Category Archives: Fun with Food

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.

Blueberry Bars

DSC_0829 (1600x1060)We spend more time than I’d like to admit just looking at Google images of prepared foods.  It’s a good way to discover recipes and to learn how other people arrange things for useful ideas on food photography.  That’s how we came across this recipe for blueberry bars. We did question the addition of basil in the recipe and so we did a search.  It’s really a thing – who knew!  We didn’t have any peaches so we went straight blueberry.DSC_0814 (1600x1060)It’s easy to make creme fraiche at home!  I started this one the other day when we decided to go with this recipe, it has a pint of heavy cream and one of those little cups of plain Greek yogurt along with the seeds scraped out of a vanilla bean.  It set out overnight so the magic could work, I let it go 24 hours at room temp before refrigerating.  This is good stuff all by its own self!DSC_0815 (1600x1060)Here it is sans the crumb topping, the bottom layer is as much like a cookie as anything, it was made with half sugar and half sweetener.  Mrs J subbed Splenda for all the sugar in the filling, but she did go with real brown sugar on top so it would brown.DSC_0826 (1600x1060)Fresh from the oven!  We set this into the big freezer so it would firm up nicely for cutting into individual bars.  An hour or two and it was good to go.  I feared it might stick to the pan but it came out easily, be sure to remember to butter the pan!

Sammich Pron

DSC_0756 (1600x1060)I made a batch of dough the other day and tried to form soft baguettes and they came out looking more like long hot dog buns than anything.  Only one thing to do with them!  There are actually two dogs in there, placed end to end.DSC_0738 (1600x1060)My dough-fu is weak.  I have a couple of these thawing for garlic toast later today.DSC_0736 (1600x1060)I roasted a chicken and used the leftovers for soup.  The grilled sammich has ham, a scrambled egg, and some mozzarella that was bought fresh for a pizza and really needed to be used up.  Not my first choice for a grilled cheese sammich but it wasn’t bad.DSC_0742 (1600x1060)Here’s a bacon cheeseburger with a few of those refrigerator pickles.  They are very close to bread and butter pickles so I’ve taken to calling them by that name.  They aren’t as sweet as the bread and butter pickles you can buy at the market.DSC_0812 (1600x1060)Mmm… sloppy joe with cheese and hot gardiniera.  We had these last night, accompanied by fries and roasted sprouts with a balsamic glaze.  Yum!DSC_0802 (1600x1060)Another cheeseburger.  This one has provolone and fried onion rings with Sweet Baby Ray’s Vidalia Onion BBQ sauce.  I’m out of those jumbo Russet potatoes that those fries were cut from, need to make another grocery run.

Pie Pr0n – Mrs J’s Famous Pies

DSC_0739 (1600x1060)This one is Coconut Cream and was delicious.  And pretty!  Pretty delicious!DSC_0747 (1600x1060)I’m not sure if there is a recipe for this, it has a crushed “Nilla Wafer crust, and is an instant pudding filler.  She whipped up the meringue in the stand mixer.  It only took two days to eat the whole thing – the last bite as good as the first.DSC_0769 (1600x1060)Mmm… peach pie with a crumb topping.  I remember that she told me there is a splash of heavy cream in with the peach filling.  I rate this pie a half star less than the coconut cream pie but that is a high bar, indeed.DSC_0774 [1600x1060]

Breakfast Pr0n – Biscuits and Gravy

DSC_0753 (1600x1060)With sausage and eggs and some of my five pepper jelly.  I haven’t made biscuits for a while, these are from a recipe we’ve featured before: JP’s Big Daddy Biscuits.DSC_0754 (1600x1060)Breakfast To Go:  A nice sausage egg biscuit with that same pepper jelly.

Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

DSC_0785 (1600x1060)I wish I’d gone with the white bowl for this, I really thought there would be more contrast.  This is a copycat recipe, as far as I know, nowhere does it indicate it’s an actual Panera recipe.  I stayed right with the recipe as written except I added an extra handful of shredded Parmesan I had out for the garlic toast.  I can say that it’s a damn good soup, we both gave it two thumbs up.DSC_0788 (1600x1060)I couldn’t resist making a sammich out of the leftovers.

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