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Breakfast Pr0n

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Breakfast Pr0n – French Toast

20161226_114951-1600x1200Yay!  I soaked the sourdough slices in an egg and milk mixture for an hour.  They soaked up all they were going to.  Consensus at the table was that they make great French toast.

Breakfast Pr0n – French Toast

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Soup Repair

20161018_1107261600x1200That cauliflower soup was really bland.  Even Mrs J said it was too bland.  Bland even with sour cream and cheese.  I fix!  I fix by dumping half the remaining soup and adding 2 potatoes boiled in chicken stock.  These I blended in thoroughly with a stick blender.  Then I added crisp bacon crumbles.  This one didn’t need sour cream but I did go with the Creole seasoning again because I like that stuff.

Post needs moar kitteh!20161017_1014241600x1200Here’s Homer resting on an old picnic table.  Gabe is busy in the background picking through bird seed for the peanuts.

I say it’s an old picnic table because it is old, for a picnic table.  I made that thing in a flurry of busy about 30 years ago and it’s been sitting out in the weather since then.  I’m kind of amazed that it has held up as well as it has.  I did replace one of the seat boards when we moved it a bit closer to the house a few weeks ago.

Sammich Pr0n

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Mix It Up

Cucumber SalsaI did quite a bit of cooking this week, but it’s been busy enough that I haven’t put together the recipes or taken a lot of photos. So tonight I’m highlighting some past favorites.

Pictured above is Crisp Cucumber Salsa, always a hit when I make it. Recipe here.

Baked Ziti is my go-to for dinners to take to events or share when condolences are needed – I often take it unbaked so it can be fresh and hot when needed. It’s also a great make-ahead dinner for weeknights. Recipe here.

This week’s dinner menu is Cranberry Pepper Steak and Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes, click here for menu and recipes.

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This yummy photo is from JeffreyW – it’s Bacon Dill Potato Salad – instructions here.

What’s on the menu for you this weekend? Grilling yet? Have anything fun planned?

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Tonight’s featured recipe is another quick but tasty dinner entry. When I was a kid I used to love the Friday nights my mom said, I’m tired of cooking let’s just have hamburger goulash – which was basically hamburger, tomato sauce and elbow macaroni with some spices thrown in. This recipe is like an adult version of that, with some real flavor.  Still easy to put together.

Pasta Jambalaya

  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 4 oz smoked sausage, sliced (I like Andouille)
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese

saucepan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. In the saucepan, heat oil and then sauté onion, pepper, celery and carrots until onions are translucent and celery soft. Add garlic, Cajun seasoning, tomatoes, chilies, beans, carrots and sausage. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, add pasta and let simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with cheese as garnish.

Note: When a recipe says to add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp, or to taste of a spice, add it in small increments, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp at a time. Remember you can always add more, but it’s pretty tough trying to remove what you’ve added. 😉

That’s it for this week. We’ve finally gotten rid of the clouds and it looks like a great weekend to spend outdoors Have a great weekend. – TaMara

 



 

Friday Recipe Exchange: Spring Whiplash

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This was my favorite photo from JeffreyW this week. That’s Homer (remember him?) doing his best Egyptian statue imitation.

We are having a week of weather whiplash, so the recipes this week reflect that. Some for those 75 degree days and some for the upcoming wet and wild weekend.

Two soups make the cut tonight.

Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup (recipe here), easy to put together and pair with a nice Antipasto Salad (recipe here) for a quick dinner or great for a lunch treat.

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French Onion Soup popped up on my radar several times over the past few weeks. So now I want some. It’s almost sweet onion time (Vidalia, April-May, followed by Walla Walla Sweets – June) and I think they make the best onion soups. JeffreyW’s mouth-watering photo above is only the beginning – entire slideshow and recipe are here.

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Turkey Cutlets and Lace Cookies were on the dinner menu this week. Full menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Cooking for summer, spring or winter in your area?

BLT Salad

Tonight’s featured recipe has been one of my favorite salads lately. Especially when the temps were close to 80 degrees.

Confession. I hate avocados. And guacamole leaves me cold. My friends love going to Mexican restaurants with me, I get my guacamole and sour cream on the side, then pass them on to my table-mates. But the avocado dressing for this salad, I can’t get enough. Go figure.

BLT Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing
This recipe serves 2

Salad

  • 4 strips thick cut bacon (or substitute turkey bacon)
  • 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 4 to 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cubed*
  • cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Dressing

  • 1 avocado
  • buttermilk or ranch dressing**
  • limejuice
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet, bowl, serving bowls

Dressing: halve avocado, remove pit and scoop flesh into bowl, add an equal amount of buttermilk dressing, limejuice to taste (I used about 1 tsp) and mix until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

Add bacon to skillet and cook on medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel to cool and drain. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces.

While the bacon is cooking, prep the salad fixings. Toss with cooled bacon pieces. Add to serving bowls, top with dressing and garnish with cilantro leaves.

*the easiest way to cube an avocado is to halve it, remove the pit and then score it into cubes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the avocado, then turn the skin inside out and the cubes pop out.

**If you don’t like buttermilk or ranch dressing, you can substitute sour cream and 1 tsp crushed garlic for the dressing.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend…I’ll let you know if it’s two feet of snow or just rain for us – TaMara



 

 

Cheesy Potato Soup

20160313_173534[1] (1600x1060)This was a last minute thing that was thrown together quickly because I lost track of the time today.  I thought that grated potato in stock would be faster than a slow simmer of potato chunks, especially with a stick blender to hasten it along.  It was OK but it tasted rushed.  I added the cream and the cheese too soon.  It does photograph well, so there’s that.  Bonus:  I used up the rest of those biscuits!

