Thursday, October 31, 2019

Okavango, Space, Exercises, Rain, Chile,

As Denise told me, there was another episode about the Okavango in Botswana tonight. However, I was disappointed as there was nothing about the lioness and her cubs. Lots about lions, but not her. Still a very enjoyable programme nevertheless. Afterwards there was a programme about what can be seen from space and they too mentioned the Okavango Delta. Something I had not picked up was that it is basically in a desert and the delta does not run into the sea, it merely dissipates into the sand. It is apparently a huge area and very visible from space. A fascinating area. Hilary Melton-Butcher wrote about it but I haven't yet had a chance to find the blogs she wrote. Another interesting thing I learned from watching space, there is a dustcloud which is formed by a dried up lake in the Sahara which sends clouds of nutrient rich dust all the way across the Atlantic ocean and deposits it in the Amazon forest without which the forest would not survive. What incredible things they are learning from space. There were, of course, photos of hurricanes and the areas they had caused to flood.  As well as a section on the 2017 eclipse of the sun as seen from space.

I went to exercise class.this afternoon but didn't do that well, however, it is socially good if not physically to marvellous for me lately. I will persevere though. A neighbour called with some treats, she had had her grandkids around so there were treats  left over. We indulged.

Today it has been raining quite hard and is supposed to do so for the rest of the week. There has even been mention of snow. I guess it is getting to that time of year.

Ladydog is having problems with the riots in Chile. They are trying to get an earlier flight rather than spend the weekend in Santiago or San Antonio. I do hope they can manage it. Civil unrest is pretty unpredictable.

Sabzi is a new one on me, but I thought it looked delicious.

Red Pepper, Potato, and Peanut Sabzi

The classic Indian marriage of snappy, sweet red peppers and crisped potatoes gets a jolt of flavor
from crushed peanuts, toasted cumin and fennel seeds, and a spritz (or more!) of lime juice. The resulting colorful, crunchy, woken-up sabzi is an easy side that you can make in 20 minutes or less. You can also double it for an excellent vegetarian main course. Even better: Warm up some tortillas and scramble some eggs, and you’ve got yourself an Indo-Texan breakfast taco party.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 small yellow onion, cut into ½" pieces
1 large russet potato, cut into ½" pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into ¾" pieces
1 tsp (or more) kosher salt
¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
1 Tbs (or more) fresh lime juice (from about half a lime)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until they turn a medium shade of brown, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and stir in fennel seeds. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4–6 minutes.

2. Stir in potato, then spread mixture into an even layer in pan. Cover and cook until potato is tender and not mushy (a little charring on the bottom is A-OK), 7–10 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and salt. Cover and cook until peppers are slightly softened, 5–7 minutes. Using a large spoon or spatula, scrape up the delicious charred bits from bottom of pan and stir into potato mixture.

3. Stir in peanuts and lime juice. Taste and adjust lime juice and salt, if needed, before serving.

Servings: 4

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Shopping Trip, Goat Story, Flu Shots, Busy,

Because I was being picked up to go shopping our foot nurse obliged by coming in a bit earlier. Nice of her. 10:30 I was picked up by a driver I get along with really well. His daughter lives up north and the driver told me she (and her hubby) had now got a goat, a male goat mind you, female would be more use perhaps, however, they take this goat for walks on a leash!!!! He even showed me a video of them doing just that. The goat looks pretty chubby and healthy. Funny though.

I made my salad before the nurse came so finished making my lunch and ate it as now we have to go get stabbed in the arm. Flu shots. I always get a sore arm, Matt, of course, does not. Then, I think we can relax for the day - except for cooking supper of course. Our days are either a big rush or we having nothing to do. The shots were OK, but it nearly killed the pair of us walking to the back of the drug store. I saw a comment about why do they put the drug area so far away when it was sick people who needed to go there. I concur with that especially after today. I have decided that Matt, at least, should always have a walker with him. We have both been managing with canes (putting walkers in the trunk is a pain in the rear end). By the way, it is now 9:30 and my arm hurts!!!!

Ladydog let me know they are in Chile right now. Visited islands full of birds and sea lions and both want to return to Chile. I am sure they have been there before and she said the same thing.

Sorry about the lack of blog yesterday. I was running late and wanted to do my Spanish lesson before bed plus I was desperately tired for some reason, still am pretty tired, and yet I have been sleeping like a log.

Forgot, got back home after our flu shots, parked the car in the underground parking area and walked the 10 miles (well, seems like it to me) back to the door into the building. Got upstairs and realised we hadn't been to the liquor store. I was out of scotch, horrors, so rested a short while and off I went, 10 miles back across the garage and off to the LCBO. I went to a small one which is easier to navigate, picked up my scotch and then thought of Port which I enjoy after Saturday night dinner. Asked where it was, said at the back of the store, I said forget it (done enough walking) young man at the cash desk asked what I wanted and went and got it for me, I don't think they would have done that in the bigger store we got to sometimes. So, home I went and walked the 10 miles back in the garage and by the time I got back to the apartment, I had had it. Fell asleep shortly after.

I bought two boneless legs of lamb but I am sure I can adapt this recipe. I have linked the demiglace as well, I wasn't sure how to make it so this is a shortcut.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Red Wine Sauce

Some of the most creative new wine lists are emphatically local. Broadway East in NYC champions
New York state wines, while Terroir in Portland, Oregon, supports Pacific Northwest producers; chef Stu Stein serves this lamb with a Columbia Valley Syrah

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbs chopped sage
1 Tbs chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped rosemary
1 7-pound, bone-in leg of lamb
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup veal demiglace
1 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the oil with the mustard, garlic and herbs. Coat the lamb with the mixture; season with salt and pepper.

2. In a roasting pan, toss the onion, cel­ery and carrot with the remaining oil. Place the lamb fat side up on the vegetables. Roast for 1 hour and 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 130°. Let rest for 15 minutes.

3. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners. Pour in the wine and reduce over moderately high heat to 1/4 cup, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste and simmer for 1 minute. Add the demiglace and water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan, pressing on the solids. Season with salt and pepper and keep hot.

4. Carve the lamb and serve the slices with the red wine sauce.

Servings: 6

Source: Food and Wine

Right, Spanish next.

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Blogless again.

Having boasted about my blogiversary, I am not writing a blog today. Got a busy 24 hours ahead. Sorry. Oh I had a lousy bowling day on Monday.

Have a great day

Monday, October 28, 2019

Scary Books/Movies, Abu Simbel, Blogiversary, Supper,

Reading Birgit's Blog at BB Creations, she mentioned The Exorcist and how scary it was. Make me think of the Dennis Wheatley books I used to read many years ago, which ended up giving me nightmares. I gave up reading anything with horror or black magic after that. If you are interested, these are his books.

