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, August 19, 2012

This! This is what is wrong!

I am just so hung up. There's a traffic jam of obscenities and righteous indignations clogging up the tirade that is trying to pour forth.

This is what's wrong in America today, folks. This is why over 30% of us are obese. Not just fat, obese.

Ok... it's not the one and only factor... estrogen-mimicking plastics in our water and food and register receipts are part of it. But for fuck's sake... "less than once a week?" And they're not meaning Julia Child-style cooking, they likely include warming a disposable plastic bowl of Easy Mac or pouring a bowl of pencil-shavings cereal as "preparing food."


I have to go make lunch. It may involve simply warming things, but only because I already cooked them for real the first time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Inaugural Luncheon

January 2009, obviously... 

Not quite as fancy as what the Obamas will be eating today, but still tasty. I decided to use the President's Hawaiian roots as inspiration, since it seemed festive, I've been looking for an excuse to reprise the foods from Iron Chef Mom- Pineapple Battle, and we're having "grilling weather." Plus, the President will be enjoying seafood, so I wanted to have some, too.

It was very simple- I chopped up a fresh pineapple, thawed and peeled some shrimp, and marinated them each separately (see the Pineapple Battle link for recipes). Stuck 'em on skewers and told the Grill Geek to take it from there.

I had wanted to wrap the pineapple chunks in bacon, but we were shockingly out. Well, we have thick-cut, but that just wouldn't work for this. I'm also steaming some summer squash that I chopped and froze during it's abundance. Why? Well... because I needed to take something out of the freezer, to make room for chicken stock. This jumped out, almost literally. Zucchini, yellow squash, and some little white squash that I forget the name of. I plan to slather it with butter when it's all cooked.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

From January 2009... a pic might have been nice. It might be one of the hundreds of forlorn photos cluttering up my hard drive. Envision something lovely and delicious-looking... I'm sure it was just as you imagine.

1 1/4 pound shrimp, not too big, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons rice wine, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime-worth), divided
4 or 5 cloves garlic (I used more, I really love garlic), sliced
1 onion, sliced
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar (I used Rapadura, which is a whole sugar)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used tamari)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Salt, to taste
Cilantro leaves

Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Set aside.
Mix remaining rice wine and lime juice with the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat, and saute celery, onion, and garlic. When onion is getting soft, add shrimp and saute another minute or two.
Add the tomatoes and rice wine sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Mix cornstarch into 1/3 cup water (or chicken/fish stock), add to pan and bring to a boil. Salt to taste, and make sure shrimp are cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve!

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve, 2008... ah, the memories... I guess I nailed number 3 there, and wasn't able to hit "publish."

Once again, my desire for an excuse for good food outweighed my common sense. New Year's Eve is a day/evening when we do three things:
1) massively clean the house in preparation for all manner of superstitious good luck stuff
2) watch a lot of college football
3) drink an inordinate amount of alcohol

So why do I also plan for us to eat things that take a lot of time in the kitchen?!?! Not sure. Perhaps I'm masochistic.

Tonight's menu:

Roasted rack of lamb (just the cutest weetle wack of wamb you ever did saw!)
Potato Nests with Caviar (don't gasp, it was the cheap grocery store stuff)
Bacon-Wrapped Sausages (ok, gasp, I'm confident the saturated fats are good for me)
Cut Veggies with Onion-Garlic Dip
Aaaaaand, probably some mac & cheese for the kids (gluten-free of course, can't be contaminating my kitchen.)

The lamb was TASTY. Much too small, at less than a pound...

Recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Roasted-Rack-of-Lamb/Detail.aspx

Bacon-wrapped sausage recipe: http://ezinearticles.com/?Bacon-Wrapped-Sausages&id=321589

Merrye Yule!

Another oldye but a goodye... do we know how to party, or what?

Honeyed Rolls

Mushrooms Tarts
Herb salat

Rosted Beets
Buttered Porray (collards)
Fried Turkey (Swan)
Some sort of sauce/gravy!!!

Sugared almonds

Bacon-Wrapped Potato

This was from April 6, 2008. It has pictures. Beautiful, bacony pictures. Why on earth did I never finish it? 
Mayhaps I was in a post-dinner pork coma?

Does life get any better than this?

Marinated, grilled Gulf shrimp, a big, buttery, fresh-green-onion-covered grilled potato... did I mention that it's wrapped in bacon?!

