BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin is the other whom Yoda spoke about.

calendar   Thursday - February 02, 2012

Quick Chili

I made this up last night in under an hour. Usually for me a batch of chili takes at least 3 hours, slowly simmering away until all the flavors open and bloom. This one uses finely ground peppers, so that happens quickly. And the recipe is really easy to remember.

Three’s Chili

3 Tbs olive oil
3 small yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 quarters of a pound of ground beef
3 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
3 large Ancho chiles
3 Guajillo chiles
3 Chipotle chiles
1 1lb can of red kidney beans or pinto beans
1 28oz can of chopped tomatoes
3 quarters of a cup of water or beer
1 heaping tablespoon cumin seeds
oregano
chili powder from the dollar store
Cheddar or Monteray Jack cheese
Sour Cream

Stem and seed the dried peppers. Use a good hefty pair of sharp scissors to cut them into small bits, then add them all to a Magic Bullet or other small enclosed power chopper device. Grind them into powder. Grind the cumin seeds in another container or spice grinder, add half to the powdered chili, set the other half aside.
Heat the olive oil slowly in a large high sided skillet or wok pan. Add the onions and let them soften and begin to brown. Add the ground beef and cook it until the pink is gone. Open the can of beans and rinse them a bit, then add to the pan. Put in the garlic. Stir things around and let it cook a couple minutes. Add the ground pepper/cumin mix, stir. Pour in the whole can of tomatoes, liquid and all. Add in the water. Heat it up to boil, then reduce to a medium simmer. Taste test, and add more cumin if necessary to bring that flavor forward. It will taste hot at this point, don’t worry; the heat of the chipotle cooks off. Add a decent shake of oregano. If it seems to need some salt, add a teaspoon or so of the dollar store chili. That has plenty of salt in it already plus a little garlic and some sweet chili. Stir every couple minutes and let it simmer for half an hour or so.

Serve in bowls with grated cheese on top and a dollop of cream cheese, chips on the side. Serves four. This chili has a small amount of heat, but it’s really rich in Tex-Mex flavor. The chipotle adds a nice smokey flavor. If you want even more of that, grind up 1 or 2 pasilla de Oaxaca chiles. These are usually very smokey. Intensely so, but with heat. Mulatos could work for that too, with less heat, or other smoked sweet chiles.

I buy dried cumin and chiles by the pound which really brings the cost down; I think it costs about $5 to make this whole dish, not including the cheese or sour cream. If you like your chili red hot, add a spoonful of ground Cayenne or slice a couple of fresh Serranos into the simmer.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/02/2012 at 07:50 AM   
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calendar   Wednesday - January 18, 2012

Better Than Bacon

What, You Don’t Like Scrapple?


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scrapple - it’s offal good!




With Wiki and so many other places shut down today, I’m kind of left to my own devices. So I went shopping and did a scrapple taste test shootout for lunch. Then I looked some stuff up on the net, and that caused this post to be created.

To my complete amazement, scrapple is not a universal American food. The king of all conglomerated pork products is really only available here in the mid-Atlantic states and their close neighbors. News to me. So if you don’t know, scrapple is a mix of flour, spices, and everything that’s left over on the pig once the butcher has done his duty. Everything except the squeal, and that’s what scrapple is all about. Back in the day scrapple was invented by German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area. It’s scrapings, boiled up with flour to form a mush. If you’re English, think pudding. Europeans - think pork polenta. It doesn’t go in a skin like a sausage, it gets molded into blocks and frozen. Then you get some, thaw it, and take 1/2” slices and fry them. And a good scrapple is the best thing in the world for breakfast with eggs. The problem is finding a good scrapple.

Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other scraps, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are discarded, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned, and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, and others are added. The mush is cast into loaves, and allowed to cool thoroughly until gelled. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook’s taste.

My grocery store carries the Parks brand once in a blue moon, but the Wal-mart next door seems to be stocking both the Rapa and the Habbersett brands, both for about $2.89 per 1lb package. I had scrapple all the time as a child, so I had a clear memory of how it should taste. I tried the Parks product a couple years ago. Epic. Fail. I can’t give you any details, but it was just wrong. It wasn’t spoiled, but it tasted so bad to me that I threw the rest of it away.

