Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A slow cooking week for us....

I had made a whole batch of Chili Colorado Burritos and enchiladas but none of the kids were available to eat so we froze them all for a later date. I set aside a bowl of chili for Brenda but that did not even get eaten. We have been preoccupied with the deck removal and patio installation porject. Seems to be taking longer than we expected and our daily routine is interrupted and my grill is barely accessible so I have not been cooking as usual. We are learning to cook for two now and the fridge does not seem nearly so full. Any leftovers that I plan for lunch sometimes get taken for an after work dinner if one of the kids has been doing multiple shifts. Twelve hour nights can take its toll.

Since we are still in the early stages of empty nest syndrome, I feel a little obligated to have enought for stop by company and just in case situations. They are getting less and less but for someone who loves to cook, its tough scaling back. I am definitely a large scale cooker, the bigger the better and I really love doing multiple meals at the same time. On Saturday I had made a few pizzas, the crust is really quite nice lately so I must have turned a corner, chicken wings and started the Chili Colorado for burritos. Seemed like the kitchen was a mess all day though.  Mackenzie came over after the game but wasn't hungry so we had lots to snack on for the rest of the weekend.

I did get a Natural Gas installation on the patio and converted the new grill to Natural Gas so I am excited about that part of the project. We were a little diappointed to not find patio furniture this late in the year and my search for the perfect outdoor lighting has been a bust so far but gives me something to plan for all winter.
Not quite done yet

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Painting Progress

Last few days have been strengthing the proplasmos, beginning to apply features and round out faces.

Eating Omaha...Dinker's Bar

I have not been to Dinker's in years and I am not sure anything has changed...but I didn't see a Foosball table so maybe it has. A great little bar in South Omaha close to where I grew up and spent some evenings there with friends in my 20's. Perhaps a few too many evenings.
Touted as Omaha's Best Burger just recently in the local paper, Matt has been there for lunch a few times and remarked the crowd is Mercedes to trucks with ladders for the lunch crowd.
The food is great, the burgers fresh and patted out to order with some amazing combinations. I had the Buffalo Blue Cheese burger, Brenda enjoyed a Jalepeno Burger, Lori had a Patty Melt and Matt had a BlueJay Burger. All of them were delicious with fries or onion rings.
None of us tried the Haystack Burger famous for its fried egg topping (and the winning burger BTW) but frankly it looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. A few pitchers of beer and we were well satisfied. Cash only though so beware and you order yourself but the food is delivered.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zucchini Curry

- submitted by Dahlia on 09-16-2008 
(Zucchini Sabzi, Zucchini Kurma)

Zucchini - 2
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomato - 2 (finely chopped or pureed)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tblsp
Green Chiles - 2 (finely chopped)
Corriander-cumin powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp (or as needed)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro - for garnish
Salt - as needed
Oil - 2 tblsp

- submitted by Dahlia on 09-16-2008 

1. Chop the zucchini into big chunks. Heat 1 tblsp of oil in a pan and shallow fry the pieces. Keep it aside.
2. Remove the zucchini pieces from the pan, add an additional tblsp of oil and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds.
3. Saute the onions with the green chiles for 10 minutes until they turn nice golden brown.
4. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
5. Add the tomato pieces/puree and let the mixture cook for atleast 10 minutes until the  tomatoes are pulpy.
6. Add all the dry spice powders- chili powder, corriander-cumin powder , turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt.
7. Add the zucchini pieces and required water. Bring the gravy to a boil .
8. Simmer the gravy till oil floats on top. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
9. Finally, add finely chopped cilantro and switch off. Serve hot with any roti varieties or rice.

