Conroe Saturday AM market

  (Conroe, Texas)
Exciting ways to use Produce
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Tart Cherries and Golden Honey Melons

I have spent an hour learning how inhumanely we treat certain animals before they arrive on our dinner plates. These articles were being read before I decided what dish to create for bible study tonight.  For our meal at family group tonight I have decided to bring the healthiest food I have in the house. I have diced half of a Golden Honey melon mixed in honey an Tart Cherries. I have included an article that speaks volumes to me. With an Olympic hopeful son and my personal physical soreness that I feel upon awakening each morning. Learning to live with less pain at our house is important.

 

Science backs benefits of tart cherries for treating pain


Research supports tart cherries for controlling pain.

Researchers are again touting the benefits of tart cherries that they say can be a treatment for millions of pain sufferers with arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions, without side effects of medications that often lead to complications and more prescriptions.

Tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food

In findings presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco, California, Scientists even went as far to say that tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food.

Even the researchers are intrigued by the notion that food can control pain to the same degree as pharmaceutical medications, but without the side effects.

Previous research has suggested tart cherries inhibit enzymes in the body that are linked to pain in inflammation.

Kerry Kuehl, M.D, Dr.PH., M.S., Oregon Health & Science University, principal study investigator said in a press release, "I'm intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit – especially for active adults."

The study found just how good tart cherry is for controlling arthritis pain when researchers enrolled 20 women with osteoarthritis in a study, age 40 to 70.

The women drank tart cherry juice twice a day for three weeks. At the end of the study they reported a significant reduction in pain.

Drinking the juice, or eating cherries also has health benefits because the fruit is rich in antioxidants and can help you get a good night's sleep because they contain melatonin.

Osteoarthritis is common especially among athletes because it develops from wear and tear on the joints. Pain and inflammation associated with the condition is the result of cartilage breakdown.

Studies also show tart cherry juice could help athletes recover from pain after strenuous events. If you suffer from joint pain, check out this recovery routine from sports dietician Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D. LDN, CSSD, called the “red recovery routine”. It’s possible to control pain and inflammation with a simple dietary intervention, which is good news for millions of pain sufferers who need to avoid medications that can interact with other prescriptions and cause side effects.

 
 

As the flood waters rise, How bout a big pot of Soup ?

Oven damaged during June 12 storm may soon be repaired and I will be able to bake again. Meanwhile as we get ready for rain that may last for five days. The obvious meal for My Wife and I was a large pot of Vegetable Chicken noodle soup.

I created classic homemade Chicken noodle soup, with large dice Chicken, Onion, Celery, Carrots and large Egg noodles.

Looking at the pot I wanted more so out of the fridge came Eggplant that I peeled and diced large. From the back of the fridge came a mason jar of pureed Okra, Onion and Tomatoes. I used the puree to thicken a broth soup that needed more umph!. My Wife added crackers, I was satisfied  making the soup thicker with the Okra puree.

We will continue to watch the flood waters rise and be happy are tummys are full and satisfied. As the week progresses I will add other veggies to keep the soup pot bottomless. I will likely even introduce Bologna or P-nut butter and jelly sandwiches as the flood waters rise.

Will Conroe's Farmers market be open ? I am sure it will be. Elvis from Pea's Farm and Chef Michael have been there during other torrential down pours. The rain is supposed to last for five straight days, till next week Tuesday. Stay dry readers, unless you are from the Southeastern states. Get your Pot of Soup started and share your best creation.

 
 

Kale Crisps were not for My Wife

I was in a cooking mood tonight. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Rice, Kale Crisps, Italian Meatballs. These were all separate meals for different days. After researching Kale Crisps I decided on this method of preparation.

I oiled my fingers with Canola Oil and rubbed the bite size pieces of Kale before lining them on a cookie sheet. I then sprinkled very lightly with Sea salt and Old Bay seasoning. This was placed in a 350F oven for 15 min. When I pulled them out I found the Kale pieces took on a paper thin, fragile feel to the touch. My Wife using all her bravery tried a tiny bite. The look on her face was tell tale. I know she will never try Kale again, unless I hide it in something.

