Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Outside...

I will post this for "What's outside my kitchen window".


Okay, so it's not "exactly" outside my kitchen window....it's a few blocks down the street. (one block down the street you run into desert) I think it's a Meadowlark. They are all over the desert. I never see them, I just hear them, so this was kind of fun for me.

If you want to see what's outside my kitchen window/yard/garden... go here.
Sorry this is so unorganized, but I went to Reno yesterday.
(taken from inside the truck where we obviously have a tint on the top of the windshield)
Don't get too excited...it was not for fun. (seriously tho, we live close to Reno, and while we like it well enough and have fun, it's not the same kind of fun you are probably thinking of )


And I ate here, at Joe's. We've never eaten there before, and I had always wanted to. It was either that or a quick lunch at Whole Foods. The Handy Man was with me so we went to the burger joint, where I ended up having a "Pacific Sandwich", which was tuna on toast. But it was really good. Joe's is a 50's style diner, complete with little jukeboxes on the tables.
And it's an old train car kind of thing. I liked it.
I am beyond being embarrassed about snapping pictures of my food. And anything else I might want to get a picture of.





Our lunches...








I'll post a recipe for a great salad later on.... but I'll leave you now so you can grab your camera's and show me what's outside YOUR kitchen window.

I'll leave you now with smiles from the desert..... (same walk I took Monday evening, when I saw the Meadowlark )








Monday, April 27, 2009

Breakfast



This is a secret about me.... I hate making breakfasts. HATE IT.
I am very methodical in my mornings.
I get up early, between 5-6. (without an alarm clock), in the summer, I walk a few times a week that early, but mostly I love to come downstairs and get a cup of coffee and a good book. (more often than not lately, its been to get on the inter-net)

But let me get back to my fantasy world... I come downstairs, get my coffee, grab my book and have the best hour or 2 of my day. No TV, no phone, no interruptions. Just me, my coffee and my book.
I don't want to mess up my kitchen. It is clean from the night before. I don't want to start out my day with GREASE because lets face it, most breakfast foods are greasy...bacon, sausage, etc.

This might seem funny coming from a food-blogger. You might be saying to yourself, "that's just weird. we all like to cook, all day long".


Well. I don't. I don't want to cook in the mornings!!!

I like my kitchen to stay clean for a while.

That sounds dumb, but I just don't want to begin my day having to do dishes. And breakfast to me is a nice piece of fruit and a muffin, and I'm happy. Or a left over piece of apple pie. mmmmm.
My husband, the handy man? (see our garden project) , now he likes ham and hash browns and eggs, or chorizo and eggs or pancakes dripping with syrup.
I'm not saying that I don't like these things--I do. I just like to eat them out at a restaurant, so my kitchen stays clean.
My family (God love 'em. 1 husband, 3 boys) eat, thank me and then go off and to do their thing and I am left with a big mess.

(a disclaimer: this happened years ago, since all my boys are grown and gone now, but I can't get beyond it obviously. LOL
And if one comment says that my boys should have been made to clean up, I'll sock 'em. Of course they were!! This is just a silly remembrance on a "hobby" food blog. we've all been hearing too many things about people leaving rude comments lately, so STOP IT rude people)
I've been trying to be a better breakfast cooker....but really...Cheerios are good for you, why can't you just have a bowl?
I got off track (again).

I made breakfast for my husband this past weekend.
Dutch Babies. Or German Pancakes.
What do you call them?
Every body MUST HAVE made these before, right?
So, here's a twist on the food blogging... you tell me what I could do different here.
They always seem kind of eggy to me. They're good tho. We like them and really, there is minimal clean-up.

This counts towards my cookbook challenge too.
I've used this recipefor German Panckes that I found in an old school PTA cookbook for years now.


"Seasoned with love" Treasured Recipes from the Sonoma Heights P.T.O.

German Pancakes
6 Tbsp. butter
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put butter in a 13x9 inch baking pan (I used my biggest cast iron skillet) and place in the oven until the butter melts.
Combine eggs, milk, flour and salt and beat together. Pour into hot, buttered skillet and bake in oven for about 20minutes.
This will puff up and is served immediately hot out of the oven with syrup or other toppings.
***********
My old P.T.O. cookbook. ( you say tomato, I say tomahtoe...P.T.A, P.T.O.) from when my kids where in elementary school. Funny thing is? I have a bunch of recipes in here. Just last week someone mentioned that they have the old Sonoma Heights cookbook we did years ago, and every other page has one of YOUR (meaning me) recipes on it.

But she said they were good.


Put the butter in the frying pan and stick it in the very hot oven.