My Windows lockscreen picture on Saturday was the statues outside the Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan, Egypt

I was aware these had been moved because they would have been buried under the flood waters caused by the Aswan Dam, but I was studying the picture and realised what huge statues they were and was curious how it was done. So, I Googled. What I hadn't known was that these statues were merely the entrance to an absolutely fabulous temple which was full of paintings and statues depicting the marvels of Ramses. The video I found then went on to explain how they moved the whole thing before the flood waters got to the temples. What an undertaking, but it appears that it was the world who cared, not the Egyptians themselves. I was unable to see the whole video but must go back and finish it. Must have cost millions to move the whole thing starting with building a coffer dam round the area so they could work behind the flood waters. This is a quick video showing what they did. But there are much more detailed videos available.

I just realised Saturday, October. 26, was my 13th blogiversary, I have written close on 3,500 blogs in that time. What a lot of words (blether some might say). Who'd a thunk it.

We ate Stuffed Peppers again on Sunday. I had stuffing left over so did two more in the Instant Pot. Only trouble is I totally forgot them so they were "keeping warm" for half an hour or more so when I took them out they were breaking up. Figured we would eat them straight away rather than freeze them. I find I am getting distracted easily lately, start doing something and then end up doing something else. Old age maybe?

I like the recipes from Campbell's. Gone are the days when their soups were not terribly wholesome. I thought this one looked nice and simple and I do tend to look for simple these days.

Easy Skillet Chicken Parmesan

This weeknight skillet chicken Parmesan tops chicken breasts with a sweet tomato sauce and melted
mozzarella cheese for a quick and delicious meal

2 Tbs olive oil
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste,
1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL’S® Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup
1/2 cup CAMPBELL’S® 30% Less Sodium Ready to Use Chicken Broth
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat broiler to high. In a large, ovenproof non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Season chicken all over with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook chicken for 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown; transfer to a plate.

2. Stir soup and broth into the same skillet; bring to a simmer. Return chicken to skillet and cover with sauce.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

3. Toss mozzarella cheese with Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over chicken.  Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley just before serving.

Servings: 4

Serve over cooked pasta or creamy polenta with a Caesar salad on the side.

For a quick weeknight tip, skip the broiler and simply cover the skillet for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Looking to make the ultimate comfort food? Try topping this dish with marinara sauce, a meaty spaghetti sauce, or a generous heaping of bread crumbs.

Source: Campbell's

Have a great day

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Respite Time, Shopping Twice, Catching Up,

Got a message (didn't answer phone, unknown name) from the Para Medical who are going to be handling my 3 hours. Spoke to them today, they have it fixed for Thursdays at 1. That definitely won't work. I have to phone one of their people next week. Will have to see what we can sort out.

One of those days again. Went to exercise class then had to go shopping, I was out of fizz after all. Actually they had some Piccolo bottles of Prosecco which I have never seen here before. Decided to get some and see how I get on with it. Then went to the bakers and stocked up on my buns. Can't remember if I told you, there is a seed bun they make which I love. I buy them out of the freezer so they only charge me half price. Can't beat that, they go straight in my freezer anyway. Then I dithered about going to Victoria St. Market because I was out of peppers (I stuffed 'em all) and we usually get a few bananas to last us, but I was tired and achy so went home. Was doing Thai Shrimp Curry for supper so made a start on the sauce. Checking the recipe I saw it needed peppers, I had forgotten. So, I had to go out anyway. What a pain. However, on the way into the garage I met a friend whom I hadn't seen in a while and we had a long chat, she didn't know about Matt nor about my heart attack last year so of course I updated her. She asked if there was anything she could do, I said come and visit or invite me to coffee please.

I then went off on my errand and of course I didn't stick to peppers and bananas but ended up with some scallops and some coconut shrimp. Obviously they have very expensive peppers too. It really is a very tempting shop. Didn't even look at the desserts although I had bought some carrot cake at the bakers. Anyway, got my shrimp dish done, it was delicious as usual.

Spent most of the evening watching Celtic Thunder, Matt really enjoys them. So do I, but there's lots of other stuff I enjoy too. But for Matt, these days, it's anything musical, well good music anyway. He loves Il Volo for instance.

I have neither made nor eaten jerk chicken and have often meant to try it. Saw this recipe and was immediately interested.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

The best jerk recipe we've ever tasted, which we first published in 1995, is fragrant, fiery hot and smoky all at once. It's from our former colleague Paul Chung, an adventurous self-taught cook who grew up in Jamaica and has sampled jerk from just about every corner of the island. For maximum flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight.

In 2018, Food &Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: There are as many takes on jerk chicken
in Jamaica as there are cooks on the island, but most share the same method: Chicken is coated in a seasoning mixture dominated by spices and chiles, then grilled. This version comes from Paul Chung, a self-taught cook of Chinese-Jamaican descent who worked in the mail room at Food & Wine. It’s wonderfully spicy, smoky, and fragrant—everything you want jerk chicken to be. But what puts this one above all others? The key is including Chinese five-spice in the marinade: “This spark of cinnamon enhances the rich clove flavor imparted by the allspice berries,” Marcia Kiesel wrote. For best results, let the chicken marinate overnight, so the seasoning has time to thoroughly penetrate the meat. The chicken can also be roasted in the oven if desired.

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbs five-spice powder
1 Tbs allspice berries, coarsely ground
1 Tbs coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered

1. In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding.

2. Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (Cover the grill for a smokier flavor.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.

Servings: 8

Food & Wine

Have a great weekend

Friday, October 25, 2019

Cooking, LHIN, Exercises, Ladydog, Pork Roasts,

So I had basically planned to cook stuffed peppers today, Thursday, and was already well under way when the phone rang and it was the woman from the LHIN asking if she could come at 11:30 as she already had an earlier appointment in the building. That kind of threw me out. We both had to start skidaddling as we were still in our night attire. However, we really had plenty of time. Nan from the LHIN came shortly after 11:30 and didn't stay all that long. She basically had most of our information from when she had interviewed us last year after I came out of hospital. Can't believe that's a year ago next  month. Anyway, the upshot is she has allocated me 3 hours a week of respite time (i.e. a PSW - Personal Service Worker - will come and spend time here) so that I can go out for whatever reason, i.e. meeting up with the other people from the TEACH course. Or anything else. I actually don't think I am really going to need 3 hours a week, but...

When she had gone, we had a late lunch. As I asked her,  how come so many medical people make appointments over the lunch hour? Later I finished off the peppers for supper, they were good, and I still have some stuffing left as they weren't the biggest peppers by any means.

Friday will be exercise classes of course, there were only two of us on Wednesday so hope there will be more.

Heard from Ladydog today, she is in Ecuador at the moment. Believe that is a pretty good place to make one's home. They eventually fly home from Chile.

My friend Liz tells me she has bought lots of pork roasts at a terrifically cheap price. I thought this recipe might interest her. Think I posted it before but a long time ago.

