Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Blast From My Past... Pronto Pups!

What in the world is a Pronto Pup? Simply put, it's a corn dog! Corn meal mixed with flour, spices and liquid to form a batter that a hot dog on a stick can be dipped in, and then deep fried. Why do I call them a Pronto Pup? Because in the cities of Grand Rapids, Holland, and Grand Haven, MI that's all we knew them by..
One place in Western Mi you could get these was one of the few remaining Pronto Pup stands in the nation! A small building on the channel of the Grand River, it was only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There was always a line, all day long! If you went to Grand Haven State Park, you got a Pronto Pup- always..
Tuesday I made one of my stock up trips to Bird's Market. I picked up about 30lbs. of meat and poultry- and found some corn dogs, 16 to a box, in the frozen food section. I had been passively craving for one of these for awhile, so I picked some up. Last night I heated them according to instructions, and we enjoyed a pretty darn good corn dog! Same stuff you would put on a hot dog, can be used as a dip.. An afterthought I had- a chili cheese dip would have been perfect for this!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retro Appetizer, And Simple Taste Appeased!

I think in the 50's, Betty Crocker did more for this country than Eisenhower did! That contrived image of a non-existant woman in the apron, showed more people(mostly women back then!) how to cook! One of my first cookbooks was a Betty Crocker, and to this day, it is a "go to" cookbook on basics..Anywho..
The point of all this is I go Retro once in a while- people forget who they were, and what defined them in their formative years. I revisit my past- the good times growing up, because we need to..
Bisquik sausage balls.. No party was a party without them!
1. 2 cups of Bisquik
2. 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, room temp.
3. 1 lb. of seasoned sausage, room temp.
4. Splash of a flavoring liquid of you choice(hot sauce!)
Mix together thoroughly and form into 1" dia. balls
Bake for 12 min. in greased pan at 350F, turn over, and bake for 12 min. more.
A retro treat that everybody still will love!
Supper last night was a simple Kielbasa sausage, with dip- and a great fresh roll.. Fancy? No, but a hit-the-spot flavor, for a light bite that night!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mini-Meme Time! Think, But Not Too Hard..

I want this one to be helpful to all who stop by...
1. What is your favorite "go to" kitchen appliance?
2. What is the best dish you make with this device(s), and how do you use it?
I believe this will help us all understand the kitchen gadgets we have, but don't use much- better!
Me first, to show you the nature of the questions...
1. Knives. I have a full set of Wusthof cutlery (22 knives!) two hardwood knife holders, three stage electric sharpener, ceramic sharpener, hone stones, and Butcher's steel.. anyone interested in cooking should buy, and continue to add to a good quality set of knives. I chose this brand because I sold specialty steels for over 30 years..It is a stainless blend, with lower carbon content than 440C- more easily sharpened to a better edge.
2. As I picked knives, I think they do their best work coarse chopping what a blender or food processor can do quicker and easier.. Sometimes less is pesto is hand chopped for definition of ingredients, and for a unique flavor and texture.
I have many devices in my kitchen, and use most of them often, but a good set of knives are great to have, and a wonderful gift for Christmas- to your favorite cook!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops, A One Stop Meal..

My wife was laid off Friday, with assurances of being called back in two weeks.. She was OK with that, but still a little annoyed. I thought one of her favorite meals would be nice Friday night- Stuffed pork chops! We have a premier meat market in our neighborhood that makes a pretty fair one, so I picked up two of them = $17.00 ! I ordered them without looking at them, and one fed the two of us- they had to weigh close to two pounds each! One, I just don't like them that much, and two- we could have had two steaks for that amount of money! Well, hung for a sheep, hung for a goat- so it was press on, regardless..With a quick sprinkling of appropriate spices and herbs, baked for an hour. I made up a pork gravy for the meat and stuffing just before they came out of the oven.. Good, but huge!
Last night was another mega wedding at another beautiful downtown church, with reception at an upscale dining complex in Grand Rapids called The B.O.B.. It stands for Big Old Building(really!) a totally refurbished 4 story building with about 6 restaurants and banquet rooms..Food was great, with a designer salad, Beef tenderloin, broiled scampi, mini squash, and garlic mashed potatoes.. Dessert was upscale cupcakes. They had a photo booth for keepsake photos for them and us, and a penny candy table where you built your own take home treat..Nice affair, but parking downtown is a pain!
Today, neither wife nor I are interested in food, so we'll wait until Monday to figure it out!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken Soup... It Couldn't Hurt!

