What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jamie Oliver

Tonight I finally tried a recipe from my new cookbook, Cook with Jamie. (I know that should be underlined, but can't figure out how to do that here.) I love this cookbook. I love Jamie Oliver's passion for good food, his wit and charm, and his recipes. Granted, this is the first one I've actually made, but... they all sound so good! This particular recipe is called "Grilled fillet steak with creamiest white beans and leeks." I won't post the recipe, as I'm fairly sure it's illegal. Mine didn't look like his, but it was very yummy. I'd still like to know exactly what a fillet steak is. I know the filet mignon kind... but that's not what it looks like he used. So... we did our best.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Tonight's dinner was easy. I had reason to think I wouldn't be feeling well, so I planned ahead and had dinner be completely grilled.

I love foil-packets. I just ignore the whole aluminum thing... I know it's not good, but I am fairly sure my overall aluminum risk is low, so I can handle a few foil packets every now and then.

This was a bit of white potato, a sweet potato, not-quite a quarter head of cabbage, about 1/4 thinly-sliced onion, and then 1 1/2 cheap smoked sausages. Per packet. Well... hubby's packet was a lot more white potato and no sweet potato, cuz he doesn't dig on the orange tuber.

I added about a tablespoon of olive oil, same amount apple cider vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Then the Grill Geek worked his magic.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Coupon Rant

I didn't even have to look through the coupon packets for this morning's rant. It was served up for me in a bowl with a gleaming stainless steel spoon. Aaah, the American breakfast, thanks to Kellogg's.

The educational part of my rant can all be found here. It really is worth the read. (Oh, and not to endorse it, as it's made from wheat and thereby not really good for anyone, but Grape Nuts is the one big-brand non-extruded cereal on the market.) So, if you want to know the main reason why there is no boxed (or bagged) cold cereal in my house, click the link.

I'd like to throw out a token reminder that cereal, even with protein-added (and, ewwww, where'd that come from? Spray protein! Gross!) is still a very carbohydrate-drenched way to start the day. The majority of us don't need that. Your taste buds can and will change with time... I promise!

So, all that aside, it's time to get on to my big rant. Because abusing kids will always get me ranting. I'm sure if there were a poll asking what we thought most American kids eat for breakfast, the top three responses would be: cold cereal, Pop Tarts, and freezer pancakes/waffles. Blech. And what maladies do an increasing-number of American kids suffer from? ADHD and obesity.

I see the connection, and I'll bet you do, too.

So... the ad is for Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats. One of my favorite cereals from childhood. My own hyperactive, impulse-driven, inattentive childhood was driven by and literally revolved around sugar fixes. Anyway, personal-experience aside, let's see what the ad says...
"keeps 'em full. keeps 'em focused." (Keeps 'em from learning proper capitalization, apparently.)
"Frosted Mini Wheats cereal for breakfast improves your child's attentiveness nearly 20%*"

Oooh, let's just jump right ahead to that asterisked small print, shall we?

It says that number is based on a study comparing kids that ate the Mini Wheats with kids that ate no breakfast at all.

I repeat... no breakfast at all.

Yeah, I'll bet a fucking candy bar would keep kids more focused than no breakfast at all! That doesn't make it health food! Kids are growing rapidly, their bodies demand nutrients, if my half-wild kids are any example (and being unscheduled, I'll bet they are grand examples of natural impulses) they need food often. Even when that food is nutrient-dense and full of healthy fats to stick to their ribs. But especially when the food is the plasti-crap microwaved at the last minute because everyone's in a fucking hurry. So, yes, breakfast is important. How many kids are really going to school hungry?!? Why?!? Excluding the ones on ADHD medication, which suppresses the appetite to the danger point, aren't the other ones hungry? And if so, why isn't anyone feeding them? I'm not sure what I'd pick, if my choices were hunger or Mini Wheats, but most people don't know better... so bring on the Mini Wheats.

However, I do have to mention that estimates are currently at 1 out of 50 people of European descent being gluten-intolerant. Now, as mild as that sounds "intolerant", it's not just a case of a little gassiness, like lactose-intolerance. (Which can and does cause bigger damage as well.) Gluten-intolerance is serious business, and one of the many things it does is cause brain fog, inattentiveness, lethargy (or hyperactivity, strangely), impulsive behavior, schizophrenia and other mood disorders, anxiety, forgetfulness... and that's just the list of mental effects. For some it causes wracking stomach aches, migraines, bloody diarrhea, and more. Pour on a nice bit of homogenized, pasteurized factory-farm milk... and ooh, yummy, that's quite a breakfast.

