Sunday Roast: What’s for Dinner?

Weirdly enough, it’s December AGAIN.  Where did this year go?

Anyhoo, this seems to be the time of year when people are interested in cooking a big holiday dinner for the family and friends.  Not me, of course, but some other people.  You know who you are.  🙂

So I thought to myself, “Self, why not do food posts for the month of December?”  And I replied, “Self, that seems like not all that much work…I mean, GREAT IDEA!!  People will love this!!”

Well, ’tis the season of giving, so I give you a lovely ham video.  Personally, I’m glad I’m not scrubbing that pan after dinner.  Yikes.

This is our daily open thread — Post your foodie favs here!

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 25, 2013: Monday Mix, FB Edition

Every once in a while I give in and check my Facebook notifications/updates/whatever. Here’s some odds and ends that I felt worth sharing:

A friend who used to work with us posted the first photo, from a Facebook site called Earth Porn. The second photo is from the same site. Check out the site, they have some awesome photos.
alaskan sunset Winter Sunset – Alaska (USA) photo by Ron Perkins

Japanese Maple Tree, Oregon, USA Photo by Peter Lik

Japanese Maple Tree, Oregon, USA Photo by Peter Lik

On the humorous side, our old friend Jim Wolf (Jim Wolf359 from TP) posted this:
How to Cook A Turkey (from Pampered Chef)

How to Cook A Turkey (from Pampered Chef)

Last, I’m proposing a Caption Contest for this shot of Richard Nixon, which was posted by an FB friend who I met at TP. The links that were provided didn’t seem to have anything to do with the actual photograph, so I have been trying to source it, but I can’t find it anywhere.


This is our daily open thread–got any captions, thoughts, rants, etc.?

The Watering Hole; Friday May 17 2013; The Island of St. Lucia

No politics today.

In the eastern Caribbean — on a line approximately due east of Nicaragua and in the Lesser Antilles portion of the West Indies — lies an island called St. Lucia. It’s about midway between Martinique and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and is one of the more mountainous islands in the Caribbean. Europeans (French pirates) first arrived there in the 1550’s. The Dutch set up a camp on the island circa 1600. An off-course English vessel stopped by in 1605, but thanks to conflict with the native population only stayed for five weeks. In 1643 the French established a permanent colony, named the Island St. Lucia, and then, in 1660, signed a treaty with the native Carib People and began to develop land for production of sugar cane. In 1664 The British claimed the island, and over the next 150 years, colonial “leadership” changed hands a total of fourteen times (France 7, England 7). In 1814, Britain took charge for the duration until 1979 when St. Lucia finally became an independent state, a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. During the period of European colonization, most of the native people died from either disease or conflict, and were replaced by slaves from Africa. Today, the population of St. Lucia is predominantly of African descent; the official language is English, but most of the locals are equally if not more proficient in a French-based Patois, a language derived mainly via the combination of French and various West African languages.

Modern day St. Lucia is a peaceful place with a population of less than 200,000. It’s a lush tropical paradise whose main ‘industry’ is tourism. In 1983, I spent a week on St. Lucia as one of a party of four Arizonans who had decided to fly as far from ‘home’ in a single day as could be managed. Suffice to say that that particular week became one of the most delightful interludes spent in my nearly 71 years of occupancy on this here planet. The accommodations at Hotel Anse Chastanet just outside of the small town of Soufriere (pronounced soo-FRAY) were comfortable and reasonably priced, and the scenery — well, the scenery was spectacular and stunning. In every way and from every vantage point. But all of that paled when compared with the people, the locals who worked the hotel, the restaurants, lounge, and beach, and the people of Soufriere. They were positively delightful. In fact, on our last night at the hotel, we were joined in the lounge for a farewell sip or two by nearly the entire hotel staff, one of whom was ‘different’ from the others in much the same way we were ‘different’ — he (the dive shop manager) was, like the four of us, a pale-skinned, light-haired . . . well, you know. Everyone else was of African descent. And amongst the entire crowd of all of us, no one . . . not a single one . . . even noticed, much less cared. The entire visit became, for us ‘white’ Americans, a genuine eye-opening and enlightening experience, one which will never be forgotten.