Sausage Chicken Gumbo over Brown Rice was our meal for tonight. Diced Chicken tenders, Italian sausage and Pork were sauteed.Fresh Tomato, Okra and carrots were added. Black pepper and meat first Chicken base with fridge vegetable juice were added for seasoning. Brown rice was boiled separately in corn water. And thick slices of Rye Bread from a round loaf was offered for dipping.

The Italian Meat balls made with ground Italian sausage and Pork will be served in a few days. I will have to create a bland sauce because the meatballs were over salted. And eight of the forty Meatballs had the crumbled Kale Crisps added in. Almost forgot to mention I sprinkled Honey over the Crisps to make them tastier. Let us see if hiding the Kale in the Meatballs gets a thumbs up.

kale chips
 
 

Mother's Day Pot Roast and Pie in the Sky

Yard work , Detailing a VW Beetle that I am selling, and preparing Mother's Day Pot Roast. All in a Days work. Upon arriving home from church I scampered into the kitchen, set the oven temperature to 400 F. I retrieved from the fridge a pan of pot roast that had been marinating overnight in Balsamic vinegar and SamM salsa. I set the timer for 90 min. placed the roast in the oven and went outside to start on the lawn

 

First I want to clear up SamM salsa; I created two versions of it. They both started with Fresh diced Roma tomatoes, Fresh diced White onions, Fresh diced Yellow Bell peppers, and Balsamic vinegar. To the first bowl for My Wife I added Fresh Oregano. To a smaller bowl for myself I added a Fresh Salsa pepper. I marinated the Roast over night using My Wife's version.

The lawn took one hour. With thirty minutes of roasting time to go; I large diced Fresh Baby carrots and a large potato. Retrieved vegetable water from the fridge and boiled these root veggies till they were crunchy.The timer went off on the roast . I saved the water from the boiling pot for another day and added the vegetables to the pot roast. Over the top of the vegetables and roast I poured more Balsamic vinegar and My Wife's SamM salsa. Back into the oven it went at 350 F for forty minutes. And I went back to filling lawn bags with leaf debris. I had seven bags of debris to fill so I filled three, returned to the kitchen to pull the roast and potatoes so it could rest and filled four more lawn bags outside.

 Dinner was served soon after. My Wife praised me for it. The salsa with Balsamic vinegar gave it a restaurant flare.I was pleased My Wife was happy. Our daughter took Mom out for dinner yesterday . Our Son called from Alabama and sent his Mother a picture of the Steak and potato lunch he created for her. {Of course he ate it in BAMA} So off to sleep for a one hour nap. And then I remembered I needed to vacuum out the VW I am selling. 

Now for Pie in the Sky. A new vendor came to Conroe Market this weekend. Representing vegetables grown along side a Tilapia fish farm pond. And she brought pies from her daughter's Pie in the Sky company, Awesome pies. The water from the pond is filtered through rocks and used to fertilize the vegetable garden inside a green house. The process is referred to as Aquaponics. The Salsa peppers came from this vendor.

If you live near Houston,TX check out my 2000 New Beetle in Spring Texas on Auto Trader. Needs engine work.

Pot Roast

 

 
 

Balsamic Chicken instead of picking up Son at airport

Fred is back in the kitchen. I was supposed to go to to the Houston airport tonight to pick up our Son flying in from Alabama. Severe weather that left Houston heading East towards Alabama has cancelled all flights. Our Son was coming to surprise a former high school friend for his birthday tomorrow. That meant we had him to ourselves until he was ready to announce his surprise arrival tomorrow.

Instead of a restaurant visit after we picked up our Son, I have returned to the kitchen tonight to make Balsamic Chicken. My Gout has subsided enough to allow me to move around easily without excessive pain. Most gout attacks only last for a few days. I will forget I have this condition before I have the next one. There are several precautions I take to alleviate the possibility of attacks. Sleep patterns, Diet, Relaxation Exercise, ETC.

To create Balsamic Chicken I have covered Chicken Tenders with Balsamic vinegar, Roasted Purple onion centers, Parmesan Cheese, and over My Wife's Chicken; Bacon Strips. This has all been placed in a 350 F oven for one hour. We will also have Fresh green beans sauteed with Fresh baby carrots; seasoned with Fresh Oregano. For desert we will hold onto each other and share why we missed having our Son to ourselves. When he arrives tomorrow he will go straight to his friends party and we may see him briefly on Monday before we return him to the airport.

