By now I am sure you realize that not only do I love to eat, I love to cook! Its not just the flavors that hit My pallet, its the soothing therapy that affects My soul… the inner Me that needs that little reminder that there are things bigger then Us, there are those, in need, REAL NEED, and My petty bitches and complaints are ridiculous. Cooking does more then feed hungry people. It has the ability to reconnect YOU with the Universe as a whole.
CRAZY CHICK ON THE LOOSE… is THAT what you are thinking? Are you wondering if the back pain meds have finally taken Me over the edge?? It hasn’t, I PROMISE! Stick with Me while I explain.. don’t worry, I am chuckling as I type and reread what I ve written. 🙂 So here is My thought process… I take fresh produce that was grown by someone who has to put their heart and soul into taking seeds and caring for them until they produce the labor of their love.. VEGGIES! Now We use these veggies in our meals, that We as providers, (providing shelter, love food, to our offspring) prepare lovingly for those that We care about.. whether that is your immediate family, relatives, or your business.. YOU are taking time from your life, a moment to create something nourishing for another human, and if you are sitting together sharing this meal with others that you care about, you are also nourishing each others Minds, and hearts and thoughts.
GOOD FOOD has the ability to bring people together. When people get together there is always some type of nourishing going on..Seriously! Think about it… We all know that Chocolate has some type of happy maker inside it, I mean for years I’ve heard Women speak of the AMAZING healing power of chocolate when “AUNT FLO” is in town. It never worked for Me, however I really didn’t have a difficult …. visit when she came monthly. OMG, how did We get from fresh produce to “Aunt Flo”.. see what happens when I get started on a roll.. 🙂
Point? … Yes, I remember now. Good food mixed with great people makes for fabulous memories/moments. Good Food can heal wounds, make memories to last a life time, create new friendships.. FOOD is LIFE!!
For Me cooking is a kind of therapy. My kitchen is a safe place for Me, its sacred and all of those who love Me are aware and respect that. YES! I take My kitchen seriously!! I mean, I am all for teaching others how to cook, at the same time, I have very expensive pieces of machinery and other cooking tools that I value and I really don’t trust any of My immediate (meaning the rugrats) family (and the ex) with ANY of My tools for cooking!! There! I said it… Neurotic? Quite possibly.
Onto the recipes and directions. Honestly, these may be the easiest recipes for some really GOOD food!! I’m not sure if I had mentioned this before, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to use ingredients and make Meals that I can “upcycle” the leftovers!! . The Veal Stew and the Breakfast bake are two “upcycled” Meals.
Veal Breasts (previously roasted, whatever is left over, including bones, juices and fat)
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped however big you prefer.
about 20 mini carrots chopped, or 4 medium carrots, chopped again, however you prefer.
2 large, or 4 small onion or more if you love onions, chopped.
about 3 cups or so water or stock (you can use chicken or beef stock. I find beef stock to be overwhelming to the veal taste that I am looking for from veal stew.
any leftover veggie you might have from the night you prepared the Roasted veal, or don’t add anything else at all, totally YOUR call. I made sautéed baby zucchini with onions the night I made the Veal, so I added this to the pot.
4 to 6 medium/small white potatoes, or whatever type of potatoes you have in the house.. IF you have leftover mashed, add those to the pit too, believe it or not, it makes an incredible taste and thickens the stew.
salt and pepper to taste, I added these after the stew cooked for awhile and I could gauge the taste better.
I chopped the onions, carrots and celery, added 3 tablespoons of olive oil and threw those into My large Crockpot, set it at 400, put the lid on and let the veggies cook for about 12 minutes, checking on them of course. When the veggies are softer and the onions are near translucent add the veal, bones, meat, fat and juices. Stir it all up.. I like to move the veggies so that the veal is on the bottom and the veggies are laying atop the veal. (This adds more flavor to the stew, when you add the stock or water, whatever liquid you chose, it releases the meat from the bottom of the hot crockpot and alllll those yummy bits of goodness!) I let it sit covered at 400 for about 15 minutes. Add the liquid and whatever leftover veggies you want, stir, cover and turn it down to 300.
Now, here is where the cooking time varies. I am using it tomorrow for dinner, I started it this morning, I have had it cooking at 250 in the crockpot for about 8 hours so far. Most of the bones have been released by the connective tissue, fat and meat. Basically that is your cue to add the potatoes, when the meat has fallen off the bones… or close to it. Now if you’re setting this up in the morning and want it done by the time you get home from work, I assume around dinner time, then you would just dumped all the ingredients into the crockpot, set the temp to 275 and away you go! By the time you get home you’re dinner will be done and ready to serve. The only thing I would add is a crusty loaf of bread to accompany the stew, OH and a glass of fabulous wine.. BON APETIT!!
****Here’s a helpful hint.. any fatty meat cooked in a crockpot will be very oily when the meal is done, it is VERY easy to remove this layer of liquid fat. I use a soup ladle.. you gently lower it into the stew, not letting the rim of the ladle dip below the layer of fat, the liquid fat will fall into the ladle, you continue doing this til the amount of fat you want removed is gone. If you are TOTALLY freaked out and need ALL the liquid fat out of your stew then, after the ladle trick, take coffee filters and lay them across the top of the stew, they will soak up the fat, pay attention when doing this, as soon as the fat adheres itself to the filter, lift the filter out.. repeat as necessary.
A loaf of any bread you have left over will work for this recipe, preferably something with fruit and/or nuts in it, maybe a cinnamon bread type thing, or even a loaf of plain Italian bread. ANY BREAD!! SERIOUSLY.. This is a recipe I saw on one of the cooking shows from the food network.. I tweaked it to fit My family’s tastes and preferences. It is very similar to a bread pudding, but My family named it Breakfast Bake.
Pause…. I HAD to go and take a taste now that I am talking about it.. FAIR WARNING!! IF you are trying to lose weight DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT MAKE THIS RECIPE!!! OMG it is sooooooo FREAKING YUMMY!!! And this is an easy as I don’t know what recipe!!
What you need: 9×13 baking dish.
approx. 4 cups chopped up or ripped apart bread of your choice.
1 1/2 sticks butter, chopped up
3 cups milk or half and half, or cream, or evaporated milk, whichever you have to use, remember the higher the fat in the dairy liquid of choice, the less you use, finish the total amount needed with water.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
This is the easy part!!
beat the eggs until they are well blended (all yellow, no clear parts of the whites still not incorporated) Add the liquid dairy of choice, both sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon. Chop the butter and add to the torn up bread pieces, toss well. Pour egg mixture over bread, toss to coat all bread pieces. Smoosh the bread down into the baking dish, forcing it to soak up the liquid. Put the baking dish in the fridge, covered overnight (if you absolutely cant wait til the next day, let it sit in the fridge at LEAST 4 hours before baking)
Bake at 350 for approx. 40 minutes. Check on it after 30 minutes. I usually turn the oven off 5 to 10 minutes before the breakfast bake is done, and let it sit in the oven to finish cooking. This way I don’t over do it and dry out the custardy texture.
I serve it sometimes with syrup, sometimes with some powdered sugar sprinkled across the top. I believe the best part of this recipe and this meal is that it can be cut into squares, frozen in sandwich bags and pulled out in the morning by you or your offspring, popped in the microwave, or toaster oven (My kids favorite way) and eaten anytime, right at your finger tips!! Served warm with vanilla ice cream is a FOODGASM for sure!
P.S. I tried to add all My step by step photos, not sure what went wrong.. could be the “blonde” thing again, or just that this computer is a piece of shit… Man or the Machine… Up for discussion..LOL..
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