Chicken soup.. Reminds me of an old joke (most everything does!).. Old Jewish mother coming up the stairs to give her sick husband a bowl, runs into her son coming down the steps. Son says to mother, "Ma he doesn't need chicken soup anymore- Dad just passed away". Undeterred, she tries to get by him, and once again he blocks her and says "Dad's gone, don't bother". Not to be stopped, she tries again to come up the stairs.. Now the son is getting angry and yells "Ma! He's dead! Chicken soup won't help!" She says to son, "Well, it couldn't hurt"...
With all the flus and colds we all run into this time of year, almost everyone will either buy or make some version of this most popular soup!
My version varies with what's in the house. This batch was made from chicken tenders, uncooked and unbattered, seasoned and baked until done- then cut in bite sized pieces. Seasoned chicken broth, chopped chicken, chopped carrots, celery, and onions are simmered together until vegetables are tender. I then add noodles (this time spiral pasta!) and simmer with soup until tender. At this point I do something a little different.. I add dry chicken gravy mix, that has been mixed with a small amount of cold water and add to soup. This thickens it a bit, but not too much- I want soup, not stew!
Hit the spot on a cold night!
When we don't want to fix a big meal, our "go to" lunch or supper is Nachos Supreme! Locally made white corn tortilla chips, loaded up with taco meat, shredded Mexican blend cheese, chopped green bell peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes. Simply nuked in a microwave until cheese melts, we eat with our favorite hot sauce or salsa. This is better than any you buy in restaurants around here!
Good week-ends to all, We have another big wedding to attend..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Banana Nut Bread, With Dried Cranberries..

Whenever we have bananas in the house that are getting a little past prime eating, I make banana bread! I use a standard recipe for making two 5"X 9" loaves, but do tend to tweak it from batch to batch.. This time, after bread was all mixed, I added chopped walnuts and dried, sweetened cranberries. We prefer these to raisins sometimes, with a brighter, more tart flavor, I season the batter with ground allspice, and ground cardamom- which is a little unusual for me, as I usually go with cinnamon! Both loaves came out well- dense and full of flavor..
Toppings to be spread can be butter, jelly, flavored cream cheeses, even peanut butter! One loaf is gone, as wife took it to work with her to share with co-workers, and the next one will be gone shortly!
The "Brown breads" as I refer to them, taste great when the weather starts turning colder...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Manly Manicotti.. Good Stuff For Eats Today!

I've had some Manicotti Pasta in the pantry, crying out to be used.. These are large tubes of pasta, designed to be stuffed with ingredients Italian in flavor. I don't make the traditional stuffing, I add meat- Italian seasoned ground beef!
My filling is as follows:
1. 1lb. of cooked, seasoned ground beef.
2. 1lb. of Ricotta cheese.
3. 1 egg.
4. 6oz. of Parmesan cheese, finely grated.
5. 4oz. of red sauce.
Mix all this, and filling is ready for, well, filling!
While you were doing all that, you should have been boiling the pasta to Al Dente, then shocking in a bath of cold water, until quite cool..
This is where I use a Jerky gun, with a nozzle designed to make slim jims, as a filler tool, to keep the pasta tubes neat and full!
Put filled tubes in pan lubed with olive oil, as seen in photo..
Coat with 8oz. of red pasta sauce you either made or bought..
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses lightly- more to flavor and thicken red sauce!
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with shredded Mozzarella to taste(I used about 6oz.)..
Bake for another 15 minutes, let set for 5 minutes..
You just made the best Manicotti you ever had! The one plate on redneck china, is my youngest son's "We deliver!" lunch.. he works Sundays, and works a mile from our house- so we bring him a plate..
My gooey version looks better than the one one the Manicotti box- don't cha think? :)
Later, I have to make a banana/walnut/cranberry bread you may enjoy..

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's A Truck Driver Special?

In this house, again we have tagged a simple "use the leftovers" meal with a name- The Truck Driver Special! That big pork roast generated a night of pork BB-Q sandwiches, and the following night, the plate as shown.. I sliced the pork into thin pieces- about 1/4" x 2" x 3", then simmered them in a simple brown gravy until tender.. You can pour this mix over potatoes, noodles, or toasted bread- the last choice was what we went with! Simple, hearty, and a good way to use leftovers up! I went a little heavy on the coarse ground black pepper, as I thought the sauce/gravy was bland! You know me as Buffalo Dick, my sister calls me "Dr. Pepper"!
Tonight, I will get one more meal out of it- pork tacos.. Four meals for two people, and that roast cost less than 8 bucks- not bad eating, and not bad prices!
I may have mentioned, my son in K.C. sent me some sauces and rubs for BB-Q- One bottle down, two to go...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Food Groove Back! It's All Good...

