Chicken a l’Orange with Quinoa

This is a simple, economical, nutritious recipe that I whipped up because we didn’t have any brown rice; quinoa is too blah to just dump mushroom soup on; so I looked in the refrigerator for alternatives. It turned out to be a refreshing change of pace. It is simple to throw together. Here goes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 Chicken Legs (Breasts would work just as well, if you prefer white meat)
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • ~3 T Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Oranges

In a medium sauce pan, toast the Quinoa in the Avocado Oil until aromatic, then add water, juice of one orange, and 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon and boil for at least five minutes, stirring often. Cover and turn off heat. Peel and segment two remaining oranges. Spread the Quinoa in a 10″ x 13″ baking pan. Lay the chicken pieces on top. Slice lengthwise and butterfly spread each segment of the oranges and place them on top of the chicken and the rice. Sprinkle remaining Cinnamon over the chicken. Add a few ounces of water to the pan. Bake at 375ᵒ for about an hour, until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ᵒ.

Serve it with a green vegetable of your choice or a salad, and you have a balanced meal. We had Brussels sprouts.

Poof da boona!

Ginger, Artichoke, Pepper, Pumpkin Soup!

Last Spring I was at the Perelman Center at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for some tests and orientation prior to my open heart surgery. I found this wonderful ginger, artichoke and carrot soup at the little lunch bar off the lobby. It was one of a couple of dozen choices. I spoke with the chef who made it and gave him my compliments. Today was my second attempt to  produce something similar. My first attempt was a complete failure. It was totally overpowered by the ginger. Today, I needed to make lunch and we didn’t have any meat to speak of. We will be feasting tomorrow. I have lots of pumpkin that I froze last month, so this seemed like a simple, healthy meal for the eve of the feast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart processed Pumpkin
  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 Carrots
  • ~ 1-1/2″ fresh Ginger, peeled
  • 2-6 oz. jars Cento quartered, marinated Artichoke Hearts (Cento has 4% DV sodium compared to 18% for most other brands.)
  • 2 green bell Peppers
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 6 grinds Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil

Directions:

Thaw the pumpkin ahead of time. Pour it into a medium sauce pan. Start heating on low heat. Stir frequently. Rinse out the remaining pumpkin with the water into Ninja blender. Add the Carrots, Ginger, undrained Artichoke Hearts and Green Peppers. Pureé this mixture thoroughly, then add it to the saucepan. Press the Garlic onto a cutting board and let it sit for 15 minutes before adding it to the saucepan. Have a larger pan with water in it to set the saucepan in, to form a double-boiler. Stack them and use it like a double boiler to avoid scorching the soup. Add the Nutmeg, Black Pepper and Olive Oil. Let the soup heat for an hour or more. 6 to 8 tasty servings. It needs no salt.

Pumpkin Gumbo

I have made several different pumpkin soups. This one was a real winner! I know this is not the season for it, but the scraps of paper I wrote the recipe on just percolated to the top of the pile, so here goes.

Take 1 large pumpkin and remove the seeds. Cut it up and boil until soft in a stock pot. Remove pieces and puree in a food processor. Set aside.

Finely chop 1 large celeriac in food processor, then toss it into the stock pot to start simmering it in the reserved liquid from boiling the pumpkin.

Finely chop 1 fennel in food processor, including the fronds, and toss it into the stock pot.

Remove the stem from 1 eggplant, then finely chop it, peel and all, in the food procesor and throw into the pot.

Finely chop 3 leeks in food processor and throw it in the pot.

Slice 1 head celery and 1 pound okra in food processor and add to pot.

Add the pumpkin back to the pot.  Set it up double boiler style. Continue to stew.

In a large cast iron skillet brown ~3-1/2 lbs. of ground beef in 2 T olive oil.
Season it with 2 T salt, 1/2 T black pepper and 2 T basil
Add it to the pot and stir it in.

