Hotdog for the win!

With food intolerances, it’s difficult to find processed meats that are worthy. Hempler’s meat products are definitely worthy. We eat their bacon, hotdogs, ground pork and more. Nothing they make (that we’ve tried) rates as high FODMAP. Everything we’ve tried has been gluten MSG and GMO free . . . all in all a truly awesome product line.

I love one dish meals. We don’t sit down together to eat unless we have company. We eat on totally different schedules. If Wadly’s eating fried chicken I’m usually having something totally different. Stir fried pork, tuna or egg salad . . . something that’s not fried chicken. When he has two hotdogs heated in the microwave (yeah, me too) I’ll cut up a hotdog and have it with broccoli, bacon, green onion, bone broth, red and green pepper . . . and it’s awesome. I’ve done the same thing with a can of green beans. Hotdog for the win.

Pork soup/stew . . . uh . . . something

For those of us with food sensitivities it’s easy to get in a rut and eat the same things all the time. There’s a limited number of things we can eat and we have a tendency to fix the same things all the time. For a lot of us it’s easier to list the things we can eat rather than the plethora of things we can’t. One of the things that’s a big no is processed foods. The chance of cross contamination is huge and the repercussions truly suck.

I love pork. Pork is like chicken, it comes in two varieties, juicy/tasty and dry/bland. I don’t care for light meat port (pork chops, picnic roast, etc.). I love dark meat pork (pork steaks, sirloin roast). As a result I do a lot of stuff with pork. I have no idea what this thing I’m making is. It’s a pork stir fry (that’s how it starts) which turns into a soup which could be a stew if the broth was thickened. I don’t know what to call it but it sure is good.

Peanut Butter Custard ala Instant Pot

I’m test driving a peanut butter custard recipe and it came out quite good. The recipe produces three servings.

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup organic plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Beat the egg whites to aerate them just a bit. Don’t beat them into a meringue, just give them a decent number of bubbles to lighten them a bit.

In a separate bowl mix egg yoke, peanut butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Add milk a little bit at a time mixing it in thoroughly.

Add egg whites to the egg yoke mixture and mix in without beating heavily.

Distribute equally to three buttered ½ pint canning jars or 1 cup ramekins. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on the top if desired. Butterscotch chips would also be excellent!

Place on trivet in the Instant Pot with 1½ cups of water beneath. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. Immediately release pressure, undo and offset the lid to allow the jars to cool in place. Once the jars can be handled by a bare hand, remove them. Serve warm or cold, top with a drizzle of caramel, chocolate ganache or serve with an ice cream topper.

Annoying and totally off topic

I am prefacing this by saying yes, I know I’m not normal. Why would I want to be normal? So boring . . . but I digress.

Over the years I’ve accumulated a fair number of audiobooks, everything some authors have produced, samplings from others, selected series’ from yet more. Some books I listen to over and over, some series a couple times a year, others more or less often, some in preparation of an author’s new release.

I’ve run into a most annoying thing. I’ve got audiobooks from three different services requiring three different apps on my mobile device. This is so annoying! I have to switch from one to another to work my way through a series.

Somebody, please program an audiobook subscription service manager with an Android app so I can have one app with everything I’ve ever purchased or downloaded including the pre-DRM audiobooks stored on my computer. Charge a monthly nominal fee to consolidate all subscriptions (Amazon, Scribd, Audiobooks, etc.) into one point of access and I’ll be your first subscriber.

Breakfast Hoagie

I’ve been making breakfast hoagies for Wadly and he raves over them. They’re simple to make but a bit fussy as it takes three pans. I like to cook so I don’t see it as a burden.

  • sourdough hotdog bun or hoagie roll (hotdog bun is small, hoagie is big – adjust for your hunger level)
  • fresh ground pork (I usually buy a 1 or 1½ pound package, mix in the appropriate amount of seasoning, separate it into serving sizes into zippered snack bags and stick it in a larger labeled bag into the freezer.)
  • sausage seasoning (1½ tbsp/lb) (seasoning mix recipe is here)
  • green onion
  • butter
  • egg
  • 1½ tbsp sour cream

Mix the egg and sour cream.

