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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday rant

I'm a day late, I know. I was out of town and have been catching up on housework. Part of that included seeing if there were any relevant coupons in yesterday's paper (there usually aren't, but since we get the paper, I always check.)

Those who have read my previous rants will likely recall that I hate it when food manufacturers can't do math. Or else when they assume I can't do math. Maybe it has nothing to do with math and they conclude business meetings by rolling dice to randomly assign value to their upcoming coupons. Because... someone somewhere is actually getting paid to think this stuff up. ("stuff" was not my original choice of words, but I am trying to behave myself.)

Let us begin with Ragu. Ah, Ragu, it's in there. Wait, that's someone else's ad. Sorry. Anyhow, they're offering a $1 off. That generally catches my attention. 15 cents isn't worth my time. $1... well... that's almost real money. What do I have to buy to save a buck? 2 pasta sauces and 1 dry pasta.
I'll repeat. 2 sauces, 1 pasta.

I'll admit that in my attempts at lowering my carbs, I've put pasta sauce on things other than pasta. But... most folks aren't that creative. The folks that buy jarred pasta sauce because they have no idea that a little onion and garlic cooked until soft and a can of diced tomatoes makes something that tastes even better. So... the people they are marketing to are really going to need more pasta. Why have the pasta even involved? Ragu doesn't, to my knowledge, make pasta.

Along the lines of Things People Ought To Make For Themselves... pancakes. There's a Bisquick ad for pancakes. I happen to know of a full-grown adult who had no idea it was possible to make pancakes without a mix. Well, fine readers, I can assure you that pancakes are beginner-easy. It's not rocket science. Flour (doesn't even have to be wheat! *gasp*), baking powder, liquid, eggs, maybe some fruit... it's just really hard to mess up pancakes. If they're too thick, add liquid. Too thin? Call 'em crepes.
"Bisquick, let's make pancakes!" it says at the bottom of the ad. On top is "Magical Pancake Mornings." Ugh. Look, Mikey, Mommy cooked! Sort of. Mommy added water to powder and got it hot.

I seem to be on a roll here for Stuff That's Way Easier Than People Think, so I'll continue with popcorn. I've got an ad here for Orville Redenbacher's, "Enjoy the Gourmet Flavors of Natural Popcorn!" What gourmet flavors are they featuring? Buttery Salt & Cracked Pepper, Buttery Garlic, Simply Salted, and Butter.

I need a stare-y face right here. One that looks like it's saying "Really? That's what you've got? Wow. That's stupid."

Would you like to enjoy some natural popcorn? I know you know what's coming... but I don't mind being predictable. Get a pan. Preferrably a metal one with no weird coatings, but enameled cast iron would be fine, enamel doesn't count as weird. I use a stainless steel saucepan-type thing. Make sure yours has a lid.
Cover the bottom with oil. Vegetable oil sucks really, as it's generally soy oil these days. I use a mix of coconut and palm oils. I know most folks don't have those on hand, so... use what you've got. I'll never know if you're desecrating your body temple with soy. (I can tell you that both butter and bacon grease burn like crazy when making popcorn, so don't use those.) Now, add a layer of popcorn kernels, so the bottom of the pan is covered. No measuring needed.
Put the lid on, turn the heat to medium, and shake it around, just to coat the kernels with oil a bit.
Now leave it alone. You don't have to babysit it. You don't have to shake it constantly. It'll take 5-10 minutes, probably, depending on how fast your stove heats up. When you hear the first pop, go back to the stove and start half-heartedly jiggling. It isn't really necessary at all, as the popped corn goes up and the kernels stay down, so shaking it really just keeps you entertained. You do want to take it off the burner as soon as it stops popping, though. Burned popcorn sucks.
Now, put your popcorn in a big bowl. Let the pan cool a bit (stove should be OFF), and then plop in a bunch of butter. Room temp butter burns less than cold butter. When the butter is melted, pour it over the popcorn, add salt, and shake it around.

There you go. Sure, it dirtied a pan and took longer than a bag in the microwave, but everyone agrees it tastes better. And there's no risk of lung cancer from artificial butter flavoring. If you want to get gourmet with it, add pepper. Or garlic powder. Or cinnamon-sugar. Or nutritional yeast (I'm told it tastes like Parmesan.) Chocolate syrup or maple syrup or melted nut butter-and-honey... I'm sure you can get way more creative with it than Mr. Redenbacher.

I ended up giving you a recipe, of sorts. In return I'd like to know if anyone knows why the gal in the Benefiber ad looks like she's wearing half a Cookie Monster costume. And why she has no arms. What do hairy blue-green blobs have to do with constipation?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Everything Awesome

... roasted together in one pan. That's what I had for dinner tonight. What'd you have? Frozen pizza? Mac-and-cheez? I'm sorry for your loss. Oh, did I mention that the active time it took to prepare dinner was less than 15 minutes? I'm just rubbing grease in your wounds now, aren't I?

I apologize for the snarkiness above. It would seem I have a taunting reaction to meals loaded with yumminess.

I will have to wait to upload the photo evidence of tonight's ambrosia, as I am away from home and without my camera cable. (I actually thought to myself, while packing, "no, there's no reason I'd need that.") Little did I know that I would soon be seized once again with the urge to blog.

Without further nonsense... tonight's dinner. As usual, I don't know what to call it. It's based on a Nigella Lawson recipe (love her!) simply named One Pan Sage and Onion Chicken and Sausage. That's a heck of a name. Accurate. But long.
And I need to make it even longer, because I tweaked it. I added to it. I am pathologically incapable of following directions, it would seem. But I can't name it One Pan Garlic and Onion Chicken and Sausage with Potatoes and Tomatoes. That'd just be wrong.

So, in lieu of that, I'm considering Everything Awesome. Because that's what's in it. Take a look... I think you'll agree. Leave a comment and let me know.

1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
6-10 (or more) peeled garlic cloves, whole but smashed a bit
3-4 tablespoons bacon fat (was out of olive oil, this was definitely a yummy substitution)
1tablespoon mustard- Nigella calls for English, of course, I used spicy brown, because that's what was available
1 tablespoon dried sage or herby blend
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten-free)
Freshly-ground black pepper
4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
About 1 pound sausage, cut into 3-inch lengths, if necessary
Some small red potatoes, cut into fourths (wedges)
A couple handfuls of fresh-picked homegrown cherry tomatoes (yeah, now I'm just bragging)

Mix all the seasonings and grease and onions and garlic in a ziploc, squishing it around. Add the chicken, squish some more, and refrigerate overnight, or at least a little while if this is a last-minute thing.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Plop the ziploc ingredients into a big baking dish (I think I used a 9x13 Pyrex), nestle the sausage pieces in, and add the potato wedges. Try to coat the potatoes with a bit of the saucy goodness, or at least stick them next to sausages, to share the fatty love. Bake/roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning the sausages over halfway through. If the potato wedges look woefully dry, add some juice from the pan, or drizzle a bit of bacon grease over them. (Tip: if you keep your bacon fat near the back of the stove it'll be liquid after 45 minutes of the oven being on. Easy to drizzle that way.)
Add the tomatoes, whole, near the end, with 15-20 minutes left.

Dig in. Serve with a salad, if you feel guilty.

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.