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Shrimp Lo Mein

The Allrecipes site is one of the better places for recipes and that’s where I found this one.  Nearly any fresh veggie will work in this – I had onions, broccoli, celery, cabbage, and a red bell pepper.  I used their sauce recipe with the addition of a tablespoon of sweet soy sauce.Nearly any pasta, too, will work.  I browsed the pictures people sent in and there were a couple of them that had used pasta shells although I’m not sure that one could be properly called lo mein.  The recipe’s author used angel hair pasta, I used noodles bought at the Asian foods store, they are wheat noodles, thin and flat rather than round.



dsc037361600x1200We don’t have much info on Cleo, AKA Grumpy Kitty.  She’s an older kitteh and hasn’t been at St Francis long.20160908_1629571600x1200Stir fry chicken and broccoli is a favorite around here.  This one has red bell peppers, red onions, and mushrooms in a brown sauce with noodles.20160906_103238-1600x1200I mentioned doing a brisket in the smoker and finishing it in the toaster oven set to slow cook.  Here it is after a night in the fridge to firm it for slicing.20160907_1449411600x1200I said the new counter top oven would fit a 10″ cast iron skillet, here it is with beans ready for baking.  I use the same skillet for cornbread.20160907_1625221600x1200This is a favorite here, a real comfort food platter.  The beans may have come from that batch of beans in the photo above but I made two batches in as many days and I’m not quite sure.  dsc037301600x1200This is the same puppy we last saw with her head in a bag full of chicken.  She is a chihuahua mix with what may be terrier of some sort.20160911_1714461600x1200The local Kroger has sales on boneless rib eyes pretty often, not sure why that cut is featured above others but they can count on me to grab extra every time.20160910_1649261600x1200We often buy frozen shrimp already butterflied and breaded but these I did myself.  Dust the prepared shrimp with seasoned flour, dredge in beaten eggs, and then coat with bread crumbs – on these I used panko and they came out great after frying in 350 oil for about 2 minutes.dsc037241600x1200This is Roma.  She’s 4 months old, very affectionate, and would be thrilled to go home with you.


DSC03038 (1600x1060)It’s never a bad idea to lead off a post like this with kittehs!  These came available to adopt today, three boys and a girl.  The girl has been spoken for already.  I have no idea which of them is the sister kitty.DSC_1498 (1600x1060)The dirty dishes from this dinner are still on the table as I type this.  I can’t take much credit for anything here, the tater tots and the breaded shrimp came frozen in plastic bags.  I can say that I mixed the batter for the broccoli, adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.  I used a lemon-lime soda instead of the beer and made it a bit thinner so that you could see it was broccoli you were eating rather than an anonymous fried lump.  Oh!  I almost forgot – the cocktail sauce was made with my homemade ketchup!  Mine on the left in the emptied Heinz bottle, the new bottle of the Heinz product for comparison:DSC_1503 (1600x1060)I saw someone on one of my TV cooking shows make chipotle flavored ketchup that looked good so I stopped and started the DVR while scribbling down the ingredients.  No real info on the quantities so this is a best guess as to ratios, I used: 4-15oz cans of tomato puree, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 big onion, 1 small can of chipotles in adobo sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, ground allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Chop the onion and sweat it down in oil, then add everything else. You are going to have to wing it, too!  Let’s just say, add those additional spices “to taste”.  I used a stick blender to break down the onions and the chipotles and simmered the sauce for a half hour or so.  Great Success!DSC_1441 (1600x1060)We made some banana bread and added some frozen blueberries.  Worked fine but nothing to shout about.  The cinnamon crunch topping was pretty good.  Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into 1/4 cup each of flour and sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.  I made the first batch and used way too many blueberries, Mrs J made the bread pictured above using 1/2 cup of berries.  Mine tasted good but wasn’t, ah, photogenic.DSC_1491 (1600x1060)We had waffles, sausage and eggs for supper the other day.  Great any hour of the day.DSC_1497 (1600x1060)Mmm… pastrami for lunch today.  We made everything here but the bread and the thousand island dressing.  That’s the last of the pastrami, I hope they have another sale on beef roasts, I’ll snag a big one and and get the brine going.IMG_20151201_115053755[1]_Snapseed (1600x1200)Time for another kitteh!  This is Maisy, she’s five months old and was adopted Tuesday.  Yay!DSC_1407 (1600x1060)I’m going to call this a quesadilla – it has roast pork, some leftover beans and corn, a ton of cheese, a dab a the last batch of chili, a few chopped peppers, and a nice squeeze of my sweet habanero sauce.

