The camera we have overlooking a bird feeder on the picnic table always returns lots of photos, most of them are unexceptional but every now and again we see something of note. Ginger Boy is often close by – wondering where all the birds have gone. I was struck by the juxtaposition of these photos and decided to share.
It’s just like crockpot Italian beef, only faster. I’m liking my Instapot cooker more and more. It’s the only way I make stock these days – just pile in the bones and odds and ends of celery and carrots and what-not with water and give it an hour on the timer and you’re golden.
Anyway back to the beef – sear a good chunk of that on sale chuck or what have you, cover it with some of your stock, add a couple of coarsely chopped onions, a handful of garlic, Italian seasonings (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley), and a jar of pickled pepperoncini. The peppers are not as important as the juice. You can add some red pepper flake to spice it up. I set the timer for 75 minutes – it was easily shreddable when done,I baked some rolls to go with the beef. I’ve been using the reliable KA bun recipe for several years now. My hamburger buns usually turn out better looking than these hoagie type rolls but I’m working on that.Bonus Bea pic!
Every morning I check the nesting box, unsure the ducks even know how to use it. There is actually a fake egg in there- the guy who sold me the coop said it was an “encouragement” egg. I tried not to roll my eyes. But, this morning when I opened up the hatch, I was surprised to see another egg there.
I can’t tell you whose egg it is – both Blue Swedish and Rouens have bluish eggs. But good to see someone in this house is earning their keep.
Zander has been on squirrel patrol all week, here he is scolding the squirrel for daring to come down the tree:
French toast and those teeny breakfast sausages are a big hit around here, Mrs J is up for this anytime. Me, too!This is another Harvey rescue. Cute as a button and already adopted. SQUEEE!Kroger has these chicken quarters on sale pretty often. I think they are asking about $1/lb. I usually buy several packages and put them away in vacuum bags.Crinkle fries and baked beans with the chicken are just perfect. Mrs J is the crinkle fries fan, but I’m no slouch at putting them away.More of that crockpot Italian beef, this one on a deli bought roll.This is a really hopeful looking kitteh. It’s not a Harvey rescue but don’t let that stop you! http://www.stfrancis-care.org/One moar!I just pulled this lasagna from the oven. It’s made with those no boil noodles. We are going to have it for dinner tonight and I’ll have more photos later.
St Francis sent a crew down to Texas with pet food and bedding to help out with the Harvey effort. They brought back some cats and dogs to help make space for the influx the shelters down there were experiencing. These were animals that were in the shelters pre-Harvey. This is one of those – he has since been adopted out to a family with two boys who seem thrilled to have him.Sliders-to-be! I’ve had the best luck by starting these on a bed of thin sliced onions. A mandoline is perfect for this. I add a wee splash of olive oil to the onion pile before laying the on the patty. Cook on med-low until the onion browns a little then flip it over. Give it a minute then add cheese and a pickle slice or two.
The swallowtail caterpillars are busy on the parsley. I framed this shot to get the most caterpillars I could in it, there were a few more on the plant. I don’t begrudge the loss of the parsley because I like the butterflies they turn into.Random chicken noodle soup. I add a little sesame oil and a dash of Chinese five spice to give it a little Asian flavor. I love love love to dip the grilled cheese into the broth – Heaven!Random shelter kitteh – this is not one of the Harvey rescues – they were still in quarantine due to a treatable but highly contagious skin condition. This handsome boy is named Netsi, he was born in June and is available, hint hint.This is Riley, a girl born in May. Like Netsi, she is waiting for a human to call her own.Random ribeye. Classic steak and potato dinner with a side of roasted sprouts. The steak was cooked sous vide and finished in a smoking hot cast iron pan.
Mrs J brought in a 5-gallon bucket full of tomatoes and then went back out for another half-bucket. I put the juicer to work and filled a 12 quart pot. I watched it closely while it simmered because a boil over was likely. It finally reduced enough to start adding onions and spices and chicken base. My calculations told me that when the juice was reduced to 3-1/2 inches it would amount to 6 quarts of soup.Ta-Da! It’s not much compared to the math those ladies did for the Apollo program but it sure impressed the kitteh boys…… not that they’ll admit it.
Mmm… sloppy joe with giardiniera and a side of chips. Those are Utz salt ‘n vinegar flavored chips. Amazon had a deal on them for Prime members, alas the deal has moved on. [ETA: They’re back in stock!]Mrs J sent me this pic of Toby at the vet’s office. He tangled with a feral cat and got a bite on his tail that abcessed. He’s fine now.Gabe waits by the door with Homer keeping him company. Mrs J has just left for the vet with Toby. She told Gabe he wasn’t going but he hoped she would change her mind.Franks with beans on the side.Franks with beans on the top.Mmm… gumbo! This recipe came up first with a Google search and it looked pretty good. I took my usual liberties with the ingredients, crawdads for the shrimp, and chicken because I like chicken. I used a small can of tomato paste and added four fresh ripe tomatoes sans their skins. It does have andouille sausage.Ribs and fries. I need to work on my presentation – the half slab doesn’t look “ribby” enough.Here’s a fresh loaf in a plastic bag. Do you tie? I often use small office binder clips if the loaf is going into the freezer but the twist and tuck under is the way I go if the bread is going to be used that day.Gabe likes to climb on my lap to be reassured Mrs J will come back home.
Lasagna! Each of these holds just enough for two. I used egg roll wraps again for these because I am lazy and they work very well.The layers were Italian sausage in tomato sauce, plain ricotta with a couple of eggs whipped in, and various shredded cheeses. We ate these right away, the others were portioned and frozen, then sealed in vacuum bags.Kittehs! Mrs J says they have a good crop at the shelter – nearly 30 that are still with their mommas.Smoked chicken, just out of the smoker. No seasonings other than granulated garlic. I bought a case lot of those aluminum pans a couple of years ago and they have proved handy.Ginger Boy has filled out, he’s not as big as Toby but that’s not from lack of appetite.I canned a bunch of tomato soup one year, put it up in quart jars. That is the perfect amount for two servings.
Bitsy is a fan of boxes but she deemed this one too small.It’s really too soon for B(E)LTs but I was in a hurry and they make quick lunches. I made do with a Kroger tomato. They can leave the vine on, connecting a half dozen tomatoes, and call them vine ripened but that doesn’t lean for a minute that they taste good.We have puppies too! A trio of picnic side salads. A bog standard potato salad on the left, a copy-cat slaw on the right, and a mish mash of a bean salad in the middle. My usual recipe calls for chick peas but I was out of them and subbed in great northern and black beans. I though it needed more color so I sent Mrs J to the freezer for corn. She said it was white corn but it might do, so we tossed those in as well. It didn’t hurt it.Beans! I made a double batch because I figure we are heading into peak container garden planting season and they would go well with the other stuff. Kittehs! A brand new batch.A sloppy dog, now with extra slop.