Monday, December 23, 2013

JGE 19 - Shchi - Russian Cabbage Soup (Щи)

Good Day,

Okay what does one do with Napa cabbage, carrots, onions, dried Shitake mushrooms, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Turnips, Dill, Pepper and Salt, and green onion, butter, Rice Wine Vinegar, and Chicken and Vegetable broth?

Well that’s my Chopped list of ingredients. It’s my version of Shchi…albeit Russian Cabbage Soup. Oh and that’s pronounced, via Google Translate as a short “shay”, and through Wikipedia, “sheef”. The Cyrillic is Щи.

Dried mushrooms are reconstituted. Everything chopped, sliced, grated, and prepped.  Potatoes, turnips, cabbage, and herbs and spices are put into a large pot with chicken and vegetable broths, and mushroom water.  Pot is brought to boil then set on simmer to soften potatoes, turnips, and cabbage.

Chopped onions and grated carrots are fried in butter.  Sliced mushrooms and onion and carrot mixture are thrown into main pot.

The chopped green onions are added.

Supper is ready. Served with bread, crackers, or whatever your fancy.

And a dollop of sour cream.

One could say that I have been on a kick lately to try as many types of soups, chowders, stews, and such. Next to try Stone Soup.

Be healthy and enjoy,


Sunday, December 22, 2013

JGE 18 – Thai Chicken Coconut Soup and Salad

Good Day,

For supper, as usual I wanted something more than the mundane. I wanted something different, something exotic and something easy, damn easy to make… And something that would not take me too long. Period.

I had thawed out a couple of chicken thighs. Next I cut them in thin strips and placed them in a glass dish to which I added some fish sauce and lime juice. I set that aside for a short bit.

I next prepared the other ingredients; mushrooms, parsley, chili peppers, left-over rice, chicken broth and coconut milk…not cream, milk. (There’s one hell of a difference.) As I didn’t have any lemon grass in the house I substituted some lemon juice.

I brought the chicken broth to a boil, and while that was working I thought that I should make myself a side salad.

I have been making my own salad dressings for quite some time now. In this case I wanted something that would not compete, flavor wise with the Chicken Coconut Soup. I started with some olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, onion powder, dried basil, salt and pepper. I whisked the ingredients and created a simple emulsion. Next I found some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and celery. Everything was prepped and then tossed with the dressing.

When the chicken broth had reached a boil I immediately reduced the temperature down to low and added the mushrooms, the chilies, the rice, the chicken, the reserve of the marinade, and the lemon juice. I waited and made sure that the chicken was done. I then turned the temperature down to simmer.

So many times I have added coconut milk to a very hot pot that the coconut milk and the broth separate. This time, with a low temperature, I slowly added the coconut milk and the chopped parsley. Yoicks, it worked. The coconut milk did not separate.

Salad and soup…great meal.

Be healthy and enjoy,


Thursday, December 5, 2013

JGE 17 – Yakisoba Japanese Chow Mein – Sort of

Good Day,

Wanted something light, but filling. Hell I have been burning about 650 plus calories each day on my Schwinn 150. And this young man, sort of, was hungry.

I had taken out about ½ pound of ground pork from the freezer and had thawed it out overnight in the refrigerator. Scanning through the Internet with the terms “Asian ground pork recipes” I found about 1,090,000 results and hits. I found a number that had noodles and the ground pork, sort-of a Chow Mein.

After reading a number Yakisoba recipes that I highlighted I checked through my kitchen and found some comparable ingredients to make a sauce.  These included: Sesame oil, Soya sauce, Oyster sauce, Asian cooking wine, salt and pepper.

I set the sauce aside.

Next I broke up the thawed ground pork and sprinkled with some salt and pepper.  This I also set aside.

In the refridgerator and the pantry I found some Cabbage, Carrots, Shitaki mushrooms, Red onion, Ginger, and Garlic.  I am sure that I could have added or substituted other items.  It all depends what I found.

I prepared, chopped, sliced, hacked, grated the vegetables. I set them aside.

Two squares of Ramen noodles and a small package of Bonito flakes were grabbed,

Now remember all those things that I set aside, I heated some Peanut oil in my old Wok, (thank you B&FR), I broke up the Ramen noodles and threw them in to soften and fry.  I removed the sort of done noodles and then added the ground pork.  Once the pork was no longer pink I removed it.  I added a bit more Peanut oil and then started throwing the prepared vegetables into the pot.  In regards to my wok cooking I learned that one of the secrets is to cook everything quickly, on high, but in order of hardness.  Spelling that out, cook the hardest vegetables first and then progress down to the softest.  The degree of hardness sort of depends how they have been prepared.

