Friday, January 30, 2009

Soup Contest Saturday- Whole Lotta Tweakin" Goin' on..

Better than a year ago, I thought I was in a soup cook-off- but it got cancelled..Saturday we're going to hold one, kinda small(maybe 8 soups) but a lot of good cooks will be in it! As it will be a peoples choice, with the public being the judges- it will probably resemble a popularity contest instead of a competition! 3 or 4 cooks have already announced their entry, so everyone is trying to make something different. I was ready last time with a Mac-N-Cheeseburger soup, and with a few changes, that's what I'm bringing! This cold weather should guarantee a good turn-out... If I have time today, I may make some home made bread to go with the soup...
If you want to see a picture, or read ingredients check out my post around Nov 5-7 2007...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meatball Mini-Meme... Two Questions...

There are many ways to make a meatball, and many sauces that go with/over said meatball!
The questions today are as easy as usual;
1. What are your favorite ingredients in a meatball?
2. What is your favorite sauce to go along with it?

1. I like a ground beef, pork, veal(or lamb!) combo, bound with fine dry bread crumbs, egg, Worcester sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Basic, and can be expanded with Italian spices and herbs to go one way, or savory herbs to go another.. the veal or lamb "softens" it's consistency, giving it a a juicy texture when eaten..
2. I love many sauces on meatballs; BB-Q, Italian, Brown gravy/Herb, Swedish, Danish, etc... but if I had to go with only one- Danish. It incorporates chix broth, sour cream, dill, and a few other ingredients that make it my favorite!
Teach me something I don't know today about meatballs!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Little "Catch-up Post...

Friday was preparing for the first chili cook-off of the season... conned my kid into grocery shopping for me, for which he would receive a bag of home-made jerky, and a homemade pizza dinner (Dad pizza!). He was all over it!
Saturday was loading the coolers and van, to head out for a day of chili competition. Picked up my cooking pardner, Chili Dan, went to the American Legion Post, where it was to be held. Missing Mike, our other cook, showed up with daughter and we proceeded to turn a pile of ingredients into about 3 gallons of chili. Real happy with our pot full, our friends/adversaries Dragon Spit Chili were the next booth over. Last year, they edged us for 1st place, Buffalo Bros. took 2nd.. Lots of people sampled ours, and came back for more! We sampled other chilli's and weren't too worried... And the winner is- Not us or Dragon Spit! Three very bland chilli's placed, telling us the judges were rookies, or old people! Had a good time, though...
Sunday was a recovery day, did some cooking, but a lot of it was repeats- tuna fish salad( for lunches this week) broiled steaks, mashed potatoes, brownies for dinner, popcorn at night, to watch TV under warm blankets! Today I'll probably bake some banana bread with chocolate chips and crasins in it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beef Jerky And A Long Cold Day In Michigan..

Yesterday, I sliced and marinated some 5lbs. of beef eye of round, that was on it's way to becoming a common treat around here called beef jerky... Normally, I cut it with the grain of meat- to make it chewier..but being lazy, I decided for a more edible product this time, and went across grain. Came out plenty chewy, and took the marinate flavor(Worcester, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper, black pepper, garlic, onion, liquid smoke, and sea salt!)really well!
My wife is working long hours, so I made up a plate of those pigs in a blanket for her to munch on when she gets home! Weather is so cold and snowy, letting the Airedale out is easier- I just open the door, out she sprints, she pees and poops- and comes runnin' for the warmth of the house! Reminds me of a joke...
Woman buys a parrot and finds out the bird has been taught quite a few cuss words... complains to the pet store owner, who says "Just stick him in the freezer for a bit when he swears, and he'll quit cussing soon enough".. Woman says to bird "Polly want a cracker?" Bird says "Fu*k you and your cracker"... She grabs the bird and sticks him in the freezer.. Bird looks to the right of him and sees a frozen turkey.. "Jebus buddy! What did you say to the bitch?"...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Whole Roast Chicken And Brown Rice In Chicken Broth..

Two foods that go together in a myriad of combinations is chicken and rice... Roasted, broiled, boiled, fried, etc., chicken always finds a pardner in rice! The rice can be white, brown, wild (which really isn't rice!), steamed, re fried, in a casserole, etc... The pleasure derived from recreating two ingredients that can't miss when together, is a good way to experiment with your cooking!
My chicken carcass( I ought to rephrase that!) is simmering as we speak, to create a broth or a stock that will be the base of chicken soup in the next couple of days... flavored with what you enjoy, this is a worthwhile effort that is easy. Simmer the carcass in the juices rendered, adding water or chicken broth, with your favorite flavors- start with poultry seasoning if you don't know what to do! 2-3 hrs. is plenty... pick the meat off, and add to your soup. Carrots, celery, mushrooms, noodles, rice, onions, are all excellent companions to your chicken soup- go nuts, and see what happens!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Remember The First Time You Had Pound Cake?

Boy, I sure do! My mom was an indifferent cook, probably because my dad was an indifferent eater! However, coming from a Dutch family, she could bake with the best of them! Her recipes were hand-written, and a pinch of this, and a dab of that would actually be the instruction... One day, I came home from school to see a squat, bread shaped baked good I had never seen before.. "Mom! What did you bake?" "It's a pound cake, with lemon glaze". She had me at lemon- up until that moment, my favorite dessert was lemon meringue pie! It looked pretty plain, and my first bite was hesitant- but my eyes widened at the moist richness, and lemony flavor that assaulted my taste buds!
This cake can be made so many different ways, I won't even go into it. The original "pound cake" was just that- 1 pound of sugar, 1 pound of flour, 1 pound of eggs... most recipes aren't that far off from that, even though we add salt, baking powder, and flavorings... Today I made a Sour Cream Almond Pound cake... it will probably get topped with whipped cream!
Just got done, and have never been more disappointed in my life.. 6 eggs, 3cups of sugar, etc., my pound cake was a bust. Recipe off Internet, got to edible pieces out of a whole cake.. This is the second time I trusted some idiot who wrote down a recipe, and found it inedible! Shame on me- never again!
Tonight we also had a Midwest snack we call "Pigs in a blanket" .. a cooked sausage link,wrapped in a cresent roll and baked for about 10 minutes at 400F. Made 8, you saw the last one! Good stuff!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jeez-O-Petes! What A Weather Pattern!

