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Look Both Ways

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.

 

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Pressure Cooker Italian Beef

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!

Tidbits

This poor thing was brought in with two broken legs, the one appears to be less of a problem than the other, going strictly by the casts.  I have no other info but he is in good hands at St Francis.Made some mayo from scratch.  The other day I roasted a bunch of garlic cloves in olive oil and used a 1/4 c of that oil in this.  The recipe for the basic mayo is easy – put an egg with 1/4 c oil in the bowl of a processor, add a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of dry mustard and give it a spin.  Start drizzling in more oil until you’ve used about a cup, total, or until it gets to the consistency you are going for.  I added canola oil for the drizzle.  This turned out very garlicky.I used it on this sammich – very good!  I assembled it after the photo, and went sans lettuce.  That’s more of my maple pepper bacon.  Yum!Now here comes Bitsy, slowly, a step at a time.  Head on a swivel, looking for threats.  She finally made it all of the way in.  Yay!This was Taco Tuesday for us.  I’m torn between piling on the goodies or going sparingly with them for a better picture.  These white corn tortillas are smeared with refried beans, layered with smoked pork, cheddar, shredded cabbage, and pico de gallo.This looks like a short loaf of banana bread but it’s actually made with figs.  We had a fairly good batch we weren’t quite sure what to do with.I quartered them and stuck them in the dehydrator overnight – too long, alas.  They were barely pliable and too tough.  We dropped them into a stout blender and whirled them with water to break them up.  The result looked much like bananas that had been pureed so they went into a banana bread recipe.This is one of those soups that come from what I think of as a “bottomless” soup pot – I keep adding to it as we eat out of it.  Those diced potatoes were not in there yesterday and I added more carrots.  The beef will get scarce after a few iterations, but right now there’s still plenty.I’ll wind this up with another shelter kitteh.  This one looks like our own Ginger Boy.

Cats and Dogs Living Together

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

Mrs J says these are the last of the tomatoes by which she means these are the last she is going to pick.  They have pulled out of their doldrums and have really come on.  Might have been the heat.I skinned them all, crushed them, added green peppers and onions, and boiled them down just a little…ending up with 15-1/2 quarts total in quart and pint jars.  Took the best part of a day – peeling the skins was the hardest part.  It didn’t take all that long to cook them, nothing like as long as it takes to cook the juice down when making soup.  It did take three pressure cooker loads to finish them, with the ramp up to pressure and the cool-down included it took over an hour per load.I hoisted down the big enameled cast iron pot from its usual spot atop one of the cabinets for cabbage and sausages.  (And carrots, potatoes, and onions.)Made enough for lunch the next day.  The sausages were particularly good – some were ordered up from Louisiana through the Cajun Grocer, and there were a couple left over from the package that I broke open for breakfast the other day.Sous vide is the killer app for steaks.  These were cooked to 138 degrees for half the day and were as tender as you would expect.Chili dogs!  Yay!  I keep cans of chili in the cupboard for those days when I’m just about covered up with other chores (canning tomatoes).I’ll wind up this one with Gabe keeping watch over the back yard.  There is often something to bark at and he doesn’t want to miss out.  Homer is keeping him company though his vigil.

Tidbits

Gabe waits for his dog mama, she won’t be gone long because she misses her dog boy.We eat some of the tomatoes fresh!  I set a few aside when we are processing for soup or stewed for canning.  I try to get the best ones – no marks or splits or spots.  This sammich started out wanting to be a BELT but I didn’t have the lettuce so it just gets billing as a breakfast sammich.  Brunch, actually, we don’t get up early enough…I used up some odds and ends of pasta for this one.  I still have plenty of parsley, the caterpillars that were eating it have gone away.  Still have a hornworm or two – they seem to be specializing on my hot peppers now that  the patio tomatoes are gone. We love these upside down cakes.  I cut them into single serving squares and freeze them in plastic containers.  They really hit the spot for late night snacks while watching videos.More cookies!  These are my current favorites.  I’ve been leaving out the almonds and adding raisins.  I’ve made these often enough that I can do them without looking at the recipe.Mmm… French toast and garlic pepper sausages.  The sausages are from that processing plant we travel to a few time a year to stock up.  They have the best ham hocks, and they are the closest place I know that has fresh pork bellies.  I buy a couple, cut them in two, and vacuum seal the halves for the big freezer.Mrs J said we have plenty of tomato soup canned.  I think she mentioned 40 quarts.  Well, we better get busy with it!  I used a veggie peeler to shave Parmesan for a garnish.Mmm… smoked pork makes a fine sammich.  The sides are potato salad in the back and bacon, tomato, and basil pasta salad.I’ll wind this one up with a few cute kittehs.

Tidbits

This is one of the Texas hurricane rescues, she was brought back in an effort to save her and her litter.  She is heartworm positive with some other maladies and her prognosis is uncertain.  She and her puppies would already have been put down had she stayed.Mmm… red beans and rice.  TaMara mentioned the dish in one of her posts and it reminded me that we haven’t had any lately.  This one was cooked with a ham hock.  I added the andouille late because it will get tough if it simmers a long time.Here’s a kitteh!  Not a hurricane rescue, he is a local kitty boy.Our fig trees/bushes exploded this year.  We put rooted cuttings in the ground spring of ’16 and reaped a scant harvest but this year we should do better.There are a lot of figs coming on and they are getting to a size they couldn’t match last year.This one-eyed kitteh has been adopted since the photo was taken.  I don’t have any more info than that.Cheesesteak!  This was tasty – I did the flat iron steak sous vide, it was in the water bath 6 hours @140 degrees.  For service, it was sliced and added to a pan of caramelized onions and tossed to mix and rewarm then covered with a nice cheese sauce of American and cheddar.Tommy is a tuxedo kitteh born in March this year.  He’s a good kitteh, Brent.

Tidbits

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.

Blog Needz Kittehs! I Fix!

And a puppeh!