Summer Slaw

DSC_8194 (1600x1060)We swung by the supermarket deli to pick up some of their fried chicken and a couple of sides – we had been shopping garden centers and were getting hungry with nothing quick to eat in the fridge.  We really didn’t want to go to a burger joint or the Chinese buffet.  Mrs J picked a pair of cold salads while I grabbed a box of chicken.  She opted for a mustard potato salad and something that was labeled as “summer slaw”.

The summer slaw was pretty good, we looked online for a copycat recipe but didn’t find anything that looked close.  It had tomato bits, cabbage, and  green bits that were sliced green onion tops and something else – green bell pepper or maybe cucumber with the skin on.  We went with “both”.  The dressing was thin and white and put me in mind of the dressing I use for the copycat KFC slaw dressing.

I whisked a dollop of mayo with buttermilk and rice vinegar, added Splenda to taste, and celery salt with ground white pepper.  It may not be what the deli used in theirs but it came out pretty good!

Summer Slaw

one small head of cabbage, shredded fine

half of an English cucumber, minced

1/4 cup of minced green bell pepper

two small tomatoes, seeded and chopped small

a small bunch of green onions, thinly sliced tops only

Dressing*

1/4 – 1/2 cup mayo

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup rice vinegar dressing (the flavored stuff)

sugar (Splenda) – go with 1/8 -1/4 cup

celery salt and white pepper to taste

* Just guessing after the fact on the dressing quantities.

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Catnip Patch

Mrs J took this vid of Bea wallowing in the catnip coming up in last year’s bed.  Seems to be acceptable.

Tidbits

DSC_4576 (1600x1060)First hummer of the season!  Yay!  They’re still not really here, I’ve seen two at the most.  We’ve had a few Canada Geese spending time at the pond.  Katie has given up trying to chase them off, they just swim out of reach and honk at her.DSC_4573 (1600x1060)I have my kitchen herb garden going with all the usual suspects: Basil, thyme. chives, parsley, oregano, and rosemary.  I have two cherry tomatoes going, and an assortment of hot peppers.DSC_4581 (1600x1060)We’ve managed to get a dozen tomato vines in the ground with the cages up and everything mulched.DSC_4588 (1600x1060)

Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup

DSC_8191 (1600x1060)We roasted a boneless leg of lamb for Easter dinner and had a lot leftover.  I remembered looking at recipes for lamb and thought they sounded pretty good so I did a search and ran across this recipe.  I used it as an ingredient guide for the proper amounts of the spices and kept with the spirit of the recipe although I made some additions and subtractions.  I did have some canned chickpeas, but no lentils of any sort so I left them out, as I did with the cilantro.

I used a can of San Marino tomatoes with their juices, roughly chopped, and added some garlic, orange and lemon zest, and a half teaspoon of Madras curry powder that has been lonely in the cupboard.  I dithered a bit on the pasta, thinking ditalini, but went with the pearl couscous.  I’m not a huge fan of the tri-color pastas but that’s all I had in the larger sized couscous.  It was very good.  We don’t often get out of the familiar spice “comfort zone” but I think we will try something like this again.

Gadget Post – Meat Slicer

DSC_4586 (1600x1060)We bought one of the whole boneless hams that were on sale post Easter and that had me wishing my little Rival antique electric meat slicer wasn’t so feeble.  I had last used it trying to slice the prosciutto I bought a while back but it fled, whimpering in terror, after the first few slices.  Fortunately a pal brought his commercial grade slicer by and we zipped right through the prosciutto.DSC_4565 (1600x1060)That old Globe machine is too heavy to move around much, we did the slicing on the tailgate of his truck.  We went with the Chef’s Choice 667 Model, it is not in the same league as the Global but it will do. (My pal uses it to slice his own homemade bacon.)DSC_4587 (1600x1060)

So far we’ve used it to slice a ham and a corned beef brisket and it seems competent enough for those things.

Dinner Menu: Hot Orange Chicken, Potato Wedges and Mocha Cake

Potato Wedges1a

As promised, this week’s menu. Kind of hodge-podge. I love spicy, citrus flavored chicken and this one is quick and easy. The potato wedges are a breeze and the Mocha Cake is the simplest chocolate cake to make, a cousin to yummy Lava cake.  Enjoy.