Anyway: below are some ‘recollections’ from 1983 in the form of old photographs, recently digitized, plus a recipe that the woman in charge of the restaurants at the Anse Chastanet Hotel — Georgianna — graciously mailed to me (pursuant to my request!) after my return to the deserts of Arizona. It’s a fabulous recipe — “local food” in Georgianna’s words. Delicious!

So, enjoy!

The Pitons; St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles, 1983The Pitons and the Caribbean; St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles, 1983


Corals, Soufriere Bay, St. Lucia

Corals in Soufriere Bay, St. Lucia


The Pitons from Soufriere Bay

The Pitons, from Soufriere Bay


Corals in Soufriere Bay

Corals in Soufriere Bay


The Pitons from Hotel Anse Chastanet

The Pitons from Hotel Anse Chastanet


Corals in Soufriere Bay, St. Lucia

Corals, Soufriere Bay


Rainbow over Soufriere Bay and Night Scene at Anse Chastanet

From Hotel Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia — Rainbow, and Night Scene


Recipe for Chicken St. Lucia
(aka “Local Food,” courtesy of Georgianna, Soufriere, St. Lucia)

This is derivative of a recipe which was graciously shared with me by the kitchen staff of the Hotel Anse Chastanet, a West Indies tropical hideaway near the small city of Soufriere, St. Lucia, within easy view of The Pitons and about halfway up the island’s Caribbean coast.  The dish is quite delicious, actually, and with its slightly sweet and spicy flavor is more than a little ‘different’ from most other chicken-in-sauce recipes; it’s also a genuine reflection of the tastes and aromas of a beautiful tropical Caribbean island.

To begin, assemble the following ingredients:

1 good-sized chicken (or equivalent in pieces*), cut up, skinless, bones ok
¼ lb (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped sweet onion
2-3 cups diced tomatoes (or 28 oz can)
1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large green Bell pepper, cut into ¼ by 1 inch slices
1 Tbsp curry seasoning
2 tsp sweet Basil
1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped and crushed
Kosher or sea salt to taste

•    1 cup fresh orange juice
•    2 Tbsp fresh orange zest
•    1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
•    liquor from the tomatoes (canned is fine)
•    ½ cup cream sherry (optional)

*Boneless, skinless breast meat, cut into smaller chunks, can suffice – dark meat not strictly required for this dish; I do avoid using the wings, and when using leg quarters,  prefer thighs be boned and cut as is the breast meat — a service preference.  OK to leave the drums as drums.

To Prepare:
Marinate the chicken pieces in the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning once. Next, in a large pot, melt half of the butter and sprinkle in the curry seasoning.  Bring to a sizzle, stirring, then add the garlic plus 1 cup of onion and stir till everything is uniform. Next add, in order: the chicken and marinade, tomatoes, cucumbers, salt, black pepper, and sweet Basil (withhold the green pepper and 1 cup of onion). Bring to a slow boil, then stir the entire contents of the pot; cover, reduce heat a bit, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Next, add half of the green pepper strips, cover again, and return to simmer for another 15-30 minutes, or until the chicken easily yields to a fork.

Finally, with a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and as much of the vegetable chunks as possible and set aside.  Bring the remaining broth to a full rolling boil and add the rest of the butter.  Reduce the broth by about half, or until the bubbles begin to look as though they have a glassy surface, then add the rest of the onions and peppers; continue to boil until peppers and onions are softened (about five minutes), then turn off the heat and return the chicken and vegetables to the pot.  Stir well, and serve in individual portions alongside and over freshly steamed white or brown rice.

You will be surprised, and delighted, guaranteed!


This is Today’s Open Thread. Anything Goes, Even 🙄 Politics.

Sunday Roast: January 27, 2012 – Seriously!

It is my favourite of all times:

Get yourself a shoulder of Pork, some veggies, a glass of beer, more beer for yourself and don’t hurry it up, it wants it’s time.

