Hubby Makes a Salad

So Hubby had to bring appetizers to a work function so went to Stew Leonard’s and bought ready made dip and their wonderful corn tortilla chips. While there he saw a Mango Salsa and bought that too. He left that behind in the fridge the day of his work function. Why?

He had this brilliant idea for a salad based on something that was made in one of the restaurants where he used to work many years ago. He described it to me and it sounded tasty. He did most of this, I just toasted the coconut.

  • 20160625_221443185_iOSromaine lettuce, torn
  • red pepper slices
  • mandarin oranges, drained
  • toasted coconut
  • mango salsa
  • scallions
  • garlic
  • yogurt

He thinned the salsa with yogurt and added garlic and scallions And this was the dressing.

Now for homemade croutons:

20160625_222229087_iOS  Made with a three day old baguette, olive oil, and oregano (and garlic powder). These get toasted in the oven and then assemble the salad.

This was a nice flavored salad with different textures and nice color.

And we have our dinner.

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Get the Dog Out of the Kitchen!

The subtitle of this blog is “Went to a dance, looking for romance.”  In honor of my wedding anniversary to the best and last husband I am posting 12 year old pictures of pictures!

My sister had offered to make my wedding cake.She decided not to “wing it” from the cookbooks when she arrived at my house half-way across the country, so she researched it and found this one on the internet. She and my daughter spent two days before the wedding baking and assembling this cake.

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Fondant covered wedding cake with chocolate and raspberries. I don’t have the recipe, just the pictures in my wedding scrapbook!

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A dog fight of flavors!

Chimichurri. What is it? According to Wikipedia, chimichurri, it is loosely translated as “a mixture of several things in no particular order”. is that the best definition or what?! Anyway I came across a recipe from a magazine several years ago that I saved just because it was on a page with other interesting recipes to try. I am not sure which magazine this was. It was the sauce to serve with shrimp but with Hubby allergic to shrimp I did not think anything further about the recipe…until now!

20160621_222120506_iOSI have a thriving container garden of herbs hanging on the banister of my back porch. And I have all of the ones listed in this recipe! And I came across other recipes in my recent reading of food magazines while walking the treadmill that called for other combination of herbs. I thought it odd that mint was in here along with the others and the basil with dill. But I want to make this but with what? Steak? Pasta? Seafood?

I recently bought fish “burgers” at the store. Just for something different. Not Salmon burgers, but Alaskan Pollock. I don’t usually plan menus but I was writing a few ideas down and thought the chimichurri would compliment the fish. It would be different than the usual mayo with pickle relish tartar sauce.

Per usual I just go about harvesting the plants without really measuring. Then I chop everything into bits. I pour out a bit too much red pepper flakes but it works out well. A little after bite never hurt! I think I used about 3/4 cup of olive oil.

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Looks beautiful, even if I do say so myself! It really should be served in a small mason jar with a spoon, but it looks very nice in the cruet! Now to dinner…

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Pulled Pork

I have begun to think that everyone has cooked everything possible in all variations and there is nothing new under the sun to cook or write recipes about! I’ve been blogging just about a year now and I don’t think I had intended it to just be recipes, but it seems like so. I like to read other food blogs and I do try some of the recipes. With a little tweaking. Not to take away from the original. But that is how I cook. I can probably count on my hands and toes how many times I have followed a recipe “exactly”. Except for baking. But…even then…sometimes…?

So what to write about? Back a few years ago, almost 6 to be exact, my nieces cooked pulled pork for the family gathering after my Dad’s funeral. Dad was dad! I miss him. I wish I had been more patient/tolerant of conversations with him about social issues and politics. Theology and religion we could discuss til the cows came home, but not social issues and politics.

The pulled pork was delicious. I think my niece told me that she cooked a pork roast (I have no idea what cut) overnight in the crock pot on a layer of onions with a can of ginger ale. Then in the morning, she shredded the pork and returned it to the crockpot with a bottle of barbecue sauce. It cooked again for the day and was ready to eat. Yum.

This is not that recipe!

I have made pulled pork in my crockpot several times and I don’t think I have ever done the same way twice, much like barbecue sauce! I generally put the pork loin roast in the pot and make up a sauce with tomato ketchup (or is that catsup?), vinegar or Worcestershire, brown sugar or honey, chili powder or hot sauce, some garlic powder maybe, and let it cook all day. This is not that recipe either, but sort of.