So... maybe we should skip the Frosted Mini-Glutens, so we can skip the ADHD medication and have healthy kids.

What are we having for breakfast? The borracho beans that didn't cook in time for dinner, so instead slow-cooked all night. The Little Guy has had a hot dog and an apple. No idea when Fairy Child will get up. Oh, and if you are surprised that I let my kids eat "unhealthy" hot dogs... I'm not too-concerned about nitrates. You know what else is high in nitrates? Leafy greens. And everyone knows those are good for you.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Enchiladas, almost

I had decided to finally make real enchiladas, thanks to the fresh corn tortillas I've been getting. No shortcuts. Homemade sauce. I'd do it right.

Naturally, life got in the way of that. The recipe I stubbornly stuck with didn't name a chile to use. So, we got the best we could find. So, the way our luck goes, that meant Hot Dried Molten Lava in Innocent Little Pods.

According to the recipe, real enchilada sauce doesn't include tomatoes. (Yeah, I was surprised, too!) But, thanks to the level of heat, I added a can of tomato sauce and then a big can of diced tomatoes (that I blendered up first). That was all the tomato products left in the house. It was still pretty spicy, but I just didn't use much. Now I have a ton of sauce in my freezer.

After all that, and realizing I'd have to make something else for the kids, and my borracho beans not being cooked despite an entire day in the slow-cooker... yeah, I wasn't going to roll individual enchiladas. So, a casserole was born. Along with a tangy salad and some guacamole, it was very good.

Friday, February 22, 2008

75% Local

How local can you get?

Ok, I realize most of you can't reasonably answer that until spring hits. Spring is here, already, and I'm not sure autumn ever left. That's one really big reason why I love South Texas. I am not a Four Seasons kind of girl. Although I wouldn't mind one nice big snow, complete with sledding. 6-8 inches, with three or four days afterward where the temp hovers around 30, with clear skies.

Anyway, I'm certainly not going to get that here. But what I can get here is lots of great local produce and meat. Tonight's dinner could have been 100% local, excluding the salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. But I haven't yet opted for the local potatoes and mushrooms.

And, um... I have to confess to once again not taking pictures. Um... I was hungry. Didn't even think of it. We had lovely grilled pork chops, from pastured, local pigs. Our Sidedish was a little different, with a very large green onion standing in for a regular yellow one. We tossed some chopped mushrooms in there, as well. And then we had more balsamic-roasted Brussels sprouts. We love them. Even the Little Guy loves them. They are crazy delicious. Has anyone on the face of the planet ever described Brussels sprouts as "crazy delicious???"

As usual, I only got about half my pork chop. We grill hot dogs for the kids (instead of steak or pork chops or smoked whatever), basing our habits on our exceptionally-selective Fairy Child. We tend to forget that our Little Guy is more adventurous. And carnivorous.

Very carnivorous.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Duck and Winter Vegetables

I swear I fed the family today.

Twice, before dinner, plus snacks. Constant snacks, in the case of the Little Guy.

And, yet... we set upon that duck like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat.

There were also roasted turnips and carrots, and braised turnip and mustard greens. Nothing managed to get photographed. I blame the duck.

We couldn't carve it! We both tried. (This is why I really want an electric knife!) We aren't weaklings, but I guess this duck still had a little quack in it. After 5 minutes of smelling it's roasty, crinkly-skinned goodness and whacking away on it, while it slid on the platter now-greased with delicious duck fat... we gave up and agreed to just rip the flesh off it's bones with our forks.
And that's what we did.

Therefore, there was no plating. So, I completely forgot to take pictures.

It truly was gorgeous. So brown and crispy. My second attempt at mustard greens was successful... thanks to the addition of a bit of honey, to counteract the bitterness. But none survived the gorging. Our Little Guy didn't waste any time on his greens, which is unusual for him. No... he demanded duck. And more duck. And "more duck, Mom?" Yeah. He digs duck. I can see why. I now have it in my stock pot, with a couple of bay leaves and a few peppercorns. I want every last bit of goodness!

And even the roasted turnips were good. I have horrible memories of turnips from my childhood. As probably all kids my age were... I was forced (by my grandparents, not my mom) to clean my plate. That plate often included "icky" things like boiled turnips, microwaved squash, or onions. Now, of course, I like all those things... but prepared my way!

And I still don't like okra.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents Day fun

We like to play with our food. And we think Presidents Day should be no exception. So, our dinner tonight reflects the respect we have toward that most-powerful office... or at least the people who have held it.

