Category Archives: TaMara

Friday Recipe Exchange: Garden Bounty

N1106NIWO126.JPG Eddie Running Wolf of Boulder is carving figures with a Northern Arapaho theme out of the remaining stumps and trees along Niwot Road. The town of Niwot has commissioned him to do the work. For a video of the project, go to www.dailycamera.com. Cliff Grassmick / November 5, 2009

Carving by Eddie Running Wolf of Boulder, Photo from Times-Call

I am completely slammed again this week. Though I am hoping to escape early today and head out to Chainsaws and Chuckwagons to see some of the artists. We take our old tree stump carving very seriously here. Since I didn’t have time to cook this week, I decided to raid JeffreyW’s recipes and photos.

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Let’s start with his Stuffed Anaheim Peppers, pictured above and recipe here

Then there is his Homemade Sauerkraut, for instructions click here.

I bought ribs on sale and am going to make my slow-cooker Polynesian Ribs this weekend, the complete dinner menu and recipes are here. Even if I can’t find time to cook, these are easy and quick.

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JeffreyW took some of his garden harvest and made a fresh batch of Hot Giardiniera last weekclick here.

Have any recipes to share using fresh from the garden bounty? What’s your recipe for fun this holiday weekend? Cooking up anything special?

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I picked two featured recipes tonight, both taking advantage of fresh garden veggies and herbs, like JeffreyW’s lush basil, above. They are simple and quick to make, so you can get back outside to take advantage of the last unofficial weekend of summer.

Pasta w/Fresh Basil

  • 10 oz bow-tie pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch basil (1 loose cup)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan

saucepan

Cook pasta in saucepan according to package directions.  Drain well.  In saucepan, heat oil, basil, tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute, add pasta and toss with cheese.  Serve immediately.

Collard Greens w/ Bacon

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or spinach)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet, saucepan, steamer

Wash collard greens. In skillet, cook bacon till crisp, remove, cool and crumble. In bacon drippings, sauté onions, remove. In saucepan, place steamer and enough water to come to the bottom of the steamer, add greens and steam until tender. Mix honey & vinegar, and a little of the bacon drippings if you like. Toss all ingredients together and serve.

Aren’t JeffreyW’s photos fun? I’m so lucky he came on board years ago. That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  – TaMara

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This is the Droid I’m Looking For

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I am a big Star Wars fan. Not like I know the schematics of the Death Star big, more like, Han Solo could fly my spaceship anytime fan. I’ve never wanted a Star Wars toy until I saw this today. Squeeee. Must. Have. Now.



 

Sunday Into Monday Music: Corinne Bailey Rae, Trouble Sleeping

This is a great song:

Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilling Up Some Steaks

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JeffreyW is always making magic with steak. Here he shows off his Cheesesteak.

A big work project came up this week, as a result I have barely been in my kitchen. So for the featured recipe, I pulled up one of my prettier projects, Flank Steak Pinwheels. Not as much effort as it looks. Although I save them for special occasions.

If you’d like something with a bit less work, how about a Spicy Grilled Flank Steak? (Recipe here)

JeffreyW whips up some Cheesesteak Sandwiches (instructions and photos here)

This week’s dinner menu is Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake (menu, recipes and shopping lists here).

No real Bixby update this week, but I did finally receive and assemble my new motorized standing desk. It fascinates him, so of course there is video here.

What’s on your plate for this last weekend (how did that happen) of August? Are you sad summer waning or is fall more your season? Most importantly, whatcha cookin’?

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

This steak can be prepped the day before, just wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Makes it great for a date night, anniversary or small dinner party. I pan-seared and finished in the oven because with the cheese, I thought grilling them wouldn’t work as well. The reward was great pan drippings when I was finished, which I drizzled over the potatoes before serving. If I was going to grill, I’d probably use a grilling pan to avoid flareups.

Flank Steak Pinwheels Final

Flank Steak Pinwheels

  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed garlic (at least 2 cloves)
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

Cast iron or oven proof skillet

You can ask the butcher to butterfly your flank steak, which  is what I did. But it’s fairly easy to butterfly. You want the grain running up and down in front of you and then you’ll slice it in half, NOT slicing all the way through. When you’re done you’ll lay it open, flat, basically making a larger, thinner steak.

Once you have it laid out flat in front of you with the grain running left to right, you’ll want to tenderize it, pounding it flat. I use my pronged Tenderizertenderizer, so I add the spices first and use the tenderizer to help infuse the meat.

