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It's about food, restaurants, recipes and just plain eating.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


It's been awhile.  I have been busy knitting, washing kitchen curtains (a process which takes a few weeks, apparently since they still have not been re-hung) and pursuing various other pursuits.

But I'm still eating.

I had been posting some quick & easy snack recipes suitable for "the big game" or virtually any other occasion over at my Facebook page.  They are all of the sort that involve buying an ingredient, putting it in a container with other ingredients and sticking it in the fridge for a few days to marinate before serving.  Or placing cheese in a baking dish and baking briefly before topping with slivered almonds toasted in butter & brandy.  Quick, easy and oh, so tasty.  I'll post some here later.

Today's recipe is for Salmon the way I usually prepare it.  Quick, easy, and oh, so tasty.  I don't like fish but we eat salmon often since the food police tell us we should.  I like it this way.

Slice a lemon or lime (or even a tangerine or orange) and place the slices in a skillet.  Season with a little salt & pepper and  any of your favorite herb or spice blends.  Lay the salmon fillets on the citrus slices, which helps prevent them sticking to the pan, and add water, broth, wine or a mixture of these to a depth of about an inch.  You can add chopped onion too if you wish.  Cover the pan, bring to a very low simmer and let poach about 10 - 15 minutes until done to your liking.

Meanwhile, prepare a quick sauce by stirring a spoonful of curry powder and some dill weed into a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise or sour cream (or a mixture of both).  Serve the poached salmon with the sauce and a side of green vegetables and pilaf or couscous.

I prepare couscous by sautéing onion in a butter, adding the couscous and sautéing until toasty.  For each cup of couscous add about 1 1/4 cups boiling water (and/or broth, wine or citrus juice).  Also, add a little grated zest from the lemons you used in the salmon recipe.  Cover and allow to stand about 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and serve, garnished with toasted chopped nuts and/or dried cranberries if desired.

If you prefer the oven method, spray a sheet of heavy duty foil with vegetable cooking spray and place the salmon in the center.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over and a bit of white wine, a dab of butter and your choice of seasonings.  Seal the packet and bake in a 400 oven about 20 minutes, open the foil pack and serve with sauce & sides.

Quotable quotes; in the category Yes I'd Love Some Salmon . . . And Anything Else . . .

"You ain't supposed to get salmon when they're swimming upstream to spawn.  But if you're hungry,  you do."  Loretta Lynn

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't Be Chicken!

I love recipes that are fast and easy to prepare.  They can't just be fast & easy - they have to taste good, too.  Bonus points if they're REALLY tasty.  I think this fills the bill.

One of my favorite ways to fix chicken is to brine leg & thigh pieces in salt water for about 30 minutes, drain, and dredge in seasoned flour.  Place them in a foil-lined oiled pan, spray with vegetable spray and bake about an hour at 425.  Sort of a take on oven fried.  I sometimes mix a little cornmeal or bread crumbs in with the flour.  Easy.  For vegetables I sometimes cut up onions, carrots, celery & potatoes and strew them among the chicken pieces.

This version is even easier.  Don't bother with the flour.  Instead just drizzle the brined chicken & cut up vegetables with oil, dust with some bottled spice blend and toss well.  Spread in the pan and roast, basting about every 20 minutes with the pan juices to ensure a crispy skin.

Boy is this good.  When the vegetables are tender and nicely brown (toss them whenever you baste) the chicken is probably done and dinner is on the table in no time.

Vary the vegetables.  Include sweet potatoes or parsnips, or just use what you have in the house.  Add a green salad or a side of green vegetables and you have a very healthy meal.

Don't forget to save the pan drippings and bones to simmer for soup stock!

Quotable quotes; in the category Chickens Have To Live Somewhere, Even If They Don't Go To Church!

"Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral."  Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today's Bento

Finally got around to making another bento - have been having too much fun with the Crock Pot Food Warmer and a sandwich maker I also brought in.  Note to self:  when it's time to remove the sandwich ignore EVERYTHING else including water delivery or mailman or sandwich will burn.

But I still love bento and often put myself to sleep imagining the next bento I'll be making.  This one looks tasty.  The mini meatballs were on sale and I could not resist (many bentos include mini "burgers" and this way I don't have to make my own).  Bonus points - they are fully cooked and require only reheating in sauce!

