Nature Walks – The Lone Egret

It has been awhile since I have done my Nature Walks series. I have not been out walking because once I got home from the pool, it was just too darn hot. But yesterday, we had a cool respite in the weather, which made it very pleasant to go out and do my “walk-about”. I am very glad the weather is beginning to cool down. I have missed my walk-abouts.

The lakes were pretty quite today, but there was one lone egret that caught my eye. He was just so beautiful and peaceful. He was in his own little world, completely oblivious to me and my camera that was focused on him. I just love the egrets. There are so beautiful and graceful.

Enjoy the day and seize the moments. Once they are gone, they can never be retrieved again.

Jamaican Jerk Chops

People around the world have been eating pork since the beginning of civilization. The pig dates back 40 million years to fossils, which indicates that wild pig-like animals roamed forests and swamps in Europe and Asia. By 4900 B.C., pigs were domesticated in China, and by 1500 B.C., they were being raised in Europe. Pigs were one of the first wild animals to be domesticated. And because of pigs have been around for so long pork is the most consumed meat in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, over 36 percent of the world’s meat intake is from pork, while poultry accounts for 35 percent and beef 22 percent.

Pork is very popular in the Spanish world, both in Old World Spain, and the New World, in all the countries Spain colonized. It is to Spain that the Americas owe the introduction of this valuable animal, as the first pigs on the continent were brought with Columbus on his second voyage. Pork is very popular all throughput the Caribbean as well for this very same reason.

Jerk seasoning is something that is uniquely Caribbean and specifically Jamaican. Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Historians believe that jerking originated with the Amerindians in Jamaica from the Arawak and Taíno tribes who intermingled with the Maroons. Again, the Spanish influence is seen in the new world with the word “jerk”. The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to the modern-day jerky. A “jerk” sauce is traditionally made with a combination of allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are similar to habanero chili peppers, though jalapenos work just fine too.

Dinner was pork chops marinated in a spicy Jamaican jerk sauce. YUM! I served it with rice, since rice is a Caribbean staple and some sauteed summer vegetables and the last of my Brazilian pastels, and of course, a nice cool, crisp chardonnay on the side to complete off the meal. Brazilian Pastels. We had the perfect Caribbean meal right at home on our beloved deck.

Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops

1-2 lbs pork chops, patted dry

1 TBSP garlic

1 TBSP ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1 jalapeno, diced fine

1/4 cup olive oil

salt to taste

2 TBSP lime juice

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Mix everything together well and marinate the pork for at least 2 hours before cooking. When the pork was ready, I threw it on the grill and cooked it to perfection. Reserve some of the sauce to top the pork with after it is cooked. You can use this same sauce over chicken or seafood too. If you prefer it to be more of a liquidy sauce rather than a chunky salsa, you can mix everything together in a food processor, but I like mine more chunky and more traditional.

While my chops were grilling, I was cooking everything else up too.

Then I just plated it all up and sat back to enjoy the “fruits of my labor”. 🙂 My kind of meal. It was simple, easy-peasy and delicious! It doesn’t get much better than that. I love living the good life!

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Another Day, Another Flower

Well, you all know how much I love flowers; flowers of all kinds. The weather was actually cool enough to go walk-about again. I have been missing my walk-abouts because it has just been so darn hot, but yesterday, was the day. There were lots of beautiful flowers in full display. So how could I resist not sharing my flowers with you again? 🙂 So here is another flower for the Flower of the Day Challenge.

http://viewfromtheback.com/2021/08/03/cees-flower-of-the-day-130/

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Always take time to stop and smell the flowers. It cleanses the soul and makes you feel whole.

An Elevated Lunch

Yesterday I took my friend Suzanne out to celebrate her birthday. We went to Elevate Bar and Grill. It was the first time for either of us, but it definitely won’t be our last time. We thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be back again in the near future. Elevate is a “neighborhood meeting spot for grub & grog offering a variety of delicious multicultural food, lots of craft beers, intense cocktails, a large selection of fine liquor & local artists performing live music, karaoke, trivia every week. [There are] lots of TV’s to watch your favorite sport, or you can enjoy a friendly game of darts & other bar games too”.

There is plenty of room both inside or outside. The rooms and patio are spacious and there is plenty of room to move around as you need to.

We chose to go outside on the patio. Even though it was hot, humid day, you would never know it because we were cooled down with the misters that were strategically placed all over the patio.

When we went, it was the quiet part of the day, which was great for us. It gave us a good opportunity to catch up and visit.

The menu has a wide selection of sandwiches, salads, and general good, fun pub foods.

Suzanne ordered the turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich with sweet potato fries. Doesn’t this look yummy?

I chose the teriyaki chicken sandwich with regular fries. It was very messy, being at least a 3-napkin kind of meal, but it was worth every drip and spill. It was VERY good.

