Friday, July 22, 2011

Shrimp Bruschetta

I wanted to make something a bit different
the other day, so I purchased the ingredients
for bruschetta and pulled a container
of gulf coast shrimp out of the freezer.

You might remember that we have been
getting these lovely shrimp from Fabian Seafood.


You will also remember that I can't follow a recipe
to save my life, but this was my starting point.

The ingredients I used were:
18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chives, chopped, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
salt and pepper
12 slices of French bread, cut 5/8" thick

The shrimp were seasoned with salt and pepper
and sauteed in some olive oil until just cooked.
Do not overcook!

Mix the shrimp, tomatoes, catsup, brown sugar,
garlic, parsley, chives, vinegar and oil in a bowl.

Season with salt and pepper and place in the fridge 
while the bread is toasting or grilling.

Prepare the grill or toaster oven 
and set rack 6 inches from heat.

Lightly brush one side of each slice  of bread
with oil.  Grill or toast the bread, oiled side up, 
for 1 minute.  Turn and grill or toast the other side until
lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the shrimp mixture
on top of the oiled side of each bread slice.
Garnish with chives.

Shrimp bruschetta 
with basil and sundried tomato mozzarella slices.

This was a light and refreshing meal.

We all liked these, 
but my husband thought they needed some cheese.

Don't tell Scott Conant.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Curry Turkey Salad

The other night we had grilled turkey tenderloin
for dinner,
so I decided to make curry turkey salad
with the leftovers for lunch the next day.

The ingredients for the dish are:

about 1-1/2 cups turkey
2 tablespoons Craisins, chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
one egg, hard boiled 
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons curry blend
1 teaspoon sugar, not shown

I diced the turkey into about 1 centimeter cubes.
You could shred the meat if you prefer.

I then mixed in the remaining ingredients 
and adjusted the seasonings to taste.

This was served on lightly toasted whole wheat bread.

This would also be good with chicken.

You need to try this recipe.
Trust me on this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July in the Garden

Spring rains have given way to hot, dry summer
weather in southern Indiana. 

A couple of weeks ago a wild turkey paid
an unexpected visit to our neighbor's yard.

One day when I went out to pick some Italian parsley
for a dish, I found this black swallowtail caterpillar
on the plant.

One of these pretty guys can strip
a parsley plant in just a couple of days.
I didn't want to kill the caterpillar, 
but I did need to find a new host plant for it.

Black swallowtail caterpillars feed off 
plants in the parsley family.
This includes parsley, carrots and Queen Anne's lace.
I eventually found a Queen Anne's lace plant
that I had not pulled out of the garden
and put the caterpillar next to that plant.

Daylily blooming.

Bee on Echinacea.

Bee on Liatris.

The garden is growing.

The butterfly bushes are beginning to bloom.

This is a volunteer in my garden.
It is a thimbleweed or Tall Anemone.
This plant is in the buttercup family.

Dill plant in bloom growing a pot with Magellanica.

The volunteer onion getting ready to bloom.

Sweet potato vine in bloom.
The flowers close at dusk and open again in the morning.

Yesterday I went to my favorite antique store in town
and purchased this lovely old water pump for $45.

I will be building a base for it,
either out of wood or concrete block,
so it sits about three feet tall.

I love the open spout.

I haven't decided if I will leave it in its rusted state
or if I will clean it up and paint it.

The Foodie Daughter has even suggested 
turning it into a fountain.
I will have to think about that.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Steak and Potatoes

 Rosie Hawthorne has her tuna steaks
I have my rib eye steaks.

We each and every one of us have our
own line drawn in the sand.

In other words,
why is it so difficult for a restaurant to mess up
such a simple dish - or two?

Why indeed?

I leave it to Rosie Hawthorne instruct you on the makings
of a good tuna steak,
and perhaps this might be the first step in that direction,
Take it away, Rosie.

But I can tell you about the makings of a good 
rib eye steak. 

 First of all, I can tell you that about twenty-five
years ago, most Americans were in the "Aack running 
away screaming from even the mention of fat mode"
 so rib eyes 
could be bought for $1.99 a pound because
rib eyes contained too much fat for
those fat-fearing phobes.
Lucky us who were smart enough to not
only smell a bargain, but to realize that this was 
a great tasting  beef before the chefs did.

Enough of the history lesson that you all
have conveniently forgotten.
I am making a chimichurri sauce.

I did not follow a recipe this time,
but you can find the link for Emeril's recipe for
chimichurri sauce here.

I've changed this recipe a few or a dozen times by now,
but who's counting?

I also roasted potatoes and onions on the grill.
I first microwaved the potatoes for about 11 minutes
with a bit of water and salt
so that they were partially cooked.

