Saturday, February 17, 2018

Portland Pucker - a Mocktail recipe

4 parts white cranberry peach juice
3 parts grapefruit juice
2 parts red cranberry juice
4 parts sparkling water
1 part simple syrup
Lime wedges for garnish

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Starlings' Minestrone Soup

1 lb spicy Italian sausage
Olive oil
1 diced Onion
1 can white beans (cannelini, white kidney, Great Northern, Navy etc), drained
1 can Kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 qt or 2 cans chicken broth
3/4 of a bunch of lacinato kale (the flat kind) rough chopped (or other vegetables)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper 
Kosher salt
4 cups water
Shell pasta cooked al dente in a separate pot

Brown the sausage with a splash of olive oil and the diced onions.  Then add the tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, 4 C water, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  At this point you can add in any number of vegetables: Carrots, celery, green beans, corn, spinach etc I like kale because is keeps its texture and adds something to bit into in the soup.  Simmer for a long time - at least 40 min or longer if you like.

 I wait until the last 30 min or so to put the kale in I would do the same with spinach.

I always boil my noodles in a separate pan in plain salted water and then I serve them on the table with the soup.  Put a scoop of noodles in the bowl and then ladle the soup on top. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread.

Why?  Two reasons, the first is that all the starch from the noodles gets into soup if you cook them in the soup. Second, I hate mushy noodles and the noodles always get overcooked - even if they don't get over done while cooking they soak up all the moisture in the fridge and get mushy.  When I freeze the leftovers I freeze without noodles and cook fresh noodles when I reheat the frozen soup.  I do the same thing with my chicken noodle soup.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Cream Sauce

My People and my future self.  I apologize to you now.  You know that I never measure things.  You know that I just like to taste things and grab handfuls of ingredients and toss them in.  This recipe isn't going to make much sense and we are all going to be sad that I didn't take measurements. I promise you that this was SO DANG GOOD!

First I had a pork tenderloin, it was a big one, I don't know how big because Brian bought it.

Then I preheated the oven to 450 degrees with my cast iron skillet inside it.

Then I took some coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and roughly equal amounts of cinnamon cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika and mixed them together, then I coated the tenderloin in the spice mixture.

When the oven was hot I took out the skillet and poured some oil in it about enough to cover the bottom of the pan well but not too thick.  I used canola because I was worried about the smoking point but now I think that olive oil would have been fine.

Then I put the tenderloin in the skillet, my tenderloin was huge and my skillet just regular so it curled up in the pan.  Then I put it in the 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, after 10 Minutes I turned it over and cooked it for 10 minutes on the other side.  Pork needs to be cooked to about 140-145 degrees and mine wasn't quite that hot in the thickest part of the meat so I let it cook until it reached 140 degrees (2-3 minutes?) and then took the pan out of the oven, moved the tenderloin to a plate and covered it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.

While the meat was resting, I had Margaret mash the potatoes while I took the cast iron skillet and poured in some cream - this is where things get dicey.  We had a not quite full pint of cream when we started but we used some in the mashed potatoes...I am going to guess 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream (or 1 cup) was then poured into the hot skillet with all the pork drippings, I turned the heat of my brand spanking new gas range to med-low and began to heat up the cream.

 I added some Burbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup from Trader Joes - again I just poured some in there, maybe 1/4 cup maybe less? And I added some coarse salt.  It was too sweet so I added a bit more cream and some more salt. I cooked the sauce until it was bubbly and had begun to thicken and then I added about 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated.  Please use a real block of parmesan, not the powdery stuff that comes in a green tube. Stir it in until melted.

 Then we ate.  If your family isn't comprised of barbarians you can go ahead and pour the delicious sauce of wonderful delight over the sliced tenderloin.  If it is, serve it on the side.  It also made a great gravy for the mashed potatoes.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crock Pot French Dip and Bonus meal: "French Onion" Soup

I have been utilizing my crock pot very frequently for the last 22 months. Mostly, I use it on Sundays so I don't have to think about dinner.  Whether we have 9 am church or 1 pm church I find that I just can't think about dinner on Sundays.

Crock Pot French Dip is one of our favorites.

I buy a 1-2 lb chuck roast.  There are only 5 of us and we are not heavy eaters.  This gives us enough meat for 6-7 sandwiches and plenty of leftovers.  No one at my house will eat leftovers though so I use the rest of the meat in the "French Onion" Soup

I put the roast in the crock pot remembering to remove the string that holds it together.  Then I add 1 cup of grape juice, 1 box of Pacific French Onion Soup, about a 1/4 cup of dried onions, salt and pepper.  Then I cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 4-ish.

