Thursday, March 30, 2006

alert the food the media...........

I fried chicken...........well I started out small. I fried two chicken breasts per my sister's explicit instructions. I read her post and I thought now why can't I fry chicken? I can do just bout everything else with reasonable success - but I have always bombed frying chicken. I now know why - if you know me at all you will understand when I use the word IMPATIENT..........yep that's me. And I know better. So read and re-read moon's post on frying chicken and I thought bingo I can do this I just must practice patience and not rush it. I think that is the secrect to a lot of good cooking. And since my full time retirement I have figured all that......took me long enough huh!?!?!!! Let's see what Norm says. So here's my minor accomplishment. I might be cooking a whole chicken someday. Thanks sister.
stay tuna'd.................

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Love a good brunch.............

One of my very favorite things in this world is brunch food....this is one recipe that I have used a lot. I have made it exactly as the recipe calls and then of course I have deviated a bit. Instead of ham I used asparagus and red peppers that have been sauted prior to adding to the egg mixture. You can also add swiss cheese finely grated instead of parmesan. You can use chorizo cooked and well drained from the grease and add fresh cilantro instead of parsley. Then when eaten put a little salsa on top. These are yummy and so very easy to do. Cut the recipe in half if needed and put in to large muffin tins, but keep an eye on them. Serve with a nice fresh fruit salad and mimosa's.............. BRUNCH IS SERVED!!!!

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Recipe SummaryDifficulty: Easy Prep Time: 12 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes
Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
8 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces thinly sliced ham, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray 2 mini muffin tins (each with 24 cups) with nonstick spray. Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the ham, cheese, and parsley. Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture. Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and slide the frittatas onto a platter. Serve immediately.

lip-smacking, yummy, and rather good for you......

would be my rendition of the popular fruit smoothie.

Couple years ago Norm and I were visiting my sister and brother-in-law with the main intention of the whole family gathering at a house on the beach we rented. We arrived at sister house early in the week so we would have time together and not be rushing around going off on our side trip to the beach. We got up early one morning, had our tea and as usual we must discuss food. Do you want breakfast, do ya wanna go out for breakfast ? I wasn't all that hungry so I said why don't I make us a smoothie.............and maybe the boys will want something more substantial.

As I remember sister moon had not made a smoothie at home................but living in California she had plenty of them. So I gather the ingredients which consist of.................

a large container of fat free yogurt
let say about a cup ++ of frozen fruit
blend that with a handful of ice
if too thick I put in some juice such as cranberry
which it seems I always have on hand if not orange juice would be OK.
If too thin throw in a banana.
And to sweeten it up some put in some good honey - a tablespoon would do.
This group of ingredients makes enough for about four small glasses. It is so refreshing to drink one of these mid morning as it fills that gap when you might need a bit of sustenance. On a really hot humid day here in the blue tarp state, Norm likes to have that instead of a sit down lunch.....very refreshing and it seems to give y'all the boost ya mind need on a hot day.

I find my favorite blend is with rasberries but banana and kiwi are a prently close second. Be creative, put some applesauce in one instead of the juice or even some of that peach sauce moon talked about in her last post.

Oh and let me add my raves as well about that breakfast treat moon posted. I know oatmeal I always felt the same way oatmeal.........yech!!!! But definitely not the case in this tasty treat. I even made it for company awhile back along with my version of a mini fritatta that I'll post soon.

stay tuna'd....................

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

dining at the ryokan

a ryokan is a traditional japanese inn that has tatami mat floors and shoji screen wall partitions. at a ryokan, dinner and breakfast are included and you are served at a low table in your room. after dinner, they move the tables aside and throw down your futons on the floor.

the food was, in a word, submlime. dinner was about 17 million courses and every dish was delicate and uniquely flavored. now i understand when the giggly japanese actresses on iron chef says, "oh, it tastes like spring in my mouth." anyway, i took a bunch of pictures of every course and will put up a real post when i get back. but here are few pictures to tide you over in the meantime.

here's the first course at dinner:

First Course

shrimp and uni (sea urchin) in the bowl on the top left. sashimi in the square bowl on the right. the tray: dried, shreded sardines in the black globe thing, fried clam, a merengue (sp?) thing in the clam shell, baby bamboo shoots with dressing and a cherry blossom bud branch, and then a fried bean with fish filling. yum.

here's a little bit of the breakfast:


Smoked fish, rice, pickles. That was about 1/3 of the breakfast.

