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Fresh Tomatoes

We’re still turning out nontrivial numbers of tomatoes and the odd pepper or two.  You can deal with them one at a time with a simple sammich.I like these on fresh bread or toast with mayo and plenty of salt and pepper.  The classic summer salad of tomatoes and cucumbers in vinaigrette is good but were are just about wore out eating it.To deal the rest I’ve gone to, mainly, stewing them with onions and peppers.  Mac in stewed tomatoes is a simple pleasure.The classic version of this is made with elbows but I ran out of my favored jumbo, ridged elbows to I subbed these small shells.  I like mine with Parmesan and a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes.The rest of the latest batch went into this chili.  I’ve been using annatto in my chili and I think it adds an interesting flavor.  Masa flour makes a nice thickening agent and adds a nice flavor to the dish, as well.

We’ve more tomatoes on the way…



Whoo Boy!  We got some rain last night, the thunder seemed constant all night long.  Bitsy just crawled out from underneath the sofa a few minutes ago.Here’s Gabe and Homer Kitteh messing about by the pond a couple of days ago.  It’s been down a little all winter long, several inches below the overflow pipe.  I haven’t looked this morning yet but it has to be up close, now.I’ve found that using a can of refried beans in my chili recipe really adds some body to it.  I used refried black beans in this but the regular refries from pinto beans should work fine.I’ve been making gravy from the chicken fat captured when I roast a chicken beer-butt style:I pour off the fat (and the water I’ve added to the pan) and refrigerate it to make separating the fat easy.  Make a roux of the fat and flour then add stock to make gravy.  You can also add milk to make it creamy but I don’t except when making it for a pot pie.  We eat half the chicken the first go, then bone the rest for later.  The carcass goes into the pressure cooker to make a stock, takes an hour at pressure rather than all day on the stove-top.Kittehs!  There are a couple of brand new momma cats at the shelter, they were brought in pregnant.  The shelter will eventually spay her but the kittehs have to be weaned first.  Mrs J says 6 to 8 weeks is normal.Rib steaks!  Sous vide is the killer app for steaks.  These spend the afternoon at 138 degrees in their vacuum sealed bags.  Kroger sells whole slabs of these, I slice and bag them with salt and pepper and then freeze.  They go right into the hot bath frozen.Another batch of cuties!  Mrs J says they had to open the overflow kitten room because they have too many right now for the dedicated kitteh nursery.


20170106_110453-1600x1200A little breakfast pr0n to start.  The patty is from that batch of homemade garlic pepper recipe sausage.20161230_162702-1600x1200This is an older picture from a meal we had a couple of weeks ago.  Not sure if I have used it so here it is.  I bought a batch of purple potatoes and mixed them in with fingerlings and a cubed sweet potato.  The pork tenderloin was done sous vide and then seared in a hot pan just before plating.  There is a pan sauce made from red wine and the pan juices.  I reached for the white but it wasn’t open so the red went in.20170108_163513-1600x1200Gumbo!  This one has andouille, chicken, and shrimp.20170108_133521-1600x1200A couple of pineapple upside down cakes.  There was a little pineapple left over from Mrs J’s carrot cake, and we finally used up the last of the maraschino cherries that have been lurking in a dark corner of the fridge for ages.  Not the prettiest cakes ever but they tasted great.  There is one small slice left but it will not last out the day.img_20170110_093935_processedHere’s Ollie!  He’s been mixing about with the other kittehs and we think he’s fitting in quite well.  He and Bitsy spent the night chasing up and down the hallway.20170110_164542-1600x1200I dug one of the rib roasts out of the freezer.  It was one of those the market had on sale for the holidays.  It was oddly cut, the two end ribs were sliced down the middle, making the piece about 1-1/2 inches altogether.  I promised Mrs J that I would turn out the next steak medium done and so set the water bath temp to 140.  When it came out I sliced it in half and seared the pieces in a hot pan.  The pan sauce was made of butter and the same red wine that I used on that pork tenderloin.  The potatoes were rubbed with olive oil and generously salted, then baked in a 350 oven for an hour.20170111_090545-1600x1200Mrs J left for an appointment this morning.  Gabe waited by the door for her return.  He misses his dog mama every time she goes away.20170107_171349-1600x1200That garlic pepper sausage makes pretty good chili.20170110_164600-1600x1200I’ll close with this salad.  It’s a bagged salad topped with a deli made Greek salad with a little extra feta.