I got a loaf of Habbersett’s last week, and it was perfection. Scrapple is heavily spiced stuff, so if you find you need to add salt and pepper to yours to give it some flavor you’ve got the wrong scrapple. The Habbersett scrapple is loaded with black pepper. Loaded. It also has a light, meaty taste that let’s you know you are enjoying some kind of fried pork product. Habbersett’s is a genuine Penn Dutch product, made right over yonder down across the Delaware River in Amish country.

This week I tried the Rapa product. I hear that the Rapa company is owned by the Jones Farm sausage company. Jones Farm does a great job with their breakfast sausages, and they have their own brand of scrapple which I don’t think I’ve ever tried. I ate half the brick of Rapa yesterday, and I had the other half for lunch today, just to be sure. Not the winner. Sorry Rapa minions. It may be the ingredients. Rapa scrapple is much higher in Vitamin A and iron than Habbersett, being made from (pork stock, pork livers, pork fat, pork snouts, corn meal, pork hearts, wheat flour, salt, and spices) rather than (pork stock, pork, pork skins, corn meal, wheat flour, pork hearts, pork livers, pork tongues, salt, and spices), but it has a duskier, duller flavor. Perhaps this is because of the over abundance of liver, perhaps it’s because of the under use of spices. But it isn’t piquant; it doesn’t sparkle on your taste buds.

The Hatfield company also makes scrapple, although I’ve never seen any. And if I go visit the in-laws out in PA and give them a heads-up, they say they can get some locally made scrapple that beats all the store brands hands down. That’s a challenge I’d like to take up, and I’ll be there with my brick of Habbersett’s, ready to fry.

And yes, with fried or scrambled eggs and toast, it is better than bacon. For lunch, a SLT beats a BLT every time. But bacon is more widely useful, and has it’s own great taste.

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Scrapple is chock full of energy, and helps power the local boomerang team. Onward to glory!



More scrapple links:
http://madashellliberal.blogspot.com/2009/05/ode-to-scrapple.html
http://davescupboard.blogspot.com/2008/08/in-praise-of-scrapple.html



PS - a bit of searching has shown me that I can pick up the Hatfield brand down in Flemington, and that it costs a third less than what the others cost. Meat product, $1.79 per pound. Some reviews say it’s pretty terrible though.
PPS - Dave says Jones Farm owns Habbersett too. Perish the thought!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/18/2012 at 04:09 PM   
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calendar   Sunday - December 25, 2011

Calling All English

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What is the best beer to use for fish ‘n chips batter?
What is the best batter? Egg or no egg, leave the leavening in, or leave it out?
Add a bit of cornmeal, egad??

I did my deep fried cod, and I used a beer batter recipe that had a couple eggs and some baking soda and baking powder in it. It said to add a beer. So I took a Coors Lite, that I had on hand for the holiday because that’s what my brother in law drinks, and I used that. MISTAKE.

Oh, it fried up just fine. And the fish was wonderful. Before giving it the batter I gave the pieces a dusting of black pepper and smoked Spanish paprika, and that flavor came through marvelously. But the crispy coating was rather ... blah tasting, and where it went on too thick it was a bit cakey on the inside. I chose the wrong beer, figuring, WTH, let me get rid of this stuff because I’ll never drink it. Come on, it came in plastic bottles for crying out loud. Wrong thought process. You need to use a beer with flavor, lots and lots of flavor, to get the coating right.

Do I want a balanced dark brew, or a sharp hoppy one like an IPA or something made with lots of Kent Goldings (oh heaven in a glass!), or do I want a rich, thick, creamy beer/ale/stout that’s heavy on the malts? Guiness Draught, Fuller’s London Porter, etc. Plain malts, or the darkly roasted chocolaty ones?

I have a good beer guy locally. If it comes in a bottle, I can get my hands on it. Newcastle Brown, no problem. Leinenkugel’s, easy. Lone Star, Red Stripe, Olympia, Anchor Steam Porter; no sweat. John Courage Bitter ... I know where to get some of that too.

So for next time, what works best? Should I avoid the leavening? Should I use a recipe with some corn meal in it, or should I just stick with Paula Dean’s basic one that adds quite a bit of salt and garlic powder?

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Parsley??? A few tablespoonsful of apple cider vinegar and some Fines Herbes??


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/25/2011 at 10:48 PM   
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calendar   Saturday - December 03, 2011

Kellogg’s now includes a ‘halal certified’ logo on the side of its cereal boxes.