(When I was making this for my sister in Georgia I couldn't find the Pacific brand soup so  I just bought a packet of onion soup and added the water that the packet calls for.  She said that it tasted great.)

When it is all done I add some Johnny's Au Jus sauce to the broth.  (When I was in Georgia I bought a packet of powdered Au Jus sauce and added it into the crock pot at the beginning.)

Then I pull out the meat without the juice.  Hopefully it has fallen apart by now but if not I shred the meat and put it on the table in a bowl.  Then everyone puts the amount of meat that they want on a hoagie or french roll and top with a slice of provolone and them puts their sandwich under the broiler for 1 minute or less until the cheese is melty and bubbly.  Then we serve it with a little ramekin of the broth in the crock pot.

Now I am left with a giant crock pot full of juice and a bunch of shredded beef.  I pour it all into a large bowl or 1/2 gallon mason jar and put it into the fridge.  Once the fat has cooled it forms a hard layer on top of the soup that I can just pull off and throw away.  Then I divide the soup up into individual portions and put them into the freezer for yummy soup lunches another day.

When serving the soup I heat a bowl of soup in an oven safe bowl, add croutons or crusty bread chunks with a slice of provolone on top and put it under the broiler until the cheeses is melty and bubbly.

Two Meals Crock Pot French Dip and Soup

1-2 lb Chuck Roast
1 cup concord grape juice
1 box Pacific French Onion soup (or onion soup packet if not available)
1/4 cup dried Onions
Au Jus Sauce

Hoagie or French Rolls (for French Dip)
Sliced provolone cheese (For French Dip and Soup)
Croutons or Crusty bread chunks (For soup)

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Tinker Crate

Coupon for you and me if you order a tinker crate like I just did for Eddy

Friday, January 16, 2015

Saturday Night Cinema

What is this?  A Post?  Yes.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has brought me out of retirement.  I must let the world know how I feel.  Also, I start mentoring a Classic Film class is couple of weeks and I thought that it might not be bad to post my movie thoughts again.  But this stuff is boring, back to the movie.

The Mister and I were sitting down to a long winter's night of television.  We currently have a show that we both like okay enough to watch together.  We love watching TV together but rarely can agree on a show being as I have taste and he...  So, when we find a show that we both like enough to watch it is date night every night.
I had command of the remote and as I was flipping through Netflix I saw Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  The Mr. likes Jack Ryan,because, Harrison Ford, and I like spies or anything spy adjacent, as you know.  Then I saw who was playing Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Chris Pine, otherwise known as Captain Kirk 90210.
  "Chris Pine," I say with interest, "I'm just gonna put that on my list." *boop*
The Mr. laughs.  He knows how I feel about Captain Kirk, both versions.

About a week or so later The Mr. says he would like to watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  We are watching and the movie starts out SLOW, really slow.  There is an attack on a helicopter that our hero Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is riding in, he saves people, he is nearly paralyzed, we don't care because this movie is so slow.
 Then he goes to rehab.
 His PT is none other than Keira Knightly.  You may remember how I feel about her, if you don't see this post. I am ticked.  Here I settle down for a nice spy movie and it is boring already and then Keira Knightly.  I am banging on about how much I can't stand her and I look down at my knitting and The Mr.  laughs.  He laughs hard.
 "Did you see who that was?"
I look up the camera cuts to Kevin Costner.  Are you kidding me?  You may remember how I feel about him, if you don't see this post (same post!)
At this point I really don't know which way things are going to go  I could really hate this movie or it might be OK, but, I have never heard of it so maybe it was bad and went straight to Netflix?  Should I cut my losses now?  I am really into knitting this blanket right now and I don't want to stop to change the show so we keep on.  

This is when we learn that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is not only a war hero but also a super economics genius.  The CIA wants him to be a financial analyst for them. Undercover.

This is also where Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit asks his physical therapist out to dinner.  Predictable.  She says no, she says goodbye. Does she say goodbye forever? Alas, no, it's Keira Knightly, you know she is in this movie for the long haul.

Fast forward, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit now works for a big fancy bank as a super smart financial something but really he is just reading super hot financial something.  He also collects information for the CIA and gives it to them in manila folders.  This is ostensibly 2005-ish and he is giving them paper files.