If you haven’t already, once it’s pounded, add salt, pepper and garlic evenly over the meat. Layer the spinach over the meat. You want it to be several leaves thick, because it will reduce as it cooks.

Next layer the provolone cheese slices, two to three slices thick, over the meat.

Now it’s time to roll.  Roll tightly in the direction of the grain. Add a skewer every 2 inches and then slice between the skewers, so you have 2-inch thick pinwheels.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in large skillet, reduce heat to med-high and add pinwheels, flat-side down. After a minute, using the skewer (you may also need a metal spatula to get all the cheesy goodness) flip over, sear additional minute.  The usual method of waiting until the meat moves easily to flip will not work with this because the cheese is sticky. So just do one minute each side, it will be fine.

Place the skillet in the oven, turn the oven off and let the steak finish for 10-15 minutes for medium rare. These are thin and don’t need a lot of cooking time and you don’t want the cheese to burn.

Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.  You can then use the great juices in the skillet to make a gravy if desired. I just drizzled them over the steak and potatoes right before serving.

My steak made 4 pinwheels. If you have more, you may need to finish cooking on a baking sheet after searing them in groups.

That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend, I’m sad to see August go, but fall in Colorado is stunning. – TaMara



The New Motorized Desk Fascinates Bixby

It wasn’t suppose to be a video of Bixby, but the new Ergo Motorized Standing Desk fascinates him, so he makes an appearance. I love it myself, it has a beautiful solid bamboo top and four settings for different heights. It only took me about thirty minutes to put together (minus all the interruptions) and it’s quiet and sturdy.

I’ve been using a modified standing configuration off and on for a while now, but always ran into the same problem, not enough space. My computer was at a good height, but everything else was too low and out of reach. It’s so nice to have everything where I need it and enough room to spread out while standing. I really like standing when I work, I’m so much more energized and I’m hardly ever standing still. A girl has got to dance.

This was my third crowdfunded acquisition and am very pleased.



 

For Bixby, EVERY DAY is National Dog Day

No, I didn’t forget that yesterday was national dog day, but let’s face it for the Beast, every day is national dog day. Instead, I’ll share this photo my cousin put together for me and posted to the book of faces.

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Paw print

Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee CakeBeen busy with my new motorized standing desk. I haven’t even stepped in the kitchen today. Had to put the desk together, then actually get some work done. I’ll post more about it tomorrow, it’s very cool. Until then, here is one of my most requested recipes:

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

Mix together all spices. Lightly rub each steak with oil and then coat liberally on both sides with coffee rub. Now you can cook in a pre-heated skillet on medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes each side for medium rare. You can broil in the oven, using the second slot down from broiler, for 5 minutes each side, again for rare to medium rare, longer for medium. Or if you’re lucky (sigh) you can grill them outside. Cooking times will vary no matter which style you choose, so watch carefully and you’ll probably have to use a meat thermometer to really judge, because the rub makes it a little harder to eyeball it. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Green Beans w/Bacon & Onions

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans (if fresh, snap off ends and snap into smaller pieces)
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sm. Saucepan, steamer and Skillet

Steam beans until slightly crisp, but tender. While beans are steaming, begin browning bacon until crisp. You can drain most of the bacon drippings, leaving 1 tbsp to lightly coat beans. Add onions. Drain beans and dab with a paper towel. Add to bacon mixture, mixing well, until beans are coated in bacon drippings. Cook on medium-low for 1 to 2 minutes, until onions are heated through.

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Shopping List:

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (a good one)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder or 1 cup buttermilk
  • egg
  • 8 oz blueberries

Also: brown sugar, butter, flour, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, baking powder, sugar, fresh ground pepper



 

Crockpot Italian Beef

DSC_0816 (1600x1060)I started this last night and let it go till this morning.  Here it is after the beef roast was pulled apart.  Chicago area purists will decry this kind of prep, insisting the beef has to be sliced rather than pulled but after spending the night cooking in all the liquid it just isn’t practicable to do it that way.  There are two onions in there, a handful of garlic cloves, several bay leaves, dried oregano, basil, garlic salt and garlic powder, two cans of beef broth, a generous slug of Marsala (there was a bottle right there on the counter, so what the hey, eh?).  Also, I dumped in the juice and a few pepperoncini that were left in an old jar, highly recommended addition!DSC_0825 (1600x1060)It’s best to serve these with plenty of juice.  It’ll be a mess to eat but there isn’t any shame in using a fork.  I’ve never had one of these in any of the classic Chicago eateries but I understand they will dip the whole sammich in juice if you want it that way.  I just ladled extra over this one with a spoon.DSC_0619 (1600x1060)These homemade rolls were perfect.  I baked these a while back and froze them, waiting for a good place to use them.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Peaches and Peppers

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JeffreyW’s garden bounty

Another week just flew by and it’s time for the recipe exchange. I came home from NE with a car full of fresh vegetables from my brother’s garden. I’m afraid some of tomatoes did not survive the change in altitude very well. But I made fresh salsa with them and all was well.

