I spotted these huge pork chops at the market the other day and I marked them for just this meal. I looked over several different stuffing recipes and went for a simple cornbread dressing. Sauteed onions and celery with sage and dried cranberries along with a splash of chicken stock and it was ready. The rice is a box mix that works well for me, and the beans are the flat Italian style green beans. Straight from the can in their own liquid with salt and pepper and a few cloves of garlic tossed in whole.
Mmm… green beans and ham. The meat is some of the cured pork that we buy whenever we go up to the processor about an hour north of where we live. They bag and freeze chunks that are analogous to bacon ends. I’m not sure what their curing method is, soaking in a brine is my guess, then smoking for a spell.Mrs J is getting serious about wrapping up the patio container garden. I picked most of the peppers. The small sweet peppers are great for pickling – I have been using a simple water/vinegar/sugar pickle. The habs and the Anaheims were frozen whole. I noticed the jalapenos were starting to wrinkle so they got the same pickling as the little grape sized peppers. Still to go are a bunch of cayennes, and the ornamental tri-color peppers that have proved to be hot hot hot. Some other tri-colored peppers have no heat at all.They brought this long haired chihuahua to the shelter the other day. He was found running free by the roadside with his son. No tags or owner. They think he’s about 8 years old. Heartworm positive, he’ll be there a while, his son has been adopted and he is all alone.A neighbor called yesterday evening, telling Mrs J there was a momma cat and her kittens abandoned by the road. She found the mom and three kittens right away. They were hungry. Another sweep through the same area found three more kittens.They all seem to be healthy. We have them all in the back barn for now, all set up with litter boxes and bedding.Bookending the post with beans. These are red beans and rice. Kroger surprised me the other day with Andouille sausage. I bought a ring and used it here. Just about the perfect addition to the classic bean dish. I tossed in a few boneless chicken thighs to keep the sausage company.
I just had to have a bigger slow cooker than the one we had. It has given good service for more years than I wish to count but it just didn’t have room for a larger cut of meat plus the veggies and everything. This one by Hamilton Beach had tons of reviews at Amazon and looked like a winner to me.You can set it for a certain cooking time or for a desired temperature (via a probe), or just “cook until I stop you” with two cooking temperatures – high or low, (plus a “warm” setting). I managed to figure out the controls, without going to the instruction booklet, after a few starts and stops and much button poking.I’m not too sure how well the probe will work out. I has to be inserted through the lid and into the meat and the exact placement and depth may not be ideal in real world cooking. I have a remote thermometer that I think will thread through the hole but will only beep at me when temps are reached. The included probe plugs into the heating circuit and will switch the pot to warm when it reaches set point. (I think – still haven’t read the booklet.)This is the first run. A fair sized beef roast with most of a bottle of red wine and some beef broth. I coarsely chopped a large yellow onion and tossed that in with a few carrots and stalks of celery as aromatics with six or eight cloves of garlic. Salt and pepper and the usual mix of dried herbs: Bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and oregano. Two large whole potatoes went in there as well, the green beans were in another pan. All the liquids were strained and reduced for gravy, adding to it some sauteed mushrooms. I discarded the carrots and celery, using some of the onion and garlic for the beans along with a few pieces of ham.
Nothing special about these, but I do want to mention the cornbread. I used buttermilk in this recipe, and lard instead of butter or oil. Best cornbread evah! There are three green onions chopped up in the batter and I can recommend those. No cheese or jalapenos this time. The recipe from the back of the Quaker brand corn meal box (with my changes):
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c Quaker Corn Meal
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
skim milk buttermilk
vegetable oil lard
2 egg whites or 1 whole egg [I use the whole egg]
Here’s another doggie:
Mrs J says this one is a local stray and they believe they have located the owner. Good looking dog, but why no collar? Bad dog daddy, bad!
Mrs J spotted these fingerling potatoes at that new produce store we “discovered” last week. We hit them on a week day and there wasn’t quite the array of veggies as they had displayed the last time we were in there, on the weekend, but they still had a better selection than any of the local supermarkets. Green beans and smocked hocks are a staple around these parts, we both grew up eating these and I don’t want to hear that the beans are over cooked. Nonsense. The last snap I want to hear from these beans is the sound they make when I break them into pieces for the pot.
The best part about the cool weather arriving is homemade soup season is upon us. I’m reposting this soup recipe from last winter, because that’s what I’m eating at lunch right this minute. I’ve been leaving the bread out, because I haven’t had any on hand, and it still tastes great. Yum!
- 14 oz of diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cleaned
- 2 thick slices of french bread or equivalent
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup green beans
- 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
- 1 cup water, as needed
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan for garnish
In a blender, blend together bread, spinach and tomatoes, until smooth*. Add to saucepan with vegetables and spices. Bring to low boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with Parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.
*Blending the spinach, tomatoes and bread together gives you a nice hearty tomato base for the soup. You can add some spinach leaves at the end if you like, letting them get limp but not overcooked.
Here’s the link to the original post about how this recipe came about: Spinach-Tomato Soup. Can’t believe it was only December it’s become a staple, all because I had spinach I needed to use up.