20161110_1937411600x1200I’ll start this off with a pie than should have been great but ended up only fair to poor.  It’s a Brown Butter Apple Pie with a Cheddar Crust.  Sound great!  It turned out to be a lot of effort for a disappointing result.  Mrs J swears that she will not try this one again.20161108_1511411600x1200This was a pretty good pie.  Somehow I got the water/flour ratio wrong on the dough – it ended up too wet and sticky.  I kneaded in more flour but gave up and poured it onto the pan.  It got an Awesome Sauce base for the mozzarella, onions, mushrooms, sausage, and ham.20161106_1055061600x1200I broke out my slicer for that big sous vide tenderloin I did, and also sliced some ham.  Most of it I vac-sealed and froze but kept some out for my midwestern version of the classic Cubano sammich.20161031_1357191600x1200More chili!  This is about half chorizo and half ground beef. I don’t usually put sour cream on mine but many people do.  I can take it or leave it.  It does make for a pretty picture, so there’s that.20161103_1701261600x1200I used the slow cook feature on the toaster oven, they got 2 hours on high and some more time on the low setting because we weren’t quite ready to eat.  I used a flat lid for the shallow pan and it touched the chicken quarter, that’s the black patch on the thigh.  The rest was quite tender, the leg came off as I plated it.20161105_1206141600x1200Here’s another sammich made with the pork and ham I sliced.  I need to make more slaw, bake more beans, and make another potato salad.20161109_1619231600x1200Classic spaghetti with meat sauce.  When the pasta drained after cooking, instead of spooning some sauce into it I used half a stick of butter that I zapped in the microwave with several cloves of garlic.  Add a little Parmesan and you can eat it just like that but I like a nice meat sauce.  Mrs J isn’t fond of mushrooms so I sauteed a few to top my plate with as a garnish instead of mixing them into the sauce.dsc03224-1600x1200Here’s a few kittehs.


20161015_1710571600x1200I like chili with beans and tomatoes.  Deal with it.  LOL  And I like to dress it up with cheese and pickled peppers or whatever else I have laying around.  The temps dipped a bit last week and I thought “At Last!” but it looks like my Fall celebration will be ruined with a return to temps in the 80s.  I will console myself with a couple of chili dogs:20161016_1138181600x1200I almost always buy a bunch of green onions and nearly always they grow too old to use before I can get around to them so I used the occasion to chop the white ends for a garnish.  I still have fresh jalapenos!  They are on the small skinny side this late in the season.  I’m thinking about bringing them in to winter under grow lights.

Sammich Pr0n – Chili Cheese Dogs

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Sammich Pr0n – Chili Cheese Dogs

DSC_1903 (1600x1060)I used the King Arthur bun recipe for these, the recipe is great but my bun-fu is still weak.  I have another batch working right now, I’ll do it divided 12 ways rather than 16, most of the buns in this first batch are a bit skinny but I did manage to find a few that were just right.20160312_121325[1] (1600x1060)


DSC_1277 (1600x1060)Mmm… chili!  I’m convinced this is the only way to prepare chili: Chop up a beef roast, add pork, onions, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, chili sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, anchovy paste, fish sauce, salt, and whatever else that looks appropriate because I’m sure my list isn’t exhaustive.  Let all that marinate over night and cook it with more onions and chopped peppers before adding beans and more of whatever it needs in the way of chili powders and garlic.  This batch has minced bell peppers and a couple of jalapenos and is relatively mild.  Serranos or habaneros will up the heat to suit a more jaded palate.DSC_1264 (1600x1060)It’s hard to beat a decent ribeye.  Easy to cook and easy to eat.  We’ve taken to roasting potato halves cut side down with olive oil and kosher salt.20151030_082843[1] (1600x1060)Here’s Homer! He thinks he’s a dog.  Yet to catch a mole but not for lack of effort.  I have to say, we have plenty of moles for everyone to chase.  Jack is a champion mole catcher and Annie lends a hand.  I just wish they would fill the holes back up.DSC_1279 (1600x1060)Usually I make chili mac with plain boiled pasta but this time I ladled the chili over mac ‘n cheese.  I like these new dishes.PICT2464 (1600x1060)Mrs J has just organized a dog walk and the crew charges out into the yard, eager to see what’s new.  First stop is always the spot where she dumps corn and sunflower seeds – there are always new scents to savor.PICT1433 (1600x1060)I’m going to throw this up again, just because.  The shutter has tripped for some reason during that period where the light is low enough that the camera sensor has switched to night IR mode but there is still plenty to illuminate the whole scene.DSC_1268 (1600x1060)Burritos!  These are filled with roast pork, refried beans, and cheddar cheese.  We like burritos, they make an easy meal out of leftovers of all kinds – just about anything you can wrap a tortilla around.DSC_1281 (1600x1060)