Then Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit then goes home to his....girlfriend Keira Knightly, now a super smart doctor. Surprise!  They have an argument that is obviously the one that they keep having over and over,  he wants her to marry him and she thinks he is having an affair, yadda, yadda, yadda.  They are SO meant to be together!

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has to go to Russia to get more information and someone tries to kill him as soon as he arrives.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit then drowns this persons who is 3 times his size in the bathtub.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is no longer a Shadow Recruit  he is now active!

Finally, the movie starts.

Despite the inauspicious beginning I didn't mind this movie.
 Keira Knightly's clavicles were rarely on display (in this photo they even seem to be hiding them!) and Kevin Coster's line were short, blunt and monotone so he fit.  Fairly painless.

While I didn't buy Chris Pine as a super spy I did buy him as a Shadow Recruit, pretty tough but way out of his league and a little scared.

There were three things that I loved about this movie.  They are, in order: Kenneth Branagh, Russian Bad Guys, The Wall.

I was pretty scared when they showed the villan but were slow to reveal his face that it was actually going to be John Malkovich, mercifully it was Kenneth Branagh.

I don't know why but I really like Kenneth Branagh.  I loved Wallander but I was very aware the whole time that I was watching Wallander for Kenneth Branagh. Just as I dislike some actors and actresses I like Kenneth Branagh, and I always wonder why he and Emma Thompson couldn't work things out.  

Kenneth Branagh must agree with me because he was also the director and while there are some good screen shots with Chris Pine in them, all the good ones star Branagh,

and I'm OK with that.

The main part of this film happens in Russia and you know how I feel about Russian Bad Guys, they are second only to East German Bad Guys.

And this set.
 I love this wall.  I want to visit this wall.  I want to be besties with this wall.

Ultimately this movie was OK, not awful, huge plot holes, predictable but enjoyable enough.  Jack Ryan saves America and all is right with the world.   3.5 out of 7 thimbles.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

How Oft Have I Gathered You

Somehow,  quite some time ago, I started calling my children chickens.  I don't remember how it began but it came from the scriptures.  It is repeated 5 times in the Standard Works:  Matt. 23:37 D&C 10:65  D&C 29:2 D&C 43:24  3 Ne. 10:4–6
 Matthew 23:37 reads: " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

The image of a hen gathering her chickens under her wings resonated with me, I felt sometimes as a mother hen gathering up her chickens.  I loved that they were 'chickens' not 'chicks,' and as is the case with most pet names I started thinking of the kids as the "chickens" and myself as the hen and one day I started calling them chickens. Now when I come home I call out "Home Chickens!" or when I need the kids to come I cry "Chickens!" I will tell them that they are "silly chickens."

Before the Christmas sewing madness I had the idea to make an embroidery for the kitchen of a hen gathering her chickens I let it percolate for a while and I began in earnest after Margaret's baptism.  I made swift progress but halfway through I put it down and picked up the knitting needles to make a few necessaries.  I may have gotten back to the embroidery soon (the frame was sitting on the sewing table to remind me) or it could have become another member of the projects to finish someday box.
Embroidery as of Saturday afternoon

And then came General Conference, the 184th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I hope you had a chance to watch it.  If you didn't never, fear, you can watch it here.

 Saturday, right out of the gate Elder Holland came out swinging and he addressed all of my concerns and fears and struggles.  How I love having apostles of the Lord speak directly to my heart! Such comfort and solace and strengthening courage! Then he quoted the scripture about the hen that gathereth her chickens under her wings, my heart skipped a beat and the kids looked up and Eddy exclaimed "That's Mom's favorite scripture!"

Then the scripture was repeated again! The same reaction and I think it even happened a third time.  It doesn't matter because by that time I KNEW that I needed to finish my embroidery right away.  By the afternoon session I was hard at work and it was finished by Sunday night and framed but Monday at lunch. That is a fast turnaround for me.

 3 Nephi 10:4-6
"O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.

  And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.

 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart."
Hen gathering her chickens Mother's Day 2007

I chose the 3 Nephi reading of the scripture for my embroidery because in this passage it feels to me less like the Lord chastening his people and more of a reminder and invitation to us to remember that the Lord is always waiting for us to run into his arms for shelter against the buffetings of the world, for protection, for sustenance. He loves us, he is waiting for us, he will continue to wait for us again and again.