Category Archives: JeffreyW

Pasta Pr0n – Penne and Breaded Meatballs

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Rustic Hollow Cat Shelter

C&W Rustic Hollow is a shelter in Nashua, Iowa that provides a forever home to cats infected with FIV/FeLV.  St Francis had a few cats that were infected that required them to be quarantined from the rest of the cats.  A local donor ponied up the $1000 per cat that Rustic Hollow asks to accept them into their operation so Mrs J volunteered her time and drove all four of them up there, along with a friend.

There are six buildings in their complex that are set up as if they were actual homes that people live in:  Couches, tables, and chairs, kitchens and living rooms, porches and basements.  Rugs and pillows and cat trees are everywhere, and, of course, lots of cat beds.  The cats are turned loose and have a free run of the houses but they are permanent inside cats – never allowed outside.DSC02137 (1600x1060)

DSC02136 (1600x1060)This is as close to outside as they will ever get, there are several screened porches that are called “catios”.DSC02112 (1600x1060)

DSC02059 (1600x1060)This is where new arrivals are evaluated and held for a time before they are released into the shelter proper.  I understand the FIV and FeLV cats are segregated into their own groups.DSC02061 (1600x1060)

DSC02060 (1600x1060)The FIV cats are said to lead fairly normal lives if they are cared for but the FeLV is usually a death sentence – the shelter acts as a hospice for those poor kittehs.  The Cornell link above mentions that some cats can come to terms with the virus – “… some FeLV-infected cats develop an effective immune response, which controls the viral infection and results in a transient viremia instead of a persistent viremia. In these cats, subsequent FeLV tests will show that the cat no longer has virus in its blood.”DSC02072 (1600x1060)Mrs J reports that they have about 400 cats at present.  They don’t take walk-ins but if you have an infected cat your local shelter may be able to help you arrange an accommodation.

Breaded Meatballs

DSC_0159 (1600x1060)Mrs J drove into town to do her part at the shelter so I fiddled about in the kitchen.  I knew breaded meatballs were a thing but I’ve never tried any until today.  The meatballs were basic Italian sausage with lots of Parmesan, chopped parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, an egg, a splash of milk and salt and pepper.  I knew the breading would burn if they had to cook for a long time so I made mine fairly small – about an inch or so.  Smaller than golf balls, anyway.  I tried one rolled in just the breadcrumbs and it did OK, but the rest of them were floured, dredged in egg, and then rolled in the breadcrumbs.DSC_0156 (1600x1060)I used olive oil and watched the heat, keeping it medium low, and tried to roll the meatballs to keep any one side from getting too brown.  You pretty much need to stand over the pan the whole time.  This skillet is pretty full because it’s the last batch and my legs were tiring.DSC_0162 (1600x1060)This is the photo the whole effort was leading up to.  I buttered both halves of one of my buns and toasted them before adding the meatballs and spooning on sauce.  After grating Parmesan over it all they went back into the toaster oven for a minute or two.DSC_0164 (1600x1060)

Sammich Pr0n – Fiesta Burger!

DSC_0150 (1600x1060)It’s a Party In Your Mouth™!   I had some leftover pico de gallo and shredded cabbage from a taco dinner last night so I made a quick vinaigrette and used the combo as a burger topping instead of the usual pickle and onion.  Worked pretty well!

Chicken Lo Mein and Garlic Green Beans

DSC_0141 (1600x1060)I like green beans cooked this way:  Parboil the cleaned beans for about 4 or 5 minutes then dump them in an ice bath to quickly stop them cooking.  I drain them and put them aside until right before dinner is due then saute them in oil with garlic and ginger.  I use olive oil with a wee drop of sesame oil for the flavor, and add a dollop of oyster sauce right at the end before plating.  The sesame seeds are a garnish, optional.

For the lo mein dish the chicken marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and a spoonful of chili garlic paste with some cornstarch.  I make a brown sauce that is pretty much the same as the marinade plus a slug of chicken stock.  To prepare the dish, heat some oil in a wok, add chopped onions and frozen peas, garlic and ginger, and add the chicken with its marinade.  Leave it alone in the hot wok for a minute or two without tossing and it’ll brown nicely.  Add the cooked and drained noodles and stir to combine, add the brown sauce and stir and toss as it thickens.

