Category Archives: Fun with Food

Tidbits

PICT9603 (1600x1060)Random wildlife – Ginger checks out a backyard visitor.  This was captured by the backyard camera in a happy accident.  There is a setting on the camera that allows you to space the time between shots and we have it set for 5 minutes, iirc.  That cuts down on the number of pictures it will take if, say, the deer here stays and mills around for a while but it may miss whatever shows up during that hiatus.DSC_0559 (1600x1060)I mentioned the other day that I bought the ingredients for mojo marinade thinking about doing a pork butt for a more authentic Cubano sandwich.  I marinated this one overnight then roasted it low and slow.  It was covered for most of the cooking time but I did take the lid off for the last 30 minutes.DSC_0561 (1600x1060)Here’s the sandwich I had in mind the whole time.  It’s basically a layered assembly of Swiss cheese, pickles, ham, and the mojo pork.  The bun halves are smeared with mustard, the other components assembled, and cooked in a grill press.  These are great tasting sammiches even without the mojo, any roast pork will work fine.DSC_0576 (1600x1060)Mrs J planted some cucumbers in with some clematis where it climbs up a wired in enclosure down on the south side of the house and the vines are starting to produce.  (You can just barely see them in the picture with Ginger and the deer, above.)  We had a couple rounds of the classic cucumber, tomato, and onions with vinegar and oil so we used the last half dozen to put together a refrigerator pickle recipe.  Can’t wait to try them, we’ll give them a week to come together but I’ll bet they get better after that.  DSC02505 (1600x1200)Kitteh!  This is one of several in a litter at the shelter, I have no more info than that, alas.DSC_0570 (1600x1060)Mrs J saw a much earlier photo of roast pork and gravy on egg noodles and she remembered that she really liked it and we haven’t had that in a long time and we do have some roast pork and egg noodles, don’t we?  She who must be obeyed!  The fact that these were slices from the mojo pork butt made no difference.  I simmered the slices in chicken stock with onions, colored it with Kitchen Bouquet, added a bit of beef soup flavoring and thickened it with corn starch.  Not the ideal gravy but it worked well enough!PICT1343 (1600x1060)More random wildlife – a few wild turkeys browsing for insects, I assume.  This camera is on the opposite side of the house and is looking North.  It doesn’t get nearly as much action as the one overlooking the spot where Mrs J scatters corn and sunflower seeds but we see a fair selection of critters.  I understand that they have cameras with wi-fi transmitters built in that can broadcast their captures to a centrally located receiver.  Sounds interesting, we gather the memory cards and view the take via a screen in the house.  From what I’ve seen the wi-fi range isn’t far enough to be all that useful for us.

Mojo Roast Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

DSC_0544 (1600x1060)I bought a bottle of sour orange juice so I could more closely replicate the mojo marinade needed for a proper roast pork  Cubano sandwich.  I haven’t done that yet, but a recipe for mojo marinated roast chicken caught my eye.  A mojo sauce is mostly olive oil with garlic, citrus, and oregano.  I used fresh oregano instead of dried in mine.  The lemon and lime juices in the recipe are intended to get to the sour/bitter taste profile of the sour orange juice when sour orange isn’t available and regular orange juice is substituted.  Lacking a rotisserie on my grill I used the beer can roaster gadget with good result.DSC_0541 (1600x1060)A recipe for Cuban style black beans and rice worked well and fit the general theme of the plate.  I have no Idea if broccoli plays much part in the Cuban diet but I like it so I steamed some florets and gave them a squeeze of lemon.  I picked the green pepper and a couple of sweet banana peppers from my container garden to make the bean dish.  The addition of a splash of red wine vinegar to the beans right before serving them really made the dish.  I never would have thought to do that but it works!

Sammich Pr0n – Pork with Slaw

DSC_0535 (1600x1060)The thing about roast pork is that you can reheat it in a skillet and it will produce more of those crispy bits that add so much flavor.  Lard works great, duck fat is probably the best.  If those scare you olive oil works just fine.  This one has a mayo based slaw but a vinegar slaw will be just as good.

Mmm… Beer Braised Spare Ribs

DSC_0521 (1600x1060)I coated these with a dry rub and was putting them into the pan when I decided to add a beer rather than the usual chicken stock.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for three hours at 325-350, uncover and drain the liquids, apply bbq sauce and cook until that sets.  They turned out pretty well but I bet a better beer would have made a difference.  I used a basic mass market light beer this time.

Frozen Treats: Vanilla Nut Crunch (and Bonus Kitteh)

Vanilla Nut Crunch

It was time to break out the ice cream maker and cool things off. I’d been focusing on gelatos the last couple of summers, but yesterday I wasn’t interested in standing over the stove and stirring an egg mixture. I dug out the instruction manual for my Cuisinart machine and sure enough, there were some simple cream-only recipes. I decided to start with vanilla.

