A Breakfast “Quesadilla”

Contains:  Dairy, wheat, gluten, potentially nightshades.  Is: Quick and easy, vegetarian.  

recipe, quesadilla, tortilla, cheese, scallions

A quick one-off breakfast from yesterday.  It isn’t even particularly Tex-Mex, but at least this has queso (cheese).  And for this I had Mexican cheese in the fridge… Another case of dealing with what was in the fridge without having gotten to a real supermarket for a while.  (I am going Monday!)  

I raise chickens, so I did have an egg, even if the flock is on their winter slowdown.    

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time:  10 minutes.
Rest Tune: Not needed.
Serves: 1.
Cuisine:  Home invention.
Leftovers:  I don’t really recommend, but you could.

A Breakfast “Quesadilla”

INGREDIENTS:  

  • Approximately two teaspoons butter.
  • 1 egg. 
  • 3 scallions/green onions chopped small.
  • About 2-3 ounces / 60-85 grams of meltable cheese.  I used half cream cheese and half Oaxaca cheese.  Cut into thin slices.
  • Ancho chili powder, to preference. 
  • Ground pepper, to preference.
  • 1 wheat tortilla wrap.

METHOD:  

Heat up the butter in a skillet and let it melt, medium heat.  

Cook the egg to your preference:  fried (over easy to well-done), scrambled, or made into a small omelet.  Set aside briefly.  

Lay the tortilla out flat in the skillet, making sure there remains enough butter to moisten the side facing the skillet.  You shouldn’t need more butter.  Heat should be at medium low.  

On one half of the tortilla, spread out the cheese slices, the egg, and about half of the scallions.  Space items out, breaking the egg apart as necessary.  Sprinkle with the ancho powder and the ground pepper.  

Fold the tortilla over to cover the cheese, egg, and scallions.  Press down so it all connects.  Add the rest of the scallions to the now-empty side of the skillet, stirring them around occasionally. Let all this cook for approximately three more minutes. 

Remove the stuffed tortilla to a place, top with those extra scallions, and serve immediately. 

NOTE:  There are a lot of options, of course, Instead of, or in addition to, scallions – add sprouts.  Pan fry some sliced mushrooms ahead – along with the egg.  Thin matchstick-sliced bits of bell or poblano pepper.  The ideas can be vast and tasty.  

recipe, quesadilla, tortilla, cheese, scallions

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Clams ‘n’ Pasta

Contains:  Shellfish, wheat, gluten, dairy, nightshades.  Is:  An effort to return to food blogging!

Happy New Year

I’ve been absent for a while, which wasn’t intended.  My mind wasn’t on cooking all that much [- oh, I cooked, but nothing out of the ordinary or different, other than a dish or two for the face-to-face cooking group I belong to, one of which was a recipe I’d already made here.  As for Mexican/Tex-Mex and South America month – moving that to May 2023.  As for other news, my ragdoll cat Serenity passed away in November three days shy of her 21st birthday.  But I now have a new cat, see the bottom of this post!

recipe, clams, pasta, tomato, cream cheese

This one was a dish involving looking around the kitchen to see what I’d like to cook up.  I had chopped clams that would go great in a soup, but I’ve already created a Rhode Island clam chowder for this site, and I don’t have the cream for New England clam chowder, and I don’t particularly like the Manhattan style.

Sooooo…  clams do go well with pasta.  And while I intend to make a good Italian pasta carbonara someday, this is not the day.  (I did try it last summer, but the result was so salty I had to toss it.  The Guanicale I’d obtained was saltier than remotely bearable, and Pecorino Romano is saltier than Parm.  I will try next time with prosciutto instead of Guanciale – which to begin with, was hard to find anyway.)

At any rate, the current dish is not remotely going to try to be Italian.  It is just simply going to be good in its own right, considering that I haven’t gone shopping to a real supermarket since 2022.  (I am getting most of my fresh veggies from a Massachusetts farmers’ delivery service – limited at this time of year, but more choices yet than the local mom and pop grocery.)

I didn’t have many grape tomatoes left, and the dish deserved more, so I added more in the recipe write-up than I actually used.

Prep Time:  20 minutes.
Cook Time: 15 minutes.
Rest Time:   Best not.
Cuisine:  N/A.
Serves:  2.

