It is lunch time and I am grilling my dinner already. My husband works late so I pack his dinner from what I make the day before. He generally eats out for lunch with his business partner or clients but working late requires dinner. I don’t want him having to eat at 9 or 10 o’clock at night so I pack his dinner. And today with the rain expected this evening I am making a simple Shish Kabob.
I picked up a 4-pound roast when I went shopping just for this. I would normally use venison, but I am down to just a little left and don’t want to use it on my kabobs. When you use a roast try to get one with good marbling but not too much fat. Otherwise, use a good marbled steak. Without the fat it is going to be tough even when you use a marinade.
I don’t like marinades if it overpowers the food. There are so many marinade recipes on Pinterest and the internet. But I stick to what I know and love so that the flavor of the meat takes center stage. For my ‘marinade’ I use a cup of beef bone marrow broth (or you can use canned beef stock but add rosemary and thyme to it). To that I add 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper. I cut the roast into squares and place in a vacuum seal container with the marinade. Once sealed I marinade overnight or at least 6 hours.
I prefer to use wooden skewers when cooking red meat. Metal skewers tend to heat up and cook the interior of the meat too much. I like our meat medium rare so to avoid overcooking I use the wooden skewers and soak them for at least an hour before using.
Today I am using large chopped onions, bell peppers and mushrooms with my shish kabobs. I don’t season the vegetables. The marinade and meat along with the smoky grill will add the right flavors to the vegetables without clashing with the meat.
I skewer the meat and vegetables alternating them allowing the meat to be separated to cook evenly. After heating the grill to 450 degrees, cook the skewers turning them after 3 to 5 minutes allowing the meat to sear without overcooking. And there you go, beef shish kabobs! Later I will serve it with rice and squash for my dinner. I made more than enough, and I will show you what I do with the leftovers. I won’t let good meat go to waste.
I thought I would talk a little about cooking with you today. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. It is how I show my feelings and how I like to take care of people. I had written a cook book for my daughter, at her request, and then my computer crashed. I didn’t back it up! Rookie mistake to say the least. When I went to rewrite her another one, by this time she was now severely lactose intolerant. So, I had to set about changing recipes and making new ones to accommodate her needs. I will send her recipes at her request from time to time and started saving them along the way. So, one day, I will have a new cook book ready to go. Until then, I try to make sure I write it down and take pictures of the recipe to have additional backup of my creations.
Growing up in Texas, Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food are my favorites. Grandma made great biscuits, but the refried beans and tortillas were my favorites for breakfast. Our mother made great German style foods. Italian was my go to as a teenager. Mother had a great marinara sauce, but I like mine even better. I loved taking Home Economics in school. It helped expose me to different types of food and how to make a kitchen function well. Trust me, if the kitchen set up doesn’t flow well, neither will your cooking.
As we grow up and get exposed to more cultures, our food sphere expands. I love food. I love figuring out the spices and learning different ways of cooking. From drinks to desserts, I am always excited to taste new things and how it is made. Learning what wines to pair with food, and how to make those cute little bubbles of spirits makes cooking so much more exciting. There is a wine or liquor for every course, I just love it!
I also love setting the table properly. I don’t get many occasions to do that anymore with the kids all grow up. So anytime Marie wants to have a party, I am right there with her. I miss setting the full array of dishes for a table. Berry bowls are one of favorites. Few know what they are, and I love explaining the history of it. My husband and I have yet to really buy a nice set of dishes since we married (both previously divorced). So, you will see a lot of pictures with my deer dishes from good old Bass Pro. But Marie, Marie is the collector of dishes. Part of that is my fault for giving my old china to her. It makes for great occasions when you have an array of different dishes to use and expands your décor options for the parties. To me a good set of dishes/China just makes the food taste better. It can be dishes from the dollar store but if you put in the effort to set a nice table, the food just stands out.
Both Marie and I are collectors of cookbooks. Some we both have, and some are unique to the other. I have been known to take all my cookbooks and stack them up beside my chair for a day of inspiration as I thumb through them. I love to feel the pages in my hands and sometimes the little stores that go along with them are written with the recipe. Don’t get me wrong, Pinterest is great for a quick idea and go to source. But nothing beats a good old cookbook in your hand.
