I put this photo up the other day as a riff on using the cold weather to cool baked items. It’s a loaf of rye bread. When it cooled thoroughly I wrapped it and placed it into the freezer until today.A decent looking loaf! I used it to serve up some reuben sandwiched for lunch:
Lots of praying mantises today. This one had a hold on a hummingbird before Mrs J, hearing a small commotion in the bush, reached in to rescue it. She said she thought it was hung in a spiderweb at first and only saw the mantis when the bird’s foot didn’t come clear.This fellow is in the coleus but isn’t the same one from the other day. That one had green eyes. I’m not sure if mantises can change colors, a quick search found answers all over the map. Some said yes, some no, and a few were firmly in the sometimes camp.I’m pretty sure this one is the same one from before. He is in a green coleus right next to the vari-colored one, both of them in pots Mrs J has set in the shade of a small crabapple tree.My habaneros are loving this August heat. I picked this bush once already and there are as many ripe now as before. These are more than I will use. Need any?We’re loving the big slicer tomatoes the garden is producing. They are perfect for BLTs, or BELTs, as is the case here.Toby is still not sure I won’t do something to him he won’t like. Ginger plays with him quite a bit and Toby doesn’t seem to mind, but let Homer come by and there will be trouble. Toby has taken a serious dislike to that boy and we’ve had to separate them lest fur fly and the dogs become fearful for their own safety.I’ll close with a few more sammiches. I fired up the panini press for this reuben and all the cheese ran out. The pickle is a bread and butter spear. Tasty!Last is a mushroom Swiss burger. I sauteed some brown buttons in butter and olive oil, added beef stock with cornstarch for a thickener, and ladled them all over the cheese covered patty. It’s a classic burger recipe, and for good reason.
The Griddler, by Cuisinart. It’s more than just a press but that’s all I’ve used it for so far. It will accommodate fairly thick sammiches but you have to place them just right to get the best results – good contact over the length of the item you are grilling.It opens up like so, the surfaces will flip for either a flat griddle or a ridged grill.I’m a bit confused by the selector knobs on the unit. As far as I can tell both top and bottom plates heat no matter whether the central selector is turned to the griddle or to the panini setting. The panini knob is indexed from warm to sear, the left, or griddle, knob is marked from 200 to 425. I have no idea why there are separate knobs.The Griddler has a plastic tray to catch drippings when you are cooking something juicy but so far all I’ve needed to do is wipe the surfaces with a wet rag. The grill plates are not very heavy so it cools down pretty fast.We had these for lunch today – sandwiches in the style of Cubanos but with prosciutto for the ham, and marinated olives on the side instead of pickles inside.Reubens are good but I need to learn how to get the insides hot before the bread turns to crackers. I may be too impatient to allow them to come to temperature in the press set low enough to accomplish that, but a quick zap in the microwave might hurry the cheese melt.
Ol’ Blue Eye. This is a poodle mixed with something Mrs J isn’t sure what. The other eye is brown. She’s at a fundraiser for the shelter today or I would quiz her on this one. [Edit: His name is Teddy and Mrs J just texted that he was adopted this morning! Yay!] I hope she brings back some photos. I went to the last few and took pictures but I am just not feeling up to it today.We had a frozen duck that Mrs J said we really needed to use. I brined it for a day with a salt/sugar mixture with a teaspoon of pink salt, the curing salt mixture, not the Himalayan stuff. It spent all day in the electric smoker and turned out pretty good. I used maple syrup for a glaze, applying a new coat every few hours. I had no idea how to serve it so I just added it to the fried rice dish after chopping it into chunks with my cleaver. I did come away with a fair amount of duck fat collected in a drip pan.I had a beef brisket corning in Alton Brown’s recipe for brine for over a week and decided to do pastrami with it since the smoker was out and ready. It spent 12 hours in the smoker and then a couple more in the steamer and turned out well. Reubens are great with either corned beef or pastrami. I think the pastrami sammys are named Rachels when dressed with coleslaw but I doubt it matters much in the long run. This one has sauerkraut and provolone with Russian dressing.I’ve made the usual run of sammices this week. I unlimbered the bread machine and made a loaf of white bread. Makes great grilled cheese and ham sammiches. I have a soft spot for these sweet midget pickles. Mrs J says we have made them before but it’s been so long ago I can’t quite remember it. She says they were good! I bet they were.I made slaw a couple days ago. We didn’t have any of those colorful sweet peppers to add to the mix so I made do with carrots and radishes with a small green jalapeno. The red onion was pretty but it bled the purple out after sitting a while in the fridge. These are mini onion rolls with smoked pork, the slaw, and a squirt of the sweet habanero sauce. Mmm…A little breakfast pr0n to wind this up. More of the smoked pork with the habanero sauce next to a couple eggs over easy, and toast with jalapeno jam.