Pizza Playgrounds

Pizza is a veritable playground.

Just when I think I can’t come up with another flavor combo, voila!

Sometimes I outdo myself…

Here ’tis before it became a “hot mess” (to quote a Southern phrase) — artichoke hearts, olives, toasted pine nuts, and mini-pepperoni slices. Basically, I was cleaning out my fridge, freezer, and pantry, and this is what went into the oven.

Hmmm. What sounds good together?

Better yet, what tastes good together?!

With a lil’ goat cheese for added interest atop a gluten-free crust, my taste buds were intrigued for two days. (Anyone else like leftover pizza for breakfast?) The pine nuts took it over the top… crunchy pizza… YUM.

No matter what life presents, there’s a flavor combo awaiting YOUR ingenuity.

Be creative!

Oh my, YES…

Enjoying pizza playgrounds,

~ Kim

It’s What’s For Dinner

It’s no secret I love living in Oklahoma, but did you know I’ve always wanted to be a chuckwagon cook?

Folks who feed the masses with cast iron pots and pans over a campfire (or on cookstoves like my grandmothers did) fascinate me — not only for their meticulous planning and timing, but for their dedication to quality food.

I doubt I’ll realize that dream now (being somewhat “old-er” and rather fond of my kitchen at the lake) but there’s one thing I emulate on a regular basis: quality food begins with quality ingredients.

Introducing McCutchen’s Cattle Call Ranch out of Checotah, Oklahoma. The name “Cattle Call” comes from a Country & Western song written by Tex Owens — made famous by Eddy Arnnold and many others — even Elvis.

You can’t go wrong with a name like that, or their beef. Locally processed and sold by whole, 1/2, or 1/4, their packages include steaks, roasts, short ribs, hamburger, and more. Ranch-raised with the utmost care, these folks put a lot of hard work into their product and it shows. Better yet, it tastes like it! (For ordering information, please email cattlecallranch@outlook.com)

Quick disclaimer: I don’t usually plug products here — it’s for FUN, not profit — but the Cattle Call Ranch gave me a package of ribeyes and hamburger to try, and what’s a wanna-be chuckwagon cook to do?

BEEF… it’s what’s for dinner. Break out your cast iron skillet and get ready to ring the dinner bell.

Enjoying some mighty fine vittles,

~ Kim

Butter Poached Walleye Almondine

They said there were walleye in our lake and we’ve tried every tactic known to man to catch one, to no avail.

Then one morning The Man Of Few Words ran up to the house as excited as a schoolboy passing his first love note.

In a way, it was.

“Kim! I caught a walleye!” (He knows it’s my favorite fish.)

I’ve watched him hurry up from shore to show me his latest large mouth bass from time to time, but that morning his demeanor was different. Proud, but humble. Excited, yet reverent. I love that about him.

I immediately started planning dinner.

Butter Poached Walleye Almondine

1 pkg. slivered almonds

4 Tbsp. clarified butter or ghee

Walleye fillets, rinsed and patted dry

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Lemon slices for garnish

Parsley for garnish (optional)

In a skillet over medium heat, toast almonds until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch closely and stir frequently so they don’t burn. Set aside on paper towels.

Melt butter or ghee in another skillet over medium heat. (I have induction skillets so I start them on low and increase the heat gradually.)

Add walleye fillets and saute’ 3 to 5 minutes depending on their thickness. As the underside cooks, tip skillet and spoon melted butter over top to “poach” the fillets. Flip them over and repeat poaching process.

Add toasted almonds around perimeter of skillet and give them a stir to coat with butter. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

When the fillets flake easily with a fork, plate up and enjoy!

Enjoying lake lilfe,

~ Kim

The Simple Life and a Simple Stir Fry

Since January 2018, I’ve had to put my pursuit of flavor aside due to events beyond my control. Recently though I had a hankering for “meat and veggies.” (Vegetarian friends, please look away!) Beef, bacon, broccoli, and brown rice sounded good.

While that concoction doesn’t look like much (thanks to a rainy spell and Oklahoma’s fickle photographic conditions) it tasted SO good, The Man Of Few Words had seconds and I ate the rest. :)

Truthfully it’s been a tough year. At one point I thought about deep-sixing blogging, but that would’ve meant giving up sharing sporadic inspirations with you. My heart just couldn’t accommodate that. Plus I have a story or two left to tell — and I love reading YOURS! Bonus points for yummy recipes.

In the meantime, I’ve found a new outlet for my dormant culinary dreams. Once a week some of my newfound friends and I gather to have a glass of good wine and “munchies.” How could I not cook for them?! They bring the wine and I bring the FOOD! (It was the least I could do to show my appreciation.)

Tonight’s impromptu repast consisted of marinated mushrooms, garlic & herb roasted baby Yukon potatoes, and kalamata olives. Simple fare. Speaking of which, I’m smack dab in the middle of a much simpler life. After I turned 60 (gasp!) I realized that I’ve entered my last go-round on this planet. Every day and every flavor counts. I intend to make the most of them and share my flavor innovations with my friends. (TMOFW, too!) I even brought home an exercise bike yesterday. Yikes…

Getting back to that stir-fry, it was basically a half-pound of bacon cut into “lardons” and sauteed until crisp (drained on paper towels); a pound of 80/20 ground chuck browned with chopped onions and minced garlic (added at the last minute) in the bacon drippings and a “steamer bag” of broccoli nuked in the microwave. (Ordinarily I’d steam a fresh head of broccoli, but time was of the essence.) Then I added previously cooked brown rice seasoned with Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Easy peasy!

Here’s a close up:

Bacon Broccoli Burger Brown Rice 2.JPG

The simplest pleasures in life — the simple life — are best.  Live yours and don’t look back. But please continue to share your recipes. :)

Enjoying a scaled back perspective and GOOD FOOD,

~ Kim

Sushi Break

 

Tom's sushi.jpeg

(Sushi & Saki photographed by my son)

Some folks love Sushi and others can’t stand the thought of it. How do you feel?

I was skeptical at first.

In The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes where I grew up (Minnesota), the “catch of the day” was generally fried in butter with a mound of sliced potatoes (sizzling in butter) served with toast on the side (slathered in butter.) Goodness, I miss lake breakfasts! (And butter.)

Maybe it’s the buttery texture of Sushi that I love? I haven’t tried making it at home yet — and I don’t recommend that you do — unless you have top-grade fresh fish, razor sharp knives, and your kitchen is as antiseptic as a surgical suite. Sushi is not only an art, it’s a matter of strictest hygiene. I admire well-trained chefs who inspire confidence in both.

My first taste of that delicacy was at a sales convention in Baltimore many moons ago. I wanted to appear hip with my “foodie notions” — plus, I really wanted to try it! It was love at first bite.

Ironically, my son & I never did get to take a Sushi break on my last trip home. We had bigger fish to fry — so to speak. :) More on that in a subsequent post.

 

In the meantime, I enjoy making and eating “wanna be” Sushi-style seafood. The fresher, the better. Gotta love the fishermen in my life. :)

I still love every bite.

Wishing you a flavorful summer. Try somethin’ new! And, let me know your thoughts on Sushi.

Enjoying buttery recollections,

~ Kim