Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Steak man, lovely fabulous steak....

I can't recall the times I've had this conversation, and I guess since I've done it so many times, it now amazes me when it still comes up. Here's the beef: Ribeye steaks, prime rib and standing rib roast are ALL the SAME MEAT! Meat I tell ya! Steak! I say this for no other reason than to just post this picture, freshly cut ribeyes, at a savings of $1.50 a pound and at the thickness I love!

Christmas is coming! Prime rib is on the radar!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not exactly a review, an opinion. Green Bags. What a stupid idea.

First off, if you go to the site, you get blasted by the ad without a choice. Try it:

Props to the chick for coming up with a TV SENSATION, but what a load of crap. Here's an idea, EAT YOUR FOOD instead of squirrelling it away like uh... A SQUIRREL! Why would you BUY food and not eat it? It must have to do with Antarctica and Japan, as witnessed by your "Story behind the bags"

Scientists involved in Antarctic exploration were searching for ways to prolong the freshness of produce. During their research, they found a region in Japan where for thousands of years farmers have been storing produce in mountain caves with amazing results.

These days it's called the crisper drawer in the fridge.

Help me with the math too, if these things preserve food "up to 10 times the normal life", are you saying normal life is 3 days? That's what it sound like to me! I've got bananas that hang around longer than some zits I get, so I'm thinking this is wrong.

And get this, if your bags are smelly: "If the odor is getting bad, it is probably time to purchase additional DEBBIE MEYER Green Bags". Not the fruits and veggies, the BAGS!

What a load.....

Monday, November 5, 2007

Amber presents: Tasty tater chips!

I've only been able to find these at one store here, a WinCo which is a discount grocery warehouse club type of place. Cash only, bag your own. Pretty tasty chips, zingy with not a lot of heat.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I am a wine con of sewer!

I like a good red. I feel for those people that can't drink it cause of some strange alien reaction. With a good steak or a nice piece of dark chocolate, there's something happy about a smooth dark Pinot. I've got three criteria for good wine, it's gotta be red, smooth, and doesn't leave a tannin taste in your mouth (you know, like sucking on a unripe persimmon). It's a bonus if the wine is cheap or a gift. Case in point a gift from Tracy's work when she signed on, a 2004 Dierberg Pinot Noir. Yummy! I'm not gonna get in to hints of coffee and crap like that, my taste buds aren't that delicate, but just a good smooth vino I recommend! And Keystone says "what's that shadow? Huh?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Barf: Campbell's Chunky Grilled Italian Sausage and Peppers Soup

Whatzit: See Title

From where: Clearance rack at Scolari's

Prepared: Microwave

Rating: (that's 1 star for me swallowing it)

Talk about being disappointed. The best part of this meal was the milk. I had my hopes up cause I really like soup, and think the Chunky line from Campbell's is usually pretty good if you stay away from the dried out chicken. This one just got it all wrong. The sausage was like little pressed hamburgers. It was sweet, despite the fact the can is a whopping 1600 mg of sodium (that's 2/3rds your daily). AND I SALTED IT! They've got the taters down, and the thickness of the soup, but this one's flavor is just off. It's certainly got a pepper flavor to it, but not really sausage, and not really much of else. I think it's discontinued based on the buck I paid for it, and that's a smart move.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Cookin' Blues

I know myself well enough that I know I get in to patterns of boredom with cooking. Boredom is a harsh word though, it's more like constantly undecided and uninspired. I've cooked a couple things in the past week, new for me Beef Short Ribs in the crock pot, incredibly tender but not really too exciting. The other day I made a Stacked Chicken Enchilada Ray told us about, it was tasty, but not BAM WOW tasty. Burned out on chili for sure, haven't grilled in a week plus, and haven't been able to come up with something that's going to get me going. Near every day we watch something on FoodTV, so you think I'd get motivated, but the only thing I've done differently lately is sent in a $40 order to Penzey's. And that was only cause I had a coupon! Tracy has pushed me to cook healthier for us, which is tough for me since I'm a meat & taters kinda guy. I did do a salad the other day, but I've gotta load mine with cheese, eggs, bacon and tons of dressing, otherwise I hate it.

