Category Archives: Fun with Food

Tidbits

20140415_093529 (1600x1060)It got cold enough the other night to freeze the little bird bath thing.  Bonus! – Homer in the window keeping an eye on me.  It’s a good thing my container garden, so far, isn’t any larger, it just barely fits onto the cart.  I wheel it into the garage for the night.20140415_093651 (1600x1060)I noticed a spike in my view count at Flickr, Buzzfeed linked to one of my photos and I blew right through 3 million total views while we were eating dinner.  I had hoped to get a screenshot of the stat page right at 3,000,000 but I missed it:Untitled (1600x1060)Here are a couple of Chicago style hot dogs.  I was surprised how good they are.  Everything on there adds something to the experience.  I have no idea why the bright green relish became standard on these things. [Note to self: remember the celery salt next time]DSC_8152 (1600x1060)We’ve looked hard at this photo from the trail camera we keep down by the back pond and I think it is an albino raccoon.  I could be mistaken.  There is a hint of color on the tail and there is probably a term other than “albino” that better describes what it is but I’m not going to look for it.PICT5974 (1600x1060)

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Lo Mein Pr0n – with Chicken and Shrimp

DSC_8166 (1600x1060)Wikipedia tells me that “lo mein” translates from the Cantonese to “stirred noodles”.  This dish had chicken breast chunks and shrimp with broccoli, onions, and carrots along with rehydrated mushrooms that I bought dried.  I’ve learned to simmer them for at least an hour before they are anywhere near tender enough to eat, and don’t try to save the stems.  I simmered these with the dried cayenne peppers, and used the broth from that in making the brown sauce.  I ran across a good discussion of brown sauces here.  Mine has dark soy, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken paste in that mushroom stock, a little chili paste, tamari, and a lot of garlic.  I sweeten ours with Splenda but sugar is more common.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

DSC_8156 (1600x1060)I’m on a chicken recipe spree!  At least until I run out of chicken breasts, anyway.  This recipe from Emeril Lagasse looked pretty good, with the added bonus of  the side dish calling for the truffle oil that rounded out a recent online order I placed a while back and was looking for a place to use.

I didn’t have the proper arborio rice so I used the  jasmine variety that I do keep on hand and has worked for me before.  Instead of Parmesan I used fresh grated pecorino.  The mushrooms were the usual supermarket white buttons, nothing fancy.  I think I can take or leave the truffle oil, it not adding any particular enjoyment for me but I’ll wait a while and try it elsewhere before I make up my mind.

The goat cheese filling worked very well, every time I made a cut a little more oozed out and was quickly mopped up.  I used a lot more garlic than the recipe wanted.

Chicken Picatta

DSC_8148 (1600x1060)I think lemon goes really well with chicken, and I’m a real sucker for flour dredged chicken parts served with sauces.  This is a recipe that combines all of that.  Plus capers!  We liked the sprouts and prosciutto dish so well that I did that one again, and rounded out the meal with a box mix rice pilaf.

Pasta Pr0n – Spaghetti Carbonara

DSC_8135 (1600x1060)We are really liking this dish.  This is my second attempt, the first time I thought I may have needed more egg so I went with six eggs this time.  I’m afraid I added them too quickly, or into too hot a pan, or was too slow tossing the pasta, or some other thing, because I have a fair amount of scrambled egg where there should be a nice creamy sauce.  Or so they say!  Really nice tasting dish as it was, the thought of it being any better has my toes curling.

Roasted Sprouts with Prosciutto and Balsamic Vinegar

DSC_8137 (1600x1060)I’ve ordered a couple of times now from a St Louis based food retailer, Ditalia, getting in rolls of pancetta, different cheeses, olive oil and a few other items as they suit my whim of the moment.  I just got in a fair sized chunk of prosciutto and wanted to use some right away.  I managed to slice a few little wafers with my old raggedy meat slicer but this prosciutto is more than it can handle.  It needs to sliced so thin you can read through it.  I have a pal that may be able to help me out with the slicing.

Anyway, back to the sprouts – I searched for prosciutto and sprouts and ran across this recipe that called for shallots and pine nuts along with stuff I actually had on hand and decided it was close enough.  I used onions and left out the pine nuts, it worked out well.

Mmm… Gyros

DSC_8100 (1600x1060)The mint is starting to come back.  I doubt we can eat enough gyros to eradicate it during the normal course.  It’s wildly invasive and this patch has been sprouting anew for years now after more than a few attempt to kill it off.  I suppose we can live with it.

The gyro meat and tzatziki sauce are both from Alton Brown’s recipe.  I sliced the loaf thin and broiled it a bit in the toaster oven this time, I usually brown it in a saute pan in a little olive oil.  The resulting brown crust adds to the flavor and is worth the extra time.

I see a lot of recipes for gyros that call for shredded lettuce and I’ve seen some served with French fries right in there but the first gyros I ever ate had only the meat, the sauce, and the tomatoes and onions rolled into a warm pita so that is how I do them.

So This Happened

Marshmallow Treats1

Last week my cousins and I were having a Facebook discussion about the little dehydrated marshmallows in Lucky Charms. Seems they sell just the  marshmallows by the bag. We were all happy about this, since everyone knows that’s the best part of the cereal. I also love the little dehydrated ones in instant cocoa, too.

My cousin Bret said he’d actually found them and bought them for the kids, who were less than impressed. He offered to send me some if I couldn’t find them locally. I was tempted to take him up on the offer because the only ones I could find were on Amazon and expensive. Yesterday I was shopping and saw a colorful bag of  fruit flavored mini-marshmallows and an idea formed. I bet I could dehydrate my own.

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I spread them out on a baking sheet and placed them in a warm oven. I had to preheat the oven to its lowest temp, 175 F, and then let it cool down a bit, because it seemed warm enough that it would have melted the marshmallows instead of dry them. When it felt cool enough, I put the tray in there and came back a few hours later and they were perfect. Instead of being hard and compacted like the ones in the cereal, they were big, puffy, but with the exact texture, especially when added to milk.

I have to wonder if I had an actual dehydrator if they would have compacted down to the exact texture of the store bought kind. No matter, I would call this experiment a success, though I’m not very excited by the flavors. I will try just plain mini-marshmallows next time and use parchment paper. And for sure there will be a next time.

 

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Mmm… Soup

DSC_8081 (1600x1060)I swear I didn’t see that bay leaf in there.  I actually had it in my mouth and had to take it out.  Nothing special about the veggies or the broth but I did use a different noodle this time:DSC_8089 (1600x1060)The package has several little noodle bundles, each just about right for a single serving.  I boiled two of them separate from the broth and then drained them and plopped them into the bottom of the bowl before adding the soup proper.  It does solve the problem of noodles disintegrating when saved as leftovers.  Tomorrow or the next day it will be a snap to boil a serving of needles, takes five minutes, and the serving size won’t be a problem.

Cheese Cake Fun

DSC_8068 (1600x1060)We were cruising through the web the other day and ran across this recipe and we were all “Wow! That looks good! Let’s try it!”  Needless to say, our results didn’t match that picture on the recipe page but I will wager it tastes just as good.  Five bricks of cream cheese!  Mrs J says we’ll never buy those plain bricks again, given that they sell pre-whipped cheese in those little plastic tubs.  Our stand mixer got a fair workout and did fine with them.

Naturally, our “jump in and do this thing” eagerness was a bit deflated when we got to the refrigerate overnight line in the recipe.  We bucked up and went with it.  Fun for the whole family!DSC_8076 (1600x1060)

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