Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ribs!!

So DH and I decided to do something a little different for a meal yesterday.
Normally we are fairly conservative...well, DH is conservative, I tend to be a little more adventuresome at times.

Anyway....our local supermarket had a special on pork back ribs and as I had seen a few rib recipes and DH had sampled some ribs recently, we decided that we would bite the bullet and try BBQ'ing our own.  

We were initially surprised at how long it takes to cook them on the grill, however, we set up our times, and in the end, it was still a late dinner but that wasn't a problem, because we had a late lunch! 

The recipe we chose (recipe meaning basically the rub) was entitled Memphis-Style Ribs which is available on the Simply Recipes blog . It was suggested (after applying the rub) to "marinate" several hours or overnight ( we chose about 6 hours) then  to cook 4-8 hours at 220 deg. (we ended up 3 1/2 - 4 hours at 275 deg).
 A few pictures.....

This was right after we applied the rub....note the dryness.....


These are within minutes of applying the rub...note the subtle changes in texture....the moisture is starting to appear.....

This is after the 6 hour "marinating" time...note that the dryness has pretty much disappeared and there is a definitely moisturized coating....almost a glaze with spices.


The final product after nearly four hours of grilling off the flame at about 275 - 300 deg. F.

They were quite delicious and very tender, nearly falling off the bone, which makes eating it sooo much easier. We served it up with steamed baby potatoes and coleslaw (from a homegrown cabbage!!)

So now we have done this, we are in a position to change up the rub...to add our own take on spiciness so to speak. There are pros and cons to removing the inner membrane, we left it on with no ill effects. It's not a difficult dinner to make, just time consuming...although once you put on the rub and let sit in the fridge, you're free to do whatever, and then grilling it is basically a "check back once every hour" thing to flip the ribs. No basting required (with this recipe anyways) as the the fat bastes itself....at least that's what the recipe says....and it seemed to work.

So....I would consider this cooking experiment a success.....and there is some left over for tonight!!

Slainte!!




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I am still around!!

Yes....I am still here, albeit somewhat battered and bruised and hot and tired....but here nevertheless.
We are going through a rather hot period in the summer (isn't everyone??) which is peppered with thunderstorms and lightning and unending heat.  I say unending, although, looking at the weather forecast, there may be a drop in temperature by about 3 degrees over the next little while....woohoo! I shouldn't grumble though, because a few degrees is better than no change. We were away when the heat attack struck and when we arrived home it was 39 deg. Celsius....which is nothing if you live in Arizona, or Texas, or even some parts of eastern Canada....but for us....it was close to a knockout punch!! We now luckily have a portable air conditioner, as we are not blessed with central air.....so, as a friend said, the bedroom is now feeling somewhat like a meat locker!!! Cool!!!! (literally)

It's been a busy early part of the summer with trips to Portland, Alberta, White Rock and Langley and a visit from our family, but from here on in, we're pretty much around home, tending to the garden and catching up on reading and other things.

Lots to talk about in the days to come, so I'll close this for now and head to bed to curl up with a book. Chaunce is shaking his head and stretching...."Time for bed Mom, get a move on!!"

Talk soon
Slainte!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Basil Time!!! Can you smell it??



So the weather has been relatively normal....and my basil survived until now...and probably later if I had let  it. The thing is...our climate is so dry up here that tender plants like basil seem to last a bit longer than in a wetter climate (like the coast).  However, there were signs that the night time coolness was taking it's toll....brown spots on the leaves etc....so, I thought that yesterday I would pick it all and then sort it today. 
And I have done that.
Picked Basil - unsorted....this is about 1/3 done.
I usually pick pretty much everything and then go through it all piece by piece and separate the good stuff from stems and the tatty stuff which I set aside for basil broth. What is basil broth you ask?? Well...it's the broth that I get when I boil the stems and tatty leaves of the basil plants in water ( I guess one could call it an infusion) and then strain it (thoroughly) and freeze it. It's a wonderful way to season soups and sauces. The good basil leaves I usually grind up in the food processor and add olive oil, pack it into smallish containers, top with plastic wrap and the lid of the container and freeze it for winter pesto. Please note that I rinse everything thoroughly to get garden dirt and dust off  before making the broth or the ground basil.

Here is the sorted basil (about 1/3 done)    

...and here are 1/3 of the basil stems and tatty leaves.
 

 The whole process is somewhat soothing....the scent of the basil on my fingers, the sounds of the birds etc in the yard as I do it on the back deck for the most part, it's quite a calming experience.  All in all a job well done and will prove to be fruitful in the winter...and tasty too!

Slainte!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update after the summer.....

