Saturday, May 31, 2008

Duplicating Famous Restaurant's Recipes....

You have probably seen cook books that are compiled of "secret recipes" from famous (or chain!) restaurants and food manufacturers, claiming to give you that elusive taste of whatever product they make and you crave... I have two such books, fun to read for the background info on these companies, but the recipes are hardly mysteries! If you have taste buds, you probably can figure out 90% on your own!
When our kids were young (under 6!), taking them to a place to eat where we wouldn't be barred or ejected was a challenge. We found early breakfast at Denny's in the non-smoking section really meant The Kiddieland Restaurant! Hi chairs abounded, jelly was the wall decoration, and there were other parents like us, trying to civilize their kids so they could go someplace really nice with them some day... I love Eggs Benedict, but Denny's had their version- The English Scramble. this was two English Muffins, open face, with scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, and Hollandaise sauce over it. This evolved into a deluxe version of a Ham and Egg McMuffin (Moons Over MyHammy- really!), where they took scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese- then put it between two toasted English muffins. This morning, I did that, except we left them open-faced, and used mild white cheddar instead of American(Nerd!)cheese....
Kind of fun to go Retro now and again,, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mini-Meme! Food Likes And Dislikes...

Monday we looked forward to having "Cuban Midnight" sandwiches. They are a small sandwich, that traditionally has Thinly sliced roast pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, mustard, and mayo- all on a fresh elongated roll, grilled in a panini press(or equivalent device!). By the picture posted, you would swear we had a wonderful sandwich- but that would be wrong! The bread we found was a tasteless garlic roll, too hard and too dry to do the sandwich justice. The pork and ham were actually on the bland side, with the baby Swiss crumbly- because the deli had frozen it at some time in it's life! Oh well, live and learn.... Oh by the way, if you're wondering what grill I use, it's a Cuisinart Griddler! Two sets of grates, heat controls, adjustable for thick sandwiches- it's like a George Foreman Uber Grill!
Today's Meme couldn't be easier! List your three favorite foods, then list three foods you don't ever plan on eating ever again! Explanations are welcome! I'll go first;
1. Chili dogs- once a week, minimum!
2. Grilled cheese sandwich- when nothing sounds good, this does...
3. BB-Qed baby back pork ribs- seasoned, tender, and sauced!

1. Brussels Sprouts- smells worse than they taste( to me!)
2. Cream of Wheat- a non-event, with a nasty texture!
3. Peas- I will eat pea pods any day, but even my dogs won't eat peas....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday Road Trip, Sunday Cooking!

Yesterday, we headed north, after the Friday road mob dragging trailers, boats, and what-all were all up there and off the highways! We had a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and English muffins before heading out. I also packed us a lunch type snack- a beef, swiss, lettuce, onion, mayo, mustard wrap for my wife, and a Krakowska (Kraki), swiss, lettuce, mayo, horseradish, mustard wrap for me! Kraki, you ask? It's a Polish cold cut, kind of a highly spiced ham formed into round tubes and sliced. Reminds me of moist Pastrami if you made it from pork! Casino didn't pay big bucks, but fun anyway... We pulled off the road to eat our wraps, drink a pop, and look at the wondrous fresh water inland sea called Lake Michigan... The water was dead still Saturday, but this same lake can have 10-12 foot waves in a flash, if a front comes in! This lake measures 118 miles wide, and 307 miles long. Maximum depth 975 ft., avg. depth 279 ft. Not the biggest Great Lake, but that is alot of fresh water in one puddle!
Today, I am marinating pork tenderloin in an Asian flavor, planning to add a finishing sauce similar in flavor while it is on the charcoal grill! Corn on the cob, sauteed portobella mushroom pieces, and a devils food/white frosting cake is the menu du jour... Hope you're all having a great, long week-end!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mini-Meme Today- Gambling

I like to place a bet. I get in football pools, baseball pools, bet on the triple crown races, play Keno, and go to casinos a few times a year... It's never alot of money, but it is fun to win once in awhile!
The Mini-Meme today is;
1. Do you gamble? Why, and what is your favorite form?
2. Not a gambler? Why not?
There is no "right" answer, but I look forward to yours! If you have a good gambling story- throw it in!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday After Chili- Chinese Sounds Great!