Both were excellent choices. We really enjoyed our lunch and our time out. Our server Nicole helped make our lunch a fun experience too. She was very friendly and helpful, and because the restaurant wasn’t super busy at the time, we got a chance to visit with her a bit as well. Back in my restaurant days, I always enjoyed those little visits with my customers. It makes it more like you are a guest in someone’s house rather than just a paying customer. My rules were always ‘treat everyone like they are a guest in your house”, and they always paid off generously too. That is the art of good customer service.

Elevate Bar & Grill is located at 2831 West 120th Avenue, Ste 200, Westminster, CO. You can always contact them on line at Contact@BarElevate.com or give them a call at (303) 469-3435, but the best experience of all will be to go in person where you can “Enjoy an Elevated experience”.

I Am Always Up for a Challenge

I am always up for a challenge, but especially the fun photo challenges. This challenge is the

Cee’s Flower of the Day #130

This one was an easy one for me since I love flowers. These are the sunflowers blooming in my backyard. I went from just one to many, with more coming soon.

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Never stop taking time to smell the flowers in life. Flowers always bring so much joy, and right now, I think the whole world needs a lot more joy around.

2021 Festival of Love

YES…YES…THE RUMOURS ARE TRUE – THE BAKE OFF IS BACK!!

Normally I do not re-blog, however, since this is a joint effort between Mel, Gary and myself, I think it is OK to re-blog about our Festival of Love Great Blogger’s Bake-Off Event coming up. This is our 3rd year, and every year it just keep getting better and better. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with this year. And this year, it is all about LOVE.

CARAMEL20 COMMENTS

Wow!!! When I checked into my inbox and saw the amount of enquiries asking when the 2021 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF would be, I finally realized it was time for the terrific trio of GaryJeanne and moi to roll up our sleeves to host the WordPress event of the year!!

I am thrilled to announce that we have something very special, very spectacular and truly heart-warming for you this year. Of all the things we have learnt over the past year, surely it is that what the world needs now is love sweet love!!! So this year, we present to you…

THE 2021 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF FESTIVAL OF LOVE!

That’s right 21st and 22nd August will be the weekend we have all been waiting for! We are inviting you to send in your baking photographs now to this email address:
crushedcaramel@gmail.com
This year out them is LOVE. Yes, we are asking you to bake from the heart. Is their a special recipe that your grandmother taught you when you were a child? Is there someone in your life who you feel romantic love for and bake favourite treats to show your affection? Is there a place you love, a song you love, a memory you love? We would love you to share with us something from the heart, something that will make our hearts glow!!
You can bake anything at all – cakes, pies, biscuits, bread – you can use any flavours, any techniques, it is completely up to you. All we ask is that you remember our theme of love…and make it a bake from your heart!
This year, we have a very special category – pet love!!! Yes, the ultimate baking challenge is to bake a cake (or a pie) that resembles your beloved pet. Those brave enough to take on this challenge will be awarded a very special GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF ACCOLADE!

Please remember, THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF is all about fun – family fun. It is an international blogging event, and we love love love how multi-cultural it has been over the past two years. We want this year to be a very loving, heart-warming event. There really are not many rules, but to answer some of the frequently asked questions we receive, I am going to publish another post tomorrow with a few reminders.
So please send in your baking photographs as soon as possible so that they can be featured as part of THE 2021 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF FESTIVAL OF LOVE – when WordPress becomes a gigantic foodies festival that will warm our hearts and make us very very hungry!!

It’s all about LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this year. The world needs a lot more love right now. So come on. Show us the love in your kitchens. 🙂

The 2021 Great Bloggers Festival of Love

We are having another year of the Great Bloggers Bake-Off and recipe contest. This year’s theme is “The Festival of Love”.

If you have never participated in this event before, maybe you should think about it for this year. YOU, get to submit your favorite recipes to either myself at my email address at ljbjej@q.com, Mel at crushedcaramel@gmail.com or Gary from bereaveddad@yahoo.com. Please make sure we get your entries on or before 8/21. This will be our 3rd year of hosting this fun family blogging event. Mel and Gary sponsor it and I am the judge. You are the guest chefs and you are the stars. Please submit your recipes and photos, with as much background as you like you, I will choose the winners. Here are the links to last year’s winners and entries, as well as to our first year.. And the Winners Are …….. The Results Are In Great Bloggers Bake-off

You can submit as many different entries as you like. The most important thing is to have fun. We even like and have a special category for Great Efforts, so don’t be shy. It is all for love and all for fun. And the winners get the honor and bragging rights of best Great-Blogger’s Bake-Off Winner for a year.

We have had some pretty amazing entries in the past. I am already looking forward to seeing what you all come up with again this year. Best of luck to everyone!

Asparagus with Lemon Butter and Pine Nuts

Unless you are eating pizza or a salad as a main, you almost always need side dishes to go with your meal. But even for a salad, I still will have bread or something else to go with it too. This time was no different. I made some delicious asparagus with lemon butter and pine nuts to go with my spicy and zesty steak. A Spicy and Zesty Steak.