1 l of Chicken Stock
1.5 kgs Pork Shoulder with skin.

(The more fat the better, unfortunately the pigs they breed over here for meat are almost as lean as athletes. You don’t ge a really porky pig anymore and while people think it’s good for your health in my humble opinion it sucks from a yumminess point of view)

3 large white onions
1 small carrot
150 g of celeriac
1 tbsp oil
400 g small potatoes
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tbsp tomato purree concentrated
150 ml red wine
1 laurel leave
1/2 tsp cumin and coriander each
1 clove of garlic sliced
2 slices ginger
pepper freshly gound
1/2-1 tsp lemon skin grated
1-2 tbsp Fleur de Sel

Now you can get going and the process leaves you quite a bit of time between the stages to either prepare side dishes or go on a run to burn off the calories about to hit you 😉

Put the roast into a pan skin side down add the chicken broth and roast in oven at 130°C for 90 minutes.

Dice the veggies (sans the potatoes) and gently roast them in a pan, add icing sugar gently caramelise, add tomato purree and red wine bring to the boil and take to the side.

After 90 minutes take the roast out of the oven, cut the skin (I do squares) add the broth to the veggies and then all the veggies, the potatoes and the sauce go back into the oven pan. Set the roast on top of it and roast for another 90 to 120 minutes at 160°C.

The Finale: Set the oven to 220°C put the roast on the lowest rung of the oven for 20 minutes.

Mix the cumin and coriander, strain sauce in a pot, set veggies aside. Bring gravy to the boil add cumin and coriander reduce for 20 minutes.

Mix fleur de sel and lemon rind. Sprinkle roast with same. Enjoy!

It’s called Sunday Roast isn’t it? So I made you one.

For you it’s an open thread as well, so enjoy!

Sunday Roast: White House beer recipes!

President and Mrs Obama brew their own beer in the White House.  How awesome is that?

Here’s a video:

Well?  Get started on that shopping list!

This is our daily open thread — The Obamas brew beer in the White House!

May 13, 2012: Jane’s Sausage Bread Recipe

By popular demand, I’m finally putting my sausage bread recipe in writing. (Okay, I know that some of you asked for it several months ago, but…)
I’ve honed the actual prep and cooking down to its easiest, quickest formula. No more rolling and stretching fresh pizza dough, no more crumbling the sausage. The instructions look a lot more complicated than they really are, but that’s because I’ve added notes for guidance. So here you are:

You’ll need:

1 roll (16-oz) PARK’S HOT N’SAGEY SAUSAGE (In the frozen sausage section, the wrapper is bright orange)
NOTE: Keep it frozen until the night before (or morning before) you’re planning to start this; let it partially thaw in the fridge so that it will be easier to slice lengthwise, otherwise it’s messier to try to slice evenly.

1 roll Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough

1/2 lb. (approx) Muenster cheese (or provolone, or Monterey Jack, any mild cheese – I don’t use mozzarella ’cause it’s too stringy/messy.)
NOTE: I get the muenster cheese in the bar form, since I end up slicing it lengthwise. I thinly slice off the orange outer part of the muenster before slicing.

1/2 to 3/4 lb. mushrooms
NOTE: I get the pre-sliced white mushrooms, which come in an 8-oz package, but a bit more would be optimal. (For this Saturday’s event, where I made two breads, I had inadvertently bought one pack of sliced white mushrooms and one pack of sliced baby bellas. Mixed, it turned out okay, but the baby bellas are a little more rubbery, so I’d recommend just the white mushrooms.)

