We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, November 27. 2015
My favorite is a slice of turkey, some mayo, a spoonful of cranberry sauce and a spoonful of stuffing - on white bread, It has to be white bread.
Some people like Turkey hash which is ok if you use enough black pepper. Needs a ton of fresh ground black pepper to not taste like Cardboard Hash.
What do y'all like?
Thursday, November 26. 2015
Tuesday, November 24. 2015
Re-posted from past Thanksgiving seasons -
We did one turkey in the oven, stuffed with cornbread stuffing, and the other one on the grill with occasional doses of soaked apple wood chunks from my neighbor's tree, and with white wine in the steam water. Both birds were brined 24 hrs before cooking, and each around 18 lbs. but I feel that's a waste of time.
We had plenty of family and friends to eat it all up.
I think people preferred the grilled (no stuffing in the grilled bird). It was my first time trying grilled turkey. Beginner's luck: It came out perfectly: moist, with a pleasant hint of smokiness. It took around 3 1/2 hrs to cook. Keeping the temp at near 325 involved carefully titrating the number of briquettes and fruitwood chunks to keep the heat low, but to not let the fire go out. Basted it with veg. oil and honey. Just for fun, I use my heavy-duty poultry injector to squirt sherry or cider into the meat. Why not? I don't buy butterball turkeys.
Nice grill, eh? This cast-iron thing weights 500 lbs. I had to assemble the darn thing off a truck, and got most of it right. Except for the wheels, which fell off. Now it takes a few pall-bearers to move it.
This is halfway:
The puppy seemed equally happy with scraps from the grilled and from the oven-roasted turkey.
Saturday, November 21. 2015
Sunday, November 15. 2015
Many of the schools run from around noon or 1 through suppertime, when the students eat their creations together. The meal planning and local shopping are part of most courses except for the ones sited on farms.
People have told me that these have been the most fun they have ever had while traveling because it gets you into the culture and away from the "sights."
Here's a small sample.
Just for fun, you can google "tourist cooking schools near Paris," or "in Provence", or "in Italy," etc. As you know, each region of Italy has its own cuisine and its own different produce.
Thursday, November 12. 2015
Gee, I still like those foods. And coffee jello with Miracle Whip. Good stuff. For the few Americans who still cook dinner at home (a rapidly-shrinking number partly because of the rise of women with day jobs), what they are fixing is more international and more sophisticated than 30 or 40 years ago.
As she notes, over the past 50 years food in the US has taken up a diminishing proportion of the family budget. Thus the boom in prepared food, fast food take-out, and restaurants in general. McArdle: The Economics Behind Grandma's Tuna Casseroles:
Tuesday, November 10. 2015
Things in Life That Really Matter: A Maggie's Shout-Out Request for Classic Easy Mommys of America Desserts
Re-posted to collect some more ideas -
Our popular Maggie's Classic Mommys of America Comfort Suppers series reminds me to do a series on classic old-timey Mommy's Desserts. Most Moms today don't make dessert except for special occasions, but it was a nice touch and popular with the kids.
Furthermore, growing and physically-active kids need sweet and sugary treats - for health, energy, and peace of mind - and to feel the love.
Moms never used to buy desserts. People lived on strict budgets, and only the prosperous went to restaurants other than the hot dog stand, which was fast food. People raised in the Depression, or raised during WW2 or the 1950s and 60s, did not buy stuff, and a linen-napkin restaurant was very special, unlike today. They got off their butts and made stuff - even my Mom with 5 kids. I remember some my favorites:
Coffee Jello with Jiffy-Whip (that's how I learned to love coffee in my youth)
Apple Pan Dowdy or whatever version of that sort of apple thing
Blueberry Cake with Hard Sauce (she'd only make it if we picked the wild berries at the Farm)
Yellow Cake (from the box) with Mocha frosting for birthdays. Mom never bought a cake in her life (except for the annual Buche de Noel)
Indian Pudding for winter holidays, with ice cream or whipped
Bread Pudding +/- rum, and English-style custard or rum sauce on top
Apple Pie, from our apple trees, with ice cream.
Cherry pie, from my great-aunt's amazingly-productive cherry tree.
Home-made vanilla ice cream, hand-cranked machine. Sometimes, with home-made chocolate sauce, sometimes with rhubarb sauce, sometimes with butterscotch stuff out of a can or bottle.
Peach Melba, with canned peaches
Trifle with rum- or wine-soaked pound cake - for special parties
Strawberry Shortcake, made with Bisquick
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brownies, occasionally with ice cream on top
Rice Pudding with raisins. Might be good with dried cranberries too.