Clams ‘n’ Pasta

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2-3 slices of bacon, depending on thickness.  Cook to crispy but not burnt, drain on a paper towel,  Reserve the bacon fat.  When cool, break bacon into smaller pieces without totally crumbling them.
  • 4.5 ounces / 125 grams of dry pasta of your choice.  I used the mid-sized Farfalfale (bowtie) pasta.
  • Approximately 1/4 pound / 115 grams of chopped clams, mostly drained.
  • 4 ounces / 115 grams cream cheese.  If the solid brick, chop into smaller pieces, to facilitate melting.
  • 1 medium stalk leek, just the white and light green part, cleaned and sliced into rounds.
  • 10-15 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • 1 scallion, chopped.
  • About a half teaspoon of dried thyme.
  • About a half teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

METHOD:  

Get your mise en place in place.  Especially if you intend to start with the pasta portion.  If you doubt your timing, start cooking the pasta at some other step.

For cooking the pasta: set a pot of salted water to boil.  When boiling, add the pasta, making sure you have enough water for cooking it without pasta lumping together.  The pasta I used had a recommended cooking time of 12-14 minutes.

About three minutes before the recommended au dente cooking time (12 minutes for mine, hence 9 minutes) add the clams.  You may have to reduce the heat a little so the clams don’t cause the pot to boil over.

At the first stages of the pasta cooking, add the leeks and tomatoes to some of the hot bacon fat in your skillet, and add the seasonings.  Stir fry these together for five or so minutes, or until the leeks are translucent.  When done, add in the scallion, and turn the temperture to low.  Taste and adjust seasonings, noting that they will be diluted by the pasta when combined.

Test the pasta for done-ness.  You do want au dente, and the final product may cook another minute or so when everything is combined – so au dente is indeed the way to go.  Drain the pasta, reserving a small amount at the bottom of the pot.  Return the pasta to the pot and immediately add the cream cheese and mix over a low heat on your cooktop.

Add in the leek, etc. mixture, and add in the bacon.  Gently mix everything.  Serve immediately.

Side suggestion:  a light tossed salad with vinaigrette.

clams, pasta, cream cheese, tomato, recipe


My new cat is approximately three years old, and was found on the streets of North Carolina. He is FIV+, which means he does have a weakened immune system.  He was sent up to Connecticut, where he was fostered for three or four months until I took him home.  He is a love, so I suspect he escaped from someone’s car or something like that.  I was hoping to foster a Maine Coon (age 11), but their Maine Coon was taken before I could snap him up.  This one, of no certain genetic heritage, does quite nicely. Bjorn

BJORN, male Longhaired Tabby

(Yes, you pronounce that “BE-yorn”.)


This dish has been served at:

  • Contains:  Nightshades, dairy.  Is:  Grain-free, potentially paleo.

    recipe, mid-eastern, stuffed pepper, lamb, za;atar, labne

    The lamb came from a local farmer.

    Labne is a Middle-Eastern / Persian dairy product very similar to yogurt (it has cultures, and probably listens to Mozart when it can).  I find this at a Persian market in the Connecticut River valley.  It has a slightly more sour taste than most yogurts, and is made from milk kefir. Substitute in plain full fat Greek yogurt if you can’t find labne.  If you are dairy-free, it is not necessary, or try a plain coconut yogurt instead.

    labne

    I aimed to give this a Middle Eastern flair.

    recipe, mid-eastern, stuffed pepper, lamb, za;atar, labne

    Prep Time:  10 minutes.
    Cook Time:  Pan-frying — 10 minutes; Oven — 35 minutes.
    Rest Time: 5 minutes.
    Cuisine:  Middle Eastern influences.
    Makes:  2 stuffed peppers.
    Leftovers:  Certainly.

    Bell Peppers Stuffed with Ground Lamb, Topped with Labne

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1/2 pound ground lamb (or beef)
    • 1/2 pound shredded cabbage
    • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
    • 2 bell peppers, stems removed, de-seeded.  Any color.
    • 1/4 yellow onion, peeled.  Chop and dice finely.
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
    • 3/4 teaspoon za’atar
    • Salt and pepper to taste.
    • A drizzle of balsamic reduction for each.  
    • Top with labne or full fat Greek yogurt.

    METHOD:

    Preheat oven to 350 F / 180  C.

    Remove tops of, and de-seed two bell peppers.

    To a skillet, add the cooking oil.  (In my case, this was leftover bacon fat.)  Pan fry the cabbage, onion and ground lamb together, breaking up the ground beef as you add it.

    Cook until onions are transluscent, and the lamb is cooked, stirring occasionally.  About ten minutes.

    Put aside, and allow to cool to a level where you can handle it.  Add in the garlic powder, za’atar, salt and pepper, and mix.

    Stuff each pepper compactly.   Drizzle some balsamic reduction over the top.  Have them cook upright in your oven.

    Remove, and serve with the labne or yogurt either on top, or on the side (or both).