Green Bean Thing

This was written October 6, 2008, but never posted. I was probably waiting to upload a picture? Who knows... 

I love it when the main course is leftovers, so I have time to make a more-complicated side dish. Tonight's dinner was leftover boneless roasted leg of lamb, which was rather underdone to begin with, so I simmered it in leftover saucy summer vegetable Thing (I just throw stuff together, and if it grows together, it tastes good together, and this did, but it was sort of a semi-solid ratatouille almost-sauce.)
So what'd that leave me time to make? Green beans with mushrooms and onions. And garlic. And bacon fat.

Om nom nom!

Start out by putting a big pot of salty water on to boil. While it's heating up, snap the ends off your fresh green beans. How many? I don't know. How many do you have? How many do you want to eat? If the two answers aren't the same, either buy more beans, steal some from your neighbor's garden, or if you're really lucky, stick the extra blanched beans in the freezer for later.

Blanching is easy. In the case of beans, just put 'em in that pot of boiling, salted water for a few minutes. When they turn bright green, they're ready, usually only takes 3-4 minutes. Your beans may vary. While boiling, fill a large-ish bowl halfway with ice water.

Scoop the blanched beans out of the pot and directly into the bowl of ice. Stir 'em around a bit, then drain.

Now... heat a tablespoon or so of bacon fat in a skillet, add half a large red onion, sliced, and cook that over medium-low heat. That lets it get kind of caramelized and soft, but not burnt. Chop some crimini mushrooms (or white button) into quarters, and toss in with the soft onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes. Add a teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar, or a few cloves of fresh garlic, pressed. Stir around and then add the beans. Cook just long enough to heat the beans, as they're basically cooked already. Salt generously, to taste, and enjoy.

Ancient post, unearthed!

Blog maintenance. It goes a long way. I'm sifting through un-posted posts, and came across this one from 3+ years ago... I thought it would retain some sort of date stamp, but no, it comes through as brand new.

Let's see what else I can discover...

Shrimp, how I love thee... let me count the ways!

Our recent little vacation began with lunch at Blackbeard's On The Beach, where I ordered a spicy grilled shrimp dish. It tasted exactly like the sort of thing we'd make at home, which got me wondering why we never had yet. I immediately made a note to try to recreate it at my earliest opportunity. I thought/hoped that would be today... but disorganization led me to not having the right ingredients. So, while tonight's dinner was definitely not the same thing I enjoyed so much... it was inspired by that dish. And it turned out really yummy. Hard to go wrong with shrimp!

About 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 of a normal yellow onion, chopped small (mine was a gigantic mutant onion, so I used less than 1/4)
1 stalk celery, chopped small
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil and/or bacon fat
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp spicy Asian garlic chile sauce thing
1/4 cup chicken stock, or more as needed
1/2 tsp salt
10 or so grinds black pepper
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika (trying for some smoky grill flavor)
chopped fresh cilantro
cooked rice

Pardon My French

Happy 100th birthday, Julia Child!

In honor of the late culinarian, we had a Feast of Butter. Cod Meuniere (couldn't find any sole), mashed potatoes (which I actually peeled, bein' fancy), sauteed green beans with onions and white wine, and a grated carrot salad. And, of course, a lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, because one can not toast Mrs. Child with ice water.

I generally make up for the lack of cream in my mashed potatoes by adding insane amounts of butter. And a little chicken stock. And did so tonight... but they were still the most-boring food on the plate. The carrot salad was surprising- once I finally added enough salt it was quite tasty. The bit of wine for a braise on the beans was phenomenal, especially as the onions absorbed so much of it. The fish was absolutely amazing. So very easy to make and so, so, so tasty. It went with the Kendall-Jackson Sauv Blanc beautifully. I am not sure how authentically-French any of it was, beyond the fish, but I do know that it was fantastic.

I worked from this recipe for the salad, substituting mandarin-infused olive oil for the peanut oil.

For the cod, I followed Julia's guidelines. Melt one tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a large pan. Salt and pepper the fillets, dredge in flour (Better Batter flour worked for a gluten-free option) and saute 1 or 2 minutes on each side. Don't overcook. If it flakes, it's too done. Remove the fish to plates and sprinkle with freshly-chopped parsley. Wipe out the pan (she said... ha... I had fish sticking all over the place) and add two more tablespoons of butter, swishing it around and letting it brown lightly. Take off the heat, add the juice of half a lemon, and the pour over the cooked fish.

I'm doing this for all the fish I cook forever. SO fucking good. Pardon my French. I am so full.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Coupon Rant 2.0.1

How do Cheerios make you feel? General Mills wants to know. Their ad, beside their coupon in this Sunday's paper, is the word "Smile" with the "i" dotted with a Cheerio. How cute. Then they ask you to "share what Cheerios means to you" on Facebook.

Yes, really.

Do you need to grab a tissue while you recount the many happy childhood moments you spent with an O-shaped cereal? Perhaps you spent some cute minutes with a toddler who was happily gumming them, while learning to get the contents of his fists to his mouth. Maybe you shared a bowl with a child before they went to school. Maybe it was what you poured yourself every Saturday morning before you sat down to watch cartoons, letting your parents sleep in. But I can assure you that the contents of the bowl were not the source of the warm fuzzies.

If you've read my blog before, you might recall that I think food and feelings ought to be separate. Don't get me wrong, I love food. I love tastes, textures, combinations, and trying new things. But I know that food does not equal love. It is not a refuge, a security blanket, a big bowlful of happiness, a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day... and it's very important that it stay that way. We, as a nation, are getting fatter every year BECAUSE food = love for so many of us.

So, f*ck you, General Mills. Do you want to know what Cheerios mean to me? Nothing. A box full of extruded, damaged, phytate-laden, allergenic, inflammation with sprayed-on artificial vitamins and minerals. It is less nutritious than the box it comes in. There are no feelings in a box of Cheerios. There is no meaning beyond the implication that whoever eats the product cares more for convenience than they do for their health.

Then I flipped the page and saw an ad for a new Ensure product. Proudly proclaiming it's greatness due to the fact that it has:
zero fat.
3 times more protein than juice (er... that's not a feat, really, since juice generally has NO protein.)
21 vitamins and minerals.
That your body will completely ignore.
Because not only are they artificial, but that zero fat content makes them even more rejected by your body.

Also in this batch of coupons was a high-powered cleaner bragging about it's ability to remove grease. Because we all have that problem, don't we? Grease spatters on our stovetops (or walls and floors, if you're really having fun in the kitchen.) The stuff dries into gluey, sticky, hard-as-resin spots. I've been there. I've scrubbed with a wire brush after soaking in hot soapy water, to no avail. And then I learned something very, very important. To quote John Edwards, it doesn't have to be that way. Do you know WHY something that was once slippery and fluid transforms into super glue? Because it's damaged. Vegetable oils are not heat stable. And yet we cook with them. Cooking = heat, right? We are cooking with, and then ingesting, damaged, chemically-altered, rancid oil-turned-glue. That's not good, folks.
I've noticed an amazing thing, since switching to saturated, healthy fats (coconut oil, lard, butter, tallow)... everything is really easy to clean. I don't need nonstick cookware. I don't need wire brushes or bottles full of grease-eating chemicals. My fat spatters don't transform into glue. It's just that easy.

And finally, today's WTF Award goes to a product in the ad for our local grocery store. The focus of the ad this week was "back to college," just like it always is this time of year. All the "essential" items for young adults, off on their own for the first time. Apparently our young adults are in no way ready to be off on their own, if the ad is any example. Right there on page two, at the top of page two was an egg scrambler. Next to a happy little display plate, to show us the sort of incredible feats of kitchen magic that we could produce if only we had our very own egg scrambler- a plate with eggs and bacon and some other goodness. Ta-da! Problem solved! Have you ever woken up hungry, but didn't want to drive to McKing for breakfast? What a conundrum! How will you eat? You have eggs... you have a pan to cook them in (or, probably, know how to nuke them)... but how to get the eggs... scrambled?  It's like some sort of Julia Child witchcraft. Damn you, Rachel Ray, for not having a show on this topic!!! But wait, here we have our very own egg scrambler. It looks like a mini chopper, of the kind that survive about 4 onions or 3 ice cubes. Eggs, being so much softer, will probably extend it's lifespan. Thank the gods. We can now launch our young people into the world, knowing they are fully prepared to feed themselves at least once a day.

Or else they could stir the eggs with a fucking fork.

This rant's for you, Chris. Cheers and happy birthday!

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.