Author Archives: jeffreyww

Tidbits

DSC_0892 (1600x1060)I’ve mentioned the turkey we cooked the other day.  We really didn’t have any particular aim for the meat so I had a big ziplock bag full in the fridge waiting for me to do something.  Turkey salad sounded like a good way to move some of that along.  I have fun putting these salads together, chicken and turkey are pretty much interchangeable.  This one has a dressing of sour cream and mayo, in a 1:1 ratio.  I like to add cheese to mine and I usually have partial bags of shredded cheese laying about.  This one got a little cheddar and Monterey jack, and a substantial amount of Parmesan.  I can recommend Parmesan as being a particularly good addition after tasting this batch.  Also mixed in – pickle relish, chopped celery, a smallish Vidalia onion, a half cup or so of red bell pepper, a few minced cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of well chopped fresh parsley.PICT1237 (1600x1060)More wildlife!  Not all that random, Mrs J adds corn and sunflower seeds to that pile daily and the local deer know to stop by.IMG_20150901_113041165 (1600x1200)Mrs J discovered a coupon app from her favorite store, she exercises it weekly.  DSC_0889 (1600x1060)Pork chops cooked in mushroom soup for a fantastic gravy and one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  I nearly ruined the box mix rice, it was all set to go in the rice cooker when I grabbed the rice vinegar bottle instead of the olive oil and gave it a good dose.  I dumped it out through a sieve and added it back to the cooker with fresh water.  It came out fine!arrgh!...I can't look (3) (1600x1060)Here’s an oldie but goody of Toby. Caption contest!DSC_0846 (1600x1060)I’m getting better at shaping the buns.  I’ve standardized on 8 buns per recipe, they make fair sized buns, not too big or too small.DSC02803 (1600x1200)I had to ask Mrs J how this momma-to-be cat got so dirty but she assures me that it’s natural coloration.DSC02796 (1600x1200)Here’s a handsome boy!  Ringo has some pretty blue eyes, he’s five months old and is ready to go out the door.  Hurry, he won’t be waiting long!

Seen on the Internets

Random Wildlife – Praying Mantis

DSC_5418 (1600x1060)This is the largest one I’ve seen this year. It’s four inches from head to folded wing tip.  It has a good reach with those long arms.DSC_5414 (1600x1060)He was harder to spot than this photo makes it seem, the brown blended in well.

Giardiniera Update

DSC_0884 (1600x1060)This is the first time I’ve really had a good taste test for that giardiniera I made the other day.  I was a little worried that is was going to be too hot – I added way more serrano peppers to mine than any of the recipes I looked at mentioned.  I shouldn’t have worried, this one has some heat but no more than the few varieties of store bought I’ve sampled.  It’s certainly more colorful!

I Really Like Pizza Pie

DSC_0876 (1600x1060)Mrs J thought pizza would work for her dinner today.  We had all that turkey from yesterday’s project so we went with that for a topping.  White pizza sounded better with turkey than anything else so we went that route. DSC_0871 (1600x1060)I had good luck with the Prairie Gold flour the local Amish store carried so we went that way again, going half and half with white bread flour.  The dough recipe is not too involved: 1 cup PG flour, 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup warm water, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 packet of instant yeast (2-1/4 t).  I let the bread machine make the dough while we made a trip to town.DSC_0873 (1600x1060)I like to brush the crust with olive oil but I had a little garlic butter left over so I warmed that, added a little oil, and brushed it on, sprinkling kosher salt after.  I gave it another coat halfway through baking when I opened the oven to spin the pan 180.  To a basic  white sauce I added provolone and Parmesan, folded in blanched broccoli and cubed turkey meat and spread that over the crust, adding thin sliced red onions, more turkey, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan atop everything before sliding it into a 375 oven.

I Like Pie

DSC_0862 (1600x1060)We’ve had a turkey in the big freezer since the last sale on them at the local market, maybe the Easter Holidays?  I don’t remember what the sticker price was but these things go pretty cheaply.  I wanted to make room so we cooked it down today, stripped the meat away from the bones and roasted those for stock.  Mrs J made her signature butter pie crust.  Looks good!  I brushed egg white on the top and sprinkled on some flake sea salt.DSC_0864 (1600x1060)I used a bottom crust for this one even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, necessary.  Saw in a comment thread on the recipe page that an egg white brushed on the bottom crust would help to keep it from getting too soggy so I did that and it seemed to work.  It’s usually worth your time to read some of the comments on the recipes at these Allrecipes pages.DSC_0870 (1600x1060)I had all the fresh veggies to make this but decided to use up a frozen bag of the mixed variety to save a little time.