 
 

Italian Sausage and Chocolate Cake

I will start with the chocolate cream frosted chocolate cake. I went to the grocery store and found a one quarter sheet cake that had flipped over. As is store policy, it is put on the discount cart at a reduced price. With luck on my side I spotted a 49 price tag for a $17 dollar cake. I passed by the customer service desk and asked if the price was right. With hands raised the service rep exclaimed, " Yeah, I guess so." When the scan gun at checkout could not read the price. I fussed; and the customer service rep approved a $0.49 price override. Who was happier with my Chocolate on Chocolate cake ? Me ? or My Wife? : }

Upon returning home I started a 350 F oven. Into the oven went a Rice pilaf topped with Parmesan cheese from Saturday that had been cooked in reserved Corn beef juice. On the stove top I started sauteing Green bell pepper and Purple onion strips, To this I added seven Italian sausage links. When both sides of the sausages were done I covered the sausage with a roasted Tomato, Green bell pepper and Purple onion mixture.

Here is how I prepared the Tomato, pepper onion mixture: A few days ago when I sliced several Onions and Peppers I saved the pepper ends and onion centers. I took these food scraps and baked them in a 550 F oven until they were black and the onions tasted sweet. After they cooled I mixed in a mayonnaise based Southwest sauce. Next I blended all of this in a food processor and placed them in mason jars until I needed a flavor enhancer.

While the Rice and Sausage baked for forty minutes I started a pan of boiling vegetable juice, from the fridge, that I added Corn on the Cob to. When the corn and juice came to a boil I turned off the heat and added margarine.

As My Wife finished her meal this evening she wanted more corn. I offered Chocolate on chocolate cake. Her eyes lit up and she said," SURE." What a wonderful end to a meal I had planned all day while at work.

 


 
 

King Ranch Chicken from Linked-in and DDDives

King Ranch Chicken is the talk of the town this week. Mark Cosgrove started a discussion on Linked-in asking Chef's around the country to submit recipes and ingredients from their region of the United States. Chef Michael Fleshner responded with this comment 1) Cilantro 2) SamM Salsa 3) King Ranch Chicken. Guy Fieri the host on triple DDD {Diners Drive-ins and Dives} did an episode tonight from Georgetown, Texas where he demonstrated making King Ranch Chicken from scratch.

Let's start with the origin of King Ranch Chicken: Sadly, the history and origin of King Ranch Chicken is a bit murky. While the name invokes that epic south Texas ranch—so gigantic it covers more ground than the state of Rhode Island—the ranch claims no ownership on this recipe. Some surmise that perhaps it was a ranch-hand that developed the dish, but this has not been proven. Then there are those who say someone tacked on the name “King Ranch” because that ranch is emblematic of the state itself in both its size and its myth. Yet one has to ask why the recipe calls for chicken, when both the ranch and the state are known for its beef.

  On Triple DDD they sauteed Fresh Celery, Bell Peppers, Fresh sliced mushrooms added flour to make a roux and finished with Chicken stock, Cream and Ro-tel tomatoes for a sauce. And then built the casserole layering sauce-corn tortillas- shredded cheese and baking at 359 F till golden brown.

And now another version:  Are you familiar with Chicken A La King? It’s a creamy mixture of chicken, mushrooms and bell peppers served on toast. Now let’s take a look at what makes up King Ranch Chicken: chicken (of course!), bell peppers, cream of mushroom soup, with the addition of tomatoes and green chiles (such as a can of Ro-Tel), all layered on corn tortillas. Do you see where I’m headed with this? I believe that someone added ingredients found in traditional Texan dishes—such as the spicy tomatoes and corn tortillas—to their traditional Chicken A La King recipe. In naming this new, Southwestern Chicken A La King they added the word “ranch”—because it conjures up a certain Texan feeling—and did away with the “a la.” And voila! King Ranch Chicken.

Which ever version you choose:

1)Guy Fieri's demonstrated Fresh version or 2) Open all the cans mix and assemble version, Enjoy this awesome southern Texas casserole during your next rainy or cold weather evening. I will be in the kitchen till mid night preparing a dish that brings tears to my eyes remembering my first exposure when I arrived in south Texas and Chef Michael showed me how to create this tasty casserole.