Today, I did a stupid big pork loin (5lbs.!) in a slow cooker, on a platform of Redskin potatoes. I do this step, because I don't want that chunk of meat sitting in liquid, but I do want the liquid to keep it moist! Loin is seasoned until it yells; "No mas!" with coarse ground salt, same grind black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground thyme, and ground marjoram. I topped with slices of Granny Smith apple slices, for their moisture and slight tenderizing ability.. This is then cooked on high for an hour, then on low for five more.. As slow cookers don't "brown" meat, I then put in a 450F oven, and bake for 20 minutes. While this is going on, take the taters, chop coarsely, and fry in olive oil, until they start to form a crust. Use a sauce of choice, and the fried potatoes will be what you eat first- with ketchup!
Next on the menu- Deviled eggs! Wife had "potluck" dumped on her, and these treats are never left to bring home! We cooked and peeled eggs, cut in half, and made the yolks into a great filling! Crushed and mashed into paste, with dry mustard, French's, and Dudek's Polish mustard, mayo,(2 to 1 with mustards!) and a touch of lemon-pepper seasoning (and a pinch of white sugar!), topped with paprika- well, done!
My son from K.C. sent me some BB-Q sauces and rubs, which I am dying to try! That's another post...

Monday, October 12, 2009

When You Really Don't Want To Cook, But Do..

I have had a bug going on 4-5 days, and food isn't high on my burning desire list. Still, it's my job in this house, and my wife deserves a square meal, after working long hours. She had to work Saturday, and the larder was getting lower..
I had some chicken tenderloins, and decided to make a chopped chicken in sauce, over egg noodles. It has been getting nippy over here, and comfort food starts to come back into fashion! A simple dish, I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper,Lawry's Poultry Seasoning, and baked it for 15 minutes at 350F until not quite done. I then cut it into chunks, and added it to the sauce I had prepared. The sauce is easy- a can of cream of chicken soup, equal volume of chicken broth, some Lawry's Poultry Chicken Seasoning, with a bit of corn starch for a thickening agent. Boiled egg noodles while sauce was simmering, and meal was done..
Hardly inspired, but I can always make an edible meal that disappears..
When my kids were growing up, we always called this noodles and goop- and they loved it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grampa Jake, An Immigrant ,American Original- Food, Too!

My grandfather lived less than a block away, but was over at my Mom and Dad's house house for dinner every night, after his wife died..Old Dutchman, who immigrated with his family when 5, he spoke English with the accent.. Gruff, and tough, and a man of few words, he typified the Dutch around Western Michigan.. hard as tacks, Heart of gold. My mom would send me over to him, when she thought he was lonely.. He only could fix cereal and his specialty- fried egg sandwiches! The Dutch are generally accepted as the egg eating champions of the world! We had a Dutch bakery in the neighborhood, that was only open two days a week. They made white bread, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal cookies.. Gramps would drive over there, and that's what he ate! I would have tea(with sugar and cream!) with him when I went over..(I'm about eight!) If it was lunch time, we would have a fried egg sandwich on whole wheat bread.. To this day, in Holland, MI and G.R, you can get this sandwich! I've had the flu or something, but last night-I fixed a fried egg sandwich..Gouda(pronounced Goud-da!) is a nice addition! I think the egg McMuffin was inspired by this humble treat!
I made pesto- and it was good stuff!

Friday, October 09, 2009

My Last Post Was Real, So Is This One!

