Mussels with Asparagus

Recipes in this PostMussels with Asparagus

Spane comes is and says “What are we having for dinner?” I said “Mussels” Spane looked at my questioningly, and started biting his arm, “That doesn’t taste good, Mom!” I laughed at his antics, and explained I was talking about the mollusk, not parts of our bodies.

My market had a package of pre-cooked mussels when I went shopping, without Spane. Usually, I only want the ones that are in the shell, but they were on sale, so why not? I figured, some butter and garlic would do them well.

Mussels in the santThe mussels we had are Californian mussels. Mussels are eaten all over the world, and there are about 17 different species of mussels that are edible, and I would eat them all. I love mussels. They can also be found frequently washed up on the beach, but I would not try to eat those – West Coast beaches are notoriously dirty. Mussels are also a favorite of star fish. The star fish wraps itself around the mussel, and pries it open with its suckers. Peach isn’t is cute as she was in Nemo anymore, is she? Find out more about mussels at Wikipedia.

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Jambalaya in the Nesco

Recipes in this PostJambalaya

In the midst of the last move, I forgot to close out the old gas bill. When I called to turn on the gas in the new place, no one mentioned it, and I still didn’t think about it. Then, I get this nasty letter from the gas company saying that they are going to turn off my gas in the new place if I don’t immediately pay the old bill, and that I have to call a certain phone number when I make the payment. To make sure that the payment is properly recorded, I went to the local gas company on July 2, 2013 and paid the bill in person. Then I called the special number at about 3:30pm and got a recorded message that the gas company was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm. I figured all the lines were busy, so I waited a few minutes and called again, and still got the same recording. I figured that in the information age, the payment would be recorded and all would be well.

I was wrong. When I got home yesterday, Monday, July 8, 2013, Spane and I were hungry, so I started dinner early, at 4:30. I chopped the vegetables, cut the meat, put butter in the pan, turned the knob – and ……. nothing. No gas. I called the gas company, the special number and again was told that the office was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm, a full 45 minutes before the office was supposed to close. When calling the regular number, I got a nice woman who I kept on apologizing to because I was so mad, and she said the gas would be turned back on tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 between 8:00am and 5:00pm, and to make sure that all pets were secure and gates open. I chuckled and said, “Humph, you didn’t seem to have any problems turning it off, did you?”

That meant that today, I don’t have gas. I have been on the phone with them, and have asked for a supervisor. I’m still waiting for a call back, but I’m not waiting anymore to make dinner. I have a small Nesco, and I’m going to make my Jambalaya in it. This is one of the reasons I have this wonderful roaster oven, so I can cook no matter what.

My recipe for Jambalaya follows, I have more recipes for foods perfect for the Nesco.

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Chicken and Rice Paprika Inspired By Hieronymus Bosch

Recipes in this PostChicken and Rice Paprika

Lately I have been reading a lot of books by Michael Connelly, and I just got through reading Trunk Music, one of the Los Angeles detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch series of books. I really liked this one, and there was even a part where Harry cooked dinner for this friend, Eleanor Wish.

It’s getting a little colder, even though we just had the Summer Solstice, but that’s LA for you. What Harry and Eleanor has for dinner sounded really good, and I had most of the same ingredients.

This will remind you a lot of jambalaya, and Spane thought it was at first. I just said it was chicken and rice and what ever we had in the pantry. It was good, we had seconds.

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Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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London Broil with Rosemary and Grilled Mushrooms and Shallots

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Grilled London Broil with Rosemary, Mushrooms and Shallots

Grilled London Broil with Rosemary, Mushrooms and Shallots

Many years ago, when I thought that my oven didn’t work (it did, I wasn’t doing right), I marinated a steak and some fresh rosemary and put that on the grill. It was delicious! As the steak cooked, the fresh rosemary sprigs gave off their own smoky goodness.

I could not think of a better dish to put on the barbecue for 4th of July. What goes great with steak? Mushrooms! What goes great with mushrooms? Shallots and sherry. So, I’m going to grill some mushrooms with sherry and shallots to accompany my London Broil. Spane asked for Barbecued Chips instead of potato salad. In a way, I’m really happy because everything but the Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream is going on the grill.

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Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

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Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

I think all of us have been tempted to buy the pesto sauce in the refrigerated sauce section at the supermarket. The one at the supermarket has things in it you will never find in fresh pesto, whey, milk, canola oil, water and 2% or less of garlic puree. Some brands do have pine nuts, others use walnuts. But, there is nothing like the real thing.

Pesto is one of the easiest sauces to make, and can be used on a variety of foods. Heck, it’s good just on a spoon!

When you make pesto, it’s important to have fresh ingredients. If you can find pine nuts in the refrigerated section, those are best. If not, look for nuts that are of a uniform pale cream color, with no spots. Pine nuts are the edible seeds of, yes, pine trees. Please use good Parmesan cheese as well, you don’t have to get Parmigiano-Reggiano, but at least get the cheese in the refrigerated section.

If you’re angry at someone and want to take your aggression out on something, you can use a mortar and pestle, and grind away for a very long time. Or, if you don’t have any aggression, then please use a food processor.

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