Tips & Variation
     - You can also roast 3 tblsp of grated coconut, make a fine paste of it and add to the gravy. This gives nice thickness and taste to the curry. (Here is Ivygourd curry made in a similar way.)
     - Another variation is to add 1/2 cup of coconut milk to the gravy at the end and just heat it through.
     - You can also substitute zucchini with other vegetables like ivygourd (tindoora, kovakai) or any dried beans (lima beans, kidney beans, butter beans etc).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shrimps and veggies

I had about 9 nice large roasting shrimps in the freezer and a bit of cauliflower, some fresh zucchinis, canned spuds and a desire to make that Indian vegetable dish again. The shrimp were easy,  just roasted in a shallow pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper at 350 for 15 minutes or less.

I had picked up my missing spices at the local market. They had a whole section of bulk spices cheap, so I used a little brown mustard seed and cumin seed and followed the recipe I posted earlier (yes Virginia, I actually use my own blog!) Tasty.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Dinner

We just arrived from a roadtrip to visit Brenda's folks in Loomis Ne (pop 382) and returned with a box load of squash, cucumbers, beets and tomatoes.  From the road, I asked Ben to put some ribs in for Chinese spareribs (again) since he and the others had not yet tried them. They were fragrancing up the house as we walked in. So with all the fresh veggies and a few leftovers from last week, a stir fry dish was in order to compliment the ribs.

I have broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash and snow peas. A few green onions and some garlic will round out the dish I am sure.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Proplasmos....the first layers


After the gilding the painting begins. First layers are called 'sankir' or 'proplasmos' and set the foundation for the icon. Laying in the raw underlayment, it will be painted over several times to make a more opaque layer before the highlights begin. This stage looks a bit random and colors are tried and painter over until the right mix is achieved then the highlights begin and shapes become round and folds appear. It's a process.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Labor of love.......

Monday was a lazy day for us. We slept in (till 7). Had a light breakfast and waited for stuff to open at 10. We took in a matinee at 10:40, a bit of shopping for nothing in particular and lunch at a new chain in the area "Freddy's". It was a good burger, very thin and crispy edges ala Culver's. Interesting shoestring fries and an odd pink sauce that was Ok.

For dinner I had taken out 2 flat irons in anticipation of someone showing up for dinner. I wasn't disappointed as both boys came over. Poor Mackenzie was working. We enjoyed the steaks with corn (some of which was inedible, terrible season) leftover stir fry, some freshly made crab rangoons and pot stickers with the leftover filling from Saturday. Effectively we cleaned out the fridge with a rather eclectic meal. All in all a good solid weekend of friends and family and great eats.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Dim Sum Supper...............

Game Day in Nebraska but since we are not ticket holders, friends are coming to dinner.

Last weekend we all sat about during the rain storm in Chicago and watched Tyler Florence whip up some Chinese favorites. Inspired, I went and bought the listed ingredients and added a few of my own. First stop was our local Asian Market to procure a bamboo steamer for the dumplings and various sauces and wraps. Next stop was our local grocer who has baby back ribs on sale. How can I resist? A few extra packs for the freezer and I am all set for a long cold winter.

On the menu, Teryaki Spare Ribs, Shrimp and Ginger Sui Mai dumplings, Crab Rangoon and stir fried veggies (to make the girls happy!)

Here is the link to the great recipes from Tyler Florence Ultimate. Ignore the bad reviews as this was great stuff. The ribs were amazing and the Sui Mai was very flavorful and easy to make. The ingredients were not things you might have on hand so you'll have to do a little shopping. The Crab Rangoon is on the blog already under Appetizers. One of the family favs.


Now I will admit I sent a fair portion of the day prepping and a good amount of time cooking but once it was done I could relax with guests. Just seeing Matt's eye light up when I took those mahogany barked ribs out of the oven was enough for me. This guy truely appreciates food experiences. This is what I do..it's who I am. I have a fully stocked pantry and I am not afraid to use it.

Here are photos from the feast

My biggest complaint...they were so tender I could hardly cut them. Crazy good

Delicious...I had my doubts when I saw the ingredients

Crab Rangoon? Always a hit, lots of crab in this one.



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