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.
That 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.
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.
I’ve been playing with that Prisma app on my Android phone, it isn’t much good on close-ups of food on a plate but when there are a couple of well defined objects in a photo it does some interesting things:There is a crop function built into the app, but the different filters do all of the heavy lifting. There is a fair selection of them, I like some better than others but that’s a subjective thing. YMMVI like the mosaic filter a lot.This one, meh. I don’t know why it’s picking up red in the nose on Gabe.I like this one pretty well.
Mmm… wings! These spent the night in a bag with a dry rub, Toss with a little oil and arrange them on a rack in a tray and cook at 400, turn every 15 minutes. At the 30 minute mark I turned them again and set a timer for 10 minutes because another 15 seemed like it would be too much. TaMara just got a convection oven and that reminds me that I almost always use the convection fan when I bake so conventional ovens might need more time or a higher temp. The wing sauce on these is the basic hot sauce plus butter and a tablespoon or 2 of honey. Not to gross you out but I had a small pot with Scotch Bonnet peppers and the other day I was surprised to see that a caterpillar had eaten everything but the bark on the stems, leaving nothing but a skeleton and a few seeds, plus a pile of worm turds. He had eaten some leaves on an adjoining pepper plant. I looked high an low for the miscreant with no luck. I decided to scrap out the pot and when I busted up the root ball I discovered the culprit – he had burrowed in.Homie! He’s a habit of begging for some laser dot play every morning, he pops his head up for a second before dashing back to his starting gate, the small house in the cat tree in the background of the photo. I was waiting for him the other day with my camera phone poised and caught him. Yes, I turned the coffee cup beforehand, hoping for just this shot.We’ve taken to eating breakfast for lunch. These are BELT sammiches less the tomato and lettuce.I wish someone would adopt Susie. She very affectionate, gets along well in the play group, runs to greet anyone entering the cat’s room, loves getting scritches. She’s about 6 years old and has been at the shelter for half that time. Mrs J is perplexed and saddened that no one has taken her home with them.Ham and cheese on a hoagie roll with lots of chopped lettuce, onions, and sliced peppers in vinaigrette. These are always good and don’t require any cooking.We had some wild rice mix leftover. Add broth, some chicken leftovers, cheese, milk, and a few broccoli florets and you have a delicious soup. We like our soups rather thick so this has corn starch for the thickening agent, another way to go about getting to the same place would involve a roux started in the soup pot before anything else was added.Sunday Lunch! We love those teeny-weeny breakfast sausages. I have a gob of my green jalapeno jam on the french toast.
Gabe wears his harness well, don’t you think? He’s still unable to get onto the couch without help, that won’t be true for much longer. He tends to stay there until someone helps him down which is a good thing.Another batch of hoagie rolls, this time laid out correctly. These are great with the Italian beef I made the other day.They are also useful for lunchmeat sammiches! Reminds me – I need to make some slaw and probably more round buns, for the smoked pork.Gabe is trying to play with Homer kitteh but Homie is still wary of the boy. I think when Gabe settles down Home Boy will be much more receptive.I mentioned Awesome Sauce the other day. These 5 half-pints are the result of a five gallon bucket full of tomatoes, simmered the day long with many cloves of garlic, onions, carrots, and a bunch of fresh garden herbs, It is the perfect pizza sauce.Shelter kitteh! This is Sadie, a very confident looking feline. She will make a fine companion to any human fortunate enough to adopt her.Random sammich of the week! Pulled pork with slaw, and a couple of worthy sides.Katie and Gabe pause for a minute by the pond.
The last buns I made didn’t turn out very well so I went looking for another recipe. Google returned a recipe from the folks at King Arthur Flour that promised beautiful buns. I’m not going to argue that they’re the bestest evah! but they are very good.The recipe made 8 jumbo buns but could easily make 12 regular sized ones. My oven is still running hot, these were in my oven, set for 375 degrees, for only 12 minutes or so. I think if you go by the color you will be alright. You’ll want to set a timer for half what you think is long enough so you can rotate the tray and that will give you a good idea of where you are.I made cheeseburgers to give them a real world try out and they did very well. If they had been officers in the Great War they would have been mentioned in dispatches.Bonus photo! Homer wants very much to be a dog. He gets along much better with the dogs than he does the other cats.
I was startled the other day when my smart phone went nuts with a loud warbling alarm that I was sure I hadn’t set. I scrambled over to it and found that it was relaying a tornado warning from the National Weather Service. We dodged the tornado but did get some big wind, we had some trees damaged and lost power when several power poles up the road a ways were knocked down.The electric company crews were quickly on scene and had the power back in just a few hours. Good thing the damage was localized and not widespread – they must of had 10 utility vehicles out for these few poles.Here’s a kitty for you, part of a new litter at St Francis. Kitteh has four siblings: Mrs J says kitteh momma is a real gem!These are Cubano style sammys, pastrami instead of ham, provolone, roast pork, yellow mustard and pickles. It was done up in a small grill press.Here’s Homer! He’s sad because the garden is getting a little long in the tooth.A basic burger on a poppy seed roll. I still have a jalapeno growing on the patio but Mrs J has her sights set on it and I won’t be able to hold her off much longer. You just can’t beat a fresh jalapeno. The sides are from the store deli counter, a German potato salad and a slaw they had labeled as a summer salad. I recognized it a a dish we tried to replicate a while back. It’s good.Here’s another kitteh. He’s not one from the litter above. Mrs J says they have a lot of cats and kittens at the shelter and they are running out of room. (hint hint)
It got cold enough the other night to freeze the little bird bath thing. Bonus! – Homer in the window keeping an eye on me. It’s a good thing my container garden, so far, isn’t any larger, it just barely fits onto the cart. I wheel it into the garage for the night.I noticed a spike in my view count at Flickr, Buzzfeed linked to one of my photos and I blew right through 3 million total views while we were eating dinner. I had hoped to get a screenshot of the stat page right at 3,000,000 but I missed it:Here are a couple of Chicago style hot dogs. I was surprised how good they are. Everything on there adds something to the experience. I have no idea why the bright green relish became standard on these things. [Note to self: remember the celery salt next time]We’ve looked hard at this photo from the trail camera we keep down by the back pond and I think it is an albino raccoon. I could be mistaken. There is a hint of color on the tail and there is probably a term other than “albino” that better describes what it is but I’m not going to look for it.