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I cut the 3 pounds from this 10 pound chunk of pig!
  • 3 pounds of pork loin
  • 1/2 cup leftover homemade barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup tangerine limeade seltzer water

I put this in the crockpot and cooked it on low all day while I was at work. 8 hours later I came home and found that the liquid was simmering away quite briskly. I removed the meat and shredded it, draining the liquid. I put the meat back into the pot. I made a sauce from ketchup, sriracha, Worcestershire, and apple cider vinegar. I poured that over the shredded meat and let it cook, again on low for 2 hours until Hubby came home.

I served this on bakery Portuguese rolls; Hubby cooked up some mixed vegetables; and we ate our dinner without me taking a picture of the plated product. Oh well!

While waiting for the pork to cook up with the sauce I was reading blogs and came across this one: Chelsea buns by Basil&Co. So I ran inside and made them! They are good! And easy! And rich! Go check it out!

Lentil Soup

 

I have been browsing through food magazines while walking the treadmill. The problem with this is that I get too many ideas and want to make them all at the same time. Last week I found an article in Rachel Ray’s magazine on One Grocery Bag: 3 Great Meals. This was from March of last year. One of the menus was lentil soup with pita and whipped feta. Sounded interesting. I have a bag of lentils in the pantry and feta in the fridge. So what’s the problem?

Before I get to make that meal, I am browsing through one of her magazines from 2014 and find other interesting recipes that I want to make and have the ingredients (or most of them). One of them is a pasta with chimichurri and tomatoes. This is fabulous because in my “Want to Try” recipe clippings I have a chimichurri recipe that I was trying to figure out what it should go with. Pasta!

But one thing at a time!

For Monday night’s meal I go with the lentil soup. I have leftover chicken so this will not be a Meatless Monday. I use the recipe as a guideline only. I use chicken broth and add potatoes and celery. I want to make a lentil stew as Hubby likes stews better than soups.

  • 20160613_201937620_iOS1 cup rinsed lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth plus two cups water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • about 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • about one cup cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2-1 cup crumbled feta
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Chop the vegetables. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot. Throw all the chopped vegetables, including garlic, into this pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rinsed lentils and chicken broth along with the cumin. Add the chicken and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are tender. This could take a bit longer, up to 40 minutes.

Now for the whipped feta. I used my immersion blender instead of a food processor because I only had 1/2 cup of cheese. I put this in a glass measuring cup and added 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Blend/whip/process until smooth and fluffy. Mine was more smooth and creamy than fluffy. I added about 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano as well and drizzled a bit of lime infused olive oil on top. I added some parsley for presentation.

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I served this with Keebler Townhouse Pita Crackers instead of the toasted Pita bread wedges suggested in the magazine. The soup and this made a nice supper. The dip was “grown up” per Hubby and is definitely worth making again. I think I would add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the soup next time. I forgot to add chopped parsley to the soup for the picture. When I added it to my soup it gave it a nice fresh flavor addition. This is parsley growing out on my porch. Much nicer than the dried stuff!

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Dinner is served!

 

What we ate this past week…

This past week I had not been terribly inspired to try new recipes or cook elaborate meals. But we do go to work, Hubby and I, and come home and need to eat. For the most part I am trying to eat better, and less, for health and well-being. I usually get two to three days into the week and BOOM!, I fall back into eating too much or having that extra glass of wine or sweet thing that sets off the indigestion or sets back the good efforts I have made.

That said, I have been making protein shakes for breakfast and taking a decent lunch with plenty of fruit for snacking at work. I have a bag of string cheese in the small fridge in my office for a healthy snack mid-morning. One morning I cooked up an egg with a piece of ham with a bit of frozen spinach for color. It took just a few minutes so I am not sure why I don’t do that more often.

Another hallmark of the week is that I have logged 10000 steps one of the days! I did this by walking to work (7/10th of a mile) and walking a mile on the treadmill during my lunch break. AND carrying my iPhone on my person to track the steps. A Fitbit would be easier but it’s just an extra bit of technology that duplicates the App on the smartphone. I do not walk to work everyday because I need to give my ankle a chance to rest and sometimes because I am just plain lazy!

So what did we eat?

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Monday was barbequed chicken baked in the oven. I used my homemade sauce (It’s different every time!). I baked the chicken and poured on the sauce after 30 minutes and then set it under the broiler after 20 more minutes to brown them. I served this with a spinach/romaine salad topped with strawberries, toasted pecans, and feta cheese, dressed with homemade Green Goddess dressing.

