Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The "I Can't Wait For Spring" Supper...

Winter just won't let go this year! Craving something light, and to remind us that warmer days are coming- I made a batch of chicken salad, placed in a muskmelon for supper... Cooked chicken breast-cubed, a couple of hard boiled eggs-chopped, chopped celery and onions, mayo, mustard, and lemon pepper- all mixed thoroughly and chilled. Melon cleaned, cut in half- ready for salad...Simple but refreshing!
I also jumped on the banana wagon we all seem to be on, and made a straight banana bread-moist and rich.. I nice addition to the light meal. There is only two of us- kids are grown and gone...I look forward to an opportunity to cook a big meal- Easter is coming!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Week-end Of Food, Nothing Fancy!

Since we had pizza Thursday, a simple scrambled egg, ham , mushroom, and cheese concoction sounded about right.. too messy to call an omelette! Saturday was even simpler- toasted cheese sammiches on rye- good cheddar though.. Sat. night I took the last of my venison, ground it- along with three pork steaks, to make either meatloaf or meatballs for Sunday.. Seasoned the night before eating, but added oatmeal and egg as a binder Sunday morning, it became meatloaf! Venison can be a bit stronger than beef, but is dead lean! Texture was firm and good- flavor was pronounced, nothing a little catsup and mustard couldn't cure! Had egg noodles on the side- we're kind of potato and riced out around here...
I'll probably make some treat later today, as I have all afternoon- wife went to a play!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Blog, Opinions and Rectums Strikes Back!

Lately I've noticed a trend of people who blog, ask for answers, and if the answers don't fit their ears- get mad or offended. If you don't want a different point of view, don't invite one! You grow through input, not sympathy.. Sympathy is given when needed, not when asked for.. I admit to being a bit snarky lately, but I take umbrage when a woman that doesn't know me tells me "I don't understand".. Of course I don't see it your way all the time, but it doesn't mean I don't understand.. I want everyone to have an opinion, and I want everyone be prepared to defend it! Free speech is a Constitutional Right- one I defend at all times. Speak your mind- don't just sympathize- one is enabling, the other might be real help.. This is my Bi-yearly rant, hope you liked it..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Food Lately..

Saturday night we had a simple fish sandwich- broiled tilapia seasoned with lemon pepper and dill, on a bun with lettuce and mayo... I had a photo, but must have deleted it!
Sunday, a beef pot roast, along with cauliflower topped with aurora sauce.. This sauce is essentially a white sauce, with tomato paste added. My version involves tomato sauce, cheese, and sour cream, with herbs.. delightful change from just cheese sauce! Having a smooth sauce that is not too tomatoey and not too rich, is a pleasant change- try it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Buffalo Dick, The Junkyard Dog Of Leftovers..

I had about 8oz. of corned beef left from two briskets I did.. just about the same amount of baby Swiss. Chopped into small bits, mixed with 8oz. of cream cheese, flavored with horseradish, thousand island dressing, chili sauce and a bit of onion, it became a rather tasty spread for crackers- a Reuben dip! 30 years ago, I had my first Reuben sandwich- and loved it! 25 years ago I tried Reuben soup, and it became one of my faorite soups! I have played with a spread made from this flavor meld before, and this one works...
I believe the true secret of being a decent cook is to think about how flavors go together- as simply as possible... You don't need quail's eyeballs to make it tasty! Simple things done well, don't go home as leftovers...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mini-Meme- Blog Version Of An Opinion...

I have tried to tailor these Mini-Memes, so that they don't require a lot of time to answer.. It also gives any visitors to this blog to say their Opinion on the given subject- with no reprisals! Today's subject occured to me as it is St. Patricks Day!
Simply put:
1. What is your favorite Holiday? Why?
2. What is your least favorite Holiday? Why?
Me first!
1. I used to love Halloween the best, but more and more- Thanksgiving. I like to cook(Anyone picked up on that?) and I guess Thanksgiving is turning into the forgotten Holiday- they put out Christmas crap right after Halloween now!
2. Any Holiday promoted by Hallmark, Russell Stover, Florists, etc... Get my drift? Making millions off of people on Bosses Day, Secretaries Day, etc. makes my ass tired!
Let's see what you folks got on these questions!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

If It's Friday, It Must Be Pizza...