In the hard copy edition of the Mail, the logo was shown.

Just shows ya how far a minority and punch above it’s actual weight in these pc times.
And don’t ya just hate that?


Just say No to a bowl of halal Corn Flakes

By Kelvin MacKenzie
Daily Mail

I have just learned — thanks to a reader’s email — that Kellogg’s now includes a ‘halal certified’ logo on the side of its cereal boxes.

The company claims the move is ‘due to legislation for our multi-cultural society’. Apparently, ‘halal certified’ means the ingredients have been approved by a body called the Halal Food Authority as not containing any animal derivatives or alcohol.

For my part, I’m not sure I approve of the way that animals are killed ‘halal-style’ (with their throats cut and then bled to death, as prescribed by sharia law). If you agree with me, I suggest you need never buy Kellogg’s again.

Alternatively, you could, of course, write to Kellogg’s and ask the firm to produce two different types of cereal boxes — half ‘halal certified’ and half not.

Come to think of, since we are still a predominantly Christian country, perhaps they could produce half their boxes with a cross on them, and half not.

mackenzie


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/03/2011 at 01:47 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningPolitically Correct B.S.UK •  
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calendar   Friday - November 18, 2011

Side Dishes

What, you’re planning on serving plain white rice with dinner? Shame on you. For an extra 50¢ per serving and 10 minutes effort you can make a great tasting dish that’s so easy even Drew can do it.

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Peas and Rice, Bahamas style

4-6oz finely chopped salt pork or fat back or 6 slices of bacon
1 4” Spanish or yellow onion
1 1lb can pigeon peas (Goya) or 1 cup dry pigeon peas washed and soaked over night
1 green pepper
2 stalks celery, cleaned, trimmed, and diced
1/2 tsp ground thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
half a tiny can tomato paste (about 4 tbs, call it a generous dollop)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes or 3 medium fresh ripe tomatoes diced (optional)
2 cups dry white rice, rinsed
3 cups water

gently fry the pork to render the fat. Cook it nice and crispy, set aside to cool, then crumble or chop finely.

chop the onion, celery, garlic, and pepper while the pork renders, then start the onion browning in the liquid fat

When the onion is starting to brown, add the green pepper and the garlic and continue cooking for 3 minutes. When the onions are half browned and the green pepper is slightly softened, add the thyme and the ground black pepper and the tomato paste. If you want a more prominent tomato flavor, add the diced tomatoes. Toss in the crispy bacon crumbs. Don’t over brown the onions. You want some color, not fully caramelized.

Stir things around for another couple of minutes, then add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Stir, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Pour in the whole can of pigeon peas, juice and all. Stir, cover, and let simmer for another 20 minutes. You don’t want to add the pigeon peas too early or else they’ll go mushy. Depending on how thirsty your rice is, you may have to add some more water to get it fully plump, but we’re not making soup here, so don’t overdo it.

This makes enough to serve 8 as a side dish, or 4 as a full meal. It makes a nice counterpoint to spicy dishes, or adds some zest to mildly flavored meals. Goes great with whatever kind of conch you’re serving if you’re going full Bahama.

Variations are easy - some folks add a little salt, some do without the garlic or diced tomatoes, or add a good dollop of ketchup, some only use half a green pepper, some even use blackeyed peas instead. More peas can’t hurt. Dice some red pepper and toss it in if you feel like it. You could even add some cubed leftover ham or fried Spam and make a full meal out of it. Got a smokey ham bone? Throw it in for a stronger flavor. What makes this recipe unlike your typical Hispanic style peas ‘n rice is the thyme.

There is another kind of Bahamian peas ‘n rice dish that uses coconut cream. Totally different recipe.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/18/2011 at 02:19 PM   
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calendar   Tuesday - October 18, 2011

Rice and Beans

If you have the HBO channel, I hope you’re watching the Boardwalk Empire series. It’s a fantastic show about political corruption and the rise of gangsterism, set in Atlantic City at the beginning of Prohibition. As a period piece and a costume drama it’s visually amazing; the cloths, the cars, and the architecture are phenomenal. The storylines are just as impressive, as alliances change and the characters all try to get ahead in what was a very rough world. If you’re new to the show and you can’t find the first season’s episodes On Demand, I’d suggest getting the DVDs and watching, because the characters are quite detailed and quite subtle in many ways. It’s a breakout role for actor Steve Buscemi, cast as city treasurer Nucky Thompson. With executive producer Martin Scorsese it’s as good a series as any that HBO has ever done, and that’s saying a lot. Ok, it has some lefty slant, what on television doesn’t? The corrupt politicians are all Republicans, as were the real life people the story was based on. That doesn’t make much difference overall. If you have HBO now is the time to get on board the Empire Express, because things are about to explode and it will be one heck of a ride this season.

