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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Back when I was attending UCLA, our default place for ordering pizza was Tony Maroni’s on Wilshire. While it wasn’t necessarily the best pizza I’d ever had in my life, the staff was friendly, the food was dependably good and they were really talented at remembering our orders and faces. The place is run by this sweet older Korean couple with the help of the typical parade of chipper college students. They also were really good about substitutions and special orders, which is where the Hawaiian chicken calzone here came from. T is a hardcore pineapple fan — put pineapple on anything and it’s guaranteed he’ll eat it with no questions asked. I preferred calzones over pizza because they usually made less of a mess and stayed warmer when I picked up an order before driving home from an LA trip. Rather than having to make lunch upon arriving home, I’d just toss something with pineapple on the dining table and all was well with the world.

Alas, calzones don’t really grow on trees here in Finland. The local pizza places here make two things — pizza and kebab. The Italian restaurants here are more into their pastas, steaks and pizzas. Overall, there’s a large gap in the restaurant industry here in our particular city — we have several cheap fast food places you can show up to in sweats and a healthy number of nicer upscale restaurants to take your business partners to, but almost nothing in the way of middle-ranged places you can go for a casual evening out. Which is pretty much where you see your calzones showing up. So the next item on my menu planning for the first week was to remedy that situation.

I’d just finished reading Nummy Kitchen’s Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta post, so that was the first source that popped into my head and I used her recipes as my base. She, in turn, borrowed the crust recipe and template from Mark Bittman’s excellent vegetarian cookbook.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I dusted off another dinner recipe requiring condensed cream soup this past weekend, so it’s time to break out the substitutions notebook! This is the second version of homemade condensed cream of chicken soup I’ll be trying out. The first attempt last month, for use in enchiladas, ended on an ambivalent note. That cream ended up a bit milder than I would have liked, and there were a couple of issues with consistency and proportion which would keep me from using that as a go-to recipe. It was serviceable, but I found myself wanting to test out other options.

So along comes contestant number two! This Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup came from Tammy’s Recipes, and is a considerable improvement over the last one. Tammy has quite a few homemade versions of various staples that I look forward to trying in the future. The consistency of this mix was good, the instructions were simple, the proportions were accurate, and — best of all — it was very flavorful! I look forward to seeing how this works with my upcoming dish — I think it’ll be perfect. Three easy steps, behind the cut.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I made a discovery the other day when I was buying ingredients for my weekly family dinner — alfredo sauce as we know it, typically available on grocery store shelves alongside the tomato sauces? Not really a thing here. When I asked around, I found out that Italian restaurants served it, but it wasn’t so much something that was done at home. Even when white sauce is made at home for pasta, it usually isn’t the sort with copious quantities of butter and cream that I’ve come to associate with the concept of white sauce. That is purely a North American thing, along with the name “fettucine alfredo“. Go figure.

On a side note, I once knew a guy who would only ever order chicken fettuccine alfredo or fried chicken tenders when going to a restaurant, because they were the two things he could always be sure were “safe bets”. Wasn’t so much of an adventurer when it came to food. He’d probably starve here.

Funny thing? I’ve only ever attempted alfredo sauce once before, back when I was younger and had a lot less experience cooking for myself. I don’t even remember what I did wrong, but the sauce simply would not emulsify despite using the right ingredients and stirring copiously. I finally had to dump it and use a jar of sauce for that night’s dinner. It was a rather traumatic experience. This recipe? Despite having more ingredients, steps and preparation than that older recipe, it worked so much better. A lot more flavor and personality, too. Tweaked from AR’s Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Right-o. Following the confusion that yesterday’s mention of condensed cream soup stirred up, perhaps I should have posted this recipe first as sort of a context for its use! As I mentioned earlier, we had Mexican theme night. Well, pseudo-Mexican, since we had to make do with what was available in a place which is just about as non-Mexican as you can get. I ended up going with a salad of baby greens tossed with avocado and cucumber, a pitcher of lemon-limeade, flan for dessert, and… chicken enchiladas. Keep in mind that I have never made Mexican food in my life, since there really was no point to doing so in Southern California. There were just so many good and cheap places to get it that it was completely unnecessary. Here in Finland, however, there are apparently no Mexican restaurants at all within a one hour drive of us (apparently, there is now a kiosk open in Turku) so if you want a burrito or taco, you’d better learn to make it yourself. So this is my first attempt at doing so :-)

