Mexican Chorizo Tomatillo Chili


1 lb Mexican Chorizo (raw pork sausage) links

20 oz Tomatillos (If not using canned, prep the tomatillos by peeling and discarding the outer papery skin, wash the tomatillos and pre-cook in boiling water for at least 5 minutes until the bright green color changes. Cut into smaller pieces for the chili.)

1 onion chopped

1 poblano pepper seeds and white pith removed, chopped coarsely (wash hands after handling)

3 cups water

1 t + Granulated Garlic

1 1/2 t + Ground cumin

About 3 Corn tortillas to thicken

Grated Cotija cheese to top

Remove chorizo from casings and tear into medium to large pieces in a large sauce/soup pot. Brown over medium heat until cooked through, breaking into smaller pieces with spatula or spoon. (about 10 minutes) Using a slotted spoon transfer to a paper towel lined plate or bowl. Retain fat from cooked chorizo in the pot.

Add onion, poblano pepper, garlic (start with 1 teaspoon and add more if desired) and cumin (start with 1 1/2 teaspoons and add more if desired) to pot and cook over medium high heat until the onion begins to soften, 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatillos and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 2-3 minutes.

Add the chorizo and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, add 3 corn tortillas cut or torn to small pieces to thicken the mixture, simmer 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of tortilla. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with grated cotija cheese.



Art inspires

jollyrogerI’ve been worried about a few things. I’ve been laid off from an awesome job. I have had a few good interviews so I’m kinda waiting for them to play out. But I also have people that I care about who are affected by the government shutdown.  To be honest, there are alot of contractors doing the work of what should be government staff.  And this whole shutdown affects them, too. Perhaps, even more. You see, if they get furloughed, they may not get paid ever. At least federal workers have a chance of Congress voting in compensation for their furloughed time (or time worked if they were essential or forced to work).  Contractors really don’t have as many options.  My own layoff is not related at all to the government shutdown. While I have a good severance package, there is only so far that can go. And, as I indicated, I do have several very good jobs in play.  I’ll probably be fine but that doesn’t really stop me from worrying. So, today, I scanned in an cleaned up a few drawings I did in October (Inktober) of 2017. I think I might put them up somewhere like Zazzle and have them available for people to Buy as blank cards: cherryblossomsfinalCherry Blossoms and: bamboo2Bamboo.

Anyway, in doing so, that inspired me to create the Jolly Roger drawing at the beginning of the post. I think that helped me a bit.

Thank you for listening.

Tuna Turnovers

20190113_183313I adapted this recipe from the More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. The original recipe called for biscuit dough. I do heartily recommend this cookbook. It has a recipe for making your own baking mix (similar to Jiffy or Bisquick) and then recipes for biscuits and other things that you can make from it.  The book highly economical and stretches the food dollar well.

I will tell you that I’m not a fan of canned tuna. Mostly I will tolerate tuna salad once in a while. This recipe is another one that I will willingly make and eat.  These also reheat well in the toaster oven or microwave.

2 5 oz cans tuna (I used Skipjack in water from Aldi because it’s supposed to be responsibly caught)

2/3 c. chopped celery

1 tablespoon sliced scallions/green onions (I’ve also used finely chopped white or yellow onion here and I’ve seen recipes calling for chives.)

1 c. very sharp shredded cheddar cheese (or mild cheddar cheese)

mayonnaise to taste

salt and pepper to taste (sometimes I use celery salt instead of salt)

2 cans of crescent roll dough (I’ve used both lower calorie/fat and original)

(Note: The original recipe called for biscuit dough.)

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Fahrenheit (or whatever the crescent rolls call for.) Drain the tuna and place in a medium sized bowl and flake with a fork. Add celery, onion, and cheese and mix. Add in mayonnaise. I use around two large spoonfuls of mayonnaise and salt and pepper. Mix well.  Open a can of crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Place about a tablespoon or more the tuna mixture onto one of the triangles and pinch dough together around the filling.  I find that I fold sides of the triangle up and pinch in the middle and along the sides but there is really no wrong way as long as there are no holes in the dough. If a hole forms, try to pinch it together to close it.  Place in the oven for 9-12 minutes.  I use baking stones and I leave them in the oven while it is preheating and just place the turnovers on the stone and then use a spatula to move them from the stone onto a plate when the time is up. You can also use a baking sheet.  The turnovers should be lightly golden brown. Let them cool a few minutes and serve. Be careful biting into them as the filling will be hot.



Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Roast


In addition to the Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day, I made a pork roast in the slow cooker for dinner.  I have to say that, while the recipe sounded good, I wasn’t really thrilled with it and now, I have to figure out what to do with the pork. I’ll probably pour some barbecue sauce over it.  (Pictured above with mushroom spätzle purchased at Aldi.)

1 3 lb center cut pork roast

1/2 tsp granulated garlic ( you can use garlic powder)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 c. chicken broth

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste.

Place pork roast fat side up and sprinkle garlic, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning, salt and pepper over the roast. Mix broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and honey and pour over roast. Cook 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  Ladle sauce over roast before serving.  (I found that the cut of roast I bought needed the 6 hours minimum on low to cook enough to not seem too tough.)





Hoppin’ John


My mother was born and mostly raised in Texas. My dad is from Western Pennsylvania.  I like to combine my roots by having Hoppin’ John for lunch and pork for dinner.

Here is the recipe I use for Hoppin’ John. Most recipes are too big for one or two  people. This one is just right.

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 red pepper chopped (here I used half a red and half an orange pepper)

1/2 c. chopped ham

1 T vegetable oil

1 15 oz can black eyed peas plus 1/4 c reserved liquid

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 – 1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

2 c. cooked brown rice (not pictured)

salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook the pepper, onion and ham in the vegetable oil about 4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Drain the black eyed peas, reserving the 1/4 c. liquid. Add the peas, liquid, thyme and hot sauce to the skillet with the ham and vegetables, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over rice.  If desired, top with salsa and sour cream.  The spice measurements are guidelines and sometimes, I modify this by adding garlic or garlic powder and cayenne pepper to taste.


Pittsburgh Hidden treats: Duquesne Incline David H. Miller Working Museum

Today was the last day to see the four story “Rubber” Duck at Pittsburgh’s Point State Park. I had seen it “up close” earlier in the week and decided that I wanted to get some pictures of it at the Point from the observation decks along Mt. Washington. I drove up to my favorite spot at “Point of View” Park,  and took some pictures but decided to also drive down to the Duquesne Incline observation platform. To get to the platform, you need to go into the station for the incline. I was grateful for this because it was a bit chilly and windy so it gave me a chance to warm up. I walked toward the platform but noticed a doorway to the right into a small room with a window where one can look down and see the cars of the incline descending and/or ascending. I spotted the sign that indicated a “Working Museum” for $0.50 and was intrigued. I am recently unemployed but I figured that I could afford a short diversion to view the working machinery. Although the turnstile actually got $0.75 from me, I found it worth it. The working machinery observation platform was the dream of one of the original members of the group that saved the incline after it closed in 1962. It was finally opened in 2008. There are numbered signs that explain all the parts of the equipment which, of course, has the numbers. There are diagrams of the design of incline and signs that explain it as well. When the incline cars move, the gears spin and the cable is played out. I might also add that the teeth on the gears are wooden! I always recommend or take visitors on a ride of one of the two still working inclines in Pittsburgh. Before today, I took them to the Monongahela Incline but I think, especially for families with children, I might favor the Duquesne Incline because of this delightfully inexpensive feature.