It's stupid cold here right now, but life goes on... They are predicting sub- freezing temps here for a least a week... The plow service we hired is doing a great job! I am pondering my life choice to die in this frozen Hell called Michigan! We all only got X amount of air left to breath- don'tcha think we might want to reconsider staying where most of the landscape was formed by glaciers? God, I'd kill for a Mammoth rib steak right now...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

God Bless The Folks Who Grow It, For Us Mere Mortals To Cook It!

My wife got an "Air Garden" for Christmas from my eldest.. she is currently growing chives, basil, and thyme.. It made me think how hard some folks work, bringing food to market, and all the time and effort in consumes. I am no farmer. I love to cook it when it's ready to be cooked! Meat, fruit, vegetables, spices, etc. are something us foodies must pay homage to- If it wasn't for them, well, anyone seen the movie "Soylent Green"? We give token thanks for our meal, praying without meaning it. Think about what I've written, and if you can't thank God, thank the farmer who raised or grew it..
Today, I made a meatloaf of home ground pork, ground chuck, and ground venison.. heavy on herbs and spices, I am expecting a good meatloaf! The from scratch scalloped potatoes with sour cream and parsley should match. You'd think I was Polish for my love of seasoned, sauteed mushrooms! The German Chocolate cake lets you know I can match food, that has never been next to each other!
Want to see a wonderful cartoon that foodies can smile and laugh at? "Ratatouille" is a cute cartoon with a message- "Anyone can cook"! Anyone can, if they want to...
P.S. If anyone didn't wish Mona a Happy Birthday, please do so now... She is drop dead cool and deserves yours blessings..

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Mini-Meme! Why Is It We All Don't Like The Same Stuff?

Sunday, I made those twice baked potatoes.. My wife and son love potatoes and frankly, I don't! In the afternoon, I made banana bread. I love banana bread, as does my wife- but I like it with chocolate chips and dried cranberries(or dried cherries!) in it, and she doesn't! She likes it with walnuts in it, and I hate nuts in bread! As shown, we end up eating good, plain banana bread!
After the football game, I made tuna salad, for sandwiches or salad... I would have used a lot more mustard in it, but I know my wife doesn't care for it mustardy... see where I'm going with this?
Today will be a simple one question/answer;
1. What is one dish you love one way, and hate prepared another way?
Me first- to illustrate!
I love almost any kind of meat in a sauce made from the base juices.
I hate meat in almost any kind of sauce made from fruit.
We are not passing judgement here, I hope I strike a cord with everyone who cooks or eats with someone they disagree with- but still gets along with!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Is It A Side Dish, Or A Meal...

Ever since New Years Eve, the tastes buds and appetites have been a bit off.. Happens every year! I have mentioned before, my wife and son love potatoes. I have also mentioned I took 2nd place in this years State of Michigan BB-Q Potato category, with a twice baked potato. Would you believe I've never made them for my own family? Well, today that all changes! I have some massive Russet potatoes, and all the goodies used to create these for dinner. A side of veggies will go along with the "meal in a skin", and we're calling that enough for a meal! I think I'll include the recipe today, if anyone out there wants to know how easy this is...
1. Four large (1LB.) Russet potatoes, scrubbed, rinsed, sprayed(or rubbed!) with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Bake in oven at 375F for 45 minutes, turn, spray again, and bake for 45 minutes more. I don't stab or wrap them- skins come out better!
3. Fry 6-7 strips of bacon until well done(crumbly)while potatoes baking. Have 8 oz of shredded cheddar cheese ready also.
4. When potatoes are done, cut a thin layer of skin off the top, discard. Carefully scoop out cooked potatoes, placing in bowl for mixing and mashing. This will leave you with 4 hollow skins- to be refilled with potato mixture.
5. Mash potatoes with 4oz. of sour cream, and 4 oz of butter, adding milk if too stiff. Onion and garlic powder to taste.
6. Refill skins with mixture and bake for 10 minutes at 350F
7. Remove from oven, top with cheddar cheese and bacon, which has been crumbled.
8. Bake again until cheese melts, top with sour cream and chives if desired- and serve!
Freezing rain/snow mix going on outside, so no outside activities planned today!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Eve... 2008 Until Midnight!

We have a loose tradition of fixing a rather special meal for my son(sons) and either a friend or their girlfriend... My son , who lives about 4 miles from my house was here for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, The 29th and 30th(power outage at his place!) and was back for more food New Years Eve! He had given me a nifty deep fryer for Christmas, and we decided to have a deep fried meal NYE... We had Mushrooms, chicken wings, shrimp, mozzarella sticks, pickles- all deep fried! White chocolate cheesecake was the dessert... First try at using a new device is usually a mixed bag of success and disaster- and this was no exception! Shrimp and mushrooms were best, chicken and pickles- need work. Cheese sticks were just flat out pooched! Sauces were good, but learned a few tricks about deep frying! Freeze cheese sticks, then batter and fry! Don't overload the fryer basket! Make sure your health care is current!
We then drove 30 miles to play cards with friends... came home with $100 I didn't bring with me! This morning my stomach felt like I tried to eat dinner at Jiffy Lube.. Happy New Year, and try to eat healthier- I'm gonna!