Category Archives: Cookin’

“Oh, Oh, Oh, I’ll Take The Jittery Goat Special!” With Recipe

Daily Prompt: You, the Sandwich

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

I like food pretty straight forward, no raz-a-ma-taz. If you’re going to get a burger it’s okay to have stuff on it, but when it’s all said and done it still has to be a burger. I figure some places have crummy burgers so they have to doll it all up with lipstick, makeup, and perfume to make it passable. (Hey, I know that sounds sexist, but more and more guys are doing it these days too.)

That’s not to say there aren’t foods that need that treatment, but some don’t and shouldn’t.

Eggs by themselves are like… well eggs by themselves. Here’s a little omelet thing I like. I call it, “Oh, Oh, Oh.” Actually three Os; Oyster Onion Omelet.

It is simple to make, but can be a bit time-consuming for a quick breakfast or meal.

Before beating two eggs and spreading them on a grill or pan have sautéed onions and breaded deep-fried oysters on hand.

Once the beaten eggs are placed on the grill or pan drop in the desired amount of onions, beaded oysters, and sprinkle with your favorite cheese. Once the eggs are cooked sufficiently fold them and allow them to cook until the eggs are solid.

Smack it between two pieces of buttered toast and go to town.

Here’s another variation. Place over an open biscuit and pour on some sausage gravy.

To really do it right dice a little garlic and sauté with the onions.

I’m gonna rant a bit. You ever notice how all those cooking show chefs have everything measured in exact proportions. That’s dumbing it down for the audience. Anybody that’s boiled anything besides water knows that no two batches of anything are exactly alike except for stuff that comes from a can. If you can’t figure out how much salt and oregano to season something with you shouldn’t light a stove by yourself anyway.

Anyway, now that you’ve read my rant, go fix an Oh, Oh, Oh.

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Don’t Judge A Culture By What Is Canned

2369520_orig[1]Daily Prompt: Flip Flop

Think of a topic or issue about which you’ve switched your opinion. Why the change?

When I was a kid and until the time I left home Mom prepared a Chinese meal at least once or sometimes twice a month. No, she did not hunt the countryside for a stray cat. Worse! Chop suey from a can, La Choy.

Mom simply warmed it over the stove and served it over crunchy chow mein noodles. There was no way to make it better with something like more salt or catsup. It was terrible standing alone or with something added.

Mom sometimes cooked rice. She always cooked it until it became a pasty globular mass. It was like mashed potatoes with little tiny lumps, but with the taste of your mouth in the morning. I always added sugar to it. It never improved the taste. I just thought someday it might.

I never went to a Chinese restaurant. I used to contemplate 5,000 years of recorded history, the Great Wall, gun powder, ornate architecture, and great dynasties and all they have to show for it is a can of chop suey and crunchy chow mein noodles? How could they be serious about their food? They couldn’t even come up with anything better than chopsticks!

A few year ago I took some friends out for a meal. No place was planned and our time was limited. We drove past a Chinese restaurant. “How ’bout there?” They suggested.

“Sure,” I said reluctantly.

“You don’t like Chinese?”

“It’s not one of my favorites,” I said.

“Than we can try some place else.”

“No,” I insisted. “You are my guest and we’ll have Chinese.”

My friend said to order what he would order.

We had almond chicken and his wife had General Tso’s chicken.

I finished first and they let me scrape food from their plates.

My entire life stood in a examination and disillusionment. How could I have been so misdirected. Chinese food was really really good.

For the next year I ate Chinese at least once a week. I have not had a can of La Choy anything since I left my Mom’s home cooking and that was in the 60s.

Have you ever had tamales out of a can? Well, that’s another story.

I sometimes apply that to people, once you get to know them you find out their not prepared and canned some place far away and stacked on a shelf. The media creates stereotypes and than tries to scold the public for stereotyping people.

I was walking the streets of Budapest in 2003 with a black friend. He was tall and muscular. With us was a short and frail Romanian friend. Our Romanian friend said in all innocence, “Why are black men so mean and angry?”

“Am I that way?” my friend said.

“Oh no, you are nice, very nice,” the Romanian friend said.

“Let’s have Chinese,” I said.

“Oh yes! There are many fine Chinese restaurants in Budapest.” our Romanian friend said. “They say you have to go to China to get better Chinese food.”

Once again; The media creates stereotypes and than tries to scold the public for stereotyping people. Just leave us alone.

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You Can’t Find Chili Like This In North Dakota

It's s complete meal in a bowl. In North Dakota Jalapenos must be grown in secret if you get caught with them it will be the Devil, for sure.

