Antenna Guru

RF is not 'black magic' – It's Synthesis, Optimization, Analysis and Realization.

Category Archives: Recipes

Stewed Pork Roast


1          3 – 4 lb center cut pork roast 3          qts chicken stock
½         cup Cajun seasoning (more or less) 2          cups dark roux
3          cups diced onions ½         cup garlic powder
1 ½      cups diced celery 1          tsp black pepper
1 ½      cups bell pepper 1          tsp cayenne pepper
1          cup dried oregano 1          cup dried sweet basil
½         tsp thyme 1          tsp cumin
1          tsp chili powder ½         tsp cardamom
1          bunch carrots 2          lbs potatoes
  • Rub the roast with Cajun seasoning (Tony Chacheres or equivalent) and refrigerate for at least an hour prior to cooking.
  • Using a large skillet or a griddle, sear the roast on all sides. Remove roast from heat and set aside.
  • Saute the ‘holy trinity‘ (onions, celery, peppers) with the basil and oregano until the onions begin to brown.
  • Transfer the ‘holy trinity’ into a large pot. De-glaze the saute pan with some of the chicken stock and pour the ‘dirty’ liquid, plus the rest of the stock into the large pot.
  • Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the spices and stir well.
  • Use tongs to transfer the roast into the simmering pot, cover and boil for at least an hour until the center temperature of the meat is at least 160 degrees (F).
  • (You can also add other vegetables, such as squash, corn, mushrooms, …whatever you have. Add the tender vegetables late in the process, or else they will get mushy. Ten minutes is long enough to boil squash or mushrooms.)
  • When the roast is done cooking, remove it from the pot and place it on a platter. Skim off some of the spices from the pot and coat the top of the roast with them. Cover the roast with aluminum foil and let it set for a half hour.
  • Add the roux to the pot to make gravy.

They have bred the fat almost completely out of modern pork so that ‘roasting’ a roast makes it come out too dry. This is a great way to keep the meat juicy. You can use a crock pot, too; I would rather wash a big kettle and I like having everything on the stove to make all the transfers easier.

We don’t eat much ‘red’ meat, mostly because it is so much more work than seafood to prepare. This one’s a keeper, though.

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Integrity

Woke up feelin’ bad… made breakfast for my sweetie… then she came into the kitchen and I said, “Lambie, I feel like you should be angry with me.”

“I’m not angry, just disappointed.” She smiled at me with love shimmering eyes.

Ouch.

Spent the day –except for church, the store and the brief blog entry– in the garage drilling and tapping holes. But when 6:30 rolled around, I was in the kitchen preparing Cajun chicken sausage pasta. It came out pretty good. I made sure there was a margarita in the freezer, Rx for the nurse.

Debi texted, “Headed home. Stopping for gas though,” at 8:09.

I texted back, “:] At least you don’t have to stop for pizza.”

Deconstructing the previous night’s bad performance, we agreed that I had fallen into the trap of wanting to please a stranger by borrowing from the comfort of my beloved. It’s not all that uncommon, but it’s not what I like to do; it’s not how I see myself behaving. Debi squeezed my hand and said, “You can’t be perfect; you don’t do that very often…

I replied that I had resisted the urge to buy flowers and so on to try to ‘make up’ for Saturday but that I decided to just sit with the past the way it was. I didn’t want to start an oscillation of missing an opportunity to show my love, then overreacting, and then missing another and so on. It would be best to just keep on task.

________________________________

I knew a man who could perform amazing feats for his size. I asked him, “How did you just do that?”

He replied, “Well, you lift all you can… and a little more.”

Wow! I wanted to try that. I did. I made it a discipline as a young man. But I have since found out that “lifting all you can and a little more” borrows something from the future. Something borrowed has to be paid back. And what if you put all your effort (plus a little more) into something that turns out to be the wrong idea? You will have lost twice.

________________________________

So yeah, I’m going down a different path nowadays. I’m mostly saving the “heavy lifting” for my beloved. I get distracted every now and again, but I don’t stay distracted long. That little scratch in our relationship is already on the mend.

Heavenly Pot Roast

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pot roast
  • 5 potatoes
  • 4 medium onions, quartered
  • 1 pkg “baby carrots” or equivalent
  • 4 stalks celery with leaves
  • 4 small yellow squash
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 6 medium portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 c. minced garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce, or your favorite steak seasoning
  • 1/4 c. Cajun seasoning, e.g., Zatarain’s or Tony Chachare’s 
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 2 cups red wine

Prepare the meat & onions

I use a cast iron griddle that’s two burners long, but a large skillet would work. One one end, I brown the roast (marinated in Worcestershire or what-have-you) on the other, I caramelize the quartered onions. Use medium-high heat. The meat will be browned before the onions are done. You want to actually burn the surface of the quartered onions.

Meanwhile, cut the celery into medium-small chunks and put into a crock pot (250 degrees) along with the carrots, potatoes, garlic, beer and wine. I like to cut the yellow squash into finger-length and -diameter sections, and the bell peppers into pieces the size of my thumbnail. I will save them and the portobellos for the last hour.

When the roast is well seared, put it into the crock pot. The onions go in 5 to 15 minutes later, when they are caramelized. This is an important step: Do not chicken-out on browning those onions!

