My friend Alexis, my wing pup Beau and me drove to Liberty Lake WA. This small town is the last city on Interstate 90 before driving into Idaho. There is a very large county park. Some of the features are the circle of very large Cedar Trees, a waterfall, an arduous hike to Mica Peak 5,241 feet above sea level. Our goal was to walk to the Cedar trees. When Beau was half the size he is now I brought him for a walk. He got spooked and ended up in my arms, whimpering about the unseen villain hiding in the dense brush or beyond. He recalls the smells of the past but he is more mature and was inquisitive to the sounds. Including the deep sonorous grumblings of frogs in the large marsh. About ten minutes into our walk we were swallowed by the forest. The temperature dropped dramatically. Serenity and quiet at times belied what lay beyond our visions. Beau although on a leash was busy checking out every plant and opening in the seemingly dense forest. After a while we heard the burbling of a brook tumbling down from the upper reaches of the watershed. Beau to our surprise ventured into the fast running water several times at three of four places along the trail.

Beau and Allan by the stream


We had walked and talked for over an hour and never saw or heard anyone We did see a woman and asked how far the Cedars were. She purposely gave us the wrong information. I often wonder what goes on in My someone’s brain.She told us it was still a long distance when in actuality if was perhaps ten minutes away. I was heartened by the fact that my hips gave me very little pain as in the recent past. I’d like to go back when it is cooler and try for the falls. Beau hiked the five miles without out to much stopping. He did sleep all day afterward. A day pass costs each person $2.00. Here is a link for information on the Park link

An Impromptu Tuna dinner is always fun.

I’m lucky to have this delightful young family living across the street across the street. They have three munchkins under five years old. Beau, my wing pup loves playing with the kids because he can reach all the faces to kiss the children. One of their friends gave them some flash frozen tuna and they wanted to know if I news how to prepare these succulent pieces of meat. After the fish was defrosted with help of cold running water. I took the fish out of the bag and patted it dry I then added the rub to the meat and placed it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When using this delicate meat on a barbecue you are required to have very hot briquettes for the tuna. All you are trying to accomplish is a char on the outside and warm pink meat on the inside. This should not take more than 3-4 minutes per side.
You could use mandarin oranges or take an orange remove the pith, cut the pods in half; wilt the spinach . Make the sauce, shred the Reggiano Parmesan cheese. Now that everything is ready quickly char the tuna. PLEASE DON’T LEAVE THE BARBECUE. Remove from the intense heat and slice into 1 1/2″ slabs of meat.

Here are the recipes for this dish:

Ingredients for the Asian spice cure

1 tbs. Lapsang black loose leaf tea
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 tbs. sea salt or Kosher
1/2 tbs. black pepper

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. If making ahead store in an airtight container.

VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients
1/2 tbs. lime juice
1 1/2 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. orange juice
1/2 tbs. minced ginger
1 tbs. scallions
2 tbs. mirin

Parmigiano-Reggiano
Directions
1/2 cup shredded

1. Combine all the ingredients.
2. Transfer to a heavy bottomed saucepan and warm gently.
3. Set aside

Prepare the spice cure

1. Lay the fish on a plate and rub the spice cure over both sides.
2. Cover with plastic wrap.
3. Lay another place of the same size over the fish to create some pressure
4. Cure of 4 to 12 hours in the refrigerator
5. Unwrap the fish and cut into 4 equal pieces.
6. Heat the wok or skillet over high heat add the olive oil.
7. When hot cook the fish quickly to desired doneness (1 1/2 minutes to3 minutes per side)
8. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm

Prepare the swordfish for the plate

1. Slice the fish against the grain 1 1/2 X 3/4 ” pieces.
2. Arrange them around the edge of the plates like numbers on a clock
3. Place the mandarin orange slices beside the Tuna
4. Drizzle the warm sauce over the spinach and tuna.
Tuna by its very nature goes well with a variety of wines, a Spanish roséis perfect with seared tuna. You could use a heavier red of a strong white wine with this dish.