Adapted from AR’s Angela’s Awesome Enchiladas. Because, well, with a name like that, how could I not try it? They turned out pretty good, too. I’ll need to do some further cheese hunting to find a more appropriate mix for the topping, and probably will adjust the seasoning proportions a little in the future, but it went over very well with the family.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

A little over a year ago, Emmuzka and I had a short chat about the lack of condensed soups in certain areas after I’d posted a recipe using condensed cream of chicken soup. I took that as a cue to look up and bookmark a small list of homemade substitutes for the ingredient, so I was conveniently able to bust them out again earlier this week when my enchilada recipe (coming tomorrow) called for it. There are a few different ones, so I figured I’d give them each a try and then report on the varying results before coming to a conclusion as to what worked the best.

Starting with the simplest recipe first, I used Cream Soup Substitute II from About.com. It comes remarkably close to looking like milk gravy and is actually made in a somewhat similar manner. It required substantial tweaking, but the consistency is spot-on for condensed soup, and it refrigerates into the same sort of jiggly mass as well. The chicken taste is very mild and the minimal seasoning allows it to blend seamlessly into whatever recipe you are using it for. When using this recipe in the future, I’d probably use more bouillon to give it a stronger chicken flavor.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

The boy’s mom caught a summer cold (ugh, aren’t they the worst?) this past week, so it was time to bust out the chicken noodle soup. I went and searched this blog, certain that I’d written it down already for easy access, only to discover that it wasn’t here! Very much an oversight, since it’s a recipe that I want to keep at my fingertips and also have available for friends (I’m looking at you, Keva) who might be in need of the non-canned variety. So yes, this is the chicken noodle that I usually make when somebody is ailing. It’s full of protein, warm broth, healthy veggies and even a splash of vitamin C to get you back up on your feet in no time!

Based off of Taste of Home’s Chunky Chicken Noodle with a few tweaks here and there. It’s easy to play fast and loose when making soups, because you’re tasting as you go and can add in whatever you happen to have on hand.

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Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

Made dinner for the first time the other day, and decided to start out with something fairly basic. Especially since we don’t have a rice maker (the old one wasn’t electrically compliant and even though my father got us a European model, there was no room to pack it in our already jammed full bags) and I had never made rice without a machine before. Crazy, isn’t it, how you can get so used to specialized equipment that you don’t even realize it’s been done the old fashioned way for countless centuries before? We don’t have a microwave, either, but I’ve been living without one for the past three years so that’s not as big a deal and probably leads to my being more adventurous in the kitchen. Anyways…

Curried rice with pineapple (the boy LOVES pineapple), chicken, shrimp, and peas. A mellow version, since I’m a spice wimp, that reheats nicely the next day and tastes even better after a bit of flavor melding. I made a nice, big pot and had leftovers for the next two days. I used theĀ AR Curry Pineapple Fried Rice recipe as starting point — while calling it fried rice is a bit of a misnomer, it is a great base.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I discovered a nice little backlog of half-finished posts while setting up the computer, so am going to put them up now in lieu of newer stuff. Mostly because my current kitchen still has gaping equipment holes and won’t be suitable for making anything more than small portions of store-bought pasta for another week or so. And because it makes me kinda happy to see my old beat-up stuff in these photos, most of which didn’t make the journey over with us.

Chicken and dumplingless stew. Because sometimes, you’re not in the mood for chewy lumps of dough in your soup. Especially nice for putting over rice or pasta. Based on AR’s Irish Chicken and Dumplings (the original version of which I made in a seriously overflowing stewpot one fine college summer in the presence Miss Laura, if I remember…) but slightly tweaked for my own purposes.

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pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

I discovered a nice little backlog of half-finished posts while setting up the computer, so am going to put them up now in lieu of newer stuff. Mostly because my current kitchen still has gaping equipment holes and won’t be suitable for making anything more than small portions of store-bought pasta for another week or so. And because it makes me kinda happy to see my old beat-up stuff in these photos, most of which didn’t make the journey over with us.

