A Sweet Couple

“Harry’s Vicar” Brownies
” … crisp exterior with the promise of softness beneath …”

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

ingredients:

One package — family size (approx. 23 oz) brownie mix
2 packages 3 oz cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

cream cheese mixture:

1. beat together the softened cream cheese and butter
2. add the sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla
3. beat until smooth and set aside

directions:

1. prepare brownie mix as directed
2. spread half of the brownie mix into greased 13″ x 9″ pan
3. pour all of the cream cheese mixture onto the brownie mix and smooth to edges
4. spoon remaining brownie mix in spots over the top of the cream cheese mixture
5. swirl a knife or spatula through the spots to create a marbled effect
6. bake for 36-39 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

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Makes 24 large brownies

This recipe was submitted by Zan, who was punched in the solar plexus one day by Richard. Harry Jasper Kennedy as you can see is her favorite character of Richard’s, who she turns to for his sweet disposition and sunny smile to brighten a day, to lift a mood or make her heart sigh.

Sighs and Smiles,

ARmyofChefs

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Something Light before Conquering the Mountain

This is a typical dish from the coastal area of Peru.
Inspired by Richard’s wish to travel to Peru!

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Machu Picchu

Photograph by Frank Tophoven, National Geographic

CEVICHE

400/500 gr. of white fish (for two, as main dish)
1/2 red onion
1/2 red pepper
2 small chili peppers (fresh)
juice of 5 limes
cilantro leaves (fresh)
salt/pepper
potatoes (standard or sweet potatoes)

Cut fish into smal cubes and mix with finely chopped onion. Add chopped red pepper and chili, a dash or two of salt and the fresh lime juice.
Marinate for several hours in the fridge (the fish should be firm to the touch and white, as if cooked the usual way). The lime juice literally “cooks” the fish. In doubt, leave in fridge overnight.
Before serving, drain the remainder of the juice. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) and freshly ground pepper. If this is not available, ready ground black pepper will do. Or chili powder, if you can take it!!
This is delicious served with sweet potatoes and corn on the cob, which can be slightly grilled. Standard potatoes will do, as will rice, if someone doesn’t like spuds.
Ceviche has to be served chilled! An ideal summer dish. 🙂

NOTE: Fresh tuna can be used, as well. In this case, definitely marinate overnight!

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This looks like a man who’s ready to conquer Machu Picchu, doesn’t he?

Screencaps by Lanie from The Hobbit Movie twitter chat

This recipe was submitted by Anny.

With Misty Mountain Dreams,

ARmyofChefs

A Sweet or Savory delight. Nostrovya!!

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During Lucas North’s marriage to Elizabeta Starkova, he would almost certainly have been invited to a Maslenitsa celebration, the Russian Orthodox meal that signals the beginning of Great Lent (“Cheesefare Sunday”); perhaps Elizabeta would have made her own. With roots in both pagan and Christian traditions, Maslenitsa is a joyous and luxurious herald of the beginning of Spring. Even during the Soviet era, when religious holidays were officially not celebrated, many families observed Maslenitsa for fun and fellowship and to look ahead to the oncoming Spring season.

This meal is best made for a large group of friends and eaten over a few hours, with lots of drinking and merriment. The centerpiece of the meal are the round, slightly sour “blini”, which are buckwheat crepes or pancakes. They can also be made without buckwheat flour, but the buckwheat flour lends them a unique flavor that blends well with the salty fillings. Each round of blini (singular, blin) is occasion for another round of toasts with vodka, plum brandy, or wine, and the dinner stretches on as the guests find new and intriguing combinations of fillings to try.

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Maslenitsa at the Mitchell House

Preparations here begin a few days early as we move all the furniture out of the living room and set up card tables and extra chairs, get out the good china and crystal, and lay in the supplies: smoked salmon & other fish from local smokehouse, sour cream, *lots* of sweet butter to melt and pour on the blini as we’re adding our fillings, chopped green onions, caviar, and for the sweet lovers (like me), fresh fruit, specialty jams and local maple syrup to put on “dessert” blini.