Wine-Braised Pork with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes

Legendary chef Jacques Pépin sears pork shoulder to make a terrific crust, then braises it slowly with
stock, wine, chestnuts and sweet potatoes until it’s meltingly tender.

1 4-pound boneless pork shoulder
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 parsley sprigs, plus chopped parsley for garnish
3 thyme sprigs
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb vacuum-packed roasted peeled chestnuts (3 cups)

1. Season the pork with the 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Heat a large cast-iron casserole over moderately high heat. Add the pork, fat side down, and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook until all

2. of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook over moderate heat until the pork is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes longer.

3. Add the onion and garlic to the casserole and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, wine and parsley and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning once, until the pork is just tender, 2 1/2 hours. Add the sweet potatoes and chestnuts, cover and cook until the pork and sweet potatoes are very tender, 30 minutes.

4. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sweet potatoes and chestnuts to a platter. Strain the jus into a bowl and degrease with a spoon; season with salt and pepper.

5. Slice the pork and arrange it on top of the vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve with the jus.

Servings: 8


Author Notes
The braised pork can be refrigerated overnight and reheated before serving.

Have a great day

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wednesday, Nature, Otavango, LHIN.

Quite a busy day today, started with our cleaner arriving at 8:30, shortly after I went and collected the shopping and she helped bring it upstairs for me. I still end up with aching legs even though I am not pulling the cart upstairs. Unpacking I found I was short several items so the cleaner went down to the car and found the missing bag. Bananas in it, I hadn't even realised they were missing. Thank goodness she was here, I couldn't have made that trip(to our parking spot) a second time this morning. Eventually, we had lunch and I went downstairs to exercise class. There were only two of us today. Unusual. However, we did our stuff. The room where we do this is quite a walk for me too, even with my walker. Back upstairs, and I decided to go to Costco. Meant to go yesterday, been meaning to go for a while, so off we went, Matt came for the drive. Once there, I had to sit down and rest a couple of times walking back and forth from the meat dept. which is right at the back of the store. I had taken my walker luckily, thought I might need it. One woman said I had the right idea. I mainly went for the lamb and that is usually in the fridges at the back of the store. I walked right along them and then back, thought I had missed the lamb, couldn't find any, then I spotted some other meat counters, phew, thought I had wasted my journey. Talking to another woman about it and she spotted them at the same time as I. I found my lamb roasts, I got two for less than they wanted at Victoria St. Market, mind you, theirs was probably fresh Ontario lamb. I also bought some chicken breasts, and some beef patties which I assume were for burgers, but which I guessed were just about half a pound each which was just the amount I wanted for my stuffed peppers. I was right. So, plus the Co-Q-10 pills I bought, it mounted up to $160. Still under $200. For Costco  that is an achievement. Of course when I got home, I had to repack all the stuff for the freezer except for t he ground beef I wanted for peppers tomorrow. By the time I had done all this, I was knackered. I fell asleep for a half hour in my chair.

Luckily I didn't have to do much for supper as we had leftover Butter Chicken from last night, so just cooked some rice. Later I cooked 2 cups of rice for use with the peppers. So easy in the Instant Pot.

After watching Jeopardy, watched a Nature programme on PBS about the Otavango River basin and its animals. Fascinating but it needed a part 2 I think. We were following the story of a lioness who was gored by a water buffalo and eventually left for dead by her pride. Meanwhile, she began to recover and next thing we knew, she had two cups which of course she had to feed. She had a broken ankle on her front leg. She was doing pretty well, but at the end, two males were entering her territory which could either be good or bad news for her, if they accepted the cubs, good. But we never heard the end of that story. Grrrr.

Tomorrow we have a visit scheduled from the LHIN (Local  Health Integration Network) to discover just what help we are entitled to. I suspect not a lot at this time, we shall see.

I used to enjoy brisket but don't remember when I last cooked it. When I saw this recipe I immediately thought, must try it. I am sure I can get brisket at Victoria St. Market.

Brisket with Onion-and-Chile Jam

Letting the brisket rest in the pan juices for a half hour makes it especially moist.

2 Tbs pure olive oil
11 medium onions—7 minced, 4 coarsely chopped
2 Thai chiles, with some seeds, minced
5 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 bunch of celery, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
One 5-pound beef brisket, fat trimmed to a thin layer
2 quarts hot chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 tsp soy sauce

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the minced onions and the Thai chiles and season with salt. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, about 25 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring, until the onions are deeply browned, about 10 minutes longer.

2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the carrots, celery and coarsely chopped onions in an even layer in a roasting pan and season them with salt and pepper. Season the brisket with salt and pepper and set it on top of the vegetables, fat side up. Spread the onion-and-chile jam in an even layer over the top of the brisket and pour the hot stock into the pan around the meat. Cover the roasting pan and braise the brisket for about 4 1/2 hours, or until it is very tender, basting every 30 minutes.

3. Let the brisket rest in the pan juices for 30 minutes, then transfer it to a carving board. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan, pressing on the vegetables, then skim off the fat. Add the soy sauce, season with pepper and bring to a simmer. Thinly slice the brisket across the grain and serve with the pan juices.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat before proceeding. Serve with noodles.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Team Name. Costco, Barkeep's Friend, Shopping,

The other day a friend suggested Silver Foxes in the comments. That is the name I have gone with. I think it is great bearing in mind we all have to be above 55 to join this league (most of us are way beyond 55) and, of course, a lot of us have silver hair although, thinking about it, on our team, only Matt and I really have silver hair. The others are young enough not to have changed at all, or to have only wisps of silver.

A very quiet day and, until it was too late, it didn't occur to me to go  to Costco which I have been wanting to do for a while. I want to get some lamb. Maybe I can make it after exercise classes tomorrow.

Something I forgot to mention, the other day I was cleaning our stainless steel sinks and they had a couple of stains on them. I had bought some Barkeep's Friend for my Instapot pot so I tried it on the sink, way to go, it worked. I now have no marks in the sinks. I was so pleased. I had kind of thought that the Barkeep's Friend wasn't much more than Vim, I was obviously wrong. Not sure what the difference is, but it sure worked.

Tomorrow, trying something new with our cleaner. I am going to collect the groceries and she is going to come and collect them from me and carry them upstairs. Talking about it to Matt he commented "well I can do that", except that when I ask him to, he doesn't seem physically able at all. So, I don't know. Anyway, see what happens.

I thought this soup looked delicious and what a different way of serving it.

Roasted Green Tomato Basil Soup in Sourdough

This beautiful green soup pairs the tartness of green tomatoes with fragrant basil and thyme. Once
you’ve finished off the soup you can eat the sourdough bread bowl.

