Sesame-Soy Shrimp, Ramen, and Bok Choy

Susan showed me the recipe in the morning. I went grocery shopping. I made this for dinner same day. YUM!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

12 ounces fresh or frozen (thawed) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used cocktail shrimp which I added during last few minutes of the stir fry.

3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon minced ginger

3 garlic cloves, sliced

3 baby bok choy (1 pound), trimmed and sliced

½ red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips

1 14.2 ounce package precooked Hokkien noodles

Crushed red pepper or Sriracha (I used crushed red pepper.)

1/3 cup unsalted peanuts (My addition.)

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.
  • Step 2 In a wok or extra-large skillet heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook 2 minutes or until opaque, turning once. Remove to a plate. (I added cocktail shrimp at end.)
  • Step 3 Add green onions, ginger, and garlic to wok. Cook and stir 30 seconds. Add bok choy and bell pepper; cook and stir 2 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add noodles, shrimp, and soy sauce mixture to wok. Using tongs, toss ingredients until noodles are coated in sauce and heated through. If desired, top with crushed red pepper or Sriracha. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Based on a recipe from Better Homes & Gardens.

OH RHUBARB!

I said to Santa Claus
(That's what we call our elderly neighbor who has a long white beard and is a avid gardener.)
"I would love to have a few stalks of your rhubarb."
He got up from his chair.
                                          He walked toward me.
                                                                               His hands in his overall pockets.
"I make rhubarb jam.
                                    "The old-fashioned way.
                                                                             "The way my mother and grandmother made it.
"I used Jell-o. That's right. Jell-o.
"I cut enough rhubarb to give me five cups
"Of one-quarter inch pieces.
"I cover it all in a large saucepan with water.
"And sugar. Three cups.
                                       "I let it sit overnight.
"I boil it and then simmer.
"For fifteen minutes.
"Then I stir in the dry Jell-o."
My dog is at my side.
He is a very good boy.
Santa says
"What are you going to make?
"A pie?"
Or rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry tarte.

Some Photos

April 18–April 25. Banana Bread. Bruce. Bouquet. Bread Pudding. Chicken Maquechoux. Weeping White Cherry Tree. Baked Cod with Braised Red Cabbage and Apple. Cod Cake. Freddy. Vodka & Tonic. Red Onion, Mushroom, Chicken, Green Olive Pizza. Mushroom, Red Onion, Salami Pizza. Susan and Freddy. Second Vaccine.

March Memories

(Introductory note. The number 8. According to the Bible, number 8 is considered to be a symbol of creation and new beginnings. God rested on the 7th day, which means that the 8th day was always a day for the new beginning. Eight is a symbol of infinity and a constant flow of energy and power. The number 8 is considered the luckiest of numbers in China and they believe the more 8’s the better. The Cantonese word for eight, which is pronounced “ba”, sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth”. In regional dialects the words for “eight” and “fortune” are also similar. The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration. It is the number of a new beginning. Eight is 7 plus 1 and since it comes just after seven, which itself signifies an end to something, so eight is also associated with the beginning of a new era or that of a new order.)

My last post was dated March 8. Today is April 8 (Finishing this post now on the 9th.) . A new beginning. Always forward. Never back. “The past cannot bind me. The future does not limit me.”

Thinking about March.

My birthday was March 7. I celebrated my 69th year to Heaven.

69!

I am still singing this song:

Here I am with my grandchildren about to celebrate with a piece of carrot cake.

Continuing Dry January with Free Spirits.

Continuing experimenting with self-portraits.

Susan made granola.

And here is Susan and Freddy on March 17.

How delicious was the General Tso’s Chicken I made on the 19th!

It’s baked and it is so simple to make.

Here’s the recipe I based it one; I added asparagus rather than broccoli: https://theschmidtywife.com/baked-general-tso-chicken/

Maybe you might prefer a serving of Shrimp Lo Mein?

We celebrated my birthday with Danielle, Mike, Emily and Matthew on March 21 (The previous weekends were too cold to celebrate outside keeping social distance.)

We are so proud of Danielle and Mike:

And of Emily and Matthew:

I was given this beautiful Kalanchoe Double Flower plant as a gift (along with carrot cake pictured at the beginning of this post.

Family.

Susan bought a new sculpture for our yard from Cindy Polette.


And what’s a Blog post with a cute photo of Freddy?

The crocus plants bloomed on March 24.

I made a Chicken and Spinach and Onion Pizza on the 25th.

What else?

Susan and I both had our first vaccine shots.

“From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known.” ~Isaiah 48:6

This Is Me

Self-portrait. Sunday. March 7, 2021. My birthday.