The batter mixing begins early, as the batter goes through a couple of rises (as you’ll see below). It looks tricky, but once you’ve done it, it’s not that hard, and it’s well worth the effort. An hour or so before dinner, Kevin (my husband, who cooks) heats up two or three pans on the stove, then starts making the blini and stacking them in a deep bowl with an upside-down plate on top to help hold in the heat. The process is very similar to making pancakes, and the heat you’ll use is about the same. He can keep two or three pans cooking at the same time, especially if he has an assistant. When the first fifty or so blini are done we can sit down to eat.

For a typical Maslenitsa dinner, we have between 20 and 30 guests in our tiny condo; each guests eats between five and ten blini, so Kevin is usually up a few times during dinner making new rounds of blini, and we almost always finish all that are made. Due to the amount of vodka consumed, we encourage guests to stay after dinner for a few rounds of cards (if relatively sober) or kung-fu movies (if mostly inebriated) or sleeping on our couch (if utterly pickled).

All in all, there are lots of reasons Maslenitsa is such a popular holiday, and that it survived the Soviet era. And that we have a core group that continues coming back every year, despite an utter lack of Russian heritage or special affinity for fish. It’s just fun. If you try this recipe, I hope you have success with it, and think of Lucas and Elizabeta enjoying this during their happier days. Cheers!

Family Blini Recipe (tweaked by Kevin Mitchell)
Fortunately, buckwheat flour is gluten-free! This recipe can easily be made completely gluten-free by using the same amount of gluten-free flour as a substitution for the “white flour”. We use rice flour instead of white.

1 package yeast

1 1/4 c lukewarm water

1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour

3/4 cup white flour (or rice flour, to be gluten free)

1 cup hot milk

2 eggs, separated

1/8 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp melted butter

1/4 c heavy cream

Dissolve yeast in warm water, add 3/4 cup buckwheat flour & all the white flour. Beat thoroughly and put into a large size bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place for 3 hours. Beat batter well with spoon, adding remaining buckwheat flour, until well blended. Let rise again in warm place, about 2 hours, and add 1 cup scalded milk to batter, mixing until smooth. Cool, then add 2 egg yolks, salt, sugar, and melted butter.

In separate bowl, whip cream. Beat egg whites until very stiff. Fold egg whites into cream and whole mixture into batter.

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Let stand one hour without stirring again. Fry in small pancake size, about 4-5 inches in diameter. Dough is taken carefully with a spoon and put into a heated and buttered pan. When the blini are done on the under side (you’ll see holes bubble up from the bottom to the top, just like crepes or pancakes), sprinkle with melted butter and turn to cook on the other side.

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Blini may be served with melted butter, smoked fish, caviar, sour cream, scallions, marinated mushrooms, herring in cream sauce, chopped hard-cooked eggs, or other vegetables,or — for the kids or those who don’t like fish — with fresh fruit, jam, or syrup (like pancakes or blintzes). Cinnamon and sugar are also a favorite for light “dessert” blini. As you’re getting to the end of the meal, a pot of tea is a nice touch for those who’d like to wake up or sober up.

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Make sure to have lots of cold beverages on hand as all that salted fish will make you extra thirsty, and because blini is, frankly, a very sauced-up sort of occasion. It’s traditional to offer lots of toasts to the chef, your host, the guests, the occasion, your favorite shoes, the noble fish laying on the table, and other silliness; toasts may be offered with non-alcoholic beverages, wine or beer, of course, but we stick with the very traditional shot of Russian vodka straight from the freezer. We collect shot glasses and have about 25, so we can accomodate a crowd at blini. (Also be prepared to accomodate over-drinkers who shouldn’t drive home or even take public transport.)

Nostrovya!! To your health!!
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Inspiration photos, courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com
Christine (@msgigglepants) is a full-time bellydance/Bollywood dance teacher and performer living in Michigan with Kevin, who is pretty much the best cook ever. Also, he has purple hair and laughs at her jokes, which counts for a lot.

