Sunday, August 9, 2020

Greek Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Greek Pork Souvlaki

1 1/2 pounds of pork loin or tenderloin
1 lemon - juice and zest
1/8 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic mashed and minced fine
1 tb dried oregano or fresh oregano chopped fine
1 tsp dried thyme or fresh thyme chopped fine
1 chopped jalapeno or a scant 1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cut pork into one inch cubes. Blend remainder ingredients in a bowl whisk till blended, then add the cut pork pieces. Marinate the meat for at least 6 hours or overnight in a covered non reactive dish. One by one skewer pork chunks onto skewers. If using wood skewers, soak them 30 minutes in water so they don't catch on fire. Let pork come to room temperature before cooking.
Grill on BBQ grill for about 10 minutes, turning once, till just barely pink inside or test with an instant thermometer to 145 F internal temperature and let rest 10 minutes (if you can). Serve with the tzatziki dipping sauce (below). Souvlaki is often served in pita bread spread with the tzatziki sauce. You may substitute chicken for pork. These can also be baked in the oven on a rack at broiled six inches from heating element for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Watch closely for using either method since these cook quickly. Next time I may intersperse red and yellow pepper pieces between the meat for culinary attractiveness.

1 English cucumber
1 1/2 cup Greek whole fat yogurt
1 tb dried dill or fresh dill chopped fine
1 tsp vinegar
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced fine or 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Peel and grate the English cucumber (any cucumber will work). Drain cucumber in cheese cloth placed in a sieve or place grated cucumber in a dish towel and twist to squeeze out excess moisture. Don't skip this step because cucumbers are full of water and you don't want your tzatziki to be watery.
Place remaining ingredients in a bowl along with drained cucumber and fold gently with the yogurt. If using fresh garlic refrigerate overnight; if using garlic powder refrigerate till ready to use. Tzatziki is also delicious used as a dip with chips, vegetables or as a salad dressing. It's very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Be Safe, Be Well

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Summer Bounty

Summer is fulled with such bounty. I was looking to see if I needed to pick green beans and noticed this tiny tree frog hiding in the blue lake green beans. He has a distinctive X pattern on his back. Is he a Spring Peeper or Mountain Chorus frog? Check out the link and tell me what you think. (you'll probably have to click the photo to make it larger).
I was able to get quite a few photos of him before he disappeared. We've had so much rain this year that the forest if filled with what I assume are hundreds of frogs. They serenade us every evening. During the day the cicadas have their own chorus.
Nothing better than a snack of an heirloom tomato with a little salt and pepper. I didn't grow these because we don't get enough sun except for the smaller varieties of tomatoes.
Another day I had so many cherry tomatoes I decided to roast them.
After tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper, their roasted for 30 minutes.
Earlier in the week I brined and smoked some salmon. The next day I made sushi rolls with the salmon along with sauteed mushrooms and onions. My twist on a sushi roll.
A quick way to use up a mixture of fresh vegetables is to make fritters.
I used chickpea flour and an egg and tossed in some fresh chopped tomatoes, green beans, and peppers. They were delicious.
 butterflies and flowers abound
 black swallowtail
 black eyed susan
 butterfly bush

Happy Summer
Be Safe, Be Well

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Fresh Corn Relish

3 cups of distilled vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 tablespoons of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons of celery seed
2 teaspoons of mustard seed
1 tablespoon of whole allspice
1 tablespoon of black pepper corns
2-3 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped fine
3 large stalks of celery the size of corn kernels
1 cup of fresh blue lake green beans chopped the size of corn kernels
1/2 small red onion chopped fine
1//2 small yellow onion chopped fine
4 ears of fresh corn kernels removed from cob
1 red bell pepper chopped
4 large Marconi peppers chopped (or substitute green bell)
1 1/2 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes chopped medium fine
Cook the vinegar and sugar till blended and heated to a boil. Add spices, jalapenos, chopped celery, blue lake green beans, onions, and cook till al dente. Add the corn and cook for one minute. Add peppers and cook for one minute. Last stir in fresh chopped tomatoes. When heated through, ladle into sterilized mason jars. Cool, then refrigerate and the relish will keep for up to 2 months. Or process in a water bath for 10 minutes. This recipe filled 10 half pint jars. This is good enough to eat plain as a salad. I'm going to try it added to a potato salad. Perhaps served alongside or in sandwiches could be another choice.

White Rabbit to you all
Be Safe, Be Well

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Danish Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

One of our neighbors gave us some Danish baby back ribs he orders. (He raves about my blueberry jam every time Gary sees him). I decided the ribs deserve a special BBQ sauce before we eat them. Gary tried the sauce on a frozen burrito without my having blended it and he said it was the best BBQ sauce he's ever tasted. Maybe he just says that so I'll keep cooking. What do you think?

Homemade BBQ Sauce

1 small onion diced small and lightly caramelized in olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced & sauteed one minute with onions
4 ounces of tequila
(bourbon would probably be better to use - next time)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes - 14.5 ounces
1 can tomato paste - 12 ounces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of dark molasses
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons of dried Spanish tarragon (substitute cumin)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 dashes of fish sauce (leave out if you don't have)
4 dashes of hot sauce or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Saute onion in small amount of olive oil on low heat till just browning. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the alcohol to deglaze the pan. Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato paste. You can use a smaller or larger size can if you wish. Add in all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for at least 30 minutes. The idea is to let all the ingredients meld together and the sauce to thicken. The sauce will turn a rich brownish red and will be shiny. Cool sauce, then blend in a blender or leave chunky if you prefer.

When I was cooking the BBQ sauce the whole house had the fragrance of a BBQ restaurant. Really makes one hungry for something BBQ'd. This recipe made a pint and two half pints of BBQ sauce.  Gary said he'll buy me some bourbon for the next time I make BBQ sauce. This morning Gary said he'd eat the BBQ sauce just plain. I think he really did like it.

I cooked the Danish baby back ribs loosely tented in aluminum foil at 325 F for 1 1/4 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes then serve. If desired you could crisp under broiler last 10 minutes or so. There isn't much eat on the Danish baby back ribs but they were very tender and delicious.

Be Safe, Be Well