Moving, Camping, and much more…

For the past 3 weeks I have been helping my parents move out of their house. Why you ask, well they are not young any more.

They lived in ther last house for about 15 years and have now decided to spend the rest of their lives in a warmer climate. Can’t blame them.

Parent's home until their house is built

Parent’s home until their house is built

I flew into Missouri and helped my parents pack-up their house and then helped to drive one of their trucks to Florida. So now I am spending time with them in their camper until I can catch a flight home. But I have found you can still cook some wonderful meals even n a small space and minimum equipment.

My Mom's little kitchen she is cooking in until their house is built

My Mom’s little kitchen she is cooking in until their house is built

You just have to be resourceful. It can be really fun.

Last night I fixed some Country Pork Ribs on the grill. But that was not all, you got to have some baked potatoes  to go along with them ribs.  So I oiled, salt and peppered the potatoes and wrapped them in tin foil. I did the same thing with a large onion, boy did that onion turn out yummy…



First Phase of Cooking the Potatoes and Onions

First Phase of Cooking the Potatoes and Onions

I cooked the potatoes and onions for about 20 minutes before putting the ribs on.  The country ribs were simple dressed with salt and pepper and garlic powder.

Second Stage, throwing the Meat on the grill, YUM

I moved the potatoes and onions to the side and placed the ribs in the nice hot spot on the grill and seared the outside of each rib then covered them and let the cook though…

for a while then I put just a good jar of Bar-b-Que sauce on them and let that caramelize on the outside.

Sorry for not having a finished picture of a nice plate of food, but everyone just dived right in before I could get a plate set up.  Trust me there was nothing left.  I was amazed at what you can come up with for dinner when feeding 5 people in such a small space.  The grill was a life saver.

Current cooking vessel so we don't heat the whole camper up

Current cooking vessel so we don’t heat the whole camper up

Thank you little grill.


Ajowan Seeds – A Spice of India

Ajowan Seed 

Ajowan Seed - Carom or Ajwain Seed

Ajowan Seed – Carom or Ajwain Seed

Ajowan is also know by two other names – Carom and Ajwain Seeds.

To many this may be a new spice, have no fear, by the time you finish reading his post you will have a pretty good idea what this is.

Ajowan is a spice that is cherished in many cuisines. I have come to know this spice through learning to cook dishes from India.

You may have seen this listed as one the ingredients in dishes from North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Pakistan.

When you inhale the seeds aroma it will likely remind you of thyme and even anise seed.  This works well in many root vegetable dishes and legumes.

You may have even tasted Ajowan and not even known it. Especially if you have eaten at any Indian restaurants, and had Pakoras, Samosas, or even in some of the Flat Breads.  Curries are given a little zing when Ajowan seed is added.

Buying Ajowan…

When looking for this spice the best place to look would be an Indian Market, remember to look for it also under the other names of Carom and Ajwain.

In some cases depending on where you live you may even find it in your local supermarket.

Best way to buy Ajowan is  as a whole seed.  The size of the seeds will be about the same size as a celery seed.  Look to make sure the seeds are uniform and light brown in color.

The aroma you are looking for is one that will reminded you of Cumin and Thyme, very herbal.

The Ajowan seeds should keep for up to two years if stored in a airtight jar and away from moisture heat and extreme light.

Cooking With Ajowan…

There are many dishes that flavor-wise, benefit from Ajowan Seed.

  • Breads, biscuits
  • Curries
  • Lentil Stew
  • Stir-fry

When putting the seeds into a flat bread or biscuits they can be added whole and uncooked.  The baking of the Breads will soften the seed and release the aroma into the bread as its cooking.

If you are adding them to a curry or any other dish it is best to saute them in a little oil before adding any other ingredients into you dish.  This only needs to be done for a minute or two.