I then added more salt, pepper, fresh rosemary
and olive oil before putting them on the grill. 

The rib eyes were cut in half and liberally 
seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

They sat on a grate over a plate in the refrigerator for 
a few hours before being brought out
about an hour before cooking time.

And what can I say?
Cook the meat until it is done but no more.

My husband likes his steak
so I put his on first
(his is the one with the metal pin in it so we can identify it)
and the rest of us quite sensibly
like our steaks medium-rare.
On a hot grill, a medium-rare steak will only take a
few minutes on each side to cook.
But each grill is different,
so you must experiment.

The chimichurri sauce is ready for dinner.

It really is too bad that more restaurants 
haven't figured out how to make great rib eyes.

And the sad thing is that is IT IS SO SIMPLE..

Friday, July 8, 2011

Minx Has a Staring Contest

Last week we got a new dishwasher after our
old dishwasher gave up the ghost.

We went without a dishwasher for two weeks
while the Foodie Daughter researched
different brands and models
and consulted our copies of "Consumer Reports"
and online customer reviews.

Then, when my husband and I returned from
Fort Wayne, the Foodie Daughter and I went
shopping for a dishwasher and purchased a
highly rated model that happened to be on sale.

We chose a Whirlpool Gold dishwasher.

It was installed by a very nice and efficient
gentleman last Friday.

We have run it a few times since then,
but this is the first time Minx has been around for the event.

He doesn't know what to think.

Maybe he can stare it down.

Meanwhile, we are very happy.

We never liked the dishwasher we had inherited
when we bought the house.
We had to run the dishwasher on the
"pots and pans/heavy duty wash" setting
just to get the dishes mostly clean.

Besides the fact that this dishwasher holds more dishes,
it also cleans better on the "normal" wash setting.

The Foodie Daughter did a good job.

But I think that Minx lost the staring contest.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Breakfast in Fort Wayne

Before we headed out of Fort Wayne
we wanted to get some breakfast.

But since I have a rule that we don't go
to chain restaurants,
we needed to figure out a place to go.

Once again we turned to our good friends
and tailgating buddies.
And after all, who better to ask than a former cop?

We were told that Friends too had some
of the best breakfast food in town.
Just be prepared to eat too much or to share.

The menu.

You will note that this is
a Greek restaurant.

You will need to click on the pictures
to read the menu.

The Foodie husband chose the Friends Skillet,
which had potatoes, tomatoes, feta cheese, gyro meat,
2 eggs and toast.

He chose to have whole wheat toast and
his eggs cooked sunny side up.

All this for $7.29.

Sadly, he could only eat about half of the meal.

But he proclaimed it to be very tasty.

I opted to go with the Friends Omelette [sic],
which was loaded with gyro meat, feta cheese and tomatoes.

This came with whole wheat toast and home fries.

I don't know how many eggs were in this omelet,
but I am guessing there were at least six.

This omelet could have fed our entire family
and we would have all been full.

Obviously, I did not even come close to cleaning my plate.

This plate cost $6.99.

Our friend was right;
this was a good choice.

The food was good and the waitress was friendly.
And that is what matters.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Celebrating the Red, White and Blue

This Fourth of July we decided to celebrate
by making a Red, White and Blue Potato Salad.

As I have never made potato salad before,
this should be fun.

The patriotic players are in place.

Here we have
3 Peruvian purple potatoes
6 red potatoes
5 Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions*
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives*
2 hard-boiled large eggs, finely chopped
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon honey mustard**
1 teaspoon sugar**

*From my garden.

**Not shown as I changed my mind and
mashed up the recipe after
the picture was taken.

This is the original recipe.

I cleaned the potatoes and cut them into about 1-inch pieces
and put the potatoes in a microwave-safe covered dish.
I then put the 1/2 tablespoon of salt and a bit of water
into that before placing the dish in the microwave for about
10 minutes.
Check to see if the potatoes are fork-tender.
If they are not, stir and put back in for another 2 minutes
or so.

Mix together the remaining ingredients.

This already smells good.

The original recipe warned to cook the purple potatoes
separately, but as I was cooking these in the microwave
in very little water,
I had no problems with the colors bleeding.

Allow the potatoes to cool for a bit before mixing with
the other ingredients.

Once cooled, toss gently.

Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

I also made baby back ribs.

We rubbed these with a special secret rub mix before
sealing them in heavy duty aluminum foil, meat side down,
and placing them on a baking sheet (one with sides, please)
in a preheated 300 degree oven for 2-1/2 hours.

Then, each rack was cut in half for ease in handling
before being placed on a preheated grill, meat side down.
After about four minutes, turn the ribs
and baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Turn again after another four minutes
and baste for the last time.

