RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Parsley

Grilled Chicken Breasts and Tomato Mix Bruschetta

We had a nice break in weather yesterday afternoon and T decided he would grill chicken breasts.  It has been weeks since our last barbecue.   I put the chicken breasts to marinate before he changed his mind.  First I crushed some garlic and in a zip lock bag I put some olive oil, the crushed garlic, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a mix of herbs: oregano, sage, and a little parsley.  A couple of shakes of smoked paprika and mixed it up and added the chicken breasts.

I decided it was time we could use some of our cherry tomatoes that I had frozen last summer.  I have been saving what was left of them for exclusive uses… celebrating that spring is springing and that we had some sun and would be having a grilled meal seemed special enough.  I would use a third of them and hideaway the rest for a couple of other exceptional meals for their use.

T cut up the veggies for the bruschetta: red and yellow cherry tomatoes, red onion, green and black onions.  While he was busy chopping I cut the French Bread down the middle and put some butter on to melt adding a small clove of well minced garlic and some fresh dried parsley to the butter.  Once the butter had melted and had simmered just a bit I spread it on half of the bread.  T was through with the veggies about the same time.  We misted the veggies with just a little olive oil and sprinkled some seasoning on them (basically the same mix as I had just put in the marinade for the chicken.) 

While I was broiling the bread and veggies… I decided to throw together a quick apple salad… T was getting the grill ready.  I waited until the chicken on the grill was about finished to add the broiled veggies to the bread and topped it off with some shredded Apple Smoked Gruyère Cheese.  About the time he was coming in with the grilled chicken breasts, that smelled like heaven I put the bruschetta under the broiler to melt the cheese some, just to add a little color.

The meal took no time at all to come together and it was delicious.  All the blends from grilled chicken, the seasonings and the wonderful little tomatoes, crusty bread were a wonderful blend of flavors and textures that we both enjoyed immensely.  The leftovers would be really good tomorrow….

Taken last summer by one of my deck gardens

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Taco Pizza

First I have an update to my last post… Hummingbirds!  I was stating that the Rufus Hummingbirds were late in arriving this year.  While I was having my first morning cup of tea I was watching the feeder and a bright little male Rufus Hummingbird arrived and shortly after he was followed by a female Rufus Hummingbird.  They made repeated trips to the feeder all morning.  It has been a long haul for them coming all the way from South America.  It sure was good to see them!  Before long we will have lots of hummers… the Anna Hummingbirds were not too happy with the new arrivals… but they will get use to them pretty quick.  I will give them a few days to get use to the area again and get settled in before I start pointing my camera in their direction!

Now for the pizza… When my children were young Friday night was usually reserved as  Pizza night.  They loved pizza, and Taco Pizza was their favorite, mine too.  I do not know why we have not had taco pizza in a very long time… I cannot even remember the last time we had it!  T says he has never had Taco Pizza and I have been with him for fourteen years! 

I have to admit at this point in time I have a little secret that I do not tell too many people.  I like Taco Bell Taco Sauce.  Not much else at Taco Bell makes me want to eat there, but I do like their sauce.  I noticed at Amazon the other day when I was looking for some things I needed to buy they had Taco Bell Taco Sauce by the bottle, you had to buy two, but hey… maybe I will make Taco Pizza more than once every fourteen years!

While there I decided to see if they sell Santa Fe Instant dried beans… Santa Fe Bean Company makes the best instant dried beans and has a variety of beans including black beans, pinto beans, southwestern style beans and I think there is one more.  I was introduced to the dried beans several years ago and they are delicious.  The store we usually shop at quit stocking them, we have not said anything… maybe if we spoke up they would restock… but I now know where I can buy the instant dried beans!  I could not make any better beans from scratch!   I do not normally go with instant anything but the taste and texture of these beans is incredible.  They are so good and Amazon did sell them (and at a better price)… you had to buy at least eight packages… but that was okay I love these beans, they are that good, I would give them a high hummingbird score!  They make a nice side dish with so many different meals.

