Monday, July 21, 2008

July 2008

Hello's been a while. WOW what a year so far. Jason is out of high school and registered for college - gotta say I'm proud of that young man, he won awards in drama and photography this year and plans a career in multi-media/photography.

But that leaves me pretty much obsolete now! Time to step it up and take care of me. I remember Barbra Striesand in the Mirror has two she spent that summer getting in shape and all self confident. Well, I'm 51, but it's not to late! Now to go find things that intrigue me. I'm trying to lose the weight with South Beach and am on again/off again about cooking. It's almost always just me - so salads and rotisserie chicken are top of the list - how sad is that???!!! but it may change soon - I need to get my house in order - all of it! Anyway, part of my plan is good old fashioned journalling, so I'm going to try to keep my blog updated, try a few new recipes and post results....hopefully find some really healthy alternatives that are fun and fast and tasty.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

its been a while....

It is a beautiful quiet Easter morning - for the moment. I am filled with a sense of being blessed. There were a few dark weeks since I last came around - anniversaries of events and the like, but once I again I shake it off and look around me in wonder, seeing all the wonderful things in my life.

Last weekend I started planting my first front flower bed - a nice mix of herbs and pink - knockout roses, dianthus, minicarnations, and a pretty white flower called diamond frost...I have pictures, but having realized after the fact that someone took the memory card out and I have no idea where the connecting cable is...will have to wait to post...or just do a before and after when they actually look like plants!

I always thought that by the time I was 40, I would be in the house I would live in forever and it would have mature roses all around. Many many moves and three divorces [yes, three, I'm sad to say] at 50, I finally have my own house...with mature roses! Thanks to a wonderful man who remembered that goal and when he found 3 ginormous rose bushes being dug up to make room for the never ending suburbian sprawl, had them transplanted into my back yard.

So....on to food...and there has been a lot of it! Last 2 times we went to Port Aransas, it was a mission to taste as many crab/shrimp boils as possible...and we have a favorite - The Boiling Pot in Rockport - they have this awesome remoulade that I haven't tried to duplicate yet! I hope someone will read my blog and send me the recipe! anyway....there's a pretty good one at Canyon Lake - now to be honest, I don't remember WHERE we were! but the name of the place is Plooky

well pooh, I forgot how to do the link....anyway...take cash, they don't take credit cards!

One of our favorite things on lazy weekends is to have finger food and last night I tried a couple of new things that really worked well. We already know I love HEB Plus...last time I was there I picked up a couple of small wedges of cheese - a mancego, stilton, and brie. While there, I saw a recipe for brie crescents - pillsbury crescent rolls, brie and a simple is that? Separate rolls into triangles, slice brie into 1 oz slices, slice a pear into 8 slices - put a slice of brie and a slice of pear on each roll, roll up and bake as directed on package. O M G [note - I did not use 1 oz slices on most of them - it just seemed too much, so probably about 3/4 oz was good and didn't ooze out onto the baking dish.

I also baked a pack of the HEB stuffed jalapenos and wanted something sweet and hot to dip them in - it turned out to be awesome on the brie as well - I would probably make it again and spread it on the roll before wrapping: 1/4 cup sugar free red raspberry preserves, 1/2 tsp chopped jarred jalapeno, 1/4 tsp horseradish, and a drizzle of honey - just mixed it all up and served it in a little cup on the 'hot' tray. So dinner turned out to be a tiny piece of port stilton, jalapenos, brie crescents, a couple ounces of manchego, crackers, grapes, and apple. Oh and a bloody mary shrimp cocktail that didn't really add anything, thankfully, I only made a very small batch for testing purposes, good, but not really the right thing to go with the cheese and fruit....some serrano ham or prosciutto would have been perfect.

That WAS my favorite meal of the week. Today we're grilling ribs and some chicken quarters, potato salad and deviled eggs are in the fridge, everything is seasoned and just waiting to get the fire started....It's going to be a long afternoon, smelling those ribs cooking! I'll probably put a couple of 'freezer meals' together - i'll post recipes if they turn out. I've always loved Mimi Wilson's cooking for a month cookbook - and while I rarely do a month at a time anymore, I do flip to a few favorites when a lazy day presents itself alongside an empty freezer.

