CITY CHICKEN

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Total time to prepare – Approximately two (2) hours includes thirty (30) minutes of time the meat is resting in the fridge. 

 – Please be aware that this recipe for City Chicken contains absolutely no chicken, nor poultry of any kind. This recipe originates in the depression era in the western Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio sectors. At the time, chicken was costly and frugal cooks turned to pork and veal as substitutes.  Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Veal Chops – boneless, cut into 2-3 bite cubes. (If you cannot locate chops, then cutlets are acceptable, but cut the pork to similar size and thickness.
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Country-style Boneless Pork Ribs, cut into 2-3 bite cubes. (If you cannot locate, Pork Shoulder can be substituted.)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk
  • 2 cups Cracker Meal
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth 
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Wooden sticks for skewer, approximately 4 1/2 inches long. See photo. 

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Directions

  1. Skewer the sliced meat onto the sticks, alternate the pork and veal.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper on two sides.
  3. Dredge in flour and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs with the milk in a bowl large enough to accept the sticks of meat. Place the skewered meat into the bowl and cover all sides with the beaten egg mixture.
  5. Cover the skewered meat with cracker meal and set aside. When all have the three coatings, place into the refrigerator for thirty (30) minutes. This will allow the coating to stick better during the next step of browning.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Heat the oil in an electric skillet or large frying pan.
  8. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of a 9 x 11 roasting dish.
  9. Brown the meat on all sides and add the onions and saute with the skewers. Remove the meat and onions and place on paper towels to drain. Pat dry, then place all into the baking dish with the broth.
  10. Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover and bake for additional 15 minutes.
  12. Serve & enjoy. You may use the drippings for au jus, or make gravy out of the drippings.

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Bacon-Wrapped Cornish Hens

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Total time to prepare – Approximately one (1 1/2) hours
 – The biggest challenge with this recipe is to remove the backbone of the cornish hens. But after the first one, the second is much easier, and then the next and so forth will become routine. Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish Hens – defrosted
  • 8 Bacon Slices
  • 1 cup Raspberry Jam – seedless
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Glaze
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet or electric skillet until some of the fat is rendered but bacon is still translucent. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Stir Raspberry Jam and Balsamic Glaze in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Cut out and discard the backbone from each hen using kitchen shears, then halve each hen lengthwise. Pat hens dry and season with salt and pepper as you prefer. Arrange cut side down in a roasting pan.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  5. Wrap two (2) slices of bacon around each half hen so bacon ends are tucked under the bird.
  6. Brush hens liberally with Jam Glaze and reserve half for basting.
  7. Roast then baste with pan juices and reserved jam glaze at ten minutes and twenty minute mark. Hens should be tested after thirty-minutes total by piercing thigh with fork or toothpick. Juices should run clear. If not, roast for additional five minutes.
  8. Serve & enjoy.

Beef Barley & Spinach Soup – Quick and Easy

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Total time to prepare – Approximately one (1) hour

A Quick and Easy Recipe – Serves 8

 

Ingredients

  • item one 1 lb. Ground Beef (85%)
  • item two 1-14.5 oz. can Stewed Tomatoes
  • item three 32 oz. Beef Stock
  • item four 1-cup (8 oz) Vegetable Broth
  • item five 1 large onion – diced
  • item six 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • item seven 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Item eight 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • item nine 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • item ten 1 cup Red Bell Pepper – diced
  • item eleven 1/2 cup Celery – diced
  • item twelve 1 cup Carrots – Peeled and sliced thin
  • item thirteen 1/2 cup Barley – QUICK COOKING
  • item fourteen 4 cups Spinach – baby or torn

Directions

  1. item one Brown ground beef in dutch oven, break-up the meat. Remove meat and place on paper towels, cool. Pat the grease from the beef. Wipe out the dutch oven with paper towels.
  2. item two Add to dutch oven: Stewed Tomatoes, red pepper, celery, carrots, onion, garlic powder, dried thyme, beef stock, vegetable broth, salt, pepper and return ground beef to pot.
  3. item three Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for twenty (20) minutes.
  4. item four Add barley and simmer for additional fifteen (15) minutes.
  5. item five Add spinach stir. Allow to wilt for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve & enjoy. If not using all the soup at one sitting, refrigerate. The barley will soak up some of the liquid. Add additional vegetable broth to increase liquid to desired consistency.

Lawrence of Alaska

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Lawrence of Alaska – This retired gentleman is now 86 and worked for many years for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). He held many interesting posts but my feature regarding him is his assignment to northern Alaska during the construction of the pipeline. This was perhaps forty years ago. He was sent to Alaska because of the concern by the CDC for the Eskimos and their exposure to diseases introduced by the workers on the pipeline. Lawrence indicated that this was a valid prediction since numerous Native Alaskans contracted diseases for  which they had never built an immunity. These included chicken pox and measles most notably. He was also surprised by the existence of a Native American tribe in the northernmost points of Alaska. He never learned the name of their tribe but was informed their language closely resembled the Navaho in Oklahoma! The two tribes had several words that were a perfect match for each other. I wonder how this occurs. The ancestors must have met at some time, or perhaps explorers from the southwest United States of the barren lands of Alaska met one of these tribes and learned the language, then somehow traversed to the other lands and communicated at length with that tribe in their homeland. Interesting. I could have talked with Lawrence for a much longer time, but how many times can I circle his block before he would catch on? Seriously, I wouldn’t do that. Well, I might. But I didn’t.