The pizza dough was from Central Market; they have ready-made pizza and sell their dough too!  It is very easy to use and makes it so much quicker to make your own pizza.   There are many good recipes out there for making pizza dough if you want to make your own.  Besides when you are basically for the time being a one-armed person… you take all the help you can get! Once I have the dough spread onto the pan I spread the dough with a layer of the Santa Fe beans I have already made per package directions (you can use canned refried beans or make your own they do not have to be instant beans.)   I spread half of the pizza with seasoned cooked ground turkey meat (when cooking I added some onions and when cooked I add some taco seasoning, chopped fresh parsley and then mixed well.)  Next you will spread on some Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake in 475˚ oven, placing rack on the lowest position for 9-14 minutes… when the crust is golden brown it is done.  Watch it carefully, you do not want to over-cook and let it get dried out!

Once you have your pizza out of the oven you cover with thin sliced avocados, some thin sliced lettuce, thin sliced red onions, and diced tomatoes, then throw on a few black olives.  I put some sour cream and taco sauce into squeeze bottles and put the finishing touches on the pizza.  It was now ready to eat.

T said the pizza was really good and would like to have it again… I do not know why it took me so many years to revisit one of my favorite pizzas; it was delicious and full of flavor… excellent to the last bite ….

Making a good dent!

 

 

Pork Barley Soup and Just Words

Ninnie had a bad day, but you cannot help but love her!

Bear with me today I feel in a ‘wordy’ mood!

Winter has settled in here where I live.  No snow, but cold air, cold wet air… no matter if it is a sprinkle, or a drizzle, could be muzzling, misting, in the form of  fog or even hail, light showers or  a deluge or some call a downpour… raining/torrents of cats and dogs it is still cold precipitation (of one kind or another.)   All always accompanied with grey skies.  But that can be a plus… when the sun shines it is a moment of perceived heaven.  You always take the time to enjoy the flash of rays that cast light… the rare winter sunbeams.  The casting light, reflect… bring thoughts of summer past or summer comings… one thing you know in the great Northwest sun basically makes itself known it seems only in the summer months with little minute sneak peeks during the rest of the year… but what a surprise… an attention getter… it is when beams of the sun rays are blessing you with a fleeting moment of the sun’s light.

We lost our electric the day before yesterday; an abrupt change in the weather front with high winds… I was trying to gather Ninnie and some things to settle in for the afternoon and the wind chimes made me take sudden notice that they were being carried on the wind now hanging horizontally… making mutable sounds as they tried to chime with the same notes but it was as impossibility while wafting on the wind like a sailboat on water.   

About the time I get Ninnie to the back door hail was added to the mix… it was drumming  on and bouncing off the roof and deck so hard it muffled the wind chimes scaring Ninnie to the outer reaches of the yard.   There was no way I was going out into the weather to try to… One… try to catch a terrified… anxious cat, I won’t even go there.  Two… knowing Ninnie like I do (she feels she will melt if one drop of moisture touches her) with wet fur… it always brings out the best in her… not!… Three… one arm people do not have any business trying to save a scared to death cat… nothing good can come of it!    

There was more than one danger in even attempting to do so.  So I stayed in the door frame so she could see me (I wonder does she realize that I do not like being wet and cold either!) until things settled down enough that she would know when she could make an abrupt dash for the door, which is what eventually happened. 

For the rest of the day she was not of very good sorts (take another look at that face… I’ll wait!) I think she thought I brought it all on and I was the only one to blame.    She will soon get over another of what she thinks is a personal attack on her life! Things did settle down quicker than it took the hail to melt. 

