Cook It Real Slow

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First off, a very Happy New Year to all my readers.  All 17 of you! :-)  I hope your holiday season was filled with fun, friends, family and of course…copious amounts of delicious FOOD! The past month was a whirlwind of activity both in and out of the kitchen for me here at Zia’s Kitchen, not just due to special holiday meals, but also because my birthday falls smack in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was difficult to get out of the kitchen and to my computer, but I am back now to ring in the New Year and share some of my culinary adventures from the 2013 Holiday Season and my new adventures in 2014. To begin with……….. 

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It’s Time To Stuff It

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Stuffing, it’s not just for Thanksgiving!

A few weeks ago I was in some sort of “stuffed foods” mood.  Not entirely sure why, but I went with it.  First up was the stuffed burgers.  I won’t spend much time on that, as everyone makes stuffed burgers. A friend bought us almost 6 pounds of ground beef from Costco.  Not sure why he got us so much, but a had a bit of burger making to do so we could freeze them, and I looked at some of the things we had in the house and thought “Stuffed Burgers”

Next up were the gi-normous, ridiculously big and beautiful mushrooms he brought us.  PERFECT for Stuffed Mushrooms! Except, well as silly as it sounds and simple as they are to make, I had never made stuffed mushrooms before.  So I thought, oh what the hell, I will make it up!… 

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Why is it called Chicken Pot Pie?

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Just one of those culinary questions I have.  I mean why is it called POT pie?  It’s a “pie”.  Is it because it is made IN a pot? In that case shouldn’t most things have the term “pot” in the description? It confounds me.  These are the things that keep me up at night.

I know I know….I need a life.

But if I had a social life and other things to occupy my brain other than food and cooking, my family wouldn’t be eating half as well.  That and Mama Sis wouldn’t be complaining she has put on weight – like 2 or 3 pounds – get over it! (she has always been the “skinny” sister.)

So I did what any mildly culinary obsessed person would do.  Googled it…. 

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Breakfast for Dinner

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE breakfast. I mean I love food in general…obviously, but breakfast is my favorite meal.  Strangely enough breakfast holds many many memories for me, more so then any other meal…particularly downthashore”. That’s how you say “Going to the beach” if you are from Philadelphia or New Jersey.

Growing up, we had a beach house in Ocean City and most mornings Dad was in charge of breakfast.  This was decades before I realized I should be eating Gluten Free so we had pancakes, pork roll sandwiches (another Jersey/Philly thing), sticky buns from Mallon’s…you name it.  I even have distinct memories of being at my Dad’s parents beach house – Mommom and JJ and watching my grandmother make cream chipped beef. That was my Irish side of the family…. 

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Zucchini Polenta Lasagna

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Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
― Julia Child

Or pan. Or baking dish. Or mixing bowl…..

Sage advice from Mrs. Child, and something I occasionally forget to do. Now, due to Littledude’s vehement refusal of greens I have resorted to trickery and deceit these days.  Although a lot of dairy is not good for anyone, cheese is the proverbial “Golden Ticket” of ingredients to get him to eat anything green these days so cheesey goodness hiding the veggies is the way I have been going…. 

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Getting Figgy With Your Mushrooms

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Figs, glorious figs!

I love when figs are in season.  Well I love seasonal anything, but figs are one of my favorites.  Black Mission Figs to be precise. I’ve loved figs ever since I was a kid.  I am sure Fig Newtons had something to do with it.

So this is another quick and easy Gluten Free and Vegetarian dish that is wonderful for fall.  Even when you live somewhere where it’s currently in the 90’s, humid and fall doesn’t really exist…Ahem, Florida.  So I turn up the air condition and pretend. So I invented this recipe while i was staying with my godfather in Northern England a few years ago. Ok “invented” is I am sure technically untrue
as I am pretty sure I am not the first person to create this 3 ingredient dish, but I had never heard of it so I invented it in my little world…. 

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Pan Pizza

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In this house most Friday nights are “pizza night”, a night where I make another go at making gluten free pizza from scratch. Yeah I live a wild and crazy life…. I know….. I know

So here we are again on my quest for pizza that doesn’t taste so….gluten free.  There are a fair amount of pizza dough mixes on the market it appears <I just did a quick Google search> most of them pricey.  Soon however, I am going to have to resort to ordering a new brand off the internet as I think I have tried Bob’s Red Pizza Crust Mix every which way you can.  Many different types of pizzas and calzones have been attempted with varying degrees of …well success is not the correct word here, let’s go with results.… 

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Polenta Pizza Please

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I’m going to start this off with a hit, because, well starting off with a fail wouldn’t entice you to come back I am sure. I am also starting out with a VERY simple, rather quick and easy one.

Mini Polenta Pizza’s 

Not everybody loves polenta the creamy corn-based dish from Italy.  My late grandmother (who taught me so much about Italian cooking and even authored a cookbook) called it “peasant food”, a status that polenta has had for centuries, generally made by the poorer class as the ingredients were much cheaper than the expensive wheat and flours it took to make pasta.  You can check out the History of Polenta and learn more about its origins. In this family we happen to love it…. 

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