I know, I know....it's been a while....
Life is busy, and my mind is at times (more often than not) squirrelly.....
Quick update:
  • We are new grandparents...again, a beautiful baby boy weighing in at 9lb14 oz on August 14.  Mother and son are now doing well and we will see them up here on Canadian Thanksgiving.
  • Had a wonderful time in Osoyoos, BC, visiting wineries, having moonlight swims in the lake and thoroughly enjoying our yearly reconnect with friends who holiday at the same time every year.It was incredibly hot for September ....in the high 30's Celsius so I spent a lot of time in the air conditioned room catching up on my reading and snoozing....I don't do high temps very well!! We had our daughter and son in law staying as well for a few days,to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation!We came home with a fair bit of excellent wine from some new (to us) wineries, some new estate wineries and of course our favourite Desert Hills. We also made our yearly stop at Tickleberry's  for the best ice cream ever!....and ......the ladies went for a Spa Day followed by lunch...I had a pedi and my tootsies are quite colourful.  The pedicure included a foot massage....and really!!....I had no idea that a foot massage could feel soooo good!!  Bliss!!
  • On our way home from Osoyoos, we picked up some tomatoes and apples and thus when we arrived home (after unpacking etc...) DH made 2 large batches of his "world famous" tomato sauce, and we made 3 large apple pies. Also, I managed to pick up the ingredients for my mothers recipe of Cucumber Relish and so we made about 18 pints of that....and in amongst all the chaos of preserving we had to clean up the garden, harvest tomatoes (still more to do) pick basil (still more to do) and in general try to make order out of the well watered (by helpful brothers) garden that had become quite overgrown in our absence of only a week!! Of course, after a mighty windstorm last night, further cleanup and repairs are necessary.....sigh!! 
  • It is also the official start of the symphony season this coming weekend...and yes, I am still playing in the orchestra. (Note: on the Home Page of the orchestra...there is a slideshow of pics on the right....the one with the timpani player and the hornplayer behind him?....the hornplayer is me!) It's a great concert .....Nordic Sojourn with challenging music and a wonderful soloist. I have had my head down (no...not sleeping!!) listening to much of the music to get it into my head and know my part. Our rehearsals start on Thursday night, with two more on Friday, one on Saturday and the concert Saturday night.
  • As for health issues....nothing new there...just the usual, arthritis, back, fibromyalgia.....etc..etc...and I am working on acceptance of me as I am, not as people want me to be. It's complicated and not something I really want to go into here....suffice to say, I don't want weight to be the focus in my life any more....I do want healthy living and happiness to be the focus. I may talk more about this at some point....just not now. 
  • Our dear little pooch, Chauncey the Bichon, is suffering from knee problems and back pain. He will at some point have to have surgery to correct the knee problems and we are dealing with the back pain with an doggie anti-imflammatory. So.....he gets more lifting rather than jumping, but he still loves his walks with DH and he quite enjoyed Osoyoos, after all he got to walk at least 4 times a day!! 
I do believe that's all for now....I know I continually promise to keep this updated and I will try.....but then...I had a good nights sleep...I'll promise anything after a good night's sleep!!

Seriously though.....I will try to do better!!

Slainte!
        

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday morning.....

I have written about Mondays on my other blog but this is about a summer Monday morning....or at least an early summer Monday morning.

I could not get myself out of bed before 9 this morning........
However, once done, and after DH headed out to his workout.....I grabbed a large coffee and the paper and sat out on the deck/patio for a while, read and absorbed the ambiance of a young garden, a robin picking at the strawberries and the cackle of the magpies. It was lovely, not too chilly or breezy....just perfect.

I then headed in to make up my breakfast bowl of strawberries from the garden (picked by DH before the robin has his share), French Vanilla thick yogurt, chia seeds,  a dusting of Kashi Go Lean and topped with a small spoonful or two of cashew butter. It was delish....and I read my book of the moment whilst eating.....The Strangeness of Beauty by Lydia Minatoya.... Reading while eating is supposedly a no-no, but it works for me!!

I then grabbed my second cup of coffee and headed down to sit at the computer for a while.

All in all....a good start to the week.....:-)

Slainte!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anniversary day....

It was our anniversary yesterday. We did our usual Saturday morning thing….well not really usual…we didn't go to the market, however, Chauncey got his walk.

