Category Archives: Fun with Food
This turned out pretty well. The bacon made that a foregone conclusion but the Parmesan was an experiment gone good. I simmered potato pieces in chicken broth until they were soft and then pureed everything in the pot with an immersion blender. The bacon crisped up in a separate pan and was added after the blender did its job – save a little for garnishing at the table. There’s some milk in there to thin it, lots of grated Parmesan and some cheddar I had leftover from burritos. Seasonings include dried thyme, oregano, fresh ground black pepper and salt. I used the same microplane grater I grated the Parm with on a little bit of carrot that you can see in the photo if you look hard.Since I am lunatic I took the chance to add a little color to the plate with a healthy slug of my hot sauce. It was good but I wouldn’t let the lack of it dissuade me from demolishing a future bowl of this soup.
I’ve loved these things ever since my first introduction at a jobsite where they were being sold out of a cooler by a fellow helping out a girlfriend. This one is beef and bean with a cheese omelet all rolled up together. I’m really liking my hot sauce, I’ll be making more of this stuff. The cayennes I used didn’t heat it nearly so much as I thought they might. I believe a few habaneros will go into the next batch.
This pretty girl has been at the shelter for a while now. She was a surrender – the owner became unable to care for her due to infirmity. Mrs J hoped to promote her adoption prospects by placing her prominently in the shelter’s Facebook page but no luck so far despite going home with a prospect for a visit, and some inquiries. The last batch of cayennes I picked went into my fermenting jar, the same rig that works so well for counter top sauerkraut. It’s pretty easy to make your own hot sauces and you can tailor the recipe to your own tastes by using different peppers or liquids. Not that I have any great expertise since this is my first batch. I forget exactly which recipe I used but this one seems very close to it. The ratio of salt to peppers is the same, I used a white wine to cover them in the jar. Cayennes aren’t the hottest peppers out there but they do have some heat. I don’t remember now how long these spent in the jar but going on two months seems close. I didn’t use any whey or starter to hurry the fermenting.This is Jack, a bashful sort. He has since been adopted.It’s been a long time since we’ve had pork chops for dinner. These simmered in mushroom cream for a good hour. The potatoes were mashed with garlic and sour cream, the broccoli were steamed and treated to a lemon butter sauce made with white wine and thickened a little with cornstarch to help it cling to the veggies.This is Toby, a terrier mix. Mrs J thinks he’s gone on to a new home.I’ll close this out with a stir fry, this one is chicken and various veggies in a brown sauce with a batch of fried rice. “Brown sauce” is a generic term and there are tons of recipes out there. I generally use a little of this and a little of that in mine – IIRC this one has soy sauce, black vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, chicken broth, sesame oil, Hoisin sauce, garlic chili paste, cornstarch, and a dash of Maggi branded seasoning sauce. The chicken marinated for an hour in similarly seasoned marinade – heavier on the cornstarch.
I spent the morning slicing and vacuum sealing a ham, a beef roast, and a corned beef. I kept out enough of the sliced roast beef to make a couple of these. They are the next thing to an Italian beef, lacking only the particular seasonings. I’m calling it a roast beef although it was slow cooked in a big crockpot. I added beef broth, red wine, lots of garlic, sliced onions, and bay leaves. If I had added basil and oregano, and maybe rosemary I would consider it full on Italian beef. It was cooked to 150 internal temperature, not quite well done but pretty close. It spent a day in the fridge before slicing.
