March 28, 2011

Chicken In The Pot

Did you ever make a dish that tasted so good you couldn't believe you made it?

Chicken in the Pot was that kind of meal for me today.

First I cut up and browned the veg...

Here's the infamous preserved lemon that gets added to the veg...

I put the browned chicken pieces on top of the veg...
...and poured the wine and broth over that...
Then I put the dough on top.

I put the top on and threw it in the oven.

I didn't really get the dough on the edge of the pot very well. Next time I guess. I was in a hurry because my husband had two meetings and I wanted to get the pot in the oven so it would be out in time for him to eat before he had to leave.

It came out so well, I was astounded. Lol.

As promised, here is the recipe.

This is a Dorrie Greenspan recipe that I cut out of the Buffalo News, Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010.

Chicken in the Pot: The Garlic and Lemon Version

1/2 preserved lemon (see note)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 same-sized pieces (white potatoes may be substituted)
16 small white or yellow onions or shallots
8 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 thyme sprigs
3 parsley sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 chicken, about 4 pounds, whole or cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup hot water

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Using a paring knife, slice the peel from the preserved lemon and cut it into small squares; discard the pulp. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, drop in the peel, and cook for 1 minute; drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetables and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and saute until the vegetables are brown on all sides (if necessary, do this in two batches.) Spoon the vegetables into a 4 1/2- to 5- quart Dutch oven or other pot with a lid and stir in the herbs and the preserved lemon.

Return the skillet to the heat, add another tablespoon of oil, and brown the chicken on all sides, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it cooks. Tuck the chicken into the casserole, surrounding it with the vegetables. Mix together the broth, wine, and the remaining olive oil and pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Put 1 1/2 cups of flour in a medium bowl and add enough hot water to make a malleable dough. Dust a work surface with a little flour, turn out the dough, and working with your hands, roll the dough into a sausage. Place the dough on the rim of the pot - if it breaks, just piece it together - and press the lid onto the dough to seal the pot.

Slide the pot into the oven and bake for 55 minutes.

Now you have a choice - you can break the seal in the kitchen or do it at the table, where it's bound to make a mess, but where everyone will have the pleasure of sharing that first fragrant whiff as you lift the lid with a fourish. Whether at the table or in the kitchen, the best tool to break the seal is the least attractive - a screwdriver. Use the point of the screwdriver as a lever to separate the lid from the dough.

Depending on whether your chicken was whole or cut up, you might have to do some in-the-kitchen carving, but in the end, you want to make sure the vegetables and the delicious broth are on the table with the chicken. Makes 5 servings.

Note: Prepare preserved lemons by cutting deep slits in lemons and  burying them in salt and their own juices for at least three weeks.

If you can make this, you should. It took quite a bit of prep work and if I didn't have other things going on at the same time, as usual, and a time constraint, as usual, it would have been more fun. It still was fun, though, because I was already excited about using the preserved lemons that I made.

To read my post about preserved lemons, click here.

I'm working for the next 3 days so unless there is some miracle of an extra hour or two in the day, you will not see me until Thursday night or Friday. 
Have a great week!!! 

March 26, 2011

A Finished Task

So. I finally, finally, made the lemon curd with the Meyer lemons!
It was so easy. I have no idea why I've been putting it off for so long.

They always say you should get everything ready and measured first. Mise en place.
So first, I zested and juiced the lemons. How come you always zest your finger a bit? Ouch!

Then I measured out all the ingredients...

Cooked it all up...

Put it in the jars...

Then I processed them in a hot water bath and  I. WAS. DONE.

This may replace my jams and such as the Christmas gift of choice for my friends. It was so easy. No fruit to cut up. No fruit flies. No mess. I will be making more soon since there are only two jars and I know we will be going through it quickly.

You too can make this lovely lemony delight. I followed the recipe here.

Also, the preserved lemons are ready and I am going to attempt to make a most difficult meal with one on Monday. I will be sure and post the recipe here and show you how it comes out!!

Yesterday I went to my dad's to help him start going through the countless things my mother had saved.
There were bags and bags of gift bags and gift boxes and wrapping paper. Some bags just had crumpled shopping bags in them. In one bag, that I'm sure he was going to throw out, I found two head pieces. I think one was my Auntie Margaret's from her wedding and the other was my mother's from standing up in the wedding. I also found an old crinoline. Could have been from my mother's wedding dress.

