Twice As Nice (Croatian Chicken Paprikash and a Warm Boho Salad)

Two New Favorite Dishes

Since I arrived home, I’ve been vacillating between the life I started to eke out a year and a half ago after the fire (sorry to bring that up again) and “life” — after 3-1/2 months in Minnesota — following Mom’s Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Basically readjusting to my space.

Yes, there actually is (or once was) such a place, but some days I forget what that feels like. Between multiple phone calls to/from the care center, my Mom, the Realtor trying to sell Mom’s house from afar, her doctors, home inspectors… let’s just say I’m workin’ on it… a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

Thank God for wonderful foodie friends who know me — or at least my love of GOOD foodand who’s recent recipes appealed to my sense of the familiar.

Pictured above is Croatian Chicken Paprikash by Jasmina Brasovic. OH MY! (Be sure to scroll down to her recipe for this on FB.) Even though my grandparents weren’t Croatian (they hailed from nearby Hungary), going back to my “Czech roots” — or at least the flavors that once fed me due to mutual proximity — has been instrumental in grounding me. I sooooo needed that!

Thanks, Jasmina, xo.

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Add to that an unconventional side dish: Maple Bacon Kale & Roasted Potatoes by Ally Phillips — a “warm salad” per my Boho friend, whom I know won’t mind that I subbed spinach (minus the chicken broth) and fried leftover baked potatoes in a pinch — and you have some extraordinarily good eatin’ on your hands (or plate), not to mention hearty Comfort Food by genealogical proximity.

Jasmina and Ally both have Croatia in common — twice as nice — plus exceptionally tasty recipes! My Grandma would have LOVED how these lovely ladies “cook.”

Nourishment is more than just eating — it’s food for the soul.

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Enjoying trying something new while attempting to get back to the “old,”

~ Kim

A Quick Post and a Quick BBQ Sauce

Generally, I put a lot of time and thought into my posts, but our air conditioner quit at 4:00 this morning and the A/C guy isn’t here yet.

(In case you haven’t heard, Oklahoma’s temps have been in the 100’s for the past two months…)

Here’s what our inside temp reads now.

  (P.S.  It’s 10° “warmer” in my writing nook…)

Thankfully, I have a cool place to retreat to as soon as I’m done with this, and thankfully I planned a barbecue for dinner tonight.

Last night I made my Quick BBQ sauce and it was delish brushed over barbecued ham steaks.  (How does one spell BBQ correctly anyway?)

But patience, sweet ones, patience… it really is better the next day.

I also fooled around with my camera just for fun… :)

This is as basic as BBQ Sauce gets!

Quick BBQ Sauce

1/2 c. ketchup (I used Heinz)

3 Tbsp. honey

1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

(Optional add-in’s:  red pepper flakes to taste, a dash of hot sauce, a shot of whiskey)

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat; simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cool, then store in the refrigerator.

Bring to room temperature before applying to grilled meats.

Brush sauce on during the last minutes of grilling and ENJOY!

Ooof… here’s what our temp was last time I looked, and it went up a degree after I uploaded the picture!

Enjoying the prospect of grilling… but not indoors…. gotta run!

~ Kim

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Between Seasons… A Savory Transition

If art imitates life, then food imitates nature… especially when the seasons change.

Cause to celebrate!

Shish kebobs marinated in an earthy balsamic vinaigrette…

Paired with tender-crisp peppers and onions.

Simple and delicious.

(No secret recipe here… just a brief swim in “Newman’s Own” and a spritz of olive oil on the veggies.)

Summer and autumn on a plate.

The best of both.

As the seasons shift, please make it a point…

To savor change.

Enjoying the transition,

~ Kim

Cartoon Food

Sometimes ideas — and food photos — don’t make it past the drawing board.  But instead of relegating them to the scrap heap, have fun with them!  Take “Okie Caviar,” for instance.  While I wish it were Beluga and a glass of imported champagne, alas…  What you see are capers and Shiner Bock (imported from Texas!) — sort of a redneck substitute (I admit), but salty and sublime.  And the photo was begging to be seen.  (Love that “cartoon” feature on the photo editor…)

There’s something mainstream and American about this coleslaw photo that appealed to me, especially in “cartoon” mode.  Blame it on my diner days — and quite possibly Alton Brown.  A Patty Melt with a side of slaw gets my vote every time.  (By the way, if you haven’t read Alton’s cookbook/travelogue, “Feasting On Asphalt,” I highly recommend it.)  (His photos are better, too.)  But we have food — and fun — in common!

Then there’s my attempt at color-enhanced cartoons, such as these festive quesadillas — don’t say I didn’t warn your eyeballs!  But, I liked the effect.   Hope you do, too!

Bread pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Take Two Hundred and Fifty Six…  I was having trouble with the sauce oozing that day before I could photograph “the perfect drizzle”… plus, it was neon yellow.  Oh well.  Just had to show you the new plate. :)

The next photo/cartoon requires a brief explanation.  We live on a lake.  We love to fish.  My sister knows this.  Quite frequently she bestows “fish” gifts upon us that delight our hearts.  Fish books.  Fish measuring spoons.  Fish cookie cutters.  We love them!  As a result, I tried to cram as many of them into one picture as I could, but you know the old adage… less is more.  Still, there’s something about this photo that says “lake lovers” all over it.  Welcome to my blog. :)  (By the way, my Savory Cheddar Crackers recipe is posted on Tasty Kitchen if you’re so inclined.)

In a final attempt at “food art,”  the following photo employs “text” within the photo.  I think the caption says it all.  Food is about enjoyment, whether it’s photogenic or not (as long as it tastes good!) and to me, it’s a blessing to prepare meals for the people I love.  How about you?

Enjoying life in cartoon mode,

Kim

Living Large

QUESTION:  What do the following photos have in common, besides the bird’s-eye view?

 

ANSWER:  I GOOFED on all three recipes!  (Living large is a matter of paying attention to the small details, lest you wind up “3 for 3” in kitchen foibles…)

With apologies to Twinks (from Tasty Kitchen), I forgot to chop the pecans before adding them to your sassy but subtle, bourbon-laced Deep South Pecan Pie.  Thankfully, un-chopped pecans are a mistake I can live with…

Re: Giant Double Chocolate Cookies …  Giant? Yes.  Tasty? Very.  Crinkly like Amy’s? (Sing For Your Supper )… No.  Remind me to set the timer…  (AHEM.)  Although I missed the window of opportunity on that batch, all is not lost — the cookie jar is almost empty…

And dear Margaret Murphy Tripp (The Irish Mother)… I’ve been dying to try your luscious-looking Rustic Blackberry Tarts for a month, but I know better than to roll out crusts when the oven’s been blazing for two hours and the outside temp has climbed to 85.  (Note to self:  Pie crusts + volcanic atmosphere do NOT = luscious looking tarts.)  However, the resulting “pie” was luscious tasting, if not rustic-looking!

To me, living large means enjoying everything life throws at you — including those times when you’re on the pitcher’s mound.  My goal in the kitchen is pleasure, not perfection.  How about you?  Got any mishaps to share?

On a positive note, here’s a photo of the Triple Threat Quesadillas I made, without incident.  (shecancook2Thanks, Li’a! :)  Life doesn’t get much larger than that.

Live large and prosper,

Kim