Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Smoked Chicken Stir Fry

Another Tex-Asian creation I make with my Hickory Smoked Chicken is this Stir Fry.  I'm gonna slice the Onion and Bell Pepper into large slices, like you would see in a Pepper Steak Stir Fry.  Then also rough chop some Cabbage.  The part of the Chicken that I am using is the Thigh, and I'll use one for this Stir Fry, Chopped.  The Stir Fry Pan is already warming up as I am doing the Sous Chef work.
Stir Fries go fast, and admittedly mine are not as fast as a Stir Fry Chef.  They use big BTUs (Lots of Heat) and I don't have that capacity here.  So, mine cook slower, but I think the end result is close to the same.
We'll get the Bell Pepper, Mushroom, and Onion in the pan first.  They need more time to cook than the Cabbage, and the Chicken is already cooked.  Keep the Stir Fry moving, otherwise you can burn it.
While the Vegetables are cooking I'll prepare a slurry of one teaspoon Corn Starch, One teaspoon of Caldo de Pollo, and three quarters of a cup of water.  Assemble the slurry in a one sup jar with a tight fitting lid.
Next we'll add the Smoked Chicken, Red Chile flakes, Black Pepper, and a little Sea Salt.  Then add the slurry after giving it a thorough shaking.  Let the sauce come up to a boil and stir to coat all the ingredients.
 I had prepared the white Rice earlier.  Form the Rice with a bowl, and then invert the bowl on the serving plate where you want the mound of Rice.  Then transfer the Smoked Chicken Stir Fry from the Stir Fry pan to the plate.  Now all I need is a Fortune Cookie...

Compost and Firewood

I don't trim my large trees very often.  Lately I have found myself having to duck under the limbs of my big Live Oak Tree so I guess its time to prune it.  I see so many people that trim their trees, and throw the trimmings out on the curb to go into the local landfill, tisk tisk...  Take a look at Organic Gold, where I explain how to recycle this material into your own local environment.
I am taking off some rather large limbs.  All the scrub, the little limbs on the main branches, and the down growing branches will get pruned to open up the inside of the tree, and clear the ground space around the tree.  As I prune the branches I will strip off all the leaves, and throw them on the ground.
Then I'll shop up the branches into small pieces.  Tiny stems go onto the lawn with the leaves.  Medium size stems will go into a city compost bag, and large stems will get chopped up into firewood for the smoker.
The medium size stems can go into a long term compost process, if you have one.  It really takes a long time to compost stems, and you will need another compost bin,, separate from the short term compost bin.  The short term compost bin is for grass clippings and leaves which decompose rather quickly, within a year.  While a long term compost bin will have to fester for a couple three years.  The larger stems will get dried out for use in the smoker by letting them sit on the woodpile for several months.
All the leaves and the tiny stems that I had thrown on the lawn will get processed with the lawn mower before they go into the short term compost bin.  I have a mulching mower which will grind up the leaves fairly well.  Smaller pieces compost faster, and this works for the stems as well.  If you can grind up all those medium sized stems they will compost much faster.
I cleaned off a spot in the area I use for composting so I can start a new compost bin for this year's compost.  I moved all the old material off to the side to mix with soil, and the new compost bin contents will not get used until next year.

Fennel Flowers

I have this monstrous Fennel plant that I have let go to seed on purpose to get Fennel seeds.  Fennel seeds are the Licorice flavored seeds that you will find in Italian Sausage, and other Italian dishes.
I am impressed at the size of this plant.  Its huge, and the number of flowers on this one plant is impressive.  Compared to a Fennel plant you would buy at a grocery store its maybe ten times bigger.
The whole plant has an Anise fragrance, and every time I brush up against it I can smell the Anise fragrance that reminds me of Italian Sausage Pizza...

Grains of the Gods II

I need to make a retraction.  I posted and article called Grains of the Gods where I elucidated the benefits of Quinoa, and Amaranth.  The information is valid, but the plant that I had selected to photograph was not Quinoa, Doh!  I had mistaken Burdock for Quinoa, and they are not the same.  Burdock does have medicinal value, and is a useful plant, but it isn't the topic of the elucidation.  These are Quinoa plants.
What I did to figure this out was to buy some Quinoa grain, and plant it in my garden.  I had planted some last Fall, but the plants didn't have enough time to mature before we had the first freeze.  This year I planted some in the Spring, but now its Summer, and I think the plants are suffering because they are not acclimated to the Texas heat.  The new growth is a Lavender color, and they are flowering, but they don't seem to be doing as well as I thought they should be.  I think that Quinoa is usually grown in mountainous regions, and are not suited for being grown on the Texas prairie...

