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.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Meat Tree

I love meat.

I generally chomp my way through life, with nary a care, eating the food that makes me feel healthy and good. Every now and then my carnivorous ways do make me feel guilty. I don't like the fact that something has to die. I will never willingly be a vegetarian, however. I need meat.

I tend to feel especially guilty when eating cute food. Cows I can generally handle... they're kinda cute, but not overwhelmingly so. Pigs ain't cute at all, once grown, but I'm told they're really smart. Rabbits... ack. I just don't enjoy rabbit. Can't forget how fuzzy-wuzzy they are. Goat is absolutely delicious, but they have such personality! And lamb... yikes. Lambs are really, really cute.

So, I've decided to believe in the Meat Tree. Acres and acres of orchards, some growing beef, some growing pork. Cute little lamb trees that flower in the spring. Yes. Meat trees make me feel much better about things.

My daughter thinks I'm ridiculous. Oh, well.

So, with that in mind, tonight's dinner (the last homemade meal for a week) was lamb burgers, fries, and some crazy thing I did with green beans and a half-ripe tomato. I think I've made lamb burgers before... but this time it worked.

A generous splash of Worcestershire, maybe about 1/4 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder, perhaps a tablespoon of minced fresh oregano, a bit of salt and fresh pepper, and a pound of fresh-picked ground lamb, of course... magic.

See y'all in about a week, I'm off for a holiday road trip.


Yesterday my hunk of leftover cornbread looked like South Carolina.

And that crusty bit in the middle is Columbia, where I used to live.

That is all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Not being born in the South, I had never had fried green tomatoes before. I saw the movie, but didn't really understand what the fuss was about. Unripe tomatoes? Blech. I'll pass.

But today's Greenling basket included 4 big green tomatoes. I had no idea what else to do with them. So, two of them got fried. They were one part of an absolutely over-the-top fabulous dinner, that was inspired by our need to eat up all our fresh veggies before we leave for a trip next week. Work, work, work, hee hee!

Our locavore feast included pork chops, grilled portabello mushrooms, braised greens with red onions, sweet potatoes, and the luscious fried green tomatoes. All from 'somewhere round here.'

Here's the recipe I used for the tomatoes:


2 medium-sized green tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons GF baking mix
several grinds black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup lard (even the lard was local!)
1 egg, beaten


Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and drain on paper towels (on a wire rack) for at least half an hour, but not more than a full hour. Combine cornmeal, baking mix, and seasonings in a bowl or on a plate. Dip each tomato slice in the beaten egg, then in the cornmeal mixture. In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium high. Fry tomato slices about two minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack topped with fresh paper towels. Serve while hot.

They are such a delightful combination of sour, salty, crunchy, and molten tomatoey center. Quite possibly the perfect pregnancy food.

Ener-G Bread Tasting, Part 2

Today's tasting was an exercise in blandness. White Rice, Light White Rice, Brown Rice, and Light Brown Rice. Meh. I arranged to try these four together, to see if any stood out against their beige cousins. The results? Kinda.

Once again, I tried to be somewhat scientific about it all. I noticed right away that the "light" breads were indeed lighter. They weighed less. Weird. I guess that's one way to save calories- make airy bread. The "light" versions had about half the calories of the regular. We'll see whether the savings is worth it...

Straight out of the package, the Light White was very dry. It required the extra chewing typical of gluten-free breads, in order to make the bite wet enough to avoid choking. But it wasn't as bad as some. The regular White was slightly sweeter, noticeably denser, but still not sammich material. (That seems to be the never-ending quest of gluten-avoiders, to find a "bread" that is usable for a real sandwich- two slices- not toasted. Something you could take to a picnic.)
The Light Brown had an odd, spongy texture, but I would consider it Sandwich Grade! In a pinch. It's still not real bread, mind you. The regular Brown had a weird taste. Sorry to be so vague... I chanced a second bite, just to try to describe it better. I couldn't. There was just something unpleasant... sweet but oily. I don't mind grease, as any reader of my blog would know. But this was... just wrong. Blech.

So, the next step was toasting. Oddly, the Light Brown got overtoasted, despite sitting right next to the other three breads in the toaster oven, all of them toasting for the same amount of time... same heat.... Weird. Anyhow, after buttering each piece (I was impatient and hungry, I know I once again messed up the controls) I began tasting again. The Light White was quite gritty after toasting. Bland... I was initially hopeful that I'd found an all-purpose toast, but in the end (of the chewing, that is) it just fell flat. Too sawdusty. Even peach butter couldn't mask the grit. The regular White was very nice toasted. Chewy and bread-like. After being gluten-free for over a year now, my somewhat forgetful tastebuds could be fooled to think this was real bread. The Light Brown (that was now a dark brown due to overtoasting) was very crisp. Perhaps too crisp. Probably due to being overdone. But it had a much better texture than the Light White. No grit. If one is in the market for a reduced-calorie gluten-free "bread", I recommend Ener-G Light Brown. I'm not looking for lower calorie, so I prefer the regular Brown. It had a lovely texture once toasted, no weird flavors, and was perhaps a touch sweeter than the regular White. Chewy, a hint of whole-grain goodness at the beginning of the bite, fading to blank-canvass-blandness at the end.