I forgot to take my camera with me, but next time I go there, I will get pics of these things. Silly me, my mother always told me to never go out without a camera. If I had a nickel for every time I missed a good picture because I left my camera home...

I found this old, deep frame. It may look nice with a coat of white paint.

Also, I found a cute tea cozy that my aunt made.
It's a bit wonky. Somehow the spout opening is too low. Perhaps she made it for a specific teapot with a low spout. Maybe I can open up the seam and sew up the bottom a bit to move the hole higher. Its the perfect size for my little teapot I got from the Buffalo China tent sale a bunch of years ago.

I wanted to mention that I have been keeping up with planning meals for the week and I will say that I am spending waaaaay less money. When I am done with work, I leave the store and go home. I am not spending the $25-$40 each day that I was spending last fall and over the holidays. I am so proud of myself. I also have been writing it all on calendar sheets so I can make sure I don't keep repeating the same meals. I also noticed that we are not going out to eat or ordering in nearly at all because everything is figured out. If you can try to do this, you should. Especially since the price of food will be going up as the gas prices continue to climb. I have found plenty of great recipes on foodnetwork. I will try almost any recipe from Tyler Florence. He is amazing.

Also, just wanted to have you check out my friend Susan's 500th post on her blog and a giveaway. She has made some very nice things to give away for this special occasion!

I need to mention that I am sooo thankful that my nephew has just returned from Afghanistan unharmed. His unit came back the other day. Sadly, they lost a man about a month ago. So tragic to make it so close to coming home only to lose your life. I am so sorry for his family and am keeping them in my prayers.

Hope you have a good night.

March 21, 2011

Old Friends

This past Friday evening, my nephew, Reed, was playing out at a local coffee shop. I don't get to see him much because he's finishing up his teaching degree with student teaching and school keeps him very busy.

He's on the right in this picture. Also, his girl Valerie sang a few songs with them, but I can't seem to get the pic to upload. I'll keep trying.

Then Saturday, my old friend was in town with her family, including her new baby. I held him for a bit, but he didn't want me to hold him. 

He wanted his mommy.

It was so great to see the whole family, I think it's been about 18 months since the last time I did.

Also this past week and weekend, we have seen the return of so many of our birds. We happened to notice some red-headed woodpeckers making a hole for their home in one of our trees.

I tried to get some good pictures.

I just noticed that both the male and the female are in this picture. One is up near the hole on the right and one is down to the left side of the tree.

The male has such a bright head.

He was throwing beakfuls of sawdust out of the hole. Then he saw me and was checking me out.

Sorry about the wires, kind of a necessity, and I couldn't move them out of the way or else I would have. : )

As I was heading back into the house, I heard a cardinal in my neighbor's back yard. So as I walked next to my garage to look back there, I saw some other visitors.

I didn't even see the obvious one who is right in front of me, I only saw the deer in the bottom left walking across the yard. Then as I tried to get around the patio furniture to get a good shot, I saw the one in the hedge row, about the same time he saw me.

He didn't want to turn away, he was waiting to see what I would do. I decided to leave them alone, but a neighbor was walking up the street with their dog so the deer took off anyway.

Hope you have a good week!!

March 19, 2011

Thank You, Sweet Friends

I know I haven't been around this week, but I worked a lot and now that I'm OLD, it really saps my energy. : / (If anyone knows what gives you energy and it's legal and won't give me a heart attack, please pass on the info. Thanks!)

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for their encouraging comments to my blog posts lately.

I hope I didn't make everyone think that I am selfish. I don't want you to think that I believe no one else has problems and tragedy, and I will feel terrible if that's how I came across. I know that there are far worse things than this. I suppose it was the building of all of it, you know, sometimes you just can't take it anymore. I thank you all for perspective and for your support. I was also handed my ass by my daughter who was not happy with me for being mad at God. She was far more mature about it than me and part of me thinks my mother was yelling at me through her. Lol. 
I know that He has a plan, I've always known. It is just hard to follow where he is going with it.