As I have mentioned before, more often than not, Friday night is pizza night! Sometimes we buy one and have it delivered, but often- I make one from scratch.. When I make a "home made" pizza, I make a big one! As you can see, it fills a cookie sheet... I have a pizza stone, pizza peel, and occasionally use them- when I'm in the mood. The crust I use is Giada DeLaurentis'(The pretty woman with the big noggin on The Food Channel! Probably misspelled her name..) version which is simple and comes out every time! The key to decent pizza crust is to be patient and let it rise! Use your favorite toppings sparingly, then bake quickly at 450F for about 15 minutes. The pros have ovens that run far hotter, with shorter cooking times- which is why theirs is always a little better than ours!
It's corned beef and cabbage next, followed by Reuben sandwiches! I'm not Irish, but I do enjoy good corned beef! Fun fact to know and yell... Ireland does not consider this a traditional meal for St. Paddys! Irish immigrants were looking for an inexpensive replacement for Irish style bacon, and their Jewish neighbors introduced them to Kosher corned beef as a substitute!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Arroz con Pollo- Chicken And Rice, With A Tweak..

Breaking out of a rut requires one major step.. You have to want to! I page through my cookbooks occasionally, just looking for inspiration when my imagination isn't up to it! Haven't had Tex-Mex in a while, and the flavor of chili, tomato, and spices was sounding good... I had some boneless, skinless chicken breasts- and then it hit me! Why not try to make a casserole with the flavor print of Arroz con Pollo ( chicken and rice)? I used V-8 juice as the liquid, infused with taco sauce to cook the white rice in. Cubed, seasoned cooked chicken simmered right along in it.. spices were; garlic, onion, taco seasoning, ground Jalapenos, and Mexican oregano. Into a casserole dish, cooking the rice normally would take 20 min.- plan for about an hour this way! 400F is a good temp... After rice has absorbed all the liquid, top with 8oz. of shredded co-jack cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes, until melted.
This was really good! I believe even making a well known dish- in a new way, is worth a gamble! This is simpler, and just as tasty as the traditional way this is made- go with your instincts once in a while, you may be creating a new award winning recipe!
Oh yeah, the side with this was homemade cole slaw- a wonderful foil to the spice and richness of the dish..

Sunday, March 08, 2009

From Retro Man To Gizmo Guy, And The "V" Story..

Thursday, an older friend of mine brought in a little espresso machine to our buffet. He didn't use it, and wanted more storage space at his place- and wanted to give it to me free! It's an older model, but I couldn't just "take" it for nothing! I was playing a Keno ticket at the time, and when I turned it in- I had won $20 bucks! I gave my friend the $20, and we were both happy! I hadn't bought a gizmo for the kitchen for a year, then in the span of one month, a new dehydrator, a slow cooker, and now an espresso machine! I would have taken a photo of the unit, but it still needs a little cleaning up...
In a totally unrelated subject, last week K (Interstitial Life Feb. 27th post) Commented on a doctor that was running a special on vasectomies during March Madness.. Smart doctor! Good marketing! I just made me reminisce about the time I made that decision... Funny story, but you be the judge..
My wife and I decided two boys were enough, and we decided it was a lot simpler for me than her to get the square knot tied. As we were both in our late 20's, my doctor had a rule that he counsel us, and make sure this is what we wanted. After that, we set a date for the out-patient surgery. I showed up from a 1/2 day of work, and said "Let's do it!" He asked if I had driven myself to his office, I said yep. Local anesthetic only, no knock out drugs.. He did the deed, then said "Jump off the table".. I informed him I wasn't "jumping" anywhere! To my surprise, there was no pain! I asked him about that and he answered;"That's because the twins are still numb" He looked at his watch and told me to get moving, as I would not be feeling too spiff in about 20 minutes...His last instructions were to take it easy, use a lot of ice, AND DON'T GO ANYWHERE! I pulled into my driveway hitting both gas and brakes like they were unstable high explosives. I poured myself a gin and tonic the size of a fish bowl and drank it faster than the gold fish would have.. I then informed my wife I was going to the gun club's poker/raffle night. Talking to me when my manhood to endure pain is questioned is a bad idea. Played cards all night, caught a few hours sleep, and got ready for my bosses Wedding Anniversary party- of which I was the photographer. Got home. By now I am hurting, as you would expect!
Because of my total disregard of doctor's orders, I had to wear a jock for a month. Taking a shower meant holding them up with one hand while I washed with the other. Walk? Yes. Jog? No! I won't go into detail how embarassing it is to stand in a clinic with a "sample" while a good looking nurse asks how old it is.. I won't into how a month later my youngest kicked me in the groin while we were playing on the floor, and they turned black and blue.. I won't say a lot about going back to the doctor about this, just to be told what I had was a good, swift kick in the Ba*ls!
Other than that, I must give you one Opinion, and we all are not the same so don't take this wrong... Mother Earth only can support "X" amount of people, let's not find out what that number is the hard way...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Kitchen Toy, And That Retro Bologna Spread..

