Garlic Shrimp & Zoodles

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Another amazing recipe from my husband.

Garlic Shrimp & Zoodles

1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
3 medium zucchini
1 stick butter
1 TB Italian Herb Seasoning (or Penzey’s Pizza Seasoning)

2 tsp chopped garlic (from jar)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Put frozen shrimp in colander in the sink and run cool to lukewarm water over them, gently stirring occasionally until thawed.
Put about three layers of paper towel on a cutting board and add shrimp
Pat shrimp to dry and remove any tails or dark veins on shrimp

Peel and noodle-ize the zucchini

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in pan over medium high
Add zucchini to pan and add a pinch of salt
Cook, stirring with tongs until al dente
Reduce heat to very low, move to a separate bowl if it begins to brown.

In a separate pan, heat three Tbsp butter over medium high heat until almost melted
Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste
Cook 30 seconds to a minute, stirring to prevent garlic from browning
Add shrimp and continue to stir to prevent garlic from burning and evenly cook shrimp
When shrimp have become opaque and pinkish, add ¾ C cheese and stir to combine

Stir together cooked noodles and shrimp
Divide into two servings
Garnish with remaining cheese

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette

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A recipe put together by my amazing husband Dave.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette

1 bunch of kale
2 shallots
2 strips of bacon
2 tbsp bacon grease
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Peel and slice shallots
Chop bacon slices crosswise into chunky strips

Heat bacon grease over medium high heat
Add shallots and saute until soft and very slightly browned
Move shallots to two-cup pyrex cup
Add vinegar, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and Dijon mustard
Whisk to combine

In the same pan, add olive oil to generously coat the pan
Add kale and bacon strips
Cook kale, turning frequently, until wilted to desired level

Add vinaigrette to kale and toss thoroughly. Enjoy!

Grilled Cheeses

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I had nice response to my post about the way I’ve been making grilled cheese sandwiches lately.  I thought if anyone was on the fence they might want to see how I make them specifically and then they’ll be tipped right off that fence into the land of gooey deliciousness.

I start with a hearty white bread slice cut in half then covered in a layer of swiss cheese.
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Then spread on the cream cheese.

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I find the mildness of the cream cheese further diminishes the already mild taste of the swiss cheese, so I like to add some Fox Point spice mix.  I’ve also considered using scallion cream cheese, but haven’t tried it yet.  Other spice mixes also taste delicious, but Fox Point is my fav.  You might also try Sunny Paris or a Sandwich Sprinkle.

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Over low heat melt 1/2 Tablespoon of butter.

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Add your sandwich.  I prefer to do this over a lower flame to for a couple reasons.  First it allows the cheese time to melt.  If the heat is too high the bread gets done brown too quickly, not allowing the cheeses a real chance to show their gooey stuff.  The other is to reduce risk of burning the bread.  I like my grilled cheeses lightly toasted, and too high of heat means my window of golden goodness is too small.  After a couple minutes use a spatula to gently lift the sandwich and check how done it is on the bottom.  When it looks like your level of brown add 1/4 Tablespoon of butter.

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After allowing the butter to melt flip your sandwich onto the freshly melted butter and cook until the second side is as golden as the first.

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This sandwich isn’t quite as brown as I’d like it, so after cooking the second side I flipped it back over and let it go just a while longer.   It was delicious.  My favorite presentation is along side a bowl of tomato soup.

No moss

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I wasted no time in putting my Sushi Survival Kit to work.  We picked up few things not in the kit (some shrimp to tempura up, and some veg) at the store earlier today and I got to work for dinner!

Lets make sushi!
What?  Who doesn’t make sushi with a mug of Hot Scotch?

It started out well with my mise totally en place.  It was a little difficult to have everything ready to go, but not too early.  I ended up using the warm feature on our lower oven to keep the shrimp and a little lemon juice on the avocado kept it from browning nicely.

When all was said and done I made four rolls, with some shrimp tempura left over.
I made sushi

Overall I’m happy with the results but there was definitely room for improvement.  The rice came out a little too mushy making it very hard to get it thin enough to make the rolls small enough for convenient eating.  The shrimp didn’t come out very well either and lacked in flavor.  Luckily the spicy mayo saved the Mexican roll and the fresh scallion really gave some zip to the birthday roll.

Thanks again Julie!  Hopefully I’ll get better with practice.

My favorite

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Arrive in south Florida at 4pm, get to Little Japan to have sushi by 6:30pm = total and complete win.

