Friday, June 20, 2008

"It tastes better than it looks!"

That's what I had to tell Ryan last night when he looked, very skeptically, at our supper of Chile Relleno Casserole. It was tasty, but horribly unattractive. It looked a bit like radioactive sludge. (Seriously, if the three-eyed fish from the Simpson's had leapt out of it, I don't think anyone would have been shocked.) I was actually a bit glad that my camera is on the D.L., because it gave me a good excuse to not photograph it. As I said, though, it did taste fine. Not so fine, though, that it's going to make the Repeat List. It basically tasted like enchiladas sans tortillas. And I like my enchiladas a lot better. In fact, how about I share that recipe instead? (I'll just post all the recipes at the end of the post.)

Supper tonight was delicious, but, once again, not photo-worthy. Ryan had to work, so I took the easy route: I heated up some of the frozen leftovers in the freezer. We had Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole and Corn Choup (ala, Rachel Ray). The casserole is super easy. The Choup involves a bit more effort, but is more than worth it.

In the oven now is my attempt at Sourdough Bread. Can I first say that I really can make a good loaf of bread. I'm quite proud of my bread baking abilities. But I'm pretty sure this is not going to be my best effort...

I strongly suspect that it would have turned out better had I not messed around so much with it. Normally people make bread, well, normally. Make the dough, let it rise, shape the bread, let it rise, bake it. Oh, but I'm not normal, oh no....

I started it last night after supper. I planned to finish it last night. Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that sourdough takes longer to rise than traditional yeast breads. So while I got a beautiful rise out of it, it was nearly 11:00 p.m. by time it was doubled. I was not going to wait up another 3 hours to let it rise again and then bake it.

For the first rise, I put it in the oven on warm. For the second rise, since I didn't need it to rise as fast, I shaped the loaves and left them on the counter over night, with plans to bake them this morning. Unfortunately, because I had covered them, when the dough raised, it raised out of the pan, rather than up. Not so attractive. I smooshed them down and put them in the fridge.

At lunch, for reasons I still don't quite understand, I thought that I had enough time to get them to rise in the oven AND bake them. Not hardly. They did rise beautifully, but not quite as much as I wanted. And I had to go back to work. I put them back in the fridge, expecting them to continue to rise, just more slowly. Um, not quite. They fell, pitifully. I quickly smooshed them down again, reshaped the loaves, and set them on the counter again, hoping they'd rise some by time I got home from work.

And they did. A little. So at 7:00, after supper, the oven went back on warm and back in the oven they went to rise. Sadly, they didn't rise so energetically this time. After two hours, I have only about half the rise that I got in one hour at lunch. I decided to give up and just bake the damn things. I'm assuming that these are going to be brick-like, and I plan to try again tomorrow, making the bread straight-through, like normal people do. When I get a good loaf and am confident in the recipe, I'll share. For now, though, I don't want to lead anyone astray.

Enough talk about my lame excuse for bread. How about some recipes that I know are good?


Harvest Cream Corn "Choup" courtesy of Rachel Ray. This makes a LOT, but it does freeze really well.

1 lb. ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 pkg. taco mix
Tortilla shells
Salt, pepper, onions
1 can cream of onion soup
1 pt. sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Brown meat; season to taste. Add beans and taco mix. Fill shells and roll; place on jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Combine soup, sour cream, and green chiles. Spread over filled shells, sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Chicken Bordon Bleu Casserole
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
8 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 c. milk
2-3 c. dry seasoned stuffing mix
1/3-1/2 c. melted butter

Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts. Place chicken on bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Top with Swiss cheese, then ham. Mix soup with milk and pour over layers. Mix melted butter with stuffing and spread over casserole. Bake for 50 minutes at 350.