Friday, July 31, 2015

Thinking of My Dad ...

My father spent several days in the hospital ... I hate being so far away. I wish he had technology. If so, I would send him this video. Dad, thank-you for everything. Don't apologize for anything. You taught your children by example. Never abandoned any of us. And included so many. You are beyond wonderful. You are my Father.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Smothered Chicken Wings

Fall-off-the-bone tenderness with a rich, satisfying sauce.

It's been a rough week at KB since I had to put my cat, Chalk, to sleep. I never realized how much I talked to him. It's a very quiet apartment.

I needed some real comfort food. These smothered chicken wings hit the spot, for sure. And they filled the empty apartment with wonderful aromas that mixed with memories.

It's a cinch to prepare. The gravy is incredible. Serve with rice, noodles, biscuits, or just a good, sturdy bread for sopping all that richness.

I love Bell's seasoning. It is mostly ground rosemary and thyme, so use those two powders if you don't have access to the real thing. Or poultry seasoning. The measurements are approximate, not exact. It's that kind of recipe. The red onion makes this dish. So many onions are now "sweet," I find myself using red ones more and more for their exuberant flavor and aroma.

Wondra flour is superfine and used as a thickener. Use flour mixed with a bit of water if you can't find it. Or use potato starch.

  • 6 chicken wings
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons minced RED onion
  • 4 tablespoons diced celery
  • Finely minced parsley
  • Seasonings: 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon, Bell's [or poultry seasoning], seasoned salt
  • 3/4 can cream of celery soup mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • Wondra Flour

Place wings in bowl. Powder with seasonings and a drizzle of olive oil.

Place in a 9 x 9 metal pan, skin side up. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add butter and sprinkle the celery and onion around the wings. Lower oven to 375. Place back in oven for about 15-20 minutes. Remove. Add the cream of celery soup being careful not to coat the wings. Cover tightly with foil and continue to back for another 20-30 minutes. Uncover. Add about two teaspoons of Wondra flour. Add the minced parsley. Re-cover and back for another 15 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve with rice, pasta or bread.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Good-Bye, Best Friend Ever! You, Wait For Me!

Not an easy day, dear Subscribers. How did I get through this?

I cradled and rocked him. Told him how much I loved him. Thanked him for all that he had given to me through the years, so many years, including the now-beautiful scar above my lip in his early scary, feral days. I wear it like a badge. A wedding ring.

Acute kidney failure.

The last two days, he wanted to sit on the back porch facing the woods. He knew. He loved Nature.

At the Vet's he was so unusually quiet. Tired. Exhausted. His head nestled in the nook of my arm. A slight purr. Tears into fur. And then stares ... beyond the beyond.

For as long as we were together, each day I left where I lived, I told him, "Bye, Chalk, you wait for me."

And he did.

Among hugs, caresses and kisses, tears, deep sobs, those were my last love words to him. "You wait for me." And I know he will.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tuna Salad with Greek Olives, Water Chestnuts and Red Peppers

A more "adult version"of an old standby.

It's easy to get into a rut with canned tuna. Mayo. Celery. Maybe chopped, hard-boiled egga. So I was intrigued when I spotted a recipe on-line with a Mediterranean kick. Unfortunately, I was not at all satisfied with the results and almost threw it into the garbage. Fortunately, I let it sit in the fridge overnight and WOW. All it needed was time for all those incredible flavors to mingle and mellow. We ate it at work as a kind of dip using Scoops. It would be great stuffed into a tomato, maybe with a bit of melted cheese on top.

I used ellowfin tuna in olive oil. It's much "meatier." The first time I made it, I used regular tuna in olive oil which, even after drained, made the mixture soupy. I prefer the yellowfin.

I deviated from the original recipe quite a lot which used celery; instead, I used water chestnuts. I also added green pepper, Old Bay for just a bit of a kick, seasoned salt, and upped the red onion. If you like Kalamata olives, you will appreciate this recipe. It's important to drain your red peppers to prevent the salad from becoming to0 wet. The Old Bay does not make it "hot" or spicy. Feel free to add a bit of Cayenne.

Water chestnuts are a great sub for celery in any cold-salad recipe.

  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2, 5-ounce cans tuna in oil, drained (see notes below)
  • 1, 5-ounce albacore tuna in water, drained
  • 1/2 heaping cup chopped, roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 15 Kalamata olives, drained and sliced lengthwise into strips, some chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts, roughly cut
  • 4-5 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced green pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Remove red peppers from jar and pat dry on paper towel before dicing.

Whisk lemon juice into mayo. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve as a dip with corn chips, as a cold sandwich or open-faced sandwich with melted cheese on top, on a bed of lettuces with fresh-sliced tomatoes, or in a wrap.

Notes: I used Starkist Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.