Sushi

I think I could eat there every day.  I had to go with the old standards of the Mexican Roll and the Birthday Roll, but I did snitch one of Julie’s JB Roll, and John’s Gary Roll and Sexy Mama Roll (which John ordered to honor Dave who couldn’t be there).  I swear Justin puts a smidgen of crack in that Mexican roll.  I just can’t resist it.

While getting ready to go out to dinner Harrison got delayed on his way to having Julie put on his socks…and Maverick paid the price.

Sorry Mav

Sorry dude, those ears are just too tempting.

Dave and Bleys are road tripping it this weekend too. He sent me this picture of Bleys all harnessed up in the car. I’m sure Bleys is loving it since he always rides in a crate in my car, and usually sharing with Wixer.

Shotgun

I just can’t get over how handsome he is.  I really wish I could find a breeder who was producing dogs with that much muzzle.  I think it really helps him participate in sports more easily and, well, its just adorable.  I like his look much better than the shorter snouted dogs that are “breed standard.”

Full on Fall

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Its fall!  One of my favorite times of year, when the temperatures drop, the trees give over to color, and comfort food abounds.  I’ve been taking full advantage of being back up north, sweaters be all up in here!  Yesterday was the first day I was chilly enough to use the fireplace although I’m still a bit conflicted about it.

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Its really convenient to just turn it on, but the gas nature of it isn’t nearly as satisfying as a real fire.  I guess we’ll just see how it goes and if we ever have strong enough feelings to call someone to come convert them back to wood.

Outside our burning bush is lovely and giant.  I’m afraid it might eventually engulf the carriage house.

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I also got a tip from Anne about an orchard that is less than 10 minutes from our house, so we headed over there to get some apples.  Which (after a quick Facebook poll) I promptly make into chunky applesauce.  It is a combination of Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, and a few red and golden delicious apples and then added some cinnamon after it was cooked down.  That’s it.  And it is amazing.  Ah-maz-ing.  I got 9 pint jars out of this batch.

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I’m thinking the pint size is good for Dave and I and I’ll probably put the pickles in that size next time as well.  The quart size is just a little big and I worry about getting through it all in time after they’ve been opened.  I think my next job is to figure out a good way to label all the stuff I’ve been canning!  And to find another dill pickle recipe.  While the one I made this year one is tasty, its not dilly enough and a touch more sour than I’d like.  The bread and butters on the other hand are a keeper.  So good!

I got involved in canning and went I went to find Wixer (Bleys is perfect and just stayed at my feet the whole time) I found this…

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Bacon

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Anne brought this book home from the library.  I’m pretty sure it should be illegal.
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She looked through it and decided we should try the French Toast Bread Pudding with Bacon for dinner one night.  I had to agree.

I basically made French toast (I used challah) and bacon (I like to cook mine in the oven) separately and then use them and some dried cranberries to make a bread pudding.  The recipe called for 4 eggs to make the stuff you dip the French toast in before cooking, but I ended up needing 6 eggs worth.  Not sure if my bread wasn’t stale enough maybe?   I was a bit concerned when I added the custard as it seemed impossible that it would set up with that much liquid, but it turned out just fine.

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Dave made a fresh berry salad to go with.
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We went through almost a whole 9 by 13 pan between four of us so I’d say it was a success!

Such meals do not come without consequence though so today I decided to try out a rails to trails path I located nearby.  Living where we do there isn’t much walking you can do right out of the door.  This path has a parking lot about 5 minutes drive from us though so it seemed like it would be a good start.  I decided to only take Wixer as I’m still being overprotective of Bleys and too much heat and exercise.  He is not amused.  So Wix and I went for about an hours walk.  I decided to try out Bleys’ pack on Wixer as I haven’t been happy with how far forward his sits behind his front legs.  I’m afraid it might rub there.  He was a great walking partner and hopefully got a bit of his yayas out working that pack. I must say it sure was nice to have him carry the water and my keys!
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At first I thought our walk would need to be short because of how sunny it was with the blacktop and all, but soon after we started the trail headed under trees making it much more enjoyable for both of us.

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I’ll definitely go back to walk this trail again.  Hopefully I’ll get Bleys out there soon too.

Around the garden, I think the hummingbirds have me figured out.  They spent a lot of time hovering around the feeder and not eating.  So I realized it was empty.  One of them hovered over my shoulder as I took it down and watched me through the kitchen window as I cleaned it out and refilled it.  I’m a little short to use the step ladder to hang it back up so he left for a bit while I struggled to get it back on the hook.  But he and a friend were back very soon after I went inside.  Smart little birdies.