Who cares if it's good for you, it taste great.

Not that I have a cholesterol problem, I'm one of those oddities that can eat butter on both sides of my bread and still show good numbers at testing time. This doesn't mean I'm skinny, nope, not afflicted with that disease. I've got one of those it's-easier-to-jump-over-than-walk-around types of bodies; could have something to do with the butter. As for eating healthy, I'm more of the hate the texture of a bowl of cooked oatmeal but like the cookies. I'm sure you're getting the picture. I did stumble onto a great recipe for cooked breakfast type oatmeal that has become a favorite in my house for family and friends.

2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 c raisins or combo of dried fruits
2 tablespoons of chopped raw nuts
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375.
Melt butter in 8-inch square baking dish in microwave.
Combine first five ingredients in a bowl.
Combine milk, applesauce, and egg in the baking dish, mix and add this mixture to oat mixture.
Pour everything back into the baking dish and bake 375 for 20 minutes.
Serve warm. Makes five servings and can be refrigerated and reheated the next day.

This recipe is great because it is very flexible. Don't have applesauce? Use a raw chopped apple and cook it for about 2 minutes while melting the butter. Today I used Trader Joe's Peach Sauce. This stuff is so yummy over ice cream but I digress, use it in place of the applesauce.

I also put in nutmeg because I got this cool grater at my Meca, Surfas and I do love the taste of nutmeg. You can add a little cinnamon or not. Like I said, easy.

I also bake it in a 7 x 9 glass pan which fits in my Barbie Easy-bake side oven. I adore this little oven, it handles everything the big oven does but it heats quicker and I'm sure uses less energy. If I want I can bake just a few cookies or make this yummy breakfast treat. The trick is to find baking dishes that fit, but then I always carry a tape measure, something my sister taught me.

Speaking of my sister, Weed, why don't you share the warmer weather breakfast treat?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fantastically mediocre

We had dinner last night at a new--within the last four months--restaurant, Johnny Carino's. A chain, which I usually stay away from but had a good experience with the Muncie, Indiana outlet. It just seems everything, from the girls at the front desk taking names, to the wait-staff, to the food was flat.

The food came promptly, was hot and presented nicely but the flavors not "snappy". I'm currently dealing with allergy problems and tried to convince myself that was the problem. I'm not so sure. The staff seemed disinterested in being there and well finished with the salad, we had to sit our empty dishes aside to get our main course. They were busy but not exceedingly so.

In retrospect I should have complained but then again I don't want to complain, not my job. It makes me feel like a hag and ruins my night out. My job is to come, spend money and get something in return and it's the something in return that makes us go back.

So, will we go back? Not likely, there are other places where the staff seems truly happy to be there and in turn, makes the customer feel the same way.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chicken Stew.............

While on the phone with my sister friday............she was cooking preparing for company and I was just starting to prepare this Chicken Stew that I saw being made by Giada De Laurentiis.
Oh my..............very tasty. Norm wanted more and regretfully I only made enough for two large bowls. I served it with good crusty bread and a yummy Zinfandel.

I tweaked the recipe just a teensy bit...........instead of kidney beans I used Cannellini Beans
(canned and rinsed) I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes. Dang it was good!!!

Try this you will enjoy the rich flavor.

And yes I was on the phone with my seester cooking - we had each other on speaker phone while sauteing and chopping. She was cooking a chicken something too - so I am anxious to hear how hers turned out. I might also mention I have never taken a photo of food I have prepared but my niece inspired me to do so and it's kinda neat.

stay tuna'd...........................

Friday, March 17, 2006

farmers market find...........

OK as was decreed by the "the little bird"............famers market should be the topic and do with it what we may. Well I live in a state,Florida to be exact, where you would think there would be an abundant amount of roadside farmers market.........NOT!!! They are few and far between the closest one to my knowledge is about 25 miles from me. Now I don't mind going out there cause there are other oddities I can enjoy like antique shops. So this a.m. I am setting out for my trek because I know going on the weekend would be a madhouse. I stop at the library first and while there I whine a little about going all the way to Arcadia why the heck isn't there one closer, I'm sure it would do wel, yada, yada. And the nice lady says I hear there is a roadside fruit and vegetable stand on the other side of Punta Gorda. Hey I'm there heck that's only 10 miles. Well sure and begora (it's St Patricks Day ya know) there it is and loaded with all kinds of wonderful goodies all locally grown on their own farm......woo hoo!!!