    Bake for 30-35 minutes.

    Contains:  Nightshades, dairy.  Is:  Grain-free, potentially paleo.,

    Cook until onions are transluscent, and the lamb is cooked, stirring occasionally.  About ten minutes.

    Put aside, and allow to cool to a level where you can handle it.  Add in the garlic powder, za’atar, salt and pepper, and mix.

    Stuff each pepper compactly.   Drizzle some balsamic reduction over the top.  Have them cook upright in your oven.

    Remove, and serve with the labne or yogurt either on top, or on the side (or both).

    Bake for 30-35 minutes.

    NOTE:  I ike my peppers au dente.  Some people want them softer – you can blanch the de-seeded peppers in boiling water for a minute or less, before making the rest of this recipe.  

    bell-logo

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    This dish has been served at:

  • What’s for Dinner?  Sunday Link-Up
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A Month of South American, Mexican and Tex-Mex Meals

This occasion is moving to May 2023.

I don’t plan on just eating foods from those particular backgrounds every meal and every day this month of May.  However, all the posted recipes will be from the above cultural sources.  Some will be vegetarian, some will be aimed at the omnivores.

red and orange soup in a bowl on the wooden table top

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

I hope to range through a tasty variety of foods: I’ve already pinpointed a couple recipes from the Oaxaca state of Mexico that I’ve never eaten, and I have a few Peruvian ideas as well.

Sit back and enjoy as we travel south of the border!

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Bell Peppers Stuffed with Ground Lamb, Topped with Labne

Contains:  Nightshades, dairy.  Is:  Grain-free, potentially paleo.

recipe, mid-eastern, stuffed pepper, lamb, za;atar, labne

The lamb came from a local farmer.

Labne is a Middle-Eastern / Persian dairy product very similar to yogurt (it has cultures, and probably listens to Mozart when it can).  I find this at a Persian market in the Connecticut River valley.  It has a slightly more sour taste than most yogurts, and is made from milk kefir. Substitute in plain full fat Greek yogurt if you can’t find labne.  If you are dairy-free, it is not necessary, or try a plain coconut yogurt instead.

labne

I aimed to give this a Middle Eastern flair.

recipe, mid-eastern, stuffed pepper, lamb, za;atar, labne

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time:  Pan-frying — 10 minutes; Oven — 35 minutes.
Rest Time: 5 minutes.
Cuisine:  Middle Eastern influences.
Makes:  2 stuffed peppers.
Leftovers:  Certainly.

Bell Peppers Stuffed with Ground Lamb, Topped with Labne

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 pound ground lamb (or beef)
  • 1/2 pound shredded cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 2 bell peppers, stems removed, de-seeded.  Any color.
  • 1/4 yellow onion, peeled.  Chop and dice finely.
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 3/4 teaspoon za’atar
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • A drizzle of balsamic reduction for each.  
  • Top with labne or full fat Greek yogurt.

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180  C.

Remove tops of, and de-seed two bell peppers.

To a skillet, add the cooking oil.  (In my case, this was leftover bacon fat.)  Pan fry the cabbage, onion and ground lamb together, breaking up the ground beef as you add it.

Cook until onions are transluscent, and the lamb is cooked, stirring occasionally.  About ten minutes.

Put aside, and allow to cool to a level where you can handle it.  Add in the garlic powder, za’atar, salt and pepper, and mix.

Stuff each pepper compactly.   Drizzle some balsamic reduction over the top.  Have them cook upright in your oven.

Remove, and serve with the labne or yogurt either on top, or on the side (or both).

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Contains:  Nightshades, dairy.  Is:  Grain-free, potentially paleo.,

Cook until onions are transluscent, and the lamb is cooked, stirring occasionally.  About ten minutes.

Put aside, and allow to cool to a level where you can handle it.  Add in the garlic powder, za’atar, salt and pepper, and mix.

Stuff each pepper compactly.   Drizzle some balsamic reduction over the top.  Have them cook upright in your oven.

Remove, and serve with the labne or yogurt either on top, or on the side (or both).

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

NOTE:  I ike my peppers au dente.  Some people want them softer – you can blanch the de-seeded peppers in boiling water for a minute or less, before making the rest of this recipe.  

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Cubano / Cubanelle Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp, Shiitake and Capers

Contains:  Shellfish (shrimp), nightshades. Is:  Quick and easy, Whole30, paleo.