Happy Easter all - have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pork Curry

Yummy yummy recipe for a quick meal! I found the basis for the recipe on in a search for pork curry, then of course, changed it all up to suit me. The recipe instructions were to bake the curry but I was in a 30 minute or less I did it all stove top.

The basic recipe:

2# pork tenderloin cut in 1/2" strips, tossed in 1/2 cup flour seasoned only with red pepper flakes; 1 can coconut milk, 3 tsp curry powder, 2 beef bouillion cubes, 1 onion diced, 3 cloves garlic, 1 pound of mushrooms, 1/2 cup marsala or white wine, and 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter... After reading the reviews [not spicy enough, not enough salt] I changed it all up - of course.

I had about 1/2# thin sliced pork loin, sliced that into 1/2" strips, tossed with about 2 tbsp flour, salt and red pepper flakes, sauteed, tossed in onion and garlic, let that saute.

Prepare your nose for heaven! 1 can of light coconut milk, 3 tsp Penzey's sweet curry, 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter [see, I can follow a recipe!!!], taste- still needs some salt! Add about a half a small head of cauliflower, almost 8 oz white mushrooms, simmer - needs something....chili paste, little more salt, sprinkle of Penzeys Vindaloo spice...simmer some more [all this is less than 20 minutes] add a handful of frozen green peas and maybe 2 tsp fine chopped cilantro, serve up over Calrose rice [that I bought to experiment with onigri].

I'm not sure what the salt issue is, I used sea salt - so maybe should have used Kosher, or maybe its just me! I didn't use the bouillion and don't think it needed it for taste, but maybe for the salt.

This recipe could have used probably twice as much veggie, the ones I used were great and I would just double up those...potato would have been good, especially if you didn't want to do rice and if you use more veggie the sauce could have been stretched out a little with some broth.

Soup days

Cool weather and mountain's January in San Antonio!!! My favorite time for cooking. Friday night, I made a cajun shrimp boil - wow! my first time doing that and it was really good. Still room for improvement starting with not using the crab/shrimp boil bag I used....not enough 'stuff' on the food and could be a little spicier. I really want the recipe for the remoulade they serve at the boiling pot [I think that's the name] in Rockport Tx

It's been a fun weekend at my house...Saturday was car tinkering day. The El Camino my son drives is running like ca-ca!!! so the guys popped the hood and did all kind of old-fashioned guy things to it, some of which actually helped. Meanwhile, my son replaced the brake pads on my car - how cool is that!!! after being married to a man who couldn't change a freaking light bulb, it's good that J is learning all kinds of cool stuff - new ceiling fans - up, new commode - installed, back porch - roofed, his room - still a mess! Can you tell I'm a proud mama!!!

Saturday night was pho and spring rolls at Pho Cong Ly - not being Vietnamese and not having visited there, I don't know if it's authentic - but it sure is good!!!

Sunday I saw Giarda making a bean soup on FoodTV that I would never make, but at least it got the wheels turning in my brain and I threw together a really good pot of bean soup with canned white beans and tomato, and left over grilled pork chops, a little chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, carrot - your basic soup veggies....and then tossed in a handful of barley. It was really good. {so good that I had it for breakfast this morning!!!}

But the very best was last night - I was driving home in yucky drizzle and fog, wondering what to do for dinner....and the pieces fell together in my head like a marching band in formation!! Mushrooms, mushroom stock, a roux, onion, garlic, celery, sherry [okay, so the band was not in perfect order!!!

So here's how it went: HEB [I hate the Schertz HEB BTW; I'm an idiot for driving past 2 awesome stores at Blanco and DeZavala, but it wasn't in my head until I was almost home!!] Picked up shitaki, baby bella, and white mushrooms, WHAT no mushroom stock grumble, so better than bouillion mushroom stock concentrate, a 'como batard' [again, the other 2 stores have much better bread selection, HEB are you reading this!!!!]

Recipe {finally}
Shitaki mushrooms - .1 # [should have gotten more]
Baby bella mushrooms 0.3#
White mushrooms - 0.4#
1/2 of a large onion - fine dice
2 stalks celery - fine dice
Smart Balance, olive oil
1/4 c flour
1/8 c dry sherry
Milk [I used skim, but I'm sure whole milk or cream or half/half would make this deadly good]

3 pans on the stove [I'm doing a rachel ray!]; sauteed rough chopped mushrooms in olive oil in my big "green pan", seasoned with Herbes de provence [I used too much]; sauteed onion and celery in olive oil and a little smart balance, heating milk over low heat with a big dollop of the mushroom concentrate. Made a roux in the onion/celery pan and cooked until just starting to get golden, added in enough milk to make it like a sauce, took the boat motor/hand blender and pulverized most of the veggies [note, blender is probably much better tool for this] added milk to the rigth consistency, added mushrooms and hand blendered again - NOT a necessary step, wouldn't do it again. Adjusted seasonings with a little salt and white pepper, added sherry and served with very lightly toasted bread.