As you can see by the photo I purchased some green tomatoes, so we can have fried green tomatoes and grilled steak tomorrow nite for dinner cause we be having guests and thank the lord they eat anything.
In the pic there are red yummy looking tomatoes as well not nearly as $$$ as my seester's and hope that they taste better.
I'll let ya know ~ stay tuna'd................................

and thanks to the "little bird" for suggesting this topic because I was lucky and found sumpin new.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dear tomato: You broke my budget don't break my heart

Food Topic-Farmer's Market

Thursdays Thousand Oaks, the next city from ours, has their Farmer's Market. Why on earth Simi Valley doesn't have a market I don't know--don't get me started. This time of year the usual fare is winter veggies, such as beets, cauliflower, broccoli and the like and as a bonus, strawberries. They are yummy but still a bit "dear" as my grandmother Lavon would say. What I did pick up were two tomatoes. They were a healthy red, a little weighty, and when I handed them to be weighed the girl said, "$5.50, please." What? Five fifty she said slower. I get that, I'm prematurely gray and I guess I aged a bit more with that news. I was in disbelief but I forked over six bucks. These better be good, I mumble as I shove and the change in my pocket and make a mental note not to waste one atom of these "golden" tomatoes.

Why did I buy them? All Dan, my darling husband, has to do is mention he'd like something and I oblige. He asks for so little and has to contend with me so he's worth $3.75 a pound tomatoes.

Shicken is on our family crest

Because everyone always thinks their mother made it better than them I'm giving a combination of all my relative's methods for making fried chicken. Notice I didn't say recipe because it's more of a method than anything else.

One whole chicken washed and trimmed of the heavy pieces of fat cut into pieces.
Soak pieces in salted water for about an hour until the chicken comes to close to room temperature.
About a 10 to 12 inch pan with lid. Iron skillet or anything else but non-stick. I use a old Farberware skillet that I've had for more than 25 years.
Heat Crisco in pan, about half inch. When all the chicken is in the pan it should only come up a third of the way. Don't drown the poor bird in grease. You can add Crisco if you do it slowly. You don't want to "cool" the pan down too quickly.

Put about a cup of flour in a plastic bag or paper sack. I don't season the flour. Shake the excess water from the chicken pieces and toss in the bag with flour to coat. Only do a few at a time and start with the largest pieces. Lay them carefully into the hot Crisco. The Crisco should be hot enough to bubble/sizzle the chicken but not smoking. When all are in I salt and pepper the top side of the chicken.

You are looking to brown the chicken in this first step so keep the oil hot. When one side is golden brown the top of the chicken will start to sweat. Dust a bit of the flour on the pieces before you turn them over, then salt and pepper the browned side. Keep the pan hot until the second side starts to brown, then turn the heat down to med low and cover the chicken with a lid. It shouldn't be a tight fitting lid, let a bit of steam escape. The chicken should bubble but not burn on the bottom. It must be watched carefully.

This is the cooking part. Take the lid off from time to time and move the pieces around especially the legs so they get an even cooking. If everything is getting too dark, turn down the heat. I'm always adjusting the fire under the chicken.

When the juices are clear, no blood, maybe about twenty minutes, take the lid off, turn up the heat to do a final browning/crisping and as the pieces are done, remove them to a plate with paper towels. Do not crowd the pieces.

If you want to make milk gravy, pour off all but about two tablespoons of grease and add two tablespoons of flour. Make a roux and cook this for a minute or two scrapping the bottom of the pan to get the "crispies." Add milk and or chicken broth to the make a gravy, maybe one cup or so. Cook until bubbly and thick. You can serve this over the mashed potatoes you've already made.

Now my grandmother, Pruce, loved the boney pieces and she always fried the neck for herself. She'd share the livers and gizzards but the neck was hers. Now skin on the neck gets so crispy and tasty that it is hard to resist so throw caution and your diet to the wind and try it.

Liver Warning. If you cook the liver be careful because it will explode. It is full of blood and will expand in the hot oil. I've many times finished the chicken with an icecube on a hot oil burn. If you poke, poke, poke the liver it will not explode, hopefully.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the farmers market

i hereby decree that the next topic of discussion shall be the farmers market. do with it what you will.

food ya spose???

