Category Archives: Fun with Food
We’ve tapped the jar of refrigerator pickles that we put up a few weeks ago. They are pretty good but Mrs J thinks they are a tad too spicy. She has a very low threshold.Those red pepper flakes are from last year’s crop of cayennes and are definitely hotter than the generic pepper flakes sold at the local food mart. I think Mrs J’s first sample included a flake that spent a second too long on her tongue.This is Henrietta, she was brought in as a feral kitty a few weeks ago but has settled into the shelter routine and is friendly enough. She’s been fixed and vaccinated and is ready for adoption.This looks like chicken fried steak but it’s with pork tenderloin instead of cubed beefsteak. The potatoes were brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and then roasted. I zap the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes to speed things up.Moar kitteh! This is Elizabeth, she was one of a litter of five that had been born feral and then captured and brought in to be fixed. Shelter staff really fell for her and persuaded the Good Samaritan to leave her with them rather than be returned to barn.Mmm… meatloaf! No particular recipe for this one but I did use several fresh herbs from the patio garden – oregano and sage and parsley. I will comment on the sauce, it’s equal parts ketchup and bbq sauce with a dollop of my pepper jelly mixed in. Very good on this! The potato got the same treatment as described above: Zapped in the microwave, then oiled, salted, and roasted cut side down until browned. We are getting enough tomatoes and cucumbers to keep a container of the summer-y salad going. It gets a vinaigrette of vinegar and canola oil with oregano and thyme and is always better after being in the fridge overnight.One last kitteh! This is Ida, she’s been at the shelter a while. Staff estimate her age to be a year and a half. They comment that she was a little withdrawn when she came to the shelter three or four months ago but that she has warmed up to everyone now. Such a pretty kitty! Mrs J fed her a bit of chicken from her lunch the other day and says Ida now greets her with head bumps and purrs.
I look forward to making this dish every year when the little tomatoes come in strong. We have grape tomatoes this year instead of the cherry variety but they are much the same thing. I saw this recipe where the tomatoes were roasted in the oven before they were mixed with the usual herbs and garlic and went with that method today. I think it worked very well.
Relaxing after a long, busy day, watching Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. I’m a sucker for anything Whedon, well, except Dollhouse, which I bailed on after the first few months. The locusts are competing for my attention, singing their late summer song. They always bring back childhood memories of sitting on the porch swing, reading a book in the evening, trying to stay cool.
Went out to dinner with friends earlier and told them I made Watermelon Granita and their response was similar to mine, watermelon is perfect on its own, why mess with it? Why indeed? Partly because it is so pretty, partly because it is nice to have something cold, not too sweet and easy to make during the heat of summer. Granitas can be made with many flavors, I just happened to have a large seedless watermelon on hand this week.
Strawberries, lemons, oranges, a mix of berries, even coffee can be made into granita. Just substitute for the watermelon in the recipe below. Perfect, light and a burst of sophisticated flavor to top off any meal.
- 4 cups seedless watermelon, cut into large chunks
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
- fresh limejuice from 1 large lime or 2 small limes
- dash of lime zest
- mint leaves for garnish
blender, shallow dish
Blend together the ingredients (except mint) until smooth. Start with 1/4 cup sugar and add more as desired. 1/2 cup is the standard recipe, but I preferred less to let the watermelon shine through.
Pour into a shallow dish and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and with a fork, scrape the mixture into small ice crystals. Place back into the freezer for another hour and repeat scraping. Freeze for additional hour, scrape again and serve with mint garnish. You can also top with fresh blueberries for a very pretty dessert.
I let my bread machine do the dough for this one while we were making a quick store run. I knew I wanted a thin crust so I made a half recipe from here. They were out of the mozzarella pearls I wanted so I made do with slices. The tomatoes are a grape variety that I halved and cored with a spoon to leave just the shell. I’m a big fan of what they would term “meat lover’s pizza” – several different meat toppings and mushrooms and olives and onions and on and on, but these minimalist types are really very good.I usually add the fresh basil after these come out of the oven so that it doesn’t turn black and crispy but I’ve seen them made that way, pretty sure there isn’t a rule about it.
