Sammich Pr0n

The gas grill sputtered empty mid-cook, we had a spare bottle handy but that one is nearly out, too.  Maybe a trip to town next week to swap them both out for full.  I hate to go during the weekend because crowds.  Those delicious Vidalias are in season – I love a thick slice on my burgers.

Tidbits

DSC_0679 (1600x1060)We’ve tapped the jar of refrigerator pickles that we put up a few weeks ago.  They are pretty good but Mrs J thinks they are a tad too spicy.  She has a very low threshold.DSC_0576 (1600x1060)Those red pepper flakes are from last year’s crop of cayennes and are definitely hotter than the generic pepper flakes sold at the local food mart.  I think Mrs J’s first sample included a flake that spent a second too long on her tongue.DSC02662 (1600x1200)This is Henrietta, she was brought in as a feral kitty a few weeks ago but has settled into the shelter routine and is friendly enough.  She’s been fixed and vaccinated and is ready for adoption.DSC_0665 (1600x1060)This looks like chicken fried steak but it’s with pork tenderloin instead of cubed beefsteak.  The potatoes were brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and then roasted.  I zap the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes to speed things up.DSC02684 (1600x1200)Moar kitteh!  This is Elizabeth, she was one of a litter of five that had been born feral and then captured and brought in to be fixed.  Shelter staff really fell for her and persuaded the Good Samaritan to leave her with them rather than be returned to barn.DSC_0663 (1600x1060)Mmm… meatloaf!  No particular recipe for this one but I did use several fresh herbs from the patio garden – oregano and sage and parsley.  I will comment on the sauce, it’s equal parts ketchup and bbq sauce with a dollop of my pepper jelly mixed in.  Very good on this!  The potato got the same treatment as described above:  Zapped in the microwave, then oiled, salted, and roasted cut side down until browned.  We are getting enough tomatoes and cucumbers to keep a container of the summer-y salad going.  It gets a vinaigrette of vinegar and canola oil with oregano and thyme and is always better after being in the fridge overnight.DSC02646 (1600x1200)One last kitteh!  This is Ida, she’s been at the shelter a while.  Staff estimate her age to be a year and a half.  They comment that she was a little withdrawn when she came to the shelter three or four months ago but that she has warmed up to everyone now.  Such a pretty kitty!  Mrs J fed her a bit of chicken from her lunch the other day and says Ida now greets her with head bumps and purrs.

Tidbits

DSC_4847 (1600x1060)Lots of praying mantises today.  This one had a hold on a hummingbird before Mrs J, hearing a small commotion in the bush, reached in to rescue it.  She said she thought it was hung in a spiderweb at first and only saw the mantis when the bird’s foot didn’t come clear.DSC_4857 (1600x1060)This fellow is in the coleus but isn’t the same one from the other day.  That one had green eyes.  I’m not sure if mantises can change colors, a quick search found answers all over the map.  Some said yes, some no, and a few were firmly in the sometimes camp.DSC_4855 (1600x1060)I’m pretty sure this one is the same one from before.  He is in a green coleus right next to the vari-colored one, both of them in pots Mrs J has set in the shade of a small crabapple tree.DSC_4858 (1600x1060)My habaneros are loving this August heat.  I picked this bush once already and there are as many ripe now as before.  These are more than I will use.  Need any?DSC_8964 (1600x1060)We’re loving the big slicer tomatoes the garden is producing.  They are perfect for BLTs, or BELTs, as is the case here.DSC_4845 (1600x1060)Toby is still not sure I won’t do something to him he won’t like.  Ginger plays with him quite a bit and Toby doesn’t seem to mind, but let Homer come by and there will be trouble.  Toby has taken a serious dislike to that boy and we’ve had to separate them lest fur fly and the dogs become fearful for their own safety.DSC_8971 (1600x1060)I’ll close with a few more sammiches.  I fired up the panini press for this reuben and all the cheese ran out.  The pickle is a bread and butter spear.  Tasty!DSC_8968 (1600x1060)Last is a mushroom Swiss burger.  I sauteed some brown buttons in butter and olive oil, added beef stock with cornstarch for a thickener, and ladled them all over the cheese covered patty.  It’s a classic burger recipe, and for good reason.