Sausage and Cabbage Soup

This may sound like a German soup, but you gotta remember that what I cook is usually Tex-Asian.  Yeah we're gonna use Kielbasa, a Polish sausage.  Then the cooked Cabbage is reminiscent of Sauerkraut, uniquely German, but that is the end of the similarity.  I'm going to start with a Stir Fry.  I'll add some Olive Oil to a hot stir fry pan then throw in some diced Onions, and quartered Mushrooms.  Let the Onions and Mushrooms cook for a while before adding shredded Cabbage, and the sliced Kielbasa.
At this point it is a stir fry, and could be served like this, but I want soup.  Next I'll add a couple cups of water, Sea Salt, Red Chile flakes, Black Pepper, and bring it up to a boil.
In the mean time we're going to make a slurry which will transform the water into soup.  The slurry is made with Caldo de Pollo, Corn Starch, and a half a cup of water.  I assemble the slurry in a one cup jar with a tight fitting lid.  Then shake the slurry with all your might, you want it mixed very well, other wise their might be Corn Starch lumps in the soup.  I know you don't want that.
Then we'll need to return the soup to a boil to cause the Corn Starch to "bloom", or thicken.  At the last minute we're going to add some Rice Wine Vinegar, and Sesame Oil to heighten the Asian flair.
So I have taken what might be assumed to be a German Soup and made Hot and Sour Soup with Sausage and Cabbage instead of Tofu, and Bamboo Shoots.  That Hot and Sour soup base is probably my favorite, and you can morph it into anything, like Brussels Sprouts.  Once you have the fundamentals recipes are irrelevant.  You have creative license, make soup...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Peach Trees

When I find great Peaches I save the seeds.  These are not just any Peaches, these are the ones that are over the top great.  I had got some California Peaches at Rosemeade Market last week which I thought were that good, and added them to my collection of great Peach seeds.  Now I had 10, accumulated over a couple years.  Some are freestone, some clingstone, in both regular Peach color, and White Peaches.  I decided that it was time to plant them.
So I managed to scrounge up ten pots, and filled them with my Compost Soil Mix.  Then planted my Awesome Peach seed collection.  I have them in a shady spot to sprout, and close to the Organic Bed so I can water them easy.  The tree they are under I also started from a seed.
It is a native Live Oak Tree.  There was an Live Oak Tree at a place where I worked, and I picked up some Acorns one day.  I planted a few of them in small pots, much like the Peach Trees, and within a couple years I was able to plant one in the ground.  Now its probably around 8 years old, and is probably about 15 feet tall.

Denver Burrito

Think Denver Omelet, but in a Burrito Tortilla instead of French Folded Eggs.
I'm gonna start here with some diced Green Pepper, and Onions in a teaspoon of butter.
Let the Onions and Green Pepper cook for a few minutes.   Throw in some diced Tomatoes next.
Then add a couple Eggs.  Break the Yolks, but don't scramble them.  Then the Eggs are two toned.
A Denver Omelet has diced Ham usually, and I'm gonna use sliced Black Forest Ham here.
While the Eggs are cooking I'll get the Burrito Tortilla ready by giving a handful of
shredded Cheddar, and letting it warm in the microwave for thirty seconds.
Once the filling is cooked I'll season it with Sea Salt and Black Pepper.
Then put the filling in the Burrito Tortilla, and Roll, Burrito Style.
Just like your favorite Denver Omelet, but in a convenient, hand held form.
Got Chips and Casa Loco Salsa on the side.

Casa Loco Salsa

Translated from Spanish means Crazy House Sauce.  Yeah, my Salsa has The Fire!  I'm waiting for my Tomatoes to ripen, and craving Salsa.  My second choice for Tomatoes is canned whole Tomatoes.  Wut?  A Can?  Yeah, we're making sauce here, and the Tomatoes will get pureed into the Tomato base of the Salsa.  I'm going to start with five dehydrated Cayenne Chiles, Sea Salt, and the juice from half a Lemon.  Then everybody in the food processor to go for a spin.
Then after the Tomato base is done I'm going to add the diced ingredients, which are three Jalapenos (fresh from the Organic Bed), a couple tablespoons of diced Onions, and some Chopped Cilantro.
Then we'll mix everything together and let the flavors meld together for a few hours.
This is the Salsa I make most often.  There are only a couple times per year I have fresh Tomatoes out of my own garden, and usually make Pico de Gallo with them.  Although when I have had large quantities of home grown Tomatoes I have made Salsa with them.  I have a variation of this Salsa which I use as Taco Sauce which has Cumin and Garlic powder in it, and it has more of a Southwestern flavor.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

UABMM2 Magnetic Shunts 3

I finished adding shunts to the Stator.  Using the smaller gauge sheet iron I was able to get a shunt between each magnet junction with much less filing.  The gap spaces all get filled up, and I can look at the Stator back lit and see that the gaps are filled.
The first thing I did was to go all the way around the Stator and ensure that all the screws were torqued.  Next I re-assembled the magnet motor to see if these modifications made any difference.  The Rotor did seem to require less effort to get it started.  There was a new phenomena which surprised me, it started making noise.  The shunts are secured on one side, where they are pinched between the magnets, the other side is floating between the magnets.  The magnets are canted (angled) and not parallel, so the space between them is a trapezoid shape, sort of.  Anyway, the loose end of the shunts jiggle back and forth, making a ticking sound.
 So the next step is probably to add shunts to the rotor.  Also need to quiet the ticking sound.  I am thinking about using a epoxy that is filled with fine Iron filings.  Whenever I am cutting Iron I save the filings for something like this.  I can use a fine grade sieve to sort out the fine filings, mix them with epoxy, and then use a syringe to inject the mixture into the gaps.  Getting the cross currents under control is the goal now.

