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Everything posted by lovebenton0

  1. lovebenton0

    Superbowl Food

    We don't know that yet, Rachel. Playoffs have another week. Well, this year for the first time in his life my football hungry DH will be celebrating his birthday on Superbowl Sunday. (Remember when Superbowl was a full month earlier?) So, yeah, this year we'll have a houseful. And we never know what the weather will be in Central TX -- I'll be checkin' the forecasts a week in advance before finalizing the menu. I know there'll be beer! Finger foods and lots of napkins. But no matter the weather to start I'll be laying out plenty of chips with some of our own garden salsa from the summer, and a baked white cheese spinach queso. The green olives with jalapeno slices I packed last week will be just right about then. And I want some hot wings dosed in our Tabasco sauce with real bleu cheese dressing made fresh and little crisp celery sticks, just classic and I haven't done them in a long time. If it's warm we'll be smoking a brisket, homemade flat rolls for sandwiches with grilled onions, pickles and sauce (sweet BBQ and vinegar hot) for half time. If it's going to be winter after all I'm thinking that carnitas with tortillas/grilled onions/roasted chiles and a slew of tamales would be good for halftime. Or hot Italian sausage bombers on those homemade rolls. And have to have something sweet for the b/day boy so probably some decadent white and black brownies -- I'm sticking to the finger foods.
  2. Chufi, I'm wondering what prompted you to do this? Why do you throw the rest of the starter away? I never throw my mother starter away. I feed it occasionally, let it work up at room temp, then return to fridge, if I 'm not baking sourdough for more than two weeks. Otherwise I just use some to make the sponge, a bit more sponge than I need to bake with, and add the remaining sponge to the starter crock. edit to add: that is a tasty looking loaf there.
  3. The time calculations were for food preparation time only, but another popular myth is that gardening takes a lot of time. Well, like any other human activity, it can take as much time as you want, but I prefer the less work garden methods. Generally during the growing season I spend about 15-20 minutes/day gardening. This time of year I spend zero time in the garden. I suppose it would be possible to calculate the share of annual gardening time that is representated by the home-grown foods I used during the challenge week, but the amount of time that represents is so small it hardly even merits notice. For example, I have 3 peach trees. Several years ago I spent maybe a half hour each planting them. Since then there is maybe an hour each year per tree of fussing with them, spreading some compost around them, a little bit of pruning. Total harvesting time for each tree is less than an hour (much less, they are semi-dwarf trees). 2 hours to make jam. So 3 hours/year investment in my rack of peach jams, out of which we would have to then calculate the time involved in producing a tablespoon of jam for my morning biscuits. I use the square foot gardening method, www.squarefootgardening.com , which is the least work garden method that I know of. It takes about 1 hour to make a square foot garden bed, and once made, it's made, it doesn't get remade every year, just a new top dressing of compost. No tilling, very little weeding if set up right from the beginning. I water sparingly, and not enough to make an appreciable difference between my winter and my summer water bill. I use thick mulch, which helps conserve moisture. I don't buy any fertilizer, I have a compost pile, and that is my fertilizer. My garden equipment consists of 2 shovels, both of which I bought used at a garage sale several years ago, 1 rake, also bought used. The lumber for my garden beds was scavenged, and cost nothing. So there's not much expense there to account for. Sure, a person can spend a lot of money on equipment if that's what they want to do. I could have bought an expensive shovel for say $30 at an expensive garden supply store, but I don't have that kind of money. So I paid $2 for a shovel from a garage sale and I think it pretty much works as good as the $30 version. The other tool I use is a digging stick to poke holes for seeds, but that is just a stick from the branch pile by the compost pile. ← i would have to agree with Robert Waldrop here. It takes no longer for me to can a set of my own vegs or fruit (say a gallon of tomatoes or a basket of peaches) than it would for me to make a trip to the store to buy them. For me, much less time than it would take for me to go to a farmer's market to procure the food. And once you buy that $2 shovel it don't have to do so again for a long time. Negligible time outlay for food that will feed the family for months. Composting is a next to no time activity -- you're going to have to put that garbage somewhere. Laying out the garden and planting is the work of a morning or afternoon -- again not appreciably longer than a trip to the grocery. With no gasoline expended there either. I do factor in the cost of the plants/seeds. That is afar less initial outlay than food, ashelter costz.efor much the food
  4. I have a Toastmaster Deluxe Oven Broiler, and I love it. Bakes, broils, makes great toast. It was probably fairly inexpensive as it was a grad gift to me from younger brother when I was heading out of state for grad school in 1996. We use it all the time and never have had any problem with it. I just googled Toastmaster and amazon.com has one model on sale for $23.99 right now (the 4-Slice Toaster Oven Broiler, smaller than mine, but also only a 14.5" footprint, 8" deep). Probably good if you're looking for a small/inexpensive/no frills unit. They also have a fancy-schmancy model with timer for $79. Looks more like the one I've been using for 8+ years, with the larger interior/footprint of mine, but I have no timer. So I think you're paying for the larger unit with timer there. Also 3 yr warranty. There a several different models of Toastmaster, including the Ultravection, that I would be interested in if I were buying now, for $99, convection/ radiant/conduction combo cooking. Bells and whistles included.
  5. Auditory accompaniment of the food one eats can impact some diners positively or negatively, making the food either a pleasure or a disagreeable experience. Some people are quite sensitive to the crunching sounds of say a raw carrot or a crunchy chip. Or the squish or pop of a liquid filled bite, say a grape or cherry tomato, or a crusty filled pastry. So, yes, I would have to agree, as one who is mostly deaf, the sound of some foods need to be prepared for so as not to be startling, or in a positive way to be enjoyed. Anticipating that sound, knowing the pleasure of the accompanying taste and aroma of the food is a sensory activity.
  6. lovebenton0