2 lbs ripe green tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, about
1 cup, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 to 4, whole round sourdough loaves
Sliced cherry tomatoes, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss together 2 pounds of green tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

2. In an eight-quart stockpot over medium heat, add the onions and garlic with the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until the onions have slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine, about 1 minute. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes and stock to the pot and bring to a boil. When soup comes to a full boil, toss in the fresh basil leaves and wilt over medium heat and simmer for about 8 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, ensuring that the basil leaves are entirely pureed into soup. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

3. To serve, warm the bread in the oven and the soup in a saucepot over the stove. When bread is heated through, carve a shallow hole in each loaf, and pull a few pieces from the center. Ladle the soup into the bread and serve right away. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sliced cherry tomatoes, if desired.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Team Name, Lead Poisoning,

Well, I ended up choosing the Hawks for our team name. Although someone suggested the Silver Foxes, which I think would have been great. They were teasing me because of my British accent when saying Hawks, it was suggested my word was spelled Haulks. Cheeky so and sos. So, we bowled, even Matt bowled today, and pretty well although he did cause us to be really late leaving the alley. Me, I did the same as last week, a 187, 135 and 186. 2 more than last week. It shoved my average up 5 points. Matt shoved his average up by over 20 points. We took 5 points instead of 7 this week though.

Watching a programme called Retro something, talking about  lead poisoning and how it affects children. I had no idea what it could do. Pretty frightening. Nobody is prepared to take responsibility (in the States) for the clean up of lead paint on old houses. Matt said he knew about the effects of lead on young brains, must have missed it somewhere, because I had no idea.

Sorry tonight, no recipe. I'm very tired for some reason.Will remedy this tomorrow.

Have a great day

Monday, October 21, 2019

Weekend, The Durrell's, Bowling, Panama Canal.

So, the weekend is over once more. Ate ham steaks on Saturday with pineapple rings. I have always enjoyed that combination. Also, made my Meals on Wheels carrot salad. Think I went a bit heavy on the cranberries though. Didn't go that well with the wine either.

I have been watching The Durrell's in Corfu. Funny, I read Gerald Durrell's animal books many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them, but the one I didn't enjoy was about his family in Corfu. I should get hold of all the books again. I read them in my 20's I think. I always remember the title of one books was Catch me a Colobus. He really wrote excellent books about animals although I wonder how they would sound today. Just checking Amazon and there are dozens of books written by several of the family by the sound of it. I will investigate further. It seems there were several books about Corfu and I think I only read one.

Bowling today, I have to dream up a name for our team, I hate being No. 9. My team used to be the dragons but the name was kind of taken over by people who were on our team when I had my hospital trip next year and they still have it. We used to have a summer team, the Griffons, so maybe I will opt for that. I thought of The Eagles, but I think the Griffons will be best. Dunno if Matt will bowl or not. As he spends most of his time on his lounger with his feet in the air,  he may well not do so. I cannot persuade him that walking regularly, plus any other exercise, would help him. Ah well.

Monday will actually be ladydog's day of entering the Panama Canal system. Do wish they still had a camera there so I could at least glimpse the ship going through. Just for fun. Actually it is pretty marvellous watching a ship progressing through even though the last time was only in short stills which changed ever 2 minutes I think.

I am quite sure this can be adapted to my Instant Pot. I love noodles. Just discovered Ivy, The Happy Whisk, eats noodle soups for breakfast. Never thought of that, must try it.

Brothy Chinese Noodles

This dish was inspired by Chinese Dan Dan noodles—ground pork and noodles in a spicy broth. We
use ground turkey and omit the traditional Sichuan peppercorns for convenience, but add hot sesame oil. Use toasted sesame oil instead if you want mild noodles.

2 Tbs hot sesame oil (see note) divided
1 lb 93%-lean ground turkey (I think I would go back to the pork)
1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup water
3 cups thinly sliced bok choy
8 oz dried Chinese noodles (see Note)
3 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 small cucumber, sliced into matchsticks, for garnish

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ground turkey, all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring and breaking up the turkey, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add broth, water, bok choy, noodles, soy sauce, vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the turkey mixture to the pan and stir to combine. Serve garnished with the reserved 2 tablespoons scallions and cucumber (if using).

Source: Eating Well

Author Notes
Hot sesame oil can be found in the Asian-food section of most supermarkets.

Dried Chinese noodles, often used in Chinese soups and lo mein, cook up quickly and can be found in the Asian-food section of most supermarkets.

Have a great day

Friday, October 18, 2019

Victoria St. Market, Books, Cooking, Charity,

One thing I need to do today is go to Victoria St. Market and get some ostrich chicken thighs. Well they are huge with lots of meat on them. Two of them is plenty for Matt and I for a meal. Have to get a few bananas too.

Well, I have run out of books by Susan Gourley Kelley. I have read every one she has written and enjoyed all of them. I especially enjoyed her Futhark Chronicles series. Yes, I have other books to read, but I have really got lost in her stories.

Just started Warriors of Altaii which is a book by Robert Jordan which he wrote many a long year ago and has just been re-issued  although I am not too sure it was ever in print before. I have only read his Wheel of Time series which was a wonderful series of stories. Pity he died before he finished them although Brandon Sanderson finished them for him. Apparently Jordan had written extensive notes as to how the ending should go.

Looking for something else, I found some chili in the freezer, had it for supper. It was good, I had forgotten. I really should use up stuff in the freezer instead of keep cooking. II do so enjoy using my Instant Pot though although I won't be using it tomorrow as I plan to cook the salmon recipe I posted yesterday. Fish on Fridays, no idea why I started that, we aren't Catholics after all.

It turns out that the two appliances I no longer need can be placed in the charity box downstairs which goes to Cerebral Palsy. Which is what I shall do.

There may not be a blog on Saturday. Taking a break.

Kevin Lynch comes up with some great recipes. This one is no exception. I think it could well be cooked in the Instant Pot. I will have to figure it out.

Beef Rendang

An easy to make authentic Indonesia/Malaysia beef curry that just melts in your mouth!

10 dried chilies, soaked in hot water until tender
5 shallots (or 1 small onion), diced
2 Tbs galangal, grated
2 Tbs ginger, grated
4 Tbs garlic, minced or grated
2 Tbs lemongrass, chopped
1 Tbs oil
1 lb beef, cut into bite sized cubes
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 stalk lemongrass, pounded
1 (14oz) can coconut milk
1 tsp tamarind paste (or concentrate)
2 large kaffir lime leaves (sliced)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1 Tbs palm sugar (aka coconut sugar) (or brown sugar or sugar)
salt to taste

1. Process the chilies, shallots, galangal, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass in a food processor until it forms a paste.

2. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and brown the beef on all sides.

3. Add the paste from step 1, along with the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and lemongrass and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

4. Add the coconut milk and tamarind, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the beef is fall apart tender, about 1-2 hours.

5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, coconut and palm sugar and cook another minute before seasoning with salt to taste.

6. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, cardamon and lemongrass stalk and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Author Notes
Use short ribs, chuck, or other stewing beef.

Use about 3 stalks lemongrass, the white tender part only.

Slow Cooker: Optionally implement steps 1-3 before throwing everything into the slow cooker and cooking on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 2-4 hours

Have a great day

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Gift, Panama Canal, Collapsing Bridges, Allergies,

I ordered a Christmas present in August was beginning to thing I had been conned or something, but I had a UPS email today saying it would arrive tomorrow, Thursday. Fingers crossed. I was planning to go bowling, but I think staying in for the parcel might be more important. Or is it, the UPS store is just round  the corner if  they deliver when we aren't here. Will make my decision later.

I was surprised to get an email from ladydog this morning (Wednesday) as I thought she was on her way to the Panama Canal but turns out they were in Fort Lauderdale where they were waiting to board their ship in the afternoon. My geography not being as good as it should be, I did some searching and located where they were and where they were going. I then watched a 5 minute (speeded up) video of a ship going through the canal and learned things I didn't know. I thought it was just one set of locks, silly me. In fact they lift the ships 84 ft., that is a hell of a distance

A few years ago there was a camera there and you could watch ships - frame by frame - going through one of the locks but that doesn't seem to be available any more, pity, thought I could watch her ship. Matt said I woudn't be able to see her though LOL. I replied I could always get her to wave.

We were just watching a frightening programme about bridges collapsing, starting with a bridge in Genoa, Italy, which collapsed last year. I am so glad we don't travel any more, I would be terrified to cross any of these bridges. There were 2 young men talking about Genoa. They were on the bridge, one of them had his car drop 100 ft and the other was found hanging inside his vehicle under the bridge in the air. Lucky to be alive. However, there have been lots of bridge collapses over the years and they are working to find out why. - is it old age or faulty design. A lot of the bridges are around 50 years old. Made me think about that huge bridge that crosses the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Goes on for miles. That bridge is terrifying without any thought of it collapsing. Searching for information, I just found a video about that bridge and the fact that some people are too scared to drive across it. They have to go with a guy who makes a business of ferrying people across. I have to include that video too.

So, I would not cross it again, no matter what. I did start thinking of British bridges I know that have spanned the Thames for hundreds of years. Although there are newer bridges there which they are worried about.

I have been sniffing and snuffling as well as sneezing a lot lately. Checking with the bowling alley owner, who regularly suffers from allergies, he is doing the same, so something is affect me which is unusual. Was just having a sneezing fit writing this. Don't usually have this problem.

Didn't go to the Mandarin, miserable day and I was tired.

I just found this recipe which I might try on Friday evening for supper. I didn't know what Kirby cucumbers were, but having Googled, I think I would stick to English cucumbers anyway. I always have one of those in house. I would also cook the rice in the Instant Pot too.

Salmon Rice Bowl with Ginger-Lime Sauce

In Vietnam, palate-cleansing ginger is typically served with rich foods like duck. Here, a pungent
ginger dipping sauce is paired with salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.

1 3/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups long-grain rice, rinsed
2 Tbs minced, peeled fresh ginger
3 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 Thai red chile, chopped
10 small garlic cloves,
2 chopped
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs Asian fish sauce
2 kirby cucumbers (10 ounces), cut into thin strips
2 Tbs vegetable oil
4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of the water and the rice to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook the rice for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a mortar, pound the ginger with the sugar, chile and chopped garlic to a coarse paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of water, the lime juice and the fish sauce. Add the cucumbers.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the salmon to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the whole garlic cloves. Turn the salmon and cook over moderate heat until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes.

4. Mound the rice in bowls. Top with the salmon, garlic cloves and ginger-lime sauce with cucumber strips and serve. Pass any extra sauce at the table.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Exercise. Roasted Peppers, Gas, Mandarin, Mushrooms,

So I ended up with damn cramps again last night. The bowling I guess. Not been doing much physical stuff lately so guess it serves me right. In fact the driver who took me shopping today, is one of the people who does exercise classes too, and she kind of told  me off for not at least doing warm ups. I wish I could get Matt to exercise. I was reading an article on new dementia research and one of the things they emphasised was the necessity of exercise.

Today, as I said, I went shopping at 12:30 had to eat my lunch early. I bought some bell peppers amongst other things. Once all the stuff away, I put a couple of peppers in the air fryer to "roast". I then shoved them in a covered dish to cool (that helps the skins to come off). Meanwhile we went out to get gas, a) it's fairly cheap right now, and b) being connected to the company that owns the grocery store, I can get points on my gas and there was a special on today. I then had to go to the bank to deposit a cheque. I normally never got to the bank, don't remember the last time I was there.

Then came back, skinned the peppers and, following The Happy Whisk, I mixed them with some maple syrup, wine vinegar in my case and a little water - oh, and some salt. I then put them in a Mason jar and having put more peppers in to cook, put them to cool as well. My air fryer isn't that big so I can only get two large peppers in at once. Will do a couple more tomorrow. Anyway, here is the picture of my results so far, they taste delicious.Thanks Ivy, Maybe I will try your stinking hot Hungarian peppers one of these days. Matt tasted them and didn't like them, didn't think he would, never been one for pickles.

Not much to do tomorrow although we might go out to lunch together, Mandarin still celebrating the Moon Festival. Then, I can also do another couple of peppers to add to this jar. Might need a bit more maple syrup and vinegar. We'll see.

Thought this recipe sounded good, talking of mushrooms, did you know that they continue to grow and therefore to prevent them getting slimy they should be allowed to breathe. I was a bit teed today to get loose mushrooms in a plastic bag. A definite no-no.

Mushroom-Sausage Ragù

"Sautéed mushrooms can make almost any inexpensive red wine taste better," says sommelier Jake
 Kosseff of Seattle's Wild Ginger

1 cup dried morel mushrooms
2 Tbs olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages
1/2 lb shiitake caps, quartered
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 thinly sliced shallots
6 water chestnuts, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs unsalted butter
Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Soak the morels in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until softened. Rinse and pat dry; reserve the soaking liquid. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the sausages, cover and cook over moderate heat until no longer pink within; slice 1/4 inch thick. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the shiitake, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add the shallots and morels; cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the water chestnuts. Pour in the morel soaking liquid. Add the sausages and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Off the heat, swirl in the butter and sprinkle with parsley. Serve over polenta.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Bowling, Cannabis, TV,

I really wasn't in the mood to go bowling, don't know why, but we went anyway and I had two of the best games I have had in a long while. 186, 131, 187. Not only that, I got a turkey which everyone said was appropriate because it is Thanksgiving. Not quite sure what happened in the middle there, Nothing wanted to go where I threw it.  However, my average went from 138 to 146. We also took  maximum points off the other team.