Dinner Menu: Pineapple Rice Bowls and Chocolate Torte

Pineapple rice2In an odd series of events, I was thinking about focusing on rice for this week’s recipe exchange and then pineapples were on sale  – less than a dollar a piece – which reminded me of this recipe which I haven’t make in quite a while. So tonight I made it for dinner for friends.

And just in time for National Chocolate Cake Day, the menu includes…CAKE!

Here is the original post from January 2011 (where does the time go?)

Tonight I’m putting together a menu from two different restaurant visits. Last Friday night Bad Horse and I were in Santa Monica looking for somewhere to have a late dinner. I wanted something light at a place that was neither trendy nor pretentious. Harder to find than you might think. We settled on a cute little Thai restaurant on Wilshire, near the beach. They had pineapple rice on the menu and that sounded like it would fit the bill. I was pleasantly surprised by the dish. First, they served it in a pineapple, which made me laugh and second it was hands-down better than the Ming Tsai recipe I posted a few months ago. I vowed to go home and recreate it. That is our main dish tonight. The dessert comes from a little Italian restaurant near my house where LFern and I had lunch, I believe for my birthday this summer. I ordered their always excellent carrot cake and she decided to try their chocolate torte. We both really liked the torte (ours is a friendship based on coffee and chocolate) and I said I’d try and recreate it for her. It’s 5 months later, but I finally got around to it.   Hopefully it will not disappoint her – I really liked it and had fun making it, twice.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pineapple Rice
  2. Snow Peas
  3. Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Pineapple Rice

  • 2 pineapples (if you’re making bowls, otherwise just one pineapple)
  • 4 cups cooked rice (about 2 cups uncooked) – I chose brown basmati
  • 4 strips of bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 boneless chicken breast, diced
  • 8-10 small shrimp, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cashews (I like lots, your mileage may vary)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu

Wok or skillet

The reason I really like this recipe is how fresh it is. The last pineapple rice was heavy on spices and all the flavors blended together. It was good, but this one, with only pineapple juice and bit of ponzu added, really lets each flavor shine. Their version did not have bacon, but I love bacon and pineapple together, so I added it. You can omit the bacon and fry the chicken in a tablespoon of oil instead. Personally, my shrimp ends up on Bad Horse’s plate, so I consider them an optional ingredient.

Coring the pineapple can be tricky. A friend has a pineapple corer and I wished I had one while I was making this recipe. You don’t need to serve it in pineapple bowls, but if you do, coring out the pineapple can be difficult. I cut off the stem to make a flat bottom, cut the pineapple in half, took out the core, scored the pineapple and scooped it out. By the time I was done, the rice had finished cooking, so it was time consuming.

Next you’ll want to fry the bacon until crisp, add chicken and fry on medium heat until it is cooked through. Add shrimp and let cook for 3-5 minutes, add remaining ingredients (including rice), mixing well over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. You want the pineapple and raisins to be warm, but not necessarily cooked. Serve in pineapple bowls with ponzu or soy sauce. Serves 4

Snow Peas

I served these raw because I liked the crisp contrast to the main course. You can lightly steam them if you desire, or even add them to the rice dish for a true one-dish meal.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

With this recipe, I made it two different times. The first time I separated the eggs, beat the whites until stiff and folded them in last. The second time I just beat the whole eggs until they were frothy. I actually liked the texture better the second way. You can do either. The directions below are for the latter cake.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate, milk and butter together over low heat until a smooth mixture forms. Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool.

In a blender, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add the Frangelino and gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture, blending slowly until combined. Add baking powder, vanilla and nuts and mix until just combined.

Bake for 45 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

Shopping List:

  • 2 pineapples (if you’re making bowls, otherwise just one pineapple)
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 8-10 small shrimp, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu
  • Snow peas
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Also: baking powder, vanilla, sugar, milk or cream,

Tidbits

20151208_142431 (1600x1060)Just for a fun exercise, I did this pork shoulder as a confit.  (Not sure of the grammar on this – confited, ala confit, something else?)  Submerged the butt in olive oil and ran it at 250 until the temp in the middle reached 200 degrees, about 5 hours iirc.DSC_1525 (1600x1060)After it cooled down I pulled the shoulder apart and stowed it in a plastic bag, saving out enough to reheat in duck fat for some sandwiches.  These are on my mini-buns with slaw and a local brand of bbq sauce.DSC_5435 (1600x1060)Good spot for a kitteh!  This is Bitsy in one of her favorite lounging spots atop the couch.20151208_154839 (1600x1060)We’ve been giving the bread machine some love here lately.  I have a big beef roast brining in the basement fridge, planing to make a corned beef.  I think it will be finished in the oven, instead of boiling like I’ve always done.  I wanted to try a rye bread machine recipe to see how it was going to go because, corned beef!  It’s the loaf on the left, the other is a plain white loaf.  The shine on to crust?  Duck fat!DSC_1529 (1600x1060)Here is a ham and swiss sammy on slices of that white bread.  I like my ham and cheese with slaw, and those pickled onions and peppers caught my eye.  It’s all good.katie_clipping[1] (1600x1060)Mrs J took Katie in to have her coat groomed.  Katie took it pretty well, she’s able to make the best of any situation she figures she can’t escape from.DSC_1505 (1600x1060)Moar sammich pr0n!  Cheeseburgers and fries with my homemade chipotle ketchup.  Younger Swiss melts better than the aged stuff – a feature, not a bug.DSC_1442 (1600x1060)Some more breakfast pr0n, waffles with bacon and eggs.