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.
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.
I almost waited too long to put the ribs into the water bath. I was thinking the morning of the 4th would be good for the holiday dinner. The slab was cut into two pieces, rubbed with seasonings, and sealed in vacuum bags well in advance. Then I looked at the recipe over at the Food Lab site the day before: “TOTAL TIME:16 to 50 hours”! I set the bath up and started it up around 2PM on the 3rd with the temp at 155 degrees.They spent the night at 155, then I boosted the temp to 165 the morning of the 4th. Around 11Am they came out and were placed in an ice water bath to cool. Here they are after blotting with paper towels.And after brushing with BBQ sauce while the oven was heating to 400. The one on the right was wanting to break in two, all they needed was reheating to seal on the sauce.The ribs were as tender as any we’ve ever had, the bones sipped out of the slabs cleanly. Two thumbs up!Got bone?
Rib roasts are a thing I came to late, attracting my notice just in the last couple of years. At any rate, Kroger piles them in a bin during the Holidays and slashes the price. We picked up a few and sealed them away, seasonings included, in vacuum bags for later. Later turned out to be this week for this one. It spent the overnight hours in a sous vide bath at 137 degrees, and 10 minutes in a 500 degree oven just prior to carving.The potatoes were coated with olive oil and roasted with kosher salt and rosemary. We wanted to keep the meal simple. I like horseradish sauce with this, YMMV.We had plenty of leftover beef, I cubed the leftovers and started them simmering in the juices from the sous vide bag, with broth, red wine, and a chopped sweet onion. It is in my nature to fuss with stuff in a bubbling pot (Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble) so I added various seasonings as it simmered away. (Eye of newt and toe of frog – Kidding!) I remember adding soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, Kitchen Bouquet, granulated garlic, onion powder, and fish sauce. That list may be incomplete. From here it is easy to go various directions – beef stews, beef and barley soup, vegetable beef soup, and on and on. Mrs J suggested noodles. She must be obeyed.
Like I said, the killer app for steaks is sous vide. These spent the afternoon at 136°F. A quick sear then a rest while a pan sauce was made from the bag liquids, butter, wine, and soy sauce. That was a big rib steak, even I didn’t eat the whole thing.A veggie beef soup follows leftover steak at our house. A smoked pork sammich turned the soup into a real meal.Kitteh! The kittens were recipients of a round of claw clipping, they were a bit disturbed and needed a firm grasp to hold them for the task.I told Mrs J to mention that too firm a grasp causes their little kitteh eyes to bug out.
Teeny weenies! Hash browns and eggs! Mmm… breakfast for dinner.Mrs J spends most of her volunteer time in the kitteh house but she does catch the occasional pupper. This little girl came in when her owner passed. She’s heartworm positive but is expected to be fine.Fried fish for the win! I made a tartar sauce with fresh dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced dill pickles, and mayo.I’ll finish with an adult cat. No info at all on this one but Mrs J days she’s very friendly. She’s been at the shelter for a week or so.
Whoo Boy! We got some rain last night, the thunder seemed constant all night long. Bitsy just crawled out from underneath the sofa a few minutes ago.Here’s Gabe and Homer Kitteh messing about by the pond a couple of days ago. It’s been down a little all winter long, several inches below the overflow pipe. I haven’t looked this morning yet but it has to be up close, now.I’ve found that using a can of refried beans in my chili recipe really adds some body to it. I used refried black beans in this but the regular refries from pinto beans should work fine.I’ve been making gravy from the chicken fat captured when I roast a chicken beer-butt style:I pour off the fat (and the water I’ve added to the pan) and refrigerate it to make separating the fat easy. Make a roux of the fat and flour then add stock to make gravy. You can also add milk to make it creamy but I don’t except when making it for a pot pie. We eat half the chicken the first go, then bone the rest for later. The carcass goes into the pressure cooker to make a stock, takes an hour at pressure rather than all day on the stove-top.Kittehs! There are a couple of brand new momma cats at the shelter, they were brought in pregnant. The shelter will eventually spay her but the kittehs have to be weaned first. Mrs J says 6 to 8 weeks is normal.Rib steaks! Sous vide is the killer app for steaks. These spend the afternoon at 138 degrees in their vacuum sealed bags. Kroger sells whole slabs of these, I slice and bag them with salt and pepper and then freeze. They go right into the hot bath frozen.Another batch of cuties! Mrs J says they had to open the overflow kitten room because they have too many right now for the dedicated kitteh nursery.
A little breakfast pr0n to start. The patty is from that batch of homemade garlic pepper recipe sausage.This 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.Gumbo! This one has andouille, chicken, and shrimp.A 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.Here’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.I 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.Mrs 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.That garlic pepper sausage makes pretty good chili.I’ll close with this salad. It’s a bagged salad topped with a deli made Greek salad with a little extra feta.
I’ll call these bruschetta for lack of a better word. Some leftover awesome sauce spread on slices of that sourdough with Parmesan topping. Toasted in the oven. Hmm… might be pizza bread? Tasted good whatever its name.This was the big holiday dinner. We did the rib roast sous vide and set the temp to 130, holding it there overnight. It was in the water bath for 12 hours or more. I roasted three kinds of potatoes in olive oil and honey – fingerling (white), sweet potato, and purple potato. In the little dish is a horseradish sauce for the beef. Also plated is a cranberry relish and a scoop of dressing leftover from the turkey day dinner.I had the oven cranked to 550 for finishing the roast. Pat it dry then pop it into that smoking hot oven for 15 minutes or so. Here it is just out, resting while everything else was made ready. I cut the ribs off and tied them back on with string before sealing the bag , they make a nice rack.Mrs J claimed the roast was delicious even though the rare finish was just barely within her comfort zone. I may do the next one to 135 or so. I can eat it medium, no problem!Breakfast for dinner! That sausage was made locally, it was so good I decided to make a batch of sausage myself. More on that, later.I did a sweet and sour pork dish for dinner today. The sauce was ketchup, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, juice from those pineapple chunks, brown sugar, and sesame oil. The pork tenderloin was browned a bit on both sides and then diced and tossed with the sauce and the pineapple bits.Pretty good stuff! Post needz moar kittehs!
An easy and delicious dinner: Bagged frozen fries crisped up in the toaster oven, perfect sous vide steak in a drippings and butter pan sauce, and a classic wilted lettuce salad. That recipe has the dressing over iceberg lettuce but I’ve only ever had it on leaf lettuce, I’m minded to give it a try their way.