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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Sunday, February 23. 2020
It's been a few years since I made this thing, so we made some yesterday for practice before I begin to serve it to friends for supper. Planning a bunch of suppers before Spring. Tried my version out on my father-in-law. He likes food.
If you asks him what restaurant he wants to go to tonight, he says one with food. But especially one with oysters, which is for tonight.
I use Julia Child's recipe, but I modify it a bit. My modifications: 3x as much garlic, lots of thyme sprigs from the garden, 1/2 cup of Port or some sugar, and a small handful of dried porcinis. Also, to keep it simple, I just throw in a bag of frozen pearl onions for the last 30 minutes of cooking. I do brown the fresh mushrooms and throw them in the pot for the last 30 minutes. I don't use the oven at all, just 3 hrs simmering on the stove.
Traditional ways to serve this is in a shallow bowl with french bread, or on a plate with (white) rice or roasted potatoes.
(Tip for those who like rich, earthy sauces: You can buy dried porcinis online, much cheaper than at the store. I buy them by the pound, but it doesn't take many to provide the flavor. You use the water you soak them in, too.)
Saturday, February 22. 2020
Delicious when smeared on toast or crusty bread. Just scoop it out of the bulb and smear it on toast. It works best with those giant elephant garlics: Microwave roasted garlic.
Turkish coffee is delicious, strong, and sweet. Once tried, you will never go back. Spain's coffee con leche is wonderful too, and entirely different. So is espresso. The only great thing about American coffee is that you get a lot of it to sip on. Coffee is a multicultural wonder and necessary for mental and physical health.
Sunday, January 26. 2020
I learned that Friday was National Peanut Butter Day.
The use of peanuts dates to the Aztecs and Incas. They supposedly made a paste out of them too. Wow. Another New World food that I missed on my list of European appropriations of native New World foods: Squash, corn (maize), all peppers, tomato, potato, sweet potato, beans, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, avocado, cashew, walnut, etc.
Here's a food question for the day: Where do Fluffernut Trees grow?
Monday, January 20. 2020
Nope. It's Italian-American. You can't buy Italian-American food in Italy. A review of the history of marinara sauce and Spaghetti and Meatballs. (h/t Ace)
I can't help it if I am an Italian food snob. Very happy to never see baked ziti again in my life, or meatballs. They make me feel stuffed and just gross and tired. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for the meatballs. Better that way.
Sunday, January 19. 2020
Kid-friendly, unfashionable, and not for weight loss. Reposted annually by popular request.
I've collected the posts on old-timey Mommys of America non-gourmet, comforting (eg filling), quick 'n easy (eg no lasagna or fried chicken), and sensitively-multicultural (even Shrimp 'n Grits) winter suppers here, in no particular order. Such foods mean family love.
I suspect some of our foreign readers - of whom we have quite a few - might be interested in what American moms (and sometimes modern dads) fix up for ordinary family suppers in Upper Yankeeland (with the exception of Shrimp 'n Grits which is real Southern food and suitable for breakfast, lunch, or supper).
A number of these are suitable to ye olde slow cooker aka electric crock pot.
Corned Beef and Cabbage, aka New England Boiled Dinner
Thursday, January 9. 2020
From our archives:
As you may know, cassoulet is basically French baked beans with meat. The real original of hot dogs and baked beans. It is country home cookin, but it can be great stuff. Dutch oven cooking. Crock pot? Why not, as long as the meats are browned first, but it will not brown the top.
It's a good way to cook some wild game meat, especially the less-tender parts.
Any meat, but not beef - strong red meat is too strong for cassoulet. We have, over time, used various mixes of duck, snow goose, chukar, venison, chicken, pork, wild boar, and pheasant which we have killed. Mix the meats - it adds to the flavor. There should be some source of pig fat or duck fat in it. Some venison sausage, or any sausage, because it is a necessary traditional ingredient. The meat-to-bean ratio is supposed to be fairly high - 30% - but I like beans and prefer a lower ratio. I think every village in southern France has its own recipe and method. I figure roughly one hunk of sausage and one hunk of meat per person.
A few tips about Cassoulet:
1. Make it at least the day before. Like beef stew, it improves overnight.
Tuesday, December 31. 2019
I forgot to mention Caviar Pie in my authoritative American caviar post. This decadent concoction is perfect for a brunch, hors d'oevres, or munchies.
Some caterers make Caviar Pie which looks perfect, round, and daintily-finished, but the ones I've had at fancy New Year's Day cocktail brunches look a little raggedy, as in this photo. They don't have to look good because as soon as they are attacked by people armed with cheese knives or crackers it's messy anyway.
You scoop a piece out and put it on toasts, or bagel chips, or whatever. It goes fast.
As usual, one uses the most expensive caviar one can afford - or not afford.
Chopped red onion is key. Here's one recipe, but you can google for more. It's a real meal too if you want, with a glass of champagne. The height of decadence.
My annual Christmas present for my Dad used to be a tin from Petrossian. Worth every penny for the delight it provides.
Friday, December 20. 2019
Saturday, December 7. 2019
Friday, November 29. 2019
Turkey Hash is pretty good, and so is turkey soup (for which I am boiling a stock from one of the carcasses right now with water, onions, garlic, celery, parsley, herbs, etc - we fight over the carcasses and bones like jackals), but the main reason people in my family cook so many turkeys at Thanksgivings is for the sandwiches for a few days after.