Duck and Pork Sausage (Lame duck, get it? The pork part should be obvious.)
Grilled imPeaches (hee hee)
Waffles (har har)
Fresh-roasted Peanuts (tip o' the hat to Jimmy)

NO cherries! We adamantly refuse to have cherries. It's too cliche... I would have loved to have a sweet potato custard, straight from one of Jefferson's personal recipes, but no one else here would have eaten any.

The sausages were out-of-this world delicious, and the whole meal had a very French feel. Appropriately, since we wouldn't have won our independence without help from the French. We piled the grilled peaches on top of the waffles, tossed on some peanuts, drizzled with a dark sugar and rum sauce, and then sprinkled with a touch of salt (since the peanuts were unsalted.)
It was surprisingly savory, and really good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Iron Chef Grill!

It was finally time for my husband, the Grill Geek, to join the ranks of the Iron Chefs. Cooks of culinary genius, specially-selected for their skills... or something like that. Yeah, he wanted in on the fun. I admit to delaying his debut because I was positively stumped as to what sort of Secret Ingredient I should get. But, finally, I put it on the weekly menu, I was forced into it. I had to think of something!

I got smart. I did a little research. I decided on my top three ideas and headed off the store.


And shopping with a caffeinated, balloon-wielding three-year-old means mama don't go to Other Stores. That level of shopping is reserved for People Without Children. That's why I generally send the Grill Geek out for the shopping... the kids don't demand to go along with him.

Anyway, so I was stuck in a disappointing meat section (because of course the first Secret Ingredient will be meat!) and finally settled on the cliche of grilling... skirt steak. Ho-hum.

Well, that was the last time any "ho-hum" touched that meat.

I actually moaned with pleasure during dinner.

Several times.

Luckily the children didn't notice. They had wolfed down their boring ol' hot dogs and run off.

The Rules of Iron Chef Grill:
- 1 hour of active cooking time (like Iron Chef Mom, this first episode allowed 90, next he'll get 80, and so on.) This means there's time for marinating and unattended smoking.
- must provide something for the kids, but it needn't be the Secret Ingredient
- must be fairly original recipes (although I realize meat + fire has been done before)
- at least the main course plus 1 side dish must be entirely grilled

Now for pic goodness:

Chopping half a red bell pepper, for the Fajita Salad. He also chopped an onion, and threw that in a foil packet with the bell pepper. The poblano half went directly on the grill. Mmmm...

Once it was charry and delicious, it was diced, and tossed onto fresh Texan baby greens.

Now this... I can't tell you marvelously delicious a butter-rubbed, bacon-wrapped grilled potato is.

But I made noises.

I mean... the salty, crispy bacon and potato skin... I could happily eat one every day forever.

Hard to blog with visions of bacon-potatoes dancing through my head.

He sliced the skirt steak into almost-bite-size pieces (my one complaint...) and tossed it on the salad. The dressing, which also provided the marinade, was put on the grill to melt and meld and steal some smoky goodness.

The dressing/marinade:

½ cup olive oil, couple spoons bacon fat
¼ cup tamari
2 spoons chopped garlic
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 c. soy sauce
2 decent globs dijon
juice of 1 ½ limes
a little salt
1/8 teaspoon spicy paprika
teaspoon cumin

Om a-nom, nom, nom.

And then... dessert! Grilled Bananas In Orange Sauce.

2 Bananas
½ Orange, juiced
½ cup orange curaco/ Grand Marnier
1 tbsp butter
ground cinnamon

Cut bananas lengthwise. lightly stir all other ingredients together. Grill bananas for a couple minutes per side, chop into inch-long chunks, then place into mix. Let Pyrex cook up on grill for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve.

Coupon Rant

"FACT: 80% of Salmonella Poisoning Happens at Home," so sayeth the Lysol ad.

Let's all be appropriately-frightened by that. I'll wait while you panic.

Ok, all done? Good. It didn't take me long to recover my senses, either. Maybe I'm getting cynical after the SARS crap and then the invisible bird flu epidemic.

What causes salmonellosis?

You can get salmonellosis by eating food contaminated with salmonella. This can happen in the following ways:

  • Food may be contaminated during food processing or food handling.
  • Food may become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler. A frequent cause is a food handler who does not wash his or her hands with soap after using the bathroom.
  • Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea. You can become infected if you do not wash your hands after contact with these feces.
  • Reptiles, baby chicks and ducklings, and small rodents such as hamsters are particularly likely to carry salmonella. You should always wash your hands immediately after handling one of these animals, even if the animal is healthy. Adults should also be careful that children wash their hands after handling reptiles, baby chicks or ducklings, or small rodents.

Beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often infected with salmonella. However, vegetables may also be contaminated. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. (End quote)

So. Basically what that means is (considering that salmonella is incredibly rare in milk and eggs) if you'll just not spread raw meats on the counter and make a habit of washing your hands with soap... often... you'll be fine.
Oh, and don't set up your personal petting zoo in the kitchen.

Why am I ranting about this? Because Lysol thinks we are all in constant need of disinfecting. I'll push right on past the fact that a strong immune system is your best bet against any kind of invading microbe- salmonella, cold viruses, ringworm fungus, whatever. And the same SAFE, sane advice applies. Wash your hands. Don't bother with anti-bacterial soap, because it's unnecessary and the simple action of washing... and the slippery effect of soap on microbes... is what does the trick.
It works.
All the experts agree.

They also agree that all the stupid antibacterial crap and overuse of ingested antibiotics has led to an alarming crisis of resistant bacteria.

Thanks a fucking lot, Lysol.

Oh, but the fun doesn't stop there, noooo.... What IS Lysol, anyway? It's nastiness goes beyond simply killing all the weakest bacteria (they proudly proclaim that they kill 99.9% of bacteria... um... so that means the strongest .1% live on and make babies. Great. Way to think ahead on that one. Lysol is breeding the new Master Race of bacterial goodness.) Lysol is mainly comprised of cresol, a close-relative of carbolic acid, which was all the disinfecting rage at the turn of the last century. It just happened to also be pretty darn dangerous. So, it was tinkered with some more, but cresol is pretty much just as dangerous. Lovely. Let's spray that all over our kitchens. Sure, they now have that Food Surface Sanitizer variant... that no one knows the ingredients of. It's "bleach, color, and fragrance-free."

Um... does that mean regular Lysol has bleach, color, and fragrance added?

I don't even want to think of it. My head is spinning. We have all this evidence, all these studies that show that many modern ills, like allergies and lethal bacteria, are the results of not being dirty enough. That's right. We never play in th dirt, peel all our fruits and veggies, cook our meats to cardboard consistency, and disinfect our entire houses daily. That's what our government tells us to do. That's what will make us healthy.

Except it doesn't.

Maybe that's why Lysol thoughtfully includes a $5 rebate offer, so the good little mommies can take their kids to the pediatrician. Maybe that's why Lysol is the "#1 pediatrician recommended brand."


Saturday, February 16, 2008


I love quickies.

Now, before you assume this is PG-13, or worse, please realize that I mean food.

Hee hee!

We lost our ecological minds and went to the mall this morning. Now... considering that it takes the Fairy Child about 2 hours to vaguely get ready (reason number 3 why she's homeschooled), and that she also doesn't roll out of bed until sometime after 9 am (reason number 1), this meant we were late getting there, didn't stay long, and were late getting home for lunch. Because there's absolutely nothing I can safely eat at the food court.

And thank gods. It's good to be forced to eat at home. This is what I whipped up in a hurry:

I got the fresh corn tortillas from my weekly Greenling delivery, and added some thawed, grassfed ground beef, cumin, coriander, and most of a can of fire-roasted green chiles. 99% of the time that I make "Mexican" I added minced onion and garlic, this time I was too rushed, so I added onion and garlic powders. No big whoop... that's why they exist.

While the beef was simmering in the juicy, chile goodness I sliced up an avocado and a heart of Romaine, and tossed the lettuce with a bit of lime juice, olive oil, and salt. I warmed/toasted the tortillas in a separate pan and... voila... lunch.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Food of the Gods

My dinner wasn't as photogenic as the cooks I took the recipes from, but... it was certainly delicious.

I had been wanting to try the recipe for Beef and Potatoes au Chocolat for quite some time. I had the perfect steak in my freezer... I had the good cocoa powder... and I finally had an occasion. Valentine's Day. No other day could be more-perfect for an off-label use of cocoa. But then time got away from me, and I couldn't have slow-cooked it sufficiently. So, it had to wait a day. I'm sure St. Valentine won't mind.

I paired mine with her recommendation for Pumpkin Corn Muffins and roasted Brussels sprouts. It was so good! The muffins, when used to soak up the juicy goodness, somehow worked miracles at bringing out the chocolate flavor. I realized too-late that I had no stone-ground corn meal, and thought perhaps the finer stuff I had (Quaker) would be too dense. So, halfway following her suggestions for corn-free muffins, I used a combination of 1/2 cup corn meal, 1/4 cup quinoa flakes (that I bought for hot breakfast cereal but... didn't really like) and 1/4 cup cream of buckwheat cereal (which is better than quinoa, but I never think to make it.) I can't possibly describe how much I love these muffins. They are fabulous.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Beets Take-out!

