Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chowder after Maine

Before we left for Maine, I bought some white sweet corn but had no time to prepare it. When we came home it was a week old but still ok so I cut it from the cob and used the cobs to make a little chowder base.


I was in a cooking mood and had some large shrimps to add a bit of flavor overall. So here is what I did

5 cobs of corn cut from cob, cobs reserved
1 shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 pound raw shrimp, shells removed and reserved
1 onion whole unpeeled
1 carrot rough chop
2 stalks celery rough chop
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream 
Salt and pepper to taste


Place the naked cobs in a pot with the shrimp shells onion, celery, carrots and thyme. Cover with water and simmer till veggies are tender about 40 minutes. strain and reserve the liquid as this is your base for the chowder. Discard the veggies.

In a fresh pot melt the butter and saute the garlic and shallot. Add the flour and cook a minute then add back the broth (should be about 5-6 cups). 
The soup will thicken a bit. If you want it to have more body, and flour or Wondra to thicken it up.  Add salt and pepper to taste and verify your seasoning. Bring to a slow boil and add 1/2 the raw corn. Allow the corn to cook and then run the imersion blender through to make a creamy soup. Now add the rest of the corn and the shrimps(chopped if they are too large) and allow the shrimp to cook through. Finally, add the cream and serve it up.

The Birthday Boy...

Nick and the rest of the family came to celebrate his birthday, the last few weeks before he starts his new job. He is a big fan of Wheatfield's Strawberry Wedding Cake but I found this recipe on Pintrest to make with a triple berry filling and Marscapone and cream frosting. As Ina says, 'How bad can that be?'. It was a light moist vanilla cake and the filling was just great. Easy to make but tough to keep it from sliding all over!

Check out the recipe on Lifeloveandsugar.com  Berry Marscapone Layer Cake.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Sweet Little Maine Trip

My intentions were honorable but my planning was poor. We headed to Maine to sample the local culture and abundance of seafood. We wasted some time trying to figure out what to do but sometimes there was just nothing to do. We spent a lot of time driving, saw some sights, ate some of the local cuisine ( turns out the 'lobster roll' is a bit over rated.)

We tried to hit the high points, followed advice of friends and locals. Some things panned out like the Lighthouse tour by boat, some things did not like a visit to Peaks Island. Not much to do there but we walked 17k steps that day as we did not 'reserve' a golf cart for the visit (who knew?)  and when one became available, we were ready to go back to the mainland, exhausted. Our average activity was about 15k per day so none of our heavy eating habits really took hold of our waistline.

The highlights of the tour were the lighthouses and the lobsters for sure. We sampled some local brew and distilleries. Met some family for dinner and lots of locals eager to share tales of their great state. The kindness of strangers was evident almost everywhere we went. A lovely lady loaned Brenda her L.L.Bean jacket on a chilly lighthouse cruise, and people were generally friendly and accommodating. It was cool, very cool, some days just hitting above 60 and one day finally getting to 80. We welcomed the cool weather and while I was comfortable, Brenda was uncomfortable at times. Dressing in layers was key.

We drove a lot probably close to 700 miles over the course of a few days. Never made it as far as Bar Harbor but we felt like we spent a lot of time in the car. The coastal highway was kind of a bust as it showed little of the coast and slowed down a lot though all the little port towns. All in all, if I did it again, I would spend less days or perhaps fly into Bangor which is more centrally located.

We loved the botanical gardens at Booth Bay and hiked some trails on the warmest day there. 
We ate at a lot of wharf based diners stacked with lobster traps and lobster boats loading and unloading.


We loved all the lighthouses and craggy rocks and marveled at the expensive coastal homes. 

All in all we had a great time, learned a few lessons about vacationing in the states and planning ahead. The star of he show was the lobster. I vowed to eat one everyday and pretty much ate 2 all but one day. Mission accomplished. 





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.

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