When a recipe calls for Ajowan to be ground before using, it is best to dry roast the seeds first to bring out the oils then grind them in your spice grinder

Here Are a Few Healthy Reason to Use Ajowan Seeds…

Sometimes nature provides and the Ajowan seed is no exception.  In many Indian households this is also used medicinally.

For example: if you have a headache, cough, cold, or allergies, simply steeping the seeds in warm water and drinking it, is said to relieve these symptoms. Heartburn can also be relieved by using this same method.

They are also known as a  natural pain reliever.  You can see the effects if you take a few seeds and chew them. You will start to taste a bitterness and than a warm feeling in you mouth.  Ajowan Seeds also contain Thymol that is released as you chew. This result in a numbing effect in you mouth.

Listed is Few Other Ailments it’s said to relieve.

  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Infection and Pain

The benefits listed are not a cure-all, if you do have any of these please consult with you Health Care Provider.

 Some Recipes using Ajowan

  • Rotis – a Flat Bread
  • Gobi Aloo – Cauliflower, Potato in a spicy gravy
  • Chaat Masala – A spice blend

Cuisine of India

For the past month I have embarked on a culinary journey right through my back door. A wonderful little store opened up and started selling products from India. The thing that intrigued me most was the opportunity to take cooking classes.

But I also had reservations about signing up until I found out…She also prepared food for takeout.

And so I had to give it a taste, because here’s the deal, I had tried Indian food at several restaurants in a neighboring city and was mildly impressed.  Felt like they were catering to the American palette so I never went back.

So here is where it gets interesting…I really liked her food. You could taste the layers of flavor, and they made me wanting for more…give me more.  To make a long story short, I signed up for her cooking classes and I’m loving it. And I decided to share with you what I’ve learn.  So…

In the weeks and months to come you will see a number of dishes that are of Indian origin.  Many of the recipes are vegetarian, but will be so flavor-full  you will, and I hope, not miss the meat.  Here’s a confession, I love my meat, but surprisingly when I eat many of the veggie dishes of India I feel satisfied.  This could be due to the complex mixes of spices that are combined during each level of cooking.

This type of cooking makes anything, even veggies feel robust and satisfying.

So tie on your apron, sharpen those knives and armchair travel with me on this culinary journey…

Dinner for Two…Sauteed Fish and Zucchini

Fish and Zucchini Dinner

Easy Dinner for Two


Looking for a way to fix that extra Zucchini?  Here is one way with a nice piece of Swai Fish Fillet.  It was late and no idea what to make for dinner.  So to the kitchen I went in search of inspiration to fix a delicious healthy meal. Found the Zucchini and saw the tomatoes on the counter and things started coming together.

Checked the Freezer and sure enough was two individually wrapped Swai Fish Fillets.  They were put into a cold water bath to defrost. Next was to get the veggies ready for the Iron Skillet.  Love my Iron Skillets great way to saute quickly with controlled heat.  These babies hold the heat well and evenly.

When all was finished my husband and I dived right in.  Went great with a nice glass of Chardonnay.

Zucchini and Onions

Saute Zucchini and Onions with minced garlic

Slice your onion into thin half moons and start them cooking.  After they turn a golden brown add in your chopped garlic and cook for about a minute.  For the zucchini I used a small size, sliced in half and then thinly sliced in to half moons.  Add these to the onions and garlic cooking until they just start to soften.

Get the Tomatoes chopped before you put the Zucchini into the pan, so they are ready to throw in when the Zucchini starts to soften.

Chopped Roma Tomatos

Chopped Roma Tomatoes

Then…throw them with the zucchini

Tomatoes added to Zucchini

Toward the end add the chopped tomatoes

Let the tomatoes cook with the zucchini on a low heat until they are soften just a little.  While your veggies are cooking prepare you fish fillets. They should be thawed out by now if used frozen.

Heat up a skillet with a little oil to saute the fish in, while that is heating up…

Pat dry your fish fillets and and salt and pepper to taste, then dredge in a little all-purpose flour, or if you are watching you gluten sometimes I will dredge in a little rice flour. (gives it a nice crispy texture).