Add 2 t nutmeg, 2 t ground cloves, 2 t cinnamon and 2 T cocoa powder 

Stir regularly. Stew for a couple of hours. It serves a crowd in a very happy, healthy way!

pumpkins

 

 

Avocado Fried Rice

redriceThis is something I just whipped up this morning as a side dish for breakfast. It was so tasty, I made it for my main dish for lunch! It’s super easy. We had leftover red rice. It had been boiled with nutmeg in it to give it some added flavor. This morning, I put some sesame oil in the cast iron skillet and heated it up; cube a haas avocado and fry it in the oil, then add some olive oil, then add about  cup to a cup and a half of the red  rice. Fry it up on high heat, turning frequently, until it is the desired crunchiness or softness.

Bon Appetit!

Yellow Split Pea Ham Soup

A couple of weeks ago I made the best split pea, ham soup we had ever had. We had a shoulder ham with a good joint bone in it. I went to Assi Market (a Chinese supermarket) with my daughter and granddaughters to buy some seafood, gluten free noodles and green tea. Rather than making another stop, we looked for split peas there. The only selection they had was a four pound bag of large, yellow split peas. I normally use green, but these looked healthy, and convenient, so I went with them. This was the second stop. I had already picked up celeriac, onions, fennel, and garlic at Produce Junction.

Start with the Broth. In a 10 quart pot, simmer:

  • 1 ham bone
  • 1/2 celeriac, cut in chunks
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 2 tops & fronds of fennel
  • 5 cloves of garlic

Simmer until a nice aromatic broth is created. Strain the broth. Boil in the broth:

  • 2 pounds yellow split peas
  • 1 pound carrots, chopped extra fine in the Ninja
  • 1 large onion, chopped with the carrots in the Ninja
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed

Add ~1 Tablespoon turmeric and generous grinds of black pepper. Add cubed ham back to soup. Warm a bit longer. Serve. It is thick and hearty, and oh so tasty!

Mango Ginger Pork

The name is practically the recipe. It’s that simple!

Last night, we had failed to thaw meat for dinner, so I scoured the meat case for a bargain. I found a pack of about 3-1/2 lbs. of boneless pork loin cuts for $2.49/lb. I usually like to do these on the Weber Kettle charcoal grill to add that smoked flavor and keep them tender. It was a miserable rainy day. I had to get creative. I grabbed a box of Mango nectar on sale for 80 cents and we were good to go!

When I got home, I fired up the oven at 350º convection to start warming up. I got the 15″ cast iron skillet off the wall and heated it up with some olive oil coating the bottom. Then I barely seared the pork in it. I sprinkled a generous amount of ground ginger on top and poured as much of the liter of mango nectar as would fit in the pan; probably about half. I put this in the oven.

DSC02887Then I got out the rice cooker and put the Three Continent Grain blend into it with the appropriate amount of water a glug of olive oil and a half teaspoon of nutmeg. After the pork had baked for about 10 minutes, I turned on the rice. When the pork and rice were done, I heated peas. Pictured here, is broccoli. These are leftovers reheated for lunch. Yum! I get the grain mix at Costco, but I called the manufacturer. It can be obtained at Acme, SafeWay, BiLo, etc., all across the country. It’s great stuff, and far superior nutritionally than standard white or brown rice. (I usually don’t plug products. I should have arranged to get something for this.) You may find availability and more info at info@earthlychoice.com

The rubber ducky is on the table, because it was in the kitchen to get washed while I am painting the duck themed bathroom where it usually abides. There will be more about that in another article.

The pork was a huge hit! It was savory, juicy and tender. It was done in about 30 minutes. This is a salt-free recipe that won’t leave you looking for the salt shaker. The ginger gives it that snap! The mango gives it mystery. It’s not expected. Most will not guess it. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it’s good for you, too.

If you like what you read and you want to help me to be able to keep cooking and writing, as well as to keep serving the poor, please consider making a donation below. Thanks.

We are trying to save our house from foreclosure. You may make a donation via The King’s Jubilee using the Paypal button below or go to GoFundMe and help us out there. Thanks!