The phone call I had dreaded for almost ten years occurred yesterday. One of my peers passed away this last Saturday evening. I was saddened by this loss on so many levels. I’m 77, and my friend is only six years older than me; not a great span of age differences. What is dissimilar is he was the first friend to die since I was a very young man. I spent the rest of the evening mentally cataloging the different levels of our twenty-plus years of friendship. “We had shared many things we had in common. Leo was a gourmand and an aficionado of fine wines. We for a brief time lived in the same neighborhood, and we created a pathway along the back of the houses where we traded tastes of wine or a new recipe. My friend had a wicked sense of humor; my favorite of his barbs was “if it had four legs it was meat. Two-legged animals were vegetables. The overarching legacy to our friendship was laughter and not worrying about our bodies, and mind may be one-day betrays our lifestyles. If I had to enumerate the funniest moment in our friendship, I’d be hard pressed, because, on our first overseas trip together, Joyce (his beloved wife) and I traipsed across Spain for ten days of nonstop laughter, great meals and wines. We were three seniors acting like twenty-year-old kids, which were this trio. That trip I suppose had one of the funniest moments wasn’t either him or me instigated but Joyce, who in the opinion of many as the consummate lady, gracious, genteel (not a sissy) and rarely swore, unlike the two reprobates who tended to use colorful language often. When Leo or I swore, she just shook her head as if to convey I’m with two boors. It was her time to drive; she was also the chief navigator. She turned down a street and said loudly “what the f**ck I turned at the wrong spot.” As soon as the word was uttered Leo, and I instantaneously shook our heads and then we all laughed. I’m sure this wouldn’t mean much to anyone reading this, and that is okay. This writing isn’t for you rather for Joyce her children and me to codify my admiration and love for this man. Leo was an Armenian man who shared with me a Jew about the legacies, he, and I shared; GENOCIDE. I was hoping to surprise him and show up at their doorstep and fulfill a promise that he and I would go and see the movie coming out on the 21st of this month entitled “The promise” that deals with the holocaust of Armenians at the beginning of the last century. I’ll go see it alone. He and I had fundamental differences regarding politics, but that never stopped us from being good friends. We were more complex than allow our friendship be ruined by differences politically. My dear friend Leo, you left us far too early, and I’ll miss you forever. Be at peace, be at peace Leo.

Smoked Pork Loin with Coffee and Chocolate Rub

Just reading the words smoked pork loin with coffee and chocolate makes my salivary glands begin to work with anticipation of something extraordinary.

Anyone can make smoked meat even without a proper smoker; and here is how. First for the person (who like me uses charcoal). Depending on the size of the barbecue you need to have a portion of the base to place a container filled with water. For this particular dish, I used my smallest Weber SMOKEY JOE® 14″. I chose an aluminum single small bread container.I have one of those chimney charcoal starters. When the charcoal was turning gray I lifted it out of the base and placed the mini loaf to one side and the charcoal on the other side. I filled the container almost to the top with hot water. Adjust the upper and lower vents. Because it was a small roast I checked on the meat after 45 minutes. Now for the gas folks, you need to turn off one or two burners depending on the size of your machine If possible, place a tray filled with water on the nonworking burners. If not possible rest it on the top of the grate. If you have a larger barbecue, Weber has larger trays and they can be found at Home Depot, Loews, and some supermarkets. One more statement before the recipe. Because the rub has so many different levels of flavor I chose not to add aromatic wood (hickory, apple, cherry alder, and mesquite).

INGREDIENTS

1 2 pound pork loin
3 1/2 tbs. ground coffee
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 tbs dark brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all the dry ingredients listed above, whisk well
2. Massage the rub into the meat cover the entire roast in the rub
3. Rub the oil all over the roast.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours preferably overnight.
5. An hour before you start the smoker remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up before putting on the grill.

The Smoker

1. Prepare the barbecue or smoker with water and charcoal. If your barbecue is large 18-22 inches you could use the larger Weber tray and have charcoal on either side of the tray.
2. When the charcoal is beginning to turn gray place the pork loin in the middle or side.
3. Adjust the vents to keep the coals from burning rapidly. you want a slow steady heat around 225 degrees. No higher
4. An instant-read thermometer is an essential check the doneness of the meat. after 45 minutes and every 15 minutes thereafter and removing the meat at 160 degrees.
5. The meat will continue to cook while resting.
6. After 10 -12 minutes you may slice the meat, it should be moist with a rim of pink near the surface, this is normal for smoked meats.
7. Serve with the peach mustard recipe will follow.