    Dinner! 2005

    Had a nice little NY strip hanging around so I split it and did it two ways. Beef larb served with lots of Romaine heart leaves (so I could count this a real salad ) Seared broccoli (butter/EVOO, s&p) for a little simple green relief between the hot and spicy beefs. Panang beef coconut curry served with rice. Stepped out of the traditional and added a lot of meaty-solid white mushrooms to this, cooked down in the coconut curry with less beef. Not as though I needed a lot more beef after the larb. Not classic but very tasty.
  7. Wow, eG's an amazing place. New Year's celebrations all the way from 2# of caviar to Miss Nascar and Velveeta queso. Jane, your "New Year's at the Trailer Park" sounds like a hoot! ← Oh, yea! And I for one want to see those pics, Jane!
  8. lovebenton0

    Dinner! 2005

    Beautiful lobster bisque, hillvalley. We did the Southern New Year's thing, with a TX twist. Blackeye peas made with ham, onions, and slices of our hot jalapeno peppers with a couple of the baby carrots I canned with them. Just enough to know you're awake to greet the NY. Cornbread sticks Salad of Romaine with Asian pears, dried red flame grapes and crumbled bleu (should have been slaw for the cabbage, but DH forgot the cabbage, and who could complain, he went to the store NY's morning. ) Half shank picnic we smoked with pecan all day long. Then glazed: dried apricots, honey, candied ginger, allspice, hot oriental powdered mustard in OJ as a base. The extra glaze with drippings made a damn tasty table sauce for the ham. Today, dinner has been ongoing since about 4PM with football, ham sandwiches on homemade french bread, olives, pickles, homemade white and sweet 'tater chips, and finger fruits of Clementines, slices of pummelo and Asian pears.
  9. Quite a spread there! In fact, you guys all make me want to celebrate with more people next year! (FYI: To link directly, SeaGal, click on the number of your post then copy that http that comes up in the box and post it with the http:// button in your new post.) After all was said and finally done on New Year's Eve we ended up having a simple but very tasty penne pasta with a sauce of garden tomato (frozen from this summer's crop), fresh picked garlic and herbs (basil/thyme/oregano) then tossed with mushrooms sauteed in butter/EVOO and red wine with fresh grated Parm Reg, garlic toast on homemade bread and a Romaine heart salad topped with jumbo shrimp. Sticking pretty close to the intended menus we had this for New Year's Day and today.
  10. lovebenton0

