Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Teresa's Buried Boobs!

( All the other photos are at the end of this posting.  Click on photos for larger view.  Hit your Browser's Back Button to get back here! )

Normally - I am one to refuse baking any main dish that includes pasta - these days.  I dunno.  They seem to have cheated on ingredients with every domestic brand of pasta you find in the grocery stores - enough that the texture becomes mushy - and turns my gut.  If you attempt to add it into the dish uncooked - it usually comes out crispy in ways that can break a horse’s teeth.

( All the Ingredients you'll need for this recipe. )

And then - God blesses me!  My eyes land on Calovita Pasta - and those little Fettuccine “ Nests intrigue me enough to take some home to try.  Okay - the fact that the address on the package is located in Italy didn’t exactly dance with my skeptic senses.  Anyway - my first impression was such an “ Ahaaaa ! “ moment with my Spaghetti that I won’t buy any other brand of Fettuccine - any longer!

The texture of this noodle - even after being thrown into the oven after being boiled - reminded me of my Mother’s Tuna Casserole that she made when I was very little.  I can still remember the texture of that noodle.  And after all these years - finally!  I’ve enjoyed a wonderful reunion!  I think everybody knows - the secret to liking Tuna Casserole has everything to do with the texture of the pasta!

This dish I'm sharing here turned out to be a concoction of ingredients that my whole body seemed to be craving - for over a week.  Let’s face it - Chicken breasts can bring about some fairly interesting *cough* conversations - when combined with enough testosterone - beer - and more than one male in the room.  Hence my choice for naming this concoction.  Let’s just get that over with and move on - so we can chow down, Guys!

And “ chow down “ is exactly what my husband did last night.  I have never seen him enjoy eating anything I’ve ever cooked for dinner - anywhere near as much!  It was almost comical.  I’m not sure he realized the noises he began making along the way.  And in between - several times I was being told - “ This is really good, Baby. “

And he was drinking sweet tea!

Okay - here goes!  Here’s the list of all that you’ll need for the entire dish!

Teresa's Buried Boobs

Ingredients -
2 - 4 Chicken Breasts
Course Ground Pepper
Fettuccine Pasta ( cooked al-dente )
2 TBL. Olive Oil
16 oz. Canned Tomatoes
White Sauce w/Herbs (  recipe/Instructions below )
¾ lb. shredded Mozzarella Cheese ( approx. 2 ¾ c. )
1 pkg. Baby Portabella Mushrooms

White Sauce with Herbs
Ingredients -
1 stick unsalted Butter
1 TBL Sea Salt
¼ c. plus 2 TBL. Flour
1 TBL. Chopped fresh Garlic ( approx. 5 good-size cloves )
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
1 c. Chicken Broth
1 ½ c. Pet Milk ( large can )
3 sprigs fresh Basil ( approx. ¾ c. )
4 sprigs fresh Greek Oregano ( approx. 1/3 c. )
1 handful fresh chives ( approx. ½ c. )

Let’s get to burying these Boobs!
1.  Make sure chicken breasts are completely thawed out.
2.  Pinch leaves off Basil.  Stack with largest on the bottom.  Beginning from the end of the largest leaf - roll the bunch of leaves up to the top of the leaves ( like a burrito ).  Cut into thin strips from one end to another.  Place in a bowl ( same size as for eating cereal ).
3.  Strip leaves off Greek Oregano.  Mince with a knife.  Place into bowl with Basil.
5.  Chop Chives same as you would for a baked potato.  Place into bowl with the other two herbs.
6.  Pre-heat oven to 375*.
7.  Wash chicken breasts under cold water and set into your - 2” deep minimum - baking dish.  Sprinkle with course ground black pepper and sea salt.
8.  Bake in pre-heated oven - without lid or foil covering - for 45 minutes.

