Category Archives: Fun with Food
I’m happy enough with how my gumbo turns out that I don’t much use a recipe anymore. The fellow over at NOLA Cuisine always gets my nod when someone asks for recipes for these sorts of dishes, be sure to take a tour of his place – click on his recipe page for sure.
This one has genuine Louisiana made Andouille sausage and chicken thighs. (Link goes to a Cajun Grocer’s page.) I ordered one of their turduckens to have on hand for the upcoming holiday.
Our grill press has been getting a workout. These went a tad too long and toasted up more than I like but they ate well enough. In the category: Wonders, Never Ceasing, I noted the time and temperature and dialed the time back from 15 minutes to 10 and lowered the temp dial from medium high to medium-ish:
Both of these have roast pork, chopped fresh jalapenos and cheese, the first also has some ham I had leftover from something else and provolone, the second is sans ham and has Swiss. The mustard is a spicy mix store brand honey mustard. I’m not too sure what the peppers are, exactly, but it doesn’t make a bad dip. The buns were generic deli submarine/hoagie rolls, just about any of the softer buns and rolls will work fine but you will want to avoid really crusty breads. The placement of the samies in the grill makes a difference, adjust so you get a full, even contact from the top element. It’s open all around so a little trial and error will get you there quickly. A little pre-grill smush by hand will help, too.
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)
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.
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.
Just a reminder: You can make a burrito out of nearly anything you can wrap a tortilla around. We had chicken chili with white beans a few days ago and the little dab of leftovers worked great with the addition of Monterey jack.I call this a “cuddle” of puppies. I like how the little guy with the white on his muzzle is framed in this picture.Mrs J likes banana bread so much that she buys bananas and lets them ripen just so she can make it. The one has raisins and pecans. I found a jar of apple butter on the pantry shelf, applesauce works well as an accompaniment but apple butter just goes it one better.Notice the subtle segue from apples to snakes? LOL Here’s your random wildlife, a small snake in the grass beside the walk this morning. I’m not sure what species it is but I would guess it’s a juvenile black rat snake. The mottled look fades over time.We made the last batch of tomatoes into soup and canned 7 quarts. I amazed myself with a practical application of arithmetic – I knew my canner would hold seven quart jars so I figured how many inches of juice I needed and let the tomatoes reduce at a simmer until it measured the correct depth. I won’t burden you with the formula lest I make a foolish error but if I remember correctly 7 US quarts is a tad over 5 inches in my 10″ pot, I think I went five and a quarter-ish, making a mark on a wooden spoon.I never said there wouldn’t be math! I did say there would be kittehs, though. They named this one Brock and he was adopted the next day after Mrs J posted this picture on the shelter’s facebook page.I’ll close out with a couple of sammiches, here’s a loaded chicken tenders sammy with some potato salad from the local Kroger deli.More sauerkraut than pastrami on this reuben. There wasn’t much pastrami left so I compensated a tad.
So then, what to stuff these babies with was the question. There are many more recipes out there than I had peppers for so I stuck close to the basic recipe of tomatoes + meat + rice, after toying with one that featured an egg baked on the top. Maybe sometime…
I made two versions today, one with sauteed grape tomatoes and pancetta and the other with crumbled Italian sausage and roasted grape tomatoes. Don’t ask which is which in the photo, though if pressed I would say the pancetta variant is in the foreground. Both recipes combined the meat plus tomato with brown rice and shredded mozzarella. They baked at 400 for about 25 minutes, more shredded mozzarella added to the top during the last few minutes.I didn’t parboil the peppers, hoping they would turn out soft enough. I think they were just right. I cut the first pepper right down the middle but that resulted in a pair of pepper platters rather than two bowls so I ended up cutting about a third off of the remaining peppers and using the two thirds left for filling and baking. I opened a jar of my famous Awesome Sauce to pour into the bottom of the casserole. It was pretty thick and was looking to dry out and burn so I splashed a little water in there when the cheese topping went on. Both versions were tasty. Mrs J couldn’t pick a favorite, liking them both equally.
We took another stab at fried pies using the cherry filling-in-a-tube. They work a lot better using Mrs J’s recipe for the crust instead of the pre rolled pie crusts we tried a while back. There will be more pie:These are the tubes of fillings I mentioned: From L to R, Banana, Lemon, and Chocolate. They’ll make a ton of fried pies.We thought chicken chili with white beans looked good when we saw a picture the other day. A search through recipes online led me to this one by the Neelys on the Food network. I looked for poblano peppers at the store this morning but they didn’t have any, I subbed a couple of my own Anaheims and a small can of chopped green chilies. Turned out pretty good. We used a can of Great Northerns and two cans of cannellini beans.Speaking of peppers, Mrs J brought in several nice green peppers from the garden this morning. These are Giant Marconi peppers, I think, not the green bells that they look like. I used the last batch with celery and onions to make a big batch of the Cajun Trinity, sealing it in several vacuum bags for the freezer. We’re big fans of gumbo. I’m not sure what these will be used for, I think I may stuff and bake a few…Here’s a puppy! The bone is nearly as big as he is. I know nothing about this one.I dug a beef brisket out a few weeks ago and brined it per Alton Brown’s corned beef recipe. I took it out and smoked it for several hours and then finished in the oven. I sliced and sealed it into plastic bags in one pound portions, all save this bit I used to make pastrami hash yesterday.Mmm… tacos! These are pork with guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a mole made from dried peppers that were simmered and then pureed with garlic and oregano.I’ll close this out with a kitty lounging in one of Mrs J’s cat beds. She buys a lot of the materials needed for these but there are more and more donations of fabrics and fillers now that word is out that she can turn them into nice things for the shelter pets. I think the pad under the puppy with the bone is one of her creations, too.