Monday, November 21, 2011

Spicy Sausage with Hominy

Last Wednesday, we had a business dinner to attend.  I didn't really want to go, but the Handyman felt we should, so I am there for him, and off we went.
The dinner was held at a local Basque Restaurant, The Martin Hotel.  It's an old Basque Boarding house... the Basque people came over from  Europe  (the Pyrenees mountain area between Spain and France) originally as sheep herders.  They set up boarding houses for the young men away from their families.
The dinners are always 'family style'.  They set big bowls of soup, salad,   beans, bread,  and then they bring out your meal, which consists of a meat, and three or four side dishes.   One of the side dishes on Wednesday was this  hominy, chick pea dish.  I fell in love with it. 
I had to come home and recreate it. I Googled and could only find a soup recipe that was somewhat similar.  So, I made the soup, but substituted my own stuff.

In a Basque restaurant, they most likely would have used a spicy Chorizo, but I didn't.  I substituted Hot Italian Sausage and we liked that  just fine.
And Garbanzo Beans and Hominy?  I guess they are not for everybody, but as I ask my kids --my grown up kids---all the time, have you ever TRIED them?
I think you just might like them.
If you are not sure if you like them, maybe you should try the soup version instead of the  this version.
I think that would be great, but I chose to recreate the side dish version I had at the restaurant, because I liked it so much.  All I did  to recreate was use less liquid than the recipe below.  
I do love soup and  I am going to try the soup version also one day, just not today.

The reason I had to come home and recreate this so soon after we had it in the restaurant was because, one thing about  a family style Basque restaurant is that sometimes, they whip the dishes off the table quite quickly.  There is just so much food, that when they see everyone has taken some of a certain dish, the waitress will ask,  "is everyone done with this?"  and then take it with her on the way back to the kitchen.  (she has lots of tables and lots of dishes to serve and clear--there is no bus person).
Anyway, when she asked if everyone was done with that dish,  I wanted to say, NO, dont' take that!!   But my plate was full of beans, and potatoes, and carrots and  salmon  and bread.  And we were with other people, who kept their mouths shut, so I watched sadly as the waitress carried away the bowl full of hominy and spicy sausage.

No worries now tho, I can make it whenever I want.

The Handyman got this bean/sausage dish for his supper on Saturday night. It was really cold out, had snowed the night before and we just stayed home, watched a movie and ate our beans. I would say this is definitely a comfort food, warm and rustic and good.  COME ON--seriously, hominy is not bad!  Neither are Chick peas.  In fact, I think they are good for you.  If you used Turkey Sausage, you could even  make this a 'good for you' comfort food.

I am going to ( link this to)  "See You in the Gumbo"  a Potluck roundup at Ms. enPlace's place.  You should go check it out to see all the other good recipes  in this week's roundup.  Or better yet,   join in!

Spicy Sausage (soup) with Hominy

1 lb mild sausage (I used hot Italian) casings removed
1 onion diced 
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes  (I used mild Rotel)
1 can  (15oz) black beans  (I used garbanzo beans)
1 can  (15oz) yellow hominy, drained
1 can tomato soup  (condensed)
3 1/2 cups water  (I didn't use)
2 cups beef broth  (I used about  3/4 cup)
1 cup salsa --optional  (I didn't use)
1 tsp parsley, dried

Brown sausage in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and drain fat.
Add diced onion and cook until tender.
Add everything else, but the parsley and stir.  Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about an hour.
Stir in the parsley and season to taste.  (you may not need additional seasoning, I didn't)
Serve with warm bread  (I made cornbread)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Yesterday pre-dawn, this was the scene looking down on Reno, NV.   A horrible fire in the southwest part of Reno and as of this morning about 30 homes have been lost.

(phto sent by a friend via facebook)
so...I am not submitting that photo to  Saturday Snapshot, but these below....
I am.

Our thoughts and prayers have been with the people of Reno all day yesterday, today, and tomorrow....


I love's 'home' territory, even tho we live 2 hours away. We go there often.  
When you live in rural Nevada, you have to travel to do lots of things,
sometimes doctors, a bit of shopping, business, entertainment.

For some reason, I love to snap photos from the front seat of the car--I am usually the passenger when I do this--and most of the time, they turn out just fine.   I took these last year when we were driving thru the downtown.
It must have been around Christmas time, because I notice the marquee on some of the casinos.

Every big city has it's own landmark for which it is famous  (or at least recognizable)  and the Reno arch is Reno's!  I always get excited to see it.

I am submitting my Reno photos to Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Alyce from  "At Home with Books"
Stop by and check it out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's no secret that I love my bookclubs....and the people in them.   We don't see each other on a regular basis, except for our once a month book discussion, but we have such fun when we do.