A pleasantly tasty dish.  You can use any type of pepper – you will need to adjust the amount of stuffing depending on the size of pepper you plan to stuff.  Cubanos aren’t large.  So, for larger peppers, double or even triple the stuffing portion of this recipe.  Or – hey – extra stuffing can always be quickly pan-fried for general enjoyment, anyway.

cubano, peppers, stuffed, shrimp, mushrooms, shiitake, recipe

For this sort of recipe, I enjoy stuffing Cubanos or Poblanos.  Both have just a bit more kick than regular bell peppers – but not enough to annoy most people who don’t deal well with spice/heat.  If you don’t have access to either pepper or prefer not to use, a decent red or orange bell pepper is also tasty.  You may need more stuffing, and to bake an additional five minutes due to their typical larger size..

Since there are no grains nor pseudo-grains in this stuffing, these ingredients are not going to expand.  So push down and stuff away to your heart’s content!  Serve as appetizers or as a side dish.

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time:  Frying:  10 minutes.  Baking:  25 minutes.
Rest Time:  Not necessary.
Serves:  Stuffs two Cubano peppers.
Leftovers:  Why not?

Cubano Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp, Shiitake and Capers

INGREDIENTS:

Scale up as needed ~

  • 1/2 pound / 230 grams fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed.  (1/3 pound or so of button mushrooms may be used instead, keeping the stems), tear or cut into small fragments.
  • About 0.4 pounds / 180 grans of shrimp, completely de-shelled, deveined.  Cut into small pieces approximately 1/4 inches / 0,5 cm.  
  • 1 tablespoon, more or less, drained capers.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika, preferably smoked – either hot or mild.
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1-2 teaspoons cooking oil.

METHOD:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F / 180 C.

Cut the tops from the Cubano peppers, pull out the seeds.  Discard tops and seeds.

In a small skillet, add a little cooking oil, and pan fry the mushrooms until the juices run out, 5-10 minutes at medium heat.

Remove the cooked mushrooms to a bowl.  In this bowl add all the additional ingredients.  Mix gently, with your hands.

Stuff the peppers compactly with the stuffing mixture.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Enjoy!  (While a knife and fork is certainly of use, I ended up eating one of these in the manner of an ice cream cone – by hand.)

cubano, peppers, stuffed, shrimp, mushrooms, shiitake, recipe

This recipe is being shared with Fiesta FridayWhat’s for Dinner?  Sunday Link-Up, 

For some reason, the little icons that linked this site to my Pinterest and my Twitter accounts has decided to vanish.  WordPress, whazz-up?   I’ll work something out.  Editing the sidebar is not intuitive, especially since the process changes ever so often.

For now:  My Pinterest:  Is here.    My Twitter can be accessed lower on the right-hand side of any recipe page.  I barely ever use the latter, though, other than to advertise this blog.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Mushrooms, Seafood | 2 Comments

Baby Cuttlefish with Farro, Tomato, Marinated Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Olives

Contains:  Shellfish (cephalopods), gluten, wheat, nightshades. 

cuttlefish, squid, tomato, olives, marinated eggplant, mushrooms, cumin, tomatoes, recipeJust enjoyed watching a storm roll in, thunder, lightning, a lovely breeze, temperatures dropping ten degrees. Nibbled on wild blackberries.  Noted the wild turkeys in the front yard slowly and nonchalantly cross the yard in the rain until they ducked into high weeds between my house and the neighbor’s.

On to the recipe!

cuttlefish, squid, tomato, olives, marinated eggplant, mushrooms, cumin, tomatoes, recipe

Note:  I don’t add salt – the Better than Boullion and the olives are salty enough for my tastes.  You do you.  Oh, and you can substitute in squid if desired.  If so, cook a minute or two less.

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time:  20 minutes, plus time to cook the farro.
Rest Time:  Not needed.
Serves:  4.
Cuisine:  Vaguely Mediterranean.

Leftovers:  Yes.

Baby Cuttlefish with Farro and Tomato

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup / 100 grams farro.
  • Liquid in a 1 part farro to 3 parts liquid ratio – I used water with a teaspoon of Better than Boullion vegetable paste.
  • 5 or six garlic scapes, chopped to about an inch or 3 cm lengths.  (Or a couple cloves of crushed garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 can / 14.5 ounces /411 grams diced tomato.
  • 1/2 jar / 6 ounces / 180 mL marinated eggplant (aubergine) – use only some of the liquid, or it will be too sour.
  • 8-10 button mushrooms, coarsely broken up.
  • 10 pitted Greek olives.
  • Hot sauce to taste.
  • 10.6 ounces / 300 grams baby cuttlefish.