The hail was the closest thing to snow we have had this winter (unless a heavy frost counts) here in our neck of the words, I love snow and if it is going to be cold and wet I say let the precipitation be snow, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

We again have high wind forecast for this afternoon and evening.  Everything has been made ready.  Ninnie is not allowed out for the rest of the day, and she is none too happy with me (again.)  She will have to live with it, when the winds start she gets all paranoid and it is hard for her to keep things indexed in her little brain.  Sounds being carried on the wind are hard for all animals’, one of the reasons they bed down.   As soon as Ninnie realizes what is going on she will do what she normally does… sleep through it.  She always sleeps through all the difficult situations in her life.   

So many stories, but have used up my words for today….

 

 

T made pork barley soup today.  It is very simple but so delicious!  I enjoyed it immensely!  The hot broth felt so good going down… his recipe as put to me…  brown some pork in olive oil add a chopped onion and a sliced up clove of garlic, throw in a couple of diced potatoes, sliced carrots, add a small handful of barley and couple jars of water.  Season with some salt and pepper and simmer for an hour or two.   Add some parsley at the end.  He said he just throws it in the pot and if you try too hard it won’t be as good….

 

Baked Halibut Cheeks in Lemon Butter

Living here in the Northwest on the waterfront has its advantages.  Lots of fishing and too wonderful walks on the beach, being a professional beach comber (I love being the first one on the beach after a good ocean churning storm; you never know what you will find.)

Then there is the seafood that you catch, fresh as can be, hook it and in the pan in a few short minutes.  Too you get to know lots of Captains of their own fishing vessels.  T has been around the fishing business forever.  His first job was fishing in the Alaskan waters.  Salmon, Halibut, Crabs, Shrimp if it could be caught he could do it.  As a child he would fish and sell his catch door to door (after his Mother got first choice) to make his pocket change.

One of our friends owns his own Halibut Fishing Boat and each year at the end of season we get several pounds of Halibut Cheeks.  What a wonderful delicacy that melts in your mouth.  We got the call yesterday…  they had just came in from their boat out of Alaska and were on the ferry coming over the sound and we could meet them and get our cheeks, T was off quicker than lighting.  When he got home I could not believe how generous they had been and each one was just beautiful.  We will get lots of wonderful meals with this special package.  We sure are blessed!

Six pounds plus of halibut cheeks, we knew what we wanted to do with them for dinner, bake them in lemon butter… I could taste them as we were getting them in their packets for baking.  I could not wait to sit down and take the first bite.  How many of you have had Halibut Cheeks?  They are so tender and delicious they have an elegance flare with a modishness about them.

Laying there in the rich butter sauce with the parsley floating, they look luscious.  I wanted to set the table with the bone china, but decided against it, the cleanup is so much more and I just wanted to sit down and enjoy our cheeks.

This is so simple to make.  Make a foil pack that will fit the halibut cheeks you are baking.  Rinse and pat dry the cheeks (I love saying that!)  Place cheeks in the pack, one single row, I put the four cheeks and four pats of butter (about 2 tablespoons total,) a pinch of garlic powder, pinch of onion powder, some parsley flakes, sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  I drizzled the juice of one lemon all over the tops of the cheeks.   I put about two tablespoons of water in the pack and sealed the pack shut by folding and pleating the foil closed.

I baked them in a 380˚ oven for about 20-25 minutes.  When I opened the packs lots of steam (be careful) came out, that I have been told means they are done.  They were so tender and looked mouth-watering.  I had everything ready all we had to do was serve ourselves.   Not shabby eating for a Midwestern girl who knew very little about seafood when I moved to the coast.  (just a few years ago!!)

They were just as good as I remembered.  I know you can get these at the fish market and even at some of the food stores, but those given to us straight from Alaska seem so very special.  Thank you James they were as wonderful as usual.   T is going to put in an order for a couple of Halibut heads adds for next year’s order.

With the cheeks we had twice baked potatoes with apple smoked Gruyère cheese  (give recipe at later date) and a wonderful fresh, crisp salad.  The whole meal was such a treat.  I too made a little extra butter with lemon to dip our cheeks in!  We truly are blessed!