Kitchen Fun

DSC_8900 (1600x1060)While we were at the store yesterday looking for cake ingredients we went ahead and bought some ground beef for a couple of quick burgers.  Hard to beat burgers grilled over a flame.  There was a fair amount of beef leftover so we bounced a few ideas around.  Mrs J mentioned sloppy joes and that sounded pretty good.  I went to the patio to grab some sweet peppers to go into the dish and brought in a few.  As I was breaking them down I thought it a waste to let those cute little peppers go unstuffed.DSC_8914 (1600x1060)Before long I had them filled with a mix of taco seasoned beef and nacho cheese sauce and topped with shredded cheddar and Monterey jack.  They went into a 350 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.DSC_8916 (1600x1060)We had settled on a Nacho centered meal by this time what with the ground beef seasonings and cheeses already to hand.  We needed another dish to round out the menu, Mrs J suggested making more of the black bean and corn salsa:DSC_8925 (1600x1060)We have cherry tomatoes ripe again so they went in, as did 3 ears of sweet corn with the kernels shaved off the cob.  There are several varieties of peppers chopped up in there, a few green onions, a can of rinsed black beans, salt, black pepper, and a dash of lime juice in with a rice vinegar dressing.  It’s pretty good.DSC_8921 (1600x1060)Everything came together nicely on a platter.  I piled the chips on a toaster oven tray and sprinkled them with a good handful of the shredded cheeses and then popped it into the toaster oven under the broiler to melt the cheeses.  The whole pile slid right onto the platter and then I really piled on the extras:  the taco seasoned beef, some of that corn salsa, sliced jalapenos, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, guacamole, New Mexico green chili salsa, more green onions, and a good grind of dried chili seasonings.

Enjoy!DSC_8923 (1600x1060)

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

DSC_8586 (1600x1060)Mrs J made her first banana cream pie.  She did good.  She bought some Jell-O brand pudding mix but decided to go from scratch using this recipe she found online.  We have a can of cream of tartar that is at least 30 years old.  It’s got the little oval tin lid that presses into the top.  All such items these days have a plastic top of some sort but this one is old school.DSC_8595 (1600x1060)I imagine we will still have the same can for longer yet.  I don’t think it goes bad if kept properly, at least this can is still good.DSC_8591 (1600x1060)Time for a kitteh!DSC00181 (1600x1060)Both the kitteh and the staffer have a “what’s that thing” look.DSC_8584 (1600x1060)Hamburgers are par for the course come grilling season and I’m not too old burn my share.  You can’t get that grilled taste unless you grill them.  We finished off the deviled eggs with the burgers this evening.  These are half mayo, half sour cream blended into the yolks and they are garnished with bacon bits, chopped chives, and paprika.DSC00190 (1600x1060)This little girl was found abandoned in a field.  She was staying close to a bag of kibble that was torn open and left with her.  So the owner was not a total bastard.DSC_8577 (1600x1060)I seasoned a rack of baby backs and wrapped them in foil and set them cooking in a 300 oven, figuring I would mow the yard while they braised in their own liquids, and finish them on the grill.  It was a good plan but they fell apart while I was trying to transfer them so I ended up just setting them on the warming rack with the top off the foil package and basting with sauce while the corn and squash grilled.

The squash got a marinade of lemon juice, chopped fresh thyme, garlic, white vinegar, and olive oil.  That worked great!  I’ve been experimenting with different seasonings for the sweet corn.  Old Bay works pretty well, but the Creole seasoning I used on these was perfect.DSC00137 (1600x1060)Moar kittehs!  This little boy was rescued from a kill shelter.  St Francis had a little extra room and took several off of death row.  The other kittehs in this post were in that same batch.DSC_8550 (1600x1060)I didn’t know where to put this pan of baked beans so I’ll just leave it here.

Friday Dinner Exchange: Holiday Weekend Grilling

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I have a four day weekend and most of it is supposed to be wild and windy weather, so  grilling will most likely have to wait. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have  grilling recipes. These all seem to be favorites based on comments, views and requests.

First up, the basics of grilling a good steak are here.

Next is one of my most requested recipes in the summer, Steak with Coffee Rub (click here). There is an entire dinner menu and shopping list at the link.

There are nine different hamburger recipes here, including Stuffed Burgers (pictured above) and veggie Black Bean Cheddar Burgers.

And finally, a few grilled chicken recipes, including Sunrise Chicken and Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken are at this link.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Staying home or hitting the road? What are some of your favorite grilling recipes? Hit the comments and share. Be safe this holiday weekend, and don’t forget to thank a vet.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one of my favorites, because, well, blueberries!

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

  •  2 cups frozen wild blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1 lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saucepan and small bowl

Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well if you coat the steak with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal.  Goes great with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, I did post the Blueberry Upside Down Cake photos and recipe here. Later this weekend, I will finally have my gadget review for my robot “butler”.  Have a great holiday weekend – TaMara

 

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Mmm… sliders!

 

Take two!  They’re small…I am still making refinements to my method.  The patties never really touched the griddle, they were each laid atop a mound of very thin sliced onions and all were then covered with a sheet of foil.  The onions slowly cooked and added their steam, and that cooked the burger.  I topped them with shredded cheddar when they were done cooking, turned off the flame and replaced the foil while the cheese melted.  Pickles and mustard finished them.