Friday, July 11, 2014

Black Bean Soup

Made this soup last night and it got thumbs up all around as it was delicious. Best part was it was quick, easy and I had all the necessary ingredients.

Here's how I made it:

Ingredients

10 slices of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, crushed (or diced if you like chunky tomatoes)
3 cans (15 oz size) black beans, rinsed
1 TBL chili powder (or a little less if you have someone sensitive to heat)
2 TBL ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with lime juice, cilantro or parsley, diced green onion and sour cream if you like.

Cook the bacon in a large heavy pot.  Cook over medium heat until the start browning.  Stir in onion and cook until translucent (5 minutes or so).  Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Just until you start to smell it.  Season with S&P.

Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire and chili powder.  Give a good stir.  Add the beans.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Done.

We had this with a salad with fresh lettuce and greens from my garden.  Great dinner.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Real Garden 2014

After years and years of just doing container gardening, this year I have a real garden.  And just any little old garden plot.  I've got this:


It's about 20 x 40 and the fencing is 6 feet high.  And when my sweety told me he was going to install a gate, I envisioned chicken wire tacked to a strip of wood that I would roll back when I needed to get in, but no…this is what he made:


A real freakin' gate.  Brilliant.

Here's what I'm growing:


Corn



Tomatoes.  Some of the plants that I bought too early, before the garden was ready got a little pot bound and still seem to be struggling.


Peas (in the foreground) and cabbage and habeneros (in the background).


Mixed greens


Peppers, beets and the carrots are just sprouting.



Cucumbers and butternut squash

Enough blogging…got to go out and finish weeding.  Happy growing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Front Porch

One of the real perks of the new house is an enormous wrap around front porch.  It will take me a while to get it just the way I want it, but I am making progress.

So, here are some photos I like to call "Getting the front porch ready":





The last photo shows the newly installed wood screen door.  Still needs hardware and the trim painted, but I just love it.  It's sounds like summer when it closes, although I figure one day with the grandkids here and I'll be ready to scream.  But I still think it's perfect.

Happy Summer!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

I made this Grilled Corn Avocado Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing tonight.

I found the recipe on Facebook and as I had a very ripe avocado sitting on the counter, it was  perfect for dinner.

It was delicious and something I highly recommend.

Here is the recipe:



GRILLED CORN, AVOCADO AND TOMATO w/ HONEY LIME DRESSING

1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Honey Lime Dressing
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper


DIRECTIONS:

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad

Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. The corn should have some brown spots and be tender and not mushy. Cut the corn off the cob then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices. Set aside and let cool. Slice the tomatoes in half. Dice the avocado and chop the cilantro.
Honey Lime Dressing

1.     Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

2.     Combine the sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and grilled corn and honey lime dressing and mix gently so everything is evenly coated. Be careful not to mash the avocados. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors mingle


I did make a few alterations.  First, I didn't want to heat up the grill for two ears of corn, so I just cut the corn off the cob and sauté the corn in some olive oil until I got a few brown bits of corn.  I also used parsley instead of cilantro as I have a "certified" cilantro hater in the house.  And, finally…no cayenne as the cilantro hater is also not a fan of "heat".  I think he has a sensitive palate.

And here is what I served with the salad:



This is the world's best sandwich.  It's a salmon BLT on Ciabatta roll.  Oh my goodness.  Oh my goodness.

So wonderful and so messy,  but worth every bite.

Happy Friday everyone.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Yeah Sunshine

Finally able to bring out the toes from hiding.  It's been a long, long time since they've seen the sunshine.  Welcome back to the land of the living little guys.


Now let's see if I can find the screens for the bedroom windows.

TTFN.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Roasting Vegetables

One of the best way to eat more vegetables is to make them taste better.  One of my favorite ways to enhance their flavor is by roasting them.  I only started roasting veggies in the last couple years.  It started slowly and has expanded to include quite a wide variety.

Basically, here's the process:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and dry your vegetable of choice.  Place on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Drizzle with Olive Oil and season well with salt (I prefer Kosher salt) and pepper.  Toss with your hands to make sure everything is evenly coated.


Roast until tender and slightly browned.  Use a large wooden spatula or metal flipper to toss the veggies once or twice during the roasting cycle.  This helps them to cook more evenly.


This process works with asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beets, brussel sprouts and any other sturdy veg you would like to try.  Obviously, the larger the vegetable pieces the longer they will need to roast.  Asparagus will likely take 10 minutes whereas cauliflower can take 30 to 40.

I do have some modifications for certain veggies.

Beets:  As beets are a very messy veggie, I cut the top and bottom off the beet and place in individual foil packs (making the foil into boat like shapes).  I them add the oil and S&P.  I then seal them and put them on a rimmed cookie sheet.  These suckers take a long time to cook.  I usually like to give them an hour or so.  Once the are tender, I open the foil packs and them them cool.  You can then easily slide off the outer skin and then slice them into a bowl.  They heat up super easy in a microwave if they need to be warmed.

Cauliflower:  You can click on the following link to  find my full recipe for roasted cauliflower .  Essentially you roasting cauliflower with olive oil, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and S&P.  In the final 10 minutes you top it with a little shredded parmesan.  The recipe really does work wonders for cauliflower (hint…I don't really like cauliflower any other way.)  Again, don't forget to toss the veggies once or twice during cooking.

Brussel Sprouts:  These are pretty much at the bottom of my veggie list, but if you sauté up some diced bacon, drain and set aside.  Then replace the olive oil with the bacon drippings and roast until tender and browned…even brussel sprouts can be yummy.  (Remember to toss the cooked sprouts with the diced cooked bacon.)

If you've never roasted a veggie before, I sincerely hope you give it a try.  I think you will like it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vegetables!

With the warmer weather just starting, it's been putting me in the garden state of mind and of course vegetables come quickly to mind.

I've decided my next few posts will be all about cooking vegetables.  Learning how to properly cook vegetables so that they are delicious has been one of my best accomplishments as a home cook.

We will talk about roasting veggies and sautéing veggies, so that they turn out yummy.  (Even brussel sprouts.)

Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's in Your Camera??

I finally got around to transferring my latest batch of photos out of my camera.  Here's a little of what's been going on around the old farm.

I am completely obsessed with eggs at the moment.  Poached eggs in particular.  When in doubt…this is what's for dinner and I couldn't be happier.  (How happy am I that the I was able to capture the steam rising off the eggs.  Marvelous.)


We took care of Luke and Logan for a few days, so there were lots of these photos:


Luke is such a sweetie and he had a little cold too.



Logan sitting still.  A small miracle.


Logan found a new game.  Turn water on…turn water off.  Over and over and over.


Note Joey's location.  This is his favorite spot during lunch time.  He always knows to sit by the youngest member.  He gets a lot of snacks that way.

And here is another food adventure.  Barbecue chicken salad.  Yummy.


And finally, a moment with Gigi and Luke.  He is explaining "Pokeman" to Great Grandma.  She has no idea what he's talking about, but you'd never know that by her attention level.


Note to self…turn up the heat.  Mom looks like she's freezing.