Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Time For Stir Fry.

I don't know what it is about the red meat around here lately, but it sucks.  Pure and simple.  Mr. Hawthorne doesn't like.  I don't like it.  And this has happened during the last few months.  We found what looked like a lovely sirloin filet the other day, decided to bring it home, cooked it nice and rare, and it was crap.  Tough, but there was flavor.  Not enough though.

I decided today to take the remaining half of this surly loin and marinate the hell out of it, then stir fry.  How can you go wrong?

I sliced the loin into very thin pieces and
threw in some minced garlic,
peeled orange slices,
some tamari sauce,
and a few pinches of sugar.
Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Artfully arrange your stir fry ingredients.
Toasted peanuts

Heat a little peanut oil to hothothot
and add in vegetables.

After a minute of stir frying
slowly pour in a little water down the side
and let the vegetables steam.
Transfer to a bowl and cover.

Reheat with more peanut oil.

Remember to stir and fry.

Add in peanuts.

Vegetables go in, horizontally.

Pour in a cornstarch slurry -
1 TB cornstarch mixed with 2 TB water.

Add in a cup of beef broth.

Keep stir frying until broth thickens.
Serve over basmati rice.

Steam wafting off.

Love that orange flavor.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rosie Celebrates Aviation Day.

One of my favorite T-shirts is my "where's Billy?" shirt,
Billy being Billy of Billy's Seafood.

A neighbor and I were sporting matching shirts
at our neighborhood Labor Day party a few years back.

August 19 was National Aviation Day,
first proclaimed on August 19, 1939,
by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This year celebrates 100 years of the National Park Service
and August 19 also coincides with Orville Wright's birthday.

In commemoration of the Wright Brothers,
 the park hosted special guest speakers,
displayed aircraft, and had flight-related activities
going on throughout the day.

It's the Wright Brothers National Memorial Monument,
for cryin' out loud.

Mr. Hawthorne and I went for the 3-D chalk art display,
created by internationally known artist, Tracey Lee Stum.
You really should check out Tracey's link
to see some of her amazing creations.

Wearing my "where's Billy?" T-shirt,
I went up for the perfect photo op.
Oh Billy.
Where art thou, Billy?

Sadly, Rosie couldn't find Billy anywhere.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rosie Makes A Cherry Strawberry Pie.

You won't believe it.
I'm not posting about figs today.
 That said, I love the fresh fruit of summer.

Mr. Hawthorne had a bunch of cherries and strawberries
and asked me what he could do with them.
In the time it would take for me to explain to him,
 I could have made it myself.
So I did.
I think that's what he was banking on.

Cherry and Strawberry Pie

Pie Crust
 I used a refrigerated pie crust.
I know!
Lay pie crust in a 10-inch pie dish,crimping edges,
and brush with an egg wash -
1 egg mixed with 1 TB milk.
Bake in a 425° oven for 5-6 minutes,
until lightly brown.
 Reduce heat to 350°.
 2 cups cherries, pitted and sliced
1 heaping cup strawberries, sliced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 TB cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan
and cook over low heat, stirring,
until it gets bubbly, cooks down a bit, and thickens,
about 4 - 5 minutes.
Pour filling into baked crust
and sprinkle crumble mixture over top.
Protect edges from over-browning
by using a foil ring around outside edges.
Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Crumble Mixture
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 TB cold unsalted butter
Mix together flour and brown sugar.
Grate butter and work into flour mixture
with a pastry blender or forks
until mixture is all crumbly.

Isn't that a pretty color?

I know.
I'm a crappy crimper.

By grating the butter instead of small-dicing it,
you can work it into the crumble mixture easier.

You can have small, medium, and big crumbles.

Bake the crust.

Pour filling into prepared crust.

Top with crumble mixture.

Use a pie crust protector or foil to protect the edges.

And bake at 350° until the topping is lightly browned
and the filling is bubbling through the crust.
10-12 minutes.

Oh my!
  Don't forget the vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rosie Makes A Fig Pizza.

Rosie's fig trees are producing prolifically these days
and I've been coming up with all sorts of fig dishes.
Today, I'm making a fig pizza.
I'm combining the flavors of figs,
rosemary, bleu cheese, chèvre cheese,
 and caramelized Vidalia onions.

Here's my fig pizza,
although Mr. Hawthorne would never call it a pizza.
A pie, maybe.

He eyed the final product suspiciously,
actually walking around to examine it.
He has a preconception that he's not going to like it,
then he eats it because he trusts me, and then he likes it.
That's when he describes a dish as "interesting."
He doesn't want to like it, but he does.

I started out with the dough.
Mix 1/2 cup water and a packet of yeast with a teaspoon of sugar. 
Wait for it to "proof."
That means the yeast has to "prove" it's alive.
Yeast is hungry and needs to eat.
When it does, it gives off carbon dioxide bubbles.
Your mixture should get nice and bubbly.
When the yeast "proofs,"
fork in 1/4 cup of flour at a time
along with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
until you get a dough that you can turn out
onto a lightly floured board and knead.
It'll be about a cup of flour.
Knead dough for 5 minutes,
adding a sprinkling of flour as needed for stickiness.
Roll dough around in an oiled bowl, 
cover, and let rise until doubled. 

The beauty of making your own dough
is that you can make your pizzas whatever size you want.
Since it's just the two of us Hawthornes here,
I'm making a small pizza.
I ended up halving this dough.
Stash the remaining dough in a large storage bag
and refrigerate.
It will continue to rise in the fridge.
I'll let you know later what I do with this half.
Haven't cogitated on it yet.

Place ball of dough on oiled baking pan
and start spreading it out.
I always take my time spreading out the dough.
I spread a little, then let it rest, drink some wine,
then come back and spread it out a little more,
let it rest, drink some more wine.
You get the picture.
This made a 9-inch diameter pizza.
Sprinkle with an extra virgin olive oil,
place somewhere warm and let rise a bit.

I lightly browned the crust in a 350° oven.
About 12 minutes.

Here are my caramelized Vidalia onion slices.
Cut onion into rings, add about a teaspoon of sugar,
and cook over low heat
 in one tablespoon each unsalted butter and oil
for about 30 minutes - until golden.

Start building the pizza.

Cheese Mixture
 1 ounce bleu cheese
1 ounce chèvre cheese
2 tsp half and half
Mix all together with a fork until somewhat spreadable.

Spread cheese mixture on pizza.
Add sliced figs.

Top with caramelized onions and rosemary.

Bake in 350° oven about 5 minutes,
until cheese mixture melts.
I love all these flavors together.
They're ... interesting.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Rosie Makes Figcaccia

 Rosie has a preponderance of figs.
 And she's been coming up with myriads of ways
to use this lovely fruit.

this morning, when that light bulb went off over my head.
My bread was on its first rise in the Cuisinart,
when I decided to pull off a piece of dough about the size of a tennis ball
and use it for ...  figcaccia!

 I rustically spread out my dough,
gave it a good drizzling of Porto Campo Olive Oil,
and sprinkled freshly ground pepper
and my homemade sea salt over top.

You don't make your own sea salt?

 Sliced figs went on
along with slices of Vidalia onions,
thin slices of Gruyère cheese,
prosciutto, fresh rosemary,
and a drizzling of local wildflower honey.

  400°  10 minutes
Turn halfway through.

 Now, we gotta look at this from all the angles.


Most excellent, indeed.