Artichoke and Shrimp Scampi

Can you tell I bought Artichokes and Shrimp this week?  So, now we'll prepare them like a traditional Scampi.  I put a Tablespoon of Butter, and a Tablespoon of Olive Oil in a Stir Fry pan over medium heat.
Then add about half a head of Garlic, minced.  Use a lot, more if you like...
 Next go in the Artichokes, sliced a little more than the way they came.
Then we'll add the Shrimp, maybe about a quarter pound.
Keep the Garlic moving during this process.
I am going to add some Tortilla crumbs for crunch.  Typically the Scampi would have bread crumbs.
Then we'll take the Scampi and put it in an oven safe, Pyrex dish.
Add a little more Butter and some more Tortilla crumbs.
Bake it in a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 5 minutes.
This time I served it with some leftover Pizza, and a cracker that I made earlier today...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

UABMM2 Magnetic Shunts 2

Some of my hole spacing was irregular, so I have had to opt for some thinner sheet Iron to be the Shunt.  The sheet Iron I started with is about 30 mils thick.  Even though I was lowering the Cants, some of the spacing clearances were smaller than the 30 mil sheet Iron.  I had to use some thinner sheet Iron in some places, and double up some of the sheet Iron in other places. So, I made a set of the 20 mil Shunts...
Then it was much easier to add a Shunt between each magnet.  I have a third of the Stator done so far.  Having a variety of thicknesses helped a lot in doing this.  I'm sure I could buy a few different thicknesses of a similar Iron sheet, but really would rather use the materials I already have.
Being able to salvage the resources already available to you is an invaluable skill.  Recycle, Reuse everything possible.  I build furniture out of trashed fence wood to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Home Grown Pico de Gallo

So, what do I do with that fresh organic produce from the Organic Bed?  Make Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Pickled Jalapenos, and I dehydrate the Cayenne Chile for use as a spice.  This particular Pico de Gallo is made with one very ripe Tomato, a green Jalapeno, and a small white Onion.
You have to grow year around to have a Salsa Garden in Texas.  The Onions are a cool weather plant which I grow in the winter time.  In May is usually when the Onions will flower, and need to be picked, otherwise the tops will turn brown, and the Onion will go into hibernation over the hot Summer months.  The Tomatoes and Chiles like the other side of the year, the Summer and Fall are when they do best.

End of Spring Harvest

I am starting to get some produce in the Organic Bed.  Look at the size of these Cayenne Chiles.
One of them is almost nine inches long.  The first Cayenne Chiles are always extra large like this and as the plants get larger and are supporting more Chiles the size of the Chiles goes down to three or four inches.
The Tomatoes are starting to get ready also.  I pick them when they are just starting to turn red.  There have been many years where I tried to ripen the Tomatoes on the plant, and have had birds, rabbits, mice, and other critters eat them, even my dogs.  So now they go into a safe place (my kitchen) to ripen.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Porx Nachos

This is another staple use for leftover Porx.  Nachos are that "too tired to cook" alternative for cooking.  If you have tortilla chips, shredded cheeze, leftover meat, and some fresh Chiles, Nachos are a snap.
I usually line a sheet pan with Aluminum Foil, and spray with Olive Oil.  Take the Tortilla Chips and group them in the middle of the sheet pan, sprinkle with the shredded cheeze, and distribute the Porx around.
Then slice some fresh Chiles, and Onions for the flavoring, and distribute them about the Nachos.  I bake mine in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for five to seven minutes.
I know these already have plenty of heat, but I need Salsa also, and then some Yogurt Ranch to cool off...

Spring Chiles

I'm starting to get some of the first Chiles of the year.  I am especially excited about the Cayenne Chiles.  There are also Banana Chiles in this picture, they are not from my garden, but something curious that I found at Rosemeade Market.

Artichoke and Shrimp Noodle Bowl

One of my favorite foods is marinated Artichoke Hearts.  I can eat them just as they are, but here I was looking to integrate them into a Noodle Bowl.  This is probably more Western than most of my Noodle Bowls.  We'll start with Tablespoon of Butter and a Tablespoon of Olive Oil in the Stir Fry Pan.
Then I am going to immediately add about half a head of Garlic, chopped fine.
Gotta move fast here, we're over medium heat, and don't want the Garlic to burn.
I add in the Artichoke Hearts, and keep the Garlic moving, I think the Noodles are ready.
This is two cups of wide Egg Noodles, prepared, and I'll add some Sea Salt and Black Pepper here.
Then last to go in is 5 ounces of cold boiled Shrimp.  Then we'll let the shrimp just come up to warm.
This has got overtones of Shrimp Scampi Pasta, except that there are Artichokes in there as well...