Monthly Archives: June 2012

Freezing Cherry Tomatoes

Just too many to eat.  We looked at several storage methods and decided to go with the easiest this go around.  The pictures tell the story.

These are from 3 plants over two days.  There is a cherry tomato, a grape tomato, and the larger ones are from another variety of cherry tomato, a Husky Red iirc.  I believe the grape variety is a Tammy G but I could be mistaken.



Another cheese crust monster pizza.  This one has a ton of Italian sausage, onions, and chopped olives plus mozzarella and Parmesan.  Mozzarella string cheese is rolled into the crust edge.  Kosher salt sprinkled on the outer crust over a coat of olive oil.  Awesome sauce. 

Turkey Day

We keep a video camera overlooking a feeder at a pond behind the house.  The green box in center frame is an automatic corn slinger that spins into action 4 times a day and throws corn all around, some even  as far as into the pond.  We get all the usual critters but lately we have been seeing more turkeys than usual.

[edit to add:]  this camera doesn’t record audio, sorry!

Breakfast pr0n

We stopped by that meat processor on the way back from the big city the other day.  We bought some of their garlic sausage.  Yay!  This stuff is awesome:I picked that tomato this morning, out before it gets too damn hot.

Friday Night Dinner Music: She Will Be Loved

Any night with a little Maroon 5 is a good night as far as I’m concerned:

Mmm… Cheese steak

Yes, you will want a wet napkin at the table.

Leftover stuffing mix?

And plenty of that tomato soup left?  What to do… what to do…I remembered some jumbo pasta shells that wanted filling.  I mixed the leftover ground beef and rice with mozzarella and Parmesan and the minced caps of the green peppers from earlier today but didn’t add an egg binder, nor any bread crumbs or the like.  I should have – just for the better picture if for no other reason.  It did taste good despite the lack.  I layered the cooked and stuffed shells in a casserole dish and poured the tomato soup on top of them, along with a sprinkling of more mozzarella.  Half an hour at 350 and they were good to go.  A little grated Asiago on top and a sprig of basil garnished the dish tonight.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Chipotle Macaroni Salad

Photo by JeffreyW

EDIT: Just realized the tomatoes were omitted from the ingredient list. Corrected now.

What a week. The Colorado wildfires became personal again, as my office was smack in the middle of an evacuation zone. The authorities never had to make it mandatory and as I write this, that fire is well contained.  Add to that, one of the guys I work with was in a horrible motorcycle accident at the beginning of the week and that shook us all up. I was ready for the week to be over sometime around Tuesday night, so I’m grateful it’s Thursday and the weekend is within sprinting distance. Even happier that Independence Day is around the corner

Since I love July 4th, I have quite a few recipes that celebrate it with great picnic foods. All 21 of them can be found at this link.  There is quite a variety: fancy appetizers; cold salads; grilling ideas; fun desserts; and even cold drinks. There is also an entire post of potato salad recipes from Balloon-Juicers.

I really like tonight’s featured recipe. It was a huge hit last year at the July 4th picnic. I’m actually making it right now for a going away party, that’s how it became tonight’s recipe.

All right, now it’s your turn, what are your favorite foods on July 4th? Are you all-American with burgers and dogs or something more sophisticated? Share your favorites in the comments and we can all argue about it, good-naturedly of course.

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Chipotle Macaroni Salad

Chipotle Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp limejuice

Mix together ingredients and set aside while macaroni cooks.

Macaroni Salad:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (or equivalent)
  • 8 oz cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 thick cut bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • 1 cup chipotle mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and macaroni. Cook until al dente (firm to tooth). Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain well, allow macaroni to stay wet, remove to bowl. Immediately add garlic, celery, onion, parsley and lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in cheddar cheese, tomatoes, bacon and chipotle mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow to chill 15 – 30 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Just a note: There will be no recipe exchange next Thursday, we’ll pick up again on July 12th.

Mmm… stuffed peppers

We picked the first two of many (I hope!) green peppers from the big garden yesterday.  Pretty things, and as nice as any bell peppers we have ever grown.  Yay!Mrs J thought that the classic burger and rice stuffed pepper recipe would work for these.  Hmm… turns out that there are tons of “classic” stuffed pepper recipes out there!  I looked at a few to get pointed in the right direction.  Most all of them mention tomato soup from a can.  I have no problem with canned soup, other than not having any at hand and not wanting to make a trip to town in this heat.That’s 106 at 1:00 PM!  Going to go higher, I’ll wager.  Any way, I did have supplies enough to make a simple tomato soup from canned tomatoes.  Added some ground cloves and a touch of ground allspice, and a few pinches of dried basil and oregano to that recipe.  And a sprinkle of cayenne – shh, don’t tell Mrs J!We had a package of thawed burger for the stuffing and browned it with a minced onion, and added cooked wild and long grain rice from a box mix.  We added a couple ladles of the soup to that and stirred it to combine everything well.  Meanwhile, we boiled the cored peppers for 7 or 8 minutes and set them aside.We just had the two peppers so a bread tin seemed just right to us for a cooking vessel.Cheese mixed in with the stuffing was a feature of several of the recipes we looked over.  Mrs J dug out some fresh goat cheese that was approaching its use-by date so we went with it instead of the commonly mentioned cheddar or mozzarella.We both agreed that the goat cheese was a good call.  Not quite as photogenic as mozzarella but delicious!

Hot Weather Cooking

We are going to have a record hot day today. 106 degrees. That is too hot to cook,  even too hot to grill, so what do you make? Quick and easy meals that require minimal cooking.

First up Pasta Caprese:

Then how about some Fajitas? I made my own fajita seasoning and used some really nice sirloin. The peppers were the cutest little mini-sweet peppers:

Fajita Seasoning

Mix together the following and store in an airtight container.

  • 2 tbsp chili powder (I used a combo of chili and ancho chili powders)
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
I sliced the sirloin very thin – which is easier to do if it’s slightly frozen, which mine wasn’t, but it worked anyway – then I coated the meat thoroughly with 1 to 2 tbsp of the seasoning. I grilled onions in a bit of butter and olive oil until they were nicely caramelized, removed and set aside. I then sautéed  the peppers with a bit more olive oil until they were soft, removed and set aside. Then I quickly fried up the beef in olive oil, adding a touch of lime and water at the end to create a bit of a sauce with the fajita seasoning. Served with warmed tortillas.

Each meal took a little less than 15 minutes to put together and cooking time was minimal, so no heating up the already hot kitchen. Later in the week I’m making a macaroni salad for a going away dinner, recipe and photos later. Until then…stay cool.