METHOD:

For the farro, I use a rice cooker.  Use whatever method you desire – but add the liquid to it 1:3.  A vegetable broth may be substituted for my process.  Add in the garlic scapes, and allow this to cook.  If garlic scapes are not available, crush a couple cloves of garlic instead.  Allow to cook.  As cooking time for the farro may vary, I simply let it cook and then left it on WARM mode while I prepared the rest of the dish.

In a pan to which you will be adding the rest of the ingredients, dry-toast the cumin seeds, about 45 seconds, stirring.  You’ll notice the cumin aroma and some browning.  Remove from heat.

Into that pan add the tomato, eggplant, mushrooms, olives and the hot sauce.  Return to heat (medium) and stir often.  Allow to cook for about 15 minutes.

Drain the cuttlefish and add these to the pan.  Allow to cook for five more minutes, mixing them in with the other ingredients.  Remove from heat.

Combine the pan ingredients with the farro.  Mix until reasonably combined.  Serve.

cuttlefish, squid, tomato, olives, marinated eggplant, mushrooms, cumin, tomatoes, recipe

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Shrimp Filling for Tamales

Contains:  Shellfish (shrimp).  Is:  Gluten-free, Paleo, if by itself.  

tamales, shrimp, Mexican, recipe

A while back, I made and posted about two tamale recipes.  I won’t today post the making of the masa that surrounds the filling.  We were doing a tamale making party at a friend’s house; I made a couple of fillings in advance, and other people did other things for the gathering – the masa, of course, two styles.  A vegan filling (black beans and sweet potatoes).  Another friend made five different sauces for us to enjoy.  We also had Pozole soup and cranberry beans cooked Mexican style.  And a unique bread pudding of Mexican origin for dessert – which featured both cheese and blueberries, and thankfully NO raisins!

By the way, making tamales as a family or a group together is a good Mexican tradition, occurring around the Christmas holidays.  The occasion is callled a tamalada, and is a great way for people, traditionally mostly women, to get together and share their lives and any gossip with each other.  Especially now that I have done this last weekend with others, I fully appreciate the point!  And one need not wait for Christmas, either.

Today I will simply write up the shrimp filling – but you are welcome to peruse my older recipes for tamales – which incorporated only New World foods:  Turkey & Tomato and Vegan Tamales (Beans, Squash, Arbol), to complete the process.

recipe, tamales, shrimp

Tamales, with a small scoop of cranberry beans done Mexican

What I would change down below next time:  I’d take one of those tomatillos and chop it up to add to the shrimp, raw.  Still, do pre-cook the other one.

Timings here are for the filling, only!  Recommend steaming these assembled shrimp tamales for 30 minutes, no longer.

Prep Time:  15 minutes.  
Cook Time:  10 minutes  
Rest Time:  Not essential, but may help to meld flavors.
Serves:  Depends, it is a filling.
Cuisine:  Mexican/Central American
Leftovers:  Sure.

Shrimp Filling for Tamales

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatillos, de-husked and finely chopped.
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 pound / grams medium-sized raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise.  Some if larger can be chopped in half.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or two teaspoons dried oregano flakes.  Using Mexican oregano is best.
  • 2 tablespoons more or less of fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD: 

In a skillet, pan fry the onion in the cooking oil, about ten minutes.  Add the garlic and the tomatillo., cook for another two or three minutes.  

Allow this to cool to room temperature.  

To the shrimp add all the other ingredients.  Mix with your hands. 

When the cooked portion is cooled, add in the shrimp mixture.  Blend gently.

Use this as your tamale filling as described in either of these two recipes:  Turkey & Tomato and Vegan Tamales (Beans, Squash, Arbol),

Steam for 30 minutes, allow to cool to a warm temperature, and for the masa to set up.  Approximately 15 minutes.  

Enjoy!!!

Oh, if you just want to enjoy the filling – a quick pan frying for about 6-8 minutes should do the trick.

Recipe, tamales, shrimp


This recipe is shared with Fiesta Friday, co-host Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook;

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Savory Avocado Smoothie with Blood Orange, Spinach, Scallion, Cilantro

Contains: No major allergens.   Is:  Quick and easy, raw, vegetarian, vegan.

I have always preferred savory over sweet – this thick beverage is a feature of this. You really do need the cilantro/coriander leaf in this one, or otherwise the beverage will be on the blander side.  You can adapt with just one half of a avocado, too.

Smoothie, avocado, vegan, vegetarian, spinach, savory

(The initials etched on the glass are my Dad’s.)

Blood oranges – a red internal flesh – to me tastes more interesting than more regular oranges, but you can use the regular type if you can’t find blood oranges.  And, don’t just juice – keep the pulp!

