Looking Out My Back Door – August 24, 2013

Maybe I should have entitled this post “On My Back Door” because this first picture is of a katydid that was on my back door knob a couple of days ago.

Katydid On My Door Knob

Katydid On My Door Knob

I had gone out to attend to my hummingbird feeders and spotted this katydid on my door knob as I approached the house.  I stood and watched as he appeared to be licking the surface of the door knob…I think I saw his little tongue darting in and out!  Luckily, I had my cell phone in my pocket and I was able to catch a few shots.  You never know when a photo opportunity will arise!

My kentucky wonder beans are starting to appear, and unlike the scarlet runner beans, they are not myteriously disappearing.  There seems to be a good number of them and unlike the scarlet runner beans, their surface is smooth, not fuzzy.  Local farmstands have a gorgeous assortment of fresh vegetables as well.  So what recipe could I make with an assortment of vegetables?  How about minestrone salad?

Fresh Summer Vegetables

Fresh Summer Vegetables

I had about 8 ounces of rotini pasta on hand and cooked and drained it.  Then I sauteed some chopped onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic for a few minutes.  Then I added my vegetables…the harder ones first:  the chopped carrots and pieces of cauliflower first for just a couple of minutes then the chopped zucchini and green beans next for a couple of minutes then chopped celery for a minute.   I just wanted to soften these vegetables slightly but still wanted some crispness to them.   I had chopped a large tomato and added it to a large bowl along with rinsed and drained cannellini beans (15 oz. can).  Then I placed the pasta on top of the beans and tomatoes.  If the pasta is drained but still slightly warm, that is good as it will absorb the Italian dressing slightly.  Then I put the cooked vegetables on top and sprinkled it with Balsamic Italian dressing (you can make your own or use your favorite bottled).  Toss and season to taste.  I topped with some kalamata olives and fresh basil.

Minestrone Salad

Minestrone Salad

I have recipe clippings that go back years – even decades.  One of them is for “Paella Salad” and came from a 1994 Good Housekeeping magazine.  I don’t recall ever having made it in the almost 20 years since I clipped it, so I tried it. 

It called for a 6 oz. package of  “long grain and wild rice mix”.  I thought that was kind of strange since traditional paella recipes use saffron rice, but I bought the wild rice mix and cooked it according to directions.   The photo below is the photo that accompanied this recipe in the 1994 magazine.

Paella Salad

Paella Salad

The recipe called for cooked shrimp, crabmeat, thawed peas, sliced smoked sausage and pimento to be added to the cooled rice and tossed with Italian dressing.  Garnish with lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

Well, I just couldn’t see making this salad without adding some sauteed onion and garlic, which I did and am glad I did.  And as for the smoked sausage, I bought Frieda’s Vegetarian Soyrizo which I sauteed and added. 

Soy Sausage

Soy Sausage

I will make this Paella salad recipe again, however, next time I will use a yellow rice mix (like Carolina brand) and most likely skip the soy sausage because it pretty much crumbles to tiny little pieces as you cook it.  A dash of hot pepper sauce or a sprinkling of cayenne pepper is recommended as well.

But don’t dismiss this meatless soy chorizo sausage, as it works very nicely in Portuguese Kale Soup (if you are looking to make vegetarian kale soup)!  The following recipe comes from the 1978 “A Taste of Provincetown” cookbook.  The recipe itself is from Napi’s restaurant:

Portuguese Soup

2 packages of linguica (about 2 pounds)
1 bunch fresh kale, or 2 boxes of frozen kale
1 pound dried kidney beans
1 large onion
2 large potatoes
salt and pepper
touch of vinegar

Begin by following the directions for soaking and cooking your dried kidney beans.  If you are in a rush you may find it quicker to use a 16 ounce can of dried kidney beans.  Cut your linquica into thin slices and saute in just enough oil to keep from burning.  Remove the linquica to your soup pot and saute the diced onion in the oil.  Add the cooked onion to the soup pot.  Add a little of the water from your kidney beans to the pan to loosen all the flavor of the onions and liquica and add this to your pot.  Add the beans and their juice (or water) to cover.  Add the diced potatoes and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook gently for 30 minutes.  Wash your kale and cut the tender leaves from the tough stems and slice into bit sized pieces.  Add the kale to the soup.  Cook 5 minutes more until the kale is tender.  Add venegar to taste and serve.

I love this soup!  I’ve made it with frozen kale and canned beans as well as this soy chorizo sausage and it turns out great.  And that little bit of vinegar is a must…it adds such a delightful kick to the flavor. 

So that’s pretty much it  for now.  Graycie is eating like a little pig and looking to jump on every piece of furniture she can…the taller the better.  The other day she managed to squeeze between the wall and the washing machine, walked along the back of the washing machine and entered the built in storage cabinet next to it (there is an opening on the side of the cabinet so that we could get to the back of the washer if we needed to).  I noticed that she had disappeared somewhere but she “disappears” quite often.  Then I heard a scratching noise coming from the cabinet…I opened the door and there she sat, looking at me like “what took you so long to find me?”  Needless to say, that space between the washer and wall is now blocked off.

Beans Outside My Window

Beans Outside My Window

There is a window next to my computer from which I can see my pole beans.  The other morning the male hummingbird was busily humming along from flower to flower.  I grabbed my camera to take a shot but he was gone by the time I clicked.  But the photo turned out nicely without him!

And that’s the way it is, August 24, 2013.

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