This is me, too. An old resume–a direct mail brochure. It got me my first job at Hearst Magazines. My cousin, Donna, sent it back to me as a way to wish me Happy Birthday. Read her comment:

This is the front, the mail side.

Check out the stamp! 15 cents!!!

Here’s the inside of the resume:

I hope you can read it. The baseball team? That’s my Little League team; Old Salt. Can you guess which one is me? All my childhood friends thought I was going to grow up to be a professional baseball player.

In addition to what is noted on the resume I have been a lifeguard, gardener, antique refinisher, short order cook. But never a professional baseball play. I did, however, coach my daughter’s softball team!

Back to my birthday. I made an updated version of Shrimp Scampi (olive oil, butter, shallot, garlic, crushed tomato, mild banana peppers, red pepper flakes, spinach, shrimp, linguine):

Susan made us a Chocolate Cake:

On my birthday, I always remember a poem by Dylan Thomas, “Poem In October. It begins:

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

Read more here:

It was read to me and a college friend by our English Literature professor when we were in college. This was when we were young and innocent and our hair was long and our future, like the grassy hill in Tarrytown, New York, over-looking the Hudson River, on which we sat cross-legged passing a joint, was and would be beautiful, perfect and pure, ever-changing changeless.

Sunset and Pizza

On Friday Susan and I watched a beautiful sunset in our backyard and while we watched a beautiful and delicious pizza cooked in the oven.

I make a pizza almost once every week. The dough recipe is from Mark Bittman. I have made hundreds, all a little different: eggplant, calamari, meatballs, asparagus, corn, jalapeno peppers, etc.

This one above had chicken, mushrooms, spinach and red onion on it. And cheese and sauce! YUM!

Ten Days in Hamilton, Ontario

Susan, Freddy and I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Hamilton, Ontario where we house-sat for a friend, Helena, at her lovely brick home around the corner from Locke Street. Helena and her husband needed house-sitters as they were vacationing in Iceland.

We drove for seven and one-half hours from our home in West Springfield, Massachusetts to Helena’s home in Hamilton. MapQuest said it would take seven hours but we stopped twice to grab a bite to eat and to let Freddy stretch his legs. The time passed fairly quickly and Freddy was a perfect back seat driver–quiet the whole time! Look how happy he is!

This was Friday, the 7th of September, and by the time we arrived in Hamilton and unpacked, we were ready for dinner. We walked around the corner to Bread Bar–Earth To Table.

Well-known for it pizza and bread and “good ingredients,” we both ate hamburgers; me a “Umami Burger” and Susan a “Cheeseburger.” Both excellent. Later in the week we would have pizza two or three times there, and I think I must have bought five loaves of bread. So delicious but boy do I need to start an exercise program!!!! Or you’ll start calling me Dough Boy!

Susan, Freddy and I spent much of Saturday at the Locke Street Festival.

We visited the My Dog’s Café & Bar.

We saw some great signage and assorted advertisements on Locke Street. Later in the week we had lunch at the West Town Bar & Grill.

At the Locke Street Festival we bought our first loaf of Sourdough Bread from Bread Bar and Fresh Raspberry Jam from a local famer. And bracelets for our Granddaughter.

We brought Freddy home and went out for brunch. I had the best Eggs Benedict ever at Mattson & Co. on Locke Street–wild mushrooms, crispy baby kale, bacon. Thank You Georgia for the suggestion. Susan had an omelet with prosciutto and carnalized onions.

Here we are waiting for our food to arrive.

On Sunday we relaxed. I forgot to share with you this—-we had no TV and what a BLESSING!!!! We read and listened to music.

We then gathered ourselves up and went to the Royal Botanical Gardens and  hiked through the Hendrie Valley Nature Sanctuary. Not a difficult hike but very beautiful.

On Monday it rained. I bought groceries and wine. I went for a walk to photograph some street art written and placed by poet Simon Frank. Here is one of 20+ images:

I LOVED this!!!

Tuesday brought us to the Bruce Trail and Borer’s Fall.

The Bruce Trail is a hiking trail in southern Ontario from the Niagara River to the tip of Tobermory, Ontario. The main trail is more than 550 miles long and there are over 250 miles of associated trails. The Bruce Trail follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment and is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada. Its name is linked to the Bruce Peninsula and Bruce County which the trail runs through. The trail is named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin who was the Governor General of the Province of Canada from 1847 to 1854.