I added the cooked pork and the noodles and continued to stir fry.  I added the sauce, but it looked as if I had not made enough sauce. I added some Chicken broth just to moisten the concoction a tad... I guess if I had added too much I would have had a stew or noodle soup for supper.

And here is the final product.

Oh I know that I am not taking any pictures for a magazine...but I was hungry.  I snapped a picture with my iPhone and sat down to eat.  I had two bowls full.  Do I have to write that it was good?  Of course, why do you think I ate two bowls full.  This was my version of Yakisoba, a Japanese sort-of Chow Mein.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

JGE 16 - Shrimp and Pineapple Salad

Good Day,

I did not want to spend too much time in the kitchen, especially as all six of The Pack were underfoot and clammering, grunting, groaning, and yapping to be fed. I needed to do something easy, and I had a craving for a simple shrimp salad.

Well after getting The Pack all fed and settled, I checked the freezer and found a bag of already opened frozen Salad Shrimp. But at this late time in the afternoon I did not want to run the frozen shrimp under water since already cooked frozen shrimp fast thawed in water tastes just like that, "water". I did not want to heat up the shrimp but thought what if I did a type of sous-vide process to the frozen shrimp with tap water. I thought that I would be able to fast-speed thaw out the shrimp and make sure that they did not taste aqua-bound.

I filled a plastic sandwich bag with enough shrimp for my proposed salad and then sealed the bag, trying to squeeze out as much of the air as possible. I placed the "almost vacuum sealed" frozen shrimp bag in a large bowl and filled the bowl with room temperature water. I then placed a weight on top of the bag of shrimp to keep it completely submerged. Believe it or not this really worked and the shrimp tasted close to fine.

In the pantry I decided that whatever I first saw I would use. I spotted a can of Chick Peas and a can of Pineapple Tidbits. In the refrigerator I found a recently opened bag of Baby Spinach and a Tomato in the vegetable drawer. I next grabbed an Onion and my last remaining, (there's still more on the bushes outside), Scotch Bonnet.

All the ingredients assembled, I then thought that I would like to, which I normally do, make my own salad dressing. I do not think that I have bought a packaged or bottled salad dressing in a good number of years. Okay, Olive Oil, Lime Juice, Basil Leaves, Smoked Paprika, and Salt. Whisked and done.

The Pack was ready next for their early evening walk. Out we went; leashed canines for a quick mile walk around the block.

Upon return to the house, I began the composition of my Shrimp and Pineapple with Chick Peas on Baby Spinach Salad. I prepared my "mise en place". I added some chopped tomato and sliced onion to the chopped Scotch Bonnet, the drained Chick Peas and the drained Pineapple Tidbits. I drained the Shrimp and tossed them into the bowl with the other ingredients.

I next added the made dressing, folded the ingredients, and placed the Shrimp Salad in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

To prepare my dinner I put a handful of Baby Spinach on the plate and added a couple of large spoonfuls of the Salad on top. There were some Swiss and Parsley, Garlic Biscuits I had made for our previous night's supper...and viola. Shrimp and Pineapple with Chick Peas, Tomato, Onion and Spinach Salad.

Oh, and by the way, there was none left...



Friday, November 15, 2013

JGE 15 - Crustless Mini-Quiche and French-Fries

Good Day,

Truthfully I did not want to deal with either making pie or pre-made crust. I just had a hankering for something a wee bit more fancier than ham-'n-eggs. And don't get me wrong but I really like ham-and-eggs. I like ham-'n-eggs for breakfast, lunch, supper and I linke ham-'n-eggs in-between. I thought that I would want some quiche, without having to go to the bother.

After searching the Internet, I found 46,200 results on Google for "crustless mini-quiche" recipes and 108,000 results for "crustless quiche" ones. The question is with 154,200 recipes for almost the same thing, (same thing in my mind), where would I start?

I read a couple and learned that the key ingredients were cheese, eggs, and milk. Okay... but I wanted to add some ham. There was some sliced prosciutto and some sliced in that drawer in the fridge, you know the drawer with all the cheeses and the sliced meats.