C’s first introduction to Richard Armitage was via “North & South” (seemingly the gateway drug of choice) and shortly thereafter “The Vicar of Dibley”. A fan of earnest, straightforward men who tell it like it is, she will always have a crush on Mr. Thornton and lovely, charming Harry Kennedy. As a fan of gorgeous snotty bastards who secretly long for redemption if it comes with wealth, power, and the girl, she finds Guy a guilty pleasure. As a fan of utterly delectable men of action who wear tight trousers (and often NO SHIRTS!) and save the day despite heavily conflicted agendas, she admits to watching (LOTS of) Lucas and Porter. But it’s Thorin Smokinshield who stole a surprise march on her affections and made her fancy dwarves…

With a raised glass,

ARmyofChefs

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A Medieval Meal

Guy of Gisbourne venison

I’m hungry, wench.

ROAST VENISON

3 1/2 lb Boneless haunch of venison

3 T Butter; softened

Salt & pepper

1 1/3 c  Beef stock

1 T Butter

1 T Flour

1/2 c  Sour cream

Preheat oven to 475° F.

Tie the roast up at 1/2 inch intervals with kitchen string so that it will hold it’s shape while

cooking. With a pastry brush, spread the softened butter evenly over the meat.

Place the roast on a rack in a shallow open roasting pan and sear it in the hot oven for

about 20 minutes.

When the surface of the meat is nicely brown, reduce the heat to 375° F and

sprinkle the

roast generously with salt and pepper.

Pour the stock into the pan and cook the roast, uncovered, for 1 1/4

hours. With a large spoon baste the meat with the pan

juices every half hour or so. The interior of the meat,
when finished,
should be slightly rare, or about 150° F on a meat thermometer.

Remove the roast to a heated platter, cover it loosely and let rest in the

turned off oven while you make the sauce.

Skim and discard the fat from the pan juices.

Measure the remaining liquid and either reduce to 1 cup by boiling it rapidly or add enough water to make up 1 cup.

In a small, heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour to make the roux.

Stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, cook this roux for 6 to 8 minutes over low heat until it is a light nut brown color. Be careful not to let it burn or it will give the sauce a bitter flavor.

Now, with a wire whisk, beat the pan juices into the roux. Beat until well blended

MULLED CIDER


2 quarts apple cider
10 whole cloves
10 whole allspice
4 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove and discard the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon sticks. Serve hot.

Makes about 2 quarts

This two recipes and picture were submitted by Catherine Windsor @jcatwindsor who’s favorite characters are Thorin and Lucas. She loves Richard Armitage because he gives back to society.

Faithfully Yours,

ARmyofChefs

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Breaking news in Middle Earth: A dwarf is hungry

Thorin’s Hearty Lamb Shank Stew

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4 Lamb or Mutton Shanks
1 cup Red Wine
3 large Onions or 6 small ones
Salt and Pepper
1 Garlic clove
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Beef Stock
Potatoes (as many as you like-approx 4-6)
2 or 3 Stalks of Celery
4 Carrots sliced
3 Bay Leaves
1 large tablespoon of Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Oil

Preparation method
Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 2 hours

1. Put the shanks into a large enough casserole dish, pour over wine, add onions, salt and crushed garlic. Cover and bake at 180º for one hour, turning shanks over once.

2. Remove shanks and set aside. Strain off fat and make plenty of brown gravy by bringing to boil the juices in the bottom of the pan, adding flour, and gradually stirring in beef stock and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Now add sufficient potatoes for the meal – cut into quarters if large and left whole if small, 2 or 3 stalks of celery cut into pieces, 4 sliced carrots, and a medium sized parsnip sliced 3 bay leaves.

4. Put the shanks back in mix everything up and cook for another hour or until the vegetables are tender. Keep lid on casserole while cooking, but after 30 minutes, give it all a good stir and mix it all up again and add fresh herbs.

Serve with large chunks of crusty bread, lashings of butter and copious amounts of Ale!!