I like onion in my smoothies (as I don’t see smoothies or vegetable juices, for me, as being anything like a dessert, simply a different way of getting my veggie intake into me.

I do find that most commercial juices or smoothies overemphasize both too much sweetness and/or too much ginger for my own tastes.  A little ginger is good – but a little more goes too far a long way!

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time:  It’s RAAAAWW!  Zero time.
Serves:  1-2.
Leftovers:  Avocado browns too quickly.

Savory Avocado Smoothie with Blood Orange, Spinach, Scallion, Cilantro

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 blood orange (or other orange).  Juice (include pulp, but remove any seeds) this.
  • 0.5 – 1 Haas avocado, peeled, de-seeded, coarsely chopped.  
  • 2 scallions/green onions, roots removed, chopped.
  • 1 goodly handful of fresh spinach.
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, bring in more than you may think you will need.
  • 1/4 teaspoon mild curry powder. 
  • A little fresh ginger is optional.
  • Water, to the liquidity texture you prefer.

METHOD:

Add all to a container from which you can use an immersion blender.  Otherwise, simply put in a regular but small blender and blend on “pulse”.  Start with a little water; add more as you need to the thickness/viscosity you prefer to drink.

Pour, sip and enjoy.

savory. smoothie, recipe, avocado, vegan

.This recipe is shared with Fiesta Friday, co-host Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

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Homesteading: Farm and Garden, May 2022. Zone 5.

Yesterday the temperature outside climbed to 88 F, and rather humid.   The sort of weather that reinforces my decision not to follow my brother and his family down to the Tampa area of Florida.  I know this is nothing to them.  We just get this stuff periodically up here in western Massachusetts, not incessantly.  Today is supposed to be about the same.  I certainly don’t thrive on it.  At least with cold weather one can always put on more clothing.  The reverse isn’t really true.

Homesteading

Incoming Spring Storm (early May)

At any rate, what’s up, up here?

My Cat:  Serenity had to have her “lion cut” a few weeks ago.  Starting about age 16, she stopped grooming herself effectively.   So, she ended up with quite the mat in her ruff.  Took her in – she now looks all skin and bones, basically because she IS all skin and bones under that fur.  Unfortunately, I forgot to inform the woman hired for this purpose NOT to do the tail.  She now has a little puffball of fur at the end of the tail, and nothing at all covering the rest of it.  (There’d been no mats in her tail fur.)

The same woman had shaved her the previous year, and I had been grooming her once the hair grew back in.  Evidently the standard cat brush isn’t the best way, as she’d grown the neck mat back anyway. I accidentally ran across a Jackson Galaxy video where he pointed out the best brush to use – ordered it, but this was too late to take care of the ruff matting or a couple smaller ones she was developing.

ragdoll, cat

A cat comma!

She’s 20 and a half years old now.  98 years old in human years.  A grand old lady with osteoarthritis and a special kidney diet.  She needs a lot of attention, so I hesitate to leave her alone for more than a day or two.    Yes, someone could come in, but I doubt they’d be with her for more than fifteen minutes or so, and then leave.  She still wants to eat, but if she gives up on wanting as much food as she does eat – yes, she will be sent to cross that proverbial Rainbow Bridge to join her old buddies, Orion and Obi-Wan, as well as her first favorite cat, Ptarmigan.  Hopefully she’ll remember Titania, too.

20.5 year old cat, ragdoll

Trying to get warm after a shave, sitting in the remains of sun.

PLANTINGS

So far in the Raised Beds:

Bed 1.

homesteading, rhubarb

Rhubarb, with flower top

Section A:  this is the perennial spot.  Rhubarb, strawberries, golden thyme are coming up.  No idea if the saffron survived.  I also added in a little asparagus, anise hyssop, and hibiscus this year..  Rhubarb should be available for harvest next year.
Section B:  Cleaned out, but a leek is coming back up, a survivor from last year.  Otherwise, this will house Snow Peas, Avalanche (Pisum sativum).   I don’t see the seedlings yet.
Section C:  Peas, “Little Marvel”.  24 inch trellising recommended.  Two rows.  Some seedlings are doing their thing!
Section C:  Peas, “Super Sugar Snap”, 60-inch trellising recommended.  Two rows.

homesteading, sugar snap pea

Pea seedling poking up

Bed 2:

Section A:  TBD
Section B:  Tomatoes (cherry and grape).   I have had little luck in the past with full-sized tomatoes.  Parsley.
Section C:  2 rows of Turnips, Amelie Hybrid (Brassica rapa).  Seedlings are not yet popping up.  A row of red beets, and a row of cauliflower.  Which are up.