 
 

Turkey Pot Pie that was Sooo! Good

If you had to freeze any leftover Turkey over the holidays; bring it out now and thaw it out. And then do what I have done. From your local market, Farmer's or otherwise, buy Maple flavored bacon, Meat first Chicken base, Bake potatoes, Celery, Baby carrots, Baby spinach and and Onions.And for the crust we will use Filo dough.and Parmesan cheese 

Now start a pot of water(2qts) and 2 Tbsp. of chicken base. Dice up 2 lbs. unpeeled potatoes,and 1lb. Baby carrots. Bring this to a simmer and add in all the Celery top leaves shredded. In a saute pan fry up the maple bacon with diced Onion and Baby spinach. Add this to the poy of veggies and turn off the fire. Now take all your thawing Turkey remove from bone and seperate any sinew (most found in Legs). Chop up the Meat. My Turkey had been cooked with Fresh peeled Grapefruits and Lemons. This was also choped with the meat. Bring it all back to a boil. Add Fresh Thyme, sage and black pepper. thicken with Roux ( Heated Butter and Flour) or corn starch and water, or whatever method you use for thick gravies. Pull pot from fire.

Now the fun begins, Spray or oil the bottom and sides of a casserole dish. And begin covering the bottom and sides with 3 layers of Filo Dough. Brush butter or oil between layers.Bake in a 375 f oven for 30 min till Dough is golden brown. Pull from oven and pour cooling Filling into pan 1/4 inch from the top. Add Filo sheets one at a time brushing each layer with Parmesan cheese and melted butter. when you are finished assembling ( approx. 6 more sheets ) top the final Filo dough sheet with extra Parmesan Cheese 

Understand that if you want the family to explain that this is sooo! good Be sure to use the Filo dough and Parmesan Cheese. And recall all the happy holiday memories.

 
 

No meals today; Just advice for the cook

7 Kitchen Tricks You Should Know

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Ironically, many of the following tricks for fixing common kitchen dilemmas aren’t widely known. But tuck them in your proverbial apron and you’ll have a far easier time resolving the following problems next time you face them:

1. How to Open Stubborn Pistachios
Pistachios are way too expensive to waste. Yet many of the delicious roasted nuts arrived in shells with little to no opening. Rather than attempting to bite them open or ruin your nails in a struggle you can’t win, next time try this foolproof method for opening stubborn shells: Take one half of a shell, stick it into even the littlest opening of an unopened pistachio, and turn the shell half like a key. The pistachio will pop right open!


2.
How to Easily Remove Egg Shells Dropped into Eggs


It happens to all of us: You crack open an egg and a tiny piece of its shell falls into the bowl along with the raw egg. If you’ve tried to get it out with your finger or a spoon, you know the slippery dilemma you face. Next time, wet your finger with water before attempting to fish it out. You’ll be shocked at how easily it can be grabbed and eliminated.

3. How to Make Burnt Pots Look New Again
Considering how much a nice set of pots and pans costs, you’d expect them to be easy to clean. But even the best stainless steel cooking gear gets black with use and cooked-on remnants.  If you’ve attempted to scrub them clean you have probably succumbed to the notion that they will never glisten again. But, if you spray pots with oven cleaner and leave them for a couple of hours the grime will wipe right off! Likewise stainless kettles.


Gadgets That Make Cooking More Fun

4. How to Refresh Crystallized Honey


You know that jar or bottle of honey that’s hardened and crystallized on your shelf?  It can easily be brought back to its easy-to-pour glory if you let it sit for 15 minutes in boiling water that has cooled for five minutes.


5. How to Soften Hardened Brown Sugar
Brown sugar hardens as its moisture evaporates over time in the cupboard. But you can easily re-moisturize it by placing the open sugar bag in a microwave with a cup of water next to it and zapping it on high for three minutes. Or you can place the sugar in a bowl, cover the sugar with a double layer of wet paper towels, and then cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and let it stand overnight.


