mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

shrimp fried rice and hot n’sour soup . . .

Tonight’s supper: shrimp fried rice with snap peas and eggs; hot and sour soup from the other night.

Stir-fried shrimps marinated in cooking sherry wine and cornstarch, sauteed with scallions and garlic; removed from heat. Stir fried sliced snap peas until nice and green. Scrambled eggs and added a little scallion. More vegetable oil in an empty pan and softened the leftover rice until it was separated and soft. Then added back the eggs first, sprinkled salt, snap peas and then cut-up cooked shrimp. Stirred together with some soy sauce.

Reheated the leftover hot and sour soup, added a little more chicken broth and a slurry of Chinese wine vinegar, sugar and soy. A little strong, but I can dilute it if needs be. Yum!

red beans and rice . . .

Red beans and rice. Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Wrong. I decided to make it for supper tonight, mostly following a NYTimes recipe and suggestions. Apparently, it’s a specialty dish from New Orleans or Louisiana, that is.

I was surprised to learn that one of the ingredients is Cajun smoked Andouille sausage (which I found at Shaw’s!) It also requires soaking, boiling the red beans (organic, of course, not canned!) and cooking for two hours, mashing the beans at the end to thicken the pot. Alongside, rice is cooked and served in a bowl with the red beans on top.

To be honest, I wasn’t too sure about this dish as I scraped some of the green pepper out of the pot – thinking there was too much of it, and letting it cook for the allotted time. We’re about to have it for dinner tonight – late for us, but George came back in the afternoon and had lunch after 2 pm. So, I thought we’d have a leisurely Saturday night supper.

After dinner: You can knock me over with a feather! –the red bean mix on top of freshly cooked rice was SO GOOD!! There were complex flavors, enough salt and not too salty – the warm rice was the perfect foil for the red beans

In addition, I made a small apple coleslaw as a complement to the spicy sausage dish – cut up a honey crisp apple to a cole slaw mix with caeser dressing, apple cider vinegar and honey mixed together with it. Slightly sweet and cool and very tasty! WHEW!! I’m a fan now and already thinking about cooking up another batch of rice to go with the red bean leftovers!

soba noodles with cucumber and wakame . . .

Tonight’s supper: Soba noodles with Persian cucumber, Wakame seaweed and a dressing of Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar, Teriyaki (soy, sugar, Mirin,) sugar, hot sesame oil.

I marinated the cucumbers and seaweed with the vinegar dressing and when the Soba noodles were cooled to room temperature, added some of the Teriyaki sauce and sesame oil.. Scrumptious!

Alongside, a few choice slices of salmon sashimi with soy/wasabi dip.

making a “margherita pizza” at home . . .

As someone who likes to cook, there are a few dishes that I’ve always wished that I could make as tasty at home as they are in restaurants.

One of them is Pizza Margherita (like one that I had in Minneapolis) and some dim sum dumplings (Shray Jow and Har Gow) – water dumplings and those tiny opaque wrapped shrimp dumplings in Chinese dim sum restaurants. Japanese Bento box dishes are another on my list; maybe Asian “street food,” especially “bing” with scallions and sesame seeds; and Asia noodle dishes of all kinds: Korean, Pho, Pad Thai, like that!

Anyhow, I guess you could call this a kind of “food/cooking bucket list” – and I’ve started today by making a pizza margherita crust, using Italian “tipo 00” flour. The dough has a much finer texture than those I’m familiar with made with all-purpose flour. I’ve refrigerated two of them to keep for a couple of days and will use the other one tonight for our pizza. I also watched a video of how to stretch out the pizza dough to begin and then roll it around on your knuckles to make it larger. As with biscuits, stretching and minimal handling (not rolling it out with a pin) makes the texture of the crust more chewy, I guess.

Although I understand why people make their own pizza sauce, we’re fans of Mezzetta brand tomato sauces. I did pick up a fresh ball of mozzarella cheese and we have a large basil plant out on the deck that will provide the fresh leaves when the pizza is baked and ready to eat.

So, here’s a photo of the dough with the special flour to start – more photos to add later on when the pizza is ready for dinner. What’s on your list of food/dishes you’d like to learn how to make? Would love to hear about them!

“Shepherd’s Pie” for supper. . .