Bed 3:  (Currently just weeds!)

Homesteading,

Bed #4. Onions, Potatoes, Greens

Bed 4:

Section A:  Winter hardy leafy greens, as in spinach and lettuces,  Planted in April, they are doing well.
Section B:  Yukon gold potatoes, with a few red potatoes.  They are doing well.
Section C:   Onion sets, reds and whites.   I planted them close-ish to each other.  I will be thinning them out for scallions/green onions alternately, so the remainders grow up to be adult onions.

In the Circular Bed:  

Edible flowers:  Nasturtiums, marigolds, borage, calendula.

homesteading, borage

Other:  Jalapeño peppers, red bell peppers.

homesteading, peppers, edible flowers

East Side Herb Area:

horseradish, homesteading

Horseradish, returning in the spring. Probably impossible to get rid of, but I don’t want to!

The wormwood returns to life, as does the horseradish and the lady’s mantle.  I’m fairly certain that the Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) will be coming back. Unfortunately, there are signs of garlic mustard, which I am trying to harvest before any of it goes to seed.  Terribly invasive – at least it is edible! (And, tastes great.)  Below, btw, is a photo of Lady’s Mantle.  A plant just for pretty.

homesteading, lady's mantle

To Be Planted (ASAP): 

Cannas, hosta, an elderberry, a selection of apple saplings.  Cucumber seeds.  I have perhaps missed something.


Chickens:   4 roosters, and now, alas, 14 hens.  Something killed and partially-ate Chickpea, the first hen I had hatched here on site – actually, her foster mom is Yin, a black Australorp, who still lives here.  Near as I can figure, Chickpea was a cross between a silver laced Wyandotte roo (this part I’m certain about) and a buff Orpington.  Pretty bird, nearly all white, with black fleckings on the wings and a few more elsewhere.  She was taken April 28th by some creature that prefers (like I do) thigh meat.  As that was all that was eaten – both thighs.  Feathers, however, were all over the place.  Chickpea had put up a fight.  Best guess is a fox.  Yin, by the way, still exists and still lays eggs – I caught her at it recently.

(Above:  Athena, back and front.  My newest hen.  Rather shy.)

Everyone is inside, no free ranging, for the next month.  They will then cautiously go back out in June.

homesteading, barred rock, rooster

Barred Plymouth Rock rooster. This is either Chester or Otis. I can tell them apart when they are next to each other. Chester is the dominant one, too. They get along because they were raised together, and Otis knows when to back off.

I’ve ordered 15 new baby chicks for early August.  Most will be meat birds (straight run Delaware Broilers from McMurray’s).  I just don’t feel like starting up brooders right now; I want a vacation.  Indeed, I’d love to take a real one, but I am concerned about my cat.  See the top.

Quail:  Not starting more up this year.  Next spring or summer is fine by me.  I miss good pickled eggs – yes, you can pickle chicken eggs, but the problem is that the whites get too rubbery for me waiting for the pickling juice to get deep into the yolks, due to egg size.


Exterior Staining:

Just got my deck and pergola stained – the deck will need a touchup at the least, and the pergola, well we ran out of the stain base, and are waiting on the Supply Chain to bring it to Sherwin-Williams.  A local man of good skill has been hired to take this on, and his work is essentially completed.

Homesteading, pergola

Pergola:  Leeward color, polyurethane semi-transparent stain, by Woodscapes.
Deck railing and supports:  Ember, acrylic solid color stain, by Woodscapes.
Deck floor and steps:  Fallow, solid stain, by Superdeck.

homesteading, deck

Extra Leeward will be used to stain the raised beds.  A misbegotten color of stain, Russett Brown, fought far too much with the log color – as it can’t be returned, it will be used to add trim color to the small Tractor Supply coop. I’ll be doing these two last staining projects myself – the coop project is nearly done.

Other Projects:

Small fabric three-tiered raised bed structure – for strawberries and other small things.  One can never have enough strawberries!  Constructed, and filled with soil.  Needs plants or seeds!  (Alas, I missed the week that strawberry plants were for sale here, and I’ve now filled the spaces with other plants, see above.)

Wood double-stand raised bed platform.  Still in boxes, have to decide on the most efficient spot for it.  I prefer the back yard, probably close to the pergola – or it may be closer to the house.  May need staining – I’ll have a variety of leftover stains to choose from!  I am thinking flowers AND veggies, depending if I can orient it to where I can enjoy the flowers from the house.

Assemble the rabbit hutch.  Not for rabbits, but as the Sick Bay for any chickens that may need such.

