Month: June 2014

Peering Down the Pie Hole – The Box Edition

I like an apple pie. I make a lot of them – be it dutch or cream, puree or traditional. I can usually judge how good a particular cookbook is by the quality of the pie. So, it’s probably the first thing I thumb the index for when I pick one up. I’ll even make one on some box top – if it looks interesting. Hell, I’ve even made that Mock Apple Pie on the back of a box of Ritz Crackers… which, by the way, isn’t even apple. And, if you can get past the knowing that what you’re eating is just a big pie-shaped wedge of cooked cracker, then it kinda works in a pinch… when you don’t have any apples… and want a pie… and don’t think about it too much. But I was sorting out the pantry the other day and came across the box of tapioca that had gotten shuffled down onto the pasta shelf. Picking it up, I noticed a recipe for Apple Pie on the back flap. I …

The Brown Bird of Stupidity

I’ve been catching glimpses and flashes of brown out the kitchen window all afternoon today. I figured house wrens had finally discovered the potting shed and were making good use of the rafters, beams, nooks and crannies in the roof line to nudge in a little mountain vacation home. I was wrong. They seemed to have preferred a pot… on a rack… Right by the door. I assume he’s still in the “I gotta get me some of that” mode and hasn’t found a mate, so I considered relocating the pot, with it’s nifty nest hat, to the potting shed – but on closer inspection of the rack, he’s attempted to build nests in EVERY single pot on the shelf. I think he’s got a thing for the shelf… by the door… that I use 3 to 4 times every day. I don’t see good things happening here.

Weeknight Meals – Salisbury Steak

Although the creation of Salisbury Steak is attributed to Dr. J.H. Salisbury  as a means of creating a lower calorie diet in the same odd turn-of-the-century healthcare craze that gave us Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, the “true” Salisbury Steak bares little resemblance to what we make today.  In his book, “The Relation of Alimentation and Disease”, he describes it as  lean, center-cut round – chopped with all the sinew, fat and tendon removed – broiled….. and served with a little Worcestershire Sauce. I know… sounds dreadful. Thank God we turned it into meatloaf patties… because, you know… meatloaf IS so much better for you. ________________________________________________________________ Here’s the thing with the modern Salisbury Steak. While is it’s still a kind of a meat loaf thing, there are a few differences: It’s meat – of course There is some sort of extender – be it grated potatoes, rice, bread crumbs (although thoughts differ on that part of it. Me? I like a little bread) There are vegetables – usually onions and / or celery Seasoning – Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, …

Garden Project 2014 – A Fistful of Dollars

You know… when I started the gardening project with the Hay Bales, it was supposed to be a cheap and easy way to add a little extra produce to our grocery budget without breaking the bank. But when you get right down to it – it’s just expensive to “grow your own.” And, although I say I’m doing soil gardening now because I’ve finally got the chert conditioned, what I’m really saying is – “Wheat straw bales are now $5 a piece – and I buy 12 every year. So that’s $60.00 just for the medium; another $25.00 for the ammonia nitrate; plus $15 for the general purpose fertilizer; plus anywhere between $0.99 to $5.00 for each plant I want to grow (and that can be upwards of 15 to 20 different varieties); plus gadfly and ladybug larvae for pest control (we wont even go into what those cost); and let’s throw in 2 to 3 bags of potting soil so I can fortify the bales so they can make it through the long growing season here; …

Crumb Cake ~ The One with The Apples

About four months ago, I came across a picture of a particular apple crumb cake. No recipe, mind you… just the picture. And that kind of irked me. I’m all for finding food pictures on the internetowebbyversothing – it’s like porn, without all the uncomfortable naked bits. But like porn, it kind of leaves you wanting something else. So I went looking for the creator of that slice of Bow-Chicka – Wow – Wow. I found her at Seasons & Suppers (a great little food site with some serious Yum going on.) She had found the recipe through some forum, and did all the heavy lifting to translate it into something she could cook. I loved the (butter butter heavy cream sour cream) recipe, except for the (butter butter heavy cream sour cream) ingredients that just weren’t (butter butter) going to work in this camp… you know, lactose intolerant and all. So I set out to strip the recipe down to the bones and try to make it less (butter butter cream) heavy and deadly …

Egg Smash, and Linguine Carbonara

  Since we’re still coping with the effects of the egg accident, we still have 3 or so eggs worth of liquid in the container… and I was jonzing for some pasta… and cheese… and porky goodness –   So tonight it’s Linguine Carbonara. Yeah, yeah… I know “raw eggs in pasta just doesn’t rattle your Rhubarb”, but it does mine. So if you have aversions to… or want to rant about the unsanitariness of eating raw eggs… or just want to sell your own particular brand of crazy here…. go away. I can’t be bothered. Here’s the thing – the eggs aren’t raw. Adding the egg mixture to freshly drained pasta cooks it very gently – creating an almost creamy, custard coating for the linguine. It should completely coat the strands and not puddle in the bottom of the bowl. If, for some freakish reason, it has… then you did it wrong. Traditional carbonara consists of: Some Cured Pork Product – I’ve used a combination of super fatty bacon and Capicola because I prefer …

Egg Smash, and the Tater Tot Frittata

  Usually, I’m pretty conscientious when I go shopping… I bring my own bags, I load my cart with fragile things tucked under or in the little flippy basket, I arrange things on the conveyor checkout thingy so bruisy – easily damaged things don’t end up under the laundry detergent, and I don’t let them bag my crap in 10,000 flimsy plastic bags. I hate those things. Loading them into the trunk and hauling 60 bags into the house with 2 things in it just makes me crazy. But I was distracted. … and I forgot my bags … and before I could go all insane old man on them, they had bagged my entire haul into 22 little plastic bags. So I wheeled my cart full of windsocks out to the car and barreled home in a fury. I was still irritated when I got home, and I began snatching handfuls of lightly filled bags – not really paying attention to what I was doing… and slung the  bag with 2 lemons and a dozen …