By the time Freddy, Susan and I hiked to Borer’s Falls and further along the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment, up and down steep and slippery, moss covered steps and rocky paths, huffing and puffing, I imagined we had just hiked all 550 miles of the Bruce Trail and that the trail was really named after me and then I noticed the only one not day-dreaming and breathing heavily was Freddy.

Pictured below is Susan walking down one of the rocky paths of the Bruce Trail. I am looking at her and Google Maps/GPS on my phone, thinking when she meets up with me I am going to have to say “I think we are going in the wrong direction and we are going to have to hike back up those steep and slippery, moss covered steps and rocky paths.”

After all that huffing and puffing, we decided to return to Mattson & Co. for a dinner of wine and appetizers; we were so happy with the brunch we had a few days earlier. The food is excellent.  We shared three appetizers. Fried Calamari with citrus gremolata, sweet basil aioli, candied jalapeno. Honey Truffle Toast with an olive tapenade, goat cheese mousse, wild mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, crisp house-made focaccia, wildflower truffle honey, fresh basil. Crab Cakes–Dungeness, snow and lump crab, ravigote hollandaise, sweet corn succotash, arugula. And wine. The happy house-sitters!

If it’s Wednesday  it must be The Art Gallery of Hamilton. We saw the work of Vivian Maier.

All I can say is WOW!

We also saw: “James Street North: Vintage Photographs by Cees and Annerie van Gemerden;”   “Speaking for Herself;”  and the wild “Kim Adams: Bruegel-Bosch Bus.”   All great exhibitions in a great museum. A must visit!

And that night I made a spicy chicken and mushroom stir fry.

And we listened to Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell.

On Thursday we went for a walk at Bayfront Park and visited Tiffany Falls.

We had lunch at The Burnt Tongue (great soups and hamburgers), window-shopped on Locke Street, and bought a few book at Epic Books, one by Gary Barwin, who lives in Hamilton and is the author of twenty one books of poetry, fiction and books for children. Dinner was pizza from Bread Bar.

On Friday we visited the Fifty Point Conservation Area—and Freddy got to go in the water for the very first time! In Lake Ontario!!!

Afterward the three of us went to the Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, an absolutely beautiful place, where we each (Not Freddy) enjoyed a glass of Riesling, bought a few bottles of wine and four kinds of cheese.

It is interesting to note that there are 100+ wineries dotting the region, a fertile swath of land that separates Lake Ontario from Lake Erie and runs roughly from the Canadian border at the Niagara River and Niagara Falls to Hamilton, Ontario, just south of Toronto.

I am not one to complain, but being semi-retired and on vacation is hard work as you never really get a day off. For example, on Friday I walked Freddy three times before 10. Then I took Susan out to lunch; great beer and fries at Brux House, which is on Locke Street in beautiful Hamilton.

And then we boarded the Hamilton Harbour Queen for a tour of Hamilton Harbour, which was delightful and interesting.

Hamilton Harbour, formerly known as Burlington Bay, lies on the western tip of Lake Ontario, bounded on the northwest by the City of Burlington, on the south by the City of Hamilton, and on the east by Hamilton Beach (south of the Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway) and Burlington Beach (north of the channel). It is joined to Cootes Paradise by a narrow channel formerly excavated for the Desjardins Canal. Within Hamilton itself, it is referred to as “Hamilton Harbour”, “The Harbour” and “The Bay”. The bay is naturally separated from Lake Ontario by a sand bar. The opening in the north end was filled in and channel cut in the middle for ships to pass. The Port of Hamilton is on the Hamilton side of the harbor.

Here is a jetty in Hamilton Harbour protecting the marina and the boats from wakes, creating a no-wake zone. I once read “wakes make people angry.”

We saw hundreds of sailboats and in this photo below we see a steel mill in the distance and those breast-like shapes on the right contain grain and soy beans.

On Sunday, our last full day, we went to Albion Falls.

Albion Falls is a 62 foot classical/cascade waterfall flowing down the Niagara Escarpment in Red Hill Valley in Hamilton. With cascade falls the downpour is staggered into a series of steps causing water to “cascade”.

Albion Falls was once seriously considered as a possible source of water for Hamilton. Rocks from the Albion Falls area were used in the construction of the Royal Botanical Gardens‘ Rock Garden.

The ravine at the Albion Falls has a legend of the Lover’s Leap!  The story is that early in the 19th century young Jane Riley, disappointed in love with Joseph Rousseau, stood at the top of a steep cliff not far from thundering Albion Falls and flung herself to the bottom 100 feet below. The steep drop has since been dubbed “Lovers’ Leap” and many tales have grown up about the suicide.