6. How to Remove Stains from Wooden Cutting Boards
Can rings and wine and strawberries stains don’t help the style of your cutting board. To get out stains, try sprinkling the board with salt rubbing it with lemon. For more stubborn stains, try an abrasive antibacterial kitchen cleaner and scouring pad. For the toughest, reach for sandpaper! And of course wash thoroughly afterward!

Beautiful Clocks for Every Room

7. How to Salvage Overripe Fruit


Fruit is expensive, yet it goes bad so quickly and easily. But you don’t need to toss your bruised or overripe bananas, peaches, or strawberries. The minute you see your fruit going bad, wash it, slice it, peel it (in the case of bananas) and freeze it in sealable bags. Then you have instant smoothie or pie makings anytime!

 
 

Slow cooked Roast for 5 hours

I looked at the forest fire updates and noticed it still shows the fires missed my nieces apartment in Bastrop TX. by one block to the east. And the fire near Magnolia came up to the southern boundary of the property in Todd Mission TX. where they hold the Texas Renaissance Festival. http://www.texrenfest.com/ The Ren Cen Fest will begin as planned on Oct.8, 2011 according to the official site

Dinner this evening was started at 1pm. 275 F for a 5 pound roast of beef. I placed fresh sliced Spanish onions. Juice from the current SamM salsa {diced Tomato. Spanish onion,Variety of Bell peppers, Star Crimson pears and 1/4 cup Rice vinegar Balsamic style} Red Bell peppers and 2 Tbsp of Rosemary from Penzy's spices, on top. At 4 pm the wife pulled it out of the oven. At 5pm I placed the roast back in the oven after dicing {one inch cubes} of the Large bake potato and tossing them in the pan juices.The oven temp. was raised to 350F.

As is often the case the wife and I ate our dinner finished two different ways. For the wife, I thinly sliced 2 pieces of m.well beef placed them in a bowl with the oven browned potatoes . Poured pan juice on everything and cut a OROWeat sandwich thin in half for her. For myself I created a sandwich with the OROWeat thins. Two slices of Beef, Blue cheese dressing , SamM salsa and on the second sandwich I sprinkled Parmesan cheese. I also had the Oven brown potatoes. For dessert we finished the hot Banana pie with Chocolate swirl Ice cream, Chocolate topping and the fruit compote from our Anniversary Dinner.

 


 



 
 

Ten years after our 18th Wedding Anniversary

Ten years ago the wife and I woke up to America being attacked.  We were frightened for our family's future. Today I can say," We are O K !" The weather in Conroe was a perfect 75 F degrees and no wind. We arrived at market and visited with Jeff from Jeff's Fine Furniture to learn about his weather station clocks made on mesquite.Saw Scott with Scott Miller Photography and asked about fire fighting photos. Tammy from Scentsy had a story about the wild fires reaching to within a mile of her home. 

When we made it to Pat from from Peas Farm we were ready to buy produce. I picked up one Avocado , one Large potato, Tomato and several Green peppers. I also found Pears, Peaches, Plums, Kiwi and 30 Bananas. Dinner at my house this week will be an Adventure.

I am going to start with our Anniversary dinner. I baked a steak in a 400F degree oven for 45 min. that had Oregano, Sage , Rosemary, Black pepper and Tomato sauce on it. I topped off the steak with sliced Spanish onions. I took the Large baked potato cut it lengthwise. I cut crisscross marks in the flesh so it would bake in 30 min. Added sea salt and oil then added frozen butter slices into the crevices when I retrieved it from the oven. Boiling Broccoli crowns in veggy water from the fridge was the easy item. The wife was full of compliments when she handed me her empty plate with the usual potato skin on it.

Now time for dessert. I pre-baked a pie crust in a 9 x 12 cake pan that I made from a package. For the filling I sliced 20 Bananas into 1/2 moon slices. Mixed in 1 can of evaporated milk ,1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 cup of  melted Chocolate swirl ice cream, plus 2 eggs. I poured the filling into the pre-baked pie shell and topped it with two packages of instant Oatmeal that had been mixed with 1/2 stick of melted butter and 2 Tbsp. of powdered sugar. I then finished baking this for 20 min. at 450 F. When it was time to serve I placed the hot Banana pie in the bowl and added Chocolate swirl Ice cream topped fresh fruit compote. { Diced bananas peaches, pears and grape jelly}

I challenge you to find a romantic restaurant that will have on the menu all of the items that please my wife to a tee.