Pork Chops & Spinach Soup

Total time to prepare – less than one (1) hour

A Quick and Easy Recipe – Serves 4

 

Ingredients

  • item one 1 lb. Pork Loin Chops – boneless
  • item two 1-10 oz. can Diced Tomatoes & Chiles (RO-TEL)
  • item three 32 oz. Chicken Broth
  • item four 1-15 oz. can Cannellini (white) beans – drained
  • item five 1 small onion – diced
  • item six 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Item seven 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • item eight 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • item nine 8 oz. Spinach – baby or torn

Directions

  1. item one Slice pork chops into bite-size pieces and brown in lurch oven. No oil should be needed but you may wish to add 1 teaspoon.
  2. item two Add to dutch oven: Diced Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, White Beans, Onion, Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder
  3. item three Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for twenty (20) minutes.
  4. item four Add spinach stir. Allow to wilt for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Serve & enjoy.

Recipes for a Happy Life

When I was about eight-years old, I was sitting on the back step of my home, resting from a rigorous afternoon of playing baseball. My father sat next to me. He was a man of few words, and I shuddered when he said, “There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk with you about.”

My mind was racing with the possibilities, and none of them were good. He must have noticed I chipped a shingle by hitting it with a baseball last week. Or perhaps a neighbor had a broken window pane and I was the obvious culprit to blame. I inhaled and remained silent.

“Your mom isn’t a very good cook.”

“Uh, she’s okay, I guess.”

“She and I have noticed you messing around in the kitchen.”

Oh boy, I must have broken something. Or I didn’t clean the skillet good enough after that last batch of beans and franks.

“Yes, sir.” I waited for the bad news.

“”You like cooking a little, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir. I do. And whatever it is, I’ll take care of it. Just tell me what I need to do.”

He smiled. “No, no, nothing like that. You didn’t do anything wrong. Just opposite. Your mom and I think that if you want to mess around more in the kitchen, you go right ahead. You have our permission. If you want to cook us dinner every now and then, when you think you’ve got a meal that we’d like, we’d appreciate that. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.”

That was my initial venture into cooking. I must admit I was terrible at the start, but became a self-taught engineer of interesting combinations. I even tried catering for a short time, but didn’t like the clean-up after the party. Here are some recipes that I’ve made and found palatable. I’ve classified some as Quick and Easy for those times when we must create a delicious meal in one hour or less.

If you enjoy it, share the recipe and let me know how it came out. I’m going to continue to mess around and share a recipe every now and then.

Tales from the Backseat

I thought I held a good understanding of my fellow humans and their behavior after a lifetime of observation and analysis. But not until I drove rideshare did I encounter new characteristics of people who provided me with experiences which I feel compelled to pass along. So, open the right rear passenger door, settle in comfortably, and don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.

Cherry Coke – For convenience sake, we shall name our rider Cherry. Time: 1:45 AM. Sunday morning. Location: A well-traversed street in Marietta, GA. Most bars here close at midnight, while the remainder “stagger” (I think an excellent word selection here.) their closings to 1 AM or the rare 2 AM. I received the chime to pick up this rider and was but 3 minutes away. The driver-friendly app provides turn-by-turn directions and as you approach the targeted area, an icon of a person appears to pinpoint their exact location. I was just around the corner from the image when it disappeared. Poof! Cherry was gone. I made the final turn and stopped at the intersection where I last saw the icon. Remember, this was a highly travelled street in daylight, but it was nearly 2 AM. I stopped in the middle of street, tapped my 4-way flashers, and stepped from my car. Not a sound. Then a rustling of branches and leaves and out hopped an attractive blonde female with a flower-patterned dress and stilettos. One bounce from the grass onto the sidewalk, another over the curb, and then the third, ooh, a twisted pump and down went my passenger. Ass down, legs up, holding her purse about one elbow and reaching her hand toward me holding out her cellphone. “It died.” That solved the mystery of the missing icon. No power. No image.

I helped her up while she apologized profusely. No injuries were apparent. I explained she had no reason to be sorry to me, but thought perhaps she had some other regrets. The branches and leaves stirred a second time and a man walked without failure across the lawn, down the curb and to us, thanking me for helping Cherry and asking me to make sure she gets home safely. I add now that Cherry ignored him. No “Goodbye Honey, thanks for a wonderful evening,” or even a modest “get out of my life.”

The ride itself was uneventful, filled with several more apologies. She really wasn’t that drunk, she insisted, but was just very clumsy. I thought perhaps a combination was in play. I ignored her repeated pleas for a Cherry Coke.

I pulled into her well-lit driveway and suggested she may want to put her shoes in her handbag and walk barefoot the few steps to her door. Advice ignored, she wobbled the few steps and fumbled for her keys. I always stay with my headlights on until my rider is safely inside. Besides, I felt this ride wasn’t quite finished.

Door open, one step up on the concrete, one more to go, when she turned to acknowledge she was fine. Yep, she twisted and lost her balance, ass down, legs up, purse steady on her elbow. Cellphone? She got to her feet, one step up, a second into the house. Turned, noticed the phone on the cement. One step down, backwards. Another down to the ground, she bent over and collected her phone, and then again, ass down, legs up, holding her phone up high. She reminded me of a football player showing possession of the ball.

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