Dice the green onion, add to egg mix.

Butter a HOT 5″ frying pan and dump the egg mix in. Reduce the heat and turn over when needed. Don’t overcook.

Place one slab of butter in a HOT pan under each side of the bun. Turn the heat down, watch carefully and rotate as needed. You want the hoagie to come out brown and crunchy, not burnt.

Shape the sausage into a size and shape that matches your bun. Cook this in a separate pan. Once it’s turned over, add a slice a cheese to the top. Wadly likes American, your tastes may align with cheddar or mozzarella or . . .

Once everything is done, assemble. While the order of assembly isn’t particularly significant, the taste is.

Breakfast Sausage Seasoning

My awesome brother spun by months ago and gifted me with his breakfast sausage seasoning recipe. I introduced him to white pepper. He doesn’t like anything even remotely hot so white pepper was an awesome addition to his kitchen. I see this as a fairly fair trade.

My sibling’s seasoning recipe got a bit of a tweak to suit my palate (I don’t mind a bit of hot as long as Wadly can handle it) and I’ve been using the adjusted recipe ever since.

Dosing is at 1½ tablespoons per pound of freshly ground pork . . . or more depending on your tastes.

  • 3 tbsp rubbed/ground sage
  • 2 tsp salt (I’m not a huge fan of salt so try this amount and add as needed)
  • 1 tsp white pepper (I agree with my brother on this, black pepper is a bit too bold)
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar – I make my own, 1 tsp organic molasses to 1 cup organic cane sugar, store in a jar with a moisture proof lid.

I give this mix a whirl or two in my spice grinder to blend it and get the kosher salt reduced and distributed. Then I stick it in a ½ cup jelly jar for later use. The mouth of the jar is big enough for a tablespoon to fit in easily, the lid is nice and flat for writing the name of the spice combination and they stack neatly.

Plaid!

This is coming along nicely. The pattern produced some interesting challenges. Intarsia in the round is not a challenge but getting the width of the horizontal red to match the width of the vertical red was. I tried Latvian braid but it was excessively fussy for the desired result. The answer proved to be a sizer larger crochet hook and surface crochet worked in the desired location. The second challenge was getting good corners where the red changed directions.

I’m having to cut the background color’s yarn at the start of each square. It’s not onerous and the result is very good. I’ve been working in ends as I go.

My hat!

Leftover sunset shrug yarn . . . but this time for me!

This is really simple helix. I’ve got a jog where the color changes but I’m thinking the mailbox isn’t going to care when I show up wearing it.

Stepping up my game

My cod/shrimp chowder thing is continuing to improve. Today’s effort is particularly good. Added . . . mushroom and cooked broccoli. OMGosh. SO good.

Here’s the guide when cooking for one.

All the veges are equal amounts with red and green pepper counting as one veg. I cut all the veges (except cooked broccoli – sliced, zucchini – sticks and mushrooms halved and sliced) into 1/4″ cubes. In total that’s about 1/8 cup each of cooked broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, spinach and green onion.

Heat a cast iron skillet (my pan of choice) adding butter, garlic oil and sesame oil (twice as much butter as each oil). Add green onion, peppers, mushroom and saute’ for a bit. Add zucchini, spinach and broccoli and sautee for a bit.

Add seafood. This really can be anything. I used cubed cod (1/4 lb. pacific) and 4 medium shrimp diced into four pieces each.

Add bone broth (about 2/3 cup), sour cream (1/2 cup), clam broth (1 tbsp), fish sauce (1/2 tsp), cilantro (1/2 tsp) and Korean red pepper (gochugaru, 1/2 tsp).

Stir to incorporate everything and let simmer until the fish is done.

This is SO good!