Mmm… thick slab of ham with a fancy redeye gravy. The home fries were cooked in duck fat and were fantastic. The gravy was developed for a chicken fried steak dish but I went with it on the ham despite it being maybe over the top because it has diced ham and bacon in it. It would be fine for biscuits or mashed potatoes.
Kittehs! This momma cat and her 10 kittens were abandoned in a parking lot in 95 degree weather. A good Samaritan brought them in to the shelter before the heat got to them but the mother cat was in some distress. She’s fine now, or as fine as a busy momma can be with 10 youngsters to feed.Buns, fresh from the oven and brushed with melted butter. I’m getting better at shaping these things but it’ll be a while before I can claim real expertise.Mojo chicken with a mojo dipping sauce. It’s a half cup each of sour orange juice and olive oil, with plenty of minced garlic, a couple tablespoons of white vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. In the background is a variation on the classic Cuban black beans and rice – I added tomato bits and fresh corn to the beans.Mrs J left a cat bed and a few pet cage pads out. Most of her output goes to St Francis but she offers them around to other local shelters and they are usually happy to have them.I keep a jar of refrigerator pickling brine on hand to use up some of the peppers the patio container garden is producing. Whenever I cut up an onion I toss the excess in with the peppers and it works great as a topping for the occasional hamburger.
We had a nice caprese salad with a burger today for lunch – pearl mozzarella with grape tomatoes and shredded basil with olive oil and a balsamic glaze.Our habaneros are starting to ripen. I have a good crop of jalapenos coming along but none have started to turn red, yet.This is one of Mrs J’s favorites. She’s a Maine Coon mix, named Clara Bell, and staff estimate her age to be 2-1/2 years. Those eyes!The King Arthur better buns recipe works great for hoagie rolls!This roll isn’t from that batch but it is the same recipe. Sloppy joes are a family fave.Moar kitteh! This is Donald, a 3 month old male, one of a litter of 5. Mrs J tells me that this is “kitten season” at the shelter. St Francis’ new building has a room set aside just for kittens. They spend all day playing outside of their cages:
I really like the flat iron steaks for these, they are so easy to slice into thin strips and are good tasting, tender, and much cheaper than the rib eyes that are a standard for steak sandwiches. The cheese sauce has Swiss and provolone. The roll is from my now standard recipe from King Arthur – the dough divided into 6 pieces and shaped into logs. Bonus Kitteh!Amelia is a Siamese that has been at the shelter for a while. This retired gentleman recently lost his 20 year old cat and came to the shelter a couple of times, taking pictures of candidates so his working wife could help him choose. He came back the other day and took Amelia home with him. He reports that Amelia has made herself right at home.
Mrs J wanted to make more of these hand pies with the newest batch of cherries. These were “Strawberry Cherries”, bought at the same produce store that the Rainier cherries came from. They still aren’t the deepest red cherries so she added a couple tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice just for the red dye #5. These are baked in the oven, rather than fried, and seem to be just as good this way. They have the same dough from smittenkitchen as the Rainier cherry pie the other day. They were brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with sugar and baked at 400 for about 25 minutes.
The local Amish run store stocks a considerable selection of different flours and I took a chance on these two, not having much of a clue just what they were, exactly. The durum name rang a bell and I thought it might be useful in making pasta but the prairie gold meant nothing at all to me. Google to the rescue!
I didn’t have these in mind when I started looking around for a pizza dough recipe that proofs in the fridge overnight using just a little yeast, but when I came across this “Now or Later” recipe from King Arthur they seemed perfect. I went with 1-3/4 cups of the prairie gold and 1-1/4 cup of the durum. The mention of their pizza flavoring sent me on a separate track, trying to see if I could make something like it with ingredients on hand. I went with a half teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder, and a couple teaspoons of dried thyme. I let my machine mix it all, then placed it into a bowl, covered the dough with plastic, and left it overnight in the fridge.
After pulling from the refrigerator and letting it warm enough to be pliable it was stretched out into a baking tray, covered with plastic wrap and left to rise a little more before topping it, half with tomato sauce, ham, sausage, onion, pepper rings, and fresh mozzarella and half in the classic margherita style.The flours did give the dough a golden hue, and the pie tasted pretty good. I don’t know if the flour seasonings I added helped all that much but they sure didn’t hurt it any.