“I’ve been craving me some Hoppin’ John since the moon were blue.”

While Nucky runs the show in the main part of the city, over in darktown his counterpart is Albert “Chalky” White. Superbly played by Michael Kenneth Williams, Chalky is one tough hombre who came up the hard way, but he also has his insecurities and shortcomings, and is more than a bit haunted by his past, growing up dirt poor in the deep south and suffering the racism of the era. Having found success and a modest fortune through his semi-criminal activities and his many connections to the community, at home Chalky is merely Albert. He has married far above his station to a “high yellow” woman, and she’s raising the children to be part of her high class world. Chalky doesn’t fit in there with his “field hand” background, and it angers him that his wife and children seem to patronize his “lowness” while living well off of the money he brings home. In last week’s episode, Chalky spent a week in jail. His wife visited, and brought Albert a copy of Great Expectations to read to help pass the time behind bars. Chalky is illiterate. Diss!

This week’s episode had the White family inviting his daughter’s beau over for dinner so they could meet him. Having had a bit too much to drink after a bad day when the whole world was against him, at dinner Albert is cranky that the fine meal with all the trimmings doesn’t include the bowl of Hoppin’ John he was hoping for. This is some subtle stuff going on. The frission within the black community between those of varying complexion - Chalky is very dark, and his wife and children very light; “passin”, or almost “bein” white folks, and certainly acting like them - was an issue then even more than it’s an issue now, and it is almost never even alluded to on TV or in film. About the only time I ever saw or heard anything that dealt with it directly (other than one or two lines concerning field hands vs house labor in Gone With The Wind) was an art house film Gullah biopic called Daughters of the Dust from two decades ago. But those attitudes are probably still with us today, which could partially explain why such light toned black singers and actresses are held up as beauty icons, while the MSM’s push to get people to believe that Michelle Obama is the new Jackie Kennedy seems so false. I think that’s a healing effort attempt by the media; she’s very dark and she’s built like a field hand. I can’t see anything wrong with expanding the concept of beauty, especially if it mitigates a lot of preconceptions that mistakenly associate attractiveness with paleness. I just think the media could have found a better female icon. Fox New’s Harris Faulkner, the actress Jasika Nicole who plays Agent Astrid Farnsworth on the TV show Fringe, or even Lenora Crichlow who plays the adorable ghost Annie on the BBC import Being Human are all really attractive. Who am I kidding? All three of them are cuter than hell. I guess they’re just not black enough. So we can expect the media to push Herman Cain as the new tall dark and handsome? Not on your life. Politics trumps color every time. No matter how dark Cain is, he will soon have his Negro Card revoked.

But I digress. Back on Boardwalk, Albert is having his fine family dinner, but inside him Chalky wants some soul food, 45 years before “soul food” existed as such or had any cultural respect. And there ain’t no damn Hoppin’ John to be had. His passin’ family won’t be serving no field nigga slave food. This is never said out loud, but the message is loud and clear with just a few glances from his wife and kids. Pretty subtle.

What is it? “Hoppin’ John” is a patois corruption of “pois de pigeons” (pigeon peas). pwah-d -pijahnz becomes poppin johns becomes hoppin’ john. Black-eyed peas and rice with a little hot pepper thrown in, slow cooked and flavored with some leftover smoked fatty pork. Tasty, filling, and dirt cheap, it’s a side dish that’s a meal all by itself, made better by tossing in herbs, celery, and some field greens if you’ve got any.
You can find recipes for it online, but the best recipes are the traditional ones that take hours to stew. Start with a pound of dried beans and soak them overnight. Use a real ham hock instead of a ham steak. Cook up a big mess of bacon and don’t throw out the fat; add it to the collards along with a ham bone while they boil. Forget the fancy herbs and spices; a stalk of celery and a few sprigs of fresh thyme are enough. Just don’t forget the hot sauce when you serve it.

