Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving's coming!

This year will be Thanksgiving #2 here in Reno/Sparks, and I'm looking forward to it! Last year I deep fried a turkey, my 2nd attempt I believe, and was so miffed about it I didn't blog. I overcooked it for one thing, but just overall it wasn't all that dang tasty like everyone raves about. Chicken on the other hand seem to be better, more juicy and tasty. Maybe it's the size of the bird, I think both times I had a 20lb plus creature.

This year I'm going back to traditional, brining it and doing it in the oven. The spread should include the standards and a few family items. Turkey, taters, cranberry sauce (I'm going non-canned this year), creamed sweet corn (PA Dutch style), dare I try home made buns?, gravy of course, and Tracy will make a pumpkin and probably another pie. Fun fun!

For the first time since we moved here and almost two years since we've seen them, my dad and step are coming to town. It'll be nice to see them, but I'm not exactly sure what to do with them while they're here.

Maybe we'll break out Twister....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meet Mario, a sausage lover who's worried his lover is tired of the same old grind...

It's no secret I'm a fan of stupid TV like COPS, America's Most wanted, high speed car chase type stuff, etc etc. Good wholesome couch potato stuff. Cheaters cracks me up with their cheesy lines, like "A computer programmer calculating his fiance is getting her 'hard drive' from another source". Cracks me up. They use words like gumshoe, watering hole and eatery. "A pastry chef who suspects her lover is getting her buns fluffed elsewhere." Hee hee.

ANYWAY! So this past weekend's experiment was two fold. Could I make my own tasty sausage, and would I save money? Would it be worth it?

The first thing I did was finally buy a grinder for my KitchenAid. They're not exactly cheap, but I had a $10 card for Kohl's and was able to walk out with one for under $50.00. The next step is of course meat. My local grocer seems to always have meat red-tagged, 50% off or $2.00 off or whatever. The day I looked, I hit the jackpot with pork chops, pork loans, a small pork shoulder and some pork stew meat, all marked down. All told, I spent $11.21 on 5.97 pounds of meat. After bones and trimming, it was right at $2.00 a pound. Not cheap by any means, but not bad!

The first step you do is to chop things up in strips or small chunks, then partially freeze it. This allows for a cleaner grind, less gumming up. I ground it up without spices, and here's what it looked like:

After everything was ground, I sprinkled the following "Italian Sausage" recipe on top, and worked it in, then ran it through the grinder again.

2 tbsp. table salt
1 tbsp. fennel seed, cracked
1/2 tbsp. coriander
1 1/2 tbsp. paprika ( I ran out, so i used some taco seasoning with paprika #1)
3/4 tsp. red chili pepper, flakes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (didn't use)

The sample patty:

Overall? Success! Plenty of things to change, it was more like breakfast sausage, needed more fennel, less salt, less sugar, and more fat as I used pretty lean meat. But it was FUN and I'll do it again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Canning Apples

Apples really aren't my favorite fruit, honesty can't say I have one! Blueberries maybe. But when the opportunity came up and another couple here in the area Jed & Ayla brought over buckets, buckets and more buckets of small apples, various kinds, we make a LOAD of jelly, jam and apple sauce. Was a fun and tiring day, but just look at the results!

Things I miss the most

Has it really been 3 months? Sheesh, blogging is good for the soul, why don't I keep up!

Some (foodie) things we miss from Kansas City, and thanks to....

  1. Spanish Gardens Taco sauce, Mild. Thanks Kevin & Suzie! Thanks Bill!
  2. The Squeal Hog Rub. Thanks Joan! Thanks Mitch!
  3. Good old KC BBQ. We especially miss OK Joe's and their Z-Man sandwich. Thanks Paul for the BBQ package!
  4. Farmland Ciderhouse bacon. No one can seem to find it, SIGH!
  5. Westport Flea Market burger. None rival it here.
  6. Mi Cocina. I just don't know why those were such tasty tacos.
  7. BBQ in the hood. Good times.....