Author Archives: TaMara

Saturday Dinner Music: Dolly Parton, He’s Gonna Marry Me

Haven’t done one of these for a while. And who doesn’t like Dolly Parton, her love of life is infectious.



 

Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilled Herb Steak Tacos

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I was planning to put together a salad for dinner on Wednesday after a long day, but when I looked around I had all the ingredients for tacos and that inspired both dinner that night and tonight’s recipe exchange.

For my tacos that night, I used homemade fajita seasoning (recipe for seasoning and fajitas here) instead of packaged taco seasoning. The recipe makes a lot, so I always have some on hand.

On the taco front, not to be missed are JeffreyW’s awesome Fish Tacos (pictured above, recipe and photo directions here).

Earlier in the week, an excellent and creamy, sharp goat cheese was the center piece of my Stuffed Burgers (recipe here) for dinner. So easy to make and full of juicy flavor.

The Dinner Menu was a given, since Olathe Sweet Corn finally arrived in stores. This menu was also the first one I put together many years ago, because it was and still is, a summer staple. Menu, recipes and shopping lists here.

For the pet lovers, here’s Bixby awaiting our lunch guests and a bonus Greek Pasta Recipe.

With that I leave you to the comments. Tacos, burritos or fajitas, what’s your favorite? And what’s on your weekend menu as we move into the last month of summer?

Now for the featured recipe:

Grilled Herbed Steak for Tacos or Burritos

Notes: Serve with either corn or flour tortillas and stuff with fresh garden items, such as tomatoes, lettuce, diced zucchini, grilled corn, and top with Fresh Garden Salsa (recipe here). And if you don’t like cilantro, there are alternatives offered at the bottom of the recipe.

Herb Paste

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves*
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 medium jalapeno, quartered – remove veins and seeds for milder, otherwise, use it all
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh limejuice

Pulse in a food processor or blender, cilantro, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and cumin until finely chopped. Add oil and process until mixture is smooth and resembles pesto. Transfer 2 tbsps of the herb paste to medium bowl; whisk in lime juice and set aside.

Steak

  • 2 lbs flank steak – cut lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces (cooks quicker this way)
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Using dinner fork or tenderizer, poke each piece of steak 10 to 12 times on each side. Place in large baking dish; rub all sides of steak pieces with salt and then coat with remaining herb paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator 5-10 minutes before cooking.

To cook: Scrape excess herb paste off steak and sprinkle all sides of pieces evenly with sugar and pepper. Sear steak pieces on the grill for 3 minutes, then turn and grill the other side for 3 minutes. Continue to cook (don’t turn more than one more time) until internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees, usually an additional 2 to 7 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

To Serve: Using a carving knife, slice steak pieces across grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Transfer sliced steak to bowl with herb paste-limejuice mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with tortillas and choice of vegetables, shredded cheese and salsa, etc. Garnish with additional limejuice if desired.

*If you don’t like cilantro, you can substitute celery leaves or fresh basil, or try a mixture of both.

That’s if for this week, have a terrific weekend – TaMara

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Sweet Olathe Corn Finally Arrives and Dinner Menu

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Photo by JeffreyW

How is it Thursday already?

It was a big day today. Took a friend out to lunch at the new Tapas bar and Olathe Sweet Corn finally arrived in the store. Seems the rainy spring delayed the crop. I made a special trip to the store today to ‘stalk’ up.

Before that, we sampled the new Tapas bistro, SAMPLES. Really wanted to check out the roof top patio, but it was much too hot for that, so we settled for a sidewalk table. It was a pleasant experience. Good food, good beer and super nice staff. I think the consensus was that we would go back for more ‘samples’.

I had two completely new taste experiences (well four if you count the beer samples): truffle butter (on the bacon and grilled onions flatbread) and poutine (spare rib poutine to be exact). They were both fun and flavorful. I’d add spaetzle in brown butter, but my friend tells me it wasn’t true spaetzle, even though it was still delicious. Tasted like chicken mac ‘n cheese.

We finished down the road with Funnel Cake Strawberry Sundaes, offered in honor of county fair season. It was yummy.

Freddy's Funnel Cake Sundae

Freddy’s Funnel Cake Sundae

Later in the day I stopped at the grocery store, picked up a dozen ears of corn and steamed a few for dinner. I’ll prep the rest tomorrow and remove from the cob and serve cold on salads.

In honor of that arrival, grilled corn is on tonight’s Dinner Menu. It is one of the first menus I ever wrote.

On the board tonight:

But wait, there’s more! Click to read full menu

Busy Day and Taco Dinner

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A couple of times a month I put together a bunch of treats for Bixby and pop them into the freezer. Today I filled old ribeye bones with peanut butter, halved a bunch of apples and froze them for nice treats on hot days.

I also made his favorite Frozen Yogurt Pupsicles and Doggy Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Biscuits (recipes here – with lots of Bixby pics).

It was a long work day of running around to clients and arguing with vendors. Back at my newly relocated office (LOL) I did a bit of work before calling it a day. I was going to have a salad dinner, but then looked around and wonder of wonders, I had all the ingredients for tacos. So that’s what I made, although they were not as picturesque as JeffreyW’s above. Instead of store bought taco seasoning, I use homemade Fajita Seasoning, recipe here. Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, fresh salsa and shredded cheddar  to top off the ground beef in crispy shells.

Tomorrow I’m taking a friend out to a Tapas and Brew Bar, I’m excited, the menu looks great. I’ll let you know how it is  Until then…..

