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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tempura Green Beans

Ruby Tuesday's makes a tempura green bean appetizer that hubby and I just love. So, after picking a "mess" of green beans yesterday, I pulled out our deep fryer and dug up a tempura batter recipe that I've had my eye on just for this purpose.


I normally do not like to fry food in the house, as I don't like the smell it leaves afterwards. In fact, the last time I used my deep fryer was for Super Bowl 2014 when I made chicken wings. But, boy was this worth it! This tempura batter would work on just about anything: green beans, cauliflower, shrimp, squash...an old shoe. It's THAT good!

I made a dipping sauce that is thinner than Ruby Tuesday's and a little less sweet, but spicier, and it was perfect. Hubby and I drank champagne and ate tempura green beans as our wedding anniversary dinner. Perfect!


Tempura Batter
Recipe source: Garden Guru from The Cooking Forum

1 cup flour*
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup club soda (as cold as possible)
Oil for deep frying

Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Add Soda water gradually, stirring with a fork, first to create a paste and then until mixture is like a thick pancake batter. More than 1 cup of club soda may be needed to achieve this consistency.

Heat oil for frying to 375°-400°. Dip prepared veggies/meats in batter, coating completely. Shake off excess. Fry vegetables/meats, a few pieces at a time, until light brown and crispy. Do not crowd fryer, or oil temperature will drop. No more than will cover 3/4 of the surface of the oil.

For the green beans, I fried mine for approximately 3-5 minutes a batch and turned them over with metal tongs halfway through. 

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Note: Some people like to use 2 parts flour to 1 part rice flour. I used all flour and it was wonderful!

Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tsps sugar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp chili paste (optional)

Heat soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar, and oil in a microwave safe dish until hot enough to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a small dipping bowl and add scallions and chili paste, if desired.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pecan Pie Cobbler

A few nights ago, I wanted to make a quick dessert to have after dinner. My go-to fix for easy, after dinner desserts is the good-old, reliable dump cake. So, pulling up Pinterest, I found this Pecan Pie Cobbler recipe from Paula at her blog Call Me PMC.

Pecan Cobbler from Call Me PMC

Actually, she calls it Pecan Cobbler, but it is SO much like a rich, cakey pecan pie, that I had to change it to Pecan Pie Cobbler. Either way, it was dead-on amazing! The great thing about this recipe is you pretty much have all the ingredients on hand and you don't need a boxed cake mix. At first, I was convinced this thing was going to be a bomb after pouring on all the water called for in the recipe. It was a bomb alright....DA' BOMB!

Serve this warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and you're in heaven! This is a keeper recipe for sure!

Pecan (Pie) Cobbler
Recipe Source: Paula Jones, "Call Me PMC"

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons of butter (no substitutions)
1 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut butter in large pieces and place in a 9" x 13" cake pan or casserole dish. Put dish in the oven and allow the butter to melt. When melted, remove pan from oven and sprinkle the pecans over the butter.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, milk, and extract together. Stir to combine, but don't over mix. Pour batter over pecans and butter without mixing. Sprinkle brown sugar over batter; do not stir, and carefully pour hot water over brown sugar; do not stir. This will look like a hot mess, but trust me!

Place pan in the oven and allow to bake 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown. The cobbler will not be firm after 35 minutes, but will firm up after it cools. The longer it bakes, the thicker the sauce becomes. I baked mine a little longer, which made it more of a pecan pie filling...YUM!

Serve warm with ice-cream or whipped cream. Die happy.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Back At It

This past week we have had our painter, Bill, over at the house painting all the first floor baseboards, crown moulding, chair rails, and a good portion of the ceilings.


They really did need it. Our house is 10 years old and still had the original, contractor-grade paint job on all the trim and ceilings. Over the years, the trim work has settled and gapped in places, but my biggest pet-peeve has been the nail-pops in the ceilings. They are the equivalent to a crooked picture that you can never straighten.