Overall, I think the regular White was the winner here, since it didn't have funky flavors pre-toasting. One never knows when the electricity might go out, so it's important to have "bread" on hand that doesn't absolutely require toasting. If you feel secure in the presence of a functioning toaster, I recommend the Corn Loaf from the first bread tasting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Anonymous can kiss my ass

I love the fact that I have comments set to "moderation" for this blog. Nothing gets posted without my approval. I am lord of my domain, a ha ha ha ha ha! Ok, I suppose I'm "lady" of my domain. Anyway, moving on...

Today I got notified that "Anonymous" had commented on an older post of mine, titled "Fat-free Vegan?" Anonymous wanted me to know that the name of the blog was inaccurate... simply chosen for being "catchy" and that I should have actually visited the blog before ranting about it.

No thanks.

First of all, if the author is that desperate for page views, I'm not interested in what they have to say. Name your blog correctly. It's a big deal.

Secondly, the rant was aimed at fat phobes in general, with just a few jabs at the blog author.

And thirdly, I just really don't care. I'll live my life my way... they can live their shortened, stunted life their way.

The anonymous commenter signed their comment "Non-furred Arteries." Cute. Snarky. And by it's implication that my animal-eating arteries are "furred", it is quite inaccurate. What is it with vegans and accuracy? I suppose truth-telling must be activated by retinol.
The last time I had the health of my bacon-veins tested, my cholesterol profile was perfect. So stick that in your salad-hole and chew it.

I don't want to be too... rude, I suppose that's the word... so I will simply end this post with my favorite quote.

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO - What a Ride!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Vietnamese seduction"

That's what my recipe book, Basic Asian, calls it. And, I'll give 'em credit... I've definitely been wooed into wanting to try more Vietnamese cuisine!

It all started at the commissary this afternoon... with discount pork. Normally, that would dissuade a person. "Discount" and "pork" should not be used together in the same sentence. Bad things can happen. But I trust my commissary, so when I see "fajita strips" for less than 2 bucks a pound, I pounce.

But I also know I should cook them up right away.

I quickly decided against fajitas. I'm fresh out of corn tortillas, not in the mood to make some myself, and... it just wasn't that vibe tonight.

So... stir-fry. I consulted my go-to Asian cookbook. Rice Noodles with Spicy Pork. I followed the recipe as best I could, but... didn't have all the stuff needed, and can't follow a recipe anyway.

So, here's what I made and it was really, really tasty.

About 1 pound dark and light meat pork strips
1/8 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup sake
3/4 cup fresh mint sprigs
3/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
(3/4 cup fresh basil sprigs were in the recipe, too, but I didn't have any)
1 incredibly huge cucumber
rice vinegar
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1 Mystery Hot Pepper (do jalapenos ever get red?)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
3 T tamari
2 T fish sauce (we agreed this was a bit much)
3 T fresh key lime juice
Noodles of your choosing, I used Tinkyada, of course

Mix pork with sugar and fish sauce. Add sake and stir to coat. Stick in the fridge while you do everything else.
Pick leaves off herbs, cut up if you want (I sliced the mint because it was so big). Set aside.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon, and slice into thin sticks. Put in a largish bowl. Sprinkle with rice vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste. Eat all of them while cooking, making loud munching noises. Revel in crunchy sour saltiness. *

For the dip/sauce: chop the Mystery Pepper finely, being careful to remove the scary seeds and membranes. Embrace your Yankee Gringo spice-fearing glory. Mix together the chile pepper, garlic, tamari, fish sauce, and key lime juice. Distribute in 4 small bowls.
Heat oil in a large pan or wok, over pretty darn high heat (I think I used "7"), and cook onion and bell pepper until beginning to soften. Drain as much of the sake off the pork as you can. Add half the pork (so you don't crowd the pan), and cook a few minutes, until done. Remove all that from the pan, add the rest of the pork and cook it. Toss it all back in to reheat a minute, add a splash of tamari if you just can't resist.
Serve everything kind of on it's own on the plate, so people can mix together at their whim. After we tasted every possible combination, we decided to mix it all together in a big pile. It was nummy.

* Apparently, the plain, un-vinegared cucumber sticks were supposed to be served alongside the noodles and pork. Hmph. There were also supposed to be bean sprouts, green onions, and salty peanuts. Oh, well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

Tonight I made true Shepherd's Pie for the first time. As it turns out, us Yankees tend to call any meat-veggie blend topped with potatoes "Shepherd's Pie," when in fact it is Cottage Pie. Shepherd's Pie has lamb, specifically. Makes sense, huh? A Welsh friend pointed that out to me... thanks Shelly!