Mmm… chili

DSC_1187 (1600x1060)That beef roast we used to make the veggie beef soup yesterday was plenty big to allow for leftovers.  Chili sounded good, what with the nighttime temps dipping into the 40s.  I almost brought out the meat grinder for the beef but decided against it in favor of a knife.  I left it in the freezer for a tad too long so it was more frozen than firm but my knife is sharp and I am able to bring a lot of weight to bear.  It ended up in a 1/4 inch dice – almost a mince.  I added the same amount of pork sausage, ending with 2 pounds or so in total.  I wanted to try a marinade so I put the meat into a stainless bowl and drizzled in rice vinegar and soy sauce, sprinkled on garlic powder, onion powder, and various chili powders, grated in half a big onion, diced and added the remainder, several minced garlic cloves, a couple cups of chopped peppers (green bell, poblano, jalapeno), salt, pepper, dry mustard, brown sugar, and maybe a few things more,  I’m sure I’m  forgetting something but this is most of it and should suffice.  I sealed that all into a plastic container and left it in the fridge overnight.20151011_103627[1] (1600x1060)

Cooking it down today was by far the easiest part.  Cook the meat and marinade in small batches and dump those into a bigger pot.  I like my Dutch oven for that.  Once you have the big pot going add your favorite beans and canned tomatoes – I like the tomato bits with green chilies.  I also stir in tomato paste or sauce, depending on how liquid it is, and bring out my secret weapon – anchovy paste.  A tablespoon will do and it adds a nice “something” I’d have trouble describing.  We’ve borrowed a word from the Japanese that covers it: umami.  Let it simmer for a couple of hours on the stove top, or in a 325 oven.  Add water as needed.



Friday Recipe Exchange: Bring on the Veggies

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I thought as the farm stand season winds down it would be fun to focus on recipes that take advantage of super fresh produce before it all disappears.

I was going to make an Eggplant Parmesan for the featured recipe but never got around to it, so I went with the Chili Rellenos Casserole instead.

To get started, a fresh and tangy Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad, recipe here.

These Marinated Mushrooms (recipe here) sounded good and could be used as an appetizer or sliced into a salad.

Pizza is great way to get have a fun and flavorful vegetarian dinner. JeffreyW always does pizzas right and his Margherita Pizza  (picture above) is no exception.  Click here for his recipe and lots of photos.

This week’s dinner menu sticks with the veggie theme: Pasta with Marinated Vegetables and Bruschetta. Menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

And finally, for the pet lovers, Bixby checked in this week, spoiler alert there was a bath and a stuffed monkey.

What’s cooking in your kitchen this weekend? Have any cool weather recipes to share?

Tonight’s featured recipe, quick, easy and oh, so good:

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Chili Rellenos Casserole

  • 2-7 oz cans whole green chilies
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 16 oz shredded 4-blend Mexican cheese
  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into wide strips
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz salsa
  • ¼ cup milk
  • salt & pepper
  •  ½ tsp crushed garlic
  •  ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro ( Italian parsley or fresh basil if you hate cilantro)

bowl, 8×8 glass baking dish, greased

Drain and seed peppers. Layer 1/3 of the peppers in the bottom of baking dish, top with 1/3 onions, 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 tortilla strips. Repeat to make three layers. Beat together eggs, salsa, milk, spices and cilantro. Pour evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35-40 minutes until fluffy and center is set.

That’s it for this week. Have a fun and safe weekend. – TaMara