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Tuesday was a quinoa salad made with the two leftover pieces of chicken from Monday’s dinner. I found a fabulous quick cook quinoa/wild rice mix that cooks up in 10 minutes and there are no additives or spice mix in it. This is the multi-grain crunch salad from the back of the box. I forgot to use chicken broth to cook the quinoa and just used water. I did not measure the vegetables but added plenty along with my own addition of Craisins and walnuts.

  • make the equivalent of 1 1/2 to 2 cups quinoa/rice/grain mixture
  • add 1 cup cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots (I used prepared shredded carrots and chopped them up further.)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery (I used 2 large stalks)
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper (I used 6 mini peppers of varying sizes and added 2 yellow ones as well.)
  • 1/3 cup citrus vinaigrette (I made about 1/2 cup using 1/4 cup of the Persian Lime olive oil and the juice of one lemon. I chopped up fresh chives and thyme and parsley to make a few tablespoons, add a bit of kosher salt and pepper.)
  • 1/4 up Craisins and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cook the quinoa, chop the vegetables, add the chicken, and toss with the dressing. Super simple and super delicious. And super good for you! I made double and was able to take some for lunches. It can be served warm or cold.

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Wednesday was a “BAD DAY”: Super Nachos! But served with guacamole for the vegetable! For these nachos I browned about 1/2 pound of ground beef seasoning it with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and a few drops of hot sauce. Pile on cheese and jalapeno peppers and bake for 10 minutes. I make guacamole with garlic powder, diced tomato, lime juice, and a spoonful or so of sour cream. Oh yeah, don’t forget the avocado!

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Thursday was a re-run of the quinoa salad. For this supper I put fresh baby spinach leaves in the bowls and then piled on the salad. This is a great salad. One could switch it up and use rice or lentils or barley instead of quinoa for a nice summer supper.

Friday was the start of a camping weekend. We had our usual Subway grinders for Friday with chips. This lets us get to the campground, set up, and then have a supper ready to eat. For Saturday I had par-cooked (read that as “boiled the heck out of”) chicken leg quarters that we would finish cooking on the grill. I forgot that they were on the stove so they were more than par-cooked and turned out a tad dry but good enough with a Texas BBQ Rub. I did end up with a nice rich chicken stock out of it though! We made a foil packet of potatoes with butter, onions, and cheese as well.The best meal of the camping was the cheeseburgers for lunch. But here is a pic of our dinners:

So now it’s Sunday and were home again. What to cook this week?

Sunday in my Kitchen

It’s a rainy Sunday and I feel inspired to do all sorts of things. First I started with my closet. I set up ten “outfits” so I could just grab something out of the closet first thing in the morning for work. I have too many clothes so sometimes the decision making stumps me. It’s just clothes! But still!

We are in need of more ketchup and the homemade stuff is so good. I pull out the crock pot and throw in the ingredients, Special Sauce. Here is the recipe that I posted earlier.

It occurs to me that I have a container of neglected Sourdough Starter in the fridge that needs feeding. I hope it is still good. What to do with the “pour off”? Ha! I saved a fellow blogger Kristina’s post on country bread, Classic Country Bread. Her recipe is made with a poolish; I’ll substitute the starter for the poolish. I also don’t have a bread machine so I’ll just knead it in my KitchenAid with the bread hook. I have more whole wheat flour than all-purpose so I use 1 cup wheat flour and 1/1/2 cups all-purpose and two teaspoons instant yeast.  I just mix it all in the mixer, knead it for 5 minutes and place in a greased bread pan to rise.Here’s hoping it turns out okay!

I have fresh herbs that are growing nicely. I was looking through a Food magazine last week while walking on the treadmill (I have got to lose some weight!) and saw a recipe for Green Goddess dressing. I remember that from way back. So I look around on the internet for a recipe. There are plenty. This is my modification of the one from Epicurious, Buttermilk Green Goddess Dressing. I do not have anchovy paste, nor fresh tarragon. I leave the former out and use 1 teaspoon dried tarragon. I mix it all in a blender instead of the food processor.

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Not everything has to be from scratch. I put together a tray of cheese and crackers to take to the Refugee Coalition reception. And I feel so honored, the wife wants me to show her how I made the Baharat spice mixture: Timman Z’affaran. Its not about me but I am so pleased that it was so well received!

So at the end of the day here’s what I have added to my kitchen:

A wonderful artisan bread that served as our supper!

Green goddess dressing and homemade ketchup. This means I need to eat more salads this week. And some of the ketchup will be taken on our next camping trip to have on or cheeseburgers. Good eating!