So today's bento includes leftover Jasmine rice, pan fried in the pan after making my favorite one-egg tamagoyaki; mini meatballs & mini sausages glazed in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake, sesame oil, a little ketchup and a pinch of hot pepper flakes; carrot & gobo kinpiri simmered with onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and a pinch of sugar.  Gobo is burdock root and is a classic kinpira - we'll have to see if I like it.  It looks like an extremely long, extremely thin parsnip.

Also included is instant cabbage pickle (massage a chopped cabbage leaf or two with salt and squeeze a bit of lime juice over) with some red radish.  Tucked in between the tamagoyaki and the pickle is a daifuku - a sort of sweet rice cake with a dab of strawberry flavored filling.  I like them.

Sorry the picture is so bad - my camera has been giving me problems and this was taken with my less than ideal phone camera.  You get the idea.

Quotable quotes; in the category You Don't Have To Worry With Bento - It's Still Beautifully Arranged But They Use Chopsticks Instead Of Fingers!

"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it."  Julia Child

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Last time I blogged about this little guy.  It has certainly come in handy.  So far it has handled cream of tomato soup, cream of broccoli soup and cream of mushroom soup.  Yesterday it surpassed itself reheating some leftover barbecue pork (and will provide an encore performance today).
I have a very simple recipe for pulled pork.  I just cook it.  Well, it's a little more involved than that but not much.  I rub a pork shoulder (pretty much the cheapest cut and the best for long, slow cooking) with a spice rub.  You can make your own by combining approximately equal amounts of salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, and another other herbs & spices you like - cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cayenne, thyme, cumin, you name it.  Or just buy a jar of your favorite rub or spice blend.

Rub the meat all over with the spice blend and lay it in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup - optional) and place it in a 450oven.  When it starts to sizzle, after about 25 minutes or so, turn it down to 275.  After a couple hours, turn it down to  250and finally turn it down to 225.  In all, it will spend about six hours in the oven after which time it should be fall apart tender.

Of course, if it's summer or you're a die-hard grill master you can do this on the gas or charcoal grill.  Just be sure to monitor the heat and to replenish the coals as needed.  I prefer the easier oven method.  It's just as tasty albeit without the smoky flavor the grill contributes.

Shred the pork with two forks or let it cool a bit and pull it apart with your hands.  Wear gloves or the paprika will stain your fingers.  Mix in your favorite homemade or store bought barbecue sauce and you are in business.  I like to serve this on sandwich rolls.  Cole slaw and potato salad are great accompaniments, as are mac & cheese or baked beans.

Leftovers can be reheated with a little additional sauce in your lunch crock and you can have your barbecue all over again!

Quotable quotes; in the category Okay Maybe He Didn't Really Say It But Maybe He Should Have.  And If You Find It On The Internet It Has To Be True, Right?

"Barbecue is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity."  George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tooth Hurty!

Well, I finally had the offending tooth pulled and a bone graft to boot (necessary as I plan to have an implant later to replace the lost molar).  Not my favorite activity, let me tell you.

What I did enjoy was finding new things to eat that require little or no chewing and a freezer filled with Dove Bars and Ice Cream Sandwiches, useful both as a food source and as a cold compress to help reduce swelling after a tooth extraction.

One thing I have really enjoyed is this little gizmo. 
It's made by Crock Pot and is a lunch warmer.  It does not cook food, it warms it to eating temperature.  Fill the inner container with soup, stew or (I'm hoping) spaghetti, lasagna, mashed potatoes & gravy you name it.  Plug it in when you get to work and by lunch time your food is hot and ready and you did not have to deal with a line at the microwave (or any body's grody mess) or the high prices at the cafeteria.

There are lots of reviews of this product here.  I'll add my $.02.  There is a little ridge near the top of the inner container where the plastic lid snaps in.  I found after the first use that some of my soup had worked its way into the groove and I had to wash it extra carefully to be sure it all came off.  The container is not non-stick (and I would not want it to be) so you may want to spray the interior of the inner container with PAM or vegetable spray before filling.

The instructions tell you not to place the item on certain surfaces.  Better be sure and get a little wooden cutting board or trivet to place it on while heating.  You cannot remove the inner container while it's full of hot food, so you may wish to move the food into another container (which you'll have to wash) or just eat form the whole thing.  I'm not embarrassed - no reason to be!

I figure if I use this thing even once a week I'll have gotten my money's worth.  I don't often bring in things that need to be reheated, but when I do I hate to use the microwave.  I don't know why, I just do.  This is a great alternative.

I also bought this little guy (mine's bright yellow) thinking I might toast my sandwich once in awhile instead of eating it cold.
I'll let you know how this works out after I give it a try.  Meanwhile, check out the Lunch Crock.  You might like it!