I noticed that a lot of the recipes on line cooked their crustless mini-quiches in cupcake pans. The one on Food Republic site looked like something quick and easy.  And it looked appetizing.

I prepared the cupcake/muffin tins/pans. I lined each one with either a slice of prosciutto or one of ham. I beat the eggs with some half-and-half, grated/shredded Swiss cheese, chopped up black olives, green onion, salt and pepper.

Next I filled the each of the lined tins about 3/4 full with the egg/cheese mixture.

Into the oven to bake, at about 350°-375° F. Cooked them for about 14 minutes.

The ham-'n-eggs mini-quiches, of sorts, didn't last too long on the plates.

Eat and enjoy,


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

JGE 14 – Part V – Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce and Vinegar

Good Day,

My saga with the dozens of Scotch Bonnet peppers continues.

Well the kitchen is still in a state of disrepair but the contractors have left me a little bit of counter space. Max, of course, has found a recessed area within one of the opened cabinets to just watch and wait for any scrap that tumbles to the floor.

This time my food experiment is a Beer Chili Pepper Sauce.

My ingredients:

  • Vinegar – that’s the Sukang Maasim type and it’s just because I had that in the pantry;
  • Brown Sugar;
  • Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale – the first bottle I grabbed out of the fridge;
  • Garlic and Ginger Paste – I really like having this jar in my refrigerator. It saves time chopping and grating garlic and ginger;
  • And some more Garlic;
  • Lime;
  • 29 Scotch Bonnet Peppers – The number 29 is NOT a prerequisite. It’s just the handfuls of SB Peppers that I grabbed
  • And I did add some chopped up Mint

I mixed everything into a boiling pot of the vinegar and beer. Simmered for about 20 minutes. This potion could pass for any witches’ brew. And methinks that Hecate and her two other weird sisters may just have the right thing for powering their brooms.

Then I strained much of the liquid and threw the solid ingredients, with a little bit of the liquid, into my food processor.

After bottling the chopped up sauce I noted that there was too much left over liquid vinegar/beer to just throw out. I circumspectly thought that the liquid brew may make a good hot vinegar-type sauce. I took a taste and it certainly had a kick.

This Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce and Vinegar is a wee bit spicier, and much Damn hotter, than its predecessors.

Believe it or not I still have about another dozen and a-half sitting on the counter. And I just picked another half dozen more.  I just have to keep reminding myself not to touch my eyes or any other sensitive part of my body after I have cut, chopped, and hacked these potent peppers.

Eat and enjoy,


Monday, October 14, 2013

JGE 13 - Part IV - Scotch Bonnet Chili Relish

Good Day,

And on a day that I am not allowed to eat anything but clear liquid and the ever filling Jello, I decided to spend some time in my kitchen in preparation of my fantastic voyage. I am sure that my experimentation with my extra Scotch Bonnets will keep my mind more preoccupied than my appetite.

This time I decided that I wanted to make a sort of Scotch Bonnet Relish, maybe a hybrid Chow Chow.  So my ingredients are: obviously Scotch Bonnet Peppers, garlic, Roma tomatoes, onions, shallots, limes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, vinegar, and oil.

Bringing out my food processor, I figured that this would be the quickest way to fine chop the ingredients. First in went the Scotch Bonnets. Notice that I used both ripe and unripe ones.

Next I threw in the garlic, Roma tomatoes, onions, shallots, and limes.  Yes, I did not seed the Scotch Bonnets.  I wanted heat.  Neither did I seed the tomatoes nor did I peel the limes.  Does this mean I am crass? Hey, possibly.  I added the Worcestershire sauce, the salt, the sugar, and the vinegar.

I heated some vegetable oil in a pan and and set the burner to about medium.  Next I added the chopped mixture and heated everything to boiling.  The aroma of the cooking relish was certainly piquant.

Bottling my Scotch Bonnet Relish I filled three half-pint-size Mason jars.  I've put the cooled down and filled jars into the refrigerator.  I'll try my Relish in about two weeks.

But I cheated, sort of. I tried a tip of a small spoonful of this Scotch Bonnet Relish liquid, and damn... that is hot!

I know that I will enjoy,


Saturday, October 12, 2013

JGE 12 - Part III - Scotch Bonnet Spread

Good Day,

I still have a bunch more of them thar Scotch Bonnets. And I mean a bunch. This time I started off with the idea that I wanted to make some Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce. Well that what I thought I was going to make...

