Author Archives: jeffreyww
I was startled the other day when my smart phone went nuts with a loud warbling alarm that I was sure I hadn’t set. I scrambled over to it and found that it was relaying a tornado warning from the National Weather Service. We dodged the tornado but did get some big wind, we had some trees damaged and lost power when several power poles up the road a ways were knocked down.The electric company crews were quickly on scene and had the power back in just a few hours. Good thing the damage was localized and not widespread – they must of had 10 utility vehicles out for these few poles.Here’s a kitty for you, part of a new litter at St Francis. Kitteh has four siblings: Mrs J says kitteh momma is a real gem!These are Cubano style sammys, pastrami instead of ham, provolone, roast pork, yellow mustard and pickles. It was done up in a small grill press.Here’s Homer! He’s sad because the garden is getting a little long in the tooth.A basic burger on a poppy seed roll. I still have a jalapeno growing on the patio but Mrs J has her sights set on it and I won’t be able to hold her off much longer. You just can’t beat a fresh jalapeno. The sides are from the store deli counter, a German potato salad and a slaw they had labeled as a summer salad. I recognized it a a dish we tried to replicate a while back. It’s good.Here’s another kitteh. He’s not one from the litter above. Mrs J says they have a lot of cats and kittens at the shelter and they are running out of room. (hint hint)
Nothing beats sloppy joes for easy eating. Mrs J said to pick the peppers from the patio containers because she was cleaning up and wanted to get rid of the way past their prime plantings. I roasted and chopped a few of the Anaheims and a couple of poblanos and added them to onions and a can of tomato bits and added all that to browned ground beef. It looked enough like the chili we have been eating all week that I stayed away from chili seasonings and went with Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce and catsup. The cheese is about the last of the shredded cheddar and jack, I started with a big bag and used it all week long.
We watched an episode on The Food Network where a New Orleans joint offers a dish called Shrimp Magazine – named for the street where the restaurant is sited. I watched the chef prepare the dish on the video a few times and figured I had it down. A few days pass and I am less sure but I forge ahead. The only recipe a search turned up looked close but seemed a little off from my memory. The chef dredged the shrimp in seasoned flour and sauteed them in butter, turning once to brown both sides and then started adding all the rest of the ingredients: Artichoke hearts, diced ham, tons of garlic, lemon zest and juice, grated Parmesan, green onions, chopped basil, white wine, and salt and pepper – serving it all over angel hair pasta. I went with kale instead of artichoke hearts and didn’t add the basil.
I knew the shrimp wouldn’t like being with the kale as it cooked down so I removed it to a dish as soon as it was done and only added it back to the pan with the cooked pasta to toss prior to plating. I used white wine to help break down the kale and added lemon juice and zest along with salt and pepper. I minced at least six cloves of garlic, using some with the shrimp as it cooked, the rest after the shrimp were removed, along with a bit of olive oil.
Everything worked pretty well although I wish the ham had a better dice, I chopped some thin sliced ham that helped the flavor but did nothing for texture. I think next time I may use crispy bacon lardons. Mmm… bacon!
Oh, and I need a better name for it.
Mmm… chorizo chili. This one also has ground beef, an onion, a can of tomato bits, and pinto beans. It’s a basic chili made with a sauce of dried chilis that had been simmered and soaked then pureed in a blender with a few cloves of garlic. Push the puree through a strainer with a spatula and discard the last little bit. Plenty of chili leftovers, but I have a plan…Mmm… chili dogs! I have these garnished with minced onions, green jalapenos, and red ripe Anaheim peppers – some of the last we will get from our container garden out on the front patio.Mmm… not quite Cincinnati chili. This has everything that the five way chili has but isn’t distributed the same way. The Cincinnati chili is seasoned differently, too. Theirs has cinnamon, allspice, chocolate and other stuff I won’t try to replicate.Mmm… chili cheese fries! This dish is finished with a couple dashes of hot sauce. Mrs J had tater tots instead of fries but she scarfed them down before I could get a picture. Here are a couple of puppies instead:
We had a couple of pepper bushes out with the tomatoes this year. I forget the variety names but there was at least one bell pepper and one or two Giant Marconis. The marconis are pretty much identical to a basic green bells although they tend to be longer. It’s threatening to frost tonight so Mrs J brought in everything of any size. Naturally, I had to find a stuffed pepper recipe. Not sure who Chef John is but this was a pretty good recipe. I used a wild/long grain rice box mix instead of plain white rice, and my can of tomato bits included green chilies,I wasn’t able to find a sure-fire side for stuffed peppers given that the ingredients cover all the usual food groups. I decided to go with the cucumber and tomato salad we’ve had going for a week or so. I use a seasoned rice vinegar with salt and pepper on it, nothing fancy. This used up a few of the peppers but we had plenty left over:I chopped the rest and froze them on baking trays and then transferred them to a great big plastic freezer bag. It’s nice having a couple of big freezers to handle the garden bounty this way.
Mrs J was calling for mac and cheese today to go with the chicken thighs she brought up from the basement freezer. I looked around and settled for a recipe Google served up that looked nice. I have to mention that the roasting head of garlic really smelled good this morning as I was gathering all the ingredients.
Toasting the panko with butter was a nice touch but I nearly let it get away from me. Only a few of the crumbs turned black before I removed the sauce pan from the burner – the toasting was quick once the pan reached temperature. Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water, it sure did look soupy going into the casserole but it needed every drop.The recipe mentioned ramekins and I remembered to fill these two. I set all the dishes on a baking tray, the big casserole (13″x9″) didn’t bubble over but these little fellows did.
I started the dough for this yesterday, 2 cups of bread flour, one cup water, 1/4t tsp yeast, a pinch of sugar and a dash of salt. It was pretty well inflated by noon, I dumped it into a pizza pan and massaged it into shape while the oven preheated to 425-ish. It par-baked for eight minutes and then I pulled it to furnish with toppings. I had some leftover roasted plum tomatoes that went on first in lieu of a sauce, sprinkled on shredded mozzarella, sparingly, and then piled on the meats. Italian sausage, already browned and drained, crispy bacon pieces, fried ham, and prosciutto that was tossed in the bacon grease to brown a bit.
Mrs J’s side got pickled onion rings, I added mushrooms and chopped ripe olives. I gave it another sprinkle of mozz and slid it back into the oven, it needed another ten minutes or so. It must have been better than usual because Mrs J went on and on about how good it was. I thought it one of my better efforts – she wasn’t just blowing smoke.
I could have easily called it lemon garlic ginger honey sticky chicken because all of those played a role in the dish. This started with boneless thighs and a couple of lemons and evolved from there. I started thinking sticky chicken because I have done that and had good luck. Mix the juice from two lemons, the zest of one lemon, a couple good squeezes of honey, grated fresh ginger root, grated garlic, some brown sugar, and a slug of soy sauce and use it as a marinade for the chicken. I chopped the chicken into one inch pieces but it would be fine to leave them whole. Let it marinate for an hour then array the chicken on a foil lined baking tray and let it brown in a 400 degree oven, about 30 minutes. Turn once to brown both sides.
While the chicken is cooking, add more lemon juice, honey, and soy sauce to the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan, heat to boiling, turn down to a simmer, and thicken with a cornstarch slurry. I added a couple tablespoons of chili garlic paste to add some zing. When the chicken is nicely browned toss with the thickened sauce and serve over rice. I added steamed broccoli for this dish but it can be served on the side.