Friday, July 10, 2020

Comet NEOWISE


A comet in our skies! I found the info here at the Scientific American site. 

neowise
Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3), as seen above Lick Observatory on July 7, 2020. Credit: Elinor Gates UCO Lick Observatory

This month a cosmic visitor is gracing the skies. A comet swept past the sun on July 3, and it has since become visible to the naked eye. The rare opportunity to glimpse the chunk of ancient ice from the outer solar system should continue next week, when astronomers hope it will become even brighter.
Scientists using the Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) space telescope first spotted the comet as it hurtled toward the sun on March 27. Informally dubbed NEOWISE after the telescope but officially labeled C/2020 F3, the comet gradually brightened as sunlight and solar wind caused it to release gases and form a tail. 
In early June it reached the far side of the sun, as seen from Earth. The resulting glare prevented astronomers from observing the comet for several weeks. By late June, however, it swam back into the optics of another space telescope, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). 
"For many people in the Northern Hemisphere, especially if you’re closer to the midlatitudes, the comet should be visible an hour before sunrise, very low in the northeastern sky,” says Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn, a meteorologist and astrophotographer. “Right now it’s located in the constellation Auriga.” She recommends finding the comet’s exact spot using specialized smartphone apps with interactive maps of the constellations. Although already visible to the naked eye, the object is still faint, and binoculars would offer a better view.
Starting around July 12, Comet NEOWISE will be visible in the evening as well, Lecky Hepburn says. About an hour after sunset, it will appear near the northwestern horizon. As the month progresses, it will rise higher in the sky, moving from the constellation Lynx toward the Big Dipper. On July 22 the comet will reach its closest point to Earth—a distance of 103 million kilometers—before continuing its cosmic flight. Whether it will still be visible to unaided eyes by then is uncertain, however.

After this encounter, astronomers expect Comet NEOWISE to bid farewell for quite some time. Its long, looping orbit around our star will next bring it back to Earth’s vicinity some 6,800 years from now.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Dd's Spinach Pasta


I just love this photo that Didi sent of her noodles hanging. You ever made your own noodles?  Not me. 

Will show you what she did with the noodles in the next blog post. 

imagejpeg_0-10-1


Spinach Pasta

2 c baby spinach (packed)

2 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 2/3 c all-purpose flour


Wash the spinach. Do not dry. Place into skillet with the water on the leaves. Cook 5 minutes. 


Transfer into a blender with eggs and salt. Process until smooth.

Transfer mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add flour, mixing with a spoon, and as the dough 
thickens use your hands. Knead for a couple of minutes. Dough will be hard. 

Cover dough with plastic wrap; allow to rest 20 minutes.

Cut into desired shape noodles. Place onto drying rack or spread noodles onto counter top surface and do not place them on top of each other. Otherwise they will stick.

Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Dd's Tequila-Cured Salmon


Didi followed a Bobby Flay recipe to make this gravlax type of salmon dish. The recipe can be found here at the Cooking Channel site. 

imagejpeg_0-28

It needs to be cured for 2 days in the 'fridge.
imagejpeg_0-25

Doesn't it look wonderful?!
imagejpeg_0-26<

Didi said that she didn't use chipotle and used dill instead of cilantro.



Ingredients


One 2-pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon pureed canned chipotle in adobo
Zest of 3 limes, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups tequila


Directions

  1. On top of a layer of aluminum foil and plastic wrap (enough to make a pouch), put the salmon on a baking sheet skin-side down. Pat the top dry with paper towels. Combine the coriander, mustard and cumin seeds in a small saute pan over low heat and toast, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly and coarsely grind in a coffee grinder. 
  2. Spread the chipotle over the top of the salmon fillet. Sprinkle the ground spices, lime zest and cilantro over and press into the flesh. Combine the salt and brown sugar in a bowl, drizzle with the tequila and then spread evenly over the salmon. Tightly wrap the salmon in the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place another baking sheet on top of the salmon and weigh down with bricks wrapped in foil or a heavy cutting board. Refrigerate for 48 hours. 
  3. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and scrape off the curing ingredients. When cured, the fish should have a raw appearance and a firm but not hard texture. Slice the salmon against the grain paper thin and serve with accompaniments of choice.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Dd's Zucchini Coconut Bread


Didi said that she received a whole bunch of zucchini (I think that's what she said) so she made zucchini bread.


imagejpeg_0-2

Dd’s Zucchini Coco Nut Bread

¾ c. cup vegetable oil
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. agave nectar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
2 c. all- purpose flour
2 c. zucchini, large grate, squeezed dry
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 2-8’ loaf pans. 
In a large bowl beat oil, sugar, agave, eggs and vanilla. 
Add remaining ingredients and blend well. 
Pour into prepared pans; bake 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Makes 2 loaves.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Sign


Maybe not The Sign that I'm looking for right now, but funny.  Thanks for sharing, Cleta!!  💗


imagejpeg_0-6

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Dd's Chicken Eggplant Parmesan


I love eggplant and this looks totally awesome!

