How To Brown Ground Beef And Bonus Blueberry Crisp

Let’s talk about browning ground beef. I had someone tell me they hated ground beef because of the texture and flavor. But they like hamburgers…a lot.

I then assumed it was because of the way they were browning their ground beef. Often folks just put it in a pan, break it up, and heat it through until it is completely cooked. Then add it to whatever they are making: tacos, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc.

This can leave you with gummy, flavorless pebbles in your meal.  Instead, let’s use the Maillard Reaction to create better ground beef.  (See a good explanation here) Continue reading

Jalapeno Harvest…Again

I harvested about five pounds of jalapenos and purchased a couple pounds of Poblanos and roasted them. I peeled and froze the Poblanos to make Creamy Poblano Soup later. The jalapenos I made into pickled relish and froze.

One issue with roasting the jalapenos as long as I did, is the relish becomes more of a “spread” – they disintegrated when I chopped them.  This is not going to matter to me because they will be used in soups, stews, and on sandwiches and will taste great regardless of the texture.

In the photo, you will see the jalapenos and tomatoes I have harvested since the roasting…and since the photo I’ve harvested that many or more, again. I swear the jalapeno fairy just deposits them on the plants in the middle of the night. They were not there before, LOL.

I’ll most likely buy some more Poblanos and do another round of roasting. But there may only be one jalapeno plant next year.


 

Morning Walks: Mountain River

Scout and I continue our morning adventures. The weather has been beautifully cool and crisp in the mornings. But the water was still comfortable enough to dip my toes in for a bit.

Scout is doing great. I was hoping these walks, far from our usual routine, would take my mind off Bixby. Walking through the neighborhood, everyone always makes an effort to say hello and often comment on how much they miss Bixby. Me, too.

So, we needed to get away. And away helps me notice things about Scout as we work together. She relied heavily on Bixby as her guide in the world and she’s actually struggling to find her way without him. These explorations have been good for us, I can see where she needs more confidence and also where she needs a bit more training. She followed Bixby’s lead in most things, which worked well for us, he loved having a groupie and she was just a breeze to train because of it. But now we have to find our footing without him.

She’s outgoing on walks, not afraid of much, but can be timid with new routines or new experiences, like walking in the river. It takes her a bit to work up her courage, but she gets there. We get there. Before we know it, she’ll be alpha dog. Leading the way, bowing down only to her kittehs, whom she adores.

She’s still not playing at home – no tug, no fetch, a few zoomies. But she loves going on drives and is happy to snuggle on the couch. And she is ridiculously happy when the neighborhood kids come to visit and when she’s allowed to go out the front door, unleashed, to greet people, trusted to come back when she’s called. She knows it’s a big deal to earn that trust and it gives her hyper tail wags.

x-posted at Annie DeMoranville

A Heart Does Mend

This little guy is doing his best to mend my heart after the sudden loss of Gabe.

This morning I walked into the cat room (i.e. the guest room, LOL) and found this in his bowl.

He added toys to his meal. This made me laugh and reminded me of my sweet Tuxedo Jake, who killed a slew of my stuffed animals each night at a great volume. I miss that. So this was a happy sight. I removed them, BTW and five minutes later, they were all back.

And I’ve never seen a kitteh who is so happy for a belly rub! Flops over for rubs all the time and we are happy to oblige.

Sully, you are good for the soul.


x-posted at Annie DeMoranville

Morning Walks: New Destinations

Scout and I have gotten into a rut since we lost Bixby, so I decided with the cooler (ha!) weather, we’d expand our explorations.

As long as the weather holds out, we are going to explore a different open space each week. I was thinking we would find a different one each day, but this morning’s destination proved to have an abundance of trails we can explore over several days. So we’ll play it by ear with each location.

Can’t wait for tomorrow morning to see where the next trail will take us.

Until then…


x-posted at Annie DeMoranville

Holiday Dinner Menu: Flank Steak Pinwheels

What’s on your plate for this holiday weekend (how did that happen)? Are you sad summer is waning or is fall more your season? Most importantly, whatcha cookin’?

This steak is easy to make in the oven, but I thought I’d try it on the grill this time. Works great – just remember to cook it away from the coals or turn the grill off if it’s electric, like mine.

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

This steak can be prepped the day before, just wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Makes it great for a date night, anniversary or small dinner party. I pan-seared and finished in the oven/on the grill in the same pan, because of the cheese. The reward was great pan drippings when I was finished, which I drizzled over the potatoes before serving.

Flank Steak Pinwheels Final

On the board:

  • Flank Steak Pinwheels
  • Grilled Sweet Corn
  • 4-Minute Potato Salad (recipe here)
  • Fresh Sliced Peaches

Flank Steak Pinwheels

  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed garlic (at least 2 cloves)
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

Cast iron skillet Continue reading