I love holiday-colored food. Ok, not really. I've never even had green beer for Irish Heritage Day (I refuse to credit St. Patfuck with anything beyond genocide.) But when I just-so-happened to stumble across a recipe today for a viciously-red sidedish, I had to try it. The recipe came from Coconut & Lime, and I can't really explain why mine are SO much redder than hers. My beets never really got tender enough to mash with the potatoes, so I put it all in my food processor. (And it looks like I killed it... I got sticky, sugary-beety goodness in nooks and crannies I didn't know existed on that thing. Oops.) I didn't use the sour cream called for, because I can't have dairy. I think the creaminess would have been nice, but any extra "sour" would not. Maybe that explains the difference in hue?

The rest of dinner consisted of thick, grilled pork chops and a broccoli dish loosely taken from my new fabulous Jamie Oliver cookbook. Oh, and I topped the beets with microgreens... cuz it was pretty, and because the leaves are vaguely heart-shaped. I like cheesy Valentiney goodness. 10 years ago today I became a mother (didn't know it until about three weeks later), so it's a big holiday for me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Grills and Kales

The Grill-Geek got a new toy! A bigger, shinier grill. So, he made dinner, to break it in. I win!

Grilled burgers, portabellas, and asparagus. I was in heaven. I had a big ol' margarita, to pretend I was having "cheeseburgers in paradise" a la Jimmy Buffet.

I also made a new, addictive, surprisingly-wonderful snacky-treat... crispy kale. I don't remember who referred me to the Monkey See site, but... I am so grateful! 400 degrees, 14 minutes, and an absolutely delicious snack. I added a few squirts of white vinegar halfway through, when I was turning the kale over. My 9-year-old incredibly-picky veggie-phobic daughter declared "I love kale!" when she gobbled up some. Unbelievable!

I wasn't able to get a picture of the overflowing bowl of kale, because I just kept eating it... and it really does taste more like chips than you'd expect. I used quite a bit of salt, but... it was Celtic sea salt, so I consider it a health supplement.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chocolate Tasting

Chocolates are not created equal. I think I have always known that... but every now and I then, I suppose I think the money saved on inferior stuff is worth it. It never is.

Today we had a chocolate tasting, to celebrate Valentine's Day a little early. We had bought a selection of fun, fancy, gluten-and-dairy-free chocolates and wanted to see which ones were best. I threw the candy hearts on the plate just for fun. My favorite was definitely the Blanxart Chocolate Negro con Almendras. Very good, crisp to the teeth, a touch too-sweet, but not as too-sweet as the others.

While I'm talking about chocolate... I recently posted a recipe for Coconut Milk Ice Cream, and I need to amend it. That first batch was so much better than the two that have followed!! The only differences have been, the first time around I used what was left of some very fancy cocoa powder. I don't remember the brand, but it was in a tall cardboard cylinder. Very different packaging than most... shouldn't be hard to find. And, after I re-liquified the coconut cream (skimmed off the tops of the fridge-cold cans) in a saucepan, I put all the ingredients in the blender instead of just whisking. I think it was the cocoa powder that made the difference... but... thought I'd be specific. I'd hate any of you to make it, have it be as gritty and weird as my last two batches have been, and then decide that I'm crazy to say it's a good recipe.
Don't blame me, blame Hershey's. They suck.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I'm not feeling all that ranty this morning... hence the meh.

I don't feel up to raging against the medical-industrial complex. So, I'll just stick to pointing out stupid shit.

Tide (and not just Tide, no... 2X Ultra Tide, wowee!) now with... drumroll please, this is big news... Dawn StainScrubbers. That's right, folks, Proctor and Gamble caught on to the fact that mothers everywhere were using dish soap on stains. And decided to work that into a new product. That won't work any different than the old product.
First of all... I'd like to dispute the 2X Ultra thing. Are we actually using less now? Were were pouring in a gallon for each load back when I was a kid?? I don't remember doing that, and I did the family's laundry from the age of eight. But, laundry detergent has been getting more and more concentrated all this time... 22 years... by now we ought to be just adding a drop and watching the bubbles explode out of the machine.

But this Dawn thing... the StainScrubbers... while I believe it's possible that we've developed the nano-technology to create microbeads with a mission... I don't think we'd be able to afford it quite yet. I think we'll be focusing on more important applications for nanites for a while... medical stuff and, of course, the more-profitable war stuff. So, I don't trust the StainScrubbers to actually scrub the stains. That was the whole point behind what mamas have been doing all this time... scrubbing the stain with dish soap. Or hand soap. Or moisturizing antibacterial soap from a dispenser in the public bathroom. The point was... whatever you had on hand, even if it was iced tea or Coke... and then scrubbing. That's what helped the stain not set.