Peach Mustard

I use E.D. Smith peach mango orange spread. I purchased this at Costco
2 tablespoons of the peach spread and one and a half tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
whisk the two ingredients together until smooth.

Enjoy!!!

Gonzaga Basketball Buffet

Gonzaga basketball team is very exciting in this collegiate March madness. I didn’t want to miss any of the action on the television, so I made this buffet dinner for three people. My little wingman Beau my pup doesn’t count despite his best to find one of the three of us weak and give him some human food. The menu consisted of homemade bagels, chicken tenders marinated, Pork loin lightly smoked, wild caught smoked salmon. cream cheese spread infused with dill and also, plain cream cheese, peach mustard, and dijon mustard, diced red onion, large capers and sliced tomatoes please note due to the length of some of the recipes they will be on another page
Here are the recipes

#1 Homemade bagels

For the sponge
1 tsp. instant yeast ( I use Saf-Instant Yeast, 1 Pound Pouch)
4 cups unbleached white bread flour
2 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2/12 cup room temperature, if you have heavily chlorinated or particularly hard water Peter Reinhart recommends using bottled spring water. More on Mr. Reinhart at the end of the recipes.
Using a spoon, combine in a bowl of a stand mixer the flour, yeast, and water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature fo 2 hours or until the sponge is foamy and bubbly.

For the dough
1/2 tsp. instant yeast3
3/4 cups of unbleached white bread flour

Great tasting homemade bagles


2 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. barley malt syrup or honey

To finish

1 tbs. baking soda
A large pot of boiling water

1.Make the sponge as directed above
2. With the mixer running on slow speed add the following in this order, yeast, then three cups of flour and add salt and malt syrup or honey (I used Agave syrup)
3. Mix until the mass forms a ball
4. slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour
5. Let the mixer run for about six minutes, turn out onto a damp area to knead the mixture until it becomes satiny but not tacky.
6. Add a few drops of water or a bit of flour to get the desired texture.
7. Transfer the work surface, then divide into 12 pieces (I use a scale to get a uniform size for the bagels)
8. One at a time, cup each piece in your hand and firmly press it into the counter. Move your hand in a circular motion and pushing down.In a short time, the dough should form a tight ball
9. Cover the balls with a damp cloth and let them rest for twenty minutes.
10.Meanwhile, line two baking pans with parchment paper
11. Lightly mist the parchment paper with cooking spray.
12. To shape the bagels, pick the dough pieces up one at a time and push your thumb through the center

The buffet table


13. Gently rotate your thumb around the hole to stretch them about 2 1/2 inches wide.
14. Try to keep the bagels evenly shaped (no thick or thin places) on the bagels
15.Arrange the bagels on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.
16. Mist the bagels lightly with cooking spray, then cover with plastic wrap and let them sit another 20 minutes at room temperature.
17.Refrigerate the bagels overnight (or up to 2 days)

1. When ready to bake arrange the oven racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the tablespoon of baking soda to the water
3. Have a slotted spoon at the ready
4. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently place two or three or as many as you can comfortable place in the pot into the boiling water.
5. After one minute, flip the bagels over and cook boil another minute.
6. If wish a chewy bagel extend the boiling to 2 minutes on each side.
7. While the bagels are boiling sprinkle on the parchment paper liners with cornmeal or semolina flour
8. As you remove the bagels this is the time to add toppings, such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, thyme or large salt crystals
9. When all the bagels are boiled and topped place the pans into the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pans 180 degrees, switching shelves, at 450 degrees for an additional 5 minute or until they are a light golden brown
10. Let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Some pointers to make this expedition easier> I have 8 small ramekins and I fill them with the toppings I am going to use. The batch I made for the game, 3 were poppy seeds, 3 were a combination of dry thyme, finely chopped onion, I put a twist on the salt instead of white I used black large crystals on two and lastly 2 plain bagels. Although the time spent is around 15 hours only about an hour is active. One of my daughters attended Johnson and Wales University where Peter Reinhart teaches baking and this is his recipe.

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