Chicken and dumplingless stew. Because sometimes, you’re not in the mood for chewy lumps of dough in your soup. Especially nice for putting over rice or pasta. Based on AR’s Irish Chicken and Dumplings (the original version of which I made in a seriously overflowing stewpot one fine college summer in the presence Miss Laura, if I remember…) but slightly tweaked for my own purposes.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I call this a “westernized” recipe because I have watched my mother make real teriyaki sauce before and the ingredients list looked NOTHING like this. However, we’ll do that recipe (which is equally easy, but requires a pantry with more Asian ingredients than I have at the moment) some other day, if only for the sake of comparison. The version I give you now is fairly good at achieving something similar-looking to classic teriyaki (which by definition just means “stuff to make your grilled meat shiny” anyway) and is made from stuff that’s easier to pick up at any old supermarket. It also has a sweeter taste that appeals to kids and people who are used to eating Asian cuisine from fast food courts at the mall ;-) Hey, I joke. Mostly.

Used the AR Baked Teriyaki Chicken recipe with a few slight tweaks.

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pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

I call this a “westernized” recipe because I have watched my mother make real teriyaki sauce before and the ingredients list looked NOTHING like this. However, we’ll do that recipe (which is equally easy, but requires a pantry with more Asian ingredients than I have at the moment) some other day, if only for the sake of comparison. The version I give you now is fairly good at achieving something similar-looking to classic teriyaki (which by definition just means “stuff to make your grilled meat shiny” anyway) and is made from stuff that’s easier to pick up at any old supermarket. It also has a sweeter taste that appeals to kids and people who are used to eating Asian cuisine from fast food courts at the mall ;-) Hey, I joke. Mostly.

Used the AR Baked Teriyaki Chicken recipe with a few slight tweaks.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Part two of this past weekend’s kitchen endeavors with Sassy. In which it was explained that while fried chicken is yummy, homemade fried chicken usually involves more pain, danger and mess than I like deal with on a regular basis. Why not let the oven do the hard work instead? The way I see it, the less contact with scalding globs of grease, the better.

It should also be noted that the boy and I contentedly dug into these leftovers for three days in a row without feeling it was getting either old or tired. So something was definitely right with this recipe. Added bonus — baking versus frying means much less fat all around!

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pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

Part two of this past weekend’s kitchen endeavors with Sassy. In which it was explained that while fried chicken is yummy, homemade fried chicken usually involves more pain, danger and mess than I like deal with on a regular basis. Why not let the oven do the hard work instead? The way I see it, the less contact with scalding globs of grease, the better.

It should also be noted that the boy and I contentedly dug into these leftovers for three days in a row without feeling it was getting either old or tired. So something was definitely right with this recipe. Added bonus — baking versus frying means much less fat all around!

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

The boy’s family is a casserole family. They have traditional casseroles of various flavors for the holidays and make the easier ones throughout the year, since it’s easy to whip up a big one after a day at work and have leftovers for the rest of the week. My family… not so much. My mother stayed at home, so time wasn’t always as much of an issue — she’d do a different selection of dishes over the stove each night if she was on a streak. So when the boy asked for a casserole to take for lunch, I was left at a bit of a loss and had to go pilfering through online recipe archives once again. I came upon this one, which is a bit more time intensive than most so should probably be attempted only on the weekends. However, what attracted me to it the most, aside from a tasty-sounding dish, was the fact that it also provided you with a pot full of quality chicken stock at the end for use in future recipes. Multi-tasking for the win!

Chicken casserole with a buttery cracker crust, which ends up making the whole thing taste like a creamy dinner version of fried chicken. Except without the icky mess and health concerns of frying chicken. Oddly appealing and unexpected. Definitely a keeper. My version below has modified amounts in many areas from the original link above.

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pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

The boy’s family is a casserole family. They have traditional casseroles of various flavors for the holidays and make the easier ones throughout the year, since it’s easy to whip up a big one after a day at work and have leftovers for the rest of the week. My family… not so much. My mother stayed at home, so time wasn’t always as much of an issue — she’d do a different selection of dishes over the stove each night if she was on a streak. So when the boy asked for a casserole to take for lunch, I was left at a bit of a loss and had to go pilfering through online recipe archives once again. I came upon this one, which is a bit more time intensive than most so should probably be attempted only on the weekends. However, what attracted me to it the most, aside from a tasty-sounding dish, was the fact that it also provided you with a pot full of quality chicken stock at the end for use in future recipes. Multi-tasking for the win!

Chicken casserole with a buttery cracker crust, which ends up making the whole thing taste like a creamy dinner version of fried chicken. Except without the icky mess and health concerns of frying chicken. Oddly appealing and unexpected. Definitely a keeper. My version below has modified amounts in many areas from the original link above.

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