Categories I'm not too great at and need to learn are Fish, Chinese, simply more veggies that aren't in a soup, and chicken. Chicken should be a no brainer, I've got a few chicky recipes under my hat, need to branch out more... Hmm......

Friday, October 12, 2007

Last of the Motomkins

I have to say I'm extremely pleased with our desert crop this year. It had a LOT going against it, time, soil, weather, etc and is no where near our KS crop last year. Overall we had plenty to keep me happy, though my favorite Brandywine tom didn't produce much. Everything's smaller, that's for sure, but plenty of Roma's to cook with, and plenty of super sweet dime size cherry toms. The very last batch picked before the cold snap wasn't enough to fill a five gallon bucket, but it was close! Enough to eat, share, make chili and can a few for winter soup. Too bad there are a LOT of green ones still left on the vine, but they will go back to earth by being compost.

Mother Hubbard's dog biscuits

Thanks Uncle Frank & Aunt Judy! Mother Hubbards is "natural" and "healthful", all we know is it was enjoyed!
A little surprise in the bag of goodies. A KITTY!

Take the picture already!!! TRYING not to drool....

Ready? Set? TREAT!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mexican Casserole, super simple

Campbell's has some really easy & tasty recipes on their soup cans, usually too simple in my mind but easy to modify to your own likings.
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Creamy Chicken Verde Soup (not always easy to find)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (I actually omitted and toasted up some fresh garlic & peppers)
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I didn't cube, I shredded. Grilled, not microwaved)
  • 4 flour tortillas (8"), cut into strips (seems like too much, but it's not)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (plus some shredded white cheese)

Directions: Mix soup, water, garlic powder and chicken. Stir in tortillas. Spread mixture in 2-qt. shallow baking dish. Top with cheese. Cover. Bake at 350ºF. 25 min. or until hot. I forgot to take a picture of it in progress, oh well!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Meatloaf and playing Hide The Sausage

Are there people that don't like meatloaf? Is it cause it was too dry or too much filler compared to the meat? Is the "right way" to have ketchup on the top that is cooked along with the loaf so that it kinda thickens up? Onions in it? (not me!). Tricks? Treats?

I like meatloaf and really have a bunch of "unique" things I do to make it all come together for me. I kinda have a written recipe thanks to my Pop, but really only use it as a guideline and mine is way off from his, trust me. First off, I use beef and ground sausage, usually half and half but at LEAST a good chunk of sausage. Second, I add a can of cream of mushroom soup in addition to eggs. Yeah, it's pretty wet. Lastly, I add a river of Mozzarella cheese in the middle plus more special surprises!
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1.0 lb ground sausage
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 can Cream Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup or so shredded mozz cheese
  • 1 cup or so bread crumbs, I use canned Italian variety
  • spices of your choice and liking. Salt, pepper, celery seed, parsley, Italian blend

Pretty much mix it up and make a loaf! I usually have the bread crumbs on hand to adjust as needed, don't want it too soupy. I'll flatten mine out on a big cutting board then dump the cheese in the middle and kinda fold it up. It's not the easiest thing to do, kinda like playing darts with Jello. If you've not invested in a meatloaf pan, it's worth it. It's a two layer bread pan looking thing that has holes on the bottom for the grease to drip through. Cook for about 1 hour at 350, get your meat thermometer out and make sure it's in the 160 range. Undercooked sucks, trust me.

Here's the fun part! HIDE SOMETHING! It's not above me to sneak in things sitting in the fridge, or something getting a little stale in the cupboard. Years ago I was low on bread crumbs and used a bunch of crackers. What the heck, how about Cheetos's! I didn't smash them up, and the stark orange pieces was pretty funny looking, and tasted great! Somewhere along the line I added the cheese, man was THAT healthy! Then in another brilliant moment, how would Goldfish crackers look? Well, I can tell you it looks funny. This last one I made, I had a coupla hot dogs left, so what the heck right?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jack's Stack BBQ ribs to go! And beans! And sauce!