As you can tell, I only had 5 eggs. I had to do "math", which I don't like. So, I can't even tell you the proportions I used this day.
I am so unlike Nancy at "The Dog Eats the Crumbs", who does math with every recipe post. (sigh) I so admire that.




a very hot oven.


It's 8:07 for crying out loud!!! I should still have my book in hand!! Or in the shower, or in the garden or on a walk. Grrrrrr....now I'll have a kitchen to clean up before doing any of those things. LOL







And it puffs up to look like this! (the edges are a little bit "more done". I've found this happens even if I use a 9x14 baking dish)




and it looks nice on a plate with some bacon



And the syrup.... I have both real and unreal syrup. Which do you use?




we know which one my husband uses. LOL









Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ham and Bean Soup for Souper Sunday


A few weeks ago, the my husband cleaned out our big freezer in the garage. And while he cleaned, I vowed to use up items we already have available, which included two leftover hams from previous meals.
I've had this soup in my notebook for sometime. It's one given to me from my friend Mitzi, who is a great cook.
This soup tho? It's the easiest one I've ever made. And good? Mmmmmm.....yep. I love to collect recipes from my friends.
We've moved a lot over the years, so it makes me feel close to them when I make their dishes. Before e-mail and blogging, I was a devout "letter writer" and it seemed that when I started cooking, I would have an old friend's handwritten recipe card and letter started to them on the counter at the same time.
It's sad to me sometimes, to think that "handwritten" notes, letters and yes...recipe cards will soon be a thing of the past.

Just a quick little post today, as it is Sunday and I want to get this off to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday Round-up.
If you have a good soup recipe, you should join the fun next week.

Then I'm off to work in the garden today.


Ham and Bean Soup

1 lb Great Northern Beans, soaked
2 cups fully cooked ham. (I used a ham with bone that I had in the freezer from an earlier meal)
2 medium carrots diced
2 celery ribs diced
1/2 onion diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp pepper
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced

I placed the ham bone in water and boiled the heck out of it. Then set it aside.
Wash and sort the beans and do a quick boil method (which is on the back of the bean bag)

Shred ham meat from the bone and add back in the broth. Add beans, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, tomato sauce and seasonings.
Simmer 2-4 hours and serve.






Friday, April 24, 2009

Bourbon, Ribs and Rootbeer or Mitts, meanderings and new mothers (to be)


There will be a recipe...bear with me. If you get to know me, I'm so interesting. (smile), and you will be DYIN' to read the whole post. (it's a long one today ) I just meader around the subject a lot. The Handy-Man says that I never answer a direct question... I meander, digress, etc....
but first...

SERIOUSLY???
You've got to be kidding!!

outside my window this morning:



my middle son just told me: only in (Northern ) Nevada can you have your rake next to your snow shovel! so true!


Last week, I asked you to remember your favorite hamburger....because I had just tried to recreate mine.
I asked you for your thoughts and memories about that hamburger joint you used to frequent.
A few of you left comments, one of you even did a post (yay Terri), and then my Friday Friends, sent me e-mails, which I will include a the bottom of this post.
I love to hear people's "stories". (where did I just read that? oh...yeah, Sherri at "Everything in Moderation".... she says it too)

But again, because some of you are just skimmers and scrollers, here is my question for you for today....

Pot holders.
yes.....pot holders.
Do you use them...regular pot holders.... Like these? Why doI ask? Because I'm quirky like that....
31 years ago my aunt made me some denim pot holders for my wedding shower. I still have them, as you can see. For Christmas this year, my mother-in-law recreated them and made me new ones. Ones that were pretty and not burned and unraveled and ugly and aged. (should have been thrown out years ago). But now, these are too pretty to use.

So, do you use regular pot holders?


Or do you use oven mitts?



Or are you one who just grabs the dish-towel to take things out of the oven?


For some reason, I have to know these things.

There are a couple of updates on the kitchen window from yesterday.
My daughter-in-law, Sadie, is 30 weeks pregnant today, in the hospital on complete bedrest until my twin grandbabies are born. We're thankful for 30 weeks, but are hoping and praying for a good 4 or more weeks until Lil and Phil (not their real names) make their appearance in this world.
The problem? Sadie feels fine, and while she knows she is where she needs to be....it can be quite boring. So, even tho she doesn't have a "kitchen window" at Yale-New Haven, Hospital in Connecticut, she played along with this photo:

She said:
I don't have a kitchen window, but this is the view from my hospital room. On a clear day you can see the water clear of in the distance it's kind of visible in this pic.



and another original Friday Friend, Darleen (my husband's aunt, but she is our age ) sent me the view from outside her kitchen window too. Pasco, WA.
How pretty!! Makes you want to take a cup of coffee and a book (and in Darleen's case a dog or cat to sit in your lap) and just settle down on that deck for a good long while.





