Tom Cat Foolery

I noticed Ginger Boy was taking an interest in the hummers visiting the cigar plant.  I shooed him off and moved the chives onto that space to preclude mischief.

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Sticky Wings

These were a result of two recipes, Alton Brown’s Buffalo Wings for his two step cooking method, and Krista’s Honey Garlic wing recipe for the sauce.  The dumplings are from frozen and were steamed.I steamed the wings in two batches, about ten minutes each, because the basket was small.  The steamed wings were allowed to drain and cool on paper towels before baking on parchment paper at 375 until browned, about 40 minutes more.  Flip the wings over halfway through.Switching the paper for foil, the wings were dipped in the honey garlic sauce and baked until the sauce got bubbly, and then were re-dipped and baked again.  Two thumbs up!

Tidbits

20151231_152309 (1600x1060)Ginger taste tests the doggies’ chow.  Mrs J has a recipe she’s been using to add a little flavor to the regular dry fare.DSC_1916 (2)I’ve always liked this photo of a cardinal and her wingman swooping by a feeder on a bright day against a snowy background.DSC_1637 (1600x1060)Here are those pressure cooker baked beans.  I’ve added some bbq sauce and ketchup because the original beans were a tad dry.  They accompany a sammich of ham salad on dark rye.DSC_2587 (1600x1060)Here’s a whole flock of cardinals, attracted by a pile of seed on the ground.DSC_2637 (1600x1060)And several bluejays take their turn.DSC_1649 (1600x1060)A pretty good tasting chicken noodle soup I made up today to use up a few chicken thighs I did up in a confit the other day.  Mrs J tells me she likes hominy so there is some in there today.DSC_1640 (1600x1060)Here are those chicken thighs I mentioned, with yellow rice and steamed broccoli.  I have the legs quarters and breast of a medium sized turkey salted down, I’ll do a confit with them tomorrow.  All the rest of that turkey is simmering in my stockpot this afternoon.DSC_2731Moar bluejays!

Tidbits

DSC_1595 (1600x1060)I suppose I should open with the Christmas Dinner – the rib roast worked out nicely for us and I’m tickled because it was my first time doing one.  We followed, loosely, the Serious Eats recipe, including the ox tail in red wine for the jus.  I’m a little bummed, I made a nice dressing to go with this and left it, forgotten, in the basement fridge until too late.DSC_1603 (1600x1060)I went ahead today and cooked it, I’ll portion it out and freeze it, then vacuum seal it for later.  It, too, is a recipe from the Serious Eats folks.  I had even used my own patio grown sage for the seasoning:20151224_085628[1] (1600x1060)I picked a paper sack full of leaves from the container plant and let them dry atop the freezer, a nice out of the way spot that stays warm due to the heat exchange system built into the walls of the box.  The food processor made short work of them, reducing the sackful to the not-quite-powder that they label as “rubbed sage” in the retailer’s spice rack.ginger sewing help (1600x1060)Mrs J took a snap of Ginger this afternoon, and it got me to searching for the pictures we took of him and his siblings right after they had been dumped at the neighbor’s house:DSC_4288 (1600x1060)This was taken in October of 2013, they are Ginger’s litter mates but Ginger isn’t among them, we didn’t capture him until 3 or 4 days later – he had evaded the initial round-up.  Mrs J took him to our vet for an evaluation and the vet tech said he hadn’t had anything but grass and leaves to eat for a while.  DSC_1591 (1600x1060)Here’s a ham and Swiss on rye, lightly grilled.  I have a nice beef top round brining in the basement and I wanted to try a couple of rye bread recipes in the machine.  This was a light rye with caraway seeds.  Should be perfect for the corned beef-to-be.20151217_155035 (1600x1060)I mentioned in a post this spring that a neighbor bought a couple of swans they were going to raise along with the goats they’ve been keeping.  I was driving past their place when I looked out the window at the goats browsing on their pond dam and had to do a double take – those swans are nearly as big as the goats!DSC_1598 (1600x1060)Here’s a different angle on that rib platter.  Mrs J is wishing we had bought another one to put back, this one was so good.

Dinner Menu: Food for a Fall Evening

JeffW sends along some garlic bread. ETA: JeffreyW posted recipe in the comments

Tonight’s menu is pretty simple. Use the soup recipe as a starter and add whatever inspires you to supe it up (hee-hee, see what I did there?). I like the ease of frozen vegetables, but use fresh if you’re so inclined. Squash is a nice addition, put it in when you are simmering the meat, it will need the extra cooking time. Turnips, parsnips, maybe some barley. Go crazy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Beef Vegetable Soup
  2. Hearty Bread
  3. Pumpkin Apple Butter

Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 1 lb chuck or stew meat, small cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed basil
  • ½ tsp dry dill
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp fennel seed (opt)
  • 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables

large saucepan

Heat oil in saucepan, add onions and sauté, add beef and brown. Add water, spices and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 20-25 minutes, until beef is tender. Add vegetables and simmer 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 oz apple sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and let cook down for 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Store in the refrigerator. Serve on bread.