  1. Hot Orange Chicken
  2. Potato Wedges
  3. Tossed Salad w/Pineapple chunks
  4. Mocha Cake

Hot Orange Chicken

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • ¼ tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

bowl

skillet or wok

Mix the first 6 spices in bowl and rub chicken with it.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat oil in skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides (5 minutes).  Add water, cornstarch, lemon and orange juice and let simmer 7 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken, keep warm.  Bring liquid to a boil, cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until reduced by half.  Spoon over chicken and serve.

Potato Wedges – easy to do, quarter potatoes, rub with olive oil, salt and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425° until tender.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flourMocha6b
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

====

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee (see notes)

8×8 inch baking dish

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Combine milk, oil and vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture.  Stir well.  Pour batter into baking dish.  Combine sugar and cocoa (from bottom list) and sprinkle over batter.  Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir.  Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched.

NOTE: if you don’t want to use coffee, use boiling water. If you want stronger coffee flavor you can use ½ cup hot espresso and ½ cup boiling water.

Happy Easter!

Easter-day-Backgrounds

Sorry for the lack of blogging this week. For whatever reason, writing has been very difficult and cooking even more so. Maybe the beautiful weather has been drawing my attention away from the computer and kitchen.

I do have chicken and potatoes roasting in the slow-cooker while I go out and enjoy the weather. I’m also refinishing an old porch glider, which I’ll post photos as the project progresses. My neighbors are landscaping their backyard and decided they no longer wanted it. I’m a sucker for rehabbing good furniture that needs a good home. This is in excellent shape, just needs the old paint scraped off, resealed and then I’m going to paint it a country white and add a green cushion.

Glider mid-rehab

Here it is, mid-rehab. I’ve scraped most of the peeling paint off and I’ll do some serious sanding this week

Besides all that, I’ve been busy with new clients, which always take a while to get settled into a routine and I’m on chapter 13 of the novel and completely stuck. The remaining chapters are outlined and the epilogue written, but there it sits, middle of 13 and refusing to budge. I blame the weather for that, too.  So if my posts are sparse for the next week or so, you’ll understand. I’ll for sure get to the dinner menu and recipe exchange, promise.  Until then, I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Sunday….

P1010074

Friday Dinner Music: Roy Orbison, I Drove All Night

Tidbits

20140415_093529 (1600x1060)It got cold enough the other night to freeze the little bird bath thing.  Bonus! – Homer in the window keeping an eye on me.  It’s a good thing my container garden, so far, isn’t any larger, it just barely fits onto the cart.  I wheel it into the garage for the night.20140415_093651 (1600x1060)I noticed a spike in my view count at Flickr, Buzzfeed linked to one of my photos and I blew right through 3 million total views while we were eating dinner.  I had hoped to get a screenshot of the stat page right at 3,000,000 but I missed it:Untitled (1600x1060)Here are a couple of Chicago style hot dogs.  I was surprised how good they are.  Everything on there adds something to the experience.  I have no idea why the bright green relish became standard on these things. [Note to self: remember the celery salt next time]DSC_8152 (1600x1060)We’ve looked hard at this photo from the trail camera we keep down by the back pond and I think it is an albino raccoon.  I could be mistaken.  There is a hint of color on the tail and there is probably a term other than “albino” that better describes what it is but I’m not going to look for it.PICT5974 (1600x1060)

Lo Mein Pr0n – with Chicken and Shrimp

DSC_8166 (1600x1060)Wikipedia tells me that “lo mein” translates from the Cantonese to “stirred noodles”.  This dish had chicken breast chunks and shrimp with broccoli, onions, and carrots along with rehydrated mushrooms that I bought dried.  I’ve learned to simmer them for at least an hour before they are anywhere near tender enough to eat, and don’t try to save the stems.  I simmered these with the dried cayenne peppers, and used the broth from that in making the brown sauce.  I ran across a good discussion of brown sauces here.  Mine has dark soy, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken paste in that mushroom stock, a little chili paste, tamari, and a lot of garlic.  I sweeten ours with Splenda but sugar is more common.

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