Last night was my Lit Wits book club and it was especially exciting because our host, Massey,  had just moved into a new home  (next months host has a new home too....woo hoo!) and we all were treated to a 'tour', which is so fun and exciting, but I think it interesting that when we were in the Massey's last home, we never asked for, or got,  a tour.
No one comes into my house either and wants to see my 'upstairs'.  (which is fine, please, please don't ask to see my upstairs!)
It just strikes me as funny that it is expected to  'tour' someone's 'new' home, but we never 'toured' their old home--since we always knew them in that one.

(dang, now I better have my 'upstairs' clean and ready to show at a moments notice. )

Massey has a very nice home and we had a very nice dinner and book discussion.
Dinner was Chicken Cacciatore (wonderful) the book was, Damned by Chuck Palahniuk  (weird, but intriguing, and smart). 

Our cute little  book club baby!  She's a Lit Wits girl!  She was born on a book club night!
Guaranteed to be a life-long reader!

Dinner was  so yummy!! 

And it just wouldn't be bookclub without a glass of wine  (or 2) 
OR...a great vodka drink, with a lime wedge.  I don't know how she made it, but it was quite tasty!

Here  she is 'framing' it.  That little vodka tonic.
(I just thought it funny, that her hands are pretty much framing it, as she tells another story)
(my friends hate it when I post random pictures....  but they always forgive me.  I think)

It was just a great book and dinner club night!  And I think we all (those of us who read it) had the same opinion of the book "Damned".  While it wasn't our favorite, we did really see the intellect of the author.  The story was wild and crazy and really some gross parts,  but also very smart and edgy.

from Goodreads:
The author described the novel as "if The Shawshank Redemption had a baby by The Lovely Bones and it was raised by Judy Blume." And "it's kind of like The Breakfast Club set in Hell."

Yep...the author had it right. 

And I really don't know if I would recommend it.... but I'm glad I read it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

It's been quite some time since I've participated in Booking Through Thursdays.  I've always loved to reflect on and ponder questions like these.
Sometimes when I try to engage the Handyman in my thinking and reflecting process,  he gets a worried look in his eyes.  (sometimes not, but most of the time, yes)  As if I'm going to make him discuss "feelings" again.

NO worries Handyman  (as I know he reads my blog faithfully), today I will reflect and ponder with other  Booking Through Thursday people.  And here is our  BTT question for today:
Of the books you own, what’s the biggest category/genre?

Is this also the category that you actually read the most?

My answer?
Interestingly the biggest genre of books that I own are cookbooks. I have about 250 of them right now.  Yes, YES, YES.  I know.  Nobody in their right mind needs  250 cookbooks  (as a side note tho, we are having new cupboards built and he is going to build me a wall to ceiling bookcase, so I can house ALL my cookbooks in one place and will not have to move and transfer and look into big plastic blue tubs under my bed for cookbooks anymore).
But I love them, so ....  what's the problem?

Moving away from cookbooks,  (because I know that Booking Through Thursday is really a meme about books and not cooking, )  I would have to say that  the genre` or category I have the most books of  are series  mystery/suspense.  I do love continuing characters and I love to see how they develop over the course of a series.

I'm not sure I read that genre` "the most", but I never sell them in yard sales....which I will do once in while in a moment of insanity.
Like when I did the  3day/60mile walk for breast cancer a couple of years ago.  I had a BOOKS FOR BOOBS sale, and used all that money for my financial goal for the 3 day walk. 
Yes, I love my books, but I figured if  cancer survivors can be so courageous,  I can sacrifice some of my books.
That was my thinking.
But I miss some of them.

oh well,  too many books, too little time, as they say.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Outdoor Wednesday

It's time for Outdoor Wednesday.  Hosted by a Southern Daydreamer, this is a fun blog hop where you get to share your 'outdoor' pictures.

We live in rural Nevada.  There are very pretty things (do not fall off your chair laughing, there really are) in rural Nevada....but the sad thing is, you really do have to get off the roads to find them.  Well,  you have to 'take the time", I guess.   One cannot just drive thru Northern Nevada on Interstate 80 and say,  what can we see?  You really have to get off the freeway to appreciate us.
Wide Open Skies
fresh air
clear lakes (up in them thar mountains)
hiking, hunting....

I could go on, but I won't.  For now.

This is what it's like to drive Nevada Roads.......

You drive for miles and miles and miles.....and nope, we are not "there yet", just in case you're wondering.

If you look off to the side, you see mountains ....and that is where the pretty stuff is, but this is just about the drive for now.  We are not going off road.  
Silly fact  (for when you play Trivial Pursuit) Nevada is the most mountainous state in the whole United States.  We have more mountain ranges than any other state.   I'm not saying we have trees on them, but....we have the mountains. 

If you look close you can see the irrigation sprinklers.  We grow lots of alfalfa and potatoes up northern in Nevada.  Yes, it's dry, but the high desert is not full of cactus like you think of when you think Nevada--that would be Vegas, and that is about an 8 hour drive for us.  On roads like this.  

When you see a clump of trees off in the distance, that is where a farm house is.   A family home.  We have lots of cattle and sheep ranchers in Northern Nevada.