I have two favorite ice creams, one was Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy, RIP (their new hazelnut is inedible IMHO) and Blue Bell’s Moo-llenium Crunch (fingers crossed they can come back from the shut down). I’ve mastered Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato and it’s a fine substitute for Wavy Gravy, so this time I thought I’d tackle the crunchy vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell.

From their description:

Classic vanilla ice cream with a combination of dark chocolate chunks, creamy caramel chunks, roasted pecan halves, chopped almonds and walnut pieces.

The nuts and crunch

Vanilla ice cream recipe? Check. Dark chocolate? Check. Caramel chunks? Nope, but we’ll get to that. Roasted pecans? Nope, will have to live without because I was not going to drop everything and run to the store. Almonds and walnuts? Check and check. On to the recipe:

Vanilla Nut Crunch

  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp really good vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (raw or roasted, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (raw)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional ;-) )

mixing bowl, ice cream maker

In the mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar and salt, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).

After it has completed its freezing cycle, fold in nuts and chocolate. Freeze until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Remember the caramel bits? I had a bottle of caramel syrup which made a nice topping and when I was done, it was pretty darn close to Moo-llenium Crunch. I’m sure pecans will make all the difference next time.

And here is a bonus kitteh because he had to “help” me take the photos today.

Z-Man Whatcha making

For tomorrow – Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Until then – TaMara

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Food Pr0n – Burrito platter

DSC_0514 (1600x1060)Just a quick lunch – beef and bean burritos with cheese on a plate with pico, guacamole, and black beans.  Just as an aside, the tomato in the pico de gallo is our first ripe tomato from the patio container garden.  It was deep inside the foliage and nearly hidden.  Hoping for many more.  Plenty of grape tomatoes are ripening but this is the first of the larger variety.  It came from a bush Goliath, there is another called Mountain Fresh that is very close to producing – fingers crossed!

Tidbits

DSC_0485 (1600x1060)I had a bit of Andouille sausage left over from the jambalaya.  We had a nice hash made with it and I always put an egg on top.  Or two.  Speaking of eggs…DSC_0488 (1600x1060)…here’s our first BLT of the season.  I wish our tomatoes were ripe but they’re not yet ready.  Adding an egg makes this a BELT.DSC_5342 (1600x1060)A neighbor called us over the other day to see their latest critter find.  They thought that a couple of swans would look nice on their pond so when offered these three they said OK.  They said that they didn’t know yet what sex any of them were, seems it’s impossible to tell at this age without a blood test.DSC_5341 (1600x1060)

They’ve been raising goats for a couple of years now, I keep hoping they will start making cheese but so far my hints haven’t worked.DSC02501 (1600x1200)Here’s a kitty!  Mrs J says it’s semi-feral and has been spoken for by one of the volunteers at the shelter but the poor woman is beset with medical issues that have her in and out of the hospital.  Not sure what the problem is except it is a gall bladder issue.  We wish her a speedy recovery.DSC_0497 (1600x1060)Mrs J said she was thinking about making a pie so I ransacked the freezers and found blueberries enough for her to make this one.  I don’t think I’ve seen that exact crust thing before.  Looks good!DSC_0501 (1600x1060)There were a few mushrooms left over from the fried mushroom project so I sauteed them in butter for a burger with Swiss cheese.  I made an impromptu dressing from ketchup, bbq sauce, and minced garlic.  Yum!DSC02502 (1600x1200)This is Ivan, a 3 month old kitten that came in with a litter of 5.  He has the cutest little socks!  They are all ready for adoption!  hint hint…

Fried Mushrooms

DSC_0494 (1600x1060)I bought a box of mushrooms the other day and they’ve been sitting on the counter since.  Thought I’d better do something with them.  I had a vague notion of “mushroom chicken something something” but decided to slice them into manageable sized pieces for breading and frying.  They were those bigger white button mushrooms, golf ball sized plus, or as the weatherman might say: “The size of golf ball sized hail.”  I’ll stop.  Anyway, the batter was 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn starch. 3/4 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water.  I whisked that in a bowl and dumped in the mushrooms and stirred them about to coat them, then took four or five at a time and tossed them in panko bread crumbs.  Fry in hot oil and roll them once to brown evenly.  I started when the oil reached 350 and tried to keep it there as best I could.

Mmm… jambalaya

DSC_0483 (1600x1060)It’s rainy today here in Beautiful Southern Illinois™ and so I passed some time looking around for something to fix for dinner.  Found some of the Andouille sausage I made a while back and thought jambalaya might hit the spot.  I try to link to this guy whenever I can, he’s my goto guy when I do anything Cajun-style.  The link goes to a jambalaya recipe that informed my take on it today, you could do worse than spend a little time looking over his recipe collection.

Sammich Pr0n – Breaded Pork Tenderloin

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