    Onion Confit

    Rachel, welcome to onion confit. I don't add any sugar as the onions will be quite sweet enough and one of the concerns with some people by the time I jumped ino this last month was that the confit had a "cloying sweetness." However, two or Tbsps of wine is good, or the port or sherry others have suggested. I've stuck with 3 Tbsp of red wine (not sweet), no sugar, a couple sprigs of thyme, bayleaf, and no sugar. Good results with no excessive sweetness, no over powering herb flavor at all, and very nice marmalade texture. We want a post with pics of results, at the very least.
  11. We're smoking a half picnic shank with pecan, should be ready in a few minutes. Then, of course for us being in the South, it will be joined by blackeye peas with ham, also cornbread sticks and a salad of Romaine, pears, red grapes and crumbled bleu. Salad should have been a slaw, but DH went to the store while I napped and he forgot the cabbage. How could I complain when I didn't have to stumble around the grocery on New Year's Day?
  12. Lots of fresh fruits and vegs, corn, oat and rye breads. I don't do alcohol anyway, and only decaf coffee and caffeine-free herbal teas as part of my usual regimen, so cutting back even on the decaf coffee is my change there. Fish and chicken are usuals in the diet, but I'll be eating less meals with any kind of animal protein in them for all of January. This is not hard for me, I was a vegetarian for over four years and still do not consume nearly the amount of meat my DH does. Dietary restrictions require that I try to maintain a low intake of sodium/fat/cholesterol aggravating food items as possible. My DH will still require some dairy and protein so although I'll be cooking some I won't be eating it. All with the major exception of a family gathering (we do our Xmas in January) in two weeks and I'll eat everything that day. Just in more moderation than usual for the tox items. Confess I'm making squash soup for that -- far from a detox -- and bread. Yes, this starts on Monday, January 3rd and goes through the 3rd of February, cause then it's DH's birthday on the 6th and I need some retox time before that. It falls on Superbowl Sunday this year and I'll be danged if I'm missing the blowout I have planned for that!
  13. The question of Revere Ware came up earlier in this thread. I've been cooking with my copperclad bottom Revere Ware for 23 years. In 1981 I bought a set of six pans with lids (1 qt, 2 qt, and 3 qt sauce pans, a 6 qt kettle, 8" fry, and 12" fry) for about $79. I was given a 5" egg pan about 28 yrs ago, and the RW was the pan of choice at home when I was a girl so I knew I liked the performance. Six years ago I married an old RW 10" fry and a wide-bottomed 2 qt sauce pan (along with my DH. ) All RW is still in excellent condition, dependable quality. They've been used in several kitchens, different stoves, both gas and electric, and made the camping circuit with us. The bottoms still polish up like new copper, and the interiors seldom allow anything to stick. They are most definitely not copper wash. I'm hoping to get similar use out of the big CM stockpot Rachel mentioned, which has to be an improvement over the old 12 qt aluminum I have. Although I have made stock in it, I prefer to use the RW 6 qt for that. (The other is best used for sterilizing canning jars!) But I like the bigger size for stock. I'll be seeing how this compares to the RW performance, which hasn't let me down yet. And perhaps the pasta and steamer inserts from the thin-walled pasta pot I have will fit nicely in one of the smaller CM stockpots too . . .
  14. Happy New Year to you too! And a lovely party as usual. NY next year, eh? And no blog over Xmas either!
  15. Yep, TX Caviar is about THE blackeye pea salad. Even misguided Northern transplant friends that don't like blackeye peas eat TX Caviar for New Years.
  16. A little wider and not so tall is not a bad thing for storage issues. Thanks, Rachel, have to go down the road to check this out, or catch it at Amazon.com. My old 12 qt stockpot could stand having a classier big brother. Especially if the heighth is about the same.
  17. Well, those are lovely! My kind of dishes. Then of course I had to go nuts and look at everything. Wow! Love their style. But my dog's gonna have to wait for that $70 doggie dish!
