Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pain de Mie...bread in a Pullman Pan

So father's day was full of surprises. Mackenzie, Nick and Ben gave me far too much, gift wise. I am forever grateful for their thoughtfulness.  Mackenzie gave me her Canon Rebel camera so my food photos would look better. Ben supplied a 50mm lens and Nick gave me bread pans that I stopped by and examined at a kitchen store, Pryde's  in KC. He found them cheaper on line (thank goodness) and yesterday I tried my had at making sandwich bread.

I eat a lot more bread than I think, trying to balance my carbs against the insulin and other drugs I take to manage my diabetes. I am always looking for something new or old as the case may be. Nick gifted me two of these Pullman Loaf pans and they make a fantastic fresh sandwich loaves.

As you can see it is quite square and uniform in shape and cuts like a dream. The pan is heavy duty, non stick and made in America. with the slide on lid, the loaf  compacts slightly as its is baking adding a denser texture to hold up to fillings. It does not crust up as much as I thought it might so appears a little anemic despite the longer cooking time I gave it to see if it would add additional color. The taste was spot on and texture was fantastic for toasting or just eating. It is 4 inches square so most deli cheeses fit perfectly and will make a lovely grilled cheese. I have a 9 inch and 13 inch pan now and plan to use them frequently if I can instead of paying $2.98 a loaf at the store. I love making bread anyway.  I have not acquired my new camera as of this printing so that's still my iphone camera.

So the recipe came in several versions depending on the size pan you own. I used a King Arthur flour version I found on line easily and had most of the stuff at home already. I did use a bit of butter to grease the pan and lid and it slid out with no effort at all.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Another Bittersweet Weekend....

We just had so much to do this weekend.

Finally we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as far as Mom's house is concerned. We sold it, thanks to my sister, and are in the final stages of liquidating what remains of the contents. Bittersweet to be sure. I repaired the toilet downstairs (nothing sweet about that), picked over the remains of the stuff destined for the garage sale and repaired the serger for Mackenzie and 2 of my personal machines are back in working order after I thought I might have lost them.

I introduced Mackenzie to my mom's 1950's Singer which still clicks and clacks away and I made many a garment on that machine as did my mom. Now the legacy has passed to Mackenzie who has become an avid hobby sewer and realizes the satisfaction of owning garments no one else can buy. Creating your own style....priceless. 

We went to church several times for a dear friend that passed (Memory Eternal Effie!) and begrudgingly skipped church on Sunday so we could just catch up with our own domestic mess. I am sure the neighbors were glad I waited till 830 before firing up the lawn mower. 

Saturday before the Mercy meal, we stripped the church of the icons we had put up last year as we have to be out of our current location by the 30th of June. Once again nomads on the move, I am not entirely sure the church will survive this time. I am asking the question, internally,  of what went wrong? Why don't we have a church built yet? I am wondering if it is our love of money that affects all things as the innumerable delays since the purchase of property at 180th street snowballed into a need to increase the investment, rezoning and election years. But at what price? While the maneuvering  paid off, it appears it might have cost us the very church we love so dearly.  Too early to say  but not too early to think about it. I feel like I let someone gamble my winnings and the payoff is still years away. Haven't we waited years already?



I feel bad that I did not stand during the meeting and make an impassioned plea to remain independent rather than join another local church, regardless of the cost,  where we are in great danger of losing our identity all together or at least become invisible to the community while we have to pay insane rental prices to them. And for what? A few services is costing us how much? Crazy.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pickled Avocados....who knew?

Ingredients
1/2  cup white balsamic vinegar
2/3  cup water
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 firm ripe, Fresh California Avocado, (quite firm, squeeze the avocado gently in the palm of your hand; you want only the slightest bit of "give")
1 (2-inch) sprig rosemary
1 very thin slice fresh lemon, halved







Process:




  1. Combine the vinegar, water, salt and honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. Place peppercorns, crushed red pepper and garlic in a pint-size jar.
  3. Cut avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove seed and peel, keeping halves intact. Cut into ½-inch wide slices, width wise. Place avocado slices into prepared jar and cover with cooled brine. Tuck rosemary sprig and lemon slice into jar. Cover jar tightly and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, remove avocados from brine and enjoy.



Image result for avocado pickles
We made these earlier this week and to my great surprise they are quite good, really good. My brine is quite a bit darker than this photo as I used white balsamic which isn't white at all.  But the flavor is great and savory with the creamy avocado, delicious.