We had nail-pops in almost every room. I never knew how bad things looked until Bill made everything better. Such a difference!

Next year, we will have him back to do the upstairs.

It's been stressful all week, as we've had to keep the kittehs locked up separately so they wouldn't get in the way or rub up against a wet door frame or jump up on a wet window sill. We let them out in the evenings and the mornings before Bill arrives, and they think all his tools and supplies are some sort of an awesome kitteh jungle gym.


Every night this week we've had to move furniture from one room to another, clean, and wipe down baseboards and crown moulding...WHEW! My house is a mess and I need a break.

Thanks goodness it's Friday!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August In The Garden

It's been so darn hot lately that I have all but abandoned the garden. I had thoughts of starting some fall spinach and maybe those Chinese Cabbage seeds I ordered, but I just don't have the motivation.

Like I mentioned earlier, everything is tired around here. BUT, the garden continues to bring me tomatoes, which I think my sweet spot for the number of plants to grow is 20.


From a distance, everything looks great.


Until.,,this summer's heat and rain has made blight an early, unwelcomed guest to my tomato plants. Poor things...even though I try to trim the disease out, it's a losing battle.


The spaghetti squash looked promising, but I have since pulled it out. The squash bugs and vine borers were too much. Next year, I will try them again with row covers.


The bush beans are always a true-blue trooper, but I didn't put in enough plants this year.


In the flower bed by the deck, the milkweed has reseeded over the years and has taken over. I don't mind and love the monarch butterflies it attracts.


Lastly, one lone gladiola is sending out the last flower stalk of the season.


The poplar trees are already changing their leaves and beginning to drop. They are always the first. Everyone and everything around here is eager to move on to cooler weather!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

There's still a stand-off between Miss Thang and Leo. She still growls at him and hisses on occasion when he gets too close. She was alpha before he arrived and if you come to think of it...she's never seen another cat besides Chaz, let alone a kitten.

But things are coming around slowly. She attempts to play with him, but gets pissy when he gets over zealous. I can't help but laugh when he does a drive-by kitten attack and then takes off. She apparently likes it to some extent because she doesn't leave the room to hide or be left alone.

This pic cracks me up...Leo looks like the "awwww, what a cute kitty" Puss in Boots trick.

Nice try Leo. Nice try.




Friday, August 14, 2015

Kellogg's Breakfast Tomato

It's August and everything in the garden is tired, including me. The kitchen upgrade took a lot of the starch out of my sails for gardening this spring/summer, but I did manage to grow some awesome tomatoes.


I stuck to my word and did not grow tomatoes for canning, but for eating. The irony is, I never had to buy tomatoes at the farmer's market anyway, as the amount of plants I grew this year was perfect for both (20 plants). I grew one bed of the reliable hybrid standby "Early Girl" and a bed-and-a-half of heirlooms, which included "Sudduth's Brandywine" (my favorite), "Kellogg's Breakfast," "Soldaki," "Black From Tula," "Druzba," and maybe an "Atkinson" thrown in and one hybrid "Supersauce".

"Kellogg's Breakfast" was a new one for me this year, and I have to say I have been very impressed at these canary yellow, huge, beefsteak beauties. They are great producers and their flavor is very mild compared to Brandywine, almost a meaty, steak tartar. And they sure are pretty, aren't they?


I love the contrast they give and I think will be a keeper for growing next year. "Soldacki" was new as well and I wasn't too impressed, as it tasted very much like "Early Girl" and wasn't that great of a producer. Hybrid "Supersauce" puts out HUGE, egg-shaped Roma tomatoes, but the flavor is very bland until you roast them. Then they are very sweet and dense flavored, much like the flavor of tomato paste. The others I had grown before and have been reliable troopers.

The tomato patch will most likely be put to rest this weekend and I will think about if I want to grow some spinach and Chinese cabbage for this fall. We have another heat wave coming in this week, so I'm over summer and ready for sweater weather!

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