Root Beer or Sarsaparilla Floats in hot weather
I'll get to work on an Official Mommy's of America dessert post, but only if you tell me what some of your favorite Mommys of America home-made desserts were. Since we are read all around the world, the whole world will appreciate, and benefit from, our homey memories.
Tell me in the comments.
There are two basic textbooks used in American cooking formal education:
- The Cordon Bleu's Professional Cooking (The CB also has an accompanying Professional Baking)
- The CIA's (Culinary Institute of America) On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals
Either of these tomes is great fun to read, and all chefs use one or the other as foundation for recipes and technique. There is a lot to learn. Chefs know everything, but cooks know how to make it. Chef is architect/engineer, cook is carpenter.
Saturday, November 7. 2015
Most kids in New England are raised on Fluffernutter on white bread. On this manna they grow big, strong, smart, and well-mannered.
What is less-widely known is that there is a gourmet version of this gooey nourishment - Fluffernutter with banana. Toasted!
That is our version of regional haute cuisine and I am sure it is government-approved. However, I still prefer a grilled cheese with ketchup. Cheddar, please, white bread, and tomato slices in it. Yum.
Lobster is overrated. It's just a big bug, but I am happy to promote Yankeeland's Clam Chowda, Cod Chowda, and baked beans. Especially Cod Chowda. With hot biscuits on the side.
Friday, November 6. 2015
Sunday, November 1. 2015
Saw this on Food Channel yesterday morning while chained to the stair machine, so at Costco yesterday I picked up a big package of ribs to make today.
Long and low - that's how to do baked ribs.
Those at Costco were not exactly short ribs, but whatever. Ribs are delicious, and for me polenta is as good as grits - or better. Basically, very similar. This has cheese polenta. Nice, but plain is good enough for me if there is a great sauce.
Thursday, October 29. 2015
For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Pilgrim verse, circa 1633
Pumpkins are just one variety of winter squash. Winter Squash have the virtues of being harvested in the fall, and easily storable for keeping through the winter in a root cellar as long as they do not freeze. All winter squash (Butternut, Acorn, etc) taste pretty similar and are more or less interchangeable in recipes.
Winter Squash, along with string beans, maize (which we call "corn" in the US, and many other foods like peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes) were first genetically modified for agriculture by American Indians.
Eastern Indians had large fields in which they grew winter squash, maize, and beans (which climbed up the corn stalks) together. In fact, one of the reasons the Pilgrims decided to stay in Plymouth was for the 50-acre and 100-acre planting fields that the Indians (recently dead probably from European diseases brought in by explorers and fishermen) had prepared there.
The Pumpkin of the Americas quickly became a popular crop in many parts of the world. Our Philippino nanny rarely made a Phillipino stew without pumpkin chunks in it. (Loved that Oxtail stew with peanut sauce, potato, and pumpkin, or her winter squash and string bean stew with coconut milk plus some shrimp or chicken chunks.) And people who have read Alexander McCall Smith's series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, know how popular pumpkin became in the African diet. As for Pumpkin pasta recipes, there are tons of them.
Here's 41 Yummy Pumpkin Recipes.
Mashed pumpkin with salt, pepper and butter is great. Same with steamed pumpkin chunks. A little chopped fresh Sage is good with them. Never boil winter squash. Steam or roast, or it will get too soggy.
As for the olde standbys, Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Soup, those are OK too but the spices tend to obscure the subtle flavors of the winter squashes used. (Re Pumpkin Pie, the Maggie's Farm advice is to go very light on the sugar, and serve with a spoonful of whipped cream, then drizzled with 100% Maple Syrup.)
Megan McArdle wrote this: Yes, Some of US Really Like Pumpkin
Kenyan Pumpkin Curry Recipe
EAST AFRICAN PUMPKIN STEW
Monday, October 26. 2015
Saturday, October 17. 2015
Monday, October 12. 2015
Saturday, October 10. 2015
In America, a pasta dish is often used as a secondi (ie an entree - the use of the term entree for a main course is American). Properly done, the pasta is a small dish primi followed by a meat (eg braciole) and vegetable secondi. Well, in America we do whatever the heck we want but at Maggie's HQ we try to respect the time-honored Italian traditions.
For me, any pasta as a main meal is a disgusting, bloating, cloying, enervating, fattening, brain-numbing experience. Best for a small dish primi, for special flavors. Same applies to risotto, gnocchi, or polenta. American restaurants serve too much primi to fill you up on the cheap.
Most common American error is to dump the sauce (or "gravy") on top of the pile of pasta. Nope. Dump the pasta in the hot pan of sauce and serve thinly-coated. That's what pasta tongs are for.