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/18/2011 at 12:39 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningTelevision •  
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calendar   Saturday - October 15, 2011

Fall. Apples. Cooking.

It’s fall. How do I know? Wife is bringing apples home from the farmer’s market. I don’t particularly enjoy raw apples, though I’ll eat them. But I prefer cooked apples. For instance, if I’m frying pork chops, I’ll core, peel, and slice apples and sautè apples to serve with the chops. I also like apple pie, but neither of us is willing to make apple pie.

But the wife has brought home so many apples that I need to use them up before they go bad. I don’t have enough pork chops. Solution? Home-made applesauce.

4 apples: cored, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all of the above, Simmer, covered, over low heat for 15-20 minutes until apples are soft. Mash apples with a fork.

I might say, this is really good on my home-made Belgian waffles. Probably better for us than pouring maple syrup on the waffles.

Drew, what did you do! I can’t access comments. Now I can’t access categories on my posts. Next: this won’t post.

***
Okay, it posted. I still can’t access categories, or comments. WTF?


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Posted by Christopher   United States  on 10/15/2011 at 11:51 AM   
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calendar   Tuesday - October 04, 2011

EZ Bake Goodness

Mushroom - Ham - Swiss Quiche
makes 2 quiches

2 frozen deep dish pastry pie shells image
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
half a dozen fresh large eggs
2 10oz packages sliced white mushrooms
3/4lb thin sliced deli ham
3/4lb wedge Jarlsberg Swiss cheese
coarsely ground black pepper
whole nutmeg

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Coat a large skillet with a good splash of olive oil. Heat it up a bit, then toss in both packages of mushrooms. Stir them around to coat with oil, let cook for a couple minutes then cover and reduce heat.

Pare the wax off of the wedge of Jarlsberg, then slice the whole wedge into matchsticks using a very sharp knife.

Roll up 3 or 4 slices of the deli ham, cut them into thirds lengthwise, then slice them into 1/2” widths. This gives you lots of little pieces of ham. Repeat this several times more until you’ve cut up about 12-16 slices of ham. Check the mushrooms and give them a stir.

Break the eggs into a medium small mixing bowl and beat them with fork. Add the milk and cream and mix them up. Grate on a bit of nutmeg - about a dozen passes over a fine Microplane grater - and then grind on a generous amount of black pepper. Mix it all together. Check the mushrooms; they should be starting to brown a little and the juices should be running. When that happens, take the cover off and let them evaporate for another 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to ladle them out into a bowl.

Put a handful of cheese matchsticks in the bottom of each pie shell, even distributed. Now add a handful of ham bits the same way, and then a spoonful of the half browned mushrooms. Add a generous layer of cheese and then a generous layer of ham and mushrooms.

Open up the oven and slide the top rack forward. Place a solid baking sheet on the top rack - one that won’t suddenly twist out when it gets hot! - and place each pie shell on the baking sheet. Carefully pour in some of the cream/egg mixture until each shell is 3/4 full. Toss in any remaining cheese, ham, and mushrooms. Top the shells off with the remaining liquid, stopping when the liquid is about 1/8” down from the top of the pastry. If you’ve been generous with the fillings you’ll have about 1/4 cup left of the liquid left. If your oven is properly level you can probably get away with putting it all in. If you happen to have pie shields go ahead and use them.

Bake them for about 45 minutes. The quiches will be mostly set at this point but not browned. Turn the oven up to 400° F and give them another 10 minutes to brown, then turn the oven off. If you like your quiche firm leave them in for another 15 minutes, otherwise take them out. Let them cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut yourself a really generous slice for breakfast and reheat it for one minute in the microwave. Give the second quiche to a friend or neighbor.

I topped mine off with a whole slice of ham and a whole slice of deli Swiss laid crosswise over that, just for show. Comes out great. There is no need to add salt because of all the cheese.

Variations - you can add some onion if you want. Soften or caramelize about half a large sliced Spanish onion ahead of time, and add half to each quiche. You can also cook them using a water bath method. Just make sure that your pie pans don’t have any vent holes on the bottom. You could add some broccolli if you really felt the need. I often add several slices of crispy bacon, although the flavor tends to get lost. I’m sure that slices of pre-cooked breakfast sausage would work too. Don’t make it too complicated; stick to 2 or at most 3 main flavors. I used less than 1/4 of an average nutmeg for both; don’t overdo it with the nutmeg. You can vary the texture by using more milk and less cream, or using half an half instead, or all milk or all cream. IMO heavy cream with just a splash of milk works best. Portabella mushrooms have a stronger flavor. Different cheeses have different flavors. Use your imagination.