Take the ribs off when you can't stand it any longer.
That is when you know they are done!

This was definitely worthy of a celebration.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Out and About in Fort Wayne, Part II

After touring the very nice F&F Conservatory,
I headed north through the cool drizzle a few
blocks towards the historic courthouse.

Before we embark on our trips
I like to research.
I do a lot of research.

So I researched places that I could
tour that were within walking
distance of our downtown hotel in Fort Wayne.

One seemingly promising place was
the Allen County Courthouse.

I even printed out the
walking tour of the Allen County Courthouse PDF
so I could take the self-guided tour.
I thought I was prepared.

But first, I was distracted by a most singular sight.

I would not like to have this job.

Not at all.

And not a safety net in sight.

This is a large building.

It is built in the beaux arts style.

If you say so.

I wouldn't know.

This is as far as I got.

You see,
there were signs proclaiming that cell phones were prohibited
unless a judge had given you permission to have them.

I went in anyway.

And then the very nice security guard informed me
that cameras were also prohibited.

So I would have to take both outside.

Except that I had walked several blocks from the hotel.

I have asthma and go nowhere without my cell phone for
emergency reasons.

I was also a tourist,
so I had a camera.

The very nice guard told me that cell phones
were banned because they had had problems with
people recording the judges' comments in court.

Silly me, but aren't judges' comments
a matter of public record once they speak in court?

At any rate, I wasn't there to go into a court room,
or to see or to listen to people.

I was there for the architecture
and only for the architecture.

As far as I am concerned,
I was invited by the fine people of Allen County
to tour their beautiful architectural gem
and I was let down by their judicial system.

And that is just too bad.

I did ask the very nice security guard if I was allowed
to take pictures of the outside of the building.

One never knows in this day and age.

He said I could take as many pictures as I liked.

But only of the outside of the building.


A stature of Mad Anthony Wayne,
for whom Fort Wayne is named,
is in the park catty-cornered from the courthouse.

I decided to head back south.

I had had enough of the plebian attitudes by this time.

We were not amused.

At this point I still hadn't decided on my lunch destination.

I see Cindy's Diner across the street.
Now I've made my decision.

I had heard of this place the last time we were here.

Cindy's Diner proudly proclaims that
"We serve the whole world, 15 at a time."

Hint: Cindy's Diner only seats 15 people at a time.
Get it? Good.

Honestly, I think the menu could be tightened up a bit.

The inside certainly is tightened up.

It looks like the locals have their own mugs.

In fact, most of the diners with me were regulars.

This is "command central."

I ordered the cheeseburger platter with french fries
and cole slaw and pickles and onion on the cheeseburger.

The regular next to me was startled to learn that they had platters,
by the way.

Do not go to Cindy's if you are expecting home-made foods.
Everything here is pre-made, from packets and from boxes.

However, it does come from love.

That much was evident from my brief visit.
From the kisses exchanged
and the toddler running around behind the already
cramped counter, this is a very friendly place.

You don't go here for the food,
you go here for the people.

My last stop for the day was the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum.

They had an iron lung on display because this station
was one of the places that stored the units back
when they were needed.

This part of the station originally housed the horses.

Looking up into the old bell tower.

In the alarm room.

This display speaks about the tragedy of the Aveline Hotel fire.

This House of Hazards was used in the 1950s and 1960s
to teach about fire hazards around the house.

With the use of electricity and flash paper,
the demonstrator could ignite a flash fire anywhere
in the house to show how fires can start through carelessness.

This house was in storage for many years and
was recently restored by firefighter Pat Riley.

Firefighter paraphernalia through the years.

Scenes of more fires in Fort Wayne.

A Fire Safety Room was set up.

"Smoke detectors should be mounted away from stoves to keep from having false alarms."

Gee, I wish the contractor that built our last house
had heeded that council.

I can't tell you how many times we had to fan the
smoke detector simply because it was installed
four feet away from the stove.

"Keep a lid close to all pots on the stove.
In case of fire, use the lid to smother the the fire."

"Never leave rags or towels on the stove. Someone might turn on the stove and then you have a fire."

Always use GFI outlets near water."

"Keep electrical appliances away from water.
Electrical shock may occur."

"Never overload outlets. Too many plugs are a fire hazard."

"If your bedroom is on the second floor,
you should have an escape ladder close to the window."

"Never leave matches or lighters lying around
for children to reach."

"Always have a fresh battery in your smoke detector."

"Never leave candles burning unattended.
They may start a fire."

"Never smoke in bed.
An unattended cigarette can cause a fire."

"Frayed electrical cords should be replace [sic].
They can cause a fire."

This was a nice museum and I enjoyed it immensely.

Thank a firefighter today.