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DSC_8012 (1600x1060)I put a chicken into the electric smoker yesterday afternoon and jolted myself out of bed, just as I was closing my eyes, when I remembered it was still in there.  The skin was black and the bird was pretty dry but we salvaged what we could and chopped the meat for sandwiches.  A good soaking in bbq sauce heals a lot of dry.DSC_4535 (1600x1060)Ginger kitteh pesters Toby all the time.  Tobe squalls and hisses and smacks him around and retreats to the top of the tree.  Toby’s tail is quite an attraction.  He lets Ginger get away with stuff that he will not abide from Homer.DSC_4537 (1600x1060)We often get geese at the front pond.  These two showed up today and have been hanging out.  We’ve never had any try to nest, the dogs would preclude any attempt at that.  I wonder if a raft out in the middle would attract a pair to nest?  The back pond is more secluded, we get ducks on it pretty often, there are several Wood Ducks back there now.PICT6349 (1600x1060)The males are very colorful, I wish the camera back there was better.  The light wasn’t very good, either.  The green box holds corn, the little box under it holds a timer and a little spinner motor to spread the corn at set intervals.  The raccoons are all over it at night.DSC_8013 (1600x1060)It has turned off cold again, it will be down into the twenties tonight.  Perfect weather for a good Irish stew!  I went with this recipe today.DSC_4525 (1600x1060)Mrs J sat the dogs down in the laundry the other day for a little light clipping.  We hang the hair out front in a device that lets the nest builders grab hanks for their constructions.DSC_4538 (1600x1060)The tree with the yellow flowers is a Cornelian cherry.  It’s a neat little tree, puts out loads of red berries in the fall.  It’s usually the first thing to flower, beating out the forsythia for that honor.

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DSC_7810 (1600x1060)Pizza!  I fiddled with a crust recipe for this one:  2 cups of flour, pinch each of salt and sugar, 1/4 tsp of yeast and about 3/4 cup of water.  No stand mixer but I did knead it a bit before placing it into an oiled bowl to proof.  I covered it with plastic wrap and left it alone for about six hours.  It took that long to double with the tiny amount of yeast.  I stretched and pulled on it to reach the edges of my pan.  It was pretty good.DSC_4494 (1600x1060)The kittehs loved the stuffing that came inside this box.  Here’s Homer taking his turn.DSC_7821 (1600x1060)Tonight we had beef enchiladas with Spanish rice and refried beans.  I prefer this style of beans to those dishes that no longer contain identifiable beans.  I did mash these a little.IMG_4147 (1600x1060)Post needs moar puppehs!  This is a blue heeler mix pup, one of a small litter that came into the shelter the other day.  Already adopted, says Mrs J.IMG_4179 (1600x1060)A cat still at the shelter, as far as I know.  Mrs J may have more info.DSC_4493 (1600x1060)Here’s Ginger, attracted more to the cursor arrow than the deer in the video clip from the backyard camera.

Critter Updates

DSC_4484 (1600x1060)Katie has finally come off the leash for an entire walk.  She has been allowed to run a bit with a longish rope attached to her collar and her good behavior persuaded Mrs J to allow it.  DSC_4485 (1600x1060) She sticks pretty close but she does get out of sight with Jack or Annie for short jaunts but, so far anyway, has come running back when called.DSC_4487 (1600x1060)Little Ginger kitteh has sampled the great outdoors for the first time.  He’s cautious but we expect he will be crying to be let out soon enough.20140113_121655 (1600x1060)Mrs J kept a close eye on him, and tied a string to him to make him easier to catch if he had other thoughts.20140113_121548 (1600x1060)He was ready to come back in.  Outside is big.

Burritos and Enchiladas, with Kitteh

DSC_7302 (1600x1060)The enchiladas first.  Pork and Monterey jack with a smear of refried beans inside white corn tortillas.  I stirred more cheese into the beans for a side and that worked pretty well, they would make a good dip all by themselves.  The sauce came out of a jar, nothing special, the house enchilada sauce from Kroger’s.DSC_7298 (1600x1060)These were from earlier in the day.  Basic grilled burritos with the same pork shoulder I braised yesterday.  These had cheddar in them.  We were all stir fried out so we went Tex-Mex today.DSC_7291 (1600x1060)Post needs moar kitteh!  Ginger is a tough product tester and not any old cushion will do.  Here he tries on a recent project of Mrs J’s.20131109_105120 (1600x1060)You can’t expect a kitteh to work all day, now.  There are kitteh union rules and Toby is the shop steward.


IMG_3347 (1600x1200)No human was harmed in the production of this photograph.  You may think that the nice lady was swarmed by cats determined to wrest from her the can opener she has for the canned kitteh chow.  They are aware, however, that thumbs are required and are therefore careful not to use excessive force in their attempts to “persuade” her.DSC_4349 (1600x1060)Mrs J was heading out to the shelter for her volunteer duty and carried up some finished pet beds and mats she sews and donates to local shelters.  They were so colorful I just had to arrange them for a picture.  They love her at the local fabric store!  Much of the material she uses is donated and she recycles the stuffing from other items.20131104_080419_LLS (1600x1060)Ginger, the new boy, is fitting in rather well.  I hope Homer eases off his less than welcoming behavior.  I keep a squirt bottle handy.DSC_7235 (1600x1060)I made a batch of steak for cheesesteak sammiches yesterday.  I think the classic recipe calls for a rib loin to be cooked then sliced thin and topped with cheese and onions or peppers but I always slice the meat thin while it’s still semi frozen and then cook it with onions.  I’ve been using flat iron steaks for this and they work great.  The sammy above was topped with a white cheddar sauce and the hot Chicago giardiniera I love so much.DSC_7242 (1600x1060)An alternate method is to layer sliced cheese atop a loaded bun and then put it under the broiler to melt the cheese.  That’s how I did these – they are topped with provolone and are fresh from the toaster oven.DSC_7247 (1600x1060)Here is one of those all dressed and ready to go.  I’ve been keeping a dish of olives of various kinds marinating in a garlicy Italian dressing.  I love olives.