I ran aforementioned contest twice.. the other time was quite amazing, in a couple of ways! The first year I ran in it, mistakes were made... An older friend of mine was running, and we shucked and jived a little before the race... They ran three races at once back then, a 5K, a half marathon, and the big Kahuna- a full marathon.. we're in the 1/2.. We take off at the starting gun, and we were all given a map of the course, in addition to a guy on a bike who is to lead us were we we're supposed to go..Guy on bike goes the wrong way, and everybody follows him -except my friend Rodger! 200 yards into the race, the guy on the bike figures out he goofed, but now a guy who runs 8-minute miles is leading the pack! It was hilarious to watch 100's of young, trained athletes trying to catch up! They did, of course- and we went on to laugh about it for years...
In the Marathon, something happened.. A guy, trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon gets a hit in the head from nowhere..Knocks him down. He actually finishes the run, but not a good enough time to qualify for Boston.. He goes into the Med tent, complaining of a splitting headache. They check and find, he has been shot with a .22 bullet in the head! It was just under the skin, and came from a stray squirrel hunter's shot. The people of Boston invited him to be a participant in their famous race, and waived the time of his Marathon.. This really happened!
P.S- Look this up on Google under Grand Valley Marathon Shot..should give you the details..

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Moment From My Past..I Used To Be Somebody, Too!

Lini- a pardner with Tavo, just wrote a post about a half-marathon she did.. This is an amazing accomplishment, and I salute her! Once, when I was a younger man, I ran in a half marathon.. I was asked to bring a kid from our church, who had half his head taken off by a truck mirror, while trying to cross the busiest street in West Michigan. They expected him to die, but he wouldn't... He recovered, and was never the guy he was again- but he could run.. Tall, lanky, and didn't have much to say, he embraced running, and was everywhere in the North-End of Grand Rapids. We went to the 1/2 Marathon, and set forth on our 13 mile journey.. We didn't run together, as paces differ, but one guy ran past me at the finish line in a was Ryan, the brain scrambled kid, who was grinning, from ear to ear.. I called him a few bad names, and hugged him.. I'm not the heartless bastard you might think I am..

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Golumbki- Cabbage Rolls Made In Polish Heaven!

This week-end in Grand Rapids, MI, there is a festival called Pulaski Days.. Polish falcons everywhere! Polka bands in every bar! Pulaski was an imported military expert, we needed during the Revolutionary War.. Helped us a lot, freeing this country to become the nation we are today! It was contrived by a bunch of Pollacks(it's OK, they call my kind Hollanders-or Dike-jumpers!) to have an excuse to party! It grew into a city-wide event, that is a week-end long affair of eating and drinking, and Polka dancing..
I normally buy my Polish food from my friend, who owns a West side bar..Gruska is his name, and how a Hollander like me, and Pollack like him became dear friends is a whole 'nother story! I couldn't get over there- so I made my own Golumpki!
1. Blanch a whole white cabbage-for about 6 minutes, and core it first!
2. while that is happening, get some minute rice, and follow the instructions on the box!
3. Mix a pound of uncooked ground beef with that cooked rice, adding onion powder,salt, and pepper.
4. Stir in V-8 juice-4 oz. ought to do it..
5. Fill cabbage leaves with mixture, rolling up and placing seam side down in a greased pan.
6. Bake, covered for 1 hour at 350F
7. Tomato sauce, with onion powder, salt, sugar, and pepper simmered until thick is your sauce- to pour on now!
8. Welcome to a taste treat you didn't know was so simple!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mini-Meme Time! Try It, It's Fast And Painless..

About once a month, I throw out a two question challenge that anyone can do, if they wish.. It usually has a theme, and participation is easy and fun!
Here we go..
1. If you had only one meal you could eat-for the rest of your life everyday, what would it be?
2. If you had one last meal to eat, before you left this world, what would it be?
Show you how it works, if you haven't done this before..
1. Grilled cheese sandwiches.. I've never gotten tired of them(but probably would!)
2. King crab, with drawn butter, pasta in Alfredo sauce, corn on the cob, yeast rolls- and for dessert, Key Lime Pie... Kill me now, please!
Have some fun with this- they always make you think, but not too hard!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It Was My Birthday, And Wife Did The Cooking!

Normally our deal is I cook! I like to, am half way good at it, and, well.. It works for us! As it was my birthday, she seemed determined to make me the recipient of a good meal, instead of being the cook. What ever you may think, the Goob can cook pretty good when cornered.. We had a delightful plate of angel hair pasta, with seared scallops in a Parmesan/White wine/Garlic/Basil sauce that was delightful! Steamed broccoli, that went with the not-too-thick sauce perfectly. Dessert was purchased at a local Dutch eatery- a Coconut Cream Pie, which I am partial to- even though not a favorite of son or wife who ate some anyway!
It's a joy when others do simple things for you that you appreciate. Remember to compliment your cook, and do not take this for granted! You cooks be sure to appreciate their compliments, if you ever want to get any more of them!