The ingredients were some what easy, I mean easy, to obtain here in Tampa. Scotch Bonnets, (and there still is a bowl full remaining), Cho-cho or Chayote, carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, Allspice, oil and vinegar.

The green things are the Cho-cho, albeit Chayote. I have not eaten, actually I have had a mental aversion to, Cho-cho for about half-a-century. I just have recollections of not enjoying eating them as a young boy. Something to do with being stringy because they were old. But what the hell, the recipes that I was surveying included Cho-cho and I figured that the heat and spice from the Scotch Bonnets would certainly mask any perceived Cho-cho negatives.  (And it does...)

And I chopped up and prepared all my ingredients. In the above image, from the bottom up: Scotch Bonnets, Cho-cho, carrots, and onions.  To the right, top down: garlic, Allspice, and ginger. Upper left: Vinegar and my blender.

Next the heated oil in the pan and toss in the onions. Then everything else is thrown in. I think the total cooking time was about 20 minutes. Then the cooked ingredients were all placed into my blender with some vinegar. With everything I had, I put in about 1/4 cup of vinegar.

Most of the other recipes I read instructed that I should then strain out the pulp and drain the sauce. Well after seeing the smooth thickness of what I had blended I thought "Why? What would be wrong if I kept the pulp and all?"

And yes it does look like mustard, but I can assure you there are no mustard seeds or yellow dye added to this experiment. The Scotch Bonnet Spread appeared to be more than passable. And from the processed ingredients I was able to bottle five pints.

I have now used my Scotch Bonnet Spread on a number of types of sandwiches and roll-ups. I have used it instead of butter, and I tell you that there is a little bite to the Spread. It is definitely something I could eat over and over again.

And I still have about two dozen more Scotch Bonnets, and I've got some more ideas.

I am enjoying,


Friday, October 11, 2013

JGE 11 - Quick and Easy Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Supper

Good Day,

This day I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen nor did I want to spend an excessive amount of time at the stove. I just wanted to make something quick, good, and easy.  I figured that I would from the gathering of the ingredients to the sit-down-to-eat take about one hour.

Max always sits patiently for me to drop some morsel.  Please some more...

Today's ingredients... Ground beef in the freezer, sweet potatoes and onion on the butcher block, broccoli and baby spinach in the crisper, and Jasmine rice in the pantry. Also to add - garlic, salt and pepper, cornstarch and water.  Ground beef was thawed earlier. I peeled and cubed the sweet potatoes and chopped the onion and garlic.

No, this is not a baby bottle sterilizer, even though I think those contraptions went by the wayside many, many moons ago.

This is my steamer gizmo. It has three individual layers and compartments. For this meal I only needed two of the layered compartments; one for the rice and one for the broccoli.

While the rice and the broccoli were steaming I cooked the ground beef, the onion, the sweet potatoes with the garlic, salt and pepper.  I added the mixture of cornstarch and water and then the baby spinach. The only thing I had to do after preparing my ingredients was to make sure that I timed the starts and cooking of each.

Everything done and cooked, we ate in one hour.

And I enjoyed,


Saturday, October 5, 2013

JGE 10 - Spicy Pasta, Bean and Sausage Sort of Soup

Good Day,

Okay this old Hubbard goes to the cupboard to check out the shelves.

Two cans: Diced Tomatoes and Chickpeas, and a half bag of Strozzapreti pasta. In the refrigerator, Italian Chicken Sausages and half a bag of Baby Spinach. I want something good and something filling for supper.

I googled - "Sausage, Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Pasta". One million, six hundred and fifty thousand hits... The Internet the space-age electronic cookbook.

The top of the list is a link to Yummly... Spicy Pasta, Bean, and Sausage Soup. Why not?

Not Barilla.

And the Devil Dog, Radar, checked out for his helping on the stove.

And this one was quite easy.  First the sausage chopped up and browned in some olive oil and then I added some chopped onions and garlic.  Next I poured in the can of diced tomatoes and I drained and added the chick peas.  I wasn't sure if there may be too much liquid but as this was to be a sort of a soup I figured that I could add some chicken broth after the fact, especially to cook up the pasta.

I adjusted the seasonings with some salt and pepper.  After a couple of minutes, I think about eight, I checked the pasta to make sure that it was just al dente.  Next I threw in the baby spinach.

But of course to serve I had to toss on some Parmesan cheese.

This was good, light, filling, and definitely a quick fix.

I did enjoy,