Marie and I are both collectors of kitchen gadgets. Whether it is new or an antique, we both love our kitchen gadgets. KitchenAid has made it even easier with their mixers and all the wonderful attachments. Things as simple as a rolling-pin to a garlic press are so much fun. Pastry cutters and a simple mandolin can take a pie from good to great. One of my favorite ‘gadget’ you could say is my sous vide machine. I love it! My husband’s friend made his own sous vide from a YouTube video. Yeah, that didn’t work out too well. Then another friend who happens to be an incredible chef in his own right, showed me his set up. Again, the set up was homemade but far superior to the other. I opted to buy the actual whole machine for myself. They make an incredible countertop version. You would be amazed all the things you can make in it and how much it will help when it comes to throwing parties.
One of my husband’s favorite meals, venison with a Bordelaise sauce, I use my sous vide to cook. I decided to cook it and share with you how easy it is to make. Since my husband’s hunting and fishing supplies roughly 90% of our meat, I always have something wonderful on hand. With the meat defrosted, I prepared the sous vide machine by filling it with water and setting the temperature. I like my meat medium rare, so I set it for 134 degrees. As the water heats up I season the meat with my go to seasoning of granulated garlic (fresh garlic seems to go rancid when sous vide too long) and Tony Chachere’s Spicy Blend. Then I vacuum seal the venison loins in two separate bags making sure to double seal the ends. Once the water reaches the 134 degrees I place the sealed meat in the rack and set the timer for 4 hours. The venison would be ready in an hour if need be, but I wanted this for dinner, so I set it for 4 hours. The machine will cook the meat to the 134 degrees but never go beyond that and hold it at the temperature until ready to eat.
Sous Vide Empty
Ready to Cook Backstrap
Bordelaise sauce is a fair easy sauce to make. There are many different versions you can find on the internet. I prepare it the way I was taught by a chef friend of mine. I use half of a large shallot chopped (about 2 tablespoons), 2 cups of beef bone broth (I make my own but you can used canned broth and add a demi-glace to it), one tablespoon of butter, 2 cups of red wine (I used a Cabernet, but I prefer a Merlot), fresh cracked pepper and thyme (I showed a bottle of thyme but remembered I just planted some fresh so used it instead). Sauté the shallots until tender then add the thyme (roughly ½ a tablespoon). Then add the wine, broth and cracked pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper so about a tablespoon). Simmer until reduced by half, strain the sauce before serving.
While the meat was cooking I prepared a butternut squash for the oven. Peeled, diced and seasoned with rosemary, garlic and Tony Chachere’s Spice N’ Herbs seasoning. I prepared a baking sheet with foil and sprayed it with avocado oil spray. Oven heated to 425 degrees, I cooked the squash for 20 minutes turn them halfway through the process.
Once the meat was ready, I removed it from the bags and let it sit for a couple minutes. Normally I would have prepared the grill to sear the outside, but it was raining. Instead I heated my skillet until it was hot and seared the outside of the meat. I like the lines the pan makes but I don’t want to cook the meat. I remove it from the heat and use a torch to make the lines darker on the meat and give it a little crunch on the outside. Perfectly medium rare!
Finished off the meal with some English peas and I have a happy husband. Have you tried Sous Vide cooking yet?
I missed the spring planting season. I have everything ready to have an above ground garden but was too busy to get anything planted. (I went to Antique Week in Texas instead of planting). Marie taught me about the cattle feeding buckets and how well they work for growing plants. So, we picked some up a couple years ago from a project my husband has designed. With my little pineapple growing in the yard it has given me a little hope that maybe I can get fall planting going this year.
Above Ground Gardening
My deck was missing some color too. When I picked furniture for the deck I went with a bring red (one of my favorite colors). And we got the outdoor kitchen all set up and our hot tub up and running a while ago. It still needed that touch of softness and color that comes from plants. I picked up some hanging plants from Home Depot as well as couple house plants. I already had five pineapple plants growing in tiny pots and picked up two lemon trees while we were in Texas. My aloe had bloomed several times and out grew its tiny pot so that had to be divided and replanted. I picked up a few herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, mint, rosemary, lavender and sage. My succulents are doing amazing in this Florida humidity and rain so no need to change them. I added a couple blueberry plants to my front yard too. After losing trees with the hurricane my yard is more open and needs a few more plants.
Deck In Progress
Back Yard in progress
My Wicker Chairs
I went to At Home to pick up some new planters for my trees. I also need a few umbrellas for my patio area. Luckily our deck helps with the hot Florida sun, but you do need the cover of shade in the middle of the day. I had already purchased a couple chaise and chairs and cushions early this year from At Home to go with my deck furniture. Our deck was finished last year, and I am still slowly working on it. We got an amazing outdoor kitchen from Lowes. Now I need color, or more color and décor to be exact. It is hard to find things that go with our taste. At Home has great products but not exactly what I am looking for. We have a love for the Spanish décor. My house is full of Mexican furniture and our entry area with the rocks and my metal cactus go well with it.
