Category Archives: What’s 4 Dinner Solutions
LFern and I were on our way out to lunch a few days before LFern became the foster mom to nine. Bixby was having none of it and made it clear we weren’t leaving unless he could go with us.
He was quite dejected when he realized it wasn’t happening. ❤
Speaking of the puppies.
There will be a Writers Chatting post tomorrow – 12:30/11:30/10:30/9:30. Hope you can pop in. I also am in contact with our favorite Wiley Cash about doing another chat – for sure when his new book comes out, but maybe I can persuade him to pop in before that date.
I spent time with LFern’s foster puppies on Wednesday (original photos here) and I’m afraid I didn’t have a chance to take any photos. Mostly because I spent a great deal of time with 8 snuggly, fluffy puppies sleeping on me. I can’t tell you how completely relaxing that was and it was difficult to tear myself away. Lolly, the mom, has really stolen my heart and her adoptive people will surely get much scrutiny from myself and Lfern’s entire family. She’s a keeper.
They all had a vet visit late this week and I’m waiting to hear how that went. Lolly is horribly thin (think Walter, RIP, thin and still feeding her pups) because she and another mom were locked in an abandoned house with 15 pups. And still, she is the sweetest thing who totally loves people and wants nothing more than to sit in your lap and be rubbed all over.
Just as I was about ready to leave, we decided the weather had cleared enough to bring them all outside and romp around. Which completely killed another 45 minutes with fun. Despite their rough start, these are a smart, social and sweet bunch and will make great pets for some very lucky people.
We are all suspecting that maybe, possibly, the litters got mixed up – most of the pups have some resemblance to Lolly, except two – who look suspiciously like their dad was part Chihuahua. Especially Scout, who I renamed Scooby, because he looks so much like a tiny Scooby-Doo when he’s running around on his short Chihuahua legs.
I like the bread machine as a no-fuss dough maker. The standard recipe for white bread, if finished in the machine, produces a load so tall that the slices are huge! Split two ways and baked in standard bread pans, it produces loaves a tad smaller than I want. A little experimentation with the recipe was in order to scale it up just a bit. I went with a recipe and a half and that was just right:
- 2 cups water
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp dry milk
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp butter or lard
- 6-1/3 cups bread flour
- 3 tsp yeast
Let the machine do all the work. I set mine for the “quick” dough cycle, when it beeped done I divided the dough and let it rise again in the pans before baking in a 350 convection oven, about 25 minutes.
Porchetta is as much a cooking technique as it is a particular recipe. This one uses a pork belly but can be done by butterflying a pork butt or tenderloin. The pork belly came from the butcher as a slab about 10 inches by 22, I cut this in half so I was working with a piece 10″ x 11″.The first step is to score it like so – it helps the herbs and spices gain penetration. I sprinkled kosher salt liberally on the slab and followed that with fresh grinds of pepper.Next came black peppercorns and fennel seeds that were toasted in a dry pan, ground in a spice mill, then added to a dozen or more garlic cloves in a little food processor. They were whirled about to mince the garlic and then spread on the meat, the fresh herbs were processed to a paste and spread along with the garlic mixture, followed by the zest of 2 lemons. I wish my patio herb garden had survived, I had to go to town for the herbs: rosemary, chives, sage. I also bought a fennel bulb for the fronds to add to the other herbs.Last thing, before it spent the night in the fridge, was to rub it with salt and baking powder in a ratio of 1 tbs salt to 1 tsp of baking powder. This is to help crisp the skin. Ta Da! This was cooked in a 300 degree oven for about 4 hours, then taken out to drain the fats off. While it’s out, crank the oven to 500 and return the pork roll to really blister the skin, it wants to be crispy! Watch it closely, it will brown really fast in that screaming hot oven.I mentioned that I bought a fennel bulb just for the fronds but I hate to waste a food item and so tried a braised fennel recipe. First, slice the bulb into about 1/2″ slices long ways, and brown both sides in a little oil. Add chicken stock and water to the pan, sprinkle on salt and pepper, cover, and simmer until tender – another 15-20 minutes.Serve the fennel with fresh parmesan and garnish with more of the fronds.