Be sure and check out the gardens of Terri and Karen and "me" as we take you along for the transformations of our yards/gardens this year.

Now for a quick recipe for a Rib-Sauce/glaze that you might like.

I used "The Reader's Digest, 919 Fabulously Fast and Frugal Recipes, EXTRAORDINARY MEALS from ordinary ingredients"



This counts as part of my cookbook goal. I chose this recipe because I saw it had bourbon in it. I just bought a bottle, remember? For my steak marinade.
So....I saw no reason to let a good bottle of bourbon go to waste.... I thought I'd use it in another recipe.
(note: my husband looked at me and said, "you think I would have let it go to waste?)
On 4 May 1964, the United States Congress recognized Bourbon Whiskey as a “distinctive product of the United States"
Interesting.

I also liked the root beer in the recipe, I thought it would really give the sauce a "kick". Different from your regular BBQ sauce. It was a good sauce, but for you true bbq lovers, this might not be the one for you. But on the other hand, Jessie at the Hungry Mouse might like it, because she does ribs at the "Mouse House" all the time. All kinds of ribs, with all kinds of sauces.
But let's get on to this one, shall we......

The cookbook says:
Adding root beer to the glaze lends a zesty sweetness that tastes nothing like soda, especially when combined with the deep smokiness of bourbon.




Zesty Glazed Ribs(secret ingredient? Root Beer. Yep, you got it...root beer)

1/2 cup plus 2 T firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 T paprika
1 T chili powder
1 T salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


5-6 pounds pork spare ribs

2 cups root beer
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp hot pepper sauce


1. Heat a grill to medium-low

2. Combine 2 T of the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over both sides of the ribs and place the ribs, meat side down, on a well oiled grill rack. Cook, on a covered grill, until the meat begins to shrink away from the ends of the bones, about 1 1/2 hours, turning every 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the rootbeer, bourbon, brown sugar, orange juice, and hot-pepper sauce in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the mixture is a syrupy glaze, 40-45 minutes.

4. Brush the ribs with half the glaze and grill for 15 minutes longer. Brush the ribs again and grill for 2 more minutes, flip and brush with the glaze again and grill for 2 minutes more, until they are nicely glazed.

5. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs for serving.
*****

During the cooking, photography process, I was called away for a desert walk.
I had forgotten that I was supposed to meet my friends for a walk, so I quickly left this dish in my husband, the handy-man's, capable "grilling" hands.
I think he did well.


The root beer is a very important ingredient...and I was having trouble deciding which root beer to use.
Is root beer a "regional" thing? It's not like Coke or Pepsi that have coast to coast followers, but ??? In the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up, we had "Hire's" Rootbeer

** I found this blurb about Hire's rootbeer... I guess it's still around, bottled by the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Company. Then, why can't I find it in Nevada???
HIRES' Root Beer is known all over the world. It has been the prototype of a whole series of imitations and substitutes, but still retains its precedence. The maker, Charles E. Hires, began life as a drug store boy in a country town at the age of twelve, went to Philadelphia at the age of sixteen, by industry and economy accumulated a capital of $400, with which he engaged in business on his own account, and now carries on a business which is the envy and admiration of half the drug world. Hires Root Beer is a soft drink which is currently marketed by Dr Pepper Snapple Group and shares the title of America's oldest soft drink with Detroit's Vernor's ginger ale.

Who knew? I think Barqs is bottled/marketed by Coco-cola (and is the only root-beer to have caffeine in it! Wouldn't you know it, that's the one I used for the rib glaze)

Then there is Dad's rootbeer (a one time Chicago staple) I couldn't find that one either. But did find this interesting fact: Dad's became the first product to use the six-pack format invented by the Atlanta Paper Company in the 1940s. Dad's also introduced the half-gallon bottle, becoming the first brand to market this size.

A & W rootbeer. Was this a pretty "Western US staple?" Or is it known all around the United States?
In 1919, at a parade honoring returning World War I veterans in Lodi, California, Roy Allen set up a roadside drink stand to offer a new thick and creamy drink, root beer. His creation was such a success, he decided to take on a partner, Frank Wright. In 1922, Allen and Wright combined their initials to name the beverage A&W Root Beer.
And finally, Mug Root Beer is Pepsi's root beer! Mug Root Beer is a brand name of root beer made by the Pepsi company.Mug was first produced by the Belfast Beverage Company in San Francisco, California during the early 1950s. Its name was changed to Mug Old Fashioned Root Beer. In the late 1960s,

*****
I meandered away from the point. I TOLD YOU I DO THAT, so no "eye rolling"
the recipe.
I used Barq's Root Beer for this recipe.