So, Proctor and Gamble... I'm not impressed. And I've got another complaint. Bring back NyQuil. The real NyQuil. I really hate the meth-heads that have messed it up for all of us... I'm guessing that's the reason the time-tested and much-loved formula was changed. The old stuff worked. It filled a niche, served a purpose, bridged a gap, whatever. Am I espousing an artificially-flavored-and-colored potentially-dangerous-and-abusable over-the-counter medication? You bet I am. Because sometimes, after the echinacea and zinc lozenges have failed, after the teas and honey and hot showers and obstinate-avoidance of harmful fever-reducers has left you Still Sick and very tired, with snot both stuck stubbornly inside all your crevices and annoyingly dripping down your throat and out your nose... you just want to fucking sleep! Sometimes sleep is the best medicine. And NyQuil provided that. It was "nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever" so you can be completely comatose for eight hours medicine. It was wonderful. This new shit isn't. It doesn't work at all. I want the old stuff back. Stop trying to protect me from myself!!! If I want to boil it down and chemically-extract the ephedra (or whatever it is the meth-heads do)... that's my business. Don't punish the masses for the stupidity of the few.

And furthermore... just as a side note... stop insisting that my husband save the world based on which shaver he uses. Just because he happens to prefer the same razor that Tiger Woods advertises does not mean he has to show the world "how phenomenal he can be." Maybe he just wants an average day. And a good shave. Is that too much to ask? Or, too little, I suppose? Do we all have to be so hyped up on our energy drinks and so ambitious and wonderful all the time? Can't we just relax and spend the day playing video games?


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Iron Chef... baby chicken?

It took me a long time to finally post this one, as I had mixed feelings about it. Poor baby chickens... yes, that's what my darling, politically-incorrect husband brought home for me. And right after I'd read about boiled ducklings in my favorite kids' series.

It was... just too much. But they were tasty. I think I prefer older birds, though, like roasting hens. The hazelnut sauce thingy wasn't very good. Then again, as usual I took some ideas and did my own thing with them, so, I'm sure the fault is mine. It did remind me why I don't generally bother with sauces.

Roasted Poussin

3 small poussin

White wine for the pan...
¼ cup pistachio nuts

½ cup toasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons orange juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cipollini or pearl onion
1 cup rich chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rinse the chickens inside and out and pat dry. Trim off any extra fat.
Season each bird generously inside and out with salt and pepper, coat with oil, stuff slices of orange inside, tuck the wings under the back and tie the legs together.

Oil a roasting pan just large enough to hold the birds comfortably. Put them in the pan, breast side down. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the chickens over (breast side up) and roast 20 minutes longer. Collect about 1 cup pan juices. Increase the heat to 425°F. and roast for about 10 minutes, or until skin is nicely browned and the juices run clear when thickest part of a thigh is pierced with a small knife.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the onion, pan juices, orange juice, stock, the nuts, and the thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Transfer to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. There should be about 1 1/2 cups the consistency of a thick cream sauce. Serve the chickens with the sauce on the side.



Rice (wild rice?)

Sautéed diced maroon carrots

Order of Events:

Start rice cooker (broth, rice water)

Slice onion for collards

Wash, de-rib, and slice collards

Cut orange(s) for stuffing

Take pearl onions out to thaw

Dice carrots

Flip the chickens

Start sauce simmering

Toast hazelnuts (+ extra)

Shell pistachios (and toast?)

Add pan juices to sauce

Make the Butter-Toasted Hazelnuts

Blender the sauce

Serve: chicks atop rice, collards to the side, wedge of carrots, hazelnuts scattered

Friday, February 8, 2008


Tonight's recipe came from Simply Recipes, one of my favorite food blogs, and certainly the one I use the most. I just love her stuff.

The changes I made, which were made for convenience, speed, and what-I-had-on-hand were: the pork was already smoked, so I made a sauce of cooked onions and garlic, about a cup of salsa verde, and some chicken broth... tossed the chopped pork (faster than shredding when it's super-fridge-cold) in that and stuck it in the oven the way the recipe says. I didn't use the cheese or sour cream, and I shredded up some romaine lettuce instead of cabbage.