Didi says: "It really is easy . . . "
I say:  "Uh-huh."

imagejpeg_0-10


Sauce:
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 TB minced fresh parsley
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 

Chicken:
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
kosher salt
½  cup all-purpose flour
2-3 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Eggplant:
1 small eggplant, ½-inch thick slices
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½-3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Leftover cooked spaghetti
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Romano cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°. 
Sauce: In a large saucepan, sauté onion in oil. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-25 minutes. 
Chicken: Slice chicken breasts in half crosswise into 4 cutlets. Lightly pound between sheets of plastic wrap until about ½" thick. Season with salt. Place flour in a medium dish Working one at a time, place cutlets in bowl and toss to coat in flour. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Cook chicken until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side just until chicken is cooked through, about 30 seconds. Set aside
Eggplant: Sprinkle eggplant with salt; let stand 20-30 minutes. 
Place eggs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper. Dip eggplant in eggs, then bread crumb mixture. Bake 15 minutes; turn eggplant over and continue baking 10-12 minutes.
Assembly: Spoon ½-3/4 cup sauce into an ungreased 9x13-in. baking dish. Spread cooked spaghetti onto sauce. Top with 4-6 pieces of eggplant.  Spoon ½-3/4 cup sauce onto eggplant. Top with chicken.  Spoon sauce as desired onto chicken. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Roman and Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake until bubbly, 30-35 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Friday, July 3, 2020

A Sign


No, I haven't gotten a sign from Kona. But I'm waiting and hoping.  Mostly because when our other golden retriever, Kula, passed away 15 years ago we totally got a sign from him.

It came in the form of a dragonfly.  You can check out the story here

So, I've been talking to Kona. I say, "Kona, no pressure, but Kula sent us a dragonfly."

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Resizing Paper Grocery Bags


We've accumulated a lot of paper grocery bags from when the stores weren't allowing us to bring our own bags. They're actually not too repurposeful for me because they're too big. 

So I cut them down to a smaller size and have been making good use of them. 

IMG_4821


First, I carefully (sorta) remove the handles. 
IMG_4825

Then I cut off about 4 inches from the top. Sometimes I place the cut-off piece on the bottom of the finished bag for added support (and to not waste it).
IMG_4809

I cut the bag in two at about 4 inches from one side.
IMG_4814

I unfold the two pieces and tape them together like this. I put tape on the inside too.
IMG_4819

Then I staple the handles back on and reinforce them with duct tape.  I also put duct tape onto the bottom seam and depending on the load might also duct tape the other seams too.
IMG_4823

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

La Luna


This is a cute, short Pixar animation that I've watched several times.  I love the sound of the stars clinking together.



I'm trying to draw the stars. I don't really know how to bring out the light in them. I suspect I need to put them in the dark. Do you see the analogy here?  Seeing the light in the dark?
IMG_4807

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Dd's Taco Salad


I'm so happy that Didi's been sharing pictures of her meals with us. 

Here's her over-the-top taco salad.


imagejpeg_0-15


Dd’s Taco Salad

Taco meat
Pico de gallo
Dried pinto beans, soaked overnight, cooked until tender
1 medium head Romaine lettuce, chopped
½ (4 oz.) can black olives, sliced or chopped
½ avocado, sliced
½ cucumber, chopped
¼ c. cilantro, leaves
½-3/4 c. cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips, crushed
Salad dressing (1/4 c. Italian mixed with 1 12 tsp. taco seasoning)
Juice of 1 lime

Onto serving plates, place lettuce. Decoratively place toppings. Garnish as desired. Serves 2.

Dd’s Pico De Gallo
2 large roma tomatoes, dice
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds & ribs removed, finely minced
1 small garlic clove, grated
½ c. cilantro, leaves picked
Juice of 1 lime
Salt as needed

Combine all ingredients. Allow to sit 30 minutes. Makes 1 ½ cups. 

Dd’s Taco Seasoning Mix
4 tsp. dried minced onion
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder 
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakess
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. teaspoon oregano 

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in an airtight container. Use as desired to taco seasoning on ground beef/chicken/lamb or turkey.  Use 3 tablespoons of seasoning per 1 pound of meat.  Makes approximately 3 tablespoons.