Cod/Shrimp Chowder

I’m still playing with cod/shrimp dishes. My latest is really pretty good!

Green onion
Green pepper
Red pepper
Tomatillos
Zucchini
Garlic oil
Toasted sesame oil
Butter
Cod
Shrimp
Sour cream
Fish sauce
Bone broth
Clam juice
Korean red pepper (gochugaru)
Cilantro

Dice up the veges. Saute’ everything but the zucchini in butter, garlic oil, sesame oil. After those veges are al dente add the zucchini. Once the zucchini has started to soften add the seafood. Add everything else. Simmer until the fish is done.

Yup, it really is that simple. There’s lots of stuff but it’s totally uncomplicated.

Not quite poached cod

Lovely stuff!Wadly bought a new white wine for me to try. He’s such a star!

This is a remake of a recipe I pulled off the internet. The original calls for parsley instead of cilantro. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of parsley. The original recipe has no veges. Can you imagine me eating a dish without veges? Steak makes sense with vege sides, cod soup doesn’t.

Ingredients include Pacific cod, shrimp, carrot, zucchini, green onion, green pepper shiitake mushroom, fish sauce (small splash), white wine (Quail Run Chardonnay), bone broth, cilantro, basil, salt, garlic oil, sesame oil, butter.

Saute the veges in butter, garlic oil and sesame oil. Start with sliced carrots as they’re the most dense. While they’re cooking slice and add green onion, green pepper, mushroom and finally zucchini. Once the veges are al dente, lift them out of the pan with a slotted spoon. Add shrimp and slices of cod to the pan, turning them to cook both sides. Don’t overcook. Cod is a fragile fish and will fall apart. Add the vegetables back to the pan. Add bone broth, wine, fish sauce and spices. Stir gently, warm through and turn off the heat.

This has a lovely mild but rich flavor. I’m adding it to my favorites. I can picture eating it with a crunchy toasted sourdough slice. Mmmm. I bet Wadly has his with pan toasted home made biscuits.

I didn’t think of adding saffron but you can bet I’ll try it next time. Saffron is awesome with this kind of seafood. Have you ever done Julia Child’s bouillabaisse? It’s awesome! I also didn’t think of garnishing this with toasted sesame seeds. Again, next time.

Quick and easy salmon

Our local Walmart has lovely fresh Atlantic salmon. It’s silver salmon, which isn’t my favorite, but it is really good and really fresh. It comes vacuum packed in a plastic tray.

Cooking is it dead easy. It comes out beautifully moist and flavorful.

Rinse the salmon, pat dry and place skin side down on a rack over an oven pan.

Dice a couple green onions. Mix with good quality mayo (I like Sir Kensington Classic). Spread the mixture evenly over the salmon fillet. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. If the thickest portion of the fillet flakes when a fork is inserted, it’s done.

This is fabulous stuff and it reheats well.

Playing with seafood

I’m fighting an antibiotic resistant infection . . . and winning. One of the protocols is to avoid red meat. Anyone who follows my blog knows I adore red meat. Beef is my favorite meat, hands down, but as the daughter of a fisherman I also love seafood. I love fresh salmon, canned tuna, shellfish and . . . Pacific cod. If you’ve had cod and have been singularly unimpressed, I don’t blame you. Not all cod is created equal. My absolute favorite cod is a little recognized fish – orange roughy, a truly fabulously tasty fish. Sadly, orange roughy isn’t widely available outside of fishing port towns.

A close second to my taste buds is Pacific cod. Not Alaskan cod (relatively tasteless but widely available) or any variation thereof. Pacific cod is it’s own class of cod. It’s flavorful in a way that makes it delightful to cook with. Tonight I had cod and shrimp in a white sauce and it was heavenly. Here’s what I did.

