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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.

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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.

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.

Tidbits

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.

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.

Steak Pr0n

20161211_164149-1600x1200An 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.

Tidbits

img_09931600x1200Here’s a photo from the archives.  I like the symmetry.20161112_1654231600x1200Kroger had a sale on strip steaks.  They needed some trimming but were still a pretty good value.  I did this sous vide, setting the water bath to 130 degrees for a couple of hours.  They finished in a smoking hot cast iron skillet in olive oil and butter, deglazed with white wine and chives for a simple pan sauce.20161115_1204201600x1200Sloppy joes for lunch the other day.  This one has American cheese and a few dill pickles.  The potato salad looks like it has the traditional dusting of paprika but it’s really Creole seasoning.  It adds a bit of a tang to it.20161111_163233-1600x1200BBQ chicken!  I’ve taken to cooking these leg quarters in the toaster oven using the slo-cook setting.  I did this on the high setting for two hours, no particular reason to choose that time – it’s the default for the high setting.  Set it to low and the default is four hours.20161116_0824161600x1200I snapped this one of Bitsy lounging atop the sofa, prompted by the play of sunlight through the slots of the vertical blinds.  It seemed like a candidate for the Prisma treatment:img_20161116_082932_processed

20161114_1131091600x1200Hot dogs!  I’m not sure how long these buns have been offered but I’m liking the slit on top rather than on the side.  These are Pepperidge Farms brand.20161115_1712191600x1200I’ll wrap up with some soup. This one uses the broccoli left over from that steak dinner, a bit of smoked pork, rice, and three kinds of cheese in chicken stock and milk.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilling Up a Storm

Bixby is 2 snap

Bixby turned two on Thursday and I felt that justified a Bixby Diaries post. So for the pet lovers, you’ll find lots of new and old photos, plus video of the Beast here. For the rest of you, it’s a grilling themed recipe exchange.

First up, Grilled Chicken and Papaya, recipe here. I noticed in the stores that mangoes were plentiful, and I can’t imagine why you couldn’t substitute – I would add a dash of lime to it all with mangoes.

Speaking of mangoes and papayas, how about Grilled Fish with Mango and Papaya Salsa, recipe here.

A couple of nice sides to round things out. But don’t think you need a recipe, fresh veggies from the garden, tossed in olive oil and grilled in a grilling basket can’t be beat.

Grilled Vegetable Salad, click here, can be a meal in itself or a hearty side.

Greek Grilled Potatoes, recipe here, are a nice, tangy change from regular potato packets.

What’s on the menu this weekend? Anything special planned for Father’s Day? What’s your favorite food to take out of the kitchen and make on the grill?

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

Tonight, I combined two favorite recipes. I love the pinwheels because they are so showy (and tasty). I thought it would be a great recipe for Father’s Day weekend. Then I ran across my spicy sauce and thought, yum, that would work. If you don’t want spicy, here is the original Pinwheel Recipe. And if you don’t want pinwheels, here is the original Spicy Grilled Flank Steak recipe. I got you covered.

Grilled Spicy Flank Steak Pinwheels

Sauce:

ING-chili-garlic-sauce-2_sql

  • 1 tbsp chili garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup orange juice

Pinwheels:

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

ziplock bag,

You can ask the butcher to butterfly your flank steak, which  is what I did. But it’s fairly easy to butterfly. You want the grain running up and down in front of you and then you’ll slice it in half, NOT slicing all the way through. When you’re done you’ll lay it open, flat, basically making a larger, thinner steak.

Image from Serious Eats

Once you have it laid out flat in front of you with the grain running left to right, you’ll want to tenderize it, pounding it thin.

Keeping it flat, place into a ziplock bag,  add marinade and coat completely on both sides. Marinate flat in refrigerator 1 hour. Remove from marinade and assemble.

Layer the spinach over the meat. You want it to be several leaves thick, because it will reduce as it cooks.

Next layer the provolone cheese slices, two to three slices thick, over the meat.

Now it’s time to roll.  Roll tightly in the direction of the grain. Add a skewer every 2 inches and then slice between the skewers, so you have 2-inch thick pinwheels.

Heat grill and oil grates well – alternately you can cook in a cast iron skillet (heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in it) on the grill. If using a gas grill – heat one side to high for searing, turn the other side to about medium to finish cooking. For coals – place coals toward center of the grill, leaving the edges cool for finishing cooking.

