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Tidbits

Mrs J found this Regal Moth in her flower garden, it seemed to be some distress.  She left it in a little concealed nook and has since seen it a couple of times in different spots.I had an oops! moment last week – I left the butter dish atop the toaster oven and needed something to use up all that melted butter.  Pineapple upside down cake worked admirably.  It could have used a bit more oven time to caramelize the pineapple layer.  Inverting the cake onto a sheet of parchment paper was a stroke of genius, he said, patting himself on the back.More sous vide rib-eye.  I made a pan sauce in the cast iron skillet used to sear the steaks.  Deglazed it with white wine and then added the sealed bag liquids and the garlic butter left from the mix used for the bread.While I was searching the freezer for the rib steaks I came across a couple of strip steaks.  I knew them to be tough so I put them in the water bath with the rib-eyes and let them run overnight.  I sliced off a bit to sample in the morning and found it very tender.  Mrs J started chanting “cheesesteak!  cheesesteak!” And that’s the rest of the story.My cayenne peppers are nearing harvest, they’ll be dried and processed into red pepper flakes.The habaneros are starting to ripen.  They are just too hot to use up in the small amounts we can tolerate – I still have ground habs from two years ago.  They are pretty, though, and I’m sure I’ll want some growing next year, too.Naan pizzas!  These are just great for quick and tasty dinners.  These have olive oil and garlic, provolone, cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, deli sliced turkey, salami, shredded pizza blend cheese, and fresh grated Parmesan.I’ll bookend this post with moths.  Here’s a hummingbird moth browsing through the flowers on the catmint.

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Tidbits

Mmm… another Reuben.  We’ve pretty much settled on an assembly standard:  The corned beef, sliced just so, homemade sauerkraut, and cheese all warmed in a skillet – adding the cheese only when the beef and ‘kraut are warmed through.  The rye slices are started in the toaster when the cheese goes on.  The thousand island dressing goes in a small bowl to be used as a dip – this helps to keep the sandwich intact because it is not soaking through the toast.  Pickle spear garnish is optional but encouraged!We’ve been seeing a lot of rain, 10 inches in the last week, and rivers and creeks are overflowing.  Whenever we get high water  one of the obligatory stops on the gawking tour is this municipal band shell at the aptly named Riverside Park.  The Big Muddy River (actual name!) is a tributary of the Mighty Mississippi, it enters a few miles below Grand Tower, IL.An access road loops around the park.  It would be visible below the shell but for the high water.  Right now we are kinda “meh” – we’ve seen it higher.  All bets are off should the rain come back.  Crews are sandbagging the big levee along the Mississippi just in case and they are keeping a 24 hour watch.We’re using those naan loaves for pizzas, and here is one replacing a tortilla in a vaguely Tex-Mex hodgepodge with rice, beans, chicken, cheese, eggs, and a salsa verde.Another selfie with Bitsy that I’ve run through the Prisma app.  This is using the Heisenberg filter.  My favorite filter is the one they call Gothic.Time for another pineapple upside down cake!  I used dark brown sugar in this one rather than the light brown I usually go with.  Pour melted butter mixed with brown sugar in the bottom of a pan, this one was made in a 9-1/2″ x 12″ hotel pan with 3/4 cup of butter and 3/4 cup sugar.  I drained the juice from a can of pineapple tidbits and used about half of them in the recipe.  Use the pineapple juice to replace some of the water needed for a yellow cake mix and pour the prepared mix over the pineapple bits.  These baked at 350 for 20 minutes and were not quite done so I added 10 minutes to the timer and reduced the temp to 325 because the top was browning nicely.  If you would rather go from scratch this recipe should work fine for you.These are a favorite and this surely won’t be the last one you’ll see here.  We are just getting warmed up for those summer garden tomatoes.