Last week the doorbell rang. UPS had already delivered the one package I was expecting, so who could it be? A neighbor wanting to introduce themselves? NAH!!! It's another package!! My buddy Paul & Libby surprised me with a very unexpected gift from Jack's Stack that made my day (week, month, etc). What better gift to get than FOOD, and food from "home" too! It came packed in dry ice (which I failed to play with before it was gone), and in a nice styrofoam cooler stamped with Jack's Stack on it that certainly will be used a few times, what a bonus!

I expected it to be good, the beans were a no brainer, I've had them there and they're meaty, tangy and how could that get screwed up by time and shipping? The ribs though? I had expectations that they would be decent, but I wasn't sure if having them cooked, frozen and heated back up if they would be dry, plus I am picky about my ribs. These had a good chance of being good since they were pork ribs, and spare ribs at that. We ignored the directions about cutting them up in pieces before heating and just put the whole slab on a pan in the convection oven (a wonderful appliance). Tracy made some biscuits are we were set:

The first comment (Tracy) was the smokiness, it definitely had a great smell to it. Sat down and basically used a FORK to split them apart, I could tell they wuz gonna be tender!

Yummy! Look at this rib pull out, Zzzzipppp!!!

Tasty, meaty, very well done, and now I have a challenge. I think Tracy liked them better than my own! To qualify that, she liked them better than the LAST ones, which were pretty fatty.

Thanks again guys, you're the best!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Little Pizzas! Yum!!

Thanks goes to my buddy Brett and his wife Annette for introducing me to this easy tasty method of creating homemade Za. I haven't had the chance to do it for a group, but I can imagine it being a hit, as it's a hit here at home with me and T. It's so easy it's like a head slap to me, cause I've been disappointed in most homemade pizzas, the Boboli kind, homemade crust, etc. The exception is Tracy's deep dish stuff, it's dang good but not a traditional flat bread pizza. This is about as close as you can get. I've yet to really work with trying to make the crust crispier, with all the crap I tend to throw on as toppings, it can get soggy. Regardless, it's easy and quick and since it's individual, you put on what you want.

The whole TRICK of this is to use flour tortillas! Brush them with a little olive oil, and go to town on your ingredients. Cook meat beforehand, Get a can of sauce, we use homemade spaghetti sauce which is extra tasty, and just set out little bowls of what you like, and cheese, lots of cheese. I like the traditional sausage, black olive, Mozz cheese, sauce. Tracy used some goat cheese, sun dried toms and garlic on one. Just THINK of the possibilities! Go through the fridge, whatta ya got? Crab meat? Seafood PIZZA! Havarti, Swiss and provolone? Ultimate CHEESE Pizza! Peppers and corn? A Veggie Pizza!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Banana Berry Foster ala Toddy

Paula Deen was my inspiration for this treat. If you know me, I don't have a sweet tooth, but Tracy does and I think she enjoyed it. She was making noises I've only heard... Oh, never mind.

Not healthy at all, so pass if you're weighing yourself every day. I'm at 192 these days by the way. BUTTA!

  • 1 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Malibu Rum
  • 1/8 Cup Amaretto
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans
  • 1/8 Cup dried blueberries
  • 4 Banananananas
  • Ice Cream, Vanilla is perfect

Get your skillet going with the butter and brown sugar, bubbling but not burning so that it thickens up. Doesn't take too long. Add the booze, nuts & berries and meld it all together, then add the bananas last, or don't add them at all, put them on the ice cream. It'll look like this in the pan:

Get yer bowls of ice cream out, pour the gooey goodness over and serve. I bet you find it very tasty and will impress.
The blueberries I used were from Costco, whole dried in a bag and are actually somehow enhanced with sugar & stuff. Dried by very moist and juicy. This would be great with strawberries or near just about anything really. How about star fruit, now THAT would be interesting eh?