Quotable quotes; in the category That's A Joke, Son!  (Actually, It's A Riddle)!

Q:  What time is it when you go to the dentist?
A:  Two-Thirty!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Comfort Foods - No Really!

I've been having dental issues again this weekend.  Luckily my stock of pain relievers is sufficient.  Sadly, it looks like another root canal is in my future.  If there's anything I hate worse than dental work it's not being able to eat comfortably.  Luckily my experience with dental work is as sufficient as my stock of pain relievers, so much so that I am considering writing a cookbook of soft foods that can be eaten while in extreme dental pain.  Here are a few ideas you might want to try next time you have a cracked tooth or need a root canal.

Potatoes.  Mashed.  Obvious, right?  But to make them just a little more substantial, peel a few potatoes (if they are young or are red or white potatoes with thin skins, just scrub them) and cut in chunks.  Place in a pot with water just to barely cover and sprinkle in a little bullion powder.  Simmer until very tender, drain any remaining liquid and return to the stove to dry a bit.  Plop in a nice amount of butter, a pinch of salt, a grinding of black pepper and top with minced fresh or dried parsley or chive.  Stir with a  fork to smash and enjoy, being careful to chew only on the unaffected side!

Take out.  A bowl of egg drop soup from the Chinese restaurant on the corner is just the thing.  If you can chew at all ask for a couple of won tons (or steal them from the Big Guy's bowl of Won Ton soup).  To make this at home heat a can of chicken broth (or water & bullion) to a simmer.  Season to taste with a little soy sauce, hot chili oil or whatever you like.  Beat an egg and drizzle into the soup while stirring gently to make egg flowers.

Congee . . . sort of.  Congee is actually a very small amount of rice cooked in a very large amount of water until it's a thick sort of soup.  Not exactly gruel, not exactly porridge, more like cream of nothing soup.  It's seasoned with bits of meat, vegetable, and other things.  To make a similar version at home add a few spoonfuls of leftover rice to a cup or two of chicken broth or water & bullion.  Simmer until the rice is completely dissolved and the soup is thick.  You can beat an egg and stir this in if you like.  Season to taste (see above) and enjoy.  Remember to let it cool if your teeth are sensitive to heat.

Don't forget the old standbys like oatmeal, cream of wheat, farina or grits.  Just leave out anything that requires much chewing like whole raisins or walnuts.  Remember to let it cool a bit if sensitive to heat.

For something cool try small curd cottage cheese, jello, or pureed anything (think baby food from a jar).  Any cooked fruit (apricots, peaches, apples) can be pureed, sweetened and enjoyed warm or cold.  Or do the same with vegetables such as squash, peas or cauliflower.  Or just grab a few jars from the baby food aisle.  Nobody has to know.

After a day or two of these dishes you will be eager to make that appointment and get back to steak and salads.

Quotable quotes; in the category What Is This, A Joke?

Q. When is it time to go to the dentist?
A. Two-Thirty! (tooth-hurty).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Call It Pork!

I made a pretty tasty dish for supper last night.  You might call it Buta-don.  You might call it Rice Bowl.  You will call it good.

As usual I rounded up several recipes and took my cue from the ingredients that crossed over and what I had in the kitchen.  It came out pretty good.  I'm including links to a few of them.  This was my favorite and the one I based my recipe on.  Here is another that gave me more ideas.

And here is what I did.

I had a couple pork chops in the fridge - not sure what cut they were - they each had a bone in the center and were rather thin.  I sliced them into thinner, bite size pieces and marinated them in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake and a little sugar.  Being me I also added a little red pepper flakes and a drop of sesame oil.

I also shredded some cabbage because I had some in the house and because I felt like eating some.  Just a few leaves are enough, sliced as thin as you can and then put in a dish of cold water in the fridge to get crisp.

I also thinly sliced an onion partly because I have to use them up and partly because I like them.  Now all I had to do was heat some oil in a non-stick skillet, toss in the onion and toss in the pork (including the bones which had plenty of meat on them).  I sizzled this over fairly high heat until the pork was just about done and the onions nice and golden, then poured in the marinade.  Once it boiled I simmered it until it reduced and thickened to a syrupy glaze.

Serve a portion of rice in a bowl with a portion of pork and onions over it and a bit of cabbage (drained) on the side.  Very tasty, quick and easy.

Quotable quotes; in the category Better Serve Everybody Else First, Just In Case!

"There is luck in the last helping."  Japanese Saying