I gifted my family with Palisade peaches and with the few that were left, my mom made Peach Cobbler (recipe here). At that link you can also see a photo of the 110 year old house I considered putting a bid on before heading out on my trip.

Dinner menu this week was Fajita Chicken & Vegetable Kabobs and another cobbler. For the full dinner menu, recipes and shopping list, click here.

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JeffreyW turns his garden bounty into spicy Five Pepper Jelly.

Finally, JeffreyW was showing off his Five Pepper Jelly, and I wish I canned because I LOVE pepper jellies. How he transforms peppers into jelly, click here and what he does with it, yum, click here (warning, click and you’ll want biscuits and gravy).

For the pet lovers, Bixby took time out from his daily adventures to write a diary entry here.

Cooler weather has put me in the mood for fall recipes, especially soups. What are you looking forward to making as fall approaches? What is on the menu for the weekend?

Tonight’s featured recipe has to be all about the peaches again, since it’s a short two to three weeks of sweetness. This recipe is sweet and spicy, great for lunch or dinner.

Spicy Peach Dressing

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate.

Spinach Chicken Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre

Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (165 degrees at center).

Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.

Serving: 4 to 6

That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend and enjoy the last full week of August, I know I will.  – TaMara

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Bixby Diaries: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Tired BixbyTired puppy. He’s spent most of this week sleeping. There was a time when I never allowed my Great Danes on the furniture, much less sleep in my bed. Not sure how the Beast convinced me otherwise. You know that rainbow bridge? There will be 4 Danes giving me the “eye” when we meet, wondering what the hell. BTW, thank goodness for couch covers.

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My person says I have to take a break from popping the air pillows in the Amazon box and tell you about my summer vacation.

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As you probably already know, my person and I had a fun week earlier in the month, then a few days later, we packed up the car and drove…and drove…and drove. It was sooo boring. When I get restless, I sneak my head into the front seat and lay it on the center console until I fall asleep.

At least there were a lot of walks in very interesting places along the way.

Bixby and Little D

Impossible tasks: Trying to get an 8-year-old and puppy to stand still long enough for a photo

When we finally stopped driving, one of my favorite people was waiting for me. I love her and she’s so much fun to play with…she’s great with tug. But I accidentally made her cry and it really was upsetting, for both of us. Even though she’s grown, I have too and sometimes I forget how big I am. But she’s so cool, she came back and gave me a big hug and all was sunshine again.

I met two of the most unsettling creatures while we were there. My person called them babies and she was all cooing and ahhh-ing over them. I have to tell you they smell funny and make the weirdest sounds. I tried to warn my person by barking my concern and to protect her from them, but she insisted on snuggling them anyway. I finally gave up and went to play with smarter people who weren’t holding these suspicious creatures.

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“Scottie, don’t wrestle with the dog, it won’t end well.” No one listens to me.

Despite that experience, I had a lot of fun. So much in fact, all I want to do is sleep now. Maybe by the weekend I’ll be ready for more play. Bring on the kids. Well, except for those little things.

TaMara’s notes: I’m sorry to say we had so much fun while we were away, I took all of three photos. So I had to hold this post until I could take a couple of shots today.

Funniest thing to happen on the trip – we arrived at my brother’s house and everyone was at soccer practice, so we let ourselves in. My brother’s cat, Gus, was not having it. He was on his chair, took one look at Bixby (who he has hated since day one) went into full-on hiss mode. I managed to get Bixby past him and into the bedroom, only to find Gus had followed us down the hall and was not going to let me out of the room, hissing and jumping at me. I texted my brother that we were being held hostage by his attack cat. Luckily, without Bixby in sight, Gus remembered he still loved me. Their other cat, Jasmine, not so much, every time she saw me she went full on hiss/attack mode. As far as she’s concerned I’m in league with the beast.

In the picture at the top of the post, you might notice a couple of things – Bixby has blown his baby coat and is actually bald in several places. And he’s covered in bug bites because of it. I was surprised they were so big they showed up in the photo.

My cats all survived having us away, probably happy for the quiet. It’s not easy having a rambunctious puppy around. Although I think Z-Man really missed him, he’s been hanging around him more than usual.

Paw print



 

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