Butter season

December 11, 2018

“Christmas crack.” Two sticks of butter.

That’s how a friend once referred to the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and extending through the New Year.

Is it any wonder gyms are full,  come Jan. 2? We have all indulged ourselves beyond all measures of reasonableness, and we have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, thankyouverymuch. What is the onset of winter for, anyway, if not a last gasp of excess leading us into a long, slim season of cold, unpleasant weather and limited food options?

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Ham in the mail

November 25, 2018

A big ol’ batch of goodness.

Sometime not too long ago, I went to the freezer and pulled out my last package of Broadbent’s Country Ham. And I thought to myself, “Self? We’ve got to do something about this!”

And Self replied, “You’d best get back in the house, get on the computer, and order us some more.”

And that is what we did.

I have been buying Broadbent country ham since I bought one at a silent auction once. When I got that one home (I actually just bought the certificate for it, and they shipped it to me once I got home, thankfully), I realized a full-blown country ham was a bit much for me, given my kitchen, knife and knife skills limitations. Fortunately, Broadbent’s sells in packages of pre-sliced ham.

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But this is a pot roast worth waiting for.

Sorry, y’all. I haven’t been cooking a whole lot, and while I’ve been writing, it’s been the kind I get paid for, not the kind I do because it’s fun.

Yesterday morning, I was playing hooky from church, just because it got to be 10:15 before I noticed, and at that point, it was too late. Never mind the fact I got up at 7, and by 8 had my Sunday roast in the oven, and then made a dozen banana nut muffins which did the double duty of getting rid of the about-to-go-south bananas and providing the Sunday morning muffins for Sunday school.

To which I did not go. So I ate two of said muffins, with the added bonus of copious quantities of butter, which I normally don’t get on the Sunday muffins unless I bring some home and toast them Monday. And the roast just braised away, never mind only Child A and I were there to eat it, because it was in the 40s today and by George, I wanted a pot roast.

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An old, warm favorite

October 23, 2018

I guess I first made carbonnades a la flamande close on to 10 years ago.  It was one of the first strike-out-into-new-territory dishes I tried when I began to get more adventurous in cooking, and it’s been a favorite ever since.

Warmth in a bowl.

I remember WHY I tried it. I read the Arkansas Times, religiously, because I am a screaming liberal and that’s the screaming liberal newspaper in a state that ain’t got but one, at least that I know of. And Max Brantley, then the editor of same, and his wife were on a trip to Europe, and he was periodically posting on the Times’ blog. He mentioned one day about carbonnades a la flamande, which sent me to Google (I do dearly love Google) to look it up.

“Well,” I said to myself after reading a couple of versions of the recipe. “This seems simple enough. I b’lieve I could do this.” And Self replied, “Well, sure ya could!” So we undertook it. I believe I blogged it, sometime in early 2009. I just remember it was spitting snow, colder than five kinds of hell, and that was the warmest, most wonderful thing I’d ever eaten.

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Fall, stew and baking

October 16, 2018

Brumwick stew. Good stuff, and easy to make.

Yeah, yeah. It’s been nearly two weeks. I’m sorry. Consider due apologies and excuses made. But I’m in the kitchen today, yes, I am. 

I am cooking dinner for 25 at church tonight. The menu is Brunswick stew, corn muffins, cheese and bacon muffins, sandwiches, and, if I get to it, brownies and cookies.

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Unprocessing breakfast

October 3, 2018

Unprocessing myself right into that runny egg, I am!

It may not get a whole lot more processed than corned beef in a can, but when you make your own corned beef hash, and then fry up a couple of eggs over easy to slide on top of it, I’m ruling it serves as unprocessed lfor the purposed of October.

I mean, if I’d had homemade corned beef, which is certainly something I’ve done from scratch, I’d’a used that. I didn’t.  So, I’ve got the multi-million milligrams of salt, plus more preservatives than I’d like, but hey, there’s only half a can of corned beef in this thing, and three good servings of it. I have put two of them away for future breakfasts this week.

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Pizza, unprocessed

October 2, 2018

Ready to go into the oven

So here’s how you unprocess a pizza. First, you see proscuitto at a good price at Aldi, and you buy a package, never mind you have four in the freezer at home, and you think to yourself, “Self? That’d be fine on a pizza!)

And self agrees it most assuredly would. So you and self set about buying mozzarella cheese, as well, because you don’t know if you have any or not, and when you get home, you make pizza dough.

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Going unprocessed, tomorrow

September 30, 2018

and heres you a potential resource.

On the heels of Hunger Action Month in September, which, if I marked it at all, it was by cooking the white bean and sausage soup once, because I didn’t do much cooking in September, is October Unprocessed.

October is the month set aside each year for feeding yourself food you’ve either made yourself, or you know has been made using a minimum of “processed” ingredients, i.e., no casseroles with canned soup, etc.

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Let there be quiche!

September 29, 2018

Veggie on the left. Lorraine, plus broccoli, on the right.

I’m a quiche fan. I’ve been a quiche fan since I was in college and discovered it (we did not go to such fancy lengths with eggs, meat, cheese, veggies, et. al., in rural West Tennessee in the 60s and 70s), and I’ve made it fairly regularly since.

So when time came to make goodies for the annual bake/rummage sale at church, and I had a gracious plenty of eggs, I thought to myself, “Self? Why not bake a couple of quiches?” And Self was off to the races.

Self decided we would make a veggie quiche, with some of my dried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and broccoli. So we did that. And she decided we’d make a good old faithful Quiche Lorraine, with ham and Gruyere. And we did that, too.

Except that when we got to putting them together — we cheated and used frozen pie crusts, so they’d be easier to take to the sale and not worry about dishes, and those were small — we had too much broccoli. So the quiche Lorraine had broccoli in it, too.

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Throwback dinner

September 26, 2018

A dinner from childhood, or the start of one.

Because every once in a while, you just want to go back to the simple stuff you grew up on.

We had gotten to talking about Spam on the food forum I frequent (eGullet.org, and I highly commend it to you). I never ate much Spam, Daddy being a Korea veteran and having overdosed on it as a solider in the field. But I grew up on what must be a cousin to it, corned beef in a can.

We would have it with cabbage, once or twice a year. Always with fried potatoes and butterbeans, either out of the garden or out of the garden by way of the freezer. So when the can of corned beef went into my shopping cart, a head of cabbage quickly followed, and my plans for dinner were made.

I used half the can of corned beef and half a head of cabbage.  The remaining corned beef will go into corned beef hash for  brunch one day this week. I just sauteed the cubed up and further broken up in the skillet corned beef in a couple of tablespoons of butter on medium heat for a minute, while I chopped up the half-head of cabbage. Threw the cabbage in the skillet on top of it, stirred it well, put a lid on, turned down the heat and let it simmer on medium low for a while. Eventually, I added some black pepper. Canned corned beef’s salty enough to take care of that. Boom, done.

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