Anyhow, I want to say thank you again to everyone, it means so much to have all of you behind me. I promise I will 'get on with it' and will post something tomorrow. I just have been so beat, I haven't done anything worth posting about (except make food for hungry people and clean the kitchen). : )

March 13, 2011

New Look

Welcome to Sure As Eggs' new look! I was getting tired of the dark brown background and I was ready for a change. I hope you like it!

I went to a couple of estate sales on Friday and I got some really nifty things.

First off, I found these really neat industrial looking tins. They are old film canisters. This one in the front appears to have had masking tape around it that was pulled off, leaving an interesting pattern.

I found this great folding rule.

Then I found two wind up tape measures.

I also found the most darling little purse.
It's lined with brown satin and has a small mirror inside.

Then I found this old thermos in perfect condition.
It's still in the box!

I also found this telephone message pad. It is so sweet. It reminds me of my grandmother who had a telephone answering service for years and years. She had this great little wall mounted cabinet with cubbies in it and the messages would be written down and put in the person's cubby. They would then call in and ask for their messages. When she passed away, the cabinet got thrown out. Much to my dismay. We do have her paperweight that was on her desk. It has a little gold telephone suspended in Lucite. If I can get my sister to let me take a picture of it, I''ll show it to you some time.

I also found this shabby tray at a thrift store on Friday. I love the grapes and vine pattern around the edge.

I will probably be listing these items in my ETSY shop. I've been checking out the vintage sellers on there and they seem to be doing well. Just thought I'd give it a try.

Well, I'm off to plan my dinner menu for the week so I can go to the grocery store. Fun! Now that I work in the store, I hate going there. Wish you could email your whole list and go to a drive up window and pick it up without having to go inside the store. I would so do that!!

Enjoy your Sunday!!

March 12, 2011


I hate to be a downer, but I need to vent. And this is, after all, my online journal.

Did you ever want something so bad for your child that it hurt? My girls have gone to private Catholic school all their lives. Pre-K thru 8th grade. We live in a town that seems small, but really isn't. The public school is very large, nearing 500 students per grade.

My oldest daughter thought it would be a challenge to go to this school, to go from being #16 alphabetically in her class to being #359. She familiarized herself with the school, her locker combination, the 1/4 mile walk from her locker to her last class of the day, and her whole day's route. She never got lost once.

But that seems to be where the good part ends. She has been trying and trying to get involved in things. She went out for basketball, didn't make it. Wanted to go out for the musical, was told there were only 20 or so chorus spots that they would be giving to the kids in chorus, which she wasn't in. She applied and jumped through hoops to get into a thing called the "Leadership Academy". Did she make it? No. Which, by the way, all of her friends made any academy they applied for.

My girl has been playing softball since she was 5. To me, this constitutes someone who knows what the hell they are doing. She's been running, going to batting clinics and watching what she eats. She went to five days of try outs in which she caught, threw, batted, dove into the hard floor of the field house and ran up and down stairs in the school. But of course, she didn't make the team. This lousy coach said she needs to work on her arm strength.

Now I have to say that is ridiculous and I know this because I am one of the people in this house who cannot play catch with this girl because she throws so hard, it makes your hand hurt when you catch it. I am so disgusted with this whole thing and this rotten school that has all but spit my daughter out on the sidewalk and run her over with the snow blower.

Now, we are second guessing our decision, which was primarily financial, to send her to this horrible school. Oh, and let's add the fact that all her friends from grade school have abandoned her as well and most of the other kids are so stuck on themselves they won't even giver her the time of day. Isn't this perfect? It's making me sick. I don't know what to say to make it better, like my mother would have. I can't say all this crap about how "God, (whom she has faithfully and dutifully served and followed and believed in, for her whole entire life) has a reason why he wants you to be as miserable and unsuccessful as you possibly can." Now I'm even starting to second guess my faith. I prayed so hard, I couldn't pray any more than I did. And it feels like no one listened. Like there was no one to listen. It's starting to remind me of when my mother was ill and dying. No one listened then either.

Sorry for this somber post, but I don't have anything really good to say today. :( Thanks for listening.

March 6, 2011

Spoke Too Soon...

