# Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The AeroGarden is a little self-contained hydroponic growing system designed to sit on your kitchen counter along with other appliances.  It’s a pretty interesting idea.  They have seed packs for things like salad greens, chili peppers, herbs, and cherry tomatoes along with flowers, etc.  For $150 it’s not the kind of thing I’d jump into right away.  Rainy Day Magazine has a blow by blow on actually growing with one, so I’ll check back to see how it works for them. 

It’s a pretty neat idea to be able to grow food indoors.  Since I don’t have a yard anymore, it’d be fun to grow stuff inside.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 7:36:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2]
Over the weekend we were entertaining some out-of-town family, so I decided to whip up some chicken fried steak (or chicken fried chicken for our one non-beef eater) for breakfast to mark to occasion.  I’ve been experimenting with CFS for a while, and it’s been getting progressively (IMHO) better.  Having never seen a CFS until I went to college, I have some catching up to do.  I got some pretty decent quality cube steak, and coated them with flour-then-egg-then-flour, where the flour had some salt, pepper, and (my favorite) a little poultry seasoning added.  Fried up in very hot canola oil and kept warm in a low oven, they were ready and waiting for the sausage gravy.  I tried some Jimmy Dean “bold” sausage for the gravy, which was pretty darn good.  In a perfect world, I prefer the fantasic bulk sausage from New Seasons, but you make do with what you have (in Sisters, OR).  I used whole milk for the gravy (might as well go all out) and again added a touch of poultry seasoning.  Plain rubbed sage works great too.  The whole thing worked out pretty well.  And since we’d polished off quite a helping of biscuits and gravy and poached eggs the morning before, I was pretty sure it would be a crowd pleaser.  :-)
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 6:01:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]

I was in the mood for quick and simple last night, so I took stock of what I had on hand and picked up a few extras, and the result, BLT’s with the addition of guacamole, and some tomato soup.  Just plain good. 

I used my new favorite sandwich bread, the “Rockin’ Rye” from Dave’s Killer Bread, toasted.  One side got a little tofu mayonaise, the other a coating of some pretty good Costco-issue guacamole.  Inside was the usual bacon (again, Costco issue.  Not the worlds best, but pretty good) some organic iceberg lettuce, and some flavorful is a bit still organic tomatoes.  I long for summer heirloom tomato season…

Accompanied by some “Creamy Tomato Soup” from Pacific Foods, it made a darn fine, quick dinner.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 5:53:52 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Friday, March 17, 2006

Since I’ve been testing out my new iPod the last couple of days, I’ve been checking out some podcasts (the new iTunes/iPod support for podcasts completely rocks), and I found one that I totally dig.  It’s called “Eat Feed”, and it has all kinds of food related content, including recipes and (best of all) food history.  I listened to their latest show this morning, which focuses on winter-time “comfort food” but also has an interview with author Jackie Williams, author of the very good books (I’ve read them both) Wagon Wheel Kitchens: Food on the Oregon Trail and The Way We Ate: Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900.  Ms. Williams had some very interesting things to say about eating in the Northwest in the latter half of the 19th C.  Very cool stuff.  I had no idea that people in Washington State were exporting oysters to the California gold fields in 1850. 

Anyway, if you’ve got any way of playing MP3 files (iPods included) check out the Eat Feed podcast.

Friday, March 17, 2006 9:04:03 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So I had this leftover pork, and needed to do something with it, so I decided it was the perfect candidate for pozole, which has got to be one of my all time favorites.  I made it a bit differently than I usually do, and the results (IMHO) were pretty darn good.

I started with some chicken broth (I like Pacific Foods organic), a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and a big (24oz?) can of Mexican style hominy.  That was followed with a chopped onion, and the leftover shredded pork.  For seasoning, I added one dried California chile (that I pulled out whole before serving) and some Mexican oregano.  Make sure you get Mexican oregano for this.  It’s a different plant from the Italian kind, and tastes quite different. 

That all simmered until the onions were transparent.  I served in big bowls with plenty of space for fresh garnishes.  I used cubed cheese (Cassero in this case), diced avocado, and shredded lettuce. 

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 5:49:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My lovely wife got me a new slow-cooker the other day, and I was itchin’ to try it out.  Luckily, my buddy Greg turned me on to his pulled pork recipe, and it was just the thing.  And it couldn’t be simpler (best kind).  Basically, you put some pork, some onions, and salt/pepper in the slow cooker and cook the dickens out of it. 

In a little more detail, I put the pork (I had a picnic roast) and 3–4 sliced onions in the cooker with salt/pepper and maybe a 1/4 cup of water, then cooked on low for close to 24 hours.  After that time, shred up the pork with a couple of forks, slather with BBQ sauce of your choice, and go to town.  I serverd over sourdough hoagies with pickled jalapenos.  Baked beans would have made a good side, if I’d have thought of it.  :-)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:46:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, March 03, 2006

This one was a big hit.  I was being lazy, and it turned out for the best. :-)

I started with a box of Pacific Foods’ beef broth, added a can of diced tomatoes, and some Costco frozen Italian meatballs.  Once that was all hot, I dumped in a bunch of spinach (I like the prewashed baby spinach) and just barely wilted it.  At the last minute, I tossed in some torn up fresh basil, which gave it a really nice smell.  Served it up with a loaf of New Seasons’ fabulous Como bread, and all was good.

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:59:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 02, 2006

I was cruising New Seasons last evening, and was inspired by some nice looking greens, so came up with something to host them.  I was thinking about the northern Italian dish whose name I can never remember involving buckwheat noodles, cabbage, potatoes and cheese. 

I got a bag of red fingerling potatoes, and set them to roasting at 400° coated in oil, salt and pepper.  Then boiled up some pasta.  I used organic whole wheat gamelli.  While those were cooking, I sauteed some broccolini and some kale (the really skinny, dark kind, usually labeled “dinosaur” or “lacinto”).  When everything was cooked, I added the pasta and the taters (chopped) to the greens, and tossed in a goodly portion of fontina cheese.  Stirred up enough to melt the cheese, and it was good to go. 

Very tasty.  The kids were down with it too, probably thanks to the cheese.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 6:08:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, January 30, 2006

My wife wanted to host a “tea” at an SCA event this past weekend, and so I needed to whip up some finger sandwiches (since that’s what you have at tea).  I went with the standard egg salad and cucumber and cream cheese, and for something different I tried making a chicken salad for some of the sandwiches.  It turned out to be a really big hit, and since it was so easy I wanted to pass it along.

I used canned white meat chicken (whatever brand they have at Costco, I didn’t notice), added some manyonaise (I use Nasoya brand tofu mayonaise) some salt, a healthy dose of Penzey’s sweet curry powder, and some raisins.  That’s it.  Beat everything together and spead on bread.  I was kind of surprised that it was so popular.  In a perfect world I’d have added some chopped celery, and some roasted cashews, but I didn’t have those things. :-)

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:09:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I got two great new cookbooks from my Mom at Christmas, and I’ve been cooking out of one of them pretty much non-stop all weekend.  Mangoes & Curry Leaves, by Jeff Alford and Naomi Duguid is my new favorite Indian cookbook. I cooked a bunch of stuff out of it over the weekend, including their pork vindaloo, and scrambled eggs with curry leaves.  Great stuff.  I love all their other books, so I’m not surprised that this one’s a winner too. 

I have yet to try the other one, the Cafe Flora Cookbook.   It’s one of my favorite restaurants ever, so I’m really looking forward to trying some of the recipes for my favorites.  I’ll report back when I do.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 7:10:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]