The Grapes of Kitteh

Zander found a new secret spot – hiding under the grape arbor. I was about to accuse him of leaving the backyard, which would mean he couldn’t go outside for a few days. But there he was. Enjoying the peace and quiet.

Well, until I started taking his photos, then he was all complaints about disturbing him.

Speaking of grapes, the vines are still full and finally took off the bird netting so the squirrels and birds can enjoy them. My freezer is full up of grape juice



 

Tidbits

Here’s half of the kitteh crew, the youngest half.  They’ve arranged themselves on the tree by order of seniority – Bitsy on top, Ginger Boy, and Ollie, the newest addition.I tried a couple of those refrigerated pizza crusts that come rolled up in parchment paper.  I figured they couldn’t be too bad.  I figured wrong.  Those roasted garlic cloves were very good – cooked at 400 for 45 minutes or so.I peeked into the oven after 14 minutes and saw that the crust edge had little or no color so I gave them a few minutes more.  That was a bad call.  The edge was hard and tough, the rest was just tough.  I have a tube of pizza dough that they package like the biscuits that you rap on the counter edge to pop open.  I’ll give that a go but my hopes for it are limited.It’s getting to be soup weather – the temps are below 90 and that is what we call fall weather these days.  I made a potato soup – boil some ham hocks in chicken stock with onions for an hour or two then add chopped potatoes and continue to simmer until they are soft enough to run a stick blender.  Take out the ham and set aside to cool, run the blender, then pick the meat off the hock and return to the soup.  I added a splash of half and half and melted in a handful of shredded cheddar but that’s optional.I still had a package of sour mustard greens that were an ingredient in this dish – pork belly with mustard greens.  I thawed some of the pork belly I had saved from our last trip to our supplier to use in this and I have the rest of it curing for homemade bacon.  Still have a few days left before that will be ready.I thawed a brick of the last batch of red beans and made a new batch of rice to go with it.  I can see why Louis Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours”Tsk tsk, I see Homer has been out frog hunting again.  He’d best hope he doesn’t step in a snapping turtle’s open maw.

Tidbits

20160820_165325(1600x1200)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.  20160820_121405(1600x1200)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.20160819_084715(1600x1200)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.DSC03691(1600x1200)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.20160819_191640(1600x1200)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.20160820_130228(1600x1200)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.20160821_114622(1600x1200)Sunday Lunch!  We love those teeny-weeny breakfast sausages.  I have a gob of my green jalapeno jam on the french toast.

Tidbits

20160805_122754(1600x1200)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.20160802_135441(1600x1200)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.IMG_20160803_172131769(1600x1200)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.20160805_151713(1600x1200)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.DSC03671(1600x1200)Shelter kitteh!  This is Sadie, a very confident looking feline.  She will make a fine companion to any human fortunate enough to adopt her.IMG_20160719_193408366(1600x1200)Katie and Gabe pause for a minute by the pond.

Tidbits

DSC_0623 (1600x1060)We had a nice caprese salad with a burger today for lunch – pearl mozzarella with grape tomatoes and shredded basil with olive oil and a balsamic glaze.DSC_5400 (1600x1060)Our habaneros are starting to ripen.  I have a good crop of jalapenos coming along but none have started to turn red, yet.DSC02562 (1600x1060)This is one of Mrs J’s favorites.  She’s a Maine Coon mix, named Clara Bell, and staff estimate her age to be 2-1/2 years.  Those eyes!DSC_0619 (1600x1060)The King Arthur better buns recipe works great for hoagie rolls!DSC_0616 (1600x1060)This roll isn’t from that batch but it is the same recipe.  Sloppy joes are a family fave.DSC02547 (1600x1060)Moar kitteh!  This is Donald, a 3 month old male, one of a litter of 5.  Mrs J tells me that this is “kitten season” at the shelter.  St Francis’ new building has a room set aside just for kittens.  They spend all day playing outside of their cages:DSC02552 (1600x1060)

DSC_0610 (1600x1060)We don’t eat sammiches all the time.  LOL

Tidbits

PICT9603 (1600x1060)Random wildlife – Ginger checks out a backyard visitor.  This was captured by the backyard camera in a happy accident.  There is a setting on the camera that allows you to space the time between shots and we have it set for 5 minutes, iirc.  That cuts down on the number of pictures it will take if, say, the deer here stays and mills around for a while but it may miss whatever shows up during that hiatus.DSC_0559 (1600x1060)I mentioned the other day that I bought the ingredients for mojo marinade thinking about doing a pork butt for a more authentic Cubano sandwich.  I marinated this one overnight then roasted it low and slow.  It was covered for most of the cooking time but I did take the lid off for the last 30 minutes.DSC_0561 (1600x1060)Here’s the sandwich I had in mind the whole time.  It’s basically a layered assembly of Swiss cheese, pickles, ham, and the mojo pork.  The bun halves are smeared with mustard, the other components assembled, and cooked in a grill press.  These are great tasting sammiches even without the mojo, any roast pork will work fine.DSC_0576 (1600x1060)Mrs J planted some cucumbers in with some clematis where it climbs up a wired in enclosure down on the south side of the house and the vines are starting to produce.  (You can just barely see them in the picture with Ginger and the deer, above.)  We had a couple rounds of the classic cucumber, tomato, and onions with vinegar and oil so we used the last half dozen to put together a refrigerator pickle recipe.  Can’t wait to try them, we’ll give them a week to come together but I’ll bet they get better after that.  DSC02505 (1600x1200)Kitteh!  This is one of several in a litter at the shelter, I have no more info than that, alas.DSC_0570 (1600x1060)Mrs J saw a much earlier photo of roast pork and gravy on egg noodles and she remembered that she really liked it and we haven’t had that in a long time and we do have some roast pork and egg noodles, don’t we?  She who must be obeyed!  The fact that these were slices from the mojo pork butt made no difference.  I simmered the slices in chicken stock with onions, colored it with Kitchen Bouquet, added a bit of beef soup flavoring and thickened it with corn starch.  Not the ideal gravy but it worked well enough!PICT1343 (1600x1060)More random wildlife – a few wild turkeys browsing for insects, I assume.  This camera is on the opposite side of the house and is looking North.  It doesn’t get nearly as much action as the one overlooking the spot where Mrs J scatters corn and sunflower seeds but we see a fair selection of critters.  I understand that they have cameras with wi-fi transmitters built in that can broadcast their captures to a centrally located receiver.  Sounds interesting, we gather the memory cards and view the take via a screen in the house.  From what I’ve seen the wi-fi range isn’t far enough to be all that useful for us.

Tidbits

It’s been a week or so since the cicadas emerged from their 17 year dirt nap and they are making up for lost time.DSC_0437 (1600x1060)I tried a box mix onion ring batter for these and didn’t much like the result although I did manage to choke a few down.  The sammich is a turkey salad made with a generous amount of crumbled crispy bacon with celery and sweet relish.  Much better than the rings.DSC_0429 (1600x1060)I posted a photo of this chicken while still on the grill the other day.  Here it is plated with the baked beans and a few cold sides.DSC02319 (1600x1060)Post needz moar kitteh!  I don’t know anything about this one other than it will be available for adoption soon.DSC_5324 (1600x1060)I don’t have many pictures of Toby that don’t have him giving me a suspicious glare.  Look up scaredy-cat in the dictionary and there he is.DSC_0443 (1600x1060)I don’t make compound butters very often but I really should pick up my game.  This one is a dill butter with a drop of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne and it went really well with this lemon butter fish filet.