This recipe is from the California Avocado Commission, 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Eating KC ..Graduation Weekend


Nicholas earned his Doctorate in Nurse Anesthesia and we are so darned proud of him,  we drove to KC to spend a weekend celebrating. We found a great little AirB&B and camped there a few days with in walking distance of some key areas of Kansas City, the Plaza and Westport.

Friday was a late hooding ceremony where Nick was apparently the star of a promo video for KU. So cool. Afterwards we headed back for pizza and snacks and champagne.

Saturday we were up early to hit commencement then headed to Westport on foot to visit Prydes Kitchen supply then take in lunch at Harry`s. A few cocktails and a burger or two later we hoofed it back to our Loft for a rest before hitting the Plaza before dinner at Brio`s. A nice Olive Garden type Italian joint with a little better food but I missed the endless salad.

Mackenzie did the driving so we hit IKEA on Sunday after a quick stop at Donutology.
The donuts were custom made and a bottle of cold milk hit the spot. On to IKEA then out of town and back in Omaha by 3. I was exhausted. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Panzanella Salad

Fasting time again and I just am not ready to go back to the same ol stuff. I still have shrimps left in the freezer and the loaf of bread we bought for croutons gave me a plan. A quick trip to the store for a few missing ingredients and dinner was in hand. I peeled the shrimp after a quick defrost. Cubed the bread to prep for croutons. Bought some tomato, olives and artichokes. Everything else was on hand and ready to go.

Since Brenda likes her croutons fresh and crunchy, I prepped the salad in parts. First the wedged tomatoes, salted over a colander to drain some of the moisture away. I saved the juice for the dressing.

Then I made the croutons by frying them in oil and butter with seasonings till golden brown.  i set them aside and placed the shrimps sprinkling them with paprika and some of the crouton seasonings. Once cooked, I set them aside.

I added my tomatoes, chunks of cucumbers, red onions, olives, feta cheese to a large bowl. Shrimp went in next. I made a quick dressing of the tomato  juice, a lemon squeezed, a bit of tarragon vinegar, a scant teaspoon of dijon mustard and olive oil. I added a pinch of sugar and a few grinds of pepper but no salt yet.

I dressed the salad letting it sit at room temp till Brenda got home. Lots of great juice, I checked the seasoning for salt, added what was needed. I placed a handful of croutons in bowls, spooned the salad over and let them soak up all that great liquid. Great eats!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Eating Omaha....Local Beer, Patio and Kitchen


Friday night just got a whole lot better at this spot in Millard. We ventured out with old friends Randy and Ronda after Brenda got a surprise reprieve from her late Friday shift. I had Root Beer but the rest enjoyed a regular local brew and we had sandwiches, pretzels and onion rings from the menu. It all looked so good and what we had was great. Nice patio, nice space and great service. The root beer went down smoothly too!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Eating Omaha... Blackstone Meatball

Today we met Ellen and Mark at Mom's house and cleared out more stuff. We caught up on a lot of things, found more photos and threw out a bunch of stuff none of us wanted. As the day wore on we decided to make dinner plans in Midtown. The Blackstone district is the new Omaha "it" spot. Seen and be seen. So much fun people watching, gabbing and drinking craft cocktails at Night Owl after dinner. Met some work friends too.


So, Meatballs is a craft bar/eatery and serves only....meatballs. Mark and I had a flight of 5 while the girls had a bowl of 3 meatballs atop grilled veggies. A choice of 5 flavored meatballs and 5 sauces are offered on a variety of vehicles including veggies, pasta or grits and more. All the flavors were great, some better than others like the Rueben meatball special topped with Thousand Island. The Chicken meatball with Alfredo sauce was tasty as well. Least favorite was the Vegan and Pesto(mushroom, white bean) but still wasn't bad.

We had quick service, were invited to sit as long as we pleased and skipped dessert. A very busy place indeed. After paying the bill,  about $50 incl tip each,  we strolled across the street running into Rich and Julie et all, along the way.

We ducked into Night Owls for another cocktail, people watching and conversation before making the long ride home. Great evening out in a nice section of town with a lively crowd,  mostly younger, for a nice Friday night diversion.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eating this Post Lenten Week

So far I have had lamb, Greek chicken, lamb and more lamb. Okay,  I am getting a little tired of lamb and after lunch today I have only one serving left to consume. It is really goo though and I will probably prepare it ( sous vide) this way from now on.  Greek chicken is brined breasts, sliced hot off the grill and bathed in lemon juice, oregano and olive oil. Very tasty.