It was absolutely delicious on fresh, locally-made corn tortillas.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kung Hei Fat Choi

The Year of The Rat. Hmmm... in lieu of eating an actual rat, I decided on this meal. I based it off a few different recipes I found online... and included 8 wedges of orange, because oranges are lucky (or at least traditional) and 8 is lucky... the lettuce represents money, and therefore wealth in the new year. We shared a platter instead of having a whole fish or whole chicken... which represent family unity and togetherness.

Sautéed Shrimp and Oysters

½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pint shucked oysters
Coconut oil
2 tablespoons ginger, julienne
1 carrot, julienne
2 tablespoons white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, in 2” pieces
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons tamari
1 teaspoon fish sauce

Bring 4 cups water in large saucepan to boil. Plunge oysters and shrimp into boiling water. Cook 10 to 15 seconds, until edges begin to curl. Remove with slotted spoon and drain.

Blend cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir in tamari and fish sauce. Set aside.

In a hot wok coated with oil, add the ginger and fry until golden brown. Add the carrot and stir-fry until soft. Add the shrimp and wine. Then oysters, green onions, and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds then add the reserved sauce. Remove from heat once sauce thickens.

Serve in bowls of butter lettuce.

We also had curried noodles, with the noodles very purposefully unbroken and uncut. Cutting them cuts one's fortune. Wouldn't want to do that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bon temps roulez!

As in... "Laissez le bon temps roulez" Let the good times roll!

Lunch was chicken salad, with yummy little radish microgreens atop a leaf of romaine. Sounds so snooty bistro-ish. It was really good.

But then there was the Cajun feasting to plan for... we decided to finally take the leap and go to Exotic Meats to find something interesting for the jambalaya. We found LOTS of strange and interesting meats. We went with a rather tame choice... gator. But, fear not, the trip was not wasted. The Grill Geek had me leave the store so he could select my next Iron Chef Mom ingredient. Yikes! And, by the way, that will be delayed until the weekend. Wednesday is the Little Guy's birthday.

So.... sausage and gator jambalaya... pretty straightforward, really. We had the Grill Geek grill the gator, hoping that was the best way to prepare it. Then we put it in the pot of jambalaya for about 10 minutes, to meld. It was chewy.... but tasty, like a combination of chicken and dark-meat pork. We served it atop my best attempt so far at dairy-free "creamy" grits.

Creamy Grits
(without actual cream)

2 cups water

1 cup chicken stock

¾ cup quick grits

1 cup hazelnut milk

¼ cup coconut cream/milk

2 tablespoons bacon fat (subbing for 4 T butter)

Salt, pepper, and a touch of Spanish paprika

Bring water to a boil. Add grits, stirring with a wooden spoon. When grits thicken, add the rest of the ingredients. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4-6 servings.

Roast Chicken

I'm late posting again... and hopefully there will be more today, since it's Mardi Gras. I'm not Catholic, so I have no reason to feast-before-famine today. But I won't let that little fact get in my way!

Last night I roasted a proper roasting chicken. Finally. I couldn't find real roasting chickens "down here" in my somewhat-new-still city. The little bitty birds at the grocery store were no more than 4 pounds... skinny little things that barely stretched for two meals. Today's chicken, from Whole Foods, was over 6 pounds. And that really makes a difference! The addition of age... the chicken simply being alive longer, in order to grow larger... gives a depth of flavor as well.

I attempted to butterfly it, to reduce the cooking time, since I started on dinner late.

I don't have kitchen shears (yet), so this didn't work well. And it still took forever to roast. But it was worth it, when it was finally done. We had braised winter greens (delivered by that Greenling service) and dinner rolls (using the famous GF Noah's bread mix that really is a great all-purpose recipe) for appetizers while we waited for the chicken to be done. The bones then spent the night simmering in my stock pot.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Coupon Rant, The Sixth

This week's rant comes through a thick fog of snotty-headedness. And crankiness about said snot. I hate being sick.

First... Pillsbury Simple Bake... for the incredibly lazy and unconcerned out there. "Pan included, ready to bake." Oh. My. Gods. How... I mean... but... really... are instant-brownies too hard?? Is measuring water, oil, and cracking an egg too much? Is that relegated to the realm of "baking" now? What's next? Someone to place the brownie in your mouth for you?? The pan is included... and then, I guess, thrown away. Because we don't generate enough trash as it is. We need to throw away a cardboard box, some plastic wrap, and then some sort of of oven-safe disposable pan?!?! Aaaaaaaaack! If you are somewhere with an oven, you likely have a sink as well. Wash a fucking dish.
Duncan Hines is doing it, too. Apparently there's a good market for it. Pillsbury has a better coupon, though. Stuff like this makes me hate my fellow humans.

And I thought January was the Official Weight Loss Month, as that's generally when every commercial and print-ad reminds us that we got fat over the holidays. But... it's February, and the ads are still all about heart health, low-fat crap, Nutri-System, and eat-more-veggies. I guess because so many of us are fat, we need more bombardment to get us to drop the pan of oven-ready brownies and grab a carrot stick. Now even Ty Pennington is in on the act. He's telling me to "Start a healthy habit today! Walk. Eat heart healthy foods. Ask your doctor if an aspirin regimen may be right for you." Bayer aspirin ad. Yeah. Good advice Ty, and you're qualified to give it because... um... let's see... ok, I give up. A few pages before the Bayer ad, I saw one for various "healthy" Campbell's products, with Toni Braxton's face plastered nearby, part of that red dress campaign... but it's actually relevant because apparently she survived heart disease. There's some sort of connection. I'm not finding any sort of connection with Ty Pennington. He had an appendectomy fairly recently, according to Wikipedia... but... um... he's not a doctor, and I doubt he ever even played one on TV. He's a carpenter, so if he wants to advertise headache medicine, or how Bayer really helps with the muscle aches after a hard day remodeling, well... that'd make sense. But since his similarities with Jesus end at the career choice, I think he should keep his medical advice to himself.

And, finally... today's WTF? Not really rant-worthy, just have to ask what they were thinking, or drinking, when they came up with the ad campaign: Irish Spring... been around forever, we all know what it is, and I guess maybe that's why they felt the need to jolt us out of our comfort zone.
"Smell like you're worth exploring."


And, what's coming out of the bottle? A rocky stream and some green hills. I think they're mixing their metaphor.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Brussels Sprouts?

I never thought I'd like Brussels sprouts.

But, I got a bag of them in my local produce delivery box... and they looked innocent enough... and I just happened to find a recipe for them on Simply Recipes (one of my favorite food blogs.) So, I gave 'em a try. And I like them! Heck, I think even Mikey would like these.
I followed the recipe closely, except I used bacon fat and refined coconut oil (doesn't smell/taste coconutty) instead of butter. Since I can't have butter. And I'm still really bitter about that. But, bacony goodness almost made up for it. Oh, and she mentions Meyer lemons... if you ever have the chance, grab as many as you can. They are awesome! I got one of those in my local box, too, and it tastes exactly like lemon meringue... so sweet and lovely.

The rest of dinner was tasty, as well. A salad with sliced white radishes (local) and baby turnips (local and surprisingly delicious) and meatloaf. Once again, I followed her recipe pretty closely. Except I put salsa in it, instead of ketchup. But, trusting her judgment, I went ahead and put ketchup on top... and reconfirmed my absolute hatred of the condiment. Blech. I really don't like ketchup.

Magic Soup (More Sick Food)

Everything In The Fridge Soup... just so happens to also be very healthy and immune-supporting. We're finally feeling human again, like there's a light at the end of the snotty, hacking tunnel. My appetite returned, along with my will to live, so I wanted more than a bowl of broth for lunch. But still wanted some broth, with all it's magical goodness. So I made this... whatever it is.

I started with half an onion, diced/minced... cut up small, whatever. I sizzled it in some bacon fat (for flavor) and coconut oil (for immune-boosting lauric acid). Then I tossed in 3 cloves of chopped garlic, about a teaspoon of cumin, half that of coriander, and maybe a quarter teaspoon of ancho chili powder. When those were ready, I dumped in about a cup of diced canned tomatoes, with their juice, 2 cups of chicken broth, and then the leftovers. I had about half a cup of the black beans/corn Thing from Iron Chef Mom night, and about as much plain black beans. I also had about half a cup of leftover taco meat. Once that was all warmed, I tossed in a small bunch of cilantro, chopped up, and some extra salt. And.. um... some Fritos, for the crunch.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sick food

Stir-fry. It's easy. It's what's for dinner.
I've got a really bad cold... and had a head (? Bunch? Glob? What's it called?) of bok choy to use, thanks to the Greenling delivery yesterday. So... I sliced up some chicken breast earlier in the day (while it was still partially-frozen, which makes it much easier to cut) and tossed some stuff into the ziploc bag it was already in. Voila... a marinade. Tamari sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and cayenne. Then at dinner time I sliced up the bok choy, an onion, and 4 cloves of garlic... stir-fried everything in coconut oil, added some chicken broth and more ginger. Then thickened the sauce a bit with cornstarch. It's kinda like stir-fried chicken soup... which is just what I need right now.

About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.