Add pinwheels to the grill, flat side down. After a minute, using the skewer (you may also need a metal spatula to get all the cheesy goodness) flip over, sear additional minute.  The usual method of waiting until the meat moves easily to flip will not work with this because the cheese is sticky. So just do one minute each side, it will be fine.

After the second side is done, move steaks off of high heat to the cooler grates  and let the steak finish for about 10 to 15 minutes for medium rare. These are thin and don’t need a lot of cooking time and you don’t want the cheese to burn.

Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes, so the cheese isn’t molten lava.

My steak made 4 large pinwheels.

That’s it for this week. I don’t know how many recipe exchanges I’ll have in me while I’m packing, but stay tuned. Have a great weekend! – TaMara



 

Friday Recipe Exchange: Mix It Up

Cucumber SalsaI did quite a bit of cooking this week, but it’s been busy enough that I haven’t put together the recipes or taken a lot of photos. So tonight I’m highlighting some past favorites.

Pictured above is Crisp Cucumber Salsa, always a hit when I make it. Recipe here.

Baked Ziti is my go-to for dinners to take to events or share when condolences are needed – I often take it unbaked so it can be fresh and hot when needed. It’s also a great make-ahead dinner for weeknights. Recipe here.

This week’s dinner menu is Cranberry Pepper Steak and Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes, click here for menu and recipes.

20160421_145922[1](1600x1200)

This yummy photo is from JeffreyW – it’s Bacon Dill Potato Salad – instructions here.

What’s on the menu for you this weekend? Grilling yet? Have anything fun planned?

Pasta Jambalaya_Snapseed2

Tonight’s featured recipe is another quick but tasty dinner entry. When I was a kid I used to love the Friday nights my mom said, I’m tired of cooking let’s just have hamburger goulash – which was basically hamburger, tomato sauce and elbow macaroni with some spices thrown in. This recipe is like an adult version of that, with some real flavor.  Still easy to put together.

Pasta Jambalaya

  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 4 oz smoked sausage, sliced (I like Andouille)
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese

saucepan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. In the saucepan, heat oil and then sauté onion, pepper, celery and carrots until onions are translucent and celery soft. Add garlic, Cajun seasoning, tomatoes, chilies, beans, carrots and sausage. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, add pasta and let simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with cheese as garnish.

Note: When a recipe says to add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp, or to taste of a spice, add it in small increments, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp at a time. Remember you can always add more, but it’s pretty tough trying to remove what you’ve added. 😉

That’s it for this week. We’ve finally gotten rid of the clouds and it looks like a great weekend to spend outdoors Have a great weekend. – TaMara

 



 

Tidbits

DSC_1775 (1600x1060)I did this one today and pretty much made it up as I went along.  I had a cauliflower that I needed to use and dithered about some before deciding to slice it and roast it with an onion and whole garlic cloves – seasoned with kosher salt and olive oil.  The meal needed some additional carbs so the wide egg noodles went into a post to boil.  A cheese sauce seemed perfect to tie it together, Parmesan garlic sounded good.  I reduced a hunk of slab bacon to lardons and crisped those up.  Worked out great!  Needs a name…DSC03143 (1600x1200)Here’s a kitteh!  He’s named Chase and is 2 years old.  Shelter staff mentioned he may have some Himalayan in him but I’m not seeing it, myself.  Mrs J notes that he is sitting in one of her newly sewn cat beds.DSC_1774 (1600x1060)Fried chicken is not a thing I can do very well but I do give it a shot now and again.  I go through spells where I just have to have bean salad and I tend to keep adding another can of whatever bean I can find to the container as it is eaten, adding additional vinegar and oil to the vinaigrette as needed.  The mixture evolves over time, naturally.DSC03137 (1600x1200)Moar kitteh!  This is Ringo, a 3 year old long haired boy.  Mrs J said he is a real sweetie.DSC_1764 (1600x1060)Mmm… steak, with roasted sprouts in a balsamic glaze, half of a huge potato, garlic bread, and a salad.DSC03146 (1600x1200)Last kitteh – this is Chevy, he’s 6 months old and has half his tail missing do to an accident.DSC_1768 (1600x1060)I’ll close out with a sloppy joe.  This one has a bit of shredded cheddar and a spoonful of my own giardiniera.