LizzardlawLetters

Handwriting, like letter writing, is an over looked skill in an electronic lifestyle. True as well for urban sketching as contrasted to cell phone snaps and selfies.

This year I’ve started practices to improve my calligraphy, letter writing and sketching skills. Shout outs to:

#showmeyourdrills … Becca’s passion to helping us (re) learn pen action

#oliveinks … Wendy is my pen friend, thanks to the annual #incowrimo2017

#sketchingnowbuildings … Liz’s (Steel not me) ten week course helping with the eye hand skills that make #urbansketching much less embarrassing.

So check out my progress on Instagram @lizzardlaw. Let me know here what art you are working on.

Saturday it must be Mayonnaise

I am allergic to a few foods, which is another reason to forgo premade and packaged food. My diet is free of wheat and garlic. I also try to eat organic foods. Don’t get me wrong … There are times I cheat .. But my body pays dearly for this with inflammation and other immune system responses.

Part of cleaning up my diet included learning to make my own mayonnaise. Easy but a bit fickle condiment IMHO.

image

Continue reading “Saturday it must be Mayonnaise”

Day 35 – Pomegranate Cookies and Oxtail Soup – Less than a day to Go

Pomegranate and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies:


Well, I did it … I de-pipped a POMEGRANATE and figured out how to use it in a cooked dish.  If you can call cookies a “dish”.


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Ghee because the butter was frozen and I didn’t want to wait … probably a bad choice)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (didn’t have it … used white sugar left over from feeding the humming birds … probably adding to the bad choice list)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (link takes to you a description of how to de-seed — piece of cake and no mess after the first cut)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (is there an expiration date on this stuff?)
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

Well – I probably had more than 1/2 cup of seeds and probably hit the 3/4 cup chocolate.  I am probably not cut out to bake because I am not a precise measure-er and, well, there are those choices noted above.


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and FLUFFY. (what does that mean? — I used the Kitchenaid and went until I thought “I guess that’s fluffy…”) Add the egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sweetened butter and mix until a very thick dough forms. (Think the consistency of refridgerator dough but a bit drier).


Use a spoon to fold in the chunks then the pomegranates and distributing both evenly. (ok, again i used the Kitchenaid for the chocolate – but just a spoon for the delicate pips) Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping teaspoon of dough on the sheet two inches apart. (What size is “HEAPING”  Golf ball is too big, see below)  Flatten slightly then bake until light brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on wire racks (if you can wait that long) then serve with plenty of cold milk. 


Well, I made mini frisbees.  A little too flat and a little too greasy, but taste great.  Hoping there will be one or two for SO when he gets home tomorrow.  that was the plan any way.


OX-TAIL SOUP PART DEUX:
Followed the previous start, 2 cans of stout, 3 cups of water, onions and celery, oxtail — all in the pot for 35 minutes under pressure.  While that was cooking, I coarsely chopped carrots and orange/yellow bell peppers. Thinly sliced some hot peppers.  Added a hand full of baby spinach leaves, also cut into smaller pieces. Let the stock release pressure naturally. (I went to the bird food store and bank in this intermission.)


Strain the vegetables from the ox-tail broth. Remove the tail pieces and let cool enough to get the meat off the bone. (Better this time).  Put a can of diced tomatoes along with the above noted vegetables into the stew pot; return the broth to the pot; add the meat from the bones.  Recover the pot and return to pressure.  Cook for 4 minutes under pressure. Natural release again.  I’ll let you know how it turned out later.

Day 32 Part 2 Easy Cheat Soup

Ok … I confess! I used a cheat starter for my soup tonight.  I found a box of CORN CHOWDER in the pantry, which did not list garlic on the label.  With the cheat as my inspiration, I chopped up a bit of onion and a YELLOW SQUASH.

Heated oil in the pan then sautéed the onion with a little bit of green chile.  After a little bit of stirring I added the squash.  Again with the stirring to coat with the oil and to begin to sweat the squash. Then added a little cumin and sage.  To this I added the corn chowder and placed the lid on the pot. Checked once and stirred to ensure no stickage.

While that heated through, I chopped up some of the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Added the hot soup on top of the chicken.  Garnished with fresh parsley.  I’m going back for SECONDS.