While you’re baking the boobs - prepare the White Sauce with herbs - pasta - and the mushrooms.
1.  Fill a 3 qt. almost 2/3 of the way with water.  Add Olive Oil.  Speed the process of bringing the water to a boil by placing a lid over the saucepan.  Place pasta into boiling water.  You’ll need to watch the pasta.  Cook until al-dente ( approximately 10 minutes ).  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Keep it in the saucepan with the lid over the top until ready for use.  I usually drizzle a little more olive oil over the pasta and stir it in.  Keeps the pasta from sticking.
2.  Melt stick of butter in 3 qt. saucepan on Medium Heat (very important) .  Add 1 TBL. Sea Salt - Garlic - and pinch of Crushed Red Pepper.  Stir and let meld for about 1 minute.
3.  Using a Whisk - add flour.  Whisk until smooth.  Add Pet Milk and Chicken broth.  Whisk until smooth.
4.  Cook mixture on medium heat - constantly stirring with Whisk for about 20 minutes - or until as thick as cream of mushroom soup.
5.  Once you see a thick wall of sauce trying to remain on the sides of the saucepan - remove from burner.  Don’t forget to turn the burner off !
6.  Add herbs into mixture.  Stir into mixture.
7.  Pull stems off mushrooms.  Clean mushroom buttons with damp paper towel.
8.  Grate the Mozzarella Cheese! ( Set it back in the fridge until the chicken comes out of the oven ! )
Once the Boobs have baked for 45 minutes - remove them from the oven and set on a hot pad in your work area.
1.  See the drippings in the pan?  With a basting brush - brush the drippings up the sides of the pan.  Use a folded paper towel if you don’t have a basting brush.  Do not discard excess drippings.
2.  Distribute mushroom buttons over entire pan.  Follow with pasta.
3.  Without straining canned tomatoes - spoon entire contents over chicken - mushrooms - and pasta.
4.  Very carefully - begin distributing White Sauce with Herbs over entire dish.  You will need to do this in intervals - allowing the sauce time to fall down into the other ingredients.  You may even want to lift a side of each breast with a fork to allow the mixture room to fall in.
5.  Once all the White sauce is distributed across the entire dish - place back into the oven for 35 minutes.
6.  After 35 minutes - remove the pan from the oven.  Distribute the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
7.  Place back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
8.  After removing from the oven - allow to sit for 10 more minutes.
9.  Use a sharp knife to cut sections into the cheese.
10.  Find your chicken breasts with tongs ( or a fork ) and remove chicken breast from pan to plate.
11.  With a large serving spoon - dish out all the other goodies onto your plate!

Yes - things may look a little “ watery “ in the pan - at first.  Don’t worry.  That’s what allows your chicken breast to cook up nicely moist and tender!

I will tell you this much.  Being able to add fresh herbs and your own home-grown and home-canned tomatoes makes such a huge difference in the taste of this dish!!

If you haven’t done so yet - get out there and learn how to grow your own herbs and tomatoes!

Okay now - the fun part - Photos for visual support below!

After baking in oven for 45 minutes.

 Place Mushroom buttons into pan.

Spread the cooked Pasta.

Spoon canned tomatoes over Pasta.

Spread White Sauce with Herbs over entire dish - slowly - in intervals - allowing sauce to move down into the dish.  Place back into the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and distribute shredded Mozzarella cheese.  Place back into oven for another 10 minutes.

Buried Boobs!  Wait 10 more minutes after removing them from the oven for the last time - before slicing cheese into sections with a sharp knife.  Using tongs or a fork - go in and pull a breast out and place onto a plate.  Spoon all the other good stuff out onto the plate.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Country-Style Ribs on The Pit !

Anyone raised in Texas knows that one of the most important elements in life to learn is - Bar-b-Que.  And it’s a serious subject.

A Texas marinade usually has what they call - a savory flavor.  We’re just really not into adding all the sweetness in the far south.  " Don’t need anymore than we’re already born with ! "

Some folks seem to bury the taste under all the Cayenne pepper.  I’ve never understood that one.  I prefer being allowed to taste the meat.

Some folks are under some - desperately confused notion - that you should boil your meat before putting it on the pit.  Boiling all the flavor out of a meat?  This just brings another addition to the definition of the word - crazy.