Blizzard Jonas Flaming Hash

Tuesday, we were finally able to get out and about after a fine young man with a pickup truck, plow and a snowblower, dug us out Monday evening for 20% of the going rate. We had not prepared for this blizzard. We  had left our snow shovels in the shed attached to the barn at the back of the lot. We left our cars parked in front of the barn, instead of next to the house, close to the street. I was pre-occupied with cooking a hearty chicken soup to serve on the street in center city Phila. that night to the homeless and poor and those working outreach, etc. Then I got a migraine in response to the weather system moving in. Bethann was concerned about me, so she forgot about moving the cars, etc. (When I get a migraine, there is a real risk it can cause a stroke. I have had at least six strokes and over 40 TIAs. This is why I am disabled.) So I stayed home Friday evening as the storm was starting, and sent Tony and Will, TKJ’s best driver, to the city to serve.

I grew up in Minnesota. We were required to read O.E. Rölvaag’s book: Giants in the Earth in 8th grade English. I think it was because his son, Karl, had recently been DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) governor. The most memorable thing in that slow moving plot was when Per takes what he knows is an impossible walk into the blizzard and is not found until Spring. When they venture out, they find his corpse sitting on a haystack. He had been so close to his destination, but snowblind, cold and disoriented, on a fool’s errand to satisfy ceremonial religion. It is an important piece of literature on the harshness of the environment and how it informs our values. Back to 2016.

So I go to the grocery store on Tuesday in Bethann’s car. I find I can buy avocados, fresh peppers, onions, all manner of produce from all parts of the world, just two days after the worst blizzard in 20 years to hit us! What an amazing age we live in! This recipe celebrates that. Yes! This entry is about a recipe. Here goes!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Glugs Yukon Jack 100 Proof
  • ~1-1/2 lbs. 80% lean ground beef
  • 2 Avocados diced
  • 1 Orange Sweet Pepper diced
  • 1 Sweet Green Pepper diced
  • 1 Sweet Red Pepper diced
  • 2 small Yellow Onions diced
  • 3 Red Potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 4 oz. “White  Cheese”
  • 3 cloves Garlic pressed
  • Black Pepper Grinder
  • Paprika
  • Coriander
  • Red Pepper
  • Turmeric

Directions:

In a 14″ or 15″ skillet, begin to brown the Ground Beef & Onions. Chop and add Peppers as they are ready. Sprinkle Paprika, Coriander Red Pepper Turmeric as you are going along and stir in. Add the Avocados. Grind coarse Black Pepper over the mixture, as well. Press the garlic over and stir in with your spatula.
When everything is about done cooking, glug the Yukon Jack into the pan and turn up the gas burner to full. Watch it catch fire for a moment! If you’re not cookin’ with gas, have a butane lighter handy to light it up. You have to be quick. It’s only 100 proof. 😉
Grate some cheese of your choice over it. We had a little yogurt longhorn or somesuch. I grated it over the pan and covered to help it melt. Feta would work. Blue cheese would be my first choice. Whatever goes with the wine you’re serving!

Enjoy! The settlers never roughed it like this!

Our house is not just our house. It is also the base of operations for The King’s Jubilee to which we have dedicated our lives and resources for three decades. It is also a small native plant refuge for birds, insects, butterflies and small mammals in the middle of an old borough in part of the urban sprawl outside of Philadelphia. If you want to help us save our house you may make a donation via The King’s Jubilee using the Paypal button below or go to GoFundMe and help us out there. Thanks!



40 Year Skillet Maintenance

When Bethann and I got married in 1975, we received Corning Ware Centura dishes with matching cookware that was supposed to be unbreakable, oven to freezer to microwave, last forever. We had four daughters, worked full time, rehabbed a couple of houses we were living in; exercised radical and exuberant hospitality and disproved that theory, or whatever it was. When those unbreakable pans hit the floor and broke, they shattered with panache! (Let it sink in. … OK … now ,,, both parts? groan?  Thanks.)

So we replaced the dished with cheap apple stoneware dishes for years. They take up too much room in our limited cupboards in our current old house, so we bought speckled enamel tinware in Amish country for our everyday plates. We can fit so many in our cupboards, we don’t need paper plates any more for parties. That’s right, the post is about skillets!