Pie

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I’m still working my way through the blueberries Dave brought home, mostly by eating them by the handfull. But I got a request for blueberry pie from Anne, quickly seconded by Dave, so today I made a pie. I do make a pretty wicked pie crust!

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And I can’t abide wasting the leftover dough so I also made some crust cookies, which Karl enjoyed.

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Blueberry bonanza

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Its blueberry season!  Dave came home from the store with 4 pounds of them today.  Aren’t they just gorgeous?  I ate a large quantity of them without delay.

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But I also couldn’t resist baking something with them immediately. This is a recipe my mom gave me years ago called Blueberry Batter Cake. Its one of the weirdest recipes I’ve ever made, but its easy and super delicious.

You start with blueberries and lemon juice.

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Add a layer of batter (butter, sugar, flour, milk, and salt) on top.

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Another layer on top of that consisting of sugar, baking powder, and salt.

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Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the whole shebang and bake for an hour.

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Of course I didn’t remember to take a picture of the finished product before devouring it for dessert, but going by all the empty bowls I’d say it was a success.

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We had pad thai, thanks to Dave, before this confection and since we have a variety of tastes in the house right now we saved some of the ingredients as options to add at the end, so people could choose to only add what they wanted. I contributed a jalapeno and some cilantro from my very own garden.

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There is something so satisfying about harvesting herbs to add to dinner.  As Dave was chopping up the cilantro he said the leaves were so perfect they almost looked fake.

Hodge and Podge

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And we’re back and its been a whirlwind of a week here at Lost Acre.  The tournament went well and running with the new team seemed to go just fine (I hope they think so too).  Camping went smoothly for the most part and the dogs adapted to tent living with no trouble.

Campin'

Although one dog didn’t want to stay in the tent when there was so much fun to be had outside!

Can I come out?

And another dog tried to take shameless advantage of a hurried departure to the lanes…

Who me?

Wixer didn’t look very good on the box and I am a little discouraged, but he didn’t seem lame afterwards.  We were lucky to be able to get the chiro to work him over on Monday and she found more issues with his neck than his hips.  He was pretty ouchy in the neck and did some head flips that I didn’t like.  Guess we need to add more cookies next time.

On Tuesday we took Bleys up to meet a neurologist for the head bobbles and stumbling.  Ever since the pancreatitis episode where he spent quite a while in the doggie ER he isn’t the keenest on the white coats and tried to hideout under the bench I was sitting on so maybe no one would notice him.

Hiding from the neurologist

In the end we don’t really have an definitive answer, which is quite frustrating.  What we do know is
1.  He does have a Chiari malformation of his skull without acute syringomyelia.
2.  He had some glue ear action and they went in and got out gunk from in there.  They are culturing it to make sure it really is glue ear and not infection.
3.  He’s got borderline levels for meningitis

So he’s on some steroids, some antibiotics, and some valium (which is actually supposed to treat dizziness?  Who knew).  Not sure which of those things it is, but he seems less wobbly to me.  That along with the fact that none of the things the neurologist mentioned included brain cancer is hopeful.

While we were waiting for Bleys to get all the tests we needed some lunch.  Low and behold look at what Dave found within walking distance!

Stumbled upon

The Encased Meats Emporium and Sausage Superstore.  After seeing this place on the Food Network we had to try it. And try it we did. Go big or go home:

Gourmet Dogs

From Left to Right

Venison sausage with muffaletta mustart and goat cheese
Apple, pear, and port elk sausage with apricot mustard and fig olive goat cheese
Truffle pork sausage with fig date mustard and port salut cheese
Foie gras and Sauternes Duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and fluer de sel

The venison and elk were a bit dry but while the mustard and goat cheese helped the elk out, the venison was just too dry for me.  I wouldn’t get either of those again.  The truffle pork sausage was delicious and the port salut really made the dish.  The clear winner (and one reason they are famous) was the foie gras.  Simply amazing.  We were a little disappointed to discover the duck fat fries are only available on Friday and Saturday, but their regular fries were good.

Walking back to the vet I snapped this picture.

Style

The sequin backpack that caught my eye, but its the blue plaid pants and boots that make the outfit complete.

Anne and Karl seemed to have settled in, although I’m sure it isn’t fun to have to fit into all our stuff and routines.  I think it was probably helpful that we vacated for the first weekend so they could have some time here themselves without us all up in their business.  And then today was Karl’s birthday! Clearly there needed to be cake so I made a white cake with buttercream frosting.

Birthday!

I also swung by the place in town that makes ice cream.  Yes that’s right, not only do we have a candy factory, we also have a local ice cream.  Lets not even talk about the gourmet cupcake joint.