Day 31 and 32 Pass Uneventfully

The biggest news in the kitchen is that JR landed back in the states, even if his luggage did not.  Still not back in New Mexico, but at least is no longer 1/2 the world away.  Like the title says … not much else of note in the kitchen here during Week 4 – I made another Rotisserie Chicken Stock, which needs the fat strained off and to be frozen in 2 cup servings.  I feast(ed) on chicken off the bone along with left over soup and cumin flat bread.  And I cleaned out the freezer, throwing away 2 grocery sacks of miscellaneous, unrecognizable-due-to-freezer-burn items.  Shelves are again re-organized — MEATS at the bottom, FRUITS & VEGETABLES in the next bin up, topped by frozen stocks, CHILES, and JR’s pizza.  Tossed out old flour and pancake mixes along with the mystery foods.  Dumped the ICE and started over, while also fixing the ice dispenser so that it will again CRUSH the ice.  (Note: We’ve been stuck with whole cubes for months. GASP)  So, I suspect I am ready for the SO’s imminent return.  I do wonder how I will translate all the cooking I have been doing into a more vegetarian friendly fare.  I am suspecting that I can not and I do like having meat protein again.  Though it won’t kill me to add FISH in once or twice a week.  I suppose that I can make the meat in a packet separate from the other items if pushed.  And he can make his own starch if he feels deprived …  Time to reconsider all the cookbooks. A LOVELY way to spend the rest of the afternoon on this wonderful Veteran’s Day holiday.

Week 4 – Day 29

No cooking and little eating … the cable installers took too much out of me I guess.  I suspect I will be raring to go tomorrow – list in hand ??? to the market(s) and an empty pot or two just waiting for something to do.

A week to go … haven’t conquered that gym thing yet, but … well, there is still a chance that tomorrow I will suddenly feel the urge to walk on a moving track without going anywhere for about 20 minutes among a room full of strangers similarly doing impressions of hamsters in a habi-trail.  🙂

Day 27 & 28 – A Friday without Popcorn

Managed to eat like an adult on Thursday and Friday. No popcorn …

Thursday PRESSURED CHICKEN REVISITED – thawed chicken breast, then added to a covered glass dish with some mustard mixed with grated ginger spread on top of the pieces and a little water in the dish.  With the lid a bit skewed, microwaved (yes, I used the microwave) this on reheat until the sensor said it was done.  OK actually I was directed to “let stand covered.” While waiting for the Sensor-djini to do its magic, I filled a flat bowl with baby greens, dried cranberries, and a touch of blue cheese.  On top of this, the chicken and over the greens the jus.  Really good eats (sorry Alton … I keep stealing your hook line).

Friday: Grilled steak, cabbage with mushrooms, bacon, sour cream, Tabasco, plus snacks for the prep work — Home-made HUMMUS and sliced English cucumber.  Looks like it has been 2 days of revisiting past recipes.  The hummus was not so different from the first attempt; this time I used un-salted, organic garbanzo beans (much better) and less tahini (sesame paste), more lime juice, a bit of minced ginger, a little apple cider vinegar and a little EVOO (a nod here to Rachel Ray) and some Indian spices.  Oh yeah … and a small skinny green chili. (I have no idea what kind of chili – I picked up a bunch at the Farmer’s Market two weekends ago).  Mixed all of the ingredients in the Cuisinart and then ate with the cucumber chips while making dinner.

Pre-heated the oven to 500.  Nothing on the steak, which I put under the broiler.  While steak was smoking up the kitchen … I sautéed the bacon (in small pieces) with the mushrooms and a little EVOO again.  While that was cooking, I flipped the steak over and sliced some Chinese cabbage into a large flat bowl-plate, added a heaping table spoon of sour cream, some tabasco, and some blue cheese crumbles.  Mixed the bacon/mushroom mixture to the bowl and stirred all to coat the cabbage.  On top of this the steak. (Over cooked the steak just a bit because I closed the door when it was done instead of pulling it out of the heat – What was I thinking????).  Tasty meal … but … well … Something in this (or the sulfites in the cheapish red wine) triggered a bit of an allergic reaction.  “Only new item?” you ask.  That would be the sour cream and blue cheese.  Go figure DAIRY.  Should have stuck with the Hummus and steak slices on a side salad.

Day 25 – Spinach & Bean Soup

This experiment is still working!  Came home to Fresh Spinach, English Cucumber and Orange Bell Pepper slices, and left-over Bean Soup.  Healthy choices – good proteins – lots of vegetables.  Not perfect eating today, but not horrible either (well, except for that drive-thru hamburger for the late lunch on the fly). Freezer is full these days … tomorrow’s menu will be derived from the weekend’s shopping: salmon and greens, along with a salad and apple.  At least that is tonight’s plan!

Wondered this morning on the way to work (a bit before 7 am) whether or not SO was looking at the same full moon I was seeing.  In the midst of his Nepal trek — just a little more than a week left of this experiment and time for re-invention.