Back in 1975, we were given a set of three cast iron skillets. We have probably used at least one of them almost every day since. That set cost far less than a placesetting of our CenturaWare® or than one Corning® pan. Cast iron is superior to Teflon® for several reasons, the most significant of which is the production of it does not poison seals at the North Pole. If we had been given Teflon® pans, we wouldn’t be talking about them now. They would be long gone. Any bits we would have ingested would have been carcinogenic; whereas bits of cast iron pans are iron, which most people need in their diet.

Cast iron skillets take some basic maintenance. We wash them with hot water and steel wool. Then we put them on the stove with the flame on low to dry. Occasionally, if it looks too dry, we put a little olive oil in it while it is still hot and rub it around evenly with a clean rag or paper towel to re-season it.

After 40 years of use, your pan may look like this:

Medium Skillet with 40 year accretion of crud
Medium Skillet with 40 year accretion of crud on bottom

It was time to take action to restore this skillet, so it could continue to serve for another 40 years. It was simple, I took a spent oscillating cutter tool blade and scraped the accumulated charred crud off the bottom and outsides of the pan. Then I scrubbed it with steel wool and rinsed and repeated. Then I finished by scouring the bottom and outsides with comet and hot water with steel wool and rinsing thoroughly.

Almost done.
Almost done.
Good for another 40 years
Good for another 40 years

Now it should take less energy to heat and cook. It will distribute heat more evenly, like when it was new. So mark your calendars to do your 40 year maintenance on all your cast iron skillets. It works the same way for Dutch Ovens, too. With them, you could probably get away with 50 years, as there isn’t so much stovetop use.

This was one of my “sidetracks” from home repairs. I get in the mode of fixing things, then that mode sort of generalizes in me. I get sidetracked onto these little projects as breaks from the bigger ones. Not to worry, I did manage to finish replacing the fan in the upstairs bathroom.

I work on these projects and write about them to combat my severe depressive disorder and cPTSD. Maybe you find something helpful.

This house is not just our house. It is also the base of operations for The King’s Jubilee to which we have dedicated our lives and resources for three decades. It is also a small native plant refuge for birds, insects, butterflies and small mammals in the middle of an old borough in part of the urban sprawl outside of Philadelphia. If you want to help us save our house you may make a donation via The King’s Jubilee using the Paypal button below or go to GoFundMe and help us out there. Thanks!



Sweet Ginger Pepper Sausage Stir-fry

I can’t just leave well enough alone, as they say. When I am left to make dinner for the family, and there is one kind of meat thawed, by now, they are still expecting to be surprised. This night the meat was a pound of hickory smoked, 100% beef sausages from Shady Maple, Lancaster, PA. They were the size of 10″ long bratwurst. I cut them into 1″ to 3/4″ long pieces and started to heat them in a large, cast iron skillet in some olive oil. Immediately the quartered rings of a yellow onion were added, then the halved strips of a yellow, red and orange sweet peppers were added.

The heat is on. The juices are beginning to flow. But the dish lacks inspiration. So, I grab a bottle of ginger brandy and glug, glug, glug, glug. Yes. All four glugs into the pan, over the contents. Then I turn up the gas a little more. I go to the freezer and get out the frozen corn. I threw a couple handfuls of that into the pan. and stir that in. I keep cooking and stirring until the brandy has a chance to seep into everything a bit. Its alcohol is bubbling away, leaving sweetness and the ginger.

O man! It was good!

Quinoa Cocoa Cinnamon Avocado Mango

That’s about all you need to remember for this dish I created tonight. It was delicious, nutritious, gluten-free, no added sugar, and has chocolate.

cocoa-powderIngredients:

  • 3 cups organic quinoa
  • vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 6-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • 4 Ataulfo mangos

In a large sauce pan, toast the quinoa in a thin layer of oil to bring out the flavor. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add the water, cocoa & cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Pit & peel the avocados and dice into the pan. If they are ripe enough, wisk them into the slurry. Peel & dice the mangos & add them. Boil for about 6 minutes, then cover. Remove from heat and let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer it to a suitable bowl or casserole dish for serving  and cover and put it into the refrigerator to chill.

It is mildly sweet and goes well with salad and/or soup.

Ku méejtech uutsil!