reducing clutter

baking pansWhen we were in Gilroy I did a lot of baking using the convection oven I loved so much. That included hamburger and hot dogs buns, as well as the occasional shortcake. So I had pans for all of those, which we stored in our vertical cabinet along with our sheet pans and cutting boards.

When we moved here to Hemet I put them all in a similar vertical cabinet in our new kitchen. The fit was tight, and I often struggled with the cutting board and the large sheet pan. The thing is, I haven’t baked since we’ve been here. It was only recently that it occurred to me that the hamburger, hot dog, and shortcake pans did not have to stay there. They could go into a cabinet in the garage.

Much simpler and easier. It amazes me how often the obvious eludes me for so long.


Cuban lentil chorizo stew

I ought to make more use of my pressure cooker in the summer months. It keeps more heat inside the appliance rather than dissipating it into the kitchen as with the stovetop or oven.

Cuban lentil chorizo stew is an old classic. Developed by Ray, owner of Pressure Cooker Recipes on Yahoo Groups, I do my own take.

Cuban Lentil Chorizo StewThis time I diced two Yukon gold potatoes, sliced a carrot and chopped a yellow bell pepper. I added a cup of lentils. I had a nearly full carton of vegetable broth which I emptied into the pressure cooker.

The chorizo part was a one-off. In the freezer I had a quarter tube of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo and a quarter pound of pork chorizo from the grocery store meat department. (The butcher had given me chorizo instead of mild Italian sausage and I didn’t catch it.) I put both in. The Trader Joe’s alone would have been plenty, but the pork added some nice additional flavor. (I have learned that any more than a quarter package of the Trader Joe’s overwhelms any dish.)

I set my Cuisinart CPC-600 to 10 minutes on high and allowed 15 minutes when the time was up before releasing the pressure.

This one turned out spicy, tasty, and filling.


college has changed

I recently wrote about listening to an Open Yale course from iTunes on the New Testament. While the production values of iTunes U classes are not as polished as those for The Great Courses, they are interesting because you get to hear recordings of actual classroom sessions.

Yale campusWhen I was in college we didn’t have computers. Well, we had one DEC System 10 mainframe for all of the Claremont colleges that sat in basement of Scott Hall at Pitzer College. You could get access to it by going to a computer room on one of the campuses that had three or four terminals and you could either play one of a few games or do some basic programming if you had those skills. Few of us did much with that.

Today having a laptop is essential to academic life on campus. The professor spoke at the beginning of the course about access to course materials on the server. At the end of the course he stated that the final exam could be emailed to one’s teaching fellow.

Some things, perhaps, don’t change. Like students being lazy. At one point the professor said that he could tell that many of the students hadn’t downloaded and read a certain document that he was lecturing on by the blank looks on their faces.

The technology has certainly changed. Student attitudes, even at Yale, seem to have not.


Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori ChickenI stumble across some excellent recipes while surfing the various public broadcasting outlets. That’s how I found this recipe for Grilled Tandoori Chicken on Simply Ming. The recipe is by chef Tiffani Faison (not to be confused with B-list celebrity and Cooking Channel host Tiffani Thiessen).

The recipe calls for a whole chicken. I used boneless leg meat. I followed the seasonings as specified: mustard seed, fennel seed, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. I mixed the seasonings in yogurt and marinated the leg meat for twenty-four hours.

I grilled the chicken on the outdoor gas grill. Between the yogurt and the dark meat the chicken was moist and tender.

It was a really nice Sunday night meal.


Secular Music Friday: Today

Given a thing or two going on in my life, what is happening on the American political scene, and the state of the world in general, it helps a lot to keep this song at the top of my mind.


our new Indian restaurant

It’s not very often that something new and noteworthy happens on the culinary scene here in Hemet, so when it does it’s worth noting.

On the east side of town, the opposite side from which we live, there is a 7-Eleven store and gas station. That same building also hosts two storefronts. One of them was a burger place that moved to a less congested location in the central part of town. Later in that spot there was a soul food restaurant. The food was quite good, but apparently it didn’t get enough business to survive.

Taste of India buffet plateRecently my brother, who lives on that side of town, told me that there was a sign on the storefront that read, “Coming Soon: Taste of India.” We anxiously awaited the restaurant’s opening. The Chamber of Commerce sent out a notice about the ribbon cutting on a Friday and the next day my brother sent me a text saying that it was open.

We tried it recently and were delighted. Previously we had to drive half an hour to a very congested area for Indian food. No more. They have both a full menu and a buffet. The buffet was excellent and although they didn’t have my favorite, Chicken Tikka Masala, the Tandoori Chicken was great and they had a chicken dish that I didn’t recognize which was quite tasty. The owner took the time to speak with us in spite of how busy it was when we were there. Never mind the fact that they use paper plates and plastic utensils. Terry and I are more than pleased.


apricot shrimp skewers

apricot shrimp skewersI was looking for a shrimp recipe to grill outside on an unseasonably hot Saturday. I found this apricot shrimp skewers recipe that seemed to fill the bill.

It did.

Terry did all the work. The shrimp is wrapped in prosciutto and put on skewers alternating with apricot pieces. A mixture of apricot jam, ginger, orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, and soy sauce doubles as a glaze basted on the grill and as a dipping sauce at the table.

It was a lot of work on Terry’s part. And it was well worth it, we both agreed.

A five-star dinner on a hot Saturday night.