About a year ago, I was in a small chili cook-off, where you made the chili at home, and brought it in a crock-pot... Slow cooker is now the politically accepted term, I believe.. Anywho, I saw the latest and greatest version of one of these puppies- and lusted for one until now. What was the catalyst for this great leap into the 21st century? My wife wanted one- finally! She had to bring our published-in a cookbook recipe for Danish meatballs to a party at her office, and wanted to look good! I talked her into the biggest one(6 quart!) as is in the long run, smart. This thing holds 5lbs. of meatballs, with sauce! Toggle clamps for lid to pot seal for transportation.. A carrying case that Velcros in three spots for ease of placing, and removing the cooking vessel without spillage. There are slits in the carrying case to allow the handles to be exposed, aiding in transporting without mishap. Three heat settings, and removable crock for ease of cleaning or even reheating in a Microwave! It even comes with a snap in serving spoon... all this for $37 bucks! Get one, if yours is on it's last legs- a versatile kitchen appliance for sure!
I made that bologna spread I've been talking about... the original was ground bologna, pickle relish, and mayo.... I did that, then added sharp cheddar, shredded, minced green olives(pimento too!), chopped onion, and a dab of brown mustard... It is delicious! A little rich, but an excellent spread for crackers, crostini, or even as a sandwich spread, with a leaf of lettuce.. Fun to try what you think might work and have it come out tasty!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Retro Food, Next Chapter..

Sunday found us in an unusual dilemma- lots of food in the house, but: A.- What sounds good? B.- What would go together? C.- What would be easy? By discussing the merits of what we had, we came up with a menu... Had to do some grocery shopping first, as something is always missing!
Dinner became ham steak, home made mac n cheese, and fresh, steamed broccoli- followed by a subtly dolled up brownie..
What made the ham special? Nothing, beyond not being too salty..
What made the Mac n cheese special? Evaporated milk, and two kinds of extra sharp cheddar, shredded into the cheese sauce. Old timers used the evaporated milk far more than we do today, and I swear it made it creamier!
What made the brownie special? Fudge brownie mix, out of a box.BUT(that's me and my big but!)I added white chocolate chips for contrast, a touch of almond extract(because it goes with chocolate- ask Peter&Paul!)and a touch of cinnamon, because it works with chocolate, too..
A lot of the retro stuff I'm finding- I never had as a kid... My dad didn't like casseroles, sandwich spreads, trash veggies.. He lived through the Depression and WWII, and had to eat some pretty low budget meals...He swore when the war was over, his family would eat a best as he could afford- and that's what he did...
Next try will be bologna sandwich spread! A 50s staple in brown bags! but of course I'm going to change a few things.....