Squeezed my own fresh orange juice!


Poured the bourbon in.


Left for my desert walk...... the handy-man took over....... I told him to rub the rub on the meat!

He told me he could handle it!!



All in all, a good meal! A good day!

Now....for the hamburger memoir's!
All week long, while I was searching blog posts, I came across many for the greatest hamburgers ever! Did I have the forethought to bookmark them, so I could share them? NO. Darn it. I wish I had, because there were some great ones out there.
I was "amiss" in my Blogging/friend duties. (I really did see some great, great burgers)

Check out the original posts comments here to find out what kind of burger joints were "it" for your fellow food bloggers.

And now, I give you...my Friday Friends ( a few of them anyway)

from Mitzi in Nevada:
The best hamburger place is The Little Nugget in Reno. It is a little hole in the wall casino, and you have to walk through it to get to the "lunch counter" restaurant in the back, or you can come in through the alley. Their hamburgers are big, juicy, and loaded with the works. And you get a ton of fries, too. Not the best ambiance, but man the food is excellent. It is good for breakfast, too. Larry ate there in the mornings after I had the babies.

from Heather in Nevada:I remember Crazy Cone here in Winnemucca, vaguely. I couldn't tell you anything about the burgers, but the swirl cones were awesome! Hey, ice cream is a much more important thing to a kid than being a burger connoisseur. Today, I would have to say that I love Scoopers there in Sparks. The Matterhorn (no onions for me) is a heart attack waiting happen, but pair that with the fries (lots of fry sauce) and a coffee milkshake and I'm in heaven and it doesn't matter to me that I got there due to the heart attack. It's a huge patty, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, onions (except on mine), guacamole, and fry sauce. At least, I'm pretty sure that is what's on it, it gets so messy that most of the time you can't identify everything, but that is part of the joy of eating it. Nostalgia is part of the love of that place too. They have car hops! It's a bit of a dive; I read in the paper that they are going to be building a new place, right next door, so maybe one day it will be as neat and clean as a brand-new Sonic, but I really don't care as long as the burger I love so much stays the same.

from Diana in another part of Nevada:
From when I was a kid- Jim's in and out- Elgin Oregon, as a young adult- Senic Burger- Modesto CA- as an ADULT- Any Angus burger at Sturgis, SD.


from me/debbie:this was BEFORE the "in and out burgers" of today. I remember the "In and Out" in Elgin, Oregon!
I also loved the "Circle T" in Enterprise, OR. soooo gooooood.


a bookclub friend, Gayle in Nevada:Winnemucca Bowling Alley burger. Sid's a close second

Ahhh....it's from the Handy-Man! My husband, Rich:Zip's also had Broasted Chicken.
For fast food you can't beat Zip's.
One of the best burgers was at Farrell's.
For chains Wendy's or Carl Jr.'s

from me/debbie:oooh. Farrell's Ice-Cream Parlors. They did have good burgers!

from another book club friend, Jean:Oh, memories of burgers. I’d say mine was the Under Cliff café in Missouri (yes, it is actually a café built into/under a cliff). Juicy burgers with the works and the best tiny fries ever. Man, I better go make some dinner.

from Lisa in Nevada:Debbie, I love In and Out burgers! We stop there on occasion.......here in Wmca, I think that SpareTime Bowl has the best ones! Years ago, we always ate them at Dave's Dugout. Amanda worked there when the Dins' owned and operated it

from Barbara in Arizona:
I'm not sure----but I don't think I have ever had a hamburger where I said "oh ick.......I can't eat this". I've never understood the mystique of the In-n-Out burger. It's good, but not THAT good. When I lived in Seattle, Red Robin was just a local place (not nation wide then) in the University district. Bar-like, with lots of wood and nooks and crannies, and the Red Robin burger was to die for! Now days my burgers tend to be the ones we make at home, but every once in awhile I do like a Sonic burger.
p.s. do you remember when you went on that diet where you only ate the bun with the burger fixings, but no patty?

from me/debbie:
I was a vegetarian on that diet!! LOL

from Darleen in Washington:
When we were in California, it was "Bollweaver". Best darn burgers!
In the Tri-Cities, I would have to say "Magills" (the old Heidi House building that was moved to Road 68), "Applebee's" and of course, last but not least, "Zips"!

from Sadie in Connecticut:
I don't really have a favorite hamburger place, mostly because I don't usually order hamburgers when I go out to eat. But when you come to visit we can go to the place the supposedly invented the hamburger. It's quite the dining experience.

me/debbie:
YAY....I'll be sending you all photos from that place when I go back to see my grandbabies.
Two places I want to see... the Yale library (where Sadie, my daughter in law, worked until they put her on bedrest) and the original hamburger joint. No ketchup allowed!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pan-crisped Deviled Egg Salad and What's Outside your Kitchen Window


It's Wednesday....time to play "What's outside your kitchen window?"
Here is mine. (it's a bit greener than last week, or two weeks ago, I guess. Anyway, you can tell there has been some change, right?)