Mutant Tomatoes Rule the Earth

Here's an oddball I picked from the garden o' toms. Weird eh? Looks like five of them trying to burst out from one. Tasted fine, but after I ate it I started to get this twitch and for some reason the dogs were barking at me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Variation on a theme

I really do like this sammich. It's also good with fresh basil, which is what I have here. Getting close to the end of the tomato season here in Sparks, so I enjoy them when I can. Maybe another this weekend... Yeah.... Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's a Muffaletta?

Ever heard of one? Not me, but it sure sounded interesting. Ol' Bobby Flay and his Showdown's, truly an interesting show and always something new to learn. This is a big fat meat and cheeze sammich with lots of olives, certainly something up my alley. I guess it's a common item in the New Orleans area, but it was news to me. Overall worth the effort and pretty easy despite the amount of ingredient. We tried it first cold which is how it's commonly served, then heated up enough to melt the cheese, etc. I actually preferred it hot, which is no surprise, I'm a much bigger fan of hot sandwiches. Bobby lost this one, mainly cause (they say) he went too far off track with his variation, using mayo and mustard, and then getting funky with everything else. Check his version out here: Bobby Flays Muffaletta Recipe

  • 1 Big round loaf of bread, get what you like.
  • 1/4 lb each of sliced meats, ham, turkey, Genoa Salami, Pepperoni, Prosciutto, etc.
  • 1/4 lb each of sliced cheeses, Provolone, Havarti, Swiss, Mozzarella, etc

Olive Salad:

  • 1/2 Cup Green Spanish olives
  • 1/2 Cup Black Olives
  • 1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives if you're adventurous
  • 1/4 chopped Pepperocini
  • 1/2 Stalk of celery chopped
  • 1/2 carrot chopped
  • 1 TB chopped garlic
  • 1 TB or whatever of mixed dried Italian herbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Pretty easy to make. Cut the bread in half, layer the meats and cheese to your liking, put a ton of olive salad on the other half and somehow slap them together. At that point I cut it up and served it in sections. To give it credence, Tracy is not a big olive fan and she ate it up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pozole Rojo de Puerco (Pork and Red Chile Hominy Soup)

My buddy Ray sent me this recipe and it is DAMN tasty. Even though it was 90 degrees out, I managed to eat two bowls. I did some of my own spin of course, comments in parentheses.

4 lb pork shoulder cut in to 1 inch chunks. (Remove chunks of fat)
60 ounces chicken broth or 4- 14 1/2 ounce cans.
2 TB veg oil
1 big onion chopped
6 to 10 cloves garlic chopped
3 medium carrots thinly sliced (next time I'll dice them)
2 to 3 TB ground ancho chiles or pasilla
2 TB chile powder, (I used taco seasoning)
1 TB ground cumin
1 TS dried thyme
1 TB Mexican Oregano
1 TS salt
4 15 oz cans white hominy or 2 big 28 oz cans rinsed ( I don't rinse)
1 big 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I used home made stewed tomatoes)
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 T masa harina flour. (I used regular flour)
Shredded cabbage as a garnish. (I did not do this)
Lime Wedges

Sour Cream

Put the pork pieces in a pot with one can chicken broth and a cup of water (I used two cans homemade beef broth). Bring to a boil and cover on low heat for 40 minutes. Reserve the meat in the broth off heat in another bowl.

In a big pot, heat the oil and fry the onions two minutes. Add the garlic and cook till onions and garlic gets limp. Add the carrots, ground chile, chili powder,oregano, cumin, thyme, and salt to the pot and cook 30 seconds.

Add remaining chick broth (I used two cans), hominy, tomatoes, cilantro, flour, and reserved pork and broth. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes. (I actually cooked it for about 2 hours)

Serve with chopped cilantro, lime wedges (a MUST!), chopped onions, oregano and sour cream as a side. Tasty-Tasty. Makes a lot, you'll have leftovers. Enough for 10 people .