Saute sliced mushroom (I used shiitake), grated zucchini and diced green onion in garlic oil and butter. Sprinkle thyme, gochugaru and salt over the sauteing vegetables. Once the veges are al dente, lift them out with a slotted spoon. Add thawed cod and shrimp (and more butter) to the pan. Turn the seafood, cooking on both sides. Spoon the seafood out. Add milk. As the milk is coming up to temperature mix a bit of milk with a bit of corn starch and a bit of the warmed milk from the pan. Stir that into the pan. Continue to stir as it thickens. Once it’s thickened add the seafood and vegetables back to the pan and let it simmer just a little bit longer.

Trust me, this is fabulous!

The Fail, the second act

Picking the stripeSo as not to repeat my first fail, testing will be required.

I need a bold and visible stripe for my plaid, not Silken  used in my first attempt, a really lovely color but just not right for this.  I tested a bunch of possibles and chose Rose. It’s bright, clear, stands out nicely against the Midnight background and will stand out on the variegated  squares.

Next I have to pick the yarn to use for the squares. I want each square to be variegated, unique and to stand out from the base. It can’t have a color in it that’s going to blend into my Midnight base like the purple in Khaki Girl.

Two of the auditioned yarns don’t have enough variegation/contrast to make them viable candidates. Left to right: Brilliant Blues, Cotton Candy, Soothe, Orchid Smash (out), Hot Spot (out), Frosty Morning and the Rose for the stripes. I’ve got a TINY bit of On Parade (discontinued, picture me crying) that might make a square (fingers crossed).

So, time for a little test knit . . . it’s lovely . . . and again a complete fail. Ugh. I was loving this . . . up until my plaid block ran into my vneck ribbing. Yeah, not loving that so much.

So, the next challenge is plaid placement. In my original scheme I had exactly one stitch to work with. Planning that tightly doesn’t make me happy. Have a gross math fail (plaid running into ribbing) also doesn’t make me happy.

Making the blocks smaller isn’t going to make me happy. The red stripe is already borderline overwhelming the variegated color blocks. I could move the start of the plaid down which doesn’t please me. If I could do anything I’d make the blocks two stitches wider as a better balance to the boldness of the Rose stripe. Alternatively, I could be less square! There’s a lovely thought.

So this is the new plan. I didn’t draw in the stripes but rest assured they will be there. If I can make the blocks 2 stitches wider at the same time, I think I’m golden. I’m going to lay out the new colorwork on the existing project and see where my lines, squares and rectangles hit. If the layout works I’m off to the races!

 

Modern minimalist plaid

Plaid!

I’ve done a lot of sweaters with something diagonal. Apparently I like that. Who knew? Yeah yeah, I’m rolling eyes at me too.

I had a thought . . . and it’s turning into something I think will be lovely and not boring to knit. I did the drawing and it pondered over enough times for it to get smudged with something. That’s always a good sign, interest captured. If I note down an idea and it’s pristine a week later, that’s a bad sign. It’s too boring to warrant much effort.

I have six balls of Bamboo Pop Midnight. It’s a lovely rich dark blue, definitely a “me” color. Finding a project for it has been the issue. I think this just might be the one.

The swatch

So, test knit! A couple frogs later and this is what I’ve got. I tried just knitting the horizontal stripe but that was a big fail. I tried conventional Latvian Braid and it gave the right effect but was just too fussy. The answer is the Latvian Braid effect worked with a crochet hook after the row has been knit. I tried using a hook the same size as my needles and it caused a tiny bit of puckering in the work. I moved up one size and it seems to be as close to perfect as I think I can get.

So I’m off working on the sweater. The first attempt at Plaid! is a fail. So, the question is . . . switch the stripes to black? And the question is . . . don’t include any variegateds with a color similar to the base of the sweater? And the question is . . . start the first square above the fading saddle line?

So . . . frogging back. How far is key.

 

Pug Life

Peggy with a tuna fish jar

I don’t think it’s possible to truly know a breed until you live with them. Case in point, I had no idea how happy and intelligent the pug is until we had a couple. Our latest is a 4-year old and she’s vastly entertaining.