Relaxing in Red
I broke down and picked up a couple tomato and okra plants for the red tubs to begin our garden area. Better late than never and in Florida it is still good for an early fall harvest. I have four of the eight tubs planted and ready to go. Eventually where my veggie garden is located will have fencing around it to protect from the deer. Hopefully they leave my lemon trees and berries alone, but we will see. I am going to keep my other pineapple plants in pots this time. Add a few more plants for the deck and patio. I take my time and little by little I will get it feeling more welcoming out there. I want it to be an oasis for my husband and me. We enjoy our hot tub and grilling out together.
We had guests over and we went to grillin’. We grilled fajitas and made all the fixin’s… good ole guac, pico, grilled veggies, rice and beans, and don’t forget that homemade salsa. I had promised George and the crew I would make them a pie, to thank them for all the work they had done on the house.
Well I couldn’t make up my mind so… I made two desserts. A friend of mine gave me some extra rhubarb that she had left over from making strawberry rhubarb jam. Oh YUM! That jam was delicious. So I made a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.
Since I was making two desserts, I kinda cheated and used Pillsbury pie crust. I do that sometimes when I’m in a hurry. No one ever notices that it’s not my homemade crust. Or maybe they just don’t say anything. Well I think it taste pretty good to me. For the Cobbler itself all I did was mix rhubarb cut up and strawberries chopped. ( I leave my strawberries pieces big. ) I don’t really have a recipe, so here is what I did for this large casserole dish.
I used about 5 cups of rhubarb chopped in about 1/2 in or so pieces
about 3 cups strawberries chopped
about a cup of sugar (depends on the sweetness of your strawberries my strawberries were really sweet)
3-4 tablespoons of tapioca to thicken (I had some on hand but your can thicken with cornstarch)
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons or so of orange zest
Just mix all the ingredients together and put in a pie or casserole dish. I didn’t put crust on the bottom of this cobbler I just topped with crust. You can even do a dump type crust with this cobbler. Bake 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until crust is nice and brown and cobbler is good and bubbly.
If you need a specific recipe to follow because sometimes I do. I found this one on-line that is real similar to what I made. Strawberry rhubarb pie
My second dessert was a lemon meringue pie. It must have been good. I didn’t get a picture before it was sliced. And all that was left was one slice by the time I had a chance to take a pic.
I couldn’t find my recipe for lemon meringue pie that I usually use. But Lil Biv had made this pie filling before and it was so good. It didn’t make as much as my recipe does but boy is it good. So here is the link to the Lemon Meringue Pie. And it is so yummy! I may have to bake 2 pies and see which I like better. My recipe or this recipe. Now for the meringue I used 6 egg whites and half the sugar and sometimes I use cream of tartar when making my meringue. People think meringue is hard to make. It is not.
Chill your bowl in freezer
only use glass or stainless steel bowl
Make sure the bowl is good and clean
do not get egg yolk in your whites….any fat at all with keep meringue from fluffing up
beat on high-speed… I mean high
slowly add sugar and if you have fine baking sugar use that. (but most of time I just have regular cane sugar on hand and it it’s fine.)
add cream of tartar if you want stiffer peaks than what is forming.
whip until peaks are standing up
Next time I make meringue, I will try to remember to record the process and show y’all. I’m trying to get use to this blogging stuff. And I know I like lots of how to pics. I promise to get better with the pictures.
What are some of y’alls favorite pies to make? Please share, I love new recipes to try!
Y’all have a blessed day today. Stay cool in this summer heat.
It has been so busy the last couple of weeks that I haven’t even had time to sit down and write. I’m not much of a writer anyway. I have always wanted to journal. Every time I start, it just doesn’t last very long. I don’t know why. I tried to journal when I went to Haiti a few years back and I only wrote down my thoughts a few times. So if you read my blog, please excuse the grammar and punctuation mistakes, but I hope you enjoy what you read.
Since my house has just gone through a bit of a remodel in the kitchen and painting in the living room, Misha and I quickly added some of my paintings and decor back to the walls before the graduation party a couple of weeks ago. I am still deciding on what to put up in places but so far I like what she and I got done.
In the living room my favorite wall so far is the one by the back door. Misha suggested we put all the pictures with blue hues in them. So I have a beautiful canyon painting by Cal Gaspard and also the watercolor of ducks is a Cal Gaspard original. Little Duck picture was done my mother-n-law. I love all 3 together. And I think the cotton in the glass jar adds nice height.