 
 

Roasted Pork Loin on the PIt with Farm Fresh veggies

Tonight Chef Michael and I did a cater for the Conroe Art League. We had Roasted Pork Loin done overnight on the Pit by John Porter resident artist at Thomas Kinkade Gallery on Main street. Using Oak for the smoke. We served it as room temp. sandwiches on OROWEAT Sandwich Thins.Our attendees to the event squirted on our homemade BBQ sauce. And had the option of adding Fresh sliced Spanish Onions or sliced Dill pickle chips. The compliments were flying all around the Owen Theater and Pocket Park in downtown Conroe tonight. 

When I returned home from the event that is when the wife and I ate. Her version of the sandwich was OROWEAT, two slices of pan fried Pork, BBQ sauce and Hellmann's mayo. With dill pickle chips on the side. I used OROWEAT with Guacamole spread on it. Sauteed Onion and two slices of Pork. I then added 1/4 cup Apple soda to the pan and reduced the liquid before pouring it on my Sandwich thin. I used my current SamM salsa as a side condiment. I ate 2 sandwiches and had to rest before writing this blog tonight. Bringing home leftover from catering jobs and re-inventing them adds excitement to my life.

 

 

 
 

Labor Day wild fires and BBQ's in Central Texas

Today was a unique day coming home from our pleasant Day at the Lake. We had to re-route ourselves around 16,000 acres of Texas State Park burning near Bastrop TX. The wife and I chose a southern route via I-10 between San Antonio and Houston. As we passed mile marker 640 we were in a 15 mile stretch of highway of dense eye burning smoke. I could see the patches of black grass along the interstate and the smoke billowing from 2 Bastrop fires 60 miles to the north. Before we left Canyon Lake there were fires down by the marina at the lake. And after getting past the Bastrop fires there was another fire along the interstate. And a fire near Conroe along I-45. Even though we did not BBQ out doors this weekend for safety reasons. The wife and I smelled like we had been doing it all weekend when we arrived home this afternoon.  Now that we are at home I have picked up the necessary ingredients for SamM salsa. And I added Bell peppers and diced Peaches to the basic recipe. The wife's Roasted Rosemary potato salad was a big hit with the extended family. We added Miracal whip and Hellmann's Mayo plus hard boiled eggs to the items I spoke about earlier this week.

It is Tuesday and fires continue to devastate our area. My niece in Bastrop had to flee her apartment today. In a few days we may find out if the fires missed her complex. Last night my daughter had a wild fire about 5 miles from her apartment. The wife and I were on alert last night.With all the excitement around here I managed to make Guacamole from the Avocado I picked up at market on Saturday. After blending the ripe avocado meat in the food processor with Lemon flesh. I added my current SamM salsa { Tomato , Red onion , Balsamic vinegar, diced Peaches, mixed Bell peppers} Earlier today I purchased 2 one dollar Chicken Sandwiches at McD's. I put 2 TBsp. of Guacamole on each sandwich. The side dish was Rice pilaf and peeled Orange sections. It is two hours since dinner and I am still full.

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Avocados and Tropical storm Lee

It was a beautiful day in Conroe for the first September Farmer's Market. I arrived early to find a windy day and temperatures that stayed under 100 F. The wind helped keep TS Lee 50 miles to the east. While at market today I spoke with Elvis from Peas Farm about sun tea and realized I should throw away the tea bags I used last Sunday because they may have bacteria, even though I refrigerated them. I picked up an Avocado and Large bake potatoes.Elvis said I needed to let the Avocado sit out and ripen before making Guacamole.

In the meantime I will visit family near Canyon Lake for a Labor day celebration. The wife and I will take Roasted Rosemary potatoes to add to the family spread. We will pack Hellmann's mayo in case we decide to make Potato salad. We were told not to bring anything; that never sits right with me. I am only DSC_5855.JPG.jpg encouraged to bring  something that will WOW the family when they say," Just show up"" We have plenty" TS LEE is headed north east so we will head due west for a pleasant day at the Lake.