Of course, I should have knocked wood yesterday when i was going on bragging about my high-falutin' day of spring rain. AND the fact that my grill is uncovered. I now have to change that to 'my grill WAS uncovered' yesterday because, sure as eggs, the rain has changed to snow. 

We got about 4 or 5 inches. I think we were lucky because I heard one of the southern counties could have gotten up to 10 inches.
It is quite beautiful, though

I went for a walk in the park.
The birds were all chirping noisily, almost as if they were complaining about the snow that we all just got rid of. But spring is still trying to push through. There seems to be three seasons in one on this branch.

Leaves from the fall, snow from the winter, and buds of spring trying to get the new leaves going.

I hope you have a peaceful Sunday, with quiet moments to help you charge your batteries for the upcoming week.

March 5, 2011

Rainy Saturday

Boy, is it dreary here today.

We are supposed to get three inches of rain today. This is what we call "speed melt" mode. There are two good things about all this rain. One: It could be snow. And if it was, it would work out to be way more than three inches. And two: the grill is no longer under the cover of white. I'm sort of getting sick of the same old dinners. Maybe this week we can cook out!

My yard is extremely wet. It's hard to think ahead, but I'm excited about getting out into the garden. It hardly looks bloom worthy. I'm so jealous of my blog friends who live in the south. It's nice to hear about their 70 degree spring days and I laugh that I'm out walking on a 38-45 degree spring day that seems so wintry in comparison.

Wet, wet, wet. I feel like I could write a Dr. Seuss book.
Wet, wet, wet, How wet can one yard get?
I can't see through the window yet. Wet, wet, wet. LOL.

Ok, I'm losing it. I need spring bad....

March 4, 2011

Fishy Friday

Today my husband made his special salmon for dinner.

He coats each piece in pan searing flour and sears it in the heavy frying pan. He steamed some green beans and then threw them in the same pan after the salmon was done cooking. After the beans cook for a few minutes, he adds a spicy orange sauce to them.

The crust that forms from the flour is delicious. It's amazing that something so simple can make something taste so good. Last week I made some tilapia with the same flour and it was good too. And another time my husband used corn starch as a coating and that was surprisingly good too.

Add some fresh mashed potatoes and the meal is all set.

Hope you have a great weekend!!

March 1, 2011

Cabinet No. 2

Here is this week's featured cabinet made by none other than my sweet daddy.

This console table is similar to one I had seen in a *ahem* catalog of a popular store located in my local mall. That's all I'm saying. It's similar.

It's pretty close to the front wall of the house so I couldn't get a good front facing view of it. We have used it for storage of school items and arts and craft items when the kids were little. The canvas baskets are quite handy for coloring books and crayons, extra loose leaf paper for homework and any school papers that we didn't want thrown away by my husband (he probably won't look in there for anything).

This is one of only a few pieces of furniture that my father has actually painted. He is a lover of the wood he uses to build with and usually refuses to use paint, only stain. He made my lower kitchen cupboards which you can see in an earlier post here. Those are painted, but I painted them. My dad did not. So, any other furniture made by my dad that you will see, will not be painted. Oh, one other thing he has painted is any vanity cabinets he has made for bathrooms.

I also had some time to work on some ideas for my etsy shop today.

Here's a sneak peek...more later on that.

Also, I was looking through a shoe box full of post cards that was my mother's. I found some beautiful cards and photos of France.

I was thinking of framing some of them for the shop and maybe some for myself.  My mother went to Lourdes with my Nana and her sister and brother-in-law (Auntie Margaret & Uncle Bob) when she was 19. It was a pilgrimage they went on and they picked all these up when they were there in France. 

Oh! I forgot to post some pictures of Big V's birthday celebration.
Her sister made a sign...

She sat in her usual spot...

And opened lots of presents from her lovely family.

It was a fun party and my house was nice and clean. : )

I just realized that I'm sick of taking pictures in the dark. It really is hard to get good shots with so little daylight here in Buffalo, and I refuse to use the flash. Bleh.

Thank goodness I had the day off today to get things done. It was so different from last week. There were too many distractions. But today was nice. The weather was sunny and V and I even went for a walk. She made me run though, and I'm not really a runner. I had some chest pains and back spasms, but I lived.

Thank you for coming by to see me. See you again soon!