Assemble the two DIY meat chicken houses.  I figure each will hold 3-4 birds, depending on size.  They’re not going to be winter-proof, so this is only temporary housing for cockerels/pullets.  (Some of my meat pullets will be made into laying hens, btw.  I figure the large coop can house 3-4 more hens, and the dark brown coop, two more.

Assemble the cheap assembly thingie for setting food upon, to be set down at the pergola. It also has an interior space for storage.

Maybe work on the stone fire pit.  At least get the stones over to the spot.  I have a good friend who wants to assemble it – he did it in the past when we were living in the same house, back down in Connecticut.  Some of the stones are actually the same – yes, transport northwards sometimes works!

Indoors, solve the mouse incursions once and for ALL!  I have electronic rodent zappers.  Because I am not live-trapping mice and driving them to someone else’s yard to release them there.  A rude idea to do that.  I am also inventorying the pantry goods.

Clean out & reorganize the garage, and clean out and reorganize the basement.

Today:  High temps at 86, dropping fast as a storm now rolls in (it is 6:50 pm right now.)  7 pm on the nose – torrential rains!  EDIT:  Temp is now 65 F, at 8 pm.  Rains were good here!  (This post uploads in half an hour.)

I saw a black bear on the roadway around 12:30 today.  Could be a mama or a near-mature juvenile.  Size of a large dog, but its ears were definitely BEAR.   Obviously, didn’t get out of the car to check anything further.

Posted in Commentary, Cooking | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Steamed Scallop Wontons

Contains:  Shellfish (scallops, oyster), gluten.  Is:  Quick and easy.  

recipe, wonton, steamed, scallops, Chinese, cabbage, Asian dipping sauce, #FishFridayFoodies

This recipe is designed for #FishFridayFoodies.  Theme this month is “Small Bites”.  You will find the links to other creators in this challenge at the end of this post.

You can adapt this recipe for frying (pan or in a deep dish) – I simply prefer the steamed texture of the wonton wrappers over the fried – and, well, secondarily, it’s healthier this way.  And third, if you do have a wonton break open, it’s less fatal to the wonton.

Speaking of that, here’s how they finally got folded (some of the earlier ones I made above started to shape up better as I got the below technique down:

Prep Time: 30 minutes.
Cook Time:  15 minutes.
Rest Time:  Maybe a minute.
Cuisine:  Chinese.
Makes:
   40-50 wontons.
Leftovers:  Dash some drops of water over before re-heating.

Steamed Scallop Wontons

.INGREDIENTS:

Dipping sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seed oil.
  • A bare pinch of sugar.
  • Optional:  a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and/or a few chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves.

Wontons:

  • 1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped.
  • 100 grans cabbage finally chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons oyster sauce.
  • 1.5 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice seasoning
  • 1.5 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 100 grams scallops, chopped (either bay or sea scallops)
  • Wonton wrappers – about 40-50.

Make the sauce first:  add all the above ingredients under Sauce together.  If you are making the sauce significantly in advance, add any cilantro (coriander) leaves just prior to serving.

For the wontons, cook the shallot and cabbage in a skillet with cooking oil, about 5 minutes, stirring.  Add the oyster sauce, Chinese Five Spice and the ginger paste, stir another minute to combine.

Add the scallops and celery (or water chestnuts), cook for 1 or two minutes longer.

Line the bottom of a steamer with either lettuce/cabbage leaves, or parchment paper, to prevent sticking.  Wet the edges of each wonton wrap with a dab of water – use a brush or your fingers.

Place a teaspoon of stuffing in the center of a wrapper, then fold one corner to the most distant corner.  Press to seal.  Add a neighboring corner to the first two, and follow up by adding the last to the first three.  Press to seal, and move down  the edges so that the stuffing remains sealed inside.  (Don’t overstuff.)

Place in the steamer basket, on leaves and parchment.  Do this until your steamer is full, making  sure the wontons don’t touch each other – they will stick together.  Extra wontons should be assembled now and left to wait on a place or baking pan (atop parchment paper) until their turn at the steamer.

Add sufficient water to the bottom of the steamer that it won’t all evaporate while steaming.  Set the bottom to boil, and once boiling, reduce heat slightly, and add basket to the bottom, and cover.

Steam for about 5 minutes.  Use tongs to remove wontons, add in a second batch, and steam those.

Serve with the dipping sauce.

recipe, scallop, wonton, steamed, cabbage

Shared with #FishFridayFoodies, this month’s recipes are under the theme:  Small Bites.  Member Recipes below!

Link Parties:

Posted in Appetizers, Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Seafood | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments