All posts filed under: Comfort Food

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread… and the resulting pudding.

If I close my eyes and avoid every mirror – I’m 35, Svelte, and athletic. I’d embrace every new food trend and be an ambassador for healthy eating. I’d be a bastion of good will and charity … and I’d like whole wheat bread. …none of those things are particularly true. I’m no spring chicken, and haven’t been an an inordinate amount of time… I’m 50 – plus (ish). And while I’m quite possibly in the best physical shape of my life, I wouldn’t win any contests. There aren’t any awards given out for middle aged men that don’t pass out when they stand. Then there’s that whole “eat things that aren’t really food ” stance. I can’t be bothered on how good they are for you, Chia seeds belong on a terra cotta head (so you can grow funny hair)… not in baked goods. I don’t want things that aren’t caviar chemically altered to make them look like caviar. Sauces should be sauces and not loosely aerated froth, I want my leafy greens sauteed in butter not …

Simmering Sweetness – Mochi Rice Pudding

Over the years, I really never warmed to the idea of rice pudding. I have had it over and over, in varying degrees of chefdom expertise, expecting it to somehow be different. But regardless of what diner, colorful commercial packaging or elevated restaurant, the promise and the hype never seem to gel into deliciousness for me. It is, after all, pudding with rice in it. If the pudding were silkier… if the rice was less rice-like and more like tapioca… Some time ago I received a package of mochi rice from Marx Foods in one of the numerous contests I entered. I thought the tiny, delicate, ovaline pearls were intriguing but I really had no desire to cook them down and smash them into a translucent, elastic paste. Mochi, or glutenous rice is a super starchy, somewhat sweeter rice typically used in Asian sweet cake preparations. I thought that one day I might try a hand at rice pudding… Plate Fodder style. Glutenous rice can be deceiving. Even with it’s diminutive and fragile grains, it still needs a considerable amount of cooking in order to …

The Sandwich Diaries – Beans on Toast

While it’s not a traditional sandwich in the sense that a Reuben or a Club is a sandwich – meat or goodies slapped between 2 or more slices of heaven – but, IF we’re going to consider open faced thingys like a Hot Brown or a Tuna Melt one, then it has to apply to Beans on Toast as well. And no… there’s no real mystery here, it’s pork and beans  – – – on toast. Back about a month ago, Marx Foods had a quick down and dirty little contest on their Facebook page to guess what a particular flower was: it’s a potato flower I guessed right, and for that, Marx Foods sent me a little goody bag of pantry staples as the prize. In it, I got some of these: They’re Mayacoba Beans – Also known as Canary beans, Mayacobas are a pale yellow, dense meat with a thin skin, which makes them a perfect candidate for slow cooking. Their other outstanding quality is that they contain none of the voluminous gas producing qualities of any …

OLÉ! – kinda…

Ideally, there should be a bit of a travel story depicting my drunken body staggering into some dirty backwater, iguana-crawling, cha-cha playing, peeling concrete floored cantina somewhere down in the backwoods of the Yucatan Peninsula where I first had Chilaquiles. But that would be a fib. The drunkenness, staggering and crawling are probably correct – but I have no recollection of that event, .. sir… No, I first had them a great deal closer. In fact, right across the street from my old house in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. Not exactly South of the Border… but it was South-ish of Buckhead…a bit. Chilaquiles are, for lack of a better word, a kind of Mexican casserole. They are traditionally made with left over (and preferably stale) tortilla chips, simmered in salsa, and cooked with either eggs or left-over chicken. It’s comfort food plus – like Mexico City Chicken and Dumplings… or Jalisco Mac n Cheese… or Tijuana Tetrazzini… or. .. . you get the picture. My take on that Deep South classic is a little lighter than the traditional. Since …

Copper River Salmon – The Big Thaw

A couple of weeks ago, as part of the Fresh Catch Crew, the super folks at Copper River sent me a new box o’ salmon. It was a frozen whole frozen side of  sockeye salmon from the Prince William Sound. Prince William Sound A Sound is a large body of the ocean located between two bodies of land. The Prince William Sound is located on the Southern coast of Alaska – bordered by the Kenai Pennisula on the west, and the Montague and Hinchinbrook  Barrier Islands to the south offering protection from the rugged Gulf of Alaska. This optimum location provides isolated, pristine, glacial pure water into the gulf that supports a healthy, sustainable salmon run. I’ve already extolled the beauty and glory of sockeye salmon… many times – so I’ll dispense with that this time… a little. But – like I said – what I got this time was a frozen side. Here’s the thing with frozen fish. Given the choice (and available cash), I’ll buy fresh fish. Not that there’s anything wrong with frozen – I just prefer it that …