With my naked eye, I could see the coyote in the alfalfa field.  Can you spot him?

When we were out for a drive one afternoon, we saw the moon out.  It was the middle of the 3:00. 
Maybe it was closer to 4:00, but still very early for the moon to be out.  Or to be seen anyway.

Be sure and stop by a Southern Daydreamer to check out more great outdoor pics!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mexican Turkey Crescent Bake

This morning on Facebook,  Pillsbury posted this quick easy weeknight meal.  I don't usually  do anything new on a weeknight.  I like to come home from work, make something tried and true  (and quick) and get down to business with my books (or writing a letter, or  watching TV with the Handyman, or...well, you get the idea.  )
Anyway, I thought I would give this a try as it's a five-ingredient dish.
I was home by 5:15, this dish was made and in the oven and we were sitting down to eat at 6:00.  At 6:30, we had to put on our pajamas because our pants were too tight from eating this.
That's a little bit of an exaggeration, but we really liked it.  It was  a bit spicy, but we liked that.   I used pinto beans instead of the black beans it called for, because I couldn't find the type of black beans they suggested.  We have nothing against black beans at all....just don't have them with chipolte and corn here in Winnemucca.

Okay, so it's not steak and shrimp, but it was good on a chilly fall evening.

Mexican Turkey Crescent Bake

1 lb ground turkey, cooked and drained
1 can  (21oz) black beans in chipolte sauce with corn and red peppers
1 TB taco seasoning mix  (from package)
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls.
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a skillet, mix turkey, beans and taco seasoning. Heat to boiling over med-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Separate dough into two long rectangles.  Place in ungreased 12x8 glass baking dish, press over bottom of pan to form crust. Be sure to press perforations to seal.  Spoon turkey mixture over dough,  sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at  375 F  15-20 minutes.  Top with sour cream if desired.

***I could not find  Black beans in chipolte sauce here in my little town, but I did  find  pinto beans in chipolte sauce and black beans with jalapeno and lime.  It was a toss up, but I chose the pinto beans.  I also used more of the taco seasoning than the recipe called for.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Upside Down Apple Pie

I may not have as many followers or as many fans or be as productive or inexhaustible as many of you (some of you post every single day--that is inexhaustible to me), but I do have my own  funny little cheering squad.
Case in point:  I sat down in church this morning and the lady in the pew behind me leaned forward and said,  "I tired your Roasted Shrimp and Feta last night and it was great!".
I must have looked at her funny, because she said,  'from your blog."
I live in a really small town, and it seems I have become  known for having a blog.  It's really rather funny.    (and really, only a few people know, but it always surprises me when someone mentions it)

On Friday night we had some friends for dinner and I made this Upside Down Apple pie and before my guests took their forks and  dug in,  they said,  "have you taken a picture of it yet?"
They know me so well.  But, again, funny.

This Upside Down Apple pie was easy, smelled great, looked good, and it tasted good too.  You can hardly go wrong with an apple pie recipe.  A bit  of cinnamon, sometimes some nutmeg, some good apples.  Apple pie is my favorite of all pies.  In fact apple desserts are among my most favorite, even over something chocolate.   This one did not disappoint -it was especially good with the caramel nut topping.   The only thing I took an issue with was the
 pre-made Pillsbury Pie crust.
I know they are easy, and I know that most people LOVE them.  They'll say, why make a homemade crust when these are so good and so easy?
I have to disagree.  I can tell they are not 'homemade' and while they are fine, nothing but nothing can beat a homemade from scratch pie crust.  For me anyway.  If you are a fan of the pre-made crusts, they are a lot easier and less time consuming, but I think the next time (and there will be a next time, because I really liked this version of apple pie) I will try to use my 'made from scratch'  pie crust.

You can google Upside down apple pie and come up with many versions and sources.  I don't remember where I got mine, but  it is handwritten on a piece of scratch paper.  None of my recipes are truly mine,  I find them from magazines, cookbooks, friends, and from YOU, the blogging world.   

Thanks friends!

Upside  Down Apple Pie

1 cup chopped pecans (heaping)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 TB of butter
1 box of Pillsbury All-Ready Pie Crusts
1 tsp flour
5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" slices
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB of flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Heat oven to  375 F

In a 9" deep pie plate, combine pecans, brown sugar and butter.   Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Prepare the pie crust according to package directions for a two crust pie.  Place bottom crust evenly over the pecan mixture in your pan.  Press the crust down around the sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Toss gently to coat the apples.  Spoon the apple mixture into the pie crust.

Top with the 2nd crust.  You can flute the edges or just pinch them together best you can.  Cut several slits into the top crust to vent.

Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until crust in golden brown. 
Cool pie upright in pan on a rack for about  5 minutes.  Place a rimmed serving platter that is larger than your pie plate over it and invert.  Your pie is still going to be hot, so be careful.  I used two big oven mitts.
Carefully remove the pie plate.    Allow the pie to cool to desired temp.  Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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