Friday, June 15, 2018

Summer dinner on the patio....

Last night Brenda entertained her co workers on the patio with drinks and a summer salad.  The party was a celebration of birthdays and work gossip as well as a  chance to relax and enjoy the summer evening which turned out ok. Not too hot, a light breeze made the evening comfortable.

The salad recipe is on the blog previously with the goat cheese croutons. I just added a healthy dose of grilled chicken to make it more filling.  We had a lot of snacks in addition, including fried green olives and assorted cheeses.

For refreshments Brenda had obtained a recipe from the bar maid in Iowa when we visited Matt and Lori. Of course the recipe was for one drink and I wanted at least 18 servings to make sure the conversation was well oiled.

Strawberry Lemonade Sangria for a crowd

2 Bottles of a good drinkable Pinot Grigio
1 Bottle of Strawberry flavored Vodka
2 cups simple syrup
2 cans of Sprite
Lemons and strawberries for garnish and fruit in the sangria

We  used Lemon Flavored ice cubes (yes, you could buy them at the store)  to cool it all down but had the liquor in the fridge and freezer before mixing  to ensure maximum cooling effects.

A good time was had by all and no one needed a ride home as we offered plenty of other fluids to keep the ladies cool and refreshed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Eating Omaha....Barchen

We needed to get together with Jill to deliver some gifts for her birthday so we made plans to hit happy hour locally and choose Barchen,  a German Style Beer Garden in the Benson area.

Mostly beer but sadly, mostly out of beer. Nick tried to order several beers and at least 12 were not available so he settled for what was available. Not much of a beer drinker myself, I sampled a Moscow Mule which was refreshing on this summer evening. The temps were cooler and the shade provided by the large umbrellas provided a lot of relief.

We started with pretzels and mustards with a cheese sauce on the side. Very tasty and went great with beer as well as the Mule.

Jill chose the sausage platter for dinner. A large board came to the table with 8 house made sausages on a bed of sauerkraut.  A sampling of just about everything but it came at a price, $38 for 8 sausages. A side of coleslaw rounded out the fare. Just the right amount of acid to sweet. Most of the sausages were delicious. There were a few I did not care for but the platter disappeared after a bit. More than enough for the 4 of us to eat and that with a few beers and my drink totaled about $105 plus a tip. Pricier than I thought but a nice evening in a great setting with friendly service none the less.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Anniversary Celebrating


Its been a heady weekend of celebrations. Firstly, Brenda's niece was married in Campbell NE and when spent part of the weekend in Loomis NE. We headed home about noon on Sunday to a retirement party in Blair for one my dearest co-workers from my past.
On Monday, all the kids came for a cookout with the usual fare, ribs and sausages.

Tuesday was a whirlwind of shopping and anticipating the evening which included dinner at M's Pub followed by a night at the theater with 'Wicked'.  The evening affirmed my distaste for modern parenting and was further annoying to have the only men's room closed for the ladies.
Today was gathering what I needed to make our traditional anniversary dinner...Veal Saltimbucca and Fettuccine Alfredo. Before we left for the morning, I made the pasta dough and a batch of bread dough for the coming weekend. In our travels we stopped by the butcher for a pound of veal cutlets. Dinner was all set.

We have had this combo on our anniversary for at least the past 30 years. If veal is out of  reach then chicken acts as a sub.

Veal Saltimbucca
1 pound veal cutlets, pounded to 1/4 inch thick.
Bunch of fresh sage
1 lemon
1/4 c white white
Salt and pepper
Olive oil and butter

Salt and pepper your flattened cutlets. lay a few large sage leaves on the surface and then a slice of prosciutto. fasten with a wooden toothpick. Heat the 2 tbl butter and 2 tbl olive oil in a skillet.  Dredge the plain side of the cutlets in the cornstarch and cook that side down for a few minutes till they start to turn golden. Flip and heat the prosciutto side for a minute of so. Remove to a hot platter and deglaze the pan with the juice if a lemon and white wine. Add 2 tbls butter and whisk until a velvety sauce forms. Pour over the top of the cutlets. I like to add a slice of provolone cheese optionally.

