Monthly Archives: January 2013

Recipe Exchange Updates, Rosemary and Author Wiley Cash


Kirk Spencer had a terrific suggestion in an email this morning. We were talking about bamboo skewers (and how you MUST soak them before grilling to avoid flaming kabobs) and he said he’d used rosemary stems as skewers. I thought this sounded just wonderful. Maybe a lemon marinated chicken skewered on rosemary. It wouldn’t need much other seasoning, that’s for sure, and of course you’d really need to like rosemary. Lamb would probably hold up well with that type of seasoning.  Yum. Can’t wait to try on something.

Now for some news on the Thursday Recipe Exchange. This week it will be postponed to Friday because the wonderful Wiley Cash will be live blogging over at Balloon-Juice about his book A Land More Kind Than Home tonight. And since I post the recipe exchange specifically to be cross-posted over there, a changed seemed prudent.

Friday night is where it’s going to stay for the time being, because of some special events planned at B-J on Thursdays. I’m good with that, hope you are, too.

Back to Mr. Cash, first of all, has there ever been a better novelist’s name? I read his book when it first came out and gave it as gifts over the summer. It’s worth a read, sets a beautiful North Carolina mountain scene as the backdrop to a dark mystery. It’s a quick and compelling story, told from the perspective of several characters in the first person.

I think that covers everything. Hopefully Kirk and I will have a big cooking announcement in the coming weeks.

Until tomorrow….


Mmm… sammich pr0n

DSC_4988 [1600x1200]Pulled pork with sauce and fries sprinkled with Cajun seasoning.

Katie Update

DSC_3316 [1600x1200]Kate is hanging close to the house and has been chowing down on the beans we put out for her.  She’s still wary and you can see how she is keeping an eye on me through the window on the front door.  I was able to get her to eat yesterday while I was out there myself, sitting quietly in a chair.  It’s hard, keeping the boys in all day except when on a leash.  I let them out yesterday afternoon when it looked as if Katie was elsewhere but they spotted her coming back around and gave chase.  Sigh.DSC_3314 [1600x1200]She comes back, chastened, and even more skittish.  Miss Bitsy, the calico, has no fear of dogs and is curious about the new girl.  Her interest kept Kate away until she came back into the house.IMG_0936 [1600x1200]Here are a few more kittehs from St Francis.

Homer Kitteh

DSC_3312 [1600x1200]The boy went fishing in a crawdad hole, looks like.  We had rain and thunder last night, and spring-like temps.  It got up to 68 degrees yesterday here in Beautiful Southern Illinois.  Weather is weird.  I blame Al Gore.

Shrimp Stir Fry

DSC_4983 [1600x1200]Hard to beat a stir fry for a quick and tasty dinner.  They’ve been selling these baby carrots for a good while now and they are great in this dish.  A few minutes in the pan and the raw is gone but they still have some snap to them.  I wonder if they are hydroponic?  Also in the dish are sliced purple onions, broccoli, re-hydrated mushrooms and a few red peppers that went into a sauce pan with the mushrooms to soften them up.


DSC_4972 [1600x1200]I made this with the “no boil” pasta that’s been in the cupboard for a spell.  It works pretty well, nothing you will brag about to your mother but it’s not a bad thing.DSC_4973 [1600x1200]The noodles are thin, and they don’t bulk up too much more.  They don’t give the kind of body that the regular noodles do.  Damned easy to layer them into the dish.DSC_4974 [1600x1200]Here’s a little better angle on the layers.

Nothing special about the recipe, ricotta and mozzarella with an egg and chopped spinach for the cheese layer.  The sauce was my awesome sauce with my own Italian sausage.  That thick top layer of cheese is about half and half provolone and mozzarella.  I expect this will be better tomorrow.

Mrs J haz a posse

Roasted Duck

DSC_4946 [1600x1200]I had already started the duck in a 375 oven when the thought to look for sides struck me.  I wandered into this post and looked at the recipe for “gastrique” sauce and saw the honey roasted veggies and thought that they were something I could pull off.  I used what veggies I had on hand for the honey roasted side – parsnips and carrots.  I had no idea what a gastrique was.  Studying up after the fact shows such sauces to be made from fruits, usually.  Tons of recipes out there for those.DSC_4941 [1600x1200]If I do this again I will be more patient.  The sauce should have reduced more, and the honey roasted veggies needed more color.  The parsnips look like boiled French fries.  It all tasted pretty good but my technique really sucked.



DSC_4955 [1600x1200]Made some chili with some of the latest chorizo, plus a little ground beef.  I started out with pinto beans and chunks of cured ham and kept adding chili paste until I decided to take the ham out and thaw the sausage since it was becoming more chili than hambeans.IMG_0823 [1600x1200]I’m not sure what Mrs J was intending and I am sure Annie had the same thought.  She’s feeling better, now.  Buddy and Homer were having a little nap.  Buddy woke, probably fearing the return of the mad hatter.IMG_0543 [1600x1200]Alas, I have to report that Katie, the dog that Mrs J brought in for a home visit, has escaped and is loose.  Fortunately she is staying close.  We put out food that she will come to the patio to eat, and Mrs J has placed a doggie bed in the garage that she has been sleeping on.  She just will not let us approach.IMG_0888 [1600x1200]She ran out the door Monday morning as I was holding it open for Mrs J to enter after a trip to town.  Sigh.  We bought a live trap, hoping to lure her in with some tasty food.  She proved to be smarter than Buddy.DSC_3304 [1600x1200]Or Jack.IMG_0891 [1600x1200]

Thursday Recipe Exchange: When Life Gives You Lemons

Lemon nut pork copyrighted

I had some recipe testing and photography to do last week for another project, so I tried to group things together and buy ingredients in bulk. That inspired me to choose lemons as our ingredient for tonight’s recipe exchange. A bag of lemons provided me with two of my favorite recipes last week. And this week I’ll be working on a Chicken Piccata  (same bag of lemons) but I didn’t get it done in time for tonight’s list. And, yes that’s right, you’re getting leftovers tonight.

The Tangy Lemon Pie got a makeover with a lemon cookie crust which won it rave reviews from my taste-testers, (recipe here)

JeffreyW gives us a a Lemon Garlic Basil Shrimp recipe, complete with a beautiful slideshow (recipe here).

When life gives you lemons, what do you make?

And tonight’s featured recipe, which turned out better than I remembered. I hadn’t made it in quite a while and had forgotten what a good combination butter, lemon and in this case, pecans are with pork.

Lemon-Nut Pork Chops

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. 1/2 to 3/4” thick)
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts (the finer the grind, the better this works, if you have a coffee grinder that’s best)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, quartered


Rub chops with garlic, salt, pepper, & zest. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Brown chops, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Spread 1/4 nuts on plate. Remove chops 1 at a time and press 1 side into nuts. Add ¼ more nuts each time. Sprinkle any remaining nuts over chops. Stir lemon juice into pan drippings, deglaze, heat for 1 minute and spoon over chops. Serve with lemon wedges.