I mean - why bother with all the hassle.  Just grab a can of potted meat!  It’s already ruined.

Boiling the meat removes the fat ! “  Really?  Honey - if you’re gonna buy into all the hype with nutritional rules that they’re all putting out there - don’t bother!

And on the side - let me give you a clue about all that hype.  There aren’t enough jobs in this country.

Knaw on that one for a while!

All you others - let’s just move on to the good stuff!

These are the ingredients you’ll need.

As you can tell - there are times when I will choose store brands.  There are very few times in this world when I will insist on the product being carried under a major brand - especially during these days.  If everybody took the time to pay attention to prices when they do their grocery shopping - all those major brands would have to submit to those that secure their paychecks for them - you and me!

Country Pork Rib Marinade

1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. course ground black pepper
Pinch of Cayenne ( can be adjusted to your liking )
1 Tbl. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. K.C. Masterpiece " Original " BBQ Sauce
1/2 c. distilled vinegar
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 ( 12oz. ) Beer ( Your choice ! )

I've used a #3 Rubbermaid bowl.  This is a little over 3lbs. of ribs in the marinade.

Mix all ingredients together.  Soak ribs in marinade in the refrigerator for minimum of 4 hours.

Here’s the Finished Product!

Believe it or not - I almost forgot to get this shot!  These were the last two left over - after Hubby and I had already eaten!

Once the ribs were put onto the smoker - I went back and mopped them with the marinade each time I turned them.  And yes - I turn my meat to cook twice on each side - with the exception of steak.  And I never put the final dash of salt on my meat until I give it the last turn and baste.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Calamari Success!!


I’m so surprised by how many people I know that - still - haven’t been able to jump off that cliff to try Calamari.

Even more surprising is to know that some of those same folks can suck down raw oysters and chase ‘em with beer - but - carry this heavy fear of - Calamari.

Confession here.  I have never been walked through that dark fear of raw oysters.  I will kill you over fried oysters!  But - I can't even handle the sight of watching someone doing raw oysters.  How do you consider what you don't chew as eating - anyway?

In case you don’t know - Calamari is the dress-up name for a wonderful appetizer prepared using - Squid!

And I love it - absolutely!

Nine times out of ten - I have learned that the first experience is downright crucial to success with walking any loved one into a whole new food world for their pleasure.

For me - it was a Christmas dinner in a little bitty small room - some very quaint Mom ‘n Pop place in Turlock, Calfifornia.  For some reason - I can’t even remember the name of the place.  It's been so long ago.  I can only remember the room - and the company at the table.  I dunno.  But I think that gives more value to the memory and the reason why we were there - rather than only remembering the name of the place - so there!

I have tried - for quite a while - years - to get Dwayne to taste Calamari.  Attempts to walk this husband of mine to the other side of that dark fear - Ha! - much like walking some Great Pyraneese - that decides to take a nap - in a mud puddle.

It hasn’t been pretty.

But - let me go on record.  There was success - finally - on Monday, February 2, 2010 - at my most favorite restaurant - Johnny Carino's in Knoxville, Tennessee!

I don’t know why - but - almost everywhere I have been since my first taste of Calamari - I have found it being served with Marinara sauce.  Maybe some people can handle this - but for me - that spicy tomato Marinara just doesn’t fit with - seafood.

When all else fails - try it with Ranch Dressing!

Well - not this time.  But close!

Try this Side Dip!

Teresa's Favorite Calamari Dip

1 8-oz. pkg. Cream Cheese
1 16-oz. carton Sour Cream
2 Tbl. Prepared Horseradish
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
Salt to taste

Let your cream cheese sit until room temperature.  Strain prepared horseradish - unless you use fresh grated.  Combine all ingredients.  Best if you let it set in the refrigerator for thirty minutes or so.

Side Notes -
The very best recipe I have ever found for preparing Calamari at home is one offered by my one of my two favorite Manly Chefs - Mario Batali !!