For the noodles I use 3/4 cup flour, one egg, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of water or more. It all goes into the small food processor until it forms a dough. I remove it and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours.  I roll it out to #5 in my trusty Atlas Pasta macine, let it dry a bit before slicing the dough into noodles. I dust flour if it gets sticky.

The sauce is simply cream, heated with few cloves of smashed garlic to steep then a pinch of salt, white pepper and nutmeg. A 1/2 cup of shredded parm then I place cooked pasta right in.

Monday, May 14, 2018

When Life Gives You Chickens....

Make a nice salad for work? We had fried chicken for lunch Friday for Nurse's Week and I took the leftovers home to use in a chicken salad for snacks or lunch on Monday for the staff. The chicken was a bit dry to be honest so I need something with a little fat and taste to it to rescue the dry meat. I found that after a debone the leftovers, I chopped the remaining meat and it made it easier to swallow plus I added a few white meat breasts to supplement the mix.

Tarragon Chicken Salad with grapes and toasted walnuts


4 chicken breasts, shredded ( I used grilled, lightly smoked chicken)

½ med red onion chopped fine

2-3 stalks celery chopped fine

2 tbl parsley

¾ cup toasted walnuts

1 cup sweet seedless grapes halved

1 teas dried tarragon or 1 tbl minced fresh tarragon

1 med lemon juiced

¾-1 cup Hellman's Light Mayo

Salt and pepper to taste



Friday, May 11, 2018

Eating Omaha...Maximos Cantina

Ok so its not really Omaha but an annexed little town called Elkhorn. A subject of considerable controversy a few years back. This little restaurant tucked into the corner of Main Street provided some delicious Mexican cuisine and margaritas even though we only sampled the Happy Hour menu.

We sample a few items which made us full including 5 of the mini tacos in each flavor offered. The fish and Tinga were favorites. The nachos were of but the jalapeno
Crab rangoons were a big hit. The margaritas were good too and the price was unbeatable.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wild Hair

So the other day I had a waking dream about a salad which I do not do often, I admit. I was really intrigued with the ide of goat cheese as a crouton. How bad can that be? I need a nice protein to go with and Baker's accommodated me with a couple lobster tails on sale so dinner formed in my hear. Now to execute....

Looks tasty doesn't it?  I had to go to the store to fetch the lettuces, beets and lobster and picked up a fig and olive goat cheese.

The cheese was sliced into rounds, frozen for 20 minutes then dipped in flour, eggs and panko. Fried till golden in hot oil then lovingly layered in the salad amongst the chopped lobster that had been sautéed in butter, sliced fresh beets (super thin) and then dressed in a Poppy Seed dressing from Panera. It was really good.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Chillin and Grillin

Tonight’s  grilled pork loin kebabs in a balsamic vinegar marinade, first in the Sous Vide and then on a hot grill with a side of veggies. I reduced the remainder of the marinade for a sauce over the meat. Very tasty and a lot of leftovers for the rest of the weeks lunches.

The marinade:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbls dried thyme
2 tbls sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

I cubed a 1/2 pork loin into 1 1/2 inch cubes then I divided the meat into 2 freezer bags, added 1/2 the marinade to each bag and used water displacement to seal the bags. I let them cook at 137 degree water bath  for 3 hours, drained the marinade into a pan and reduced till thickened. The meat was placed in a grill basket over hot coals till a nice color was achieved. I served it with a bit of the marinade spooned over.
The veggies were large cuts of zucchini and summer squash, onions, peppers and fennel, doused in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Grilled till they got a little char in a basket then served along side the meat.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Eating Iowa....Milk and Honey

We went on a lark this weekend, motoring to Manning Iowa to visit a retail shop we both liked on Facebook called 'The Marketplace'. It was nice drive out to the country about an hour and a half long.  The town of Manning is a sleepy little burg of about 1500 people in the heart of Iowa just along Highway 141.