Shopping List:

  • Hearty Bread
  • 1 lb chuck or stew meat
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 oz applesauce
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Also: ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, bay leaf, rosemary, basil, dry dill, olive oil crushed garlic, fennel seed

Friday Recipe Exchange: A Dash Less Salt

Cranberry Chicken 3_Snapseed2

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had requests to pull together some of my recipes that go easy on the salt. I found quite a few and this week lemon made the biggest appearance, but tonight’s featured recipes bring in a whole host of other flavors that make it easier to go lighter on the salt.

Reducing salt with out losing flavor can be managed with several steps. First of all, try to use fresh foods whenever possible.  If you begin to read labels you’ll see many packaged foods contain extra fat, salt & sugar that you wouldn’t add if you prepared it fresh. And good, fresh ingredients bring their own flavors to a dish.

When you need to buy something, such as canned tomatoes or frozen vegetables, go with the no-salt version whenever possible. Then you can be in control of the sodium.

Adding flavors that enhance a dish is the key to cutting back on salt. Wine vinegars (especially on potatoes and meats), lemon juice (great for fish, vegetables and chicken), limejuice, and different spice mixes, including peppers, garlic, basil, rosemary, celery seeds, dill, toasted sesame seeds and citrus zest – go wild, try something new, you might surprise yourself – can transform a dish.  You can also buy prepackaged spice mixes to shake on, just make sure to read the label looking for sodium content.

With all that in mind, I went searching through my recipes to find ones that used a dash less salt.

I started the week with Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Chicken and Spinach, recipe here.

This week’s dinner menu (pictured at top) is Cranberry Chicken and Lemon Cheese Cauliflower, click here for menu, recipes and shopping list.

JeffreyW makes a flavorful Shrimp,Ham and Kale in Garlic Lemon Sauce, recipe here.

And finally, click here for Grilled Lemon Salmon with Corn Pepper Relish.

For the pet lovers, lots of pictures of Bixby in the next Bixby Diaries installment here.

How about you, what do you use to spice up a dish? What’s on the menu this weekend?

Tonight I’m featuring a few recipes that bring in some sweet and spicy flavors. These beans and rice are a nice change-up from the standard Wash Day Beans and Rice I usually make.

Caribbean Jerk Beans & Rice

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 lb lean boneless pork, cubed in large pieces
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste (this is a good recipe to substitute white wine vinegar for salt)
  • pepper to taste
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 tsp Caribbean jerk spice (you can buy it or make your own, recipe below)
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro (Italian parsley works well in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of cilantro)
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or substitute dry beans, soaked and cooked)

saucepan & skillet

Add water & rice to saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Heat oil in skillet, add pork and brown on all sides for 5 minutes, add onion, celery, pepper & garlic, sauté for additional 5 minutes. Add tomatoes & spices. Let simmer 15 minutes, add cilantro, black beans and simmer additional 5 minutes, until beans are heated through. Add cooked rice & mix thoroughly.

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons crushed dry thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend together and store tightly covered (I keep old spice jars around for mixtures like this)

Orange-Mango Coleslaw

  • 8 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1-1/2 large mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine cabbage, mangoes, bell peppers, green onions and cilantro in large bowl; stir gently to mix. Add Orange-Mango Dressing; toss gently to coat. Serve, or store in refrigerator up to 1 day.

Orange-Mango Dressing

  • ½ mango, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 6 ounces plain nonfat yogurt
  • ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate (not diluted with water)
  • 3 tablespoons limejuice
  • ½ to 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and rough chopped
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger (substitute 1/2 tsp ground ginger if desired)

Place mango in food processor; process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; process until smooth.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara

 

Tidbits

DSC_5177 (1600x1060)Katie was enjoying the first snow free day a little too much.  It’s a good thing she got her ya yas out because we got more snow:DSC_5186 (1600x1060)It started out with a little sleet but that turned to snow and that fell all day and didn’t taper off till after dark.DSC01872 (1600x1060)

Not quite six inches.  I got out on the tractor today and bladed the drive.DSC_0034 (1600x1060)One of Mrs J’s fortified carrot cakes was reward for my labors.  It’s a box mix with extra shredded carrot, raisins, and crushed pineapple.  Mmm… moist and sweet, especially with the toasted coconut on the cream cheese icing.  There’s a little orange zest sprinkled on there, too.  Smelled great!DSC_0028 (1600x1060)Quesadillas with egg, roasted pork, and cheddar garnished with sour cream and a nice hot sauce.DSC_5175 (1600x1060)Ginger Boy oversees doggie dinner prep.  Mrs J buys dry kibble and leavens it with her own blend of goodies.  She adds cooked chicken, rice, cottage cheese, green beans, sweet potatoes, liver, and ground beef in varying proportion, cooking it up in big pots and freezing it in plastic containers.  The pups love it so she must be doing it right.DSC_0039 (1600x1060)A stir fry with chicken and various veggies over yellow rice.  Not bad but far from my best effort.