Homer has been an outside kitty lately because of his ongoing battle with Toby. He does come in everyday to spend time but gets ousted if he acts up. I think he may be mellowing a bit – the cuddle on the sofa with Bitsy was rare enough that I thought a photo was warranted.I picked all the remaining jalapenos so Mrs J could take the pot away and dump the old potting soil. I sliced and froze these.A couple of tacos with guac and sour cream and a few of the last peppers. I think these were ground beef cooked in a mole made from dried ancho peppers. More of that sauce is on top, covering the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar.Here are those pups from the other day that were smiling for the camera. Mrs J says they are terrier poodle crosses.They are really rocking their little doggie sweaters.I think she said they were eight weeks old and would be released for adoption pretty soon. I bet they go fast.Here’s a sammich I made the other day. I had a chunk of hot coppa in the freezer that I thawed and sliced thin. It also has traditional ham, a slice of roast pork, provolone, and various veggies in a vinaigrette made with dijon and balsamic vinegar.This looks like spaghetti and meatballs but the meat is just sliced link Italian sausage. The sauce was from this year’s tomatoes and has a lot of Parmesan in it. Good stuff.It’s been ages since I made bread in my machine. This loaf really puffed up when it baked, I thought it might raise the lid before it quit growing. The soup is a basic chicken noodle made with wide egg noodles and various veggies. I always add too many noodles to the pot.
This is another one of those doughs that stayed out on the counter all night – two cups of bread flour, a quarter teaspoon of yeast, one cup of water, a wee pinch of salt and a sprinkle of sugar. I massaged it into place in my pizza pan and let it rise there for another hour then par baked it at 425 for five minutes. There isn’t a real sauce, per se, just some roasted grape tomatoes that I made last summer and then froze just for something like this. It also has bacon, thin sliced coppa, some ham, a caramelized onion, mozzarella, and some nice Parmesan grated over it at the table.
I’ll just pop these leftover slices into the freezer just like this and then seal the individual slices in vacuum bags, they make great grab-‘em-and-go lunches for Mrs J when she heads out to the shelter.
Whoa! Five days and I really have nothing. We’ve been puttering about in the yard trying to get things winterized. Putting hoses away and draining pump spray rigs, I hate it when I forget to blow out the the hose and the spray handle freezes and splits. I’m hanging on to a few containers with jalapenos and some herbs but it won’t be long before those are gone.The countertop griller is getting a workout. I have lots of sliced corned beef and roast pork put away so we’ve been hitting the sandwiches pretty hard. This one is pork with provolone and my yellow mustard relish with hot peppers and some sliced pickled jalapenos extra. We’ve eaten several Reubens but I haven’t taken any pictures of those – search the site for reubens if you must see some.This one is almost a Cuban – instead of ham I have corned beef on it. I haven’t tried to name it but you are welcome to do so.
We sent in our pet pictures for the pet calendar that helps to fund a shelter that is sponsored on another blog. TaMara cross posts her Recipe Exchange there on Fridays. Here are a few of our critters:This is as close as Annie ever gets to swimming. The water touches her belly and she knows she is in too deep.Our handsome boy, Jack. He’s getting slower and going deaf and blind but he still has fun chasing the kitties down the hall. They don’t run fast and he doesn’t chase far.Toby doesn’t get much space here, I’m happy to put this one up. Toby is always serious looking, even when chasing a laser dot.
We gobbled down the last batch so fast we decided to go for more. These used the same filling recipe as the last ones: cream cheese blended with marshmallow fluff with powdered sugar. We were looking at different filling recipes, too.These are filled with mock cream – it’s blend of butter and sugar with vanilla and unflavored gelatin. The caster sugar mentioned in the recipe is a superfine sugar that is hard to find. We found a small cannister of it while looking for some other stuff but you can make your own in a blender or a coffee grinder. It isn’t what we know as powdered sugar but I’m pretty sure powdered would work, just go by weight rather than volume. I found the gelatin easily, it came in packets within a box. Happily, each packet was 2 teaspoons to match the recipe. The 250 grams of butter was two sticks plus a tablespoon or two. We still had some cherry pie filling left from the fried pie project and used that to add a finishing touch to the pastries.
I think the cream cheese marshmallow filling is the better of these two. I have my eye on another recipe that looks to be good. It is a whipped cream and cream cheese blend that gets a Cool-Whip style topping folded into it. There’s also a whipped cream and sugar filling that is stabilized with gelatin we may try.