American Pizza Burgers

When I was a kid this was my all time favorite hamburger. It was just different enough, but not too different.

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1 1/3 cups tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped black olives

1  teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 cup minced onions

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

6 mozzarella cheese, slices

6 Tomato slices

3 hamburger buns

3 tablespoons fresh minced oregano leaves

Mix all ingredients together except the last 3 and make 6 patties. Cook them like regular hamburgers. Place a cooked burger on a half of a bun and top each with a slice of cheese and melt the cheese under the broiler and serve topped with a tomato slice and fresh oregano.

Servings: 6

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Spicy Vegetable Bisque

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves diced garlic
2 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 pound broccoli florets
1 red or yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into small strips
1 chipotle chili pepper canned in adobo sauce
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each ) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. In a large saucepan heat up the olive oil and add the next 7 ingredients. Cook the vegetables until they become soft. Remove from heat and cool. Place the vegetables in a blender along with the chipotle pepper and blend until smooth and slightly chunky. Pour blended vegetables back in the saucepan and add the broth, half-and-half, oregano, thyme, pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until mixture is reduced to the proper thickness. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it is all melted.

Servings: 6

Crispy Chicken Tacos with Chili Spiced Rice

Quick, easy and delicious. Before there was Mexican chain restaurants my favorite Mexican diner served this simple (and fairly low in calories) combination for a dinner special along with a cup of spicy vegetable bisque. My family used to eat at that restaurant at least once a month until the owner’s retired. I ended up becoming good friends with one of the waitresses there for about 20 years after the restaurant closed.

Chicken Tacos with Mexican Rice

4 whole boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into pices
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package crisp taco shells
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups fresh salsa
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
1 cup long-grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a saucepan add rice, chicken broth, chili powder, and cumin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover rice and let cook for about 20 minutes. Cook chicken while rice is finishing.

2. Season chicken with salt, cumin, and chili powder. Heat olive oil in frying pan and add chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is done.

3. Allow guests to stuff taco shells with chicken, lettuce, fresh salsa and grated cheese. Serve with chili spiced rice.

Servings: 6

Sea Ranch Chapel

Sea Ranch Chapel

Sea Ranch Chapel

 

About 10 years ago I went on a road trip from where I live in Eugene, Oregon with a friend of mine and we drove down to San Diego, California to visit my niece. We mostly drove down the coast and stopped for the night at whatever town we were close to when we got tired of driving for the day. We ate at a lot of really neat roadside restaurants on the coast and inland and saw some beautiful country. We drove through the giant redwoods in northern California, stopped at Bodega Bay where “The Birds” was filmed, ate one of the best hamburgers I ever had at a little place outside of Santa Rosa and we made a quick stop at a winery for lunch in Napa Valley. We took our bicycles along and got to ride them to dinner from the hotels we stayed at in the evenings and when we got to San Diego we would throw them in the back of the car and ride on the beach bike paths and stop at the bars alongside them and eat and drink some very good stuff. One of the most memorable things I saw on the trip was on the third day just after we had breakfast and checked out of our room where we stayed in Fort Bragg. We were driving along admiring the beautiful scenery, we had the ocean on one side of the road and beautiful forests on the other side. About an hour after we had been traveling I was looking at the forested side of the road when all of sudden I saw an odd little place that looked like it belonged in an “Alice In Wonderland” movie. I did a double take but we were by the place in just a minute. I asked my friend if he just saw what I saw and he didn’t because he was looking at the road in front of him since it was his turn to drive. I suggested we turn around and go see I what I thought I saw was as unusual as I thought it was. So we did turn around and drove up to this really cool place that really didn’t look real it was different. It definitely has a fantasy land appearance about it. There was a parking lot outside the structure and when we got out we discovered it was a chapel built as a memorial to a young man who died too young. It also reminds me of the nursery rhyme of the “Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe” because it almost looked like it came out of a fairy tale looking up the hill at it from the main road. Inside it has beautiful mahogany wood and stained glass windows. If you live anywhere near this place I highly recommend checking it out, it is quite a unique place.

