Crankychef’s Blog

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Summer Pasta Salad May 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — crankychef @ 3:25 am

I haven’t posted in a while. I have made some good food, but it either wasn’t photogenic or even photographed at all. I made a bland carrot-leek-apple soup not worth discussing. I am working on perfecting a no-mayo summer slaw recipe, so no use talking about it in the meantime. And I haven’t been cooking terribly much. But it is time to resume!

While putting away groceries this evening, I realized that I have a lot of canned goods in my cupboard. I’ll be moving in about two months, the last three weeks of which I will be traveling. So, I made an inventory list and vowed to plow through as much of it as I can. It’s inevitable that things in your cupboard are things you’ve already had too long, so it’s good motivation to finally eat up!

The majority of the food falls into the following categories: pasta/rice, canned tomato stuff, and roasted peppers. I don’t really eat much pasta anymore, which is why I end up with random half full boxes and bags of different shapes that never get eaten. So, the month of June is going to be a little starchier than usual for me.

Well, it’s hot, and I’m going to be working throughout this holiday weekend, so I needed something to last a few days. This pasta salad is so good, I may have to make more for a Memorial Day picnic.

Summer Pasta Salad

everything but the pasta!

Boil some water, salt it. Throw in enough small pasta to make ~4 cups finished product. (For mine, I mixed two different tri-color shapes, killed two birds with one stone!)


While that is cooking, chop up whatever vegetables you have around. I used 1 orange bell pepper and 2 zucchini. I opted against blanching the zucchini, figuring marination would cut a bit of the bitterness, as well as any initial heat from the pasta (I was right!). I also threw in 1 jar artichoke hearts and Sevilla olives.

If you’ve got some vinaigrette in your fridge, go ahead and use that for your sauce/marinade. But, I had used all mine up for some grilled chicken and made a simple sauce of: 4T olive oil, 3T balsamic vinegar (any vinegar you favor would be fine), lemon pepper, and of course salt. Throwing in herbs would work, whatever!

Drain your pasta. Mix everything together. If you are an asiago addict like me, shred some in. Chill for about an hour before serving. Delicious with a glass of rose!



Tortilla Chip Chicken w/ Creamed Corn and Potato Wedges May 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — crankychef @ 3:08 am
Tags: ,

Today, I am going to link to original recipes and discuss my own modifications, thoughts, and photos. This is partially out of laziness, but it’s also kind of cool to compare the photos of the online articles with my own end results.

Chicken with Tortilla Chips

The original recipe is from a recent issue of Gourmet, and I stuck pretty close to the original recipe with the following exceptions: I halved the recipe, and all I could get were wings, not drumsticks.


delicious bird

The final result is really delicious! My only concern, once I bit in (notice the impatiently eaten-straight-off-the-sheet wing), I realized that with the skin on and a lightly oiled sheet I had made what could not possibly be considered a particularly healthy dinner. Maybe I’m wrong. But it tasted too good to be healthy. Also, on that same note, I’m not sure what the point of a lightly oiled sheet is as much of the fat from the skin renders onto the pan. The last thing I would mention is that if you are looking for something spicy, there was ZERO punch from the spices (I even sub’bed some cayenne powder), so if that’s what’s important in life to you I would take some liberties. But, I am completely satisfied with this recipe and would definitely try again!

I also made the potato wedges that are linked on the chicken recipe, although I didn’t make any stupid mayo dipping sauce. I also sprinkled all the potatoes with some romano cheese I had lying around as soon as I pulled them from the oven. Now to the real star:

Creamed Corn with Leeks and Bacon

leeks in bacon grease

leeks in bacon grease

This recipe is AMAZING. And, dare I say it: the bacon is totally unnecessary! That’s how good it is. The only modification I made was to use frozen corn instead of fresh. I can only imagine how much BETTER it will taste when I definitely make this again with fresh summer corn. The real winner is the leek: while saute’ing up the leeks in the bacon fat, I started to get REALLY excited. Their flavor is mild but absolutely heavenly in this side dish, and I think the powerful and salty bacon overpowers the leeks. In the future I would suggest either cooking the leeks in bacon fat (if you keep a jar), or just using one piece rather than four.

creamed corn in cast iron skiller

creamed corn in cast iron skillet