I always decorate my wood burning stove for the holidays. So out came some of the summer decorations. I think I need a different plant in the star box. My ivy just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe something a little more vertical? What do y’all think? We hung one of my favorite paintings that my mother-n-law. I am always drawn into that painting, wondering where the path leads.
We added some color to the couch with some fun holiday pillows we found at Pier One.
This wall is still in the works. It is a large wall and I usually group all my paintings together there. But it was time for a change. So my paintings have been put to use throughout the room and we hung the shadow box I had done for Jeff as a Christmas gift. It is his father’s sailor suit from the Korean War. I love the picture of Bob. He was such a good-looking man. And that is the flag from his funeral. The buckboard bench, I think balances out the wall. I am going to hang black and white photographs on this wall. I have a little start with the ones of Jeff’s parents and grandparents.
How should I put up other pictures? Should I use only black frames or should I do some black and some white frames. I think I want all the pictures to be black and white though… what do y’all think? I really could use some help on this one.
I’m sorry I haven’t posted. I feel bad. You would think that summer would slow down…but I have a busy little 13-year-old now. Biv turned 13 on Monday. My last teenager. Will I survive?
Our trip to Texas the end of May was amazing. I love the ranch! My nephew Belvy graduated. My sister’s construction is almost complete. We threw the graduates a great party. And we got to spend time with friends and family.
My darling husband unfortunately said he caught a cold. We all say it is allergies, but he is adamant that it was a cold. It was his first time to be at the ranch in the spring. So, he had a few days where he wasn’t himself. Otherwise, he was working fences and having fun. He loves working on the ranch and sweating it up.
Marie and I dragged our husbands for a little couple’s time to Grandbury. It was early in the week so unfortunately the brewery wasn’t open, and neither were the museums. But we had a great day of shopping around the square and lunch at Fuzzy’s. One of our favorite shops is The Wagon Yard. It has incredible furniture and décor. Jeff tried on a Viking hat. It didn’t fit his Cro-Magnon head…hee hee hee. We stopped at the Panhandle Gourmet Kitchen Shop. Oh, the smell of fresh coffee just takes you over. I love all the kitchen gadgets and cookie cutters. I really should have bought the coffee! The Paisley Buffalo has really cute clothes. Marie had me try on a little romper. Wish it had fit me. Mimi & B’s is an eclectic array of wonderful. Marie got quite a few things and so did I. Had to get a little sass for my kitchen. But one of my favorites is Brazos Moon Antiques. If the hubby had not been with me, I would have gone crazy in there. It was a wonderful day with our hubby’s.
Sweet morning fog
View in the morning from Mimi’s house to Marie’s house.
Waking up on the ranch to me is so peaceful. The little white house is now known as Mimi’s house. Yes, I named it after myself and yes, that is where my husband and I stay when we visit. It gives us a little privacy and gives Marie’s family time for themselves. Not that we are at the house long other than to sleep. Jimmy is either working with the boys of hunting. I make my way up to my sister’s house as soon as I am dressed so we can start our day. But Marie decorated it so nice for us at Christmas. Next year they should be doing some updating on it, so we can’t wait to see what Marie does with it. We have been pinning for a while ideas to decorate it.
Floating with Mama
Life of a spoiled dog.
Refreshing isn’t it Mama?
Florida Cracker is one handsome man!
Texas Ranch and Florida Cracker
We are now buddies.
After all the work and adventures of the week, Sunday before we left was spent relaxing by the pool. Sammy finally got in the pool with me. We floated around with him on my shoulder. A few crazy trips down the pool slide and some rest on the chaise made it a great ending to a wonderful week. I miss the morning sun and sitting on the porch swing. The view of the cows in the pasture and sweet Charlotte in her pen. There is nothing like Texas and there is nothing like going home.
The pantry door is done! I talked about my fetish with old doors in a blog back in May. When One Door Opens… Well my pantry door is installed.
The door came from the first house that Jeff and I lived in. It was the kitchen door. We had built on to the back of the house and took out the door. Being the hoarder of old treasures, I still have it after 26 years. And now it is my pantry door. I simply love it. Please excuse the china cabinet. I’m still working on my display. Not quite sure of what I want in there. Pretty sure I want to display my Western Ho dishes.
What do Y’all think about my door?
Any suggestions on how to display my dishes. The cabinets are narrow and short so I can’t put in my dinner plates or platters but need to organize bowls, mugs, and small plates.
We stripped down the cabinet to show off some of the original green paint. It went from solid white to this gorgeous distressed look.