This recipe was submitted by Meri @merilyn066 who’s favorite Richard Armitage character will always be Guy of Gisborne. In her words: How could I go past Sir Guy of Gisborne? I love all the angst, sexual tension, leather, and of course his hair! Only Richard could play Guy and I miss him everyday.

Hearty hugs,

ARmyofChefs

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Richard LIkes It Spicy

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Photograph courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com

Easy peasy and a bit of a cheat because it uses a shop-bought curry paste but if you buy a good quality one it tastes amazing. Make sure your herbs, garlic and shallots are chopped up really fine and you’ll have a beautiful silky smooth sauce. I tend to use reduced fat coconut milk and it still works.

IMPORTANT: Add the paste to cold oil – DO NOT add it to hot oil unless you want it splattered all over your kitchen – I speak from experience!

Thai Chicken Curry (Antony Worrall Thompson recipe)

Ingredients:
50 g/2 oz bunch fresh coriander
5 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
2 x 400g / 14 oz cans coconut milk
250 ml / 8 fl oz fresh chicken stock (from a carton is fine)
12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or light soy sauce
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp caster sugar
good handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thai fragrant rice (approx. 50 g / 2 oz per person) and lime wedges, to serve

1) Remove a good handful of the coriander leaves from the stalks – about a quarter – and reserve. Roughly chop the remainder, including the stalks, and place in a mini-blender with the shallots and garlic. Whizz to a paste.

2) Heat a wok or heavy-based frying pan. Add the oil and stir-fry the curry paste for 1 minute over a high heat. Add 150 ml / 1/4 pint of the coconut milk and the coriander paste, stirring well to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chicken stock and boil for 8-10 minutes until the natural oils start to appear on the surface, stirring occasionally. Season generously.

3) Stir in the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is completely tender and the sauce has reduced considerably with the oils clearly visible on the surface.

4) Add the remaining coconut milk, the fish sauce or soy sauce, lime rind and juice and sugar, bring to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the reserved coriander leaves and the basil and cook for another minute or two. Serve hot with bowls of the rice and lime wedges.

This recipe was submitted by @kathrynruthd/ kathrynruthd whose favorite Richard Armitage character would be Lucas. Something tells me he’d be able to cook this for her too, or least be able to chop the herbs.

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Cheers,

ARmyofChefs

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Harry’s Stripes

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Harry’s Striped Lasagne (To Coordinate with His Striped Jumper)

1 lb loose sausage
(or 1 lb lean ground beef seasoned to taste with sage, Italian seasoning, and pressed or powdered garlic)
2 T olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
3 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 jars marinara sauce
1 box lasagne noodles
2 cups fresh baby spinach, optional
1/2 c red wine, optional

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Boil lasagne noodles according to package directions. When they are al dente, drain and rinse with cool water (helps them to not stick together) and lay them out on an oiled baking sheet.
Meanwhile, saute diced onion in olive oil until it softens and begins to become translucent. Add the sausage or seasoned ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Deglaze the pan with the red wine if you care to use it. Add 1 and 1/3 jar of marinara sauce to the pan and heat through.
Oil (you may use cooking spray) a 9×13″ baking pan. (I use a glass pan because I prefer not to cook tomato based foods in metal cookware.) Pour 1/3 jar of the reserved plain sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Begin to layer the ingredients. Doesn’t have to be perfect, but aim for at least three layers of noodles. In my lasagne I layered in this order:
1. Plain sauce – 1/3 jar
2. 5 noodles
3. 1/2 of the meat sauce
4. Spinach
5. Cheeses – 1 c mozzarella and 1/4 c parmesan
6. Repeat 2 – 5
7. 5 more noodles
8. The final 1/3 of the remaining plain sauce

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check out those stripes!
Cover with foil and bake at 375 ℉ for 20 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with 1 c shredded mozzarella, cover and bake another 10 min.
Remove from oven and let rest 10 min before slicing.

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This recipe and pictures were submitted by @StacieMakeDo – stayseemakedo

And despite not having a beard, Harry Kennedy is her favorite 🙂

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May your striped jumpers always be wooly,

ARmyofChefs

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