OK I don't know about you but there have been times when I have woken up and all I could think about it is this's a dive but the food is tasty. Cracklin Jacks is in Naples, Florida of all places. And the reason I say that is because Naples is the new hot spot in the Southeast. I digress......Back in January, eight of us in two motor homes were there attending the Swamp Buggy Races and we stumble on Cracklin Jacks. They open at 11 a.m. I think and the line is out the door till 4 p.m. and then they start for the dinner crowd. When we go we usually go around 5, with all the other old codgers because ya wanna beat the crowd. I'm tellin ya it is home cooked at it's finest. Fried food and all. The only place I would ever eat liver and onions, cause the only meat they serve is all prime. And there scallops are as sweet as butta.
And what is so great is they serve a trip tip...........that is succulent and tender. Now they also serve family style side dishes for the dinner menu. So with 8 of us they bring out what they call vittles of the day which are side dishes of mashed potatoes, gravy white & brown, creamed onions, sweet corn, beets, corn bread, collard greens and white beans. Now rest assured you do not ever ever leave Cracklin Jacks hungry. Oh and if you dare.........their pecan pie is to die for. I only dared once.

So if you are ever in the vicinty of 75 also known to many as the Sunshine Highway and y'all get to exit #1 take a right go a couple miles and Cracklin Jacks will be on your left. Oh and don't be scared off by all the cars in the parking lot, that's what got our attention and trust me there is plenty a food there wating for ya. ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

new orleans feast

so, in honor of my long suffering husband's birthday (i have to admit to stealing that little term of endearment from the podchef), i cooked up a mess o' new orleans favorites and threw him a little belated mardi gras shindig at our place last weekend. on the menu was jambalaya, red beans and rice and bread pudding. green salad and french bread were added as an afterthought. not a meal for anyone on the atkins diet...or any kind of diet for that matter. here's our friend kent spokesmodeling the final product (oh, vanna):

Oh, Vanna...

so, on to the gory details. the jambalaya featured chicken, sausage and shrimps (or "swimps" if you're from the 9th ward). and i must admit to something on the jambalaya: it's not exactly made from scratch. yes, i make jambalaya from a box. a zatarain's box, to be exact. i say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. i do add about twice as much meat as the recipe calls for, but other than that, it's pretty much good to go on its own.


the red beans and rice were from scratch. sorry zatarains, but parboiled beans just do not do it for me. basically, i use emeril's red beans recipe from his "louisiana real & rustic" cookbook, which i'll paraphrase here: soak 1 pound of small red beans (not kidney beans) overnight, then drain and rinse. saute some chopped onion, bell pepper and celery (the trinity) in the pot with about a half pound of cubed ham and a half pound of sliced smoked sausage and some cayenne, thyme, salt and a bay leaf or two. add the beans and some chopped garlic, cover with water and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. at that point, mash about one third of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, and then continue to simmer for another hour and half (stir a little more often). serve over white steamed rice with plenty of crystal hot sauce. yum. (fyi, the small pots on the back of the stove were the vegetarian versions of each dish for our friend, gwen, who is so nice, i'll cook her a separate pot of food.)

Bread Pudding

the bread pudding was a bit of an adventure, never having made it before. i used another emeril recipe, that he apparently stole from someone called steve. i decided to do a double batch and it ended up being so much i had to bake it in my giant turkey roasting pan. i was a little rushed because i was making it in the evening and didn't want to stay up all night, so i had to cut some corners. first, i didn't buy the bread in time to let it get stale, so i made my own stale bread in the oven. i used a light french loaf, btw. the other thing i regret was cutting the amount of time the bread soaked in the milk/egg mixture. i let it soak the minimum hour; next time, i think i'll let it go for the full two. anyway, i baked it the night before, so i had to warm it up in the oven prior to serving. i misted it with brandy from a squirt bottle before popping it back in the oven, so the top didn't dry out and, since that a squirt bottle full of brandy is a really alton brown thing to do, i guess i can say it also brought a little flavor to the party. as for serving, i made the sauce emeril has in his recipe, but in my opinion, it was pretty crap. it may be traditional, but i found it too cloying and kind of boring. the next night (for the leftovers), i made a simple caramel sauce (burn the sugar, add cream) and added some brandy. that was so f'ing good and i really wish i had done that for the party because it took a good dessert to the next level.

at any rate, it appears that a good time was had by all and the grub was much enjoyed, but the abundance of louisiana beer (abita and blackened voodoo) may have had something to do with that. there was that moment i call "food silence," where it gets real quiet while everyone stuffs their faces. i assume that's a good thing.