2 or 3 large cloves of garlic (or several smaller cloves, or a good heaping tablespoon of jarred pre-minced garlic)

a pat or two of butter

Since I usually make this for a particular event or get-together, I like to get the prep part done the night before:

– Pre-heat oven to 325;

– Slice the sausage roll lengthwise into (approx) 1/2″-thick slices (easiest if you slice it down the center, then slice each half down their centers–you should end up with 4 slices); place the slices in a foil-lined (for easier cleanup) pan that’s at least 1″ deep – I use a brownie pan – because the sausage produces a lot of grease; place in pre-heated oven and bake for approx. 1/2 hour, turning slices halfway through cooking time; you’ll want them to be thoroughly cooked, but not browned or crispy; meanwhile:

– Peel the garlic cloves and mince them in a chopper (or whatever you more sophisticated cooks use);

– the mushrooms: whether you’re using pre-packaged sliced mushrooms or whole mushrooms, they’ll need to be chopped into smaller pieces–you can combine them with the garlic cloves when you chop them, or do it separately;

– Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the minced garlic and chopped mushrooms; cook on low heat (either covered or uncovered), stirring occasionally, until both mushrooms and garlic are well-softened (approx. 15 minutes)

If you’re doing these steps simultaneously, both the sausage and the mushroom/garlic combo should end up being ready around the same time; then:

– Remove the sausage slices from the pan and blot them thoroughly in a LOT of paper towels to absorb as much grease as possible;

– Drain the liquid from the cooked mushroom/garlic concoction (you can keep the liquid for other recipes if you wish);

At this point you can either refrigerate these ingredients and go to bed, or set them aside while you start playing with the pizza dough. Either way, when you are ready to finally put the whole thing together:

– Pre-heat oven to 350

– Open the pizza dough roll and carefully (try not to stretch it) unroll it onto a very lightly greased large cookie sheet or other large baking pan (can’t use round pizza pan, as the dough rolls out into a rectangle, more or less) NOTE: I spray a little Pam onto a paper towel and use the sprayed paper towel to grease the pan. You can use a little bit of butter the same way.

– Arrange the sausage slices along the center of the pizza dough, leaving about 1/2″ to 3/4″ of dough uncovered at both ends. The sausage slices should be arranged in two-by-two form, i.e. ==; it works best if you lay them out along the shorter width of the pizza dough;

– Using a cheese slicer (for uniformity) slice the Muenster cheese bar lengthwise in approx. 1/4″-thick slices; arrange the slices on top of the sausage slices;

– cover the sausage/cheese slices with the mushroom/garlic mixture, spreading evenly;

– carefully (again, try not to stretch the dough) fold the sides of the dough over the top of the whole concoction, and pinch the open ends together to close the bread;

– bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread is more-or-less evenly golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then carefully remove it from the baking sheet – I use two spatulas so that the bread is evenly supported. Either place the bread on a serving plate for immediate slicing and consumption; or, if you’re bringing it to an event, wrap the bread in tinfoil.

NOTE: When I do this for an event, I allow extra time to cool the bread in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour, then pre-slice it and reheat it for 10 or 15 minutes at 300 prior to final wrapping for transport. When I do the re-heating, I partially wrap the bread, leaving the top uncovered a bit so the top gets firm and a little crusty again.

As I said, the above looks like a lot of complicated work, but it’s really not, otherwise I would probably be too lazy to make it!

Try it yourself and enjoy!

The Watering Hole: December 9 — What’s for dinner?

Hey, Critters and Zoosters!  The table is set — What’s for dinner!?

I know you have your holiday favs running around your heads, and you’re haunting the stores for the best ingredients, so if you feel like sharing your holiday traditions, stories, and/or recipes — this is the place to do it!

This is our daily open thread and it’s Friday Foodie day — what could be better?

Sunday Roast: Foodie post!


It’s been a LONG time since our last foodie post, so I thought it high time we get on the subject.

Roasted chicken is one of my all-time favorites, and you can’t hardly mess it up, unless you cook it too long.

What are your favorites?

This is our daily open thread — mind the drooling.

Sunday Roast: Chicken!!

I promised a foodie post this weekend, so here it is.  Roast chicken is one of the best things on the planet.  My mom used to make a killer roast chicken when I was a kid, and I’ve fallen into the bad habit of buying rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.  Now that the weather has turned cooler, I won’t mind having the oven on so long — roast chicken coming up!

This is our daily open thread — share your foodie love
and whatever else you’ve got on your mind.