Monday, October 27, 2008

chilly means chili ~

Or what passes for chili around here.

As I've grown older, chili is the only thing (so far) my stomach can't tolerate. It gives me acid reflux something terrible. So I go easy on the chili powder (avert your eyes, purists!).

But - I make up for it with a nice few shakes of Gunslinger hot sauce, teehee!

So - here's my easy sort-of chili, and since I was totally out of chili powder, Tony Chachere's made a great sub.

2 pounds deer burger
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Cook and drain (if needed) the deer meat in a large Dutch oven. In a separate pan, saute the onion, pepper, and garlic until soft and add to the deer meat. Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, and 2 cans Ranch style beans (you can use the kind with jalapenos, if you like). Stir in about 3 tablespoons Tony's and some black pepper to taste. Hold off on salt until it's done, because Tony's is salty. Simmer for 30 minutes or more.
Jack always asks for rice to put under his chili. You can't see me but I'm rolling my eyes, LOL.

The other thing we had tonight was grilled squash slices, cooked in my new grill basket. Tossed them with a little olive oil, worcestershire sauce, and Tony's, and grilled for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This, my friends, was even better than the pseudochili...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

new toys ~

In case no one knew, I just love Pampered Chef's bamboo cooking utensils. Here are the 2 latest additions to my cookie jar...

Plus a new thing, I hope we really enjoy around here - a grill basket. To keep those pesky hot dogs and shrimps and squash slices and mushrooms and whatever else teensy we are grilling topside of the grill rack.

I'll let ya know how that part goes.

spring rolls ~

I'm gonna let the pictures do most of the talking, because this is pretty self-explanatory, imo. These babies were very tasty, even my boys liked them and they are not so adventurous, most days.

The rice paper was dipped (fairly quickly, lol) in hot water ~ pretty fun to work with. And the nuoc cham might look a little funny because I didn't have red chilis or paste, so I just poured some red chili sauce into the mixture. Tasted just fine & dandy.

The meat - it's pork; the veggies - onion, celery, carrot, cucumber, spinach; the noodles - the teensy rice noodles. I thought I had cilantro on hand but I was mistaken. It would have been delish too.

I gotta figure out better how to wrap a little tighter - some of the filling fell out when I dipped it, after a bite or two. But overall, this was a success and I'll be making them often, varying the veggies and meat a bit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

birthday present ~

My dear and sweet friend Tom and his lovely wife Evelyn sent me a birthday present and I got it today...

I just love them.

And I just love what they sent, too!

I decided to call him to say thank you, instead of emailing or pm'ing, and we had the greatest little talk, oh, man, there's nothing like hearing a friend's voice, even if you've never seen their face (except in pictures, LOL - and Tom has a really great face, as well as his voice!). While we were talking, he taught me to say nuoc cham, which he also taught me to make, a while back...except that my Southern accent only got me to "that's close enough" LOL.

In case you pop in here, Tom, thank you again, and you are so awesome! I can hardly wait to make those spring rolls!

(yes, I already had busted into those dried mangoes, LOL)

sort of a rerun ~ our favorite pizza ~

I've posted this on the other blog before, but I wanted to put it here too - and I was in a picture takin mood, lol...

I have discovered that I like it a bit better if I bake the crust for about 5-7 minutes before adding the sauce and toppings. I was kind of rushed so I didn't do it this time, but that's my preferred way, so it's gonna be included in the instructions.

Pizza Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
(you can use all-purpose or substitute whole wheat flour
for 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the total flour)
1 teaspoon salt
herbs and spices of your choice
(typically, I use a palm full of dried parsley,
and a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic)
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup hot water
(if the dough seems dry after mixing,
add more water one tablespoon at a time
until it's holding together right)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all this stuff together in a big ol' mixer. This doubles really well for 2 pizzas, if your mixer can handle it like the Kitchenaid can. In the meantime, put your pizza stone(s) in the oven for 5 minutes or so to heat up.
(It's a good thing to already have your toppings prepared, btw)
When the dough has kneaded for a while, take it out of the mixing bowl and put it on the hot pizza stone, dividing if you're making 2. Mash it evenly to the edges with your hands, and leave a little bit of a raised edge. Bake it in the oven for about 5 minutes, maybe 8. You don't have to do this but I think it's better.
Now time for the toppings. First, the topsecret recipe for the sauce. Don't tell ANYONE.
Next, add your toppings. I was "chatting" with my friend Lee and he said 'less is more' when it comes to ingredients on homemade pizza, and I totally agree. Even so, I have 4 veggies on half of this pizza, all of them sliced thin and left raw: spinach, squash, tomatoes, and onion. Don't go overboard with any of them or they will release too much water and make your crust soggy. And that's also a good reason to prebake your crust for a little while.
Then the cheese, and pop that baby in the oven for 25 minutes. The cheese may brown a bit but hey, that's even better, lol. I always like browned cheese.
Let the finished pizza sit for about 5 minutes so the sauce and cheese won't just run everywhere.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

it's a texture thing...or not ~

Sometimes when I go to my mom's house, she gives me wonderful and awesome gifts. Not money or jewelry or such, but something better.

Vegetables. Oh yeah, baby.

Today, she gave me a sack of okra.

Now - here in the South, people typically like their okra battered and fried, or in Louisiana, in gumbo as is good and proper. But since I didn't have some of the gumbo fixins and I don't really care for fried okra, I fixed it my favorite way of all - boiled.

Ever had it? It's slimy, teehee! REALLY slimy.

For someone who gags on the last 2 bites of forcefed oatmeal, can hardly choke down a gummy nasty banana, and who thinks grits are a curse of the devil (don't tell, I'll lose my Southerngirl card), you'd think slimy okra would be the last thing I'd be headoverheels in love with. But - I'll fight ya for em.

Luckily, Stevie isn't home and Dillon and Jack don't like them, and Dalton only eats a few...that means more for me, and leftovers for tomorrow, LOL.

As for preparation, it's not anything that should really even be posted here, to tell the truth - it's that easy. Wash the okra, throw in a deep pot and barely cover with water, salt it a little, cover, and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 7 or 8 minutes, and you're done. Season it with salt pepper Tony's whatever while it's hot on your plate, and go to town.

BTW - if you get the big ones, best do something else with those or toss them to the chickens, because they are tough. Now those big tough ones will make me gag, LOL...