I had no intention of making quiches, but when I was getting the ham at the deli I saw their quiche in the display case for $5 a slice. Crivens! I made a whole quiche for hardly more than that, using generous quantities of top quality ingredients. And it’s just so darn easy to do ... and all the neighbor ladies were duly impressed, making more “mmm mmm” noises than a whole classroom full of children during Obama Indoctrination. One asked me if I thought a quiche could be frozen. Probably, but whatever for? So it won’t go stale. Are you kidding me? These things never go stale because they get eaten up in a day or two. What you don’t eat for breakfast you’ll eat later on for a snack or with dinner.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/04/2011 at 02:06 PM   
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oh those french

French Schools Ordered to Ration Ketchup to Protect Cultural Heritage



What more really needs to be said?



PARIS – French schools were rationing ketchup in their cafeterias to help children keep their cultural identity, under a new government decree.

The rule came into force in most primary and secondary schools Monday and restricts how often the condiment can be served.

School lunchrooms can serve dressings such as ketchup and mayonnaise only with certain dishes, such as fries, which are now allowed only once a week.

Fries only once a week? Have they been listening to le Mooch?

The decree also bans schools from serving ketchup with traditional French meals, such as beef bourguignon and roast veal with blue cheese sauce.

The edict aims to ensure that the pupils stay connected to their cultural heritage—and to prevent them from being lured by fattening junk food.

“Canteens [cafeterias] have a public health mission but also an educative mission,” according to Christophe Hebert, chairman of the National Association of Directors of Collective Restaurants. “We have to ensure that children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation.”

I’m not really sure how to respond to this, but I’m thinking that forcing children to eat food from only one culture is anti-diversity, and therefore raaaaaaaaaacist!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/04/2011 at 08:47 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFRANCE •  
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calendar   Friday - September 23, 2011

Can I introduce you please To a lump of Cheddar Cheese





Love this!

Being a Yank, I’d never heard it or knew it existed until just now. It’s utterly simple and stupid and completely excellent. It doesn’t hardly even have real lyrics until the second verse. Fabulous. Turn it up!

It’s fighting music but without the bagpipes.

Less than one guess as to what I’m cooking for dinner.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/23/2011 at 04:53 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFun-StuffSports •  
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calendar   Tuesday - August 30, 2011

lunch at the roebuck …. i think i found the one place to stay with

Had lunch at a really nice pub today.  Wife wanted to go and see if the new owners had really improved on the previous.
It was once very popular, reasonable prices and good food etc.  Then she said that the owners who were getting on in ears were tired and sold out.
The new owners changed the menu and tried to go in some kind of youth direction, which I guess is okay as long as you can maintain standards. Which apparently they didn’t because first of all, in spite of what it says here on their site, they aren’t exactly in the heart of the city. But they are close enough to walk to it.
Well, that set of new owners went bust as their customer base fell off.  They had other problems as well and word went out.  Another set of owners came in and they too went the way of the first.  So after being closed for some time, yet another set of people came in and WOW!
Wife said a few ppl told her about it and she was interested to see. In past years and now I’m referring to the original owners, she tells me she and her mom or other friends from the village, would meet there once a week.
Anyway .... had lunch here today and it was AWESOME!  They even lowered the music to a point where it really was background, without being asked. They did that as soon as the place started to fill, which it did within 10 or 15 minutes of us getting there.

Service could not possibly have been better or quicker. There was not a long wait for the food either, which was piping hot. Really,really looking forward to going back next week if not sooner. But next for sure.  I’d like to work my way down their menu but for one problem.  I tend to stay with the things I find that I enjoy.
However, I think I’ll make an exception here.  As the place started to fill, with btw an awful lot of very old people, I saw things like their Roebuck Cheeseburger and chips. Someone else had what looked like ham and eggs but the way it was served made me wish I’d ordered that as a side.
LOL.  Can you imagine ham & eggs as a side to what I had, which was,

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

The Roebuck is no more then approx. 10 minutes away from our front door. Wish they opened earlier and served breakfast. We were there at noon, when they open for lunch.