Stir up everything. There should be enough liquid to cover it all. If not, you must have poured some of the beverage into the wrong receptacle!

Go find something interesting to do for two hours.

Come back and add the delicate squash, peppers and  portobellos. Now is when you add the Cajun spices. You can taste the broth to make sure you don’t add too much or too little. We like Cajun!

The delicate veggies will be done in another half hour.

Serve with garlic toast or whatever you want to soak up the juice.

That sweet taste is the onions… Oh, Good Lord!

Dual Purpose Chicken Pasta || Salad

This one is good hot or cold. You can toss it and eat, and then eat it for lunch the next day.

It should look like this.

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Package of fresh spinach
  • Cup of porta bella mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ c. sun-dried tomatoes, in less than half-inch long strips
  • Can of artichoke hearts
  • Can of diced tomatoes (I like smoked flavor)
  • ½ c. kalamata olives, pitted
  • Package of feta cheese
  • Box of non-spaghetti pasta, or rice
  • Oregano
  • Minced garlic
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Olive oil

Heat an oiled skillet on medium heat while you tear the meat off the chicken. (I like to save the skin, bones and so forth to make dog food later.) Saute the chicken in the skillet with minced garlic to taste. I would probably use a half cup or more. (Note: garlic salt is crap; don’t use it!)

Heat water for the pasta or rice. I use about two-thirds the amount of water that they say on the pasta box, about two quarts instead of three. It boils sooner, and you don’t need to throw as much away afterwards. (Comes from cooking at camp, where potable water is precious.)

Pay attention to the water, because you want the pasta (rice) to finish when everything else does.

If the sun-dried tomatoes are not moist, then heat them in the juice from the artichokes now to soften them. Either way, don’t throw any juice away from anything you use– it’s just too good!

Add the mushrooms, oregano (I use around a quarter cup), basil (ditto), and thyme (don’t need much of this). Stir while watching for the mushrooms to darken. The chicken should begin to shred now.

Add the kalamata olives and some of their juice. Mash the olives with the edge of your spatula to break them into smaller pieces and release their flavor.

Add the artichokes, artichoke juice and (softened) sun-dried tomatoes. Add the fresh spinach. Stir.

You want the spinach to just begin to wilt, but you don’t want to cook the life out of it. The leaves will start to shrink and give up their moisture and when they do, bam! Add the diced tomatoes.

By now the pasta should be done. if not, then turn the heat way down on the chicken until the pasta is ready. when the pasta’s ready, dump the container of feta into the chicken but don’t stir it. You just want to heat the feta to soften it, not smear it all over the inside of the pan.

Drain the pasta, then toss in the chicken, veggies and feta. Stir and toss to mix the feta and pasta with the rest of it.

Serve with hot tea, cold tea, beer or white wine.

It’s good, hot or cold!

[blank] Do You Love? finale

AntennaGuru’s Crawfish Étouffée

1c olive oil
1 lg. onion, finely diced
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2tbsp minced garlic
1tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne
1tsp black pepper
5 cubes chicken bullion
7c water
2lb crawfish tails
2c light roux
1tsp butter flavoring
Tony Chachare’s Creole Seasoning to taste

Love risks all. 

My wife loves Crawfish Étouffée. She loves it her way, which is not like the Étouffée that’s usually on the menu. More like a bisque, perhaps. Spicier. We go around hitting Cajun restaraunts and if it is on the menu, she interrogates the waiter: Is it dark or light? How thick? What spices do y’all use?

A previous lover made Étouffée for her and –it was the only thing he ever did right evidently but– his Étouffée was perfect. I will mess around in the kitchen and cook stuff for her, but Étouffée?

Neaux Oués! :p

The other day I made crawfish artichoke bisque for her and served it over rice. She’s a nurse who works weekends, sometimes sixteen hours straight, and I like to have something warm and tasty prepared for her when she comes home. Good food helps her to tell me about her day. She spooned the bisque, spooned again thoughtfully and said, “This is pretty close to Étouffée! I want you to make me Étouffée!”

I shrunk from the challenge.

Last Sunday was “a sixteen.” She knew she was going to have a couple of challenging patients. Ten o’clock came and I began to be mindful that “The Nurse” would be home in an hour or two (or three). I said a prayer for her safety (I do that a lot for her… or me) and began moving about the kitchen, perusing pantry and fridge.

And I began getting this crazy idea that I should attempt Étouffée.

So I got down the Prejean’s Cookbook and found their recipe. It’s on p. 81 in Seafood, not in Soup, and it doesn’t show up in their index. I have made enough stuff in the Cajun kitchen that I can roughly recognize how something will taste like, based on the recipe. This wasn’t it. Oh, crap.

I started sautéing the holy trinity with the garlic and praying about roux. My Cajun is less French and more Mediterranean because I eschew butter for olio d’oliva, but then unable to transfer conviction for my heart onto my palate, I add back butter flavoring.  So my roux is olive oil and flour, like vegetarian brown gravy.

I had the rice boiled and the Étouffée thickened when my beloved dragged herself home at two a.m. “It’s not quite thick enough,” she said, “but the flavor is…”

“Perfect.”

I love her so!

I’ll get it next time; I’ll add just a bit more roux.

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