When the fish fillets are done place a generous portion of veggies on your plate and lay the fillet over it.  Sprinkle with a little green onion or fresh chopped parsley.

Last but not least a Dinner for Two would not be complete without a bottle of white wine.

Sauteed Fish and Zucchinin

Great Easy Dinner for Two

 Swai Fillets with Sauteed Veggies

3 tbs of cooking oil

1/2 large onion thinly sliced into half moons

2 garlic cloves minced

4 to 5 small zucchinis sliced into half moons

4 to 5 Roma tomatoes chopped

2 large Swai Fillets 5 to 7 ounces

Salt and Pepper to taste on every thing

3 tables of  AP Flour or Rice Flour

2 to 3 tbs of either chopped green onions or parsley for garnish. (optional)

First chop onions and garlic and set aside. Heat up a skillet with the oil. While that is heating up start chopping the rest of the veggies. Once oil is hot place the onions in and saute until they start to turn a golden brown.  This brings out the onions sweetness. Place the garlic in an saute a few minutes. Then…

Place the zucchini in with the onions and cook until they start to soften. Once this happens put the chopped tomatoes in and cook for a few minutes more

For The Fish Fillets

Start a second skillet with 2 tbs of oil in the mean time…

If you defrosted the fish in a water bath, pat dry, then salt and pepper each fillet. then dredge in you flour.  Once the oil is hot place each fillet in the sauce pan to saute until the edges start to look cooked then flip and finish the other side which should not take as long as the first side. Your want the fish firm and moist. When it starts to look dry, it has been cooked to long.

Then place a generous portion of veggies on one side of dinner plate and lay the fish fillet over part of the veggies. Garnish with a little parsley or green onion for taste.


Some Background Informtion

Before I post my first recipes, I thought I should give a little bit of information regarding me, the writer.  Some 47 years ago I was introduced to a way of living through my parents that would shaped the way I looked at food for the rest of my life.

We had just moved out to 10 acres of land that back-up to a river from where my father would catch catfish and hunt for deer. Our backyard was full of farm animals, there was chickens, a  jersey milk cow along with baby calf’s from time to time.  Yes we did raise the baby calf’s to eat.

The Jersey cow not only provided us with delicious milk, but also tasty creamy butter…and the best homemade Ice Cream…YUM!!!

At one point we even had pigs, they were so cute. Oh, yes  we even had three horses

The thing I remember most was the huge garden we had to the side of our house…we grew just about everything we needed to live. My Mother would can or freeze any extras we had for the cooler months.

What was best was this…Various areas of the property had Dewberry bushes from which my Mother and Father would spend hours picking the delicate berries to make the most mouthwatering Jam.

My sister and I would beg to help pick these wonderful berries, but were not allowed, due to the population of rattle snakes. So we were lead to believe…we think it was because we would eat most of what we would pick!!!

The only time my mother went to the store was to pick-up items we could not grow or raise.  Such was my life back then, not bad…

Then due to my father’s employment we had to leave.  We ended up moving around the Western part of the United States. We meet many wonderful people, who ate different types of cuisine, from Mexican, Italian, Asian and even Navajo Tacos from the Indian Reservations.

Into my adult life I have even encountered more types of cuisine, from Southern cooking to how they do things here in the Midwest. Along with cooking classes I have taken to learn more about different cuisines.

That began my never ending culinary journey…you will find that most of my recipes do not use many processed items if at all.  I endeavor to stay away from additives and many unnatural  preservatives due to health issues.

You will see a lot of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, and proteins.  Oh, yes and I love to use herbs and spices…a lot.  You may even see recipes with loose leaf teas added.

Thus is my Culinary experience I plan to share with you through my Blog entitled Well Oiled Dishes.  Come and enjoy and don’t forget the wine…beer…or cocktail, makes no difference to me!

See you soon…