Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Two Quick and Easy Summer Recipes

I'll admit it, I'm a veggie-holic always stuffing veggies into any recipe possible.  One of my notable failures was the addition of grated cabbage into spaghetti sauce, the kids hated it.  But this one doubles the usage from a few heads of broccoli.  One head of broccoli, two completely different uses.  Use the florets in your favorite broccoli recipes, just remember that there is only the tender bits left, they will cook much quicker than usual.  Just guess how I know this!  ;-p

Quick Pickled Broccoli Stems
Cut the florets off and set aside, they wont be needed for this recipe.  With a paring knife, trim off any tough skin on the stems, or you can use a peeler.

Slice rather thinly 2 cups of broccoli stems.  Now, I just sliced them on the round, but they can be sliced length wise and then cut into smaller bites.  I like the festive look the irregularly shaped stems have.

This is how I measured them, as you can see there is empty space, thats ok, this is loose recipe, exact doesnt matter here.

Whisk this together into a glass bowl:
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar  (you could also use apple cider vinegar, but I wanted a more neutral         vinegar flavor)
3 tablespoons sugar ( or more to taste, these are very tart, so amp up the sugar if you wish)
1 tablespoon kosher salt ( if you only have table salt, start with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and add up)
1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
1/8 - 1/4 red pepper flakes (or not, if you dont enjoy spicy foods, leave out)

Stir in the stems, mix well.  Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the broccoli, making sure all the stems are submerged.  Chill for at least 3 hours, eat within 2-3 days. 

Salmon Pancakes

This tasty dish can also be made with tuna or chicken, just be aware that the can of salmon I used is 7oz.  Carefully drain out all the liquid before dropping into the mixing bowl, if any puddles appear in the bottom of the bowl, blot out with a paper towel.  Flake well with a fork and then mix in:

1/3 minced onion
If the onion has a really aggressive rank odor, place into a small bowl and cover with boiling water, let sit for about 3-4 minutes, drain well.  This should tame it while allowing it to keep its crispiness.
1 large clove minced or grated garlic
2 eggs
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil ( this is optional )
salt and pepper to taste

Mix well, until the flour and egg are well mixed in, the batter will be on the loose side.  In a nonstick skillet or griddle, 1-2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil.  Heat over medium high heat.  Place large spoonfuls of batter into skillet.  These can be made fairly small, or larger so that you get between 5-6 pancakes per recipe.  Shape into rounded shapes with spoon.

Cook until they are firm enough to flip, around 3-6 minutes depending on your stove and pan. See how the edges are setting up?  These are nearly ready to flip.  I flipped one early to show that its not quite brown enough yet.

 Flip and cook until browned on both sides. Cool if desired on paper toweling, to prevent sogginess.

Want a good dipping sauce on the fly?  Mix 3 tablespoons maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup) and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  You may add minced or grated ginger or a dash of ground red pepper, or black pepper, etc.......

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Packing, Driving and Maid Service PLEASE!

 Sorry I've been MIA for a while, been struggling with depression and body issues.  Part of the depression I managed to winkle out the why of, I'm going to miss my volunteer "job" like crazy.  I love working at the library, love being around the people, books and it gives shape to my day.  Here, I have around 2 hours max with TH before he leaves for work at 5 pm.  Then alone again until he gets up the next day.  There will be something to keep me busy however, more about that later.

Monday night I packed the last of the boxes and suitcases for the trip home.  Finished up on the last few cleaning chores, didn't get to the vacuuming however.  Oh, well when I get home it will need a good cleaning, and it had only been a week since the last hoovering.

Tuesday morning I ate breakfast, packed my bento for snacking on for the drive to Henderson, Nevada, washed up the dishes, put the stacks of items into George and headed out.  And promptly made an error on the freeway, didnt get over into a far enough left lane and ended up being forced off that particular interstate.  So, Martha (the GPS wife) attempted to lead me back on the right path, only for me to mistake her interchange instructions and was again off course.  Finally taking pity on me, and as the freeways filled up, she switched to surface streets and driving became less of an act of bravery and faith and more do-able for me.

Five very l-o-n-g hours later I pulled into the hotel parking lot, after a few misses with off ramps and wrong turns...sigh.  Between heavy traffic, an exhausted driver, and unfamiliar streets it was a crap shoot on how long I would make Martha "recalculate" before arriving at the casino/hotel.  They had valet parking which I took full advantage of, pulled out my overnight bag, and checked in.  Within 10 minutes of checking in, I was fast asleep, and was out for around an hour.

Funnily enough, I had to walk past masses of slot machines, and other games to get to the restaurant and coffee shop and never felt the least twinge about wanting to give it a go.  Mainly because all of the people playing them didnt look the least bit happy, and if I'm going to toss money out, it's damned well going to give me some enjoyment, like a book or a movie or a new big fish game. 

Had a great dinner of gluten free pasta, a nice salad, a glass of white wine, and after watching a bit of tv was out like a light again.  Morning found me back into George with a new location for Martha to direct me to.  Of course you know I got off on the wrong track, but the good thing was, I had forgotten to fill up the tank so the route Martha took me on was lousy with petrol stations.  With Georges tank filled I finally got my shit together and managed to get out of town an off toward Provo Utah.

TH's best friend since elementary school days wanted to drive to Alaska with his son, and he didnt have anything he felt he could trust. And! It got George to Alaska, because the drive to Provo proved that I am done done done with long distance driving at around hour 4.  I will happily sit for 10 or more hours in the passenger seat, but behind the wheel my attention span is remarkably short.

After a nice visit with the long time friend and his wife, he jumped in George and took off, the wife took me to the Salt Lake airport for the last leg of the trip home.

And I arrived home to be greeted by this.....
The entire house looks like this.  The last time he ran the vacuum was December!  The dishes were cleaned up at least.  I have been cleaning and tossing of junk, trash,  been putting stuff away and after a few days of this, the house still looks like a junk heap.  This mess is going to take me a while to win against.

Maybe I should play this song for him daily after I return to Alaska?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

attic monsters

 A dark side of weight loss has reared its heavy head of late, causing anguish.

I've gone from being shaped like so,   l  l  

to this,     ) (

Being shaped like  a tube is easier to forget the whole girl body.   The whole hour glass-ish shape, not so much...............