Tortellini Chinoise

tortellini and


They are not to be confused with a real main dish, but the little filled pastas that have appeared in the grocery stores are appealing as a special treat to take the place of just plain pasta.  The little burst of filling (spinach and cheese, in this case) is fun to experience.

They freeze well, so when they are on sale, I grab a pack or two to have on hand for such dishes as above.  They cook very quickly – about three minutes – in rapidly boiling water, and will happily wait for you to finish the rest of the meal without getting soggy.

Next, a quick stir fry with the veggies on hand – shredded carrots, onions, mushrooms, cabbage, celery, tri-color baby sweet peppers, topped with fresh pineapple chunks.  I usually use bok choy in this dish, but failing to find any in my refrigerator, I used the cabbage.  Not as crunchy, nor were we treated to the lovely dark green leaves, but the cabbage was a good substitute.

Then came the meat off a couple of previously cooked chicken thighs, along with a bit of soy sauce, and fresh ginger mash.  At serving time, I added some sesame oil and sesame seeds.  My supply of sliced almonds had been depleted, else there would have been a big handful of them on top as well.

Had I thought of the pineapple in time, I would have sautéed that first in some butter to get a bit of caramelization on it, but I didn’t!  So I settled for putting bits on top.

Two nights later, the leftover veggies paired with a different meat, made an appearance over my rice experiment in the pressure cooker.  This provided a quick dinner with little clean up, and it was just as appealing as the first round.  Bonus!

As in all my dishes, you will notice the absence of garlic, but if you like it, please feel free to start your stir fry with a few minced cloves.  If you like the ambience, but not such an overpowering sense of it, you can just sauté the cloves whole (or having been bashed a bit with the flat side of a cleaver), and then remove them. Depending on my level of sloth, sometimes I do that.  DH is more than thrilled to find them offered separately at serving time.


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More Instant Pizza in The Cuisinart Oven Central

This Cuisinart Oven Central has become one of my favorite GO TO appliances.  It will do so many things so well, and so easily, and without constant monitoring.

A bit of olive oil and some pizza sauce, topped with little bits of this and that on a slice of sourdough bread starts up an almost free, but still most delicious, lunchtime feast.  Hint:  keep some cooked Italian sausage bits, and a pillow pack of pepperoni on hand, and you are all set to add scraps of veggies and fresh tomatoes to make this treat in a flash.  When you are making something with sautéed veggies, make a few extra and just pop them into the refrigerator to make something like this the next day.


Free lunch step 1


Add some cheese (your choice:  this is pepper cheese) . . .

Free lunch step 2


And let it melt.  A bit longer in the oven would have browned the cheese, but the hunger pangs got the better of us, and we gobbled them down like this.  I sprinkled some of my fave – smoked paprika – on top, and that was VERY nice.

If you like a more garlicky ambience, sprinkle on some garlic powder, or put some crushed garlic underneath somewhere.  I’ve seen jars of prepared garlic bits in the store, so that be useful for this purpose.

Free lunch step 3 finished

These are more filling than they look.  I’m pretty sure that little one on the right went into the refrigerator after lunch.

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Les Chapeaux



Although they are all lovely, I think I rather favor the straw hat with the strawberry bow!  Although the stiff lace one at the upper left is intriguing.

Which is your favorite?

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Claudia’s Hat Shop in Lowell, Arizona

Claudia's Hat


Such interesting colors!  Tomorrow I will post a close up of some of the hats that are not visible from this window scene.


Perhaps you will recall the photos I posted of the old cars

and Indian Motocycle (sic)

from the tiny area of Lowell that is near Bisbee, Arizona.


Here is a bit of history about Lowell.


I didn’t find much on the net about Lowell, but here is one photo.

taken by someone else just three months before I took mine.  This shot shows the lovely entry door.

It appears that the window dressing has changed, so I’m wondering if the hat store is an actual going concern.  I took it to be just an attractant for tourists to photograph in the area, but maybe not.  Interesting.

I don’t recall seeing anyone else on the streets that day, and there are no venues to seek tourist dollars, not even a lemonade stand.  The only thing I saw was a very inconspicuous collection kettle sitting in the back of a pick-up truck.  By the time it had sunk into my brain what I had seen, we had walked quite far down the road. Next time, I will flutter a few bills into the pot.  They deserve some support for providing such a great open-air museum of days gone by.  It was a joyous day with good friends that we will long remember.



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Onion Rings Made So Very Easy

If you love onion rings as much as I do, but find they are too time consuming to make yourself, and a huge disappointment when ordering them in a restaurant, here’s something I stumbled upon by accident that made my onion ring taste buds sing.

Let me introduce the ingredients – there are only three.


First, take advantage of the summer sweet onions.  These are Vidalias, but the Texas Sweets will be along soon, and there are a lot of other varieties of sweet onions.