Just like my steak, these too were supposed to be put on the grill, but we got a little rained out. So once again, it was time to turn to Plan B. Plan B for the asparagus was to boil the asparagus first then to coat it in the lemon garlic butter.

Asparagus with Lemon Butter and Pine Nuts

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1 lb asparagus

1/2 cup olive oil

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup butter

1 TBSP lemon zest

Parsley

dash of Tabasco

1 TBSP garlic

You can either grill or boil the asparagus. This time I boiled mine, then drained them before tossing them in the lemon butter.

While my asparagus was cooking, I mixed all the ingredients together, except for the parsley, lemon zest and pine nuts. Brown the butter slightly to give it a bit of a nutty flavor. When the butter is melted, add the Tabasco sauce and the lemon juice. Any variety of Tabasco will do.

Add the asparagus spears and thoroughly coat in the lemon butter mixture. Right before serving, add the lemon zest, parsley and pine nuts. Serve immediately. I tend to like the smaller, thinner asparagus, but you can use any size you like. however, if you are going to grill the asparagus, the thicker ones are better.

This dish is perfect for both Spring and Summer because of the fresh asparagus and the lemony flavors. It goes well with anything. Enjoy.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

A Spicy and Zesty Steak

We LOVE steaks at our house. Larry grew up in Kansas, which is cattle country, so we eat a lot of steak. Because we eat a lot of steaks, I am always looking for new and exciting ways to fix them too. I mean after all, life would get VERY boring indeed if we ate it the same way all the time, every time. This time, I gave our steaks a South of the Border personality and marinated it in spicy, zesty adobo sauce.

An adobo sauce is a rich, reddish brown, earthy flavored sauce synonymous with chipotle peppers. A traditional Mexican sauce made with ground ancho and guajillo chilies that has the consistency of a thick BBQ sauce. It is made from chili powder, vinegar, sugar, garlic and herbs. This was originally used to flavor and preserve meats and is fantastic in so many Mexican and Tex Mex dishes. As with anything, there are many different variations all around. There is never just one recipe.

Steak with Adobo Sauce

1 1/2 – 2 lbs steak

1 TBSP ground ancho chili powder

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

salt to taste

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 TBSP garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

2 TBSP lime juice

Mix all the ingredients together and marinade the meat for at least 2 hours before cooking. Reserve some of the sauce to top the meat with after it is cooked as well.

I was going to grill the steaks, but Mother Nature had other plans, and not long before I was going to put the steaks on the grill, we had a thunder and lightening show, complete with a heavy downpour, that suddenly changed my plans. Grilling outside was no longer an option. I needed to come up with a good plan B and fast. Searing the steak was a perfectly good plan B. I seared the steaks for 3 minutes per side, then again for another 1-1 1/2 minutes. I used a timer to make sure I did not over cook the steaks. I have cooked many a steak in my day, and this method for searing is hands down my favorite. It allows for the steak to brown and crust perfectly with keeping the inside still nice and tender and rare. In a word – PERFECTION!

Because I marinated the steaks in an acidic marinade, the acidity came from the lime juice, they came out so tender and full of flavor. Grilled or seared, they came out just perfect. A knife really wasn’t even necessary, but certainly preferred. After all, why would I want to mess up this perfect steak in any way?! 🙂

I served my steak with some asparagus topped with a lemony-pine nut sauce, my spicy potatoes and a tomato focaccia. Spicy Potatoes with Tomato Jalapeno Sauce . I bought the focaccia. It just looked to good to pass up, and I was not proven wrong. I made the meal complete with a fruity Grenache on the side. !Delicioso! !Muy bueno!

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

So You Think You Want To be A Chef

I hear it all the time. So many people think being a chef is living the glamorous life. They think being a chef is so easy. Little do they know they could not be further from the truth. The life of a chef is filled with many long hours, complete with nights, weekends and holidays. The chef and kitchen staff work while everyone else plays. I tell everyone who dreams of this “glamorous” chef’s life to rethink their plans. It has be something you have a true passion for because it is NOT what most people think. You either have it or you don’t, but once that burning passion is inside you, it will always be there too.

Here are some real-life behind the doors looks at life in a professional kitchen. It is NOT for the weak or faint-hearted.

Most of my days in the kitchen were a minimum of 12 hour days. I would go home exhausted, and then would get up early and do it all over again the next day. Personal time is non-existent.

To be a good chef, you need to be humble.

This is if you are lucky enough to sit down. Most of the time, you get a bite or two while on the run.

There will be burns and cuts, and plenty of them too. I cannot tell you how many of each I have had, and a few of them landed me in the ER too. But as soon as I was released, I went right back into the kitchen for more.

Do you still think a chef’s life is filled with glamour? Think again. It is done out of love. It is filled with passion. It is a calling.