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Click on the roebuck above and read the rest and for the menu. Not overdone fancy.

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 08/30/2011 at 08:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningUK •  
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calendar   Friday - August 19, 2011

greek salad, king prawns,chips but no otter. a pleasant afternoon meal

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The wife and I pass this place every week on our way to to do our weekly grocery shopping.  We generally go early in the morning when this place is closed.  Recently we had occasion to go much later. In fact about 12:45. So we went in on a slightly windy and cold day.  Sat outside because I couldn’t tolerate what passes for music inside.  Seems to be the law these days. An establishment MUST provide intrusive and annoying sound as though everyone else is gonna like that crap.  As a rule, managers and employees never hear what we hear. In fact, they hardly hear it at all.

So we sat outside due to that and also because of the setting.

The Willow Tree is I believe under new management. The plastic tables and chairs are being replaced and the wood deck seen here is new.

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Their king prawns are something like $1.60. Each. Had two and the dish comes with a huge plate of chips. (French Fries to us yanks) And they are quite good. Too many to eat there and ended up taking some home. Wife had a generous Greek salad. Naturally I had to try a little.  That’s gonna be my choice on our next outing here.

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The prawns were overcooked and the meat was stuck to the shell, had to really work to get it out.  One tiny square napkin and a thin one at that. And the paper wasn’t very strong either.  Certainly not adequate for that sort of meal. Which doesn’t mean it didn’t taste okay. It did, but nothing to rave about.

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Which makes the very long wait for what I got hardly worth it.  From ordering to serving seemed to take forever. But then I suppose even five minutes would feel like that if one is hungry.

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Are we going back? Yeah. Why? Because I just have to have that Greek Salad, the staff are really nice people, and maybe I will find something else on the menu that won’t disappoint.  AND .... I never got to see the Otter that lives there.

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Are you ready to order sir?
Yes. I think I’ll have Otter steak with a side of chips and a side order of Greek Salad please. Yes, next Monday would be fine thanks.

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photos taken when restaurant was not open for business


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 08/19/2011 at 11:11 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Saturday - June 25, 2011

I Forgot The Milk

Saturday Brunch



3/4 lb of good thick sliced bacon

4 medium Russet potatoes
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/3 cup flour, but only use half of it at first
1/4 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion

I just had to give in to the ‘tater pancake urge this morning. Got out the old kartoffelreibe and made up a small batch while the bacon was frying. So good, and so filling.

Take a 1/4” slice off the middle of a big yellow onion, then cut that in half. Chop that up and it’s about the right amount. Chop the other half and set it aside. Scramble a large fresh egg in the bottom of a mixing bowl, then add salt, pepper, and half of the flour. Mix it up. Put the kartoffelreibe (wire mesh potato grater) over the bowl and scrub the peeled raw potatoes back and forth until your arm gets tired. Switch arms and finish the job. Mix it all up. It should be a pinkish-beige runny mess, thinner than pancake batter and a bit lumpy. If it’s really runny add a little more flour.

Heat up an iron griddle. Take a teaspoonful of bacon fat and pour it on the griddle. It will start to smoke a bit almost instantly. Pour about 1/3 -1/2 cup of the batter right on top of it. Now make a decision: do you want crispy pancakes or chewy ones? If crispier wins, push the batter down with a fork and spread it as much as you can. For chewy, just leave fork it around until you’ve got a pancake sized semi-flattened lump. Another spoonful of fat for the next pancake, another dollop of batter. On a good hot griddle the pancakes will be ready to turn in about 2 minutes. You want them lightly browned. Flip carefully, and cook the other side.

Serve them slathered with butter along with sour cream and the extra chopped onions on the side. Or try them with applesauce and powdered sugar. I go with the butter and sour cream, and find I usually have to add a little more salt and pepper.

You will have to play with the recipe a bit over time. You don’t really need the flour, and as I found out this morning, you don’t really need the milk. But you want to balance the moistness of the potatoes against the thickness of the batter, so a little milk or a little more flour will change the density of the finished pancakes quite a bit but only alter the flavor a little. But if you write things down as you experiment, you’ll be able to repeat it when you get them the way you like best. I like them best with just a hint of onion flavor and a strong taste of just barely cooked potato.

