Encouraging fall

September 26, 2016

Ready to go in the oven. Fall goodness, right here.

Ready to go in the oven. Fall goodness, right here.

I cooked a pot roast yesterday. It was 95 degrees outside on Sept. 25, and I cooked a pot roast.

However, the high today is in the 70s, and I was anticipating the about-damn-time arrival of fall-ish temperatures. Not to mention I was jonesing for some pot roast.

Or, more to the point, jonesing for the vegetable beef soup that will come from the remains of Mr. Pot Roast later on this week. As the temps are supposed to be, at least, no longer at mid-summer levels, it will be a suitable time to make vegetable beef soup, which we can have with either grilled cheese (for Child A) or pimiento cheese (for me) sammiches. Which, in turn, will require baking some bread.

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Checking in

September 23, 2016

The Bulldog. An American classic. Go there.

The Bulldog. An American classic. Go there.

It’s Friday night. I have not cooked.

Well, actually, I cooked last night, but I didn’t take pictures. Child C was here, and I hadn’t cooked in something approximating two and a half years, and I was jonesing for something down home. So I made a meat loaf, baked in the CSO (I love my CSO), cooked some frozen from the summer field peas, fried some okra, and made mashed potatoes.

It was good. Nothing to rock the world, but good.

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october-unprocessed-2016This is a pretty cool thing.

I ran across this on Facebook yesterday, and as it tickled my fancy (which was currently looking for something to tickle it and keep me in a sitting position on the couch, rather than up getting stuff done, which I ought to have been doing), so I clicked.

Simple enough challenge. In October, eat nothing you can’t cook in your own kitchen. That doesn’t limit you to JUST eating your own cooking, but it needs to be something without additives, as close to natural as you can get it. It’s the brainchild of the guy who has the Eating Rules website. His rules are simple:

  1. Eat no grains except 100 percent whole grains
  2. Eat nothing with high fructose corn syrup
  3. Eat no trans fats

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A most lovely steak. Potatoes and asparagus in the background.

A most lovely steak. Potatoes and asparagus in the background.

You note there has been little on the blog (that is to say, nothing to speak of) in the past several days. That would be because I have been (a) busy as the proverbial bee, and (b) gone for five days. So there hasn’t been much cooking; in fact, I think I’ve cooked once in the past two weeks.

Which does not negate the fact that I did take time while in Dallas to enjoy one of the best dinners one can enjoy in Dallas, to wit, an Al Biernat steak. With port wine and foie gras sauce.

Have mercy. It was about worth spending five days on the road for.

You can get good steak in Dallas. Real good steak. Or, you can get an Al Biernat steak, which is enough orders of magnitude above a real good steak so as to be almost an entirely different dish. I’m not real sure what they do to their steaks, other than cook them perfectly with a nicely seasoned crust seared onto the outside and a lovely red center.

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Rant warning: I hate WalMart!

September 6, 2016

cartoon-082809Every once in a while, I sit down at the keyboard and dash off something that’s good enough I think it maybe deserves a little wider play than it got on my Facebook page.

Which is where this rant originally went. And while I’m not nearly as prone to ranting as I once was, every once in a while, it just bubbles up and boils out my fingertips.

Here, in its entirety, is my Facebook rant on WalMart, posted earlier today in response to some comments on my “I hate WalMart” facebook status:

Sigh. I should know better. I should KNOW not to shop there, Arkansas company be damned. It’s ALWAYS unpleasant.

This trip, I got to the self-checkout, which I always use to keep from having to wait in the eight-people-deep line, only to find out that one of my items does not have a tag on it. I check the rest of the stuff out, pay for it, and, clasping my receipt so I don’t get arrested for shoplifting later, I head back to the cleaning supplies aisle. Read the rest of this entry »

White sandwich loaf. CSO makes such a PRETTY crust!

White sandwich loaf. CSO makes such a PRETTY crust!

While I have been about building my sourdough seed culture, I knew I needed a loaf of bread to see me through this week, as well as some rolls for Sunday dinner. Being that I had Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice out, I went paging through it to see what there was in the way of white bread.

Reinhart’s breads, for the most part, are multi-day undertakings, most of them involving beginning with a soaker, a “poolish” or a “biga” that is made on Day 1, fermented several hours on the countertop, then popped into the refrigerator overnight, and used to make the bread the next day. It’s the long fermenting of the yeast that lends the superb flavor to the basically bland ingredients of flour, water and salt.

But lo and behold, here was a Reinhart recipe that could be made all in one day. And it made either two loaves, or 18 dinner rolls, which by my math, means it ought to make one loaf and nine rolls. Done, and done.

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Science alert in the kitchen!

September 3, 2016

Mystery photo. Read on, and see what it is.

Mystery photo. Read on, and see what it is.

We have experimentation going on.

We have not gotten as much done today as we’d planned, but we have some projects under way that involve fermentation. And we’ve spent a lot more time running around, doing things like getting the propane bottle filled, making a quick run to the bank (since it’s closed on Monday), going to the farmers’ market, and stopping by WalMart to pick up stuff I bought yesterday but forgot and left at the checkout counter (apparently didn’t get all my bags, so I bought it again) and Kroger to pick up frozen toasted ravioli for Child A, who loves the stuff.

So the housecleaning will wait (housecleaning will ALWAYS wait!), but I did get the two things started I wanted to start. Well, actually three, as I’ve got a batch of yeast bread rising that’ll make a loaf for sandwiches and toast, and some rolls for tomorrow. About to start brining the chicken, which will go on the smoker early tomorrow morning about as soon as I get up. Going to put some beans on to soak before I go to bed tonight, pressure cook them tomorrow, then drain some of the liquid and put them back in the Instant Pot to make baked beans. Mac and cheese and some potato salad and a sliced tomato will just about finish things off. I might get ambitious and make a pie; I might not.

But back to the fermentation.

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