Usually, after a chili filled Saturday, our Sunday meal is as far away from chili as we can get! This meant a seafood stir-fry over white rice was going to be on the menu... We hit Sam's Club for our every other month stock-up of T.P., paper towels, cat litter, etc. I really look forward to checking out the meat and seafood deals at Sams, as I find the quality pretty good! Scored 2lb. of frozen sea scallops- some of which were diver scallop size! A large cut of Dutch Gouda cheese, some thick cut bacon, and some 90/10 ground beef was about all I needed for the food supplies today.. I had some shrimp already at home, in addition to plenty of other ingredients for stir-fry, so away we went!
The dish I prepared had 1lb. shrimp, half of those scallops, onion, green pepper, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and mushrooms- all sliced to size. The sauce had chix broth, organic soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, sesame oil, white pepper, rice vinegar, honey, and salt- all thickened with corn starch into the right consistency. I stir fried the veggies in oil, added scallops, shrimp, and sauce a little later, as not to over cook. Came out pretty tasty- not much left!
Later, I decided to try coconut macaroons with chocolate chips for the first time. Learned alot! I learned they are a mess to make! I took the remaining cookie mix, added cocoa and confectioners sugar, and made a no bake choco-coconut ball! easy, and good! Hope you all have a good week!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Would You Believe Another Chili Cook-Off?

Last night, I prepared my competition red chili for a contest today! Usually you have to make the stuff on-site of the contest, but a few places- mostly the small cook-offs sometimes have a crock pot format. This means everybody can make it the night before and let it cold blend overnight. This also means there is alot of good chili because of this! I have 5 or 6 trophies from this place over the 10 or 11 yrs. I've been going to it, and they are old friends to boot! For once, I took a couple of pictures of the chili, before it was all gone! I rarely get a whole bowl of my own chili, because I hardly ever make it unless if it's for a competition or a crowd! It really hit the spot, but still needs more tweaks before the contest... Wish me luck!
Addendum : Seems like everybody today had trouble "dialing in" their chili- including me! I did manage a 3rd place finish, won $25 bucks and a small trophy... believe me, with the chili I made today- I'm grateful!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Annual Club Mens Meeting- Free Food!

Last night was our club's once-a-year induction of new members. There is a usually a little, humiliating task they have to do- all in good fun! I have gotten into a tradition of fixing free food for the guys after the meeting is over. Free means the club pays for the food, but my buddy and I will fix and serve it, with clean-up afterward. We anticipated about 100 people, and made 17 large pizzas, which should have been enough. 125 guys showed up, some only for the free food! We could only do 8 pizzas at a time in the clubs ovens, so we had to time everything like a space mission! We bought Papa Murphys take u bake cheese pizzas, then added our 4lbs. of sausage, 3lbs. of pepperoni, 5lbs. of sliced mushrooms, 4 chopped green peppers, and 4 chopped Vidalia onions. Came out great- and everyone was trying to figure out where we got such good pizzas! I wish I had a picture of those pizzas, all prepped to go into the ovens- it took up the entire 3' x 12' foot stainless table in the kitchen! As always, too much work for too little praise... Give people free food and there are always jerks who say stuff like this; "Is it all gone?" "Can I take some home?", "I don't like mushrooms", "My wifes here, can she have some?" Many of the older members came and thanked us- mainly because they had volunteered in the past- and knew how much work we had done...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Weekend- It Isn't Just One Day Long, You Know..