Tuesday, October 6. 2015
Sunday, October 4. 2015
Simple as pie. Roughly chop up a few cloves of garlic. Roughly chop up an onion. Throw them in a big pan with plenty of olive oil for a few minutes on medium heat.
Chop up an eggplant into about 1" square chunks - skin on. Also, a couple of zucchinis and yellow summer squashes to about 1" chunks.
Before the garlic and onions brown, throw in the vegetable chunks with a cup of water, stir it up a little, throw in some salt and plenty of ground pepper, and cover the pot.
No tomato - it messes up the subtle flavors.
Then get some sprigs of thyme, oregano, and basil from the garden and throw them on top, and let it slow simmer and steam on low medium for a while, covered. Gently stir it around a little.
As soon as the veggies begin turn soft but before they fall apart, take off the stove. Throw a handful of fresh-chopped parsley on top before serving. Even vegophobes like it.
Friday, October 2. 2015
The American lobbying and advertising Whole Grains Council has had huge success in selling their health scam. Just like Whole Foods. Food piety has two arms: the ignorant, and their commercial predators.
Enjoyment applies to OJ too. It's basically sugar with no other food value. Years ago, the Florida Citrus cabal convinced Americans that they should have it for breakfast. Tasty, but no different from a Coke. Scurvy is not a problem.
My point with my nutrition myth posts is that you should eat whatever you enjoy. If you have a weight problem or a health problem, that's another matter. Just don't pretend, for example, that an OJ is any "healthier" than a Pepsi, or brown bread is "healthier" than white bread. That is just marketing to the low-info shopper and gullibles like Michelle Obama.
We all love happy myths, do we not? The fantasy that we can control fate.
Wednesday, September 30. 2015
Got some advice from my chef friend about Goulash. I have a lot of venison in the freezer, some tender cuts and some tough cuts. Tough cuts are for the goulash.
It's all about paprika. Very simple. Chef tells me real goulash has no tomato in it, and the meat should be falling apart. Like real chili, should be made with meat chunks, not ground meat. No noodles in the stew, but can serve on egg noodles or rice with some sour cream to top it off. This stew at the end should be thick, not soupy.
Brown a few onions in butter and veg oil - not chopped, just quartered, with some garlic
I guess crock pot would work, but it would need to cook a while at the end to thicken.
Here's an example: Real Hungarian Goulash
Friday, September 25. 2015
Sunday, September 20. 2015
We're getting into apple-picking season around here. Depending on the variety, it will run through October or early November. Apple trees prefer cold winters for their dormancy.
Cultivated apples are derived from a wild malus found in mountainous regions of Afghanistan and China. China is the world's largest apple producer today. All varieties have been genetically-modified from that wild plant which is a cousin of the rose.
Many apple varieties were carried to the New World by early colonists. They were not as flavorful or varied as the modern types, but it's all they had. The only apple species native to the New World is the (mostly) inedible crabapple.
Should we mention once again that apples are not particularly "healthy" as they are mainly sugar and water, but they do make a good sugary snack or dessert, especially with cheese. Like all fruits, they are designed to sweetly tempt critters to eat, and to later poop out their seeds to spread their genes around.
Saturday, September 19. 2015
We consume a fair amount of ricotta in our house. It's a versatile substance, but I like it on good bread with a slice of tomato and some salt, or some jam or jelly.
Excellent in omlettes too.
It's not actually a cheese. It's made from whey.
If you can find it, Ricotta Salata is very tasty. It's popular in Sicily.
Monday, September 14. 2015
Peaches ripen late up here in New England. Yes, there are peach varieties which thrive in the North.
As of now, I have had five friends over to pick grocery-bags full and have delivered bags to others. I'll ask a daughter to take a bag home to NYC today. And I have made substantial batches of peach jam, peach chutney, and canned spiced peaches. I am close to peached out with God and nature's abbondanza.
Still, this is a pic of the tree yesterday after all that. Plus the windfall from yesterday's thunderstorm. The local deer do not seem to like peaches. Neither do the turkeys. Squirrels like them, but it's more of a crop than they can make a dent in.
I use no sprays, no fertilizer - out of laziness as much as anything else. These peaches are as sweet as honey. I guess I'll make more jam, but let's consider peach pie, peach crumble, and peach buckle (that's old-fashioned).
Problem is that Mrs. BD and I are currently on low-carb, high protein heavy-work-out diet plans in an effort to delay the discouraging and ennervating effects of age and entropy.
Now Peach Crumble. Dynamite with some vanilla ice cream or heavy cream. I salivate as I write this.
As my final Peach Post of 2015, I'll offer this one:
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