Lo Mein Double Delight

DSC_1303 (1600x1060)Years ago we used to frequent a Chinese restaurant where I almost always ordered their “Kung Pao Triple Delight” – a Kung Pao chicken dish that also included shrimp and pork.  The triple delight referred to the three kinds of meats.  This was the place (and the dish) where I learned there could be a huge difference between ordering extra peppers and extra hot.  The waitress was kept busy refilling this red faced and sweaty (and stubborn!) patron’s glass with ice water.

The double delight in the post title reflects the shrimp and chicken in the dish.  I do have a little heat in this one via a dollop of chili garlic paste in the sauce and a couple of jalapenos with the veggies but not so much that Mrs J noticed enough to mention.  The chicken was dredged in corn starch and then fried in oil and set aside until the dish came together in the wok after the veggies had cooked down for a few minutes.  The noodles were pre-cooked and oiled to keep them from sticking together.  The chicken, noodles, and shrimp were all combined with the veggies and the sauce to warm them all for the platter.

Blackened Tilapia with Crawfish Sauce

DSC_1013 (1600x1060)We saw this made on a TV show, Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  I can’t find a recipe from the show, the search function is not good at all at their site and I’ve tried before to find another recipe with no success.  I subbed tilapia for the flounder they used but it’s pretty much the same, otherwise.

I made some polenta for the first time, ever.  Pretty simple, stir cornmeal into salted boiling water, lower the heat and stir for about 15 minutes, then add butter.  I remember my mother making “mush” for my dad but she was pretty dismissive of it, saying it was something “them boys from the bottoms ate”.  I guess her attitude rubbed off on me.  Shame, that.

Grill the sliced polenta in olive oil, lay a piece of blackened fish atop that, spoon on the sauce, add a few sauteed vegetables and there you go.

The sauce?  It was a gumbo in all but name.  Make a roux, stir in the trinity, season with Creole spices, add stock and simmer for a while, then add the crawfish tails and shrimp right at the end.  I made this  thicker than I would as a gumbo, add more stock and some okra and it would be great over rice.

Mmm… jambalaya

DSC_0483 (1600x1060)It’s rainy today here in Beautiful Southern Illinois™ and so I passed some time looking around for something to fix for dinner.  Found some of the Andouille sausage I made a while back and thought jambalaya might hit the spot.  I try to link to this guy whenever I can, he’s my goto guy when I do anything Cajun-style.  The link goes to a jambalaya recipe that informed my take on it today, you could do worse than spend a little time looking over his recipe collection.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp

DSC_0351 (1600x1060)There was a variation of this at the Chinese buffet we frequent.  It was pretty tasty but I didn’t know what to call it and so asked the woman tending the counter.  She named it Coconut Shrimp.  I’ve seen the version of it that has battered shrimp coated with shredded coconut for deep frying but not this creamy version.  A search for “creamy coconut shrimp” found several recipes – after discarding several that mentioned mayonnaise I settled on this one.  I didn’t have amaretto and didn’t want to buy a bottle for the two tablespoons the recipe called for so I subbed in a little almond extract, adding a teaspoon to the coconut sauce mixture.  In another departure I used cooked shrimp instead of raw.  These two things were bad calls in retrospect.  The dish really needed that bit a caramelization from cooking in the amaretto.  That said, it was still an enjoyable meal.

Crawdad Pr0n – Andouille, Crawfish, and Shrimp Gumbo

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DSC_9765 (1600x1060)Cloudy and drizzly and chilly days make it easy to stay in and cook.  Found some frozen shrimp and decided to do a gumbo.DSC_9762 (1600x1060)I started with about a half cup of flour and poured in oil until it looked like plenty.  I’ve seen cooks make a very dry looking roux but I prefer to go with it about like this because I find it easier to keep stirred.  A roux is usually defined by its color, this one is past the peanut butter stage and is well on the way to milk chocolate.  Keep the temps low and you can get by without standing over it every second but it will take longer.  This is about as dark as I care to take it but you can stay with it until it’s much darker if you want.DSC_9763 (1600x1060)You’ll want a nice stock for your gumbo.  This one has an onion, a carrot, a rib of celery, one sliced lemon, parsley, peppercorns, sliced garlic, thyme, and the shells from the shrimp.  There are about two quarts of water in it and it’ll simmer for an hour or so.

There are tons of gumbo recipes, with tomatoes and without, with okra or not, with other meats like sausage or chicken.  They all have a roux in common, and the trinity of onions, green peppers, and celery in water or stock.  Knock yourself out!

Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta

DSC_9535 [1600x1060]Took nearly as long to type the title as it took to throw this dish together.  Kroger had these precooked shrimp set out front as a loss leader and I scooped up some.  All it took was a quick boil of the angel hair while the garlic butter heated up.  I tossed the shrimp to warm them then added the pasta and some chopped parsley.  I almost added a little duck fat but chickened out.  Has anyone tried it that way?