 

 

 
 

Using Penzy's Spices for a fabulous Breakfast

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I visited a Penzy Spice store earlier this week in The Heights neighborhood in Houston TX. I was making valuable use of my time while waiting to interview for a job nearby. While at the store I saw many meat first soup bases. Several spice pakage combinations.California mixes , Florida mixes, Chinese mixes Etc. Unique alphebatized spices. Gift boxes. I searched around excited for an hour. I finally settled in on Rosemary. And today I used the spice  as I started to prepare a Labor day weekend menu for the family. After boiling 1 inch diced potatoes with onion, celery seed, salt and Black pepper; I placed the half cooked potatoes in a 400 F oven for 30 min. The potatoes were oiled and the Rosemary spice was liberally sprinkled on top. The potatoes will cool and on Monday Hellmans Mayonaise will be mixed in. Today though I had to verify I had a wonderful start to a Labor day potato salad.

Here's what I did. I retrieved 1/2 cup of the cooling roasted Rosemary potatoes and added them to a heated egg pan. I then whipped 2 eggs an poured them over the potatoes.Before flipping the half cooked eggs over I added Parmesan cheese. I placed a Whole Wheat hotdog bun in a bowl and placed the open face omelot on the open bun. The oil from the pan soaked into the bun. I topped off my creation with the current SamM salsa. I then waited for ten minutes so everything could cool and folded the bun so I could eat my breakfast like a sandwich. As I was finishing the last bite I made sure I wiped the bowl clean of any thing that had dropped back into the bowl. I will likely repeat this breakfast sometime before Monday.  Once I turn the potatoes into salad I will not have option of enjoying today's fabulous creation.

 
 

The wife and I were Secret Shoppers at a local Cafe

The Woodlands La Madeleine  Visit

On Wednesday Aug. 31, 2011 the wife and I visited The

Woodlands La Madeleine Cafe between 7:30 and 8:15 pm. It

was a pleasant visit. My wife knowing that we were Secret

Shopping chose to be the difficult customer to see how

the staff would handle it.


Allow me to start from my first impressions. As we

approached the Cafe I noticed retail food jars neatly

displayed in the window. And the Cafe had WiFi. Upon

entering we were greeted by a friendly fella in a red

shirt and fancy French hat. We explained it was our first

visit and needed someone to walk us through the ordering

process.( that was not totally honest b'cause our

daughter had previously been employed at La Madeleine's

and we had visited her in the past as guests) Our red

shirted greeter explained the Rosemary Rotisserie Chicken

Dinner to my wife. My wife settled in on the mid range

price item but thought she was getting a side of

vegetable also. The youngest of the servers told her "Our

greeter doesn't know how the pricing works, I will not be

giving you Broccoli" After we paid and sat down my wife

returned to the cashier and fussed that she was given two

different stories at the door about how to order her

food. And the orange haired lady offered a dish of

Broccoli that my wife readily accepted.I found the Men's

restroom acceptable clean and organized. The wife comment

on the Women's restroom was. " Did you see dirty pipes

under the sink ? We had dirty pipes."


Now that we have the difficult customer handled let me

share my observations. I chose the Savory Sampler, I had

Spinach Pochette with a Caeser salad, Tomato basil soup

and I added a $1.79 cent version of Tiramisu. Upon going

to the self serve bar I chose Lemon ice water Several

pieces of 7 Grain bread, Honey and Berry Jam. Balancing

all of this on my tray I headed for the the dining room

that would allow me to observe the staff while we

visited. I started to lose my balance as I stepped from a

tile floor to a wooden floor. I caught myself and and

dinner was saved. I did agree with my wife that her 1/2

chicken was a little dry, yet at the same time my wife

prefers her food cooked med well. My wife and I enjoyed

each others company. Made plans to see a movie after

dinner and reminisced over past meals we had enjoyed

while visiting as guests when our daughter was employed

at La Madeleine's.


Other observations I made had to do with staff

attentiveness to the 20 customers that were in the cafe

while we visited. Mr. redshirt and gal with orange hair

visited continuously clearing tables and making sure our

needs and those of the other guests were being taken care

of. Servers behind the line would visit and when the

older of the two servers(dark hair) noticed a customer

they would both react to take care of customers needs.

Cook/chef in kitchen was the only  employee in a

different hat (baseball cap). And the only comment to

make about the cooking area were the clutter of loose

life binders in the back corner on the top shelf.

