Sunday, February 27, 2011

One knife, one meal

Do you have a favorite set of knives? I do. I have knives that are over 40 years old and still working fine, but I find I only use three knives most times.
I bought a three piece set a few years back at Kohl's. The brand name is J. A. Henckels International EVERSHARP PRO, with a symbol of a man holding a long stick, and he has a gumbyesque shape. I have a three piece set, big ("never use this knife" was told to SHusband and SSon-they rarely use a sharp knife and this one is VERRRY Sharp), medium-my "go-to" knife, and a small paring knife-that I actually "pare" with.
Tonight for supper, I used the "go-to" knife for everything I cooked/served. I usually fill the dishpan with hot sudsy water when I start supper prep, so this knife was used and washed again and again, along with the same small green Teflon cutting board that was the Ed McMahon sidekick to my Johnny Carson, Star of the Show knife.
I did not cook with raw meat tonight, or I would have used my "MEAT" cutting board, that needs to be cleaned with bleach. I read where it is better idea to have one, so I do.
Supper tonight was sauteed swiss chard with caramelized onions, chicken smoked sausage and potato pirogie, with fresh pineapple for dessert. Two parts of it were made by others that I bought-the dreaded "processed food".
My menu was supposed to be sauteed swiss chard, peppers and onions with spaghetti and meatballs, BUT, meatballs were still frozen in downstairs freezer, and while looking for them in the upstairs freezer, I spotted the pirogie that I knew should be used soon. So with a "Bewitched" wiggle of my nose, I switched cultures and a meal was born.
I sauteed the plain old yellow onions in equal parts canola oil and "Smart Balance" buttery spread, a few tbsp. of each-it changes the burning temp so things burn less quickly with that mixture. (How bad a cook was I before Food Network came into my life???)
Be sure to use a heavy-bottom frying pan, this makes things cook more evenly. Mine is made by Paula Dean that I bought at "Ollies" Discount store-it was still not cheap, but I love the way it heats up, and they always have her products there. I look at them, and decide I do not need anything, but sometimes, I lust after some of her pieces.
After they cooked on med-high a few minutes, slightly translucent, I added the white stem parts of the swiss chard, chopped into thin slices, some salt, and some fresh cracked pepper-it really does make a difference. The onions caramelize-bringing out their sugar while the swiss chard stems are cooking.
Cook a few more minutes and add the chopped up green leaves of the swiss chard, and the sliced smoked chicken sausage.

I used Hillshire Farms brand. When I buy it, I cut into two links and freeze one, so a meal is always ready if you just nuke it to defrost. Reduce heat and let heat through-try not to overcook, it looks nasty, tastes OK, but looks, well, I don't want to plant images in your head-this time.
Lettuce continue (I used to do liturgy planning for Catholic Masses with a SFriend, and whenever we used the phrase "Let us..." we cracked up laughing).
While this was all going on, I cooked the Pirogie. Do you know what Pirogie are? Some of my friends make them. It is a Polish food, a circle of very light dough, filled with a variety of good stuff: sauerkraut, mashed potato and cheese, farmers cheese, sweet plum, and sometimes meat-but truthfully, I have only heard that meat is used, I have never seen any for sale or served in a restaurant. You boil them to cook, then sautee in butter to give a nice crust. Some places serve them unsauteed, and some serve with gobs of sour cream.
I buy mine frozen. Many years ago, I used the MRS. T's brand, and more recently, I use a local brand "Nowinski" Gourmet Pierogi.

They come frozen, cooked, you prepare them frozen in that same mixture of oil and fake butter from above, but in a smaller pan. I used the knife to cut open the bag-see, I am consistent. You are really only defrosting and browning them, so it does not take long-the package instructions said 5-6 minutes, covered, turning frequently, but mine took more like 8 minutes. We all like the flavor of this brand, not as good if they were made by the Nowinski family and then handed to me to finish, but they need to be frozen. Hand-made pierogi are wonderful, but this Italian-Irish, hint of French girl is not genetically fashioned to make pirogie. SGrandma Viviani would not be happy if I tried.
While they were cooking, I cut the pineapple.

My theory for fresh pineapple is: buy it green, cut it brown. My SSister#1 is a great cook, and she passed the info to me that you store a fresh pineapple upside down while it is ripening, that way the bottom never gets mushy from all the juice going to the end that gets ripe first. I have had good results with this. I let this one go about two days too long. I knew it was ready then, but had other fruit that I was moving to the top of the "eat this first" list for the family.
You can see just a little bit of light brown on the flesh here, but it did not effect the flavor. I can't believe that 25 years ago when my kids were young that I would add powered sugar to the fresh pineapple! What a stupida, it is so sweet plain.
So there you go, a knife makes a meal, as promised.


Dijan said...

Sounds like an interview for a cooking mag/tv show! Is there something you're not telling us?

Margaret Hall said...

WOW!!Sally, this is like watching Paula Deen~!! How cool this is....and know that I would have loved to inbibed within those ingredients!!
Back to blogging...I am on Blogspot for the "Time for a Bucket List"...
Come by when you can...
Hugs, Margaret...(Missed you)