Next up, some of those frozen, munched up potato thingies in a bag by Ore-Ida. We had “crowns”, but Tater Tots would work just as well, I would think.


Potato crispy

(Alas, by the time I decided I wanted to make a blog post out of this process, there was only one crown left!)


And then . . . and then . . . the ingredient that makes this all work – Very thick, well-aged balsamic vinegar.

balsamic vinegar


Thanks to my good friend, Karen, for keeping me supplied with this delightful treat!  ;->


Get those potatoes as crispy as possible.  I heated them in the Oven Central, which did an excellent job.  While they are becoming their crunchy best, gently sauté as many onions as will fit in your best pan.  If you have a cast iron skillet, now is the time to get it out.  S – L – O – W –  Y  sauté those onions in real butter, stirring often and watching carefully, until they are just golden.  Don’t let them get dark brown.

I’ve found that slicing onions down instead of across produces a milder taste.  Just cut it in half (through the stem part), put the flat part down on the board, and then slice from the ends in.  You’ll have slender, curved slivers instead of rings, but that makes no difference.

Now for the best part . . . get out the balsamic vinegar, take out the cork, and sniff how wonderful it smells.  ;->

Put the cooked onions into a bowl and sprinkle on the vinegar to taste.  I like a lot, but too much overpowers the delicate taste of the onions.

Now – wait a minute – those aren’t onion rings!  But they will be in just a moment. Pick up a spoonful of the onions off your plate, pop them and a potato into your mouth, and your brain will never know that these items were inserted separately! It’s just as though that crunchy potato was the crispy coating on an onion ring right out of the deep fryer.

I found this treat delightful and much, much better than any commercial onion ring from a package or from a restaurant, and that includes the deep-fried onion “flower” from a popular steakhouse.

GASP!  I had NO idea about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) for these until I went to their page to check on the correct spelling.  Having read these figures, I have removed all direct references to the origin of the item.

SODIUM 3841.1 MG

I’ve had access to this item only once.  There were three of us at the table, and the onion was not nearly consumed.  I brought it home, but it was over ten years ago, and I don’t remember if it reheated well or not.  All I really remember is that it seemed very greasy to me, and way too salty, almost to the point of being inedible.

I don’t know what the calorie count of my version would be, but they are so satisfying, that it takes only a few mouthfuls to completely satisfy.

On occasion, I have cut up and popped several of these seasonal sweet onions into the Crock-Pot with some butter and just let them cook for a few hours on their own.  The resulting mélange keeps for quite a while in a Lock & Lock container or glass jar in the refrigerator for use in a lot of dishes, such as practically instant French onion soup, as well as simply piled onto steaks, chops, or burgers, or any hot sandwich.  Sauté up a pile of whatever veggies that are around, add a bit of meat, some of the onions, and serve over rice or pasta.  This will stretch a small amount of meat, and you will feel completely satisfied.

I’ve never frozen them because they are consumed quickly enough not to become burdensome.  If I were to freeze them, I would put them in serving-sized portions in individual sandwich bags, and then into a larger freezer bag for storage.  This method works really well for any seasonal item that you want to enjoy all through the year.

A little extra planning and effort now gives an amazing result later when you can trot out something really unique, like roasted red peppers, to tantalize those taste buds.

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The Glass Ceiling

We had the exhilarating experience of being able to view Dale Chihuly’s incredible works in two different places.  The first was a traveling show that we saw in Fort Myers, Florida, in about 2000.  Then in 2006, we were fortunate enough to go on an excursion with a senior center group to the permanent display in Tacoma, Washington.  Both were fabulous!

This is a picture taken of the overhead display along the extended walkway to the main museum in Tacoma – so it truly is a glass ceiling.  The enormity of it was overwhelming.

I lived in Tacoma for a while as an infant, but Mr. Chihuly was only three years old at the time, so we did not know each other!  ;->

See more about this very talented man at:


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Bastille Day Commemoration

This was not a good Bastille Day for those unfortunates in Nice, but I am commemorating France in general today with French Toast for breakfast and French Bread Pizza for dinner.


French toast in the round.jblog

The French toast pretty much speaks for itself.  It came out quite well, I thought.



French toast and poached


This was my breakfast – two poachers, two slices of French toast, and two halves of a breakfast sausage patty.




French bread


Continuing with the French theme, we had a Pizza Supreme meal, with hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, Vidalia onions, colored peppers, black olives, and a new temptation – anchovies.  It had been on the order of ten or more years since I have purchased a tin of anchovies, but the tiny dabs you see here on each pizza, sent shivers of saltiness all through my body.  I am not a big salt eater, so these guys were definitely noticed.

I baked them straight in the oven in the cast iron skillet that I had sautéed the veggies in.  It worked great, and took just a short time because the pan was already good and hot.

There is one of the big pieces left from last night.  Any takers?

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