No pictures! this was not a pretty dish and I was too hungry to dress it up for a photo shoot. Definitely a do-over!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday January 15, 2008 Green Chili Stew

Just a quick note to post a wonderful recipe. I found this on Exotic Food Emporium. I've got this cooking right now [working at home] and it is making me drool!!! it is so good. I won't have cheese with mine, but I've got cilantro, sweet onion, and jalapeno already minced in the fridge, so I'll toss that with some diced avocado....yummmm. BTW - this is not a HOT dish, it has a bite - but not like you'd have with serrano or jalapeno peppers

Green Chili Stew
2 lbs lean beef round or pork [I'm using pork loin]
2 t. salt
2 T. oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cans whole green chilies, chopped (6-8 whole chilies total) try to find Hatch New Mexico peppers, I only had one can, so I added a handful of frozen poblano pepper strips
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cube meat, sprinkle with salt and fry until brown in oil. Add potatoes to browned meat together with onion, garlic, salt, chili and enough water to cover. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender. Serve with cheddar cheese and tortillas on the side.

I am using my new Todd English "green pans" - my Christmas gift to me and I just LOVE these pans. Nothing sticks - so far - with just a smidgeon of oil and clean up is a swish with the sponge and rinse. Who knows how they'll be in the long run, but for now I'm happy.

I'll update when we've had the stew - maybe even try my hand at posting pictures!

The completed stew - yummy!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday morning slowly starting

It's 10:30 as I sit here with my morning diet Mt. Dew, my preferred caffiene source, tho a big glass of Bill Miller tea would have been good if someone had been nice enough to go out and get me a lean brisket, egg, and potato taco - totally not good for me, but I had hoped!

Looking through blogs took up quite a bit of my day yesterday and now I want to figure out EASY ways to get some stuff in here. At the computer, originally to work, then to find recipes and ideas for taking care of the veggies and meat that now fill my fridge! I griped about veggie prices at HEB, and I won't even consider buying meat my honey went down to Chichi's (chachi's - whatever) down by the produce market and brought back cabbage, cauliflower [99 cents a head there - 2.99 at HEB], nice ripe avocados, fruit - I'm not even sure what all else!! Then to Culebra meat market....I've got an entire pork loin - now cut into 4 equal pieces - 1 for a roast, 1 for pozole or green chili stew, the rest for some steaks, stir fry, milanesa style...He's going to be grilling today - fajitas [real, beef, fajita!], pork, and a sirloin that I've dry salted.

This is an idea I got from freaky foodie's blog, actually from grocery guy via her blog!- wait! I may have actually inserted a link!!! The steak is laying out in the garage refrigerator, salted on both sides and flipped mid drying. I did this with my turkey at Thanksgiving in 2006 and 2007 and came out with the bestest turkey we'll see how the steak does. It took the turkey 3 full days, steak only a portion of the day. If I can get some pretty sides to go with it, I'll take pics - AND if it's good!

So - good Sunday morning to all. I'm going to go dig around in the blog world and try to find out how to do all those little things I want - links [so I can give better credit to my inspiration!] a counter, pictures in my posts - that sort of thing. Besides my Mt. Dew is gone and I really need to NOT SIT HERE all day again today!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day 1...finding my way here

I've been reading blogs the last few days, wondering if I had anything to put out there, but hey - that's what a blog is right - a place to put thoughts, ideas, and share a bit! I discovered the world of blogs just this past week [how sad is that!!!???] when my co-worker ST introduced me to the world of bento boxes...that got me going - of course, finding a new way to spend lots of money on gadgets!!! There are some cool blogs out there....and hopefully this will become one of those!

I'm hoping to share some recipes and cooking ideas, maybe some pics of the successful recipes and life in South Texas. I suppose the filled up page will eventually happen, once I learn to post links and all that good stuff!