Frankensteining My Meals - Learning To Cook Blog at - 298300

Learning To Cook

Frankensteining My Meals 
Feb. 27, 2013 10:04 am 
Updated: Mar. 1, 2013 9:50 am
The other day I had to use up some canned apricots that I had left over from another dish. I was going to use them on steak, but it didn't feel right. I switched to chicken thighs and legs and was rewarded with a really good recipe for chicken. The baked rice, which was part of the dish, not so much a reward. The steaks were left to finish defrosting in the refrigerator for another day. Yesterday was that day.
I took those tough, gristly steaks and seasoned with salt and pepper, and then browned them in a large pot. Once they were browned on all sides, they were removed and one large onion, diced, was added as well as 5 cloves of rough chopped garlic. Not enough veg. I diced a carrot in small cubes and added that too. When the onions began to brown I added 2 Tbs. of paprika, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. ground fennel, 1/2 tsp. ground caraway, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper. I let those toast up with the veg and then added a cup of red wine. Also into the pot went about 2 cups of left over red gravy with Italian sausage and about a cup of beef stock. I brought that all up to a boil, turned the heat to medium low, put the steaks and their juices in the pot and clapped the lid on for an hour. After an hour, I turned the heat to medium and took off the lid to let more moisture escape. I wanted the sauce to be nice and thick.
I boiled up the last of the cavatelli and served them as a side with the steaks. If I served a vegetable side, I can't remember it. It might have been one of those, "I'm a bad parent" nights where I skipped the vegetables. Don't let the nannies at My Plate know about this, please.
If you have a tough cut of meat that you want to serve, this is a great way to use that tough cut. My steak was fork tender. My eldest claimed toughness on her piece, and it was a bit tougher, but still tender to a knife. She's so picky! The flavor was outstanding as well. It was a bit like a Hungarian Goulash, but different too.
For lunch today I took the left over chicken from the Apricot Chicken and cut it into chunks, added a bit of raw onion, mayo and mustard, goat cheese crumbles, dill weed, salt, pepper and a small handful of craisins for a really good chicken salad sandwich. I had the goat cheese left over from making a salad with goat cheese, arugula and penne.
For some reason it disturbs my kids when I stand next to the stove and scream, "It's aliiiiive!" Muhahahaha!
Feb. 27, 2013 1:12 pm
I so envy people like you and the other chefs here who can come up with these great recipes. I am pretty decent at following a recipe and tweaking it a bit, but I have a long way to go before I will be able to look at a bunch of ingredients and just create something of it. I have really enjoyed all I have learned on this site and love reading all your blogs!
Feb. 27, 2013 1:41 pm
I envy the chefs too. I can't imagine what it is like to have mastered basic skills and be able to thoughtfully create dishes. I get lucky on occasion, but I also badly mess up fairly frequently. Sometimes you just have to take a chance on something if it sounds good. If it turns out not to be good, at least you learned something!
Feb. 27, 2013 2:01 pm
Very true Doc,trial and error,learn as you go.I like trying new things also. After 40 years of cooking,i hope i learned a few things,some good and some eh.We always have fun trying.
Feb. 27, 2013 2:05 pm
Yes, always fun learning new things. Except that time the coffee roaster burst into flames. It was interesting - even exciting, but it was NOT fun.
Feb. 27, 2013 2:12 pm
My sister made banana meatloaf once about 30 years ago. We still haven't let her forget that one!
Feb. 27, 2013 2:29 pm
Well done! I must admit, I had mentally tossed those steaks in the meat grinder. Yes, that "It's alive!" Is sort of off putting. How was your bread?
Feb. 27, 2013 4:51 pm
BSM, I haven't made the bread yet. Fear of yeast! What is that called DFS - Deflationary Fear Syndrome? Risophobia? I'll get to it this weekend.
Feb. 27, 2013 7:33 pm
Ok, people are going to think I have stock in this place or something, but have you seen the King Arthur Flour website? Not only are their flours a million times better than any of the others I've tried, but they have a bunch of wonderful recipes and even instructional videos for bread making. I consider bread making my greatest accomplishment since I started really cooking this year and I credit them with most of that. If you have....yeast anxiety....just check it out.
Feb. 28, 2013 5:00 am
I did check out the website, and it has a lot of information there! Thanks a lot.
Feb. 28, 2013 5:10 am
I find that my constant viewing of CHOPPED episodes helps a lot with my "Frankensteining" though my results tend to resemble Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein.
Feb. 28, 2013 5:53 am
Its alive LOL to funny, I'd like to hear more about that chicken recipe.The steak sounds yummy, in fact I pulled pork chops out for dinner and was thinking hmmmmmmmmm this may just work.
Feb. 28, 2013 8:55 am
That's Eye-gor! I just saw that one of the mayors in New Jersey won a Chopped competition. They did not go easy on those contestants just because they were home cooks.
Feb. 28, 2013 8:57 am
Joey Joan, look in my recipe box for a recipe called Apricot Roasted Chicken Rice Bake. I'm still working out the rice bake part. My first attempt was mushy. I was afraid of under cooking the rice and ended up over cooking. I think this new method will work, but haven't yet tried it. I will next week.
Feb. 28, 2013 9:00 am
Joey Joan, here it is: searching someone else's box is a pain.
Feb. 28, 2013 12:12 pm
I will have to check that out. I went backwards in the blogs and found the chicken. It looks real good and I agree chicken breast would be a good match for this recipe. I struggle with rice all the time.
Feb. 28, 2013 12:18 pm
I meant check out chopped to see what mayor. Also I have left over sauerkraut to use up so I think I will making chops simmered in kraut instead of a tomato gravy. Still should be good. Thinking Mashed potatoes and not sure what else. Listen to me going on like you asked whats for dinner LOL
Feb. 28, 2013 1:10 pm
I heard about that episode Doc and I am so bummed I missed the chance to apply. I would love to make one of the judges gag on some of those ingredients they stick these people with. I figure the person in charge of the baskets doesn't like the judges either.
Feb. 28, 2013 1:10 pm
Frau Blucher ! *NEIGH*.....couldn't help myself
Feb. 28, 2013 4:19 pm
I would have been petrified to apply. I always need 5 to 10 minutes more. I'm not afraid of the ingredients at all. I'm not saying I would make something tasty even with unlimited time, but I'm not afraid to try. The appetizer basket was pickled watermelon rind, sushi platter, kohlrabi and bacon bits. I immediately thought of a slaw using the kohlrabi and other vegies with the bacon bits. I would then try to pickle the sushi fish in the watermelon rind juice. I might even add some of the rind! I would be adding sugar, pickling spices and red onion. I'd use the vacuum packer to force the pickling juices into the meat. That's the direction I would have taken. How about you?
Feb. 28, 2013 4:26 pm
Did the chops turn out? I love chops in sauerkraut. Oddly enough, I also enjoy mixing a bit of kraut in each bite of mashed potato!
Mar. 1, 2013 6:48 am
Doc-your experiments are certainly leading to some good eating!
Mar. 1, 2013 9:50 am
Thanks Lela! They have been mostly good for us. If someone tries to make the same thing I have, I would really love the feedback.
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Doc Simonson

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St. Peter, Minnesota, USA

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Jan. 2009

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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