It’s s complete meal in a bowl. In North Dakota Jalapenos must be grown in secret. If you get caught with them it will be the Devil, for sure.

A few years ago my wife and I visited some friends in North Dakota. We were invited to a gathering with their friends. For days in advance everyone was euphoric in anticipation of Bob’s Chili.

I like chili. I think it’s near one of those perfect blends of ingredients that one can exist totally. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I hate chili.” It is universally loved. The reason; with the exception of burning it, you can not ruin it. If you just toss the main ingredients together and heat them, somebody in the crowd will likely say, “That’s the best darn chili I’ve ever had.”

Back to North Dakota. As a precursor to build anticipation for Bob’s Chili my friends continually said, “Oh boy, Bob is making his chili. It’s the best for miles around. He would enter it in a contest, but he’s so shy. He would not know how to handle all the attention.”

The night of the gathering came and Bob brought a large crock-pot full of his much anticipated chili. As he walked in the gathering people parted as if bringing the King’s coronation crown on a satin pillow.

“You’re going to love this,” my friend said. “For years to come you’ll tell everyone about Bob’s North Dakotan Chili.”

I ladled a bowl and tasted. I’ve had Rice Puffs straight from the box with more taste.

My friends smiled and said, “Keep in mind this is North Dakota; catsup on meatloaf is taking a walk on the wild side.”

Anyway it wasn’t anything a couple of shakes of Tabasco couldn’t repair.

So here is my chili recipe;

1 pound of lean ground beef (better than 80/20, try ground chuck)

1 cup of diced onion

½ cup of diced green peppers

Combine these ingredients and cook them in a large pot.

1 can of beer

12 ozs of beef stock (water with two beef bullion cubes)

2 cups of washed unpeeled diced Idaho Russet potatoes

Bring these to a boil in separate pot. Drain the liquid and add to the ground beef mixture.

1 can of tomatoes (30 oz. approx, crush by hand)

1 can if tomato paste (6 oz. can)

1 can of kidney beans (30 oz. can)

Add these ingredients. Set to a low flame.

Immediately add the following;

3 tbls of chili powder

2 tbls of paprika

2 tbls of powdered cocoa

1 tbls of salt (or to taste)

2 tbls of Worcestershire Sauce

2 tbls of Tabasco Sauce.

Allow to simmer for at least fifteen minutes.

Thinly slice a jalapeño.

After you bowl the chili add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle a few slices jalapeños on the top.

You will not find this in North Dakota. In fact this might even get you jailed or escorted to the state line.

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Recipe For Country Boy Jambalaya

Country Boy Jambalaya; "Country boys likes dem taters."

A post featuring the Hank Williams’ song Jambalayaa few weeks ago made me think of Jambalaya – dah!

It is a Cajun dish that is better the second and third warm-up. There’s nothing tricky about it. Everything about it is simple and made with stuff you don’t have to go to one of those snooty gourmet stores to get.

Here’s a little twist for those meat and potato country boys; it’s what I call Country Boy Jambalaya.

First of all make up a mixture of Cajun seasoning to be used anytime.

1 cup of salt

¾ cup of cayenne

¼ cup of chili powder

¼ of paprika

¼ cup of black pepper

¼ cup of onion salt

¼ cup of garlic powder

¼ cup of thyme

This can be kept in a tight container and used anytime. Back to the jambalaya:

Cut a pound of smoked sausage into ½ inch lengths and have a pound of cleaned shrimp ready. Melt two table spoons of butter in a fry pan and toss the sausage and shrimp into the hot pan of melted butter. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Cook until shrimp turn pink. It doesn’t take long.

Remove the sausage and shrimp into a bowl and set it aside.

Cut one medium onion into slices.

Cut two green bell peppers into slices.

Chop one cup of celery.

Add another two table spoons of butter to the fry pan, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, and sauté the vegetable.

Remove the vegetables from the fry pan and add them to the bowl of sausage and shrimp.

Par boil four cups of ¼ inch cubed potatoes. You may want to melt a little more butter. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and finish cooking the potatoes in the fry pan so that they have a little crust.

Add all the ingredients into a large pan. Add a 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and add one small can of tomato paste. Heat them all together. Taste and add more Cajun seasoning to your liking.

That’s what I call Country Boy Jambalaya.

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Another Variation Of Gourmet Toasted Cheese

Toasted cheese; try it with any cheese, any bread, any meant, with any jelly.