Otherwise the area appeared to be organized. The serving

line also was well maintained. I would find it rewarding

to be part of this establishment. Especially as it

pertains to Fresh baked 7Grain bread every day and the

dining room staff attentiveness.

 

 

 

 
 

It is time for Pasta salad

I made more than enough Spaghetti and Meat sauce for Family group at my house on Sunday night. So tonight it was time to make a pasta salad with half of the left over spaghetti noodles. Into this mystery salad I started with SamM salsa being sure to add lots of the vinegar and juice from the container. I then seperated the cooked sauasage from the meat sauce and added it in. As I searched the fridge I found shredded Carrots, and Green grapes. I located Cranberries that were soaking in Apple soda. And after tasting my creation I decided I needed a sweet dressing. My homemade 1000 Island dressing did the trick. Sea salt and Olive oil were already a part of the spaghetti noodles.

I am happy with tonights outcome because I like sweet fruit flavored salads. I would have done the same type of salad if I had rice as a base or beans. My experience in matching flavors when I worked for Central Market in Houston Texas taught how to create imaginative salads like this one.

 

 
 

Conroe Farmers Market unique find

 

Today at Market I found Early Bell peppers. In an effort to understand what early Bell peppers are I received an education. Early peppers obviously are small and picked early before they take on a spicy flavor. All of mine were reddish brown. I also picked up a few ears of corn in anticipation of a Pork spare rib meal later in the week. It was a quick visit to market today because of the 110 F weather. When I arrived home the cobbed corn was hot enough to eat so I quickly refrigerated the ears. I picked at the peppers and tasted for a flavor profile. Once I was sure I liked the flavor, I finely diced 2 peppers into my SamM salsa, also adding a few finely diced green grapes.

When it was time for dinner I made the wife a killer dinner. It started with sauteed bacon pieces to render the fat, I then added 1 inch sliced Fresh green beans. Added corn liquid from the fridge. And finished with shredded carrots. On to the protein. I started with a boring hotdog boiled in corn juice. Placed it in a Whole wheat bun and topped it off with my newly re-defined SamM salsa { Tomato, Onion, Balsamic vinegar Bell peppers( Green, yellow and Early) Green grapes} The wife also asked for a store bought Baby dill pickle to finish out her meal. At my house we serve gourmet Hotdogs. MMMmmmm.

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SamM Salsa re-vamped for dinner tonight

Dinner tonight was Steak fajita. I had it leftover from a Sunday potluck at church. So what do I add to tortillia, Steak strips, Shredded colby cheese and shredded Lettuce that the wife packaged up and brought home. Simple, I add Mondays Rice and Broccoli minus the chicken. And then I take my SamM salsa, being sure to pour some of the Balsamic vinegar on top of the finished fajita.

 I did change the SamM salsa a little tonight by adding diced Yellow sweet peppers, Fresh chopped Baby spinach, Tbsp. of Balsamic vinegar and 4 more variety Tomato. I now have 2 cups of a fabulous salsa to season food the rest of this week.

SamM salsa is such a versatile seasoning agent. I picked up a Fresh loaf of Italian Bread today. Problably before I hit the pillow tonight I will cut off the ends of the loaf, dip them in the salsa juice. And have sweet italian dreams.

 
 

An exciting lunch using SamM salsa

Today I had stood with the fridge door open. Wondering what would be exciting to create. I saw SamM salsa , homemade 1000's Island dressing, Blue cheese dressing, dill pickles, Fresh spinach, Rice and Broccoli casserole. After scouring the landscape and not wanting to repeat last nights dinner yet,here is what I decided. I went to the pantry and found Starkist tuna, opened the can and drained off the juice. In a small mixing bowl I mixed:

6 oz drained tuna

2Tbsp. Blue cheese dressing

1Tbsp. 1000 island dressing

1/4 cup SamM salsa {tomato, spanish onion, balsamic vinegar}

I took the tuna mixture added it between 2 slices of wheat bread with Fresh baby spinach, sliced baby dill, and 3 sliced Fresh tomatoes. I wanted to make 3 of these sandwiches. I decided to stretch this wonderful creation over the next few days. I will make another one tomorrow.

 

 

 
 
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