Tartar Sauce

I bought some anchovies the other day just for inclusion in a tartar sauce recipe.  Saw one of the TV chefs toss some into his sauce and he bragged on how they added a little something extra.  I Googled around and came up here.

I went the entire from scratch route, made the mayo, then used that in the tartar recipe.  The recipe calls for sweet pickles-I switched to dill, and it wants shallots but I only had regular onions so I used those.  The rest went as described in the recipe.

My mayo came out too thin, other than that the sauce was a success.  Not a mayo pro here–what does a too thin mayo need?  More eggs, more oil, more time at a whirl?

Gumbo

I’ve got nothin.  Reached back into the archives for some gumbo.  Pictures are captioned, mostly.  I mention the “trinity”-onions, bell peppers, and celery.  You don’t need much in the way of seasonings other than what you see in the pics.  Ground red pepper or hot sauce will make it as hot as you want.  Set a bottle of Tabasco on the table.  Salt to taste.

Enjoy!

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Steak Fajitas

Oh boy, this was gonna be a killer slide show, pretty platings and y’all’d a been droolin.  Sigh.  Mess up the settings on the camera and didn’t fix it till I was done.  Hey-I was hungry and the food was getting cold!  It was pretty!  Trust me!  Ha

Anyway, I started out by making an ancho chili sauce that was a hit with Mrs J before.  Seeded several chilies and tore them into smaller pieces and simmered them with some garlic cloves for maybe an hour or so.  I let that cool, then dumped everything into my trusty blender and pureed it all.  I added some oil, and some sweetener, and some lime juice.  Came out looking pretty good.  Flour tortillas ready to warm, the steak and veggies sliced, some spinach leaves for color, the sour cream whipped up, tomatoes diced.  We were set on go!  I did salvage some pics from this wreck, let’s see them:

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Adventures in Salad Dressing

I was wanting to use those bean sprouts before they went bad, was thinking Asian salad of some sort. Deploying my awesome Google skilz in a search for an Asian salad dressing I ran across this recipe. It makes way more than I really wanted so I winged the proportions:  Used 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and scaled the rest of the liquids from that.  Did go relatively heavy on the ginger.  Didn’t want to open a can of tomato paste for just a dab so I used a squirt of ketchup.  Used a half of a shallot left over from yesterday instead of the onion.  It was good as it stood, but what’s cooking if you can’t wing it, eh?  Added some sweetener and a splash of mirin, and that helped it.  Still…decided to add some lime juice.  Added a scant tablespoon and WOW!  Heh, Maybe I just didn’t add enough lemon juice the first time.

Oh, the salad:  Hover the mouse pointer over the pic for the ingredients.  As always here, click the pic for bigger.  Hmm…new tag line:  Click the Pic!

gadget corner

This little jewel, or something like it, is well worth buying:This one is a Kyocera brand, plastic construction, ceramic blade. it comes with a veggie holding device meant to keep your fingers intact, but it’s so poorly thought out it’s useless.  I just don’t try to get that last slice off the bit I’m holding.  Use your own good sense, I’m not telling you to do stupid stuff blah blah blah.  Ahem…It does a good job, remember to not cut yourself!  It will adjust slice thickness, 3 or 4 settings IIRC.  But enough about the gadget!  Let’s make some more slaw!   I used the last of my slaw on that sammich last night.For this batch I used half a smallish head of cabbage, some bell peppers in various colors and half an onion. [late edit: grated in some carrot to help with the color.]  Mix all the sliced veggies, maybe chop them with a knife a little because the sliced stuff may be a little long to look right in the bowl, and add your dressing and seasonings.  I used a bit of veggie oil (made the mistake of using good olive oil once-in the fridge it wants to turn into a greasy solid, not good), some white wine vinegar and some rice vinegar.  I also sprinkled some sweetener in, you can use sugar or do without.  Some kosher salt and several grinds of pepper.  The salt helps to pull water out of the slaw, softens it a bit.  This is better after it has sat in the fridge for a few hours.  It will last a long time, more than a week I know, but it often is eaten before that.  Great by itself as a side but my favorite use is piled high on a sammich.

Enjoy!

Microwave Myths and Popcorn Withdrawal

“Mom, I almost called you this week, because I forgot how to make popcorn.”  The reason is, I own neither a microwave or an air popper.  We had a good laugh as I relayed my popcorn adventures, which seems to be the final stop on my year without a microwave.

A year ago I became a household without a microwave.  I figured I’d last a month before I’d have to breakdown and get a new one.  But the month came and went and I found I did not miss it as much as I thought I would.  Reheating leftovers?  Quicker and more evenly heated in a small saucepan.  Cooking?  I never really cooked anything in one, so I didn’t miss that.  I mostly used mine for melting butter, reheating leftovers and making popcorn.  But for almost everything that I thought the microwave was quicker at heating, living without one proved it really isn’t quicker or easier.  So time went on and I never felt compelled to get a new microwave.

With one exception: popcorn.  I really don’t like air popped popcorn and microwave bags seemed quick and easy. Well, except when you burn the bag.  And I missed popcorn.  So last week I bought a bag of kernels, deciding I’d make it the old-fashioned way.  That was until I put the pan on the stove and realized I probably hadn’t made it this way in 30 years and had no idea how.  It wasn’t the ingredients:  hot oil, popcorn kernels, butter and salt.  But the proportions had me stumped.  A little research, a little experimentation and I now have the perfect bowl of popcorn.  And it is 10x better than any microwave bag.  So I guess it will be quite sometime before I become a microwave household again.

Perfect Popcorn for One

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp popcorn kernels
  • 2 tsp butter
  • salt to taste

2 qt saucepan

Put oil and 3 kernels of corn in covered saucepan with heat on high.  When 1 kernel pops, add remaining corn, cover, reduce heat to medium-high and shake constantly until popping slows to very far apart.  Turn off heat, add butter, cover again, shake up until you’re sure it’s done popping, add salt and pour into a bowl.  Makes about 2 cups.  If you’re making more, use a larger covered pot and keep the proportions: 1 tsp oil per 1 tbsp of popcorn kernels.