We had decided that a road trip was in order, so we headed out to visit a new winery in the area….Celista Estate Winery on the north side of Shuswap Lake in the North Okanagan, just over an hour east of Kamloops.  It was quite lovely as were the owners of the winery, Margaret and Jake Ootes. The wine was excellent, we did some tasting and bought a few bottles and then Margaret  gave us a complimentary bottle of white wine (Cuvee) for our anniversary....... totally unexpected and a delightful surprise!
Some pictures of our excursion.....
                                                                                                                                                     
 
This is their living quarters (I think!) with the Tasting Room on the ground floor......with picnic and patio tables dotted around ......
 
...one of the many gorgeous views....

More view....

 
...the vineyard ....still early in the season.... with beautiful Shuswap Lake in the distance.

one of the many beautiful plants around

...closeup .....
.....their wine....delicious!!

 The drive there and back was interesting…so many changes in the area since we were last there. We then stopped to admire the loaded apricot and peach trees at my brother's home after which, happily for Chauncey, we headed home for a rest before going out to dinner.

In the evening we headed out to Storms restaurant in Kamloops for our anniversary dinner…..it's on the river and we had asked for a window table, although if we go later on in the summer I believe I would like to have a table on the patio overlooking the river. Tonight it was just a tad too breezy for me.  Some picture memories of the occasion.....sorry I have no pictures of actual food....it would have taken away from the ambience to be clicking over our plates.....so the pics are after the fact .....:-)
DH

Me

Together...

Our lovely waitress Haley....and the menus (she was so patient with us!)

Our appetizer....one shared...sooooo good!!!

DH's 9 oz and tasty...

My entree....excellent!!





We did have dessert....a Banofee Pie (Banana Toffee) for me and a Truffle Mousse Cake filled with chocolate for DH!! They were exquisite!!  Unfortunately the picture of the dessert menu was terribly blurred ....so you only have our word for it!! :-)
....and as for our wine..... Rigamarole from the Okanagan Valley's Artisan Wine Company....perfect compliment to the food!!

Dear DH and I have been together for 36 years and married for 34….and I wouldn't have it any other way.

To the love of my life….Happy Anniversary !!!

Slainte!!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Nut Butters, Breakfast cakes and mangos......

So I have just a few interesting little food items that I have tried and quite enjoyed and so....as such...I .am sharing them with you.

First of all, I have become a devotee of nut butters other than peanut butter. That would be almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter etc...etc...etc.. Imagine my delight when I realized that I could actually make these myself and add some extra flavours to boot.

This information I got from Kath Eats and another one from (if I remember rightly) one of her followers in this post of Kath's (don't forget to scroll down for the recipe.) My first attempt at almond butter was ok....but I found it to be frustrating because of the size of my food processor.....too little food, too big a processor....and also I found it too easy to burn the almonds when roasting them. My solution... buy already roasted almonds and add the molasses and maple syrup into the mix. So the next time I did the Almond Butter, I doubled the recipe and it made a large 1 litre canning jar....which lasted for quite a while. As for the pumpkin seed butter, I ran into the same problem so I also doubled the recipe and bought already roasted sunflower seeds. I have no pics of the almond butter, but I have some of the sunflower seed butter.....finished product only I'm afraid and please excuse the bits of butter on the counter....I was in a hurry to get the photo done :-)
The other food item I have tried out....this morning actually...was a Breakfast Cake, which originated from Kath Eats  but was changed slightly and posted by Marissa on her blog Loser for Life. I changed it yet again by substituting applesauce for banana and kamut flour for oat bran.....the changes made because of grocery shortcomings....in otherwards I didn't have any bananas (an unusual occurence) and I didn't have any oatbran.
So....here is the finished product....
and then toppd with Maranatha Almond Butter .....
It was quite filling and pretty tasty, but I did have to cook it for about 3 minutes in the microwave and it is very moist. I'll try it with the bananas and oat bran at some future time and see how it works......The good thing about this "cake" is that it is very quick to put together and cook in the microwave.

It never fails to amaze me how many different ways there are of preparing food.....a few years ago nut butters were not even on my radar. I thank my lucky stars that I have a daughter who is a total foodie and loves to try new things. She has opened my eyes to the myriad of options out there. For example... I happened to pick up some Ataulfo mangos   (they were on sale)and was raving about the good buy to her and she said...".oh yes they are the best....they are the only kind of mangos I get".....and they are the best....so sweet that I now just peel them, cube them, sprinkle a little 5 spice powder on them and have them as a side to my lunch time sandwich. The produce manager in our market calls them the cadillac of mangos. I guess it's the season for them now because they are always on sale and nice and ripe too.

I could go on and on about the new methods and ingredients and recipes I am trying, but suffice to say....I'm having a blast!! My interest in cooking as been renewed !!

There will be definitely more posts on this topic.....but that's all for this one.

Have a great day!!

Slainte!!