Our common thread is kitchen twine

It seems we did shame our youngest contributor into a post but it was a good one. Reading the three post on "comfort food" I noticed a common thread. They deal with much more than food, it's the whole family experience and food just is a reason to bring us together. Some families might be centered with music or sports; ours just happens to be cooking.

Doodle's posole, MP's fried chicken and mine on Olvera St has conjured up some comfortable memories to warm my soul until spring. Thanks, mujares!

comfort food

allright already! i've been busy. cooked up a storm on saturday and had 15 people over to my house and got my taxes done somewhere in between. then sunday was off to the laker game and that took up most of the day, which means i didn't get my customary weekend nap until like 5 pm on sunday! boooooo.

anyway, comfort food, huh? well, i thunk on it for a while and, truly, the reason this is so late in coming was i was having a hard time deciding what to pick. should it be a restaurant? something that i cook? something that someone else cooks? anyway, i was almost ready to post with grilled cheese and tomato soup, but it just wasn't sitting right with me. and that was because fried chicken was somewhere in the back of my brain, a-peck-peck-peckin' on my skull: "don't forget about me!"

so that's it. it has to be fried chicken for me. i will eat almost any kind of fried chicken, even kfc, just to scratch that fried chicken itch. and i love me some popeye's, but that's probably more to do with the association with new orleans...and the fact i can get red beans and rice as a side and wash it down with a strawberry soda. and then there are some good chicken places in l.a., e.g. dinah's and roscoe's and the sadly closed gagnier's.

but the absolute best is homemade. and this is the exact thing i'm thinking of when i think of comfort food...i can see the drumstick in my mind. it was my absolute favorite growing up. it was always the special meal i requested for my birthday dinner. and the funny thing is, i can't make it. oh, sure, i can make fried chicken, but it's not the same as my mom's. i apparently did not get the fried chicken gene. no matter how hard i try, i cannot get the same texture (almost grainy or sandy in some places, and definitely not "battered") and color (golden to dark amber) on the crust as mom. can't. cannot. many a chicken has given its life in my pursuit of producing that drumstick. i have tried to replicate the exact conditions (farberware skillet, flour in a produce bag, crisco or wesson oil), no deal. i've purchased hundreds of dollars worth of fancy pans, no difference. tried all manner of different types of oil, not so much. tried different recipes (alton brown's 17 step process), nothing doin'.

so, mom, when can i come over for some fried chicken?

Admonishment of the little bird

She is the busiest of the three of us, the only one holding down a job, but I have to do some good natured kidding because on her Flickr she has proof of her cooking abilities. So maybe she'll share the menu at least but I'd rather hear the reviews from the guests.

comfort food................

OK since the parakeet has yet to post her comfort food I am going to assume it is hot dogs and a beer.

Friday, March 10, 2006

subliminal cooking

So last week I find the need to go to Whole Foods for my specialty food items that I cannot get at my local market. After 90++$$$ later and a good 45 minute drive, I'm in the kitchen putting away the stuff and see that I bought apricot juice ???? excuse me - why the hell did I buy that? Well a day later I am at my local market and I see fresh beets and glob on to them. Love them and if you haven't roasted fresh beets do so they are amazing. Anyhooooo, taking the beets out of the bag I have a flash back of Michael Chiarello napa style cooking beets and pouring over them a reduced apricot juice. Dang subliminal cooking !!! So I go get the juice I had put away, pour two cans, they are those mini cans, in a sauce pan and begin the reduction. In the meantime I carmelize some vidalia onions and bake the beets. Beets are done, onions are carmelized, sauce is almost reduced, so I add a bit a butter then pour over the beets and grate some nutmeg on top. Dang yummy..........what else did we have aaahhhh oh I had cooked a small pork tenderloin on the grill and smashed a few spuds with some olive oil and lots afresh ground pepper . very tasty........

stay tuna'd............................

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sherman, set the Wayback machine for 1957

I have recipes that are my "go to" comfort foods but the food that brings a smile is from an ancient Mexican food stand in downtown Los Angeles' Olvera Street. Reportedly the first street in Los Angeles, Olvera Street is filled with little stalls selling a variety of tourist trade items, two actual restaurants, and a few food stands . Cielito Lindo is a favorite. A small menu and even smaller space produces food that has been same for the forty-nine years we've been going there.