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Rearranging Furniture and Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Final

I’ve been wanting to find a way to leave Bixby out of his crate more often when I’m out of the house for short periods of times. He’s been doing very well when I’ve left him, but I’m always worried, not so much for anything in the house, but because of the plate glass window. He’s not the most coordinated dog and several times he’s bumped it so hard I worried it would break. So I am reluctant.

Last night I had an inspiration and spent this afternoon rearranging my living room and office to make the window less accessible. Bixby’s response to all the hub-bub? To race around in circles like a wild thing, clearly not realizing how big he is and almost took out an entire bookcase.  At least it wasn’t the computer.

All the activity meant there needed to be something substantial for dinner. I have some amazingly creamy, sharp goat cheese and I thought it would be perfect in my Stuffed Burgers, recipe here. Always good, the cheese was perfect and tonight served on lettuce wraps. Yummy.

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Monday: Playing Hooky to Lunch with Friends and a Recipe

Bixby 7 27 15I was hoping to get a picture of Bixby with LFern’s mom, Miyako, who stands all of five foot tall, but I couldn’t figure out a way to do it without endangering her. Bixby was much too happy to see his company. Meanwhile, an out of town visit from anyone’s mom is a good enough excuse to play hooky, go to lunch and follow that up with ice cream. I actually did get some work done today, but there will be a couple of long days to make up for the rest. It was worth it.

summer pasta salad

JeffreyW puts together an easy pasta salad: fresh veggies, cold pasta and tossed with oil and vinegar.

I have a little different version, a Greek Pasta Salad (recipe here) with black olives and feta cheese. Perfect quick dinner on a hot night. That’s the great thing about pasta salads, you can mix it up and create a different meal easily.

We are suppose to cool off a bit later in the week but I’m still thinking I’ll keep the meals light and cool. And cold pasta salads are great for that.



Life with Cats – Who Me? Guilty? Never.

Zander Belly Rubs FinalOnly cats. I awoke last night to a huge crash.

Jake 3 Sept

Bleary-eyed I stumbled out of bed to look for the source. What did I find? My entire desk on the floor. Computer, speakers, keyboard, files.

MK in a Basket

What else did I find? Three cats, casually sprawled across the room. Not one of them looking guilty or in the least worried about the mess on the floor. I still have no idea who did it (I have my suspicions) and no one is going to rat the other out.

Puppy peanutbutter1

That’s cats for you. Bixby would have crated himself and hung his head in shame (for all of 2 minutes, his guilt is short lived).

But cats? Cool and collected no matter the disaster.

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Recipe Exchange: Best Served Cold

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With July heat in full swing and the dog days of August coming up, I thought cold recipes would be a good idea for tonight’s recipe exchange. It made working in the kitchen much more appealing this week and I managed to try out a couple of new recipes and do some actual blog posting.

To get things started, Monday was house hunting and one of my new summer favorites, Jicama Slaw, surprisingly sweet and creamy, click here.

Tuesday was notes on the kittehs and Key Lime Bars, which I made to satisfy an intense craving for a cold, tart, citrus dessert, read here.

Wednesday I played with making my first Granita, I chose watermelon, but there are many other flavor combinations for this easy, cold treat. Recipe here.

The dinner menu this week was Grilled Chicken Salad and Green Beans in Vinaigrette.  Complete menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

For the pet lovers, there’s a Bixby Diary update.

Well, that was my week, how was yours? When it’s too hot to cook, what’s your go-to for dinner?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I was looking for a fresh salad idea and a friend was travelling through Italy and posted photos of an unusual salad, complete with recipe (in Italian) on Facebook. It looked good, so I decided to try it. Here’s my version.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

I chose to use mint because it’s what I had handy, but I’ve seen it with basil or oregano and white wine vinegar instead of limejuice. For a spicier version, try limejuice and Pico de Gallo

  • 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (if using unwaxed, no need to peel)
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Pecorino Romano, feta or other similar cheese, cut into small chunks or crumbled

serving bowl

Add watermelon and cucumber to a serving bowl, drizzle with limejuice and oil, add mint leaves, then toss to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with cheese just before serving cold.

That’s it for this week, have a great weekend and try and stay cool – TaMara

 

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Dinner Menu: Chicken Salad and Green Beans in Vinaigrette

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JeffreyW’s Green Bean Salad

You can prepare all of this a day ahead of time for an easy and tasty picnic. And if it’s a party, they’re easy to double.

On the board tonight:

  1. Marinated Chicken Salad
  2. Sub Rolls
  3. Green Bean Salad
  4. Sliced Peaches

Chicken Salad

Chicken: (Marinate overnight)

  • ¼ cup dill juice
  • 3 tbsp Dijon or stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts

Mix together ingredients and marinate overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Grill or broil chicken and cool completely, then cut into small cubes or run through a food processor.

Salad:

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded & chopped
  • ¼ cup salad dressing or mayonnaise (more as needed)
  • 2 tsp Dijon or stone ground mustard

bowl

In bowl, mix cubed chicken with ingredients, blending well. Serve on sub rolls.  Serves 6 easily

JeffreyW’s Green Bean Salad (pictured above) – recipe here.

Shopping List:

  • Sub rolls (I like the miniature ones myself)
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • Dill pickles
  • Dijon or stone ground mustard
  • Garlic paste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Salt & pepper
  • Peaches

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Werewolf Cat Made My Day

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This little cat made my day.  His name is Atchoum. He has hypertrichosis. Not scary, just adorable.
His hair grows uncontrollably, but that doesn’t stop him from being cute as can be.

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Head over to his instagram page to see all his wonderful poses.

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