We had a small Shepherd’s Pie for supper tonight. I used a smaller amount of ground beef, a larger amount of fresh mushrooms cut chunky, onion and mashed potatoes on top. Beforehand, we split a large artichoke with curry mayonnaise. Yummy!

“nesting time” this year. . .

The end of April and beginning of May appears to be “nesting time” at our house. At least, for the last two years, we have had nests of Robins on and underneath our back porch where three blue eggs were lain and hatched, the nestlings growing by leaps and bounds, flying out about two weeks after hatching.

Last year, we noticed nests in barn where we park our cars and a family of Robins settled in there. Outside our 2nd floor bedroom, a couple of Mourning Doves also hatched.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed little twigs and straw on the hood of my car and discovered a new nest built right beside the larger Robin’s nest from last year. George pointed out a small nest on his side of the garage perched on some 2X4’s but we haven’t seen activity there as yet – it being high up, as the other nest is.

Turns out, the new, small nest is that of a Mourning Dove who sticks out above the nest because it is so big – but I managed to get a couple of shots of it this morning – blurry, but you can see her settling in on top of the nest.

Waiting to see what appears in the other nest sometime soon! Stay tuned!

peach and blueberry crisp! . . .

Dessert tonight: a peach blueberry crisp! As background, FYI, frozen peaches at Shaw’s were $3.99 a pack; at Price Rite, they were $1.99 a pack – HALF the price!


I used a pack and a half of frozen peaches and a pack of frozen blueberries. To the fruit, I added 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, generous shakes of cinnamon. Let it defrost in an 8″ square baking pan.


For the topping, I used a pastry cutter to mix a stick of unsalted butter (cold) to 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup Quaker rolled oats, 1/4 cup light brown sugar. When the mixture was rough crumbs, I added it to the top of the fruit.


At 350 degrees, covered it with aluminum foil and baked for 30 minutes; took the foil off and baked another half hour + until the top was golden brown.


Might be gilding the lily to have whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with it when served – but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it this evening! The kitchen smells divine!

pan-fried barbecue chicken wings . . .

Cooking ahead for dinner tonight: I made barbecue chicken wings according to the pan cooked recipe by Jacques Pepin but changed the sauce that went on top of the cooked wings. In a dry non-stick skillet, I placed the wings, underside down and browned for 10 minutes. Turning them over, I made sure to move them around and to brown the second side well. In a bowl, I mixed together Osawha organic soy sauce, Chinkiang black vinegar and a healthy glug of honey. I stirred that together with a tablespoon of Siraicha sauce. When the wings were cooked on both sides, I brushed on the marinade with a basting brush and made sure there was enough to drip down in the skillet to cook both sides at once. I turned them over to even out the glaze/browning step. And here they are! If you’d like to make them crispier, I guess you could run the pan under the broiler before serving. Don’t think they need it though.

homemade butternut squash soup for lunch!

During the Winter months, we have soup almost every day for lunch. Today, I melted some butter, chopped up two shallots and sliced a peeled seeded butternut squash in small pieces. After it cooked a bit, I added a glug of sugar-free Vermont maple syrup and some chicken broth. It’s simmering on the stove now. When it’s soft, I’ll let it cool and then use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If it needs thickening, I let the puree simmer until desired consistency. Then, I add some light cream at the end. It smells divine!

a homemade mushroom pizza for lunch!

Katherine Evans

I live with my husband, George, in a house he created, filled with pianos. Life is long.

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A homemade mushroom pizza for lunch! If you have flour and yeast in the house with a half box of white button mushrooms, a pizza is a good choice for lunch! I modified a recipe I had for the crust, making a smaller amount which turned out to be perfect for a 12 inch round pizza pan later on.

Here it is: a) Combine 1/3 cup warm water with a heaping teaspoon of dry yeast; 1/2 tsp. salt; 2 tsp. vegetable oil, 1 cup +/- of flour. That’s it; knead it gently and let rise for about an hour. Spray the pan with PAM and spread out the crust until it reaches the edges. With a big spoon, put some pizza sauce on top, barely covering the crust. Lay on some mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 425 for about 15-20 min. until the bottom crust is golden. Then, I turn on the broiler to finish cooking the top. Be sure to peek at the crust bottom to make sure it’s cooked enough. Place the pizza on a cutting board and cut into wedges.

This one was the best one we’ve had so far. YUM!