You can play if you want to. Just turn, right now....you're cooking anyway..... with camera in hand, just turn, look out your window, point, focus, shoot.... blog, post, send me a comment telling me what's outside your kitchen window.

Last week, Terri from Terri's Table did. Check out her backyard! so beautiful...I'm a little embarrassed now to show you mine. But "trust" me, mine will get green. It will green up... just wait and see.
If you want to follow along with my garden project, click here.


Karen of Karen Cooks, told me she'd show us her garden... (no pressure Karen) But I can't wait to see it.

Speaking of gardens, check out Mary's blog at My new 30. She has been my inspiration this spring.

On another note....I finally took the plunge. I bought some fresh eggs from my "Friday Friend", Kevin. She (yes, she) raises chickens, and they are "organic", so I thought, heck, why not.
I cant' wait to make an egg something or other this weekend.


And then.... because this is all about gardens and yards, I will share with you this salad I made. It will qualify as part of my cookbook goal (I'm so far behind on this goal....so it will continue on thru 2009, 2010, 2011....)
I am a huge fan of "The Splendid Table". NPR's Award winning radio show. I cannot tell you what time it comes on, but I know that is on a Saturday. I get it downloaded as a podcast, so I can listen whenever I want to. (I'm supposed to be walking and listening.)
Anyway.... Lynne Rosssetto Kasper and Sally Swift wrote a cookbook , "The Splendid Table's HOW TO EAT SUPPER." Recipes, stories and opinions from the public radio's award winning food show.


I could go on and on.... but I won't. I'll just tell you about this salad. It was the most interesting salad I have ever had. It could be a supper really, because that is what this cookbook is all about...eating lighter, and enjoying our meals more.

Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs on French Lettuce Leaves. Yes, there you have it. "fried, deviled eggs?"
My poor husband, he lost out of deviled eggs once again, because these were a bit.....different. Deviled, yes, but then fried and crisped up a bit.
It's really different, but it was good. With some really good crusty bread, and a glass of wine, it's an excellent light meal.
I made it as a side dish tho...to go with my ribs (blog post coming in a couple of days), so the photos will include the ribs.

My garden will have a barrel full of "salad", so we just might have this dish again on a hot summer day.
(my pictures weren't' that great... I had an impatient family and no glasses on)


PAN-CRISPED DEVILED EGGS ON FRENCH LETTUCES

Eggs
8 large eggs, hard cooked and peeled
1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 med. garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons minced onion
2 1/2 tight packed Tablespoons fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves, coarse chopped
2-3 Tablespoons milk
2 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons good tasting extra virgin olive-oil

Dressing
the leftover egg stuffing
3 Tablespoons good tasting extra virgin olive-oil
1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 1/2 Tablespoons milk
2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Salad
4 generous handfuls of mixed greens such as Bibb lettuce, mache`, and dandelion greens or frisee`, washed and dried.

1. cut the hard cooked eggs in half lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks (fingers work best) and place them in a medium bowl. Reserve the whites.

2. Add the mustard, garlic, onion, parsley, milk, mayo and vinegar to the yolks. With a fork, crush everything together into a thick paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Pack the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites, so the filling is even with the surface of the egg. NOT mounded. you will have leftover stuffing...this becomes the salad dressing.

4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat a bit of oil over medium heat. Gently place the eggs in the pan, stuffed side down. Cook until the eggs are beautifully browned, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper as they cook.

5. As the eggs saute`, combine in a large bowl, the leftover egg stuffing with all the dressing ingredients. Add the salad greens to the bowl and toss. Heap them on a serving platter.

6. Gently lift the eggs from the pan, turn them filling side up, set them on the greens and serve.




I forgot the milk!

Mark Twain said.....
(put all your eggs in one basket and WATCH that basket )


mix, mix, mix, chop, chop, chop


In the frying pan.



Dressing in a martini glass?




My Big Backyard (usually on Wednesdays, sometimes Thursdays)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it eac...