Last week I posted about gourmet grilled toasted cheese sandwiches. I really should have gone a step further. There is another possible ingredient neglected; meat. Recall the premise was any combination of one type of bread, one jelly, and cheese.

Before trying this I turned my nose up at jelly with cheese and jelly with meat. To me meat was only complemented with gravy, Worcestershire sauce, or some sort of steak sauce. I reasoned that many sauces have a lot of sugar such barbecue sauce. So it’s not really a leap to get to jelly. Likewise, fruits (such as those used in jellies) are very good with various cheeses.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter dropped by to make dinner for us. She prepared grilled toasted cheese.

It was fabulous. She used blueberry bread, red pepper jelly, and feta. But what really topped it off was that she added prosciutto.

This started me to thinking (Right, that is a problem). I wondered what meats would work best on the toasted cheese?

The first meat that came to mind was pastrami. The pastrami is much better if shaved or chipped.

Rather than just add the pastrami (or any meat) to the sandwich try heating it first on the grill. Make certain the grill or pan is good and hot before starting. You want some sizzle when the meat hits the heat. Do so until the ends have a little crispness to them. The reason for this is that it gives another dimension of flavor. It will also release some of the moisture in the meat. Too much moisture will make the sandwich soggy and not moist.

So assemble the grilled cheese just like in last week’s blog. Grill the shaved meat until there is a little crispness at the ends. Add the meat to the sandwich and toast it like you normally would.

My wife, daughter, and I had a wonderful time chatting over this delicious delight.

So use your own imagination to create something truly unique and tasty when friends drop over.

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Gourmet Toasted Grilled Cheese; Your Velveeta Days Are Over

If you think Velveeta is the only cheese for a toasted grilled cheese sandwich, you are not worthy of reading this blog.

Do you like toasted cheese sandwiches? Who doesn’t.

For most of my life it was Velveeta cheese and white bread and of course butter. That was the only thing that cheese was good for; the carp wouldn’t bite on it.

Here’s something to try that will get you out of your comfort zone or one bread and one cheese toasted cheese sandwich routine. And it is just as unhealthy.

On small pieces of paper write a cheese; like Swiss. Make about ten or as many as you like. Put the cheese names in a bowl. Do the same with bread. Put those papers in a bowl. Lastly, do it with jelly and put them in a bowl.

When you are done you should have three bowls; one with slips of paper with nothing but names of cheeses, another with slips of paper with nothing but names of breads, and another with slips of paper with nothing but names of jellies.

Close your eyes and pick a slip of paper from each bowl. There is your next gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. You may end up with something like rye, gouda, and peach jelly (you can use preserves or jams also). No matter what combination give it a try.

This is also a great dinner party idea. Have the cheeses, breads, and jellies on hand and make them to order.

Assemble the sandwich like normal. Apply the jelly to both slices of bread on the cheese side.

Her is some preemptive advice; when applying the jelly to the bread use only a smear. If you apply too much the heat liquefies the jelly. Also too much jelly overpowers the cheese. A smear is just enough to add a hint of sweetness and flavor from the fruit.

There is on warning that must be issued; it will be difficult to go back to Velveeta (Doesn’t that sound more like some hot little number in a little cantina just south of the border?).

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Margaritaville Bread Pudding (From French Toast To Bread Pudding With A Mexican Twist)

This ain't your Granny's bread pudding unless she's a an old Jimmy Buffett groupy.

Let’s say you want to try the recipe for French toast posted last Friday. By the time you’re ready to start grilling the morning is half gone and you’ve sipped enough coffee to sink a battle ship.

Take all that pent-up caffeine energy and do something with it. You can go ahead and grill the French toast and freeze it to be used later or…

How about bread pudding.

All you have to do is cube the bread, mix in the French toast batter with the cubed bread, spread it in a baking dish, and place in an oven at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes and voilà!

But before doing that (you know, you got all the caffeine in your system) toss in a ¾ cup of raisins, a cup of chopped pineapple, and add a dozen or so maraschino cherries on top, then bake it. That will be a viola and an ou la la.

You can drizzle with maple syrup.

Now do you really want to drive the French crazy?

Take six ounces of Margarita mix (no alcohol yet) pour it in a sauce pan. Thoroughly mix a level tablespoon of cornstarch into a cold Margarita mix and bring it to a simmer. Add a ¼ cup zest of lime and an ounce or two of tequila. Pour it over the baked bread pudding just before serving. You’ll have a house full of Mexicans and French in no time.

Things will go fine until the French try to take credit for inventing Tequila and Margaritas and insist Jimmy Buffett is pronounced ‘buffet’ (boo-fey).

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