On a happier note, we celebrated the end of our brief but spectacular vacation at Mattson & Co. enjoying some calamari and wine. Our third visit there, but who is counting! Great food and service!

Cheers!

One last thing, no trip to Hamilton is complete without purchasing donuts from the Donut Monster on Locke Street. And I did on Monday morning before we headed home. Pictured here Mexican Chocolate and Orange Hibiscus. YUM!!!

Wait! There’s more. I would be remiss if I didn’t say how beautiful the city of Hamilton is: the stores and restaurants along Locke Street; the nearby hiking trails and waterfalls; the kind and friendly people; the dogs—so many dogs in this very dog-friendly city; the beautiful brick homes. Oh! I think I saw a house for sale on Helena’s street!

Note: Helena is a friend from fourteen years ago when I had an art gallery. She is a gifted writer and fine art photographer. She is also the first person whose art I exhibited in my gallery. She loves photography, dogs, cats and ponies. Here is a photo from her recent trip to Iceland:

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” ~Seneca

One last thing happened when we were in Hamilton. Diane Ensey of Beyond Paper redesigned my website. I couldn’t be happier. I have worked with Diane before and I must say she’s the best: creative and attentive to detail–and fun to work with!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Pasta Primavera

My wife and I were having lunch and she asked me “What’s for dinner?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Why not make some past primavera? And be sure to add some squash. My mom always stir-fried squash for me; sometimes with scrambled eggs.”

And I did. So delicious.

Ingredients
Vegetables
  • 1¼ lbs. (about 6 cups) fresh vegetables cut into strips or diced (I used corn, squash, zucchini, red and green pepper—all from a local farm. And Japanese Eggplant, Jalapeno Peppers, and tomatoes—all from my garden. And some spinach.)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Pasta + Sauce
  • One package of fresh Rana linguine
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
Vegetables
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables, olive oil, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the sheet pan.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden brown.
Pasta + Sauce
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and tomatoes, and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add stock and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 13-15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter until melted and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Add the hot pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Then gently stir in the vegetables and Parmesan cheese. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve.

Watermelon Chaat

Cool salad for a hot summer’s day. So refreshing!

I found this recipe in the New York Times. The reporter writes:

“This recipe for watermelon chaat, a savory fruit salad dressed in toasted cumin and dried mango powder, comes from Malika Ameen, a cookbook author whose Pakistani-American family in Chicago makes infinite variations on fruit chaat in the summer. You could swap out the watermelon for a mix of what’s in season, whether it’s stone fruit, berries or cubed apple and pear. It’s an ideal dish to break the fast during Ramadan, full of flavor and hydrating, and quick to put together.”

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon amchur powder (dried green mango) (I didn’t use this.)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (a generous pinch if you like heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 orange, clementine or mandarin, juiced to make approximately 1/3 cup juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 3 to 4 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (I used Chocolate mint.)
  • 1 small cucumber, halved, seeded, thinly sliced (My addition.)
  • 5 pieces of dried mango, thinly sliced (My addition.)

Preparation

  1. Place cubed watermelon in a wide platter with sides or in a large baking or serving dish and spread into a single layer.
  2. In a small pan, toast whole cumin seeds on medium heat for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. (You can also grind in a spice grinder, but be sure not to grind to a fine powder as the coarse grains of the spice add a wonderful texture.)
  3. Transfer cumin to a small bowl and add all remaining spices and salt. Add citrus juice, jalapeño and mint and mix well. Pour dressing over cubed watermelon and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 1 to 6 hours. Serve chilled the same day.

 

Pasta with Artichokes and Pancetta

So delicious!

Based on a recipe from The New York Times, Melissa Clark.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 4 medium artichokes, or 8 to 10 small or baby artichokes (I used a box of frozen artichokes. I sliced each in half.)
  • 8 ounces short tubular or corkscrew-shaped pasta (I used fresh 
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 large leek, halved and thinly sliced (I used one large shallot as I didn’t have leeks.)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons dry (white) vermouth or not-too-dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • ¼ cup parsley or mint leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
  • Fresh lemon juice, for serving

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, then cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in pancetta and cook until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally, 8 to 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; leave fat in pan.
  3. Drain the artichokes, shaking them well to remove excess water. Raise heat under pan to medium-high, and stir in artichokes, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook until golden brown and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and stir in vermouth, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.
  4. Stir in cooked pasta, pancetta, chives and parsley. If the mixture seems dry, add pasta water, a little at a time. Stir in more salt to taste, Parmesan and lemon juice to taste.
  5. Transfer to serving plates and top with a drizzle of oil, more black pepper, and more grated cheese.