Saturday started with breakfast out at a local restaurant. We then did grocery shopping for the Mother's Day feast. I then took my wife's van for a wash and wax, picked up some candy for her(locally made!), rented a movie she wanted to see (The Golden Compass), and made last trip to store for the forgotten baking potatoes... I then came home, made the apple crisp for Sunday dinner, and caught my breath! Made a loaded up bean dip for supper/snack, using tortilla chips as the dippers... Watched the movie, (which I actually enjoyed!) and hit the hay.
It's Sunday now, time to start preparing the feast! The rib-eyes are marinating and the rest of this post, with more photos will be up this afternoon...
It was raining, which usually means lots of smoky charcoal flavor! I hope you all know you don't have to wrap baked potatoes in aluminum foil when cooking in oven... Blueberry muffins, and asparagus- now let's eat! Apple Crisp later- too full to even try for dessert... Hope you are all enjoying your Mothers Day- I'm pretty sure my wife did...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Simple Supper For A Tired Guy...

This week was not alot of fun, and food hasn't been the center of attention... Tonight, I'm just going to broil some seasoned boneless skinless chicken thighs (yes, thighs!), put them on a bun with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and cheese and call it good!
My son that lives in Kansas City actually sent( on he and his brothers behalf) their mom some nice flowers for Mother's Day! Unprompted by me! Felt just like they were here- the card was misspelled, as usual! Toying with what to feast on for Sunday- her choice, of course! Hope all you that still have moms in your lives remember something good and wish her a great Mothers Day!
Enjoy your weekend!
Uncle Buf

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Our Weekend Up North...

We decided around Friday, we ought to get away to our place up north that we are part owners in. It's a really nice place, with all the amenities- but gets used about 2-3 weeks out of the entire year! Electricity, wall to wall carpets, two bathrooms, running water, heat, full basement, electronic dart board, pool table, large screen TV- everything! It sits on 160 acres, with two tracks throughout. We went to a casino first,and on the way encountered the drawbridge in downtown Manistee MI for the first time! Got whupped by the casino, then headed for the lodge. Dropped my wife off to get the heat going, and to settle in while I went back down the road to a little town called Tustin, to hit Powells for supplies. Supplies- frozen pizza, pop, munchies, and treat. Powells is your classic up North store; you can buy bullets, tampons, booze, jerky and sausage(homemade!)a picture of Jesus, and a goose decoy- pretty much in the same aisle...It is interesting to note that they had no less than thirty frozen pizzas, 10 from three different manufacturers- and every one of them was a Pepperoni pizza- no others.. When in Tusin carry , or wear the scent of pepperoni- they seem to prefer it... The clients on a Saturday night are a good argument that Bigfoot is indeed very real... 3 of them were buying a case of beer each, with money that looked like it pulled double duty in an outhouse! The two 20 yr old girls running the store, weighing about 95lbs. each, herded them like dancing bears into a line behind me.. I wanted to buy some sliced cheese from the deli, but from the look I got from the Sasquatch Triplets, I decided against it.Back at the lodge, the frogs were croaking their brains out in the swamp, trying to get lucky, the night sky cleared and I spent part of the night watching the constellations move across the sky, through the big windows on the end of the lodge... We hit another casino in the morning, but won nothing big... Every time we go up to the lodge, we say "We've got to do this more often- but we never do... This has to change!

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Thursday Night That Was More Fun Than It Should Have Been...

Coming home from work last night, I decided to stop in to a club I belong to- just to catch up on the news, and play a few games of Keno. I ended up volunteering for a steak dinner dance, where I'll be in charge of about 200 baked potatoes! I also am responsible for pizza for about 100 guys at our men's' meeting in 2 weeks. The friend that helps me with this stuff, says they are catching a burger at another hall in about an hour that serves food every Thursday. We invited ourselves along, just to see friends for awhile. The burger is about 1/2lb., with anything on it you want, and a bag of chips for $3.00. Really. The drinks are; pop is .75 and a shot & pop is $2.00. Really. Burger is great, but we were there for the friendship! Told jokes, updated current life activities- shot the breeze in general. Low key fun, at $10 bucks a couple.. Have good week-ends, everyone!