We visited the shop, spent a little money and looked around Main Street before heading back home. Jill offered us a  few places to stop and eat. One of them was 'Milk and Honey' in Harlan Iowa. About 40 minutes from Manning in a westerly direction, the little café sits right off the town square that is  dotted with some specialty shops and historical buildings.

You walk in basically right to the kitchen and place your order at the counter then take a seat after grabbing your own water and place setting. I had a cheeseburger with a side salad and Brenda ordered a sweet and spicy chicken sandwich. As we waited for or order we looked around the sleepy little town. Not much activity this Saturday morning but a regular crowd shuffling in and out of the café which boasted reasonable prices and some unique fare for such a little joint.

My cheeseburger came, obviously handmade, and heavy with melted cheddar, lettuce and fresh sliced tomato. The side salad had thinly sliced beets atop arugula and mixed greens with a side of ranch dressing. Honestly, the salad was delicious and simply fresh and tasty. The burger was large and the bun was fresh with a brioche quality. It was very good also. Brenda's grilled chicken was moist and flavorful with an onion jam and a bit of heat. The home fries on the side were crispy and tender in the center. Not your usual fry. The tab was only $16. Such a bargain for a delicious afternoon meal. We were that much closer to home after stopping that the trip back to Omaha seemed much quicker than embarking on our little adventure. Great way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Cheese and Onion Enchiladas

Before you start in on me, we did not fast fully this year for Lent as my recovery required a fuller protein intake that I cannot get fasting typically. We modified our fast this year to a few days a week to ensure I lost no more weight and actually gained a few pounds to promote healing. We limited our meat intake as we usually do during our weekly regiment.

I had some flour street taco tortillas and a lot of cheese in the fridge. I found a can of enchilada sauce I forgot I bought  and so I was in business.

Firstly, the sauce.  I like authentic enchilada sauce and usually make my own. For a canned sauce,  I look to make sure no tomatoes are listed in the ingredients, just peppers.

Here is my brand of sauce and if you like authentic taste, this is your sauce. It tasted exactly like my homemade sauce but so much less work.
I started the enchiladas by cooking my chopped onions just till softened slightly. A medium size onion was plenty. I had all kinds of cheese, mozzarella, cheddar and gouda. I grated a good amount of all and mixed a few cups with the onions, reserving some for topping. I added about 1/4 cup of chopped, pickled jalepenos too.

I poured some of the sauce in a flat bowl and soaked the tortillas before filling with a few tablespoons of the filling, rolling and placing seam side down in a greased casserole. I like this street taco size tortilla, just big enough for a serving of 2 for a meal. Once the pan was full, more sauce was ladled over then topped with cheese. Baked at 350 till bubbly and then served with sour cream and salsa. Yum. Even better the next day.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

I Owe You an Update....

I am back to work now, my second week back actually, full throttle. I have a desk job with a lot of walking about so its no big deal really. Everything is in place, I have a routine down and am experiencing no issues with any surgery or recovery related problems.

I am writing this because today one of my sales reps stopped by to see how I was. Apparently he is from a small Nebraska  town, Yutan, and his prayer group was wondering about me.  Well Yutan, I am great. Still down a few pounds and trying to keep it that way. So great in fact we booked a trip to Cancun in October with all the kids and others just to feel normal again and have something to anticipate besides Ben's upcoming nuptials.

I guess this should not have taken me aback as earlier,  before my return to work, I ran into another sales rep at Target and he introduced me to his son as the 'Tom' we've been praying for every night. Wow. How powerful is that? It is really humbling. So thank you one and all. I am so happy that all your petitions on my behalf worked and am thankful to actually be able to attend Ben's nuptials in December.

Thank you work, for missing me. I must contribute something though most days I just feel like I'm in the way. Thank you one and all for the prayers and thoughts as I embarked on my journey from all the folks I never met (especially in Yutan) and Roseville, CA and anywhere I happen to reach people with this silly blog or through acquaintances.

Happy Pascha everyone. We celebrate Palm Sunday this week so we are a week behind America but I am looking forward to a nice leg of lamb, family and friends gathered at the table and a cancer free life ahead, God willing.


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