So . . . the dog door story. We live isolated in the country. Our home is in the middle of 12 acres of south sloping pasture. Our dog pack swells and shrinks but it’s a gradual thing. Sometimes we have lots. When our Chow cross died we were down to just one dog, a lab mix rescue who is bitey.

Our dog door has a long runway on the outside to keep the weather out. It was cobbled together over time out of pieces of plywood and wood framing of wildly varying dimensions. For Buddy (young, athletic, good vision) it worked fine.

Our son had a friend who needed to rehome an aged pug. He could no longer care for her and we had room, time and love to spare so here she came! She was an absolute darling with cataracts. Dealing with the long dark tunnel outside our dog door was just too much so we rebuilt the run with a better base, glass roof and wall panels for visibility and a string of icicle lights for lighting at night.

The day the dog door run was finished she was happily using it without issue. Score!

Literally the next day, she died. I am not kidding, puked on the carpet, keeled over and DIED. That really sucked.

In less than a week another pug needed rehoming. It’s so funny how things come about. This one was young, just turned four. She had separation anxiety something fierce. She needs people 24/7, the more people the better. Because one of us is always home (or she can go with us if we leave together) it’s worked out really well. She’s vastly amusing, adores Wadly and is happy here with us. Score!

Happy Birdie

Bamboo Pop in Happy Birdie and Turquoise

I ran into a sale of Bamboo Pop and got some colors I wouldn’t normally work with to use as accents. I am firmly of the motto there is no such thing as too many colors and I adore Bamboo Pop. Win win! You never know when odd colors are going to develop into interesting projects.

A while back I made a top down seamless tank for myself with no picked up stitches and I love the fit. Mindy tried it on and wanted it (NOT her colors) so over the last couple weeks I did a repeat of my tank pattern for Mindy in colors that highlight her particular beauty.

I didn’t have quite enough yarn in the necessary colors for the length Mindy likes so I added the dregs of Clover from Amanda’s latest tank and Hot Pink from something I was working on for me, both colors that are in the Happy Birdie variegated.

Variegated helix knit with three solids, Turquoise, Clover and Hot Pink.

I’m really pleased with how it came out. I worked the top in Turquoise, started helix knitting adding the Happy Birdie. When the Turquoise ran out I switched to the little bit of clover I had left. When the Clover was done I switched to Hot Pink. I really wish I’d had enough to finish out the tank in Hot Pink. I was out and Mindy was fine with Turquoise. ‘Nough said. I think it gives the tank a layered look which isn’t a bad thing.

Innovation can be awesome sauce!

It’s 97 in the shade. Let me tell you firsthand, when our normal high is 80, 97 truly sucks. Wadly, in his grocery foray yesterday, got a two-pack of rib steak, my absolute favorite cut of beef. Last night was a really plain undecorated fry in butter and garlic oil. It was good but nothing compared to the innovation of tonight.

Usually the rib steaks we get are thicker than 1″. I put them in the toaster over for 30 minutes at 200 degrees, then sear them in butter/garlic oil. Good. Plenty good. Up until tonight this has been our standard.

This time there were two steaks that were about 3/4″ thick, not the norm for us. Simply frying was good but . . . OMGosh, the innovation tonight is really better..

I put the steak in the toaster oven (200deg for 20 min) and while it was preparing for a reverse sear, I put a couple tablespoons of red wine, a tablespoon of garlic oil, a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and a dash of salt in a flat dish. To prepare the pan I ground a 1/4 teaspoon of hing (asofoetida) and added that, butter and garlic oil in the (hot) pan, sloshing it around to ensure the flavor is well distributed. Quickly, so the butter wouldn’t burn (HOT pan) I gave the wine/Worcestershire/salt/garlic oil a quick stir, drop the steak on it and flip it over to coat both sides and then dumped the steak into the frying pan to sear on both sides . . . OMGosh! I’m thinking this is a new favorite.

FROG!

Nope. Just nope.

