is moody. There are two things you must know before going any further… First, you can only defrost puff pastry by placing in the fridge overnight or by setting it out on the counter for 40 minutes. If you defrost it too long in either place, it will stick together. Second, preheat oven to 400 degrees. This step is not optional with puff pastry. Not preheating will give you limp puff pastry. Don’t ask me how I know these things, I just do.
Cover a thin rolling-pin or sugar ice cream cones in foil. Ice cream cones will give you a cone shape which is also very fun. Spray foil with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.
Cut puff pastry into 8 long strips. A pizza cutter works well for this. Roll puff pastry strips around rolling-pin (or cone). You don’t have to roll terribly tight. When one runs out, attach another. It will take about 4 strips to make one cream horn. Beat one egg in a small bowl and brush on the puff pastry as you go to help it stick together.
Perfection not necessary. Brush each cream horn with the beaten egg for a glossy finish.
If you have leftover puff pastry, just roll in parchment paper and then wrap in plastic. Keep in fridge for up to a few days (since it’s now rolled in parchment, that’s okay) or return to freezer for another birthday.
Sprinkle with Wilton’s White Sparkling Sugar for a classy touch. If you don’t happen to have this on your cupboard, you can use a little bit of regular sugar. But I do recommend getting some as soon as possible. I mean if you can’t have fire dancers, at least you can enjoy some big, sparkly sugar.
After at least 20 minutes, you will have this. It is normal and healthy to feel a sense of joy and pride in this moment for it is glorious.
After cream puffs cool, remove carefully from rolling-pin or cones. Place them on a parchment paper and drizzle chocolate over them. But only if you’re obsessive about your desserts. And chocolate. And drizzles. Like me.
If you’re in a hurry or if your room is too hot for chocolate to cool – you know, from fire dancers – just place cream horns in fridge to harden chocolate.
Make whipped cream. Using a pastry bag (no decorating tip needed), fill cream horns with goodness.
Adorn cream horns with freshly dipped chocolate strawberries. Laura Ingalls would approve.
It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. – Laura Ingalls Wilder
I’m not sure today’s post is so much a recipe as it is a cute a hostess with the mostess tip. I discovered this by mistake while making breakfast for some of our first guests and it has become the norm at The Old Hen.
We pour orange juice into a pretty glass. The more unusual the juice glass, the better it tastes. Then we pour just a touch of raspberry syrup into the juice. It will settle and create the sunrise look at the bottom of the glass. Then as a finishing touch, we drop a few frozen raspberries into the juice. Frozen raspberries float and fresh do not. Who knew?
In this particular cutie glass, I liked the look of just one raspberry. It made me so happy – far happier than it should have made me feel, I am quite sure.
As our family has steered farther and farther away from fast food, one of our favorite take-outs has become teriyaki chicken. If you’ve been to enough teriyaki restaurants or store delis, you know that not all teriyakis are created equal.
It’s such a treat to be able to create our favorite take-out at home.
- 3-4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 pound chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 clove fresh garlic, grated using micro grater
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated using micro grater
- Salt & pepper
- Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Over medium heat, cook chicken in oil. Start with a hot pan. The key to perfect chicken is not to over-cook it but chicken can never be underdone. Chicken is done when the thickest part is 165 degrees and no less. A good meat thermometer is a must for a home cook.
While chicken is cooking, place the rest of the ingredients (except for the salt & pepper into a medium bowl or pitcher. Whisk well and set aside.
When chicken is done, cut it into bite-size pieces. Toss back into pan on medium heat again.
Immediately pour your sauce over the chicken and stir as it heats up. It will become thicker. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thick. Salt & pepper to your liking. If you like a bit of heat, toss in a few crushed red pepper flakes. Use sparingly as they are very spicy. My high school friend and I learned this years ago when we mistook them for bacon bits and piled them on our salads once at a salad bar. H-h-h-h-ot.
Serve with some steamy rice or simply in chilled lettuce for a healthy wrap. For a fun touch, find a food-safe container to press a serving of rice into and then turn upside-down on your plates. Ice cream scoops, cookie cutters, or a heart-shaped bowl are all fun options for shaping rice. Happy take-out to you. Only, you know, in.