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Reduced For Quick Sale

There are little things in life that make me happy, one of them is a bargain. Albertson's here in town isn't the best looking grocery store, nor do they stock the most stuff, but every once in awhile, they got DEALS! Tracy clued me in to the 99 cent bread rack, and I've sniffed out the $3.99 king crab legs and $1.99 shrimp, but today I got giddy! I wasn't even looking, wasn't even in the mood when calling my name like a sea witch I hear "Tooooooddddddd? Psst!? Over here!! It's us!!! RED MEAT.....STEAKS!!!" And I'll be damned! Grain Fed natural beef and $2.99 a pound for rib eyes and T-Bones!! Can ya believe it!?!?! It's $10.99 for this stuff here! I bought all I could see, needless to say. And we're having them (just two) tomorrow. Yum.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wanted to buy: This exact pepper grinder

Might as well get as much exposure as I can!

I'm looking for a mate for this, black or white if they made them in white, I don't know. I can't find a mark on it at all, inside or out. The clear part is glass, and it unscrews in the middle. The top appears to feel like metal and is glued on. The grinder is white ceramic not plastic. It stands about 4 inches tall, base is 2 inches wide. It grinds nicely, never clogs and I like the looks, yes I know I can go buy "similar".

Labor Day weekend's menu

I'm really really looking forward to Monday. Here's the line up:

All day slow cooked pork ribs
Onion Rings (big sweet yellow in beer batter)
Baked beans
Hash Brown casserole
Banana Berries Foster

What about you?

BTW, anyone have any idea what "Santa Barbara Style" means buying pork ribs? Same company, I had the choice of "Pork Spare Ribs Santa Barbara Style" for $2.49 or for 50 cents more, "Pork Spare Ribs Baby Back". They looked the same, I opted for cheaper.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tomatoes in the Desert, 2007

One thing I miss about Kansas? Tomatoes. Man did I have some killer crops. This was last year:

With room for 80-100 plants, it was fun to grow so many, all that variety of plants, and room for peppers and herbs. And we picked OFTEN! Flat out no contest winner is the Brandywine, a super red sweet luscious medium to large size 'mater that I love love love. Here's a plate:

Now I like salt, so that's how I eat them, but sometimes a couple splashes of balsamic, a little olive oil, fresh basil and some celery salt, yummy little salad is what you got there!

Fast forward to 2007. Thank God my wife loves me and knows what I like. Back oh, in April or May she built up for me a raised bed, best you can out here with sand and rocks. She got the concrete blocks and hauled them to the back yard and built it up, spread in soil and compost and planted about 15 plants, toms and peppers and basil. When I got here in July, it looked a bit scraggly, but with some fertilizer and a lot of water, I think it looks pretty good eh?

Turned out pretty good really. On the whole they are a lot smaller, none much bigger than a golf ball, certainly not a tennis ball, though on the vine some Brandywines are coming through that are larger. The mini cherries have been TASTY, and I'm going to make some sauce here really soon me thinks...

Farmer John's Pork Link Sausage

Whatzit: Farmer Johns Maple and Original link sausage

From where: Product of Los Angeles, bought in Sparks at Albertson's

Price: $0.79 for 8 oz on sale with coupon

Date: 08/19/07 for breakfast, 08/22/07 in spaghetti

Prepared: Simple pan cooked

Just dang good! The Original Maple doesn't really scream maple flavor, but it's got a nice sweetness to it that is pretty tasty. Enjoyed with cheesy eggs from Tracy. For the spaghetti sauce, we used a pound of it cooked and chopped up with a spatula (it's skinless), and 1 jar each of homemade sauce and Classico (review pending). Gets a minor ding for having the hated occasional gristle, to be expected but still hated.

Stones says: "I stand by this sausage, or uh sit. Good boy"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Brisket's "tough" to cook... Get it?

Brisket is worldly known as the toughest cut of meat to cook, and I know why. More than once I've had disastrous results where it turned out just dang chewy. Shoe leather. Beef Jerky. Rubber. I was pretty disillusioned the first time I tried it last summer, it literally FELL apart when I cut it, and man was it tasty. EASY right? And I didn't DO anything. I thought others brisket was often plain, so I spiced it up a bit with off the shelf BBQ rubs, and I swabbed it in Maple Syrup cause I thought that would give it a nice sweet crispy crust. I didn't monitor my temperature much, kept it at around 225-250 like I do my pulled pork, but I never measured the temp of the meat, I just let it ride. And it was great! But the next time I tried to duplicate it, Ew. Call for pizza.