The place has always been crowded and parking a challenge but when I was a child Dad would let Mom off and circle the block, once--sometimes twice until she'd gotten our order and navigated back to the curb with sacks full of taquitos, sauce and bottles of soda. The taquitos sat in a thin guacamole, uniquely their own, so good I could eat it with a spoon and have, on occasion, tipped the paper container to drain it of the last drops. The first crunchy bite was filled with flavors new to a young Indiana girl, spicy but easily quenched with a cold drink of soda. Heaven.

I've tried to replicate the guacamole but coming close I gave up. I'd hate to miss the whole experience which is more than taste because I take one bite and I'm transported back into an eight-year-old in the back seat of her parent's '57 Mercury with a bottle of orange soda and a taste of Los Angeles.

as requested.............

Let's see, it was back in 1993,I think..........................sister and I, for some reason ,decided we were going on a what I have called a "thelma & louise" road trip. No we didn't kill anybody, get arrested or drive off a cliff........but we did drive a convertible and have a great time. Celebrating my nieces' 21st birthday in Las Vegas (that could be another blog fer sure)with Dad, & Mary as well, we left that group and continued on our adventure. The plan was to drive to Taos, New Mexico and return to Deb's home in the LA area, and that was gonna take 10 days or so. Suffice to say that the two of us driving a rented convertible driving around the southwest was probably the most fun I had had in a long time.

But this is to be about food and on that trip we ate some pretty great food. And on that very same trip was where I discovered Posole

Posole is a traditional Mexican dish from the pacific coast region of Jalisco. A thick soup that's usually made with pork, hominy, garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and broth. Cilantro lots & lots of cilantro.

Husband is not fond of jalapeno so I have roasted anaheim peppers and add them. And to say something this good is better the next day it is definitely better the next day. Damn this is fine food IMHO!!!

I don't really have a recipe because what I have done is gleaned from a variety of recipes of Posole

2 lbs. pork shoulder
2 cloves garlic, peeled
fresh ground pepper
oregano, pinch
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups canned white hominy, drained and rinsed
3 to 5 cups pork broth from cooking pork shoulder
1 cup canned chopped green chilies
Salt to taste
2 whole jalapenos, canned or fresh, chopped (optional) roast a anaheims for a milder smokier flavor


Place the meat in a large saucepan and just cover with lightly salted water. 2 cloves of finely chopped peeled, oregano, fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim the
foam that rises, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove meat and broth, reserving both.

Saute the chopped onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add the remaining spices, stir for a minute. Cut the reserved pork into small cubes or shred the pork which I find better and add to the pan. Stir in the canned hominy, pork broth (if there is not enough pork broth, add chicken stock), green chilies and jalapenos (optional). I have also been known to add some fresh tomato salsa to the mix.

Cook at a simmer, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes until the meat and hominy are tender. If necessary, cook for up to an additional hour or so until the chilies and onions are well blended into the broth. Degrease the stew and serve in soup bowls.
This is quite yummy and well worth the effort to make.

All of the above ingredients and prep instructions are a basic guidline - if ya like more peppers or hominy add them.

This is just sooooo tasty served with warmed tortillas or a crusty bread, a corona or two, just don't forget the fresh cilantro.

So here it is 2006and sis and I are about to embark on another road trip in May............stay tuna'd!!!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Firm as Jello

Blogs should be loose and freeflowing, less formal than a radio show but more structured than jello so to create a unifying thread here we'll have a topic of the week that each of us addresses. So here's the first challenge.

Topic of the week: My favorite comfort food is …

too much stuff.............

OK as you all know I got too much stuff - yes admit it. OK I feel better now.....but having said that you can never have too many cutting boards. I am fortunate enough to have a cutting board storage spot in my new cabinets. But I must also say that most of the cutting boards in my possession have been with me for many years, hence the reason for this story.

I have a small round board that I cut things like lemons, limes (for my coronas) and such. I noticed that it was starting to crack. Knowing that my dear husband has a bazillion $$$ worth of "workshop" equiptment. I took my injured cutting board out to his workshop and asked if it could be repaired. He looked at it like a Dr. looks at a patient, I swear. "Yeah I spose I could fix it we'll see" Well a few days later the small round cutting board is back in my kitchen looking fresh and new not lined and gray from age. The boy is a magician with gorilla glue and a sanding block.