Here is the web address: http://www.thesearanchchapel.org/

Inside the Sea Ranch Chapel

Inside the Sea Ranch Chapel

I Am Almost Done Writing My Cookbook…

I have been working on writing a cookbook for me and my family and friends who have eaten the recipes over the years at parties and holidays. I didn’t realize what a trip through old memories this would be. As I go through the recipes, and cook the ones I haven’t had for a long time to make sure I want to include them in my cookbook, it has evoked a lot of memories of some of the events I made some of the recipes for. Good memories, as I find most memories involving food are good memories, I don’t seem to have a lot of memories about the food that didn’t impress me. I found that when I was younger I collected, and made up, a lot of ambitious and time consuming recipes. As I got older I created and collected a lot more casserole and quick and easy recipes, partly this was because as I got older I spent 50 hours a week doing something related to my job, either the actual time I spent at the job, time spent going to and from it and the time in the morning preparing to go to work. When I was forced to retire because of my hereditary neuropathic disease that eventually got too bad for me to work six years ago I quit reading the paper at lunch every day and quit collecting recipes. I also pretty much quit going out to dinner which was another source of my recipes as I used to come home after having a good inventive meal at a restaurant and I would recreate it so I could have the meal more often that I had time to out and eat. I have always had dogs and cats and the dogs always liked to have their dinner just after “us” humans had ours and if we went out to dinner the dogs were disappointed and sometimes wouldn’t even eat dinner because their humans didn’t eat at home. This made me feel guilty so I didn’t go out to dinner that much and for the last 6 years I have lived alone in the country with my animals so I feel even more guilty leaving them at home and going out to eat, pretty silly I know. My vet once said my animals own me and I can’t argue with him but they are fairly undemanding bosses! I only have 16 recipes to go to finish my cookbook, I don’t know what I am to use for an excuse to make 2 or 3 different old recipes every week (to make sure they were still good and deserved to go in my cookbook) and I will have a total of 300 recipes in the cookbook. I guess I will just have to cook the recipes out of the book after it is finished to “make sure” I put the right ones in the book. Every time I work on the book and read the recipes trying to decide which ones will make the cut I get very hungry thinking about all of the wonderful food in the recipes. I have known a few people who are very picky eaters and I feel sorry for them for they are missing so many wonderful things to eat. I will never get tired of cooking and eating good food.

Back to work to pick out my last 16 recipes and see which ones I “have” to try to see if they are still good!

Barbecued Pork Appetizer

Whenever I am asked to bring an appetizer to a party I like to bring homemade Chinese barbecued pork because it always is a hit and it always disappears. My dad used to complain that it was red like at the restaurant (he somehow always managed to eat it though) and if you want it to be red just add food coloring. since it tastes the same I never did but it is easy to do.
Chinese Barbecued Pork

1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon plum jam
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 inch piece of fresh gingerroot
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, regular, jalapeno or smoky chipotle
1/2 cup  soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
1. Mix all ingredients and marinate pork for 48 hours, turning meat over every 12 hours.
2. Roast pork in oven for about an hour at 325 until meat is fully cooked.
3. Cool and thinly slice and serve with hot mustard and sesame seeds to dip it in.

My Dogs Are Silly!

I have two wolf dogs, one is a 9 year old female and one is a 6 year old male. I got them from a lady who rescues wolf dogs as well as breeds a couple litters of them a year on purpose, the female was a 3 year old rescued wolf when I got her and the male was a 10 week old pup she bred on purpose. They were the second pair I have gotten from her, when I got the first pair I lived with a roommate and when I decided I wanted my own place my roommate and I were going to split custody of the dogs but they always wanted to go back to the home they had lived in for 3 years when they came to my new place so I let my roommate keep them (that was 6 years ago and I still go and visit the first two once or twice a week, I was one of their first two friends in life and they are bonded to me forever and I to them), it seemed easier just to rescue 2 more dogs since my ex-roommate had the desire and space to keep the first two and I had the desire and space to keep a second pair. I find the interactions both of these pairs of wolf dogs have with each other fascinating. They tease each other, get mad at each other, play with each other and love each other, kind of the like how human relationships work. The two females in both of these partnerships are a little smarter than the males and both of the males are more laid back and sweeter than the females. Both the males and the females do play games with their partner’s. The female in the first couple is a very intense girl, she is always dead serious about everything. Dead serious that she should eat first, she is by far the better dog (she thinks that for sure and makes sure her presence is known first and the mellower male lets her have her way.  He is shyer and takes a while to warm up to people, the female knows this so she bulls her way in first to make sure whoever is visiting meets her first and knows that she is the “better dog”. She will lick your face to prove it, whereas the male takes his time to get to know someone. This female almost always eats first because the male is a picky eater and has to make sure his food isn’t “poisoned “ before he can eat it. While he is being cautious and taking his time the female eats all of her food and tries to steal his, which has resulted in her getting fat and he is still nice and slim and trim since she “has” to eat his food whenever she can. The female I have is not as aggressive as the first female but she is cagey about how she gets to claim more of the “treats” I give her and her younger boyfriend. She will start barking like there is someone at the door and when she gets the male to respond she quickly scarfs down the goodies out of his bowl and if he tries to reclaim his food bowl she threatens to take his head off. Pretty funny sometimes, and sometimes not! She sometimes will just start pacing and you can see the wheels turn in her head as she tries to think of some way to mess with me or him. She can be a real pain in the ass but I do have to appreciate the thought process she goes through trying to trick the male or me into doing what she wants so she can sneakily steal something. When she is really bored she will walk around the house and bark like someone is outside just to stir things up for no reason, I always get the feeling she is laughing when she has Hunter barking at nothing and the cats hiding from nothing. Silly animal!