So what went wrong? I can only think I got lucky the first time, and a few mixed times after that. The times in between were what was frustrating. For this adventure, I did a little research. And it turns out SO easy and explainable. Seems like it's a fairly well accepted fact that brisket meat needs to hit 185-190 degrees so that the fat breaks down and makes it really tender. Mine had been on there for about 8-9 hours, the grill temp pretty steady at 250. I was worried though cause the chunk of brisket was looking black and felt pretty hard when I poked it, meaning NOT tender. It looked done, it looked OVER done. Matter of fact, I *know* it was done and almost screwed it all up by yanking it off and taking it inside to sit.

Instead, I did the right thing and took it's temp. Hmmm. 160. That's not good. The coals had gone down a bit, flirting with 200, so I had to stir the coals and add more wood (I use apple and hickory by the way) and charcoal. I got the temp back up and had some patience (where I got that, who knows) and at about 190, I took the lump of dark meat off and on a plate and in to sit, wrapped in foil. Everyone KNOWS you have to do this. (Note 1). 20-30 minutes later, I was slicing about the best brisket I've ever had! It was hard to tell the difference between pulled pork and this. And tasty tasty. Tracy says she hates brisket, but this time she was raving. We simply had it on buns, and I like a little extra spice rub to sprinkle.

When I cook a big hunk of meat, I like to think ahead on what's going to happen to the leftovers. In brisket's case, we're copying a sammich we love from a great Kansas City BBQ joint called Oklahoma Joe's. The sammich is a Z-Man, made up of sliced brisket, a coupla fried onion rings covered with a slice of Provolone cheese, a dab of sweet BBQ sauce all on a Kaiser bun. To cut slice brisket properly, ya gotta do it "against the grain" and use a meat slicer. Thanks to Ray and Becky's housewarming gift, we have one! Onion rings in beer batter, and french fries double fried (fry, sit, fry).

Note 1: You really do! If you cut a piece of meat right after it's left the heat, the juices will run right out. If it sits a bit, they are drawn back in, making a moister more tender meat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In my opinion, the best sandwich ever

Or sammich as I prefer to call them. Why is that funny to me? This has been a favorite for years:

Whatzit: Tomato Bacon Mayo love

From where: Homemade

Date: 08/14/07

Prepared: See below



Potato Bread
Butter or bacon grease
Your favorite spice blend
Cooked bacon
Recommended for a twist: Pesto

It's a simple sandwich, kinda like a BLT but no 'L' and a little beyond basic. Potato bread is great cause it's thick and holds up well to all the moisture from the mayo and toms. Lightly spread butter on it or bacon grease, sprinkle it with your favorite spice blend, something red is usually good (BBQ rub, seasoned salt, etc). Fry the bread up on a skillet and start slicing the toms. Use good juicy fresh ones like Brandywines. From here I think you can figure it out, mayo on one side, pesto on the other, bacon and toms, slap it together and eat it up. It's easy to make this one over salty, so experiment. I can eat two, easy!

Look *away* from the sammich.... Look AWAY!

Tasty Jo Roasted Wasabi Coated Green Peas

Whatzit: Tasty Jo Roasted Wasabi Coated Green Peas. Little crunchy kernels of fun.

From where: Product of Thailand, packed in Chicago (bought in Missouri at the Better Cheddar)

Price: $3.99

Date: 08/14/07

Prepared: Right out of the can.


What a neat little snack that makes your nose tickle. Horseradish is what gives it the kick, and man what a kick! Doesn't last for long and doesn't burn, but sure can clear the nasal passages. Pretty healthy too, a third of a cup (plenty IMHO) is only 130 calories 3 grams of fat. And it says right on the can, great as a snack or (get this!) ANY occasion! ANY OF THEM!

Abby didn't think much of this, can you tell. Took about 20 takes to get THIS perfect. Good thing I had cheese.