So guess what a few days later I discover that I have a much larger wooden cutting board and it has several cracks. I take it out to the workshop to see if this baby can also be repaired. "Well I don't know if the cracks are deep enough to get the glue in good, we'll see' Leave it here".

so stay tuna'd on the cutting board saga.................and please don't think I'm finding things to do for my dear husband.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Meat Loaf.......and not too bad I might say.....

ok let me first say I didn't come out of the womb a good cook and it seems that I stayed that way for a very long time. I just sorta fuddled around in the kitchen making ordinary meals.

When we moved to Key Largo we ate out a lot and I mean a lot. For several reason one of which was because it was easy and another was because we had so many good restaurants to choose from. The food was exceptional most of the time and quite fresh. So why should a so, so cook cook?

Well we moved over to the west coast of the blue tarp state about 3 years ago, retired and all, so I thought ya know I should cook more. Well I really got in to cooking thanks to the internet, Food TV, Fine Living and all. Oh and there is another reason we have a crappy selection of restaurants, really crappy. Oh we have the obligatory, Carrabas, and OutBack and all the other chains but no fine dinning. There is one that we like, Danato's, Italian, but how often can ya go there ya know.

So I'm cooking and really enjoying myself. Last nite I made a tasty meatloaf and the reason it was so tasty was I added andouille sausage to it, bueno!!! I also prepared a spinach souffle thingy, as well as a baked potato..real baked not nuked.

I must also say that Norm is happy that I am cooking more because he is reaping the rewards.

Thanks to the Maltese Parakeet for stepping up to the plate and arranging our PBE blog.

stay tuna'd for more of my culinary talents.......................

This is not your grandma's recipe

Just because the title of this blog is PB Étouffee that doesn't mean everything in the blog has to be about peanut butter, this is a co-inky-dink.

Tumbleweed was chewing on a cookie last week and who in their right mind would turn down a peanut butter cookie so I say share that recipe, which she did, and without reading, I started to gather all the ingredients one would think of in a cookie; flour, sugar, baking soda/powder. What the recipe calls for is Peanut butter, sugar, an egg and vanilla. That's it.

Did I miss something, I think and dial Tumbleweed. Oh Weed, something's missing from this recipe. Make it she says. So I mix it all together and mash sticky little balls of dough in the the customary criss-cross peanut butter cookie and slid them into the oven and for twelve minutes they just sit there, they neither spread nor rise. About the time I take them out of the oven I'm thinking so glad the recipe doesn't make many but when they cooled wished I'd made more. Amazing.

So make the cookies and if anyone knows why peanut butter cookies have that very distictive criss-cross pattern, do let me know.

1 cup peanut butter (I use the kind you have to keep in the fridge and stir)
2/3 sugar
1/3 brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix together with a spoon and roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Flatten balls with a fork dipped in sugar and bake 350 for 12 minutes or golden brown.
Cool slightly before removing from pan.

japanese tapas?

went to a great restaurant in the micro tokyo area of l.a. last night called orris. it's a japanese restaurant, kind of asian-french fusion with a tapas, small plates format. they have counter seating and some tables. not a big restaurant by any means. kitchen is open, surrounded by the counter, in a sort of sushi bar style. we had tuna tartare (off menu special) and asparagus salad to start. then, dungeness crab cakes, grilled vegetables and venison (another off menu special) for the "entree." the asparagus salad was a standout, with a mayonnaise based taragon dressing and toasted hazelnuts. the crabcakes were my favorite hot item; they were almost all crab, with just a little crust on the outside, well seasoned, really allowing the sweet crab to stand out. the venison was pretty tasty, with small strips pan seared, served moist and tender with a red wine reduction. we polished off a bottle of argentinian malbec, which isn't on their online wine list, so i unfortunately can't tell you the name of the winery (because i certainly can't remember it after splitting the bottle). for dessert, we had a napoleon type arrangement with layers of fried wonton skins and fresh fruit and cream and topped with a carmelized poached pear. my friend thought the pear was canned, i couldn't decide. the ambience was nice, if a little cramped. the wait staff was knowledgeable about wine and the menu and very nice (we got a free round of moscato with dessert after my friend got bonked on the head by the waiter). timing of the "courses" was done very well, not a lot of waiting around but not rushed either. all in all, a very enjoyable meal.