We have a special freezer jar in the freezer that we put all halibut juices in, those leftovers after baking.  Once we get a couple of cups we are ready to make a nice pot of fish stew and use it with tomatoes as a base.  It is also good for making a nice white sauce to put over toasted bread or even biscuits with pieces of white fish and a few peas and such… good for any meal!  It is amazing….

The Feel of Summer and Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks

Yesterday was a very rare day; we had sun from sunup to sundown.  There was not a cloud in the sky, and it was the bluest of blues.  What a wonderful day it was and it isn’t even July 4th when our summers usually start.  It was close to 80˚ and a day full of sun, beautiful, rare sun.

It makes one realize what a true blessing good weather is.  It changes the attitude of everyone, even the animals.  I will admit… I spent most of the day outside doing very little.  I was just enjoying the weather conditions that we had not seen for a very long spell.  Too, the weather report is that it will last only a couple of days.  I am going to look at this as the glass being half full and enjoy each minute that we have the sun.

We decided early on to have a barbecue.  Rib-Eye Steak, they are delicious and extremely easy to grill.  The aroma they put off while grilling is incredible.  It had been a while since I have had grilled steak.

The number of times I eat red meat (not including buffalo, very lean) a year could easily be counted on my fingers if that many.  Every once in a while it is nice to have a steak, or for me a very rare (infrequent) Angus beef hamburger.  Generally speaking if I am eating red meat it is buffalo, it is so much tastier than beef and healthier.  I do manage to cook at least one brisket in a years’ time and they have several meals per with so many various ways I can serve it, roasted, pulled, with red beans and the list could go on.

I was raised in the Midwest and the beef flavor is completely different from in other parts of the country, so is chicken.  When we first moved to the east coast nothing compared to the beef from the stockyards of Kansas City and Chicago.  Those that had not had beef from the Midwest had no idea what I was saying and those that had would collectively agree. They knew what I spoke of.  Now the little beef I do cook is organic, and Oregon grass-fed beef, it is really good.

Having not eaten much steak and beef (heavy on the stomach) I knew that the rest of the meal would have to be light.  I decided on roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes and a salad, it was just the right balance and too I had them on hand and would not need to get them at the market.

Here is how we grilled our Rib-Eye Steak:

            Ingredients:

  • 2 Rib Eye Steaks
  • A Couple Tablespoons or so of Olive Oil
  • One Large Garlic Clove
  • Onion Salt to Taste
  • Sea Salt to Taste
  • Ground Black Pepper to Taste
  • Thyme to Taste

Directions:

Earlier I had diced the garlic clove up and put in it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and let it marinate for a couple of hours. 

 I placed the two Rib-Eye Steaks in a shallow pan.   I took the garlic olive oil mix and rubbed on all sides of the steaks.  I then sprinkled a little onion powder, sea salt, ground pepper and thyme on both sides of the steak and pressed them into the meat.  I marinated the seasoned steaks for a couple of hours, turned them over half-way through.  .

 The potatoes I misted with olive oil and sprinkled a little sea salt, with some fresh ground black pepper and chopped parsley.   I roasted at 425˚ for 20 minutes; I stirred them once half way through.  I turned down the heat to 375˚ and finished cooking them, each oven is different, so you will have to watch yours and be sure to stir at least once.

When the potatoes had about twenty minutes left we put the steaks on the grill and seared well and turned, we cooked them to our desired doneness

The steaks were sooo tender, very juicy and full of flavor.   I could not finish my steak will probably use it in a salad or beef stir-fry.   It will be just a matter of slicing and heating it to temperature. I enjoyed every bite at least what I could eat of it.  The potatoes were scrumptious and the fresh salad was the perfect side dish.  We had our dinner outside and enjoyed the sun, the weather was perfect and the food was luscious and a perfect pairing with the weather….

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