Random Wildlife

DSC_5200These two diving ducks showed up on the front pond yesterday, I didn’t know what they were but went online and a nice fellow told me they were both female Common Goldeneye ducks.  Thanks, Mike!DSC_5209 (1600x1060)Mrs J maintains a suet feeder that woodpeckers like a lot.  This one is a Red Bellied Woodpecker.DSC_5211 (1600x1060)These are a pair of Downy Woodpeckers.  The male has the red patch.  Downys are our smallest woodpeckers.P1000260 (1600x1060)Canada Geese are frequent visitors and can really honk up a racket when the dogs show themselves.  I took this one through the window of the truck as we returned from an expedition.DSC_5210 (1600x1060)Spring is turtle roaming season.  Homer is keeping a wary eye on this one as he heads back towards the pond.PICT4485 (1600x1060)I include this one of a deer, taken by an automatic camera that overlooks the spot where Mrs J scatters corn and other seeds, because of the groomed look of her hair.  I’m guessing it results from walking through thick vegetation – maybe that’s why they call it brush.

Pasta Pr0n – Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Spaghetti and Broccoli

DSC_0120 (1600x1060)Pasta and veggie tossed in a lemon garlic butter sauce with Parmesan.  Chicken was floured, then dredged in beaten egg and breaded with my famous garlic breadcrumbs.DSC_0123 (1600x1060)

Friday Recipe Exchange: Spices and Sauces

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I’m heading out for a much needed girls’ day out with LFern. But I didn’t want to leave you without a recipe exchange. I thought it would be fun to focus on one of JeffreyW’s specialties, he likes to make his own spice mixes and hot sauces. Tonight’s recipe exchange was inspired by his great post this week, Chinese Five Spice.

I was a believer in making my own spice mixes when I put together his Fajita Spice (recipe here), which is better than anything pre-made in the store.

He also loves to make hot sauces, recipes and photos here and here.

One of the most requested sauce recipes is a guest recipe from Down Under, Piri Piri (recipe here).

Not technically a spice, but JeffreyW made his own Garlic Breadcrumbs this week, (click here).

What’s on your plate for the weekend? I’ll going to a few open houses and taking Bixby out to enjoy the predicted spring weather. Do you make any of your own spices mixes or sauces? Give us your favorite recipe.

I knew what tonight’s featured recipe would be as soon as I saw JefferyW’s beautiful photographs (top and below).

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Chinese Five Spice from his post:

I was browsing among various recipes for green beans and noticed a call for Chinese five spice in one of them and wondered if I had the ingredients to make my own.  Yes!  –  or at least close enough for my purposes.  I looked over several recipes and they all had the same ingredients with a few variations:  Star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns.  Some used Szechuan peppercorns and others called for the more familiar black peppercorns, one recipe used cassia bark in lieu of the cinnamon, there were differences in the ratios so I just eyeballed mine as I loaded them into my little spice grinder.  I ended up with about a quarter cup of some great smelling stuff.

Those are the Szechuan peppercorns between the cinnamon sticks.  They have an interesting effect in the mouth, some heat and a numbing sensation on the lips.  Another name for them is prickly ash seed.

After all of that, I used about a teaspoon of the spice powder in the soy sauce marinade of the chicken for the green bean dish pictured above.  That was a simple enough recipe, the most prep went into the sauce: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup chicken stock, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, a tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of rice vinegar with a little corn starch to thicken it in the pan.  I steamed the beans for five minutes while the chicken was cooking then added them to the pan with the chicken and then poured in the sauce and cooked until it thickened, a few more minutes.

That’s if for this week. No Bixby update, but he’s doing great, each day he surprises me by what he learns and understands. My little black kitty, Missy has to have surgery next week, so good thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks and have a great weekend – TaMara

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Sammich Pr0n – Cheeseburger

DSC_0110 (1600x1060)I’ve been buying fresh jalapenos at the store and keeping them in the fridge for use in Tex-Mex dishes.  When they start to get limp I’ve been slicing them and dropping the slices into a jar of dill pickle slices.  In a few weeks they become interesting.  I have some of those dilled jalapenos on this burger along with a nice slice of sweet onion and a squirt of hot mustard atop a slice of provolone.

I was thinking a mushroom swiss burger when I started the mushrooms in butter and olive oil but changed my mind and went with the gravy over the fries.  The gravy is an ad hoc mixture of stock and various other oddments.  I cooked the burgers in a toaster oven so the drippings from the beef weren’t available but it turned out well enough.

Sammich Pr0n – Chopped Pork

DSC_0118 (1600x1060)Occasionally a pork sammich purist will announce that the only proper pork bbq is pulled pork without any sauce.  Nonsense!

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