Monday, November 27, 2017

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Hope everyone had a wonderful turkey day last week! It's now officially winter in Indiana - even our husky is trying to stay warm! Fortunately, the blower motor came in, and Brian from B&S got it installed just before temperatures started plummeting into the 30s at night.

Since we're all thinking about food...
I tried a new recipe last week, and it was soo goood. It all started with an email recipe (I may subscribe to a 'few' cooking newsletters) for a slow cooker curry with sweet potatoes. What? Two of my favorite things cooked in my other favorite thing - a slow cooker? Sign me up - except the recipe was suspiciously short on ingredients. 

Since I already had turkey breast and sweet potatoes on hand (bought on sale, of course), I went looking for a better recipe and found this: Slow cooker curry chicken & sweet potato. Being a good Texan, I did add cayenne pepper and a handful of diced jalepenos to turn up the heat. Oh and  just between us? I was out of cardamon, so I substituted dill and tarragon. This was delicious, cheap, and easy on the hips. (by the way, most grocery stores do carry coconut milk - just look for the Asian section. The coconut milk can generally be found lurking around the soy sauce and rice noodles )
We also went to the Texas Roadhouse to celebrate my birthday - and found out that Roadhouse in Clarksville, Indiana? Is the original Roadhouse. So, it's really the Hooiser Roadhouse. Since the salmon, ribs, and rolls were excellent as always, I guess we'll just have to let the false advertisement slide. (Do you think the Biker's shirt was a bit apropos for the occasion?)
And more food! Two weeks ago, we walked over to Jeffersonville and tried the Parlour Pizza. I ordered the Veggie (yes, with jalepenos) and the Biker went for the Hawaiian. Both pizzas were very good - and as you can see, they are very generous with their ingredients.  

Not only is the pizza good, but the owners of the Parlour did a fabulous job renovating the 1836 building without losing the building's character. We made sure to take some pizza 'bones' home to Crockett, and he also gives this place an enthusiastic two paws up!
We passed The Fishery last month, on our way to a local grocery store, Rainbow Blossom. We finally found both the time, and some nice riding weather, to zoom back over to Louisville and check it out. We're glad we did.  We both ordered the cod plate, and the pieces of cod were big, hot, and well battered. The potato salad was a little heavy on the mayonnaise, and needed a bit more celery and egg, but the hush puppies were fresh, hot, and had great flavor. We can see why this is a Louisville institution!
Let's not forget dessert! The Pie Kitchen is directly across from Rainbow Blossom, and how could we resist? The Biker choose a caramel-covered chocolate cupcake, and I decided on Lemon Meringue. Both desserts were very good, although I have a minor quibble. The Pie Kitchen strains out the zest for their Lemon Meringue, and I prefer the zest to be left in. This is a very minor quibble, because the Pie Kitchen is one of those rare places that actually piles on as much meringue as they can possibly get away with. (Other bakeries, I'm looking at you and your chintzy ways) I just wish we'd had room to try their home made ice cream. Oh, and in case you're wondering, neither of us have lost any weight this month...

Monday, November 13, 2017

RV Kitchen: Thirty Minute Biscuits!

Let's talk biscuits! 
We're eating a lot of stew and chili to stay warm, and that means biscuits. I just spoke to somebody who confessed her biscuits never, ever turn out right. I shared the secret of great biscuits with her, and I thought I'd share that secret, along with my 30-minute-start-to-finish-never-fail biscuit recipe. And if you're wondering, yes, she now makes great biscuits. 
First, you need to turn on your oven. You absolutely must have a hot oven.  Most recipes call for an oven that is 450 degrees, but I find most ovens run hot and 425 degrees works better.  

Ingredients are super simple. You only need six and one ingredient is water (does water even count as an ingredient?):

 2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of almond/whole milk

Secret One. I strongly recommend using cheap flour for biscuits, instead of a name brand. The cheap flour brand at the grocery store is almost always milled just down the road. (flour will have the location of the mill printed somewhere on the bag). Locally milled flour will be fresher and fluffier, and give you better results. There is a super cheap brand here in Louisville that's milled a few hours away in Tennessee and it's wonderfully light, fresh, and fluffy.
Secret Two. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk while counting to 60.  We need to introduce air and break up any flour clumps. 

Secret Three. Once the flour is whisked, you will cut in one stick of butter. But more importantly, you need to know why you are cutting in butter. When each little bit of butter melts in the oven, it will create a pocket of air in the biscuit. This is what makes the biscuit flaky, and helps it rise correctly.

There is a lot of ways to cut in butter. Some people use a pastry cutter, and others use a food processor. I'm too lazy to drag out equipment, so I just use two butter knives and keep cutting the flour again and again,until it is the size of peas. Make sure to take a minute once the butter is in teeny, tiny pieces and double-check for any too big bits you might've missed.
Secret Four.  I have no idea why this works, but it does. I learned this from a friend's grandma and it's THE secret to making the best biscuits. Once the butter is cut in, you need to make a volcano. Heap the butter-flour mix into a mountain in your bowl, then make a hole in the top.
Now mix the milk and the water together. Pour about a third of the milk/water into the hole you just made, and mix with a wooden spoon. Keep adding a little bit more milk/water until the batter is just sticky. You will not use all the milk/water, and you don't want to overmix, because that could break down the butter pieces. (You can see how much milk/water I had left over in the above picture)

Using a tablespoon, drop the biscuits onto a cookie sheet (just like you would if you were making drop cookies).  This recipe makes 12 regular biscuits or 16 small biscuits. Cook for 15 minutes until the tops turn golden brown. Eat!

Variation: If you'd rather have garlic cheddar biscuits, just add a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, after stirring in the milk.

RV trick: Since there is only two of us, we typically bake 4 to 6 biscuits in the toaster oven, and tuck the rest of the mix into the fridge (we put it in a ziplock baggie to save room in our tiny teeny fridge). It will keep fup to a week - just let the mix warm up a little before cooking the next batch of biscuits.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fall Colors in Indiana

Notice something different?
We've moved! Yes, it's just another spot in the same park, but we're no longer stuck under a tree. A tree that was dropping all kinds of yucky stuff on the RV. 
Talking about the RV, the blower to the furnace has developed a very annoying squeal. A mobile tech was going to be in the RV park anyway, so he stopped by. The verdict? The blower's engine is dying a slow and noisy death.
 We're currently waiting to have a new one delivered. The temperatures next week will be mostly in the 50s, so we should be OK (we also have a portable electric heater) until the tech can install it.
Meanwhile, the Biker's steadily working six days a week now, so his one day off has turned into our catch-up day. Laundry, groceries, chores - all that boring adult stuff.
The rest of the week, we squeeze in walks around his work schedule. 
 There isn't much time for sightseeing, but that's OK.
 As you can see in these pictures, fall colors here are glorious! Now let's hope the blower motor comes in before the temperatures start to drop any lower!