Fish and Chips

DSC_0849 (1600x1060)We watched Alton Brown make these on one of the Food Network videos the other day that we had on the DVR and realized that we were due a fish dinner.  I used cod, and dusted the fish with flour before battering.  That’s malt vinegar in the little bowl

The red cabbage slaw started out as a Bobby Flay recipe but it was so bad I washed all the dressing off, added the carrots, and went with a simple vinaigrette of cider vinegar, sweetener, celery seed, and canola oil.

Mmm… Roast chicken

DSC_0842 (1600x1060)That beer-butt style roasting gadget has been getting a workout.  I’ve found that filling the canister that goes into the bird’s cavity with anything but plain water is useless.  Beer or seasoned stock of some sort work fine but no better than water.  I basted this chicken with garlic butter and olive oil – a difficult to top combo, IMHO.

The red dipping sauce is a basic buffalo wing type sauce, it’s half melted butter and half hot sauce.  I used Frank’s Hot Sauce this time because a friend gave me a big bottle.  I pressed five or six cloves of garlic into that little bit right there to kick it up and I have to tell ya, it was delicious.

Mrs J served up a big bowl of wilted lettuce – bacon grease, red wine vinegar, sweetener, and a splash of water.  Warm the dressing to a simmer and toss with the chopped lettuce, the crumbled bacon that made the grease, and some chopped green onions.  That might be my all time favorite lettuce salad.

Tidbits

via20150821_133622 (1600x1060)My brother-in-law and his wife pulled their new RV/camper rig down to Mrs J’s old home town and spotted it in a campground right next to the river.  It’s a pretty fancy rig, nicely appointed.  It’s not Trump level gold plated fancy but it is comfortable.  I took a picture through one of the camper’s windows of a tow heading downriver.  That’s the Mighty Mississippi, from the Illinois side, that’s Missouri over there.  When the river gets high, like it was this spring, this spot is underwater.  Plays hell on the landscaping.DSC_5411 (1600x1060)We see wasps of various types, along with the occasional honeybee at the hummingbird feeders, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of these bald faced hornets.  I leave it be in the hope that it will reciprocate.DSC_0797 (1600x1060)Mmm… burritos!  These are beef and bean, with cheddar and pico de gallo, rolled up and grilled in a little oil.  Zap them in the microwave for a minute before you brown them – saves time and assures that the cheese melts.DSC_0685 (1600x1060)Buffalo wings!  I usually make more but I had some vacuum sealed and frozen and there weren’t as many as came in the fresh package – I divided that in two and froze them separately to cut down on leftovers.  Most of the time I bread the wings before frying them but these went straight into the hot oil after drying them with paper towels.DSC02784 (1600x1200)Kittehs!  The black cat is Frank, he came in feral and was a wild thing at first but he’s been slowly coming around.  He’s been at St Francis for about three years and gets along well with other cats.  Mrs J says he won’t let her pet him but the lady they call The Cat Whisperer is able to.  The dilute calico is Daisy, a five month old kitteh that is chipped and vaccinated and is ready for adoption.DSC_5406 (1600x1060)Bea expresses an interest in the catnip Mrs J has growing in a pot.  I was fully expecting her to climb right in but she held off.DSC_0817 (1600x1060)My basil is still doing well, I’ve been clipping the blooms off as they appear, that seems to keep it vigorous.  I guess I need to think about what to do with all those delicious leaves.  I suppose I could dry a lot of them and process them to use in recipes.  I’m not a big fan of pesto but I may make up a batch or two and freeze it in an ice cube tray like all the other folks on Google advise.

Homemade Hot Giardiniera

DSC_0818 (1600x1060)My serrano pepper plant was producing a fair crop of peppers,  they were ripening and some were past ripe and starting to dry out.  I picked all the ripe ones with a vague idea that I would dry them, or something.  Inspiration struck as I was spooning hot Chicago style giardiniera over yesterday’s Italian beef.DSC_0834 (1600x1060)Look at all those little pepper chunks!  Those are serranos, still green, as you will almost always see them.  Our giardiniera selection is limited at this end of the state, there may be one variety of it on the shelves if we’re lucky.  My local Kroger doesn’t carry any, unlike Chicago area stores.

Fortunately, there are tons of recipes on line.  There are plenty of variations – this version has ripe and green serranos, green bell peppers, carrots, celery, onions, olive oil, white vinegar, dried oregano, black pepper, garlic, celery seed, and a 5 oz. jar of chopped green salad olives with pimentos.DSC_0835 (1600x1060)To prepare it, stir a half cup of salt into the raw veggies, add water to cover, and refrigerate overnight.  The next day rinse thoroughly to get rid of the salt, then add equal measures of vinegar and olive oil, stir in the garlic, the drained olives, and other seasonings.  I hesitate to list quantities, for this batch I used 1 cup each of vinegar and oil, a couple tablespoons of minced garlic, and just eyeballed the rest.  This will store in the fridge so I won’t try to process it further for stable shelf storage.  I bet these will be pretty hot – I’ll let you know after they spend a few days coming together.

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