I’m working on a tank top for Mindy and trying new stuff . . . love knit-from-the-hip . . . and things were not working out and intended. I got to Point C and my stitch count was WAY off. Not just a little bit but HUGELY off. Apparently, something was VERY wrong. Plus the shape wasn’t making me happy. Can you spell F R O G? Yeah, it is no more.

I love the colors, I love the basic idea . . . but the number have to work or the effort is pointless.

Canned Tuna

I can’t eat commercially canned tuna and I can’t rely on family to can it for me. They simply cannot can enough. I have a solution that works for me. Wadly buys frozen tuna steaks. As I need canned tuna I use my Instant Pot to “can” it. It’s not processed in a way that gives it a long term shelf life. I don’t need that. I need tuna I can make sandwiches out of now, today.

Because I like my salads with everything but the kitchen sink (exaggeration but you get my point), I add all sorts of things. Today’s favorite is green onion, radish, cucumber, olive slices, pimento and Sir Kensington Classic Mayo. SO good! I would have added grated carrot but . . . no carrots.

When I can tuna I pack the tuna in a half-pint wide mouthed jar, add a little salt to the top, add the lid and process it in my Instant Pot (9 minutes on high pressure, natural release, leave until cool) I usually start it in the afternoon or evening and leave it until morning.

Peggy

Once the jar is empty of tuna I give it to our pug. She adores cleaning out the jar, picking it up and carrying it around to whichever spot suits her. Because her muzzle is so short it takes her quite a while and quite a bit of effort to get all the goodies out.

Working project

I’ve got a lot of different projects in the air. I’m making a cowl necked sweater for MIndy with slip pockets, a summer tunic for me (years long project), a summer tank for the young lady who cleans my house, a gradient sweater (still not sure where this one’s going) and a new project, a long sleeved duster using Louisa Harding’s Girandola (discontinued yarn).

The duster I’m envisioning is a complete “knit from the hip” effort on US7 needles. I’m making the collar and decorative facings/hems in Bamboo Pop Denim, a yarn I normally knit on US4. Denim is a colorway that almost exactly matches the blue in the Louisa Harding. The Bamboo Pop yarn knits up into is a bit heavier/thicker but a test knit resulted in a relatively compatible gauge with the Girandola on the selected needle size. The resulting fabric is very relaxed and flowy, perfect for a long duster.

I have the collar well started. I looked at the size and though it would be just too big . . . but a test fit shows it’s very close to, if not perfectly right on for fit.

This will be an interesting project.

Breakfast Frittata, the deluxe version

I’ve got a new breakfast food love, a frittata with a hash brown hat. It’s so good!

This requires breakfast sausage. I make my own with fresh ground pork (store bought, Hempler and Smithfield both rock) with a seasoning mix my brother gave me. The rest is eggs and fresh veges and it’s very good!

We have farm grown eggs. Some of our hens are banty cross descendents which gives us big eggs from our new girls and bitty little eggs from our banty cross hens. I can do this frittata with one big egg or two little eggs. Much of my baking calls for big eggs so I’m perfectly happy to use the small eggs for my breakfast.

Dice green onion, mushrooms (I use shittake) and red and green pepper. Grate half a baked russet. I always have baked russet on hand. I use them for hash browns, fries and as a meal with chili, sour cream, butter and chives for a special occasion dinner. Using cold baked potatoes speeds the cooking and improves the flavor.

Cook the grated russet in butter, stirring fairly often. The goal is to lightly dehydrate and brown the individual gratings rather than turn it into one mass of hash browns.

In a separate pan cook the green onion, peppers and mushroom. When they’re close to fully cooked add the sausage. Stir the sausage in thoroughly breaking up any lumps.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg with a tablespoon of cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt. Add the cooked veges/sausage. Pour into a hot buttered pan (I use a small 6″ skillet). Arrange the hash browns over the top. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Once the egg sets it’s done. Serve with diced tomato.

So good!