Category Archives: JeffreyW

Tex-Mex Lasagna

DSC_9787 (1600x1060)I may be in trouble for calling this lasagna because no pasta is involved, it uses corn tortillas between layers of refried beans, salsa, beef, and cheese.  Cook a pound of ground beef down with minced peppers and onions and season with taco spices and add a can of tomato bits with green chilies.  Add chicken stock to a couple of cans of rinsed pinto beans and mash them down over medium heat.  The beans play much the same role as ricotta in an Italian lasagna, spread the refried beans over warmed corn tacos, spoon on your favorite salsa, then spread the beef atop that, and then cheese.  I used cheddar but Monterey jack would work, or a combination.  Repeat the layering until you run out of room in your casserole.  Any kind of luck your makings will run out the same time as the room in the dish.

Classic Corned Beef Dinner

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Blackberry Hand Pies

DSC_9775 (1600x1060)We talked ourselves into making a batch of pocket pies and thought to go with baking instead of frying this time.  We found a likely looking recipe over at Bon Appétit’s site.  These are from frozen blackberries and we used the handy dandy gadget we have been using for Mrs J’s famous fried pies.  These came out pretty well but they really wanted a nice sugar glaze rather than the sugar sprinkle we used.

Homemade Buns

DSC_9769 (1600x1060)Mrs J wanted sloppy joes for lunch but a quick look found us lacking buns that would work.  I did a search for quick burger buns and this one jumped up.  The recipe calls for a ton of yeast because it isn’t given much time to work, just a 10 minute rest after they are shaped and placed on a baking tray.  My oven may be running a tad hot ever since I fiddled with the adjustment slider on the underside of the temperature dial.  It had been a bit cooler than the setting indicated and I may have overshot.  At any rate, with the temps set to 425 per the recipe they were looking like this at 9 minutes in so I pulled them.DSC_9771 (1600x1060)They felt a wee bit heavy and they were fairly dense but worked very well for the task.  I think the next batch will get a little more time for a rise and a cooler oven, say at the 375 setting.  The sloppy joe has a slice of muenster cheese, placed while still in the pan and then covered while it melted down into the beef.  The beef recipe was my usual – sweat down onions and bell peppers, add garlic, toss in the beef to brown while dipping out grease and then adding bbq sauce, catsup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and whatever else catches my eye.  I thickened this batch with cornstarch dissolved in stock but that is optional. DSC01484 (1600x1200)Bonus pet blankets and beds!  Mrs J has been busy as a beaver.

Gumbo

DSC_9765 (1600x1060)Cloudy and drizzly and chilly days make it easy to stay in and cook.  Found some frozen shrimp and decided to do a gumbo.DSC_9762 (1600x1060)I started with about a half cup of flour and poured in oil until it looked like plenty.  I’ve seen cooks make a very dry looking roux but I prefer to go with it about like this because I find it easier to keep stirred.  A roux is usually defined by its color, this one is past the peanut butter stage and is well on the way to milk chocolate.  Keep the temps low and you can get by without standing over it every second but it will take longer.  This is about as dark as I care to take it but you can stay with it until it’s much darker if you want.DSC_9763 (1600x1060)You’ll want a nice stock for your gumbo.  This one has an onion, a carrot, a rib of celery, one sliced lemon, parsley, peppercorns, sliced garlic, thyme, and the shells from the shrimp.  There are about two quarts of water in it and it’ll simmer for an hour or so.

There are tons of gumbo recipes, with tomatoes and without, with okra or not, with other meats like sausage or chicken.  They all have a roux in common, and the trinity of onions, green peppers, and celery in water or stock.  Knock yourself out!

Tidbits

B7wWYKwIAAAxe7F.jpg largeI saw this photo at another site and thought right away of TaMara’s new pup.  I have no idea who this is or where it was taken but the scant info that accompanied the picture says that he is a wolf hybrid.  DSC01674This started out as an underexposed picture of a black kitty with interesting eyes.  I played around in a photo editor until there was little left except for the eyes.  I am easily amused.DSC_9759 (1600x1060)I had all those baked chicken thighs left over and a new-to-me pasta shape to try out so this dish made a lot of sense.  The sauce is the chicken in a cheese sauce made with muenster and Parmesan.  The broccoli works well in there, I think.  The pasta is trottole, which means top – the spinning toy, not this side up.  Feel free to correct me if that’s wrong in some way.DSC_5019 (1600x1060)Toby rests up atop the sofa in the front room.  That spot is a fave of all our kittehs, especially when Kitteh Momma (Mrs J) is on it.  There’s room for three or four up there but the practical limit seems to be two.DSC_5012 (1600x1060)Ginger takes his turn.