Don't really know the other team members yet, only bowled with them once before, but enjoying  their company. One of them was telling me about the cannabis he buys which is, apparently, quite a bit stronger than I get on prescription. However, from what they say, the prices are quite a bit stronger as well. Don't think I could afford them at all. Thinking seriously about whether I can afford the stuff I get now. I wish the government would get off it's rear end and give a Drug Identification Number to cannabis and then maybe our insurance would pick up the tab.

Finished off our turkey breast for supper, still tasted good. Watched Jeopardy as usual. I am dreading when Alex Trebek  has to quite because of his cancer. Won't be the same show at all. Later we watched the 2018 Royal International Nova Scotia Tattoo. Incredible show. Missed some of it so hope we get a chance to see it again.  I remember being taken to see a Royal Military Tattoo in London many years ago. It was brilliant and these from Nova Scotia are no different.

I was looking through some recipes I had saved but never tried and thought this one sounded good.

"Take-Out" Orange Chicken

Enjoy takeout-style orange chicken—without having to tip the delivery guy! Your family will enjoy
this simple version just as much (if not more).

1/4 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
zest and 1/2 cup juice from 1 orange
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp minced ginger root
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbs oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 each orange, red and yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Tap or click steps to mark as complete

2. Mix dressing, orange zest, juice, honey, ginger and crushed pepper until blended.

3. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and peppers; cook 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is done and peppers are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove chicken mixture from skillet; cover to keep warm.

4. Add dressing mixture to skillet; cook and stir 3 to 4 min. or until thickened. Stir in chicken mixture; cook and stir 2 min. Top with onions.

Servings: 4

Source: Kraft

Have a great day

Monday, October 14, 2019

Koi and Goldfish, Mandarin, Thanksgiving, Air Fryer,

I never knew until this morning that goldfish were actually carp and I believe koi are too. I was reading a fascinating article about a scientist who had a goldfish as a kid. She touched him and realised his skin was scaly so she added lotion to the water!! The Mandarin has a koi pond in the lobby area - very appropriate for a Chinese restaurant - and sometimes I like to watch them. It is quite a big pond in fact.

This photo of Mandarin Restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor and is from another Mandarin, but the pond is very similar and stretches under the entry way coming out the other side. I assume, but don't know, they have professional people to come and maintain it.

At one time I wanted a koi pond, used to know someone who had one on their property and the fish survived even in winter which is surprising. Mind  you this was in North Carolina. Don't think it would work in Canada. We were supposed to be joining our friends there for lunch next week, but they were in a car accident on Friday so are out of commission for a while. Not badly hurt I gather, thank goodness, but the car was totalled.

Today is, of course, is Thanksgiving in Canada. We did our celebration, just the two of us, on Saturday by eating our Easy Carve Stuffed Turkey Breast. I do miss being able to buy turkey breasts cheaply, which I could in North Carolina, but as we don't travel any more, I am out of luck. However, the one I cooked was quite enjoyable and I have another waiting for Christmas. We had a nice Pinot Grigio with it - made a change as we normally drink a red wine on a Saturday. I miss the good times we used to have in NC when I would cook a turkey and all the trimmings and have a whole bunch of friends to dinner. Nowadays entertaining is somewhat beyond me any more.

My friend Ivy, The Happy Whisk, just posted a new video on iTunes in which she was cooking Hungarian hot peppers in her air fryer. Not sure about the heat (spiciness) of what she cooked, think she is tougher than I am, but it did make me think of roasting regular bell peppers. I love roasted peppers pickled but had never thought about doing them this way, thanks Ivy. Must order me some peppers from the grocery store. I don't use my air fryer for as many different things as I could because I am so busy playing with the Instant Pot.

This is a stew I liked the sound of although I might have to change the meat source as Matt isn't too fond of bones of any kind. In fact it could, of course, be done in the Instant Pot.

Asian Beef Stew

This brothy stew is succulent and soothing, but sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley invigorate it
with fish sauce, Asian spices and lemon juice. “We both just love sour flavors,” says Jasmine Hemsley. “It’s our Filipino mum’s influence.”

2 Tbs coconut oil
5 lbs English-cut short ribs
Sea salt Pepper
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbs finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 whole star anise pods
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs Asian fish sauce
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes in juice
2 cups beef stock or broth
4 cups stemmed curly spinach (4 ounces)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the coconut oil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, brown the ribs over moderately high heat, turning, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the ribs to a large plate. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the five-spice powder, then add the star anise, carrots, celery and fish sauce and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, stock and short ribs to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, turning the ribs every hour, until they are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Discard the star anise. Stir the spinach and lemon juice into the casserole and season with salt and pepper. Divide the stew among serving bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Friday, October 11, 2019


Sorry y'all - today hasn't been a good day although we did at least achieve haircuts.

Have a great day

Cauliflower Rice, Hand Mixer, Shopping,

I neglected to say, yesterday how I made my cauliflower rice. I took the simplest route. I processed it in my small processor. When I bought my hand blender it came with a processing attachment. This pic shows a couple of other items but I didn't get those. Not the whisk or the tall plastic item. Anyway, this produces absolutely wonderful cauli rice in a few minutes, I just fill up the bottom part and whizz away until it is how I want it. Later I will put it in a bowl and cover loosely with plastic film and microwave for 2 - 3 mins. Sooo easy. Matt didn't even realise it wasn't rice. Of course, I will still use rice, but not as regularly.

Funny really, I had to go buy another cauliflower as I had run out. I now have enough for two meals I think. I went to Victoria St. Market and picked up a box of cole slaw. I also looked at chocolate - I can't find any that exactly suit my taste. Dark chocolate doesn't taste like much to me. What I ended up with was a milky dark chocolate called Milka. It is delicious and just what I want. Anyway, the cauliflower only cost me $12 which, compared to $20 bananas isn't much. When I left Matt told me "only buy a cauliflower", well, I nearly stuck to that. I need to go to Costco to get some lamb too, they quoted me about $70 for a boneless leg at Victoria St. - I don't think so thank you. Guess it's local lamb and probably very good, but that is out of my price bracket I'm afraid.

I realised, having written about the hand blender, I really don't need my food processor any more and it is taking up quite a bit of room. Offered it to the girl who cleans for me, but she doesn't want it. Will have to put my thinking cap on.

I also realised that ladydog is going to be off the grid for a while so I don't need to worry myself silly about getting a blog done, so I might miss a few whilst she is swanning around South America. She said she was pretty busy today, unsurprising as she has family Thanksgiving (this is Canada) this weekend and flies out on Tuesday. Have a good trip ladydog, if you happen to read  this. We'll miss Zoey, and you of course LOL.

I've actually added this to my Instant Pot fine. I recently read that all one pot meals can be made in the IP and I don't think this is any different. Mind you I would have to scale it down somewhat I think. Must admit I have never used tomatillos. If I make this I can't say that again.

Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde

This green pozole derives much of its flavor from tangy ingredients like tomatillos, cilantro and green

7 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 cups water
4 chicken breast halves on the bone, with skin
1 lb tomatillos, husked and halved
1 small onion, quartered
2 poblano chiles—cored, seeded and quartered
2 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbs oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 15-ounce cans of hominy, drained
Finely shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges, for serving

1. In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, cover and simmer over very low heat until they're tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred the meat; discard the bones and skin. Skim any fat from the cooking liquid and reserve.

2. In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos with the quartered onion, poblanos and jalapeños, smashed garlic, chopped cilantro and oregano. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the side. With the machine on, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Season the tomatillo puree with salt and pepper.

3. In a large deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 12 minutes.

4. Pour the green sauce into the cooking liquid in the casserole. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shredded chicken to the stew, season with salt and pepper and cook just until heated through. Serve the pozole in deep bowls, passing the lettuce, radishes, onion, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges at the table.

Yield: 6 to 8

Source: Food & Wine

Author Notes
The pozole verde can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated, covered, overnight.

Have a great day

Thursday, October 10, 2019

TEACH, Biodiversity, ladydog and her Lady Dog, Cooking, Documentaries,

We have all agreed to meet up but unfortunately one of  the group wasn't there. Her hubby was sick. Asked for my number to be passed on to her. Those who were there have all given me their emails and phone numbers - so guess who has the job of coordinating?

We just watched a fascinating Nature documentary which explained the work of certain scientists starting with Bob Paine 60 years ago, when they discovered the existence of keystone animals in ecosystems - not necessarily, as they had first thought - predators only. By re-introducing such keystone animals or by not culling others, they have shown that ecosystems can recover dramatically.  Bob Paine started it all by removing starfish from tide pools and found that eventually there was no biodiversity in these pools, just mussels. It tickled me they showed pix of the starfish being hurled long distances into the sea away from certain tide pools. I thought it was funny and wondered what the starfish thought of being hurled through the air. It was all very important research. It made me think of another documentary which showed a man in a desert area in some part of Africa, who used termite mounds to accumulate rainwater and eventually turned a large area into a woodland and good land for growing his crops. Took 40 years, but if he could do it, it seems to me deserts could be turned into living land again. We can save the earth we have been destroying.

After my class this morning I went to the grocery store and then to Subway to get lunch for us. Back home and ladydog brought the groceries upstairs for me and then we fed ourselves. Zoey was attending to Matt the whole time because he had been feeding her the dog treats ladydog makes for her. Talk about cupboard love. She is a nosey hound though, wants to know what everyone is doing and what they are handling, be it food or something else. We will miss the pair of them whilst they are away.

One thing ladydog made me think of, cauliflower rice. I made it once before and remembered it as being difficult and not great. However, I made some to go with our supper tonight and it was dead easy. I  think I have a different machine now, not my big food processor but a small one which is part of my hand held blender and using that made it so very easy. More cauliflower rice on the horizon. I was getting tired of stuffing myself with rice all the time.

Just left to go see a programme about The Day the Dinosaurs Died. I had seen it before, but it was interesting to see it again.

Yesterday I cooked Brussels sprouts in chicken stock in the Instant Pot, they were delicious. Today I looked at this recipe and decided I should try it in the near future. Not enough liquid for the Instant Pot I don't think, but adaptation, adaptation, adaptation!!!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

The only thing better than a full plate of caramelized Brussels sprouts is a plate of Brussels sprouts
with pancetta.

3 lbs brussels sprouts
6 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
6 shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2 oz thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Kosher salt
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the brussels sprouts until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.

2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 10 minutes; scrape into a bowl.

3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the skillet. Add the brussels sprouts, cut side down, and the pancetta. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned and tender, 10 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and shallots and cook, stirring, until warm, 5 minutes. Season with salt, transfer to a bowl and serve.

Servings: 10

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Shopping, TEACH,

Didn't do much this morning, but then this afternoon we went to the liquor store, well we were totally out. Although we had decided not to bother, I ended up buying white wine (Pinot Grigio) to go with the turkey breast. We don't drink much white wine for some reason although we do enjoy it when we do so. However, I guess we only drink wine on a Saturday, normally, and we usually eat something which requires a red wine. However, it is Thanksgiving so we have to treat the turkey with honour. Plus, of course, I needed fizz.

We also needed bananas. It was a toss up, for me, did I get them at the regular store, close to where we were but a bit of a walk from parking to produce dept. or did I go to Victoria St. Market, bit of a drive but a much shorter walk. Then I remember I was out of Italian sausages which made the decision for me. I always buy those at Victoria St. One of my favourite IP meals is made with Italian sausages. So, as usual, my 4 bananas (shopping tomorrow) cost me around $20.

Tomorrow morning is my last TEACH session, I shall miss it as I have been enjoying participating in these courses. I would really like the five of us to keep in touch, don't know how they feel about this.

It will also be the last time we see ladydog as she is off on a cruise next week so we won't see her for about 4 or 5 weeks.

I've always liked tofu but, apart from the Hot and Sour Soup at Mandarin, I haven't eaten it in a while. Not sure why because some delicious dishes can be made using it as the main ingredient.

Crispy Tofu Steaks with Ginger Vinaigrette

F&W’s Kay Chun uses panko to coat tofu steaks, then pan-fries them until they’re crispy outside and
creamy within.

3 Tbs minced peeled fresh ginger
3 Tbs minced scallion
1 Tbs distilled white vinegar
2/3 cup canola oil Kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup panko
1 14-ounce package firm tofu, drained and sliced 1 inch thick

1. In a small bowl, mix the ginger with the scallion, vinegar and 1/3 cup of the oil; season the vinaigrette with salt.

2. Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Spread the panko on a plate. Dip the tofu slices in the egg, then coat in the panko. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1/3 cup of oil. Fry the tofu over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crispy, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and serve with the ginger vinaigrette.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Movie, Health, Cooking,

Having watched the actresses in the documentary yesterday, tonight I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which stars both Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The pair are wonderful in this movie as in everything they do. I have this movie and the sequel, but unfortunately Matt doesn't enjoy it. He never did even when he was more "with it".

This was a bowling day but I didn't  make it unfortunately. Wasn't feeling to good this morning, my chest felt like I had strained the muscles by lifting something heavy. Which, I hadn't, I was a tad nervous but eventually it faded away and I felt fine later. I was sorry to miss bowling though.

I decided to cook one of ladydog's favourites, Instant Pot Butter Chicken. I used the huge chicken thighs I bought at Victoria Market and found, unsurprisingly, that one thigh each was more than enough meat, which means we have the same dish available again. I have to go to Victoria St. Market  though, I found I have no sausages and certainly no bananas. Also we have run out of both wine and,  horrors, sparkling wine (champers to me).