Anger. …and car wreck pasta

It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s Jane’s Day Out. Every week, I take mom out to meet her regular group of friends for lunch. As usual, I drop her off, but instead of picking one of the nearby places to have my lunch and wait for them to finish, I had a picky little list of errands to run (light bulbs, sinus meds, phone bill). So, I head off and 2 blocks down the road, this happens… … I don’t exactly remember the particulars. I was driving – she launched into moving traffic – I swerved – she hit me. Period. I could postulate all day as to the hows and whys… but it really doesn’t matter. One accident – two cars totaled… no one seriously hurt. I should have been thankful for that, but… I was Angry… … at the driver for not looking … at myself for not being able to avoid the crash … at the motorists constantly asking what happened … at myself again for totaling Jane’s car … because I didn’t get any of the …

Blah Monday

I’m officially calling the Monday after Daylight Savings Time Blah Monday. I’ve barely felt like moving today. I got up at the regular 6:15, made Jane’s breakfast, did a couple of errands… in a complete fog. Which is oddly appropriate because the mountains are socked in with this drippy, hanging, dense, wet fog today. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to answer any questions. I don’t even want to look at anybody today. I want to sit (curled up in my great grandmother’s afghan) poke at the fire and eat something warm and tasty and comforting – without a lot of effort. Thank heavens for the chest freezer. I think one of the biggest treats when we were all at home, was the rare occasion that mom would buy smoked chops at the market. There was just something a little bit cheating about eating bacon shaped like a pork chop. That smallest bit of crispy fat around the edge of the chop, the salty / sweet sensation as it hits the tongue, the odd Dr. Suess-y pink cure …

Madame et Monsieur …

“Est-ce un sandwich dans votre poche ? Ou vous êtes simplement heureux de nous voir…” The Sandwich Diaries: Episode 1 Everyone has that thing, or list of things that “does it” for them food-wise. If you’ve been reading along over these many months, you would have picked up on a general theme in the foods and recipes I call “comfort food”… and that’s Cheese.. well, and Fried… and things stacked together… like a sandwich… (I do love me a good sandwich!)    It’s funny, I don’t remember where I had a lot of my first of things… meals in general just float around the clock waiting their turn to be consumed. But a sandwich? I can quote you time, date and place. My 1st:   Fried Bologna Sandwich? I was 8 and home sick with the flu. Beef Tongue? Summer 1978 DB Kaplan’s Delicatessen in Atlanta. After an hour of pouring over their menu of 287 sandwiches..that’s what I settled on. (It was the end of my freshman year in college – and I was feeling particularly grown-up).  First …

Simple Dinner Sunday – Soup Throwback and a **Give-away**

Overheard at a small laboratory in Anaheim…  “Sherman, my boy…”   “Yes, creepy smarty dog with no pants?” “Hmm…” “Kick the Way Back Machine to 1967, I’m jonzin’ for some Cream of Mushroom Soup!”   “But Mr. Peabody… you’re lactose intolerant.”  “Right you are, Boy. We’ll just have to make it ourselves.  Go snag a couple of beakers from those idiot rats…” The truth is… I’ve been jonzin’ for some canned Cream of Mushroom soup. But, having a lactose intolerant family member in the house, I just don’t buy it. It’s too big of a temptation to toss it in something when you need that little extra mushroom-y creaminess. But – with the cooler weather starting, I was really starting to get that craving. Cream of Portabella Soup Makes 2 Bowls Ingredients 2 Medium Portabella Caps – Diced 3 Shallots – Minced 2 Cups Lactose Free Milk 1 Cup Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock 1 Tablespoon Cream Sherry 2 (to 3) Tablespoons Tapioca Starch 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt Black Pepper to taste 1 Teaspoon Parsley – Minced 2 Tablespoons Pecan (or Olive) Oil …

Some days…

… it’s about the food. Some days, it’s all about the technique and process. Some days… well, it’s just about me… and what makes me feel good. Today is one of those days. Cheese makes me happy… lots of cheese. Thank the lord that lactose intolerant gene thingy passed me by All dressed up Spreading a little mayo on the outside of the bread before grilling keeps the grilled cheese from burning and makes for some sexy browned goodness about 3 min per side over medium heat should do it Tomato Soup makes me happy, too… That’s one can of tomato soup, one can of milk and a half a can of tomato juice. The “new and improved” Campbell’s Soup is markedly too sweet. Like lambs to the slaughter A suitably large bowl is a necessity Guaranteed to put the stops to any bad day Or, if that doesn’t do it… chunk the sammich up and douse it with soup.