Baked Lemon Chicken

DSC_9757 (1600x1060)This worked out nicely.  I saw this recipe the other day after a search prompted by one of the foodie shows on TV.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the one I saw put together on the show but it looked really good.  I made some minor changes but nothing radical.DSC_9747 (1600x1060)Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and brown the pieces in oil.  Set them aside and wipe the pan out, add more oil and cook some sliced onions down, then add sliced lemons, sliced garlic, chicken broth, and a little lemon juice with a few sprigs of rosemary and let it come to a simmer.DSC_9746 (1600x1060)Spoon the veggies into a baking pan and lay the chicken over the top, then pour the liquids over everything and place the tray into a preheated 400 degree oven.  Baste every 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes in my oven.  I turned the chicken over for the last 15 minutes and then back again before I took this shot.DSC_9752 (1600x1060)We had pearled couscous and Brussels sprouts to go with the chicken.  The sprouts were sauteed in bacon fat with balsamic vinegar and more lemon juice.  Pretty decent dinner.DSC_9755 (1600x1060)

Pasta and a Sausage

DSC_9727 (1600x1060)I found some unlabeled sausages in the freezer and just assumed they were the store brand Italian sausages that I buy in bulk and repackage for freezing.  Turns out they were bratwurst.  They weren’t any worse for simmering an hour in the sauce but I did miss the nice fennel flavor I was set to enjoy.DSC01479 (1600x1060)Bonus puppeh!  Katie has made a home out of the corner in the library, with a able assist from Mrs J, of course.

Fish Filet with Slaw

DSC_9720 (1600x1060)Mrs J thought it high time we had fried fish so I dug out the last of the frozen cod and thawed it this morning.  I like slaw with my fish sandwiches, this one took most of a head of cabbage, an onion, one green pepper, and a fair sized carrot.  Bobby Flay has a nice creamy slaw dressing recipe I used as a start.  Mine used Splenda in place of the sugar, and I used 4 Tbsps of malt vinegar.  I like ground white pepper for these creamy dressings.  The filets got the standard breading treatment: flour, then egg, then a seasoned corn meal, shake off excess and fry for a short time in at least 1/2 inch of 350 degree oil.  Flip once as it browns and then drain on paper towels.  I used a minor variation of my tried and true recipe for the beans.DSC01632 (1600x1200)Bonus Kitteh!  This is the Maine Coon we first saw at the tail end of last year, still a little woozy at the time from his gender “unassignment” surgery.  He was introduced into the general play group in the kitty house the other day and is fitting right in.  He’s 2 years old,  the previous owner surrendered him to a rescue operation and he came to St Francis from there.

Mmm… Stir Fry Green Beans

DSC_9715 (1600x1060)I always add the green beans to my plate whenever we hit the Chinese buffet that’s located in the same complex that holds the grocery store and the farm goods retailer.  I tell myself I’m going to make them next time I have some fresh beans but I never seem to remember.  I made a point of making them today since I was already set on stir fry.  They aren’t too hard, trim to the size you like and cook them in oil with minced garlic in whatever measure you like.  I added sliced onions to these and cooked them for three or four minutes before adding a splash of water and covering the pan.  Cook for another few minutes, add a slug of oyster sauce and toss to coat.  Cover and reduce the heat until you are ready to plate.  I cut the onions too small this time.DSC_9712 (1600x1060)The main dish was chicken and snow peas in a spicy brown sauce over rice.  Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in soy sauce, minced garlic, a splash of Chinese cooking wine, a few tablespoons of water or stock, a tablespoon of chili garlic paste, and a spoonful of corn starch.  I usually make additional sauce that is similar to the marinade but with more stock and a splash of oyster sauce or sugar to sweeten it a tad.  I find that if I nuke the snow peas for a minute or two in the microwave all they take is another minute in the wok, added with the extra sauce when the chicken is finished.

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