Matt often has Yucatan Tilapia at Red Lobster, but this looks an interesting variation.

Yucatán Pork Stew with Ancho Chiles and Lime Juice

Butcher-chef Tia Harrison finds making stew a versatile way to use cuts like pork shoulder, shanks
and belly. Here she cooks the stew with pleasantly bitter ancho chiles.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2 lbs trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large white onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1 lb carrots, cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths
3 ancho chiles, seeded and cut into very thin strips with scissors
3 bay leaves
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 cups chicken stock
6 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
2 Tbs chopped cilantro
Steamed white rice and sliced jalapeños, for serving

1. In a very large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Season the pork with salt and black pepper and add half of it to the casserole. Cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate. Brown the remaining pork.

2. Return all of the pork to the casserole along with any accumulated juices. Stir in the onions, garlic, carrots, chiles, bay leaves, cloves, lime juice and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, nestling them into the liquid. Cover and cook over low heat until the pork is very tender and the carrots are cooked through, about 3 hours. Discard the bay leaves and stir in the cilantro. Serve with rice and sliced jalapeños.

Servings: 8

The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Monday, October 7, 2019

Spanish, Bowling, Thanksgiving, Nothing Like A Dame,

I have kind of got into the habit of doing my Spanish in the morning which works out much better, although I won't be able to on Wednesday as that is my last TEACH session at the ALZ Society. I will miss it. A  very helpful course and I hope they will have others in the future. Although I have been imposing on ladydog  to keep Matt company - and clean the silver LOL. Mind you I think if Zoey (the dog) was there I don't think Matt would notice anything else.

Monday is bowling and I don't know if Matt will bowl or not - he was talking about trying yesterday, but that was yesterday. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can bowl as well as I did last week.

I can't believe it is our Thanksgiving next Monday. Seems only a short while ago since we were celebrating it last time. I cannot remember, for the life of me, if we bowl that day or not. Will have to check. Mind you I cook on the Saturday anyway.

Watched a super documentary last night, Nothing Like a Dame with Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins. All have been awarded honours by the Royal  and therefore should be addressed as Dame Judi, etc. It was absolutely hilarious, especially between Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. One of the funniest things I have seen in years. It was brilliant. I didn't know Joan Plowright was married to Sir Lawrence Olivier either which made her both Lady Joan and Dame Joan. Lots of jokes about their ages and Maggie Smith told Judi Dench that she MUST get hearing aids.

When I saw this recipe, I couldn't resist it. Looked so delicious. In my case I would probably use Scotch whisky instead of Bourbon but otherwise, yum. Actually rum would also be good I think. Depending on your diet considerations, I might whisk up some cream, rather than milk, as a  topper. (And I wonder why I am gaining weight?)

Bourbon Hot Cocoa

Chocolate and bourbon? Say no more. Make this delicious hot chocolate recipe from scratch on a
cold winter day.

½ cup bittersweet chocolate pieces
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups fat-free milk
2 Tbs honey
½ cup (4 oz.) bourbon
Ground cinnamon (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan stir together chocolate pieces and cocoa powder. Whisk in 3½ cups of the milk and the honey. Cook over medium heat just until boiling and chocolate pieces are melted, whisking constantly. Stir in bourbon. For frothy topper, pour the remaining ½ cup milk into a medium bowl. Microwave 20 to 30 seconds or just until warm. Beat with whisk until frothy. Serve cocoa with frothy topper and, if desired, sprinkle with cinnamon or additional cocoa powder.

Servings: 6

Source: Diabetic Living Magazine

Have a great day

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Spanish, Exercises, Cooking, The Highwaymen, Gumbo.

You may remember I am learning Spanish and last night, I was still doing lessons at gone midnight. By the time I had finished, I really didn't want to blog and anyway hadn't a lot to write about, so, sorry, being lazy.

Not that I have a lot to write about today, I had a thoroughly lazy day really. I didn't even go to exercise class, slap hand and go to bed with no tea. My excuse was I was hurting, my reason was I was again being lazy. I just seem to have been on the go lately.

Admittedly Thursday I spent a lot of time making cole slaw. Easy if you are fit, tiring and painful if you are not. Today I made the shrimp and leek recipe I posted on September 25. We both enjoyed it. Matt wasn't too sure at first,  but after he had been eating it for a bit, he decided he liked it. I liked it from the start. Of course it has no spiciness too it which maybe what threw him off. It is really easy to make, I wasn't sure at first, but it was. I cooked the pasta in the Instant Pot of course, then I can forget about it until it's done and concentrate on the rest of the recipe. It is certainly a recipe I will be making again although of course we have leftovers already. Probably eat them Sunday depending on what I decide to cook for Saturday night.

I was wondering, in bed last night thinking about it, does anyone ever cook my recipes? If you don't, you are really missing out on some good nosh.

We just watched "The Highwaymen", with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Chris Christopherson. I could name all of them except Waylon Jennings. We are not supposed to be Country Music fans but we both thoroughly enjoyed the concert and I certainly was familiar with most of the songs. I would love to get the DVD, but not at $50 something. Lot more on the TV of course as they were fund raising once more.

Well, getting pretty late again, did my Spanish earlier, so this is it for tonight.

I haven't made a gumbo since we came back from the Carolinas. This recipe turned up today on and I thought, why not. Saving it I noticed they said frozen okra, sorry, I would not use that unless I had to. I haven't seen okra for a while, but there must be somehwere I can get it.

Smoky Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

Freeze leftover stock up to three months, and use for chowder or risotto.

1 lb unpeeled medium shrimp
8 cups water
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large celery stalks, chopped
3 bay leaves
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 Tbs canola oil, divided
2.25 oz all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups finely chopped white onion
1 Tbs Creole seasoning
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen cut okra
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups hot cooked brown rice

1. To prepare the stock, peel and devein shrimp, reserving shells. Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise; cover shrimp, and refrigerate.

2. Combine reserved shrimp shells, 8 cups water, and next 6 ingredients (through onion) in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Set aside 3 cups stock; keep warm. Reserve the remaining shrimp stock for another use.

3. To prepare the gumbo, heat a large cast-iron skillet over low heat; add 1/4 cup canola oil. Cook for 2 minutes, swirling to coat pan. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup. Gradually add flour to oil, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Increase heat to medium; cook for 8 minutes or until the flour mixture is caramel-colored, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes or until mixture is chestnut-colored, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; slowly add warm shrimp stock, stirring until smooth. Pour stock mixture into a large bowl.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add onion and the next 5 ingredients (through bell pepper); sauté for 3 minutes. Return stock mixture to pan; add broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.

5. Add okra and next 3 ingredients (through black pepper). Simmer for 30 minutes.

6. Combine shrimp and paprika; toss to coat shrimp. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; sauté for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Stir shrimp into okra mixture. Discard bay leaves. Serve over rice.

Servings: 8

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great weekend.