I wanted to finally use some of the ground lamb I have in the freezer. I know it's good for me... but I just never reach for it. I grew up in Kansas... my meats were beef, chicken, and fish sticks. Thanksgiving brought turkey, to jazz things up, but we didn't really even venture out into ham. So, lamb is rather new territory for me.

I almost made this Jamaican recipe, but didn't feel like I had the time to let the filling cool before assembling. (I planned to use Chebe bread for the pastry.)

So, despite the fact that it was 80 degrees today, which is not quite what I'd call Shepherd's Pie weather, that was the only other idea I liked. Happily, I stumbled upon a Simply Recipes recipe while googling. I love her stuff.
Oddly, her recipe calls for ground beef. Oh, well. Accuracy isn't for everyone. I made it, with lamb, and it tasted really good. Naturally, I tweaked it. I am, after all, pathologically incapable of following a recipe.
I used a lot less veggies- just two carrots- couldn't find the peas in my overstuffed freezer, added a parsnip in with the potatoes, and used chicken broth instead of beef broth. Yeah... just a few changes. LOL

Something Fishy

Mmmmm... this is what I had for Elevensies. Chopped tomato and avocado, topped with smoked salmon salad, with a sprinkling of cheapass caviar. (I would have put a bit more on, but that's all I had left. This afternoon I shall, of course, set forth on an adventure to procure more.)


Now I wonder what I should make for lunch?

(Mostly kidding.)

(Ok, only partially kidding. I'm hungry.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This blog is about to get really weird

I just ate a sliced avocado, dressed with lemon juice and salt, topped with cheapass caviar.

And I loved it.

Aaaahhh, pregnancy...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ener-G Bread Tasting, Part 1

Mmmm... they can call that "bread" if they want to, but I know better. It's sponge cake. Almost angelfood, and they sell it by the loaf. I want to buy an entire loaf and eat it for breakfast every day, and feel all good about myself for having "bread." LOL

I should back up a bit.

A couple of months ago it dawned on me to see if Ener-G foods sold their products direct from their website. I'd discovered some awesome pretzels while visiting my mom... pretzels I *know* aren't available in San Antonio. Lucky me, their website is happily set up for direct sales, and they offer things I'd never seen before. Like a clever sampler pack of their breads, in 2-slices-of-each packets. Like all their breads, they are shelf-stable, vacuum-packed with dessicant thingies... so I put them on a shelf while I tried to figure out how to taste-test 11 different breads. I wanted to use some sort of quasi-scientific method. I also wanted a wide range of testers, including some gluten-eaters, but that didn't work out. I think my family is scared of my gluten-free frankenbreads.

Today was finally time to start in. I had three breads to try, ones that seemed perhaps to be more "breakfast" breads. A raisin bread, one labelled just "sweet bread", and a corn loaf.
What is with the funky shape of that corn loaf?

The criteria I set up for judging the breads:
-does it need toasted (most GF bread most certainly does)?
-is it sticky/gummy?
-is it suck-the-spit-from-your-mouth dry?
-are there any funky/chemically flavors?
-and then just a notation of whether it'd be best for savory or sweet toppings

The raisin and sweet breads were nice and moist, fresh out of their bags. The corn was... not. It felt and tasted stale. I guess sometimes the dessicant bag thingies don't work right. The sweet bread was a bit sticky/gummy, but I'm guessing that's due to sheer sugar content. It was very appropriately named. The raisin bread was incredibly dry- literally could not swallow it until I had hunted down my glass of water, for fear of choking. The corn loaf had some funky flavors going on that were hard to name. Chemical. Blech.

After toasting, I threw all scientific control methods aside and buttered all three pieces. Habit.

The raisin bread had a nice, typical sweet-tart raisiny taste. It never did get very crisp, despite overtoasting. It was nice, and if you've missed raisin toast since going gluten-free, it'd probably fill in. The corn bread (not cornbread, that's an entirely different thing) improved incredibly with toasting. As a matter of fact, I only got two tiny nibbles before my son snatched it and gobbled it down. If I remember right, it tasted like Real (overtoasted) Bread. Like your ordinary cheap grocery store bread, toasted within an inch of it's life. Pretty darn good, in a bland way*. Hence my 3-yo absconding with it.

And the sweet bread, ohhhhh the sweet bread.... Not bread at all. I know it's secret. The overtoasting turned it's sticky sweetness into caramel. Especially with a smear of butter on top.... oh, baby. That's not bread, that's cake.

* Not bland in a tapioca-rice "bread" kind of way, if that's what you've been subsisting on. It really tasted... wheaty. But like it would easily host any kind of topping or spread you wished. Just like Real Bread.

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.