Ginger Helps His Momma Sew

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20131024_130157 (1600x1060)We’ve been unhappy with the roof we had, it had dips and humps where there shouldn’t have been anything but a flat expanse of shingles, and the flying gables were sagging because the dimwit who built the thing was a dumbass.  There, I said it.  Dumbass.  We bit the bullet and had a crew in to remedy that.  They ripped off everything down to the trusses and redecked it with nice plywood.  Two days, in and out.  Just in time!DSC_4320 (1600x1060)It’s been dry, the front pond was pretty low, the rain we got yesterday and last night went a long way toward fixing that.  Sigh, the gutters are not installed yet, should be soon.DSC_4318 (1600x1060)Ginger kitteh is exploring his new house.  He is still spending a lot of time in his cage in the laundry room but we let him out when we can keep an eye on him.DSC_4312 (1600x1060)Homer helps us keep tabs.  Homer has shown more interest in Ginger than the other cats.  This is not an unalloyed positive.  I was playing with Ginger on my lap last night when Homer jumped up and smacked him aside his head for no reason we can figure except jealousy.IMG_3343 (1600x1060)Halloween party at the shelter.  They don’t really need a reason to party.IMG_3329 (1600x1200)This is a Lowchen/Pug mix.  Lowchen are considered toy dogs, the name translates to Little Lion.  Cute little fellow, about 4 months old.IMG_3235 (1600x1200)Here’s a tortie female with an “adopted” tabby kitten.  She’s not nursing him – he’s being bottle fed by a volunteer – but she cuddles and cleans him between feedings.DSC_7187 (1600x1060)Another look at the sammich from yesterday.  This one had a garlic/herb Monterey jack cheese along with sliced ham.  Yummy!

Weekly Dinner Menu: Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

I love tuna steaks. I live in a land-locked state. This is when it’s good to have a relationship with your butcher, because he’ll let you know when some really good tuna arrives.  I don’t make this every often, but enjoy it when I do. It very simple. I’ve also grilled it instead of pan-searing, which adds a depth of flavor. Remember to preheat the grill and oil the grate well before placing steaks on to cook.

On the board tonight:

  1. Seared Ginger Tuna
  2. Rice*
  3. Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa
  4. Tossed Salad
  5. Sliced Apples w/Caramel dipping sauce

Seared Ginger Tuna

  • 4-4oz tuna steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste


Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. While pan is preheating, rub tuna with 1 tbsp lemon juice, season with a little salt & pepper. Cook tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, and remove from pan. This will cook it rare (it will be cool pink in the center). Remove and place on serving platter. Turn heat down to medium and add remaining lemon juice & the rest of ingredients to pan and cook for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper. Pour over tuna and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 papaya, cut in small cubes
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste

serving bowl

Combine all & stir well.  I know it’s called salsa, but it’s a nice fruity side, or serve it over the rice. Serves 4

*Rice:  Change things up a bit and try a different style of rice – Jasmine, Aborio, Basmati or Brown rice, each one brings its own flavors.

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb tuna steaks
  • 1 small fresh ginger root
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 papaya
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (enough for 1 cup)
  • 1 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salad fixings of your choice
  • 4 apples
  • Caramel Dip

Also: olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, chili pepper flakes

Originally posted September 2009


Dinner Menu: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze

This is one of my favorite menus. The salmon is based on a dish from a restaurant and my whole table raved about and the garden fresh soup can be served hot or cold. Substitute any garden fresh fruit for dessert.

  1. Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze
  2. Tomato & Bell Pepper Soup
  3. Hearty Bread
  4. Raspberries & Blackberries w/whipping cream

Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze:

  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted, opt)

Combine marmalade, oil, ginger, garlic & vinegar. Brush glaze on each side of salmon, grill 5 minutes each side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

grilling basket &  saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

Shopping List

  • 4 oz orange marmalade
  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • 2 oz  sesame seeds (toasted, opt)
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • hearty bread loaf

Also: toasted sesame oil (or olive oil),  ground ginger, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar

Dinner Menu: Grilled Pork Chops and Peach Chutney

I linked to the grilled pork chops with last Friday’s Recipe Exchange, but thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and post the full menu today. For more peach recipes, check out Friday’s post here.

Grilled Pork Chops
Peach Chutney
Green Beans
Sliced Melon

Grilled Pork Chops w/Peach Chutney:

  • 4 pork chops, medium thickness
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Peach Chutney

Mix together garlic, salt, pepper and oil and brush over both sides of chops.  Grill over medium-high coals for 5 to 7 minutes on one side, turn and top with ¼ of chutney on each chop.  Grill additional 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked to desired doneness.  Serve immediately, with additional chutney if desired.

Peach Chutney:

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste

small sauce pan

Add all ingredients to sauce pan, heat to boiling – stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, until slightly thickened.

Shopping list:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (medium thickness)
  • 2 large peaches
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 oz golden raisins
  • 16 oz green beans
  • couscous (usually a 6 oz box works fine)
  • favorite melon –  Cantaloupes are in season right now here

Also: crushed garlic, olive oil, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, chili powder


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