Here's how I make them:
Squoosh the sides of bread together, and cut in half with a sharp knife. Then eat with a glass of beer. Delicious.
Then take a little nap.
How I make turkey stock:
Throw into a large stock pot a whole or chopped turkey carcass, leg bones, wings, etc. Not a bad idea to break the bones with a cleaver and/or to roast the carcass first so some of the bones brown. Cover with water. Take a bunch of celery, carrots, onions and garlic. Chop very roughly with skins on - do not peel - and sautee in butter or cooking oil until browned. (The skins add color and flavor) Then toss them into the pot. Add some cut-up raw potatoes, skins on. Throw in some salt, whole peppercorns. Then parsley, thyme, a little sage and marjoram. A little sugar. A bottle of white wine in there is optional. Simmer for 5-8 hours, adding water as needed. Then strain. That's a tasty turkey stock. It's man-cooking.
Monday, November 25. 2019
People tend to cook it with various additions (mushrooms, cranberries, apples, nuts, white rice, etc) but it's a treat on its own if you have enough of it. Chicken broth and salt and pepper does this wild grain justice.
Sunday, November 24. 2019
Saturday, November 23. 2019
Tuesday, November 19. 2019
Monday, November 18. 2019
Or as a side with any meaty winter dinner. Whenever Mrs. BD brings this to a party, the bowl is clean.
Very easy, too: Grandma's Corn Pudding As a friend's wife said to me last night at a deep-fried turkey party, "just call it a vegetable and enjoy it." Yum yum.
Wednesday, November 13. 2019
"Cape Cod Turkey" means a codfish dish. Cape Cod friends of mine always make cod for Thanksgiving, figuring that that is most of what the Pilgrims had for dinner.
They make baked stuffed cod, which is a delicious thing as long as you do not overcook the fish. Let's face it - Thanksgiving is about stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and punkin pie anyway and not so much about the turkey. Well, Mrs. BD makes Butternut Squash pies but it's the same difference.
There is a specific New England dish called Cape Cod Turkey. Cod and potatoes.
Saturday, November 2. 2019
A repost from a past November -
A great hunt this morning at a pal's rod and gun club. Heavy snow flurries and a stiff breeze made things interesting. Had two good Labs working for us today. Had to break the ice in their water tubs. Being Labs, naturally one insisted on climbing into the water tub to play with the floating hunks of ice and was not eager to come out.
Before a late lunch we had some venison sausage and I fixed myself a Clamato Bloody Mary while we cleaned and oiled our weapons. For lunch, they made us rare roast beef with Onion Pie, with a nice Chateau Simard '86 (Simard remains an excellent wine for the price). I do not know whether it was just the effect of a long cold day in the field, but this onion pie was about the tastiest, most savory thing I have ever eaten. The cook made it with a plain white-cracker piecrust and maybe sprinkled cracker crumbs over the top. This pie is to a kiche as a Grizzly Bear is to a Teddy Bear. Rice Pudding for dessert, of course: what else would you serve at an old-fashioned guy's club where women are not allowed?
As my friends know all too well, it's great to have somebody else to drive so I can indulge a post-prandial, post-hunt snoring snooze. I do not know why my friends put up with me.
1 unbaked pie shell - try a plain cracker crumb crust
2 or 3 very large white onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. Swiss cheese cut into 1/2" or 1" chunks
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk or light cream
1/8 tsp. pepper
Prepare unbaked pie shell. Start heating oven to 400 degrees. Saute onions in butter and dump into pie shell. Toss the cheese with flour, sprinkle over onions. Beat eggs well. Stir in milk or cream, salt and pepper. Pour over cheese. Sprinkle crack crumbs on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce oven heat to 300 degrees and bake 25 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot, in wedges.
That is soul food with a rare roast beef. Might be a good treat for a holday, too, as an alternative to creamed baby onions (which I also love).
Thursday, October 31. 2019
Tuesday, September 24. 2019
Here's my favorite way to use our own tomatoes for breakfast: Put one (large) or a couple of thick slices of tomato on some thin white bread. Then slices of cheddar to cover the tomatoes. Put under a hot broiler til the cheese melts a bit and the exposed bread browns. Not necessary, but a small sprinkle of oregano on top if you must.
Perfect breakfast - simple pizza. A shame that the Romans never knew tomatoes.
Sunday, September 22. 2019
Saturday, September 21. 2019
The locals know all of the best wild Beach Plum spots, and clean them out before anybody else. I do not think they can be cultivated, but the plants can be bought. Very slow growers. However the rose hips from the beach roses (Rosa rugosa, a native of Asia) also make a delicate jelly.
We have a bunch simmering right now. Lots of recipes online.
Roses and apples are closely-related.
Thursday, September 5. 2019
Mrs. BD and her pal had the best burger in their lives in Mississippi in a road trip to Houston last winter, in some redneck dive place with fancy burgers.(nb: Redneck is not a disparagment on Maggie's).
General rule of thumb: Always avoid disgusting chain places. The hole in the walls have the best stuff because they have to compete.
One of my cool daughters emailed me about the best burger she has ever had (visiting a college pal in Nashville): cream cheese, jalapeno jelly, and grilled jalapenos. I feel hungry now despite a filling lobster salad for lunch with a glass of chardonnay. Life is pleasant in the USA.
Yes, I make a mean jalapeno jelly from my garden each year. Good with cheese. My kids steal the jars from the pantry.
Wednesday, August 21. 2019
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.
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