So far this week, the only thing I have had off the ranch is a burger at Hardee's after a trip to Menards last night and yes, Hardee hamburgers are very good. Very good indeed.

We (I) have consumed a loaf of tsoureki as toast. I cannot get enough of this. Its like a pastry more than a bread and toasted it is divine food of the gods.  The mahlab adds a distinct pleasant flavor that you really cannot put your finger on but when I have a slice to my favorite Syrian physician, he nearly teared up as it reminded him of home. How is that for authentic?  One of my workmates thought the chunk of lamb I gave him was tenderloin, it's that tender.  I know I am a whackadoo when I have to share everything I bring with my work mates. They probably think I am crazy and acquiesce out of kindness.

As my tummy settles down I will be racking up some ribs later this weekend or Huli Huli Chicken. I just found a recipe that looks so tempting.

Huli Huli Chicken 

Huli means 'turn' in Hawaii and with the sugar in this marinade it is a good idea to keep turning the chicken to avoid burning it.

The recipe is enough for about three chickens, split in half.  You can use chicken pieces if that’s what you have. Marinate your chicken for at least a half-hour.
                               1/3 cup ketchup
                               1/3 cup soy sauce
                               1/4 cup brown sugar
                               1/4 cup honey
                               1/4 cup sherry
                               1-2 Tbsp. sesame oil
                               1-2-more pieces ginger root, crushed
                               3 cloves garlic, crushed
                               Worcestershire sauce to taste
                               Sriracha or Asian chili paste (or red pepper flakes) to taste
                               Squeeze a lemon in if you've got one
Brush the chicken with the remaining marinade while cooking over a grill. And don't forget to huli the chicken.

I stole this recipe from  

 http://www.hawaiimagazine.com/blogs/hawaii_today/2009/6/5/make_huli_huli_chicken

Let youo know Monday on how this comes out if I get a chance to make it. Looking for something to take to KC for Nick's graduation anyway....maybe it be this?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tsoureki by Xeno


I made this traditional Greek Easter bread this year again but this time the recipe from My Greek Dish was a proven winner. It turned really dark baking because of the sugar in the dough and came out of the oven weighing nearly nothing. Make sure you hit the 190-195 mark before removing. It proved to be light and very tasty, great for toasting but it toasted really fast so be careful but it tasted good even a little burnt. I used the real deal spices, mahlab and masticha. Trust me and hunt these down. Here in Omaha, a trip to the Mediterranean market (84th and Blondo) is in order as they will surely have them. 
 
I did not put anise seed or extract as some people find the taste off putting but the Greeks love it. Does not matter to me one way or the other. The texture of the bread is sublime, soft, stringy even crumb. I made these 2 huge loafs from one recipe, enough to share with really good friends. If we ever see Matt and Lori again, I will have to make this for them.

http://www.mygreekdish.com/recipe/tsoureki-recipe-traditional-greek-easter-bread/

Rather than re write the recipe follow the link to the great article. Yum.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sous Vide Lamb Kebabs

I have been salivating over this for weeks as Lent has winded down and the devil distracted my thoughts with lust for food. Well, Pascha in the Greek church means lamb and who could blame him. This year I wanted the most succulent treat I could imagine and I got out the trusty Sous Vide oven and went to town on a boneless leg.  after 12 hours in the sous vide bath at 130 degrees, I drained the meat, added a few onions and hit the grill. Grilled on high for just long enough to crust the meat with a mahogany color, it was literally falling apart as I took it off the burners.


Very hot grill


So here is how it's done. You'll thank me.

1 leg of lamb cubed
1 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon paprika
Good glug  of olive oil
Seal the sous vide bag cook at 130 for about 12 hours

Remove meat and drain juices. Place in large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoons of oregano, salt and pepper to taste, a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few chunky onions. Heat grill to very hot (600) and drop meat and veggies into a grilling basket. Toss frequently, move away from flames until desired color is achieved. Using tongs, remove to a clean bowl. So tender and yummy.

Yes I know it's nine in the morning.

PS...the reviews are in. Mackenzie says not to lose the recipe or technique. I have to agree, best lamb ever.

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