Tidbits

20170106_110453-1600x1200A little breakfast pr0n to start.  The patty is from that batch of homemade garlic pepper recipe sausage.20161230_162702-1600x1200This is an older picture from a meal we had a couple of weeks ago.  Not sure if I have used it so here it is.  I bought a batch of purple potatoes and mixed them in with fingerlings and a cubed sweet potato.  The pork tenderloin was done sous vide and then seared in a hot pan just before plating.  There is a pan sauce made from red wine and the pan juices.  I reached for the white but it wasn’t open so the red went in.20170108_163513-1600x1200Gumbo!  This one has andouille, chicken, and shrimp.20170108_133521-1600x1200A couple of pineapple upside down cakes.  There was a little pineapple left over from Mrs J’s carrot cake, and we finally used up the last of the maraschino cherries that have been lurking in a dark corner of the fridge for ages.  Not the prettiest cakes ever but they tasted great.  There is one small slice left but it will not last out the day.img_20170110_093935_processedHere’s Ollie!  He’s been mixing about with the other kittehs and we think he’s fitting in quite well.  He and Bitsy spent the night chasing up and down the hallway.20170110_164542-1600x1200I dug one of the rib roasts out of the freezer.  It was one of those the market had on sale for the holidays.  It was oddly cut, the two end ribs were sliced down the middle, making the piece about 1-1/2 inches altogether.  I promised Mrs J that I would turn out the next steak medium done and so set the water bath temp to 140.  When it came out I sliced it in half and seared the pieces in a hot pan.  The pan sauce was made of butter and the same red wine that I used on that pork tenderloin.  The potatoes were rubbed with olive oil and generously salted, then baked in a 350 oven for an hour.20170111_090545-1600x1200Mrs J left for an appointment this morning.  Gabe waited by the door for her return.  He misses his dog mama every time she goes away.20170107_171349-1600x1200That garlic pepper sausage makes pretty good chili.20170110_164600-1600x1200I’ll close with this salad.  It’s a bagged salad topped with a deli made Greek salad with a little extra feta.

Another Pineapple Upside Down Cake

pineapple upside down cake final

I had to make another cake, so I thought it was time for another photo. Recipe is here. Blueberry upside down cake is here.  Click photo to enlarge.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Simple Fruit Desserts

DSC_8295 (1600x1060)

JefferyW makes Creme Fraiche

This week cooking was centered on desserts, most by request, so I thought it would make a good theme for tonight’s recipe exchange.

JeffreyW made one of my favorite toppings, Creme Fraiche, pictured above and recipe here.

He also makes quite a few dump cakes, which are easy fruit desserts. A yummy sample are his Cherry Pineapple here and Apple Crunch here.

I have a Blueberry Updside Down Cake in the oven as I write this, and if it turns out tasty and photogenic, I’ll post photos and recipe tomorrow.

Until then, what’s on your plate this weekend? Is it time for grilling yet? Hit the comments and don’t forget to share your favorite fruit desserts. BTW, if you haven’t seen the latest visitor to the shelter Mrs. J volunteers at, he has stolen my heart, check out  Hank.

Tonight’s featured recipe is my annual birthday cake for a friend. Simple to make and very tasty:

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Sometimes I substitute crushed pineapple. It needs to be drained well, using a mesh strainer and I usually omit the addition of 1 tbsp pineapple juice because even after draining, there’s usually about that much left in the crushed fruit. You can also substitute blueberries or other fruits to a make a different kind of upside down cake.

  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple, in pineapple juice
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugarPineapple Upside-Down Cake

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  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • stemmed maraschino cherries, stems removed (opt)

8×8 glass baking dish and mixing bowl

Drain pineapple, reserve juice.  Melt 3 tbsp of butter and add to baking dish with brown sugar and 1 tbsp of reserved pineapple juice.  Mix well.  Arrange pineapple slices over sugar and butter mixture.  In bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Add enough water to remaining pineapple juice to make 1/2 cup and add to batter, mixing well (it will be lumpy) and then pour over pineapple slices.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick test in the cake center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes and then invert on a plate.

Note: in the pretty pictures it always has a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. None of us like those, so I never add them. But add to the pineapples before baking if desired.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, the dinner menu this week was Herbed Fettuccine and Apple SaladSee you next week – TaMara

Monday Night of Cooking

Things are a bit stressful, so I retreated to the kitchen. First I made a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake  for work tomorrow, I’m not the only one who could use a little cheering up.

Then we went from 80 degrees to snow in 20 hours, so soup sounded good.  I made Zuppa Toscana.

And what goes great with soup? Heavenly Buttermilk Biscuits.

Pictures and recipes at the links.

Welcome Back

I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready to take up the recipe task yet.  I seem to have been cooking non-stop for the last two weeks.  Last night I made my last Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, and did something a bit different.  I made a full batch of the cake part of the recipe and a half recipe of the cranberry filling and a half recipe of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake filling (which was by request – hard to turn down a, “my favorite cake is…” comment).  Very easy to do and a nice change of pace.  And really made me a hero today.

When I went grocery shopping this weekend, I found myself drawn to a theme: lime, cilantro, corn tortillas, pico de gallo (the spice, not the salsa) and pineapple.  I’m thinking I’ll be making chicken tacos at some point and maybe fajitas later in the week.  Usually when I shop, I’ve already planned out my meals for the week, but couldn’t face it this weekend, so it should be fun to see what I can make from the mish-mash of ingredients I purchased.  Always better to shop with meals in mind, but this could be fun, too.

This week will probably continue to be light in posts as we all recover from the holidays and next week I’ll begin in earnest on our series and tips.  But I’ll post a couple of light recipes this week and a friend’s recipe for baked eggs.  Until then….