This recipe made 8 nice sized pancakes. 4 per person with a few slices of bacon, a generous wedge of cantaloupe, and good strong coffee makes a very filling solid breakfast.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/25/2011 at 01:59 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Thursday - June 02, 2011

Oh joyous day

Finally, today we will learn how to eat properly

19 years of government effort will replace the food pyramid ... with a pie chart




The original Food Pyramid:

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Our exposure to the original pyramid started way back in 1992. And the problems with it started immediately. Despite many millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on public education, few people could make sense of what this icon was trying to tell them. 11 servings of carbs per day? 8 servings of fruit and veg? How many meals am I supposed to be eating? Always eat four times as much bread as you do meat, and eat just as much cheese as you do meat! No wonder we’re a nation of fat people! All of this was based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which is probably quite a bit more than most people who are not doing physical labor actually need. Confusion was rife, and the solution was to just ignore the damn thing, except for the kids who had to memorize it and submit crayon drawings of the thing in their government indoctrination sessions grade school classes.

At some later point, 2005 actually, government, as is its want, distributed a new pyramid, called MyPyramid, that was the result of years worth of government study and many millions more dollars of taxpayer money. And, naturally, the new MyPyramid was almost completely worthless:

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Almost completely worthless. It did get rid of the utterly nebulous “servings” and replace them with actual portion sizes, and it did make reference to getting some kind of physical exercise. But the pyramid concept was still faulty since this MyPyramid thing seemed to imply that the result of exercise was to not eat any food at all. And then it went all diverse and retro, including a special Chinese pyramid built in the old Food Pyramid style ... because Chinese food apparently is not made from grain products, vegetables, fruits, oils, meats, or milk. And what about that great swath of lactose intolerant people in our society (black folks)?? This new pyramid is just like that old pyramid: it’s raaaacist! It’s out to kill the Black Race by forcing them to eat dairy, thus giving them never ending diarrhea. And it’s foodist too! What’s a poor Vegan to do?

So today, finally, after many more years of government study, and many more millions of taxpayer dollars, the new eating guideline icon will be released. Rumor has it that it will not be a pyramid at all. Rumor has it that it will be some kind of plate icon. Gosh, I can hardly wait. It will be the Story of the Day for a short time, then will be relegated to the sides of cereal boxes just like the other ones, and Americans will go right back to ignoring it, except for when the kiddies have to draw the dumb thing in school. Tax money well spent, as usual.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to swap in a plate icon for the food pyramid this week, an individual familiar with the new guidelines told CNN Saturday.

The new image, expected to be unveiled Thursday, is meant to help remind Americans to make healthy food choices.

“We presume that it will be divided into sections that will show you how much of different types of foods you should be eating,” said Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent, about the plate image.

The USDA said in a statement this week that the new food icon would be “part of a comprehensive nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with expanded information, and other tools and resources.”

And you know, we have First Lady Michelle Obama to thank for much of this. Her amazing “Git yo lazy fat ass off da couch and git outside” “Let’s Move” program spearheaded this effort and got both taxpayer funded scientists and unionized indoctrinators educators involved in finding a better solution. Unfortunately, the “Let’s Move” slogan’s alternate use has had no positive impact on the real estate market at all, which has continued to stagnate and depreciate throughout the entire Obama reign.

This decision was made after the 2010 US Child Obesity Task Force called for a better tool representing the current dietary guidelines. They haven’t released the official version of what the newbie will look like, however rumors state it will be in the shape of a dinner plate. This fresh idea has the potential to be widely useable and liked by professionals in a nutritional and clinical setting.

The official release of the new icon appearance will be on June 2, 2011. A live feed will be streamed at http://www.usda.gov/live. All the details will be posted at http://www.cnpp.usda.gov.

So grab a fork and get ready for some real excitement, and stay tuned to your government website for the big unveiling. It’s for your own good you know, so stop questioning their authority.

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UPDATE: It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Oh joyous day!!!

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Wow, that makes life so much easier. There’s no room there at all for fats of any kind, not even olive oil. Cut the fat, salt, and sugar. Eat more whole grains. Eat less overall. Or, as 30 Rock fans know, as Kim Jong Ill would say “You have had enough food today. You are full.”

Thank God it doesn’t say anything about getting any exercise. Phew, for a minute there I was worried I’d have to work up a sweat doing the now-mandated celebratory Snoopy Dance ...


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/02/2011 at 09:21 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningNanny State •  
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