Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Tried To Dicker With My Deck Photographs.

Here, you go.

I'm messing with my original photographs in Picassa.
I downloaded Picassa and get to do lots of neat stuff with my pictures.
Anyone who has a digital camera should try this.

View From My Deck.

Dinner ... April 30.

I know you've all been on pins and needles wondering what
the Hawthornes are having for supper tonight.

Well, wait no longer.

I had some frozen sliced pork loins,
so I decided to make Sweet and Sour Pork.

Here are the ingredients for the mixture I'm going to put the pork cubes into:

1 egg
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt

Lightly beat the egg, then mix rest of ingredients, and set aside.

Cut your pork into 1-inch cubes.

Then, add pork to mixture.

Next up, I have my ingredients for my sweet and sour sauce:

finely chopped garlic
1 large green pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch strips, 1/4 inch thick and wide
3/4 cup chicken stock
6 TB sugar
6 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB cornstarch dissolved in 2 TB COLD water

Heat a few TBs of peanut oil in hot skillet and swirl around.
Add the garlic, green pepper and carrot, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

Pour in chicken stock.

Then add sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for about 1 minute, until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.

Add in soy sauce.

Finally pour in cornstarch slurry.

Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

I prepared some broccoli for stir fry.

Add the broccoli to the hot peanut oil in the wok.

Then add in some onions and garlic.

Stir fry a few minutes, then add in some water to steam to finish off.

Heat up peanut oil and add pork pieces one by one into the hot oil.

I had some black jasmine rice I decided to use in the pork dish.

And here's the final dish.

I plated the black jasmine rice, then added the pork and broccoli,
then poured the sweet and sour sauce over top.

And it was quite delicious, not to mention pretty.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What's Rosie Been Up To?

Rosie's back!
I know you all have been wondering where I've been and what I've been up to since I haven't posted for a few days.
So I will offer up poignant vignettes of my life and excruciatingly agonizing minutiae of my day for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, I made a lovely breakfast:
Eggs Benedict.

From Wikipedia:

1942 — In an interview in The New Yorker, Lemuel Benedict claims to have originated the dish with an order at the Waldorf Hotel,
hoping for a hangover cure.

Thankfully, no hangovers were involved in the preparation of this dish.

I lightly toasted English Muffins, then added a sauteed slice of Canadian Bacon
(You could use a country ham if you like.), then steamed spinach, a poached egg,
and Hollandaise Sauce.

I poach my eggs in boiling water with a tablespoon or so of white vinegar in it.
When the water is boiling, I give it several determined stirs to create a vortex, into which I crack the egg. The spinning vortex keeps the white around the egg, holds the egg together, and makes a nice plump egg sac. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and place on top of the spinach.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Hawthorne poached the egg in the photograph above all by his lonesome and it is quite a fine egg.
Go back, double click, and check out how plump it is.
Lovely, isn't it?

For my Hollandaise Sauce, I take 2 egg yolks and the juice of 1/2 lemon and whisk constantly over low heat. When the color of the yolk changes to light lemon, start adding and whisking in a pat of butter at a time. Do not let yolks overcook. You may need to occasionally remove from heat. The key is to constantly whisk.
Add about 6 - 8 pats of butter, one at a time, whisking until incorporated.
Salt and pepper.

This is my favorite moment - when you fork through your perfectly poached egg and the beautiful yolk rivers down over the ham and into the toasted muffin slice.
This is a thing of beauty.

And it was my highlight of Sunday.

On to today.

Today, I decided to make some squash pie.
Back at Thanksgiving time, I was making pies for the holiday and doubled my dough recipe.
I froze the extra pies so I had the pastry already prepared.
I thawed out one of my pies, then coated it with Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard.

Next, I sauteed some small squash and onions, sliced.
I usually use a mixture of butter and olive oil.
That would be Land o' Lakes Unsalted butter and Bertolli's Extra Light Olive Oil.

Then I cracked three jumbo eggs.
I got two regulars and a DOUBLE YOLK.
I just love getting double yolks.

Into the eggs, I whisked 1/2 cup 1% milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream and poured the egg mixture over the onion/squash mixture with some grated Swiss cheese thrown into the mix.

I sliced a Roma tomato, then added some fresh thyme from my garden and a leaf of sage on top of each tomato slice.
Golly, that's a purty pie.

I added some grated Mozzarella cheese on top.

Baked it at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Oooh. This was good.
I love the kick of the mustard.

Well, there's today's lunch for me.
Let's see.
What did I do next?

Oh yes, I checked on and tended my orchids.
My sister gave me this particular orchid for my birthday.
Thank you, Sister Dear. As you can see, it's still blooming.

I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

Now this is the first orchid I bought myself for my birthday last January.
It finished blooming a few weeks ago, and I cut the stem back to the first node as explained by Orchidgirl. After a few weeks, a new shoot hadn't come out, unfortunately. So I cut it back to the next node. Still waiting on that.
However, when I was examining the orchid before cutting back the first time, I noticed a 3-4 inch shoot coming up from the base.
I started training the shoot, and look at it now.
It should have buds on it soon.

Now, yesterday, I had a very exciting day.
Mr. Hawthorne took me to both the WalMart and the Home Depot.
At Home Depot, I bought me this beautiful orchid, my third.

Here it is in front of my waterfall.

Now, let's fast forward to this afternoon.

I just had to shoot this picture.
Whenever I catch Mr. Hawthorne actually doing something around the house to help out, I simply must document it.
He decided to clean the oven today.
He pulled out the shelves and the convection filter, paper-toweled the interior (OK, I give him props for that.), then pushed the button for SELF CLEAN and went to his comfy chair and happy place to watch a movie.
Three hours later, the oven is cleaned.
So, technically, Mr. Hawthorne cleaned the oven.

Gosh, what did I do while Mr. Hawthorne cleaned the oven?

Oh yes, I took a stroll through the garden.

Here's my purple verbena in the foreground.
In the background is my just-starting-to-bloom Digitalis or Foxglove.

Here's a close up of the Foxglove.

And now, some roses.

My Larkspur.

Queen Anne's Lace getting ready to bloom.

Bachelor's Buttons.

And more roses.

And another Larkspur.

And more roses.

Last of the roses.

Here's my field of Larkspur.
OK, it's not an actual field.

But, it could be a field.

And that's my last few days.
Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.