Monthly Archives: April 2012

Roast pork

Slow roasted another pork butt yesterday – rubbed in the Tex Mex chipotle seasoning mix I like, cut slits in the meat and inserted a handful of garlic cloves, and left it in the oven on 250 or so while we went about our Sunday.

They sell those cute little baby carrots now, all cleaned and colorful, they make sauteing pretty easy – just a few minutes in the pan will soften them enough that you don’t get the “still raw” vibe.  The broccoli was steamed and then quenched before cooking both veggies in a mix of olive oil and butter.There are a few different cheeses in this mac n cheese side – a generous grating of aged Parmesan for starters, then some odds and ends from the sliced cheese drawer in the fridge.  I had some mild cheddar and a few slices of muenster, and added some freshly purchased farmer’s cheese along with shredded Swiss.  I used some half & half in the white sauce to round up the fat content of the 2% milk that provided the bulk of the liquid, and added a good sprinkle of ground cayenne.  The secret to creamy, moist mac n cheese is to use a lot of liquid, more than you think you need.  The pasta will soak a lot up and there will be some evaporation in the oven, and the whole dish will thicken as it heats.


Tonight’s Moment of Zen

Couldn’t decide between these two, so I present both:

April 29 Ride

Love sunset rides.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Another Lesson Down

Photo by Sun Pony Ranch

My second lesson was today, with first lesson jitters behind me, I settled into my horse (yea Katy!) and managed to make some serious progress. Next week I’ll have a different mount, but feeling confident enough that I’m looking forward to the challenge.

It was a beautiful morning for a ride today. Cool, Colorado blue sky, snow on the mountain peaks and to top it all off, a bald eagle spent quite a bit of time lazily cruising over the pasture. Being more comfortable as the lesson began today, I was really able to spend more time getting to know all the horses, their names, their abilities, their little quirks. Got totally loved on by the aptly named Romeo, who snuggled me like he was a 10lb puppy, not a two thousand pound gelding.

I think Katy will have a special place in my heart as I move onto Jack. It was clear during my first lesson that she has no patience for bulls***, which is something I adore about her. After I left last week, knowing I’d ride her again this week, I knew I was going to have to calm my demeanor, be the confident rider I knew I was, and trust her. I got fewer dirty looks from her this week for sure and let me tell you, she knows how to throw them.  Every once in a while, she’d turn her head back toward me while we were awaiting our turn and glare. Made me laugh every time.

The columbine is just about done for the spring.

The rest of the weekend was busy with garden shopping  – I had to at least get some flowers – a bit of cooking (tomato-spinach soup for lunch this week), and cycling. The local farmer’s market is already open with some lettuces, cool weather crops and some greenhouse varieties. I may stop by this week and see how things look.

Until then…

Roasted Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta

Continuing with our roasting theme this week, I thought these sounded amazing. I think on the grill would be awesome.

Roasted Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta

Serves 4

  • 1 lb green beans, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ c drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled

Lightly oiled 13×9 glass baking dish

Toss green beans with 1 tbsp of olive oil and spread in one layer in baking dish. Roast at 450 degree for 10 minutes, stir, roast for additional 10 minutes or until they are tender-crisp.

While green beans are roasting combine 1 tsp olive oil with remaining ingredients. Remove beans from oven and transfer to serving bowl, tossing with cheese-tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Patio garden update

Our front garden project is past the construction phase, all the old space has been covered with weed barrier and pebble mulch.  Now the long slog to develop plantings that will work.  The crew dug up and replanted many of Mrs J’s plants but the survival wasn’t 100%.  We have gained some new stuff, a new redbud tree, some grasses, and a few flowers that are new to us.  I’ll do a post on all that when I have more time.  The veggies we have going in containers are doing very well:These are, from L to R:  Oregano, thyme,chives, and a bay laurel (all made it through the winter), another oregano, rosemary, and flat leaf parsley (partially hidden).  I really need to re-pot the first three.At a lower level are two jalapenos bookending sweet basil.On the other side of the step is a cherry tomato “Husky Red Cherry” – a compact tomato bred for containers.Cilantro, mint, curly leaf parsley, and dill.And two more tomatoes, one a cherry type and the other a “grape” tomato.  Alas, I forgot the variety names and can’t seem to find the tags.  I expect that these will grow tall enough to need the cages.

A little Saturday morning breakfast pr0n.

For some reason, the folks over at the foodporn subreddit really went for this pic a few days ago.


I did the usual pinto beans recipe with the overnight soaking and slow cooking with smoked ham hocks and diced onions but thought to try an addition of a couple of chili powders I’ve grown quite fond of.  I have a largish jar of ground chipotle peppers, and another of anchos, both bought through a seller at Amazon.

I have to tread a fine line with this stuff because Mrs J’s notion of “hot peppers” starts just north of peperoncini.  I debated adding some tomatoes of some sort, and looked at a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies for a minute before deciding against them for this batch, pending the outcome with the chili powders.

I must say that the addition of the ground peppers was met with approval.  They will be a standard part of my recipe from now on.  I think I’ll start soaking another batch to try with the tomatoes:)

Friday Dinner Music: Not While I’m Around

Thought we’d dress things up tonight. Nothing brightens up a meal like Scott Bakula in a tux.

I Dropped the Slab of Bacon in the Deep Fryer….Now What?

Ok, I don’t really know how they came up with the idea of deep frying bacon, but don’t the best cooking ideas usually come from some kind of mix-up in the kitchen?

Photo from Click on the photo to see more photos there.

I was trying to catch up on the blogs I follow last night and what did I come across?  Kirk Spencer’s post on Deep Frying Bacon, appropriately titled, “Drool”. I didn’t know if I should be inspired or horrified.

I have to admit, if someone offered me a slice, I’d take.  The original story can be found here, along with all kinds of great pictures:  Fried Bacon from Boucherie Fairmount

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Roasting

Tried to fit some actual cooking into what has been a very busy week. The weather is very warm here right now, so I want to rush out and buy plants and get summer underway. But even 90 degree (!) temps can be deceptive – at this altitude they still recommend planting after Mother’s day to be safe. We’ve had 90 degrees to freezing whiplash before.

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Carrots and Parsnips

Roasting seemed wrong for our summer like weather, but most roasting recipes can be adapted for the gas-grill as needed, so I went with it. Roasting adds great flavor to foods, vegetables in particular. The slow cooking method adds a touch of sweetness and depth to almost any vegetable (current cooking crush Ming Tsai even has a recipe for roasting radicchio). For a quick dinner you can add vegetables tossed with olive oil to the bottom of a roasting pan, top with chicken breasts rubbed with oil and seasoned with salt & pepper and roast until the chicken is required temperature.  One pan dinner in about 35 minutes.

This week I roasted Asparagus topped with mozzarella and tonight’s sweet potato recipe. And here is the link to JeffreyW’s Brussel Sprouts, Carrots and Parsnips.

For dessert I made a batch of Orange Brownies.  I think for the weekend, though, I’m going to stick to stove top cooking and grilling.  What’s on your menu this week? Does weather affect what you want to cook?

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium red onions, cut in to 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sprig of fresh time, cut into 4 pieces
  • salt & pepper (about 1/2 tsp of pepper or more, finely ground)

Preheat oven to 425. Combine all ingredients in baking dish. Toss to coat the veggies and bake for 35 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and onions are soft.  

Next Week: Awesome Cookies