I owe you guys not only a puppy update, but also a real recipe thread. We got hit by a cold snap this week and for whatever reason, it just zapped me of all my energy to do anything extra. I worried a lot about the ducks, since I had to keep them cooped while it was sub-twenties. And of course the dogs (along with me) had cabin fever. We did get a good walk in today. I still have to walk them separately, Scout is not ready for that just yet.
This next week promises to be much warmer. Good thing, because I am ready to start cleaning my bed and get ready for gardening.
I was sitting on the couch just now, with the dogs snuggled up, watching the sunset. I am still amazed at the beautiful view I have…thanks to some awesome tree trimmers. That helps tide me over until spring finally arrives.
Cute duck story – I have a box of corn flakes, mostly for them, and I toss a few out for treats. The other day I decided to have a bowl for lunch. When I sat down at the table, there were the ducks, sitting on the steps, looking in the window. I have no idea how they heard me…they were happily playing across the yard before that. Silly ducks.
Pictured above is my quick dinner of BBQ chicken, cast iron cornbread (I cheat and use Krusteaz after a friend recommended it) and spinach with bacon. I’m not big on cooked spinach, but a friend loves it and never had it with bacon, so I had to make it.
Spinach with Bacon
- 4 strips of thick sliced bacon, sliced into small pieces
- 10 oz of fresh spinach, washed and dried
- salt, pepper and vinegar
Add bacon to cold skillet and cook on medium heat. Fry until bacon is crisp (your desired texture, I like it still a bit chewy). Add the spinach, toss with bacon grease, add about 1/4 cup of water to create steam and cover. Cook until spinach is slightly limp. Remove lid and toss with salt, pepper and dash of vinegar (I like malt vinegar, but balsamic, white or red wine vinegar works well, too).
This poor thing was brought in with two broken legs, the one appears to be less of a problem than the other, going strictly by the casts. I have no other info but he is in good hands at St Francis.Made some mayo from scratch. The other day I roasted a bunch of garlic cloves in olive oil and used a 1/4 c of that oil in this. The recipe for the basic mayo is easy – put an egg with 1/4 c oil in the bowl of a processor, add a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of dry mustard and give it a spin. Start drizzling in more oil until you’ve used about a cup, total, or until it gets to the consistency you are going for. I added canola oil for the drizzle. This turned out very garlicky.I used it on this sammich – very good! I assembled it after the photo, and went sans lettuce. That’s more of my maple pepper bacon. Yum!Now here comes Bitsy, slowly, a step at a time. Head on a swivel, looking for threats. She finally made it all of the way in. Yay!This was Taco Tuesday for us. I’m torn between piling on the goodies or going sparingly with them for a better picture. These white corn tortillas are smeared with refried beans, layered with smoked pork, cheddar, shredded cabbage, and pico de gallo.This looks like a short loaf of banana bread but it’s actually made with figs. We had a fairly good batch we weren’t quite sure what to do with.I quartered them and stuck them in the dehydrator overnight – too long, alas. They were barely pliable and too tough. We dropped them into a stout blender and whirled them with water to break them up. The result looked much like bananas that had been pureed so they went into a banana bread recipe.This is one of those soups that come from what I think of as a “bottomless” soup pot – I keep adding to it as we eat out of it. Those diced potatoes were not in there yesterday and I added more carrots. The beef will get scarce after a few iterations, but right now there’s still plenty.I’ll wind this up with another shelter kitteh. This one looks like our own Ginger Boy.
We had a 3 pound piece of belly leftover from the pork belly with mustard greens we did the other day in the pressure cooker. I’ve done homemade bacon before but this time I wanted to try it with the pink salt cure. This one sat in the fridge with a cure of brown sugar, kosher salt, and a little pink salt. We applied the cure as a dry rub, bagged it it plastic and let it go for a week, turned over daily. Here it is after the week was up, rinsed and air drying. Overnight drying is best but 4 hours will do.After the slab dried it was rubbed with maple sugar and coarse black pepper and placed into the smoker at 175 degrees for a few hours. It still hadn’t reached an internal temp of 150 but I didn’t want it too smoky so it was finished in the oven indoors. It was cooled to room temp, bagged in plastic, and put back into the fridge for another overnighter.It wants to be chilled for easier slicing. One of the benefits of home curing is that you can slice it as thick as you want it. I’m a little disappointed in what Kroger sells as “thick sliced”.The maple sugar in the finish turns a nice crusty caramel color when frying. I have one more half slab of pork belly in the freezer, I’m tempted to pull it and start more bacon.
The store deli had an interesting pasta salad that we brought home for a quick side. They called it a bacon and tomato pasta salad and I found it delicious. This is an attempt at a copycat recipe. I went to Google for some ideas and this came up. It seemed incomplete as the Kroger salad had some dried herb flakes that I decided must be basil. I added a lot of basil, maybe 2 tablespoons or so to my small test batch.A lot of the recipes I turned up in the search included ranch dressing, and I think that may be the way to go in the future. After sitting overnight in the fridge the pasta shells I used had absorbed most all of the liquid and were looking dry. I added more mayo cut with half and half and chopped another tomato to fold in. It’s an interesting dish, and fun to experiment with. The Kroger deli used rotini but just about any bite size pasta will work.