  18. I remember that pattern. Chris, check out the Frankoma link my post above. My dishes are from the 50s and earlier. I have a lot of those pieces -- dinner plates, cups, mugs, and serving bowl. Also the sugar bowl (including lid) and creamer (apparently bought from some of the original late 30s stock) and these: soup bowls and luncheon/salad plates "steak" plates and this tureen on the left (the dark green casserole is one of several pieces I have made by a potter friend from the early 80s; various glazes from her, whatever I liked at the moment) Some of my potter's pieces (soup mug, cup and serving plate in one glaze).That's one thing nice about having a plain white set, to mix with the colors I have. So the pottery is only twenty years in service, not quite vintage, and certainly not china! Maybe just old.
  19. Thanks for that link, Curlz. Cusina, I love those dishes. I'm a stoneware girl myself. Although for a lot of everyday meals/snacks we still use the plain white Corelle my grandmother gave me when my son was about eight (he's 32 now), so that speaks well for that! I have managed to break one plate over the past 20+ years. Must have landed just wrong on the kitchen floor (concrete base). But I have Frankoma ware I inherited from my mother that the folks bought when we moved to TX when I was 4 yrs old. Not a full set by any means but still my favorite. My Frankoma looks like this. And I would go on ebay to look this up. Now I've found about a dozen pieces/combos to add to this that I really want! I'd take that set (even with the weird gold bowls) in a snap even though it has repeaters. Besides that I have a plain solid-color set in stoneware -- deep pumpkin, sage green, maize, cream -- we use often that was a gift from Mom recently. Also set of 12 glass luncheon plates, bowls, fruit cups. And a significqnt collection of hand-thrown pottery from pottery artists I've known. So I like to mix and match complementary pieces. None of this includes the four sets I've given to the kids or friends in the past several years. Nor the set I handed down of 12 beautiful signed and dated 1911 Havilland dinner plates from my grandmother. I used that china so seldom I passed it on to a kid who would.
  20. Sounds all good to me, bloviatrix. Love to hear how your duck confit comes out. I haven't tried that yet. Mabelline that apricot wine sounds divine. That'd be a tempter for me -- makes me wish I could try some. For us it'll be beer, NA for me, but I will go with a heartier import for the holiday. I haven't decided on a dessert either, but as it's NY's I should do something festive. (We don't eat sweet desserts that often.) Or something we always have this time of year that we have missed out on so far -- like pecan pie. And "we" may change my mind when we go the market, look at meat and decide to smoke a pork butt instead. Football. We'll probably have a buddy or two over here for that NY's weekend activity. I'm making bread also, so we'll definitely have ham and cheese or pulled pork sandwiches with football. Make a slew of potato chips and sweet potato chips to go with that and finger fruits. I'm sure they'll be some hoppin' john around for anyone that wants more, like me.
  21. It's almost here, another turn of the world clock. Is the New Year a food event for you? Do you have a tradition to follow? Your own or something regional to welcome in the New Year? We're in Texas, and when it comes to New Year's traditions a lot of folks turn pure Southern here and celebrate the turn of the clock by eating hoppin' john for good luck. Blackeye peas with ham (and I throw in a good dose of our jalapenoes just to make sure we're awake) are traditional. A pot of rice. Cornbread. A ham smoked on the deck with Pecan wood for us this year. It's going to be about 80 and I'm looking forward to giving the kitchen a break. What do you cook or eat for New Year's?
  22. Well, we're about to have another one of our unseasonal mid-season changes. Near 80 over the next few days. So, since I've been souping, stewing, braising, roasting for the past several weeks, the early winter pop up into unseasonal spring weather seems like a good excuse to fire up that smoker on the back deck and give the kitchen a break. Just in time to do a New Year's Eve ham in the smoker with pecan wood, me thinks. Cornbread sticks definitely to go with the hoppin' john (with jalapeno added to the blackeye peas and ham ). Some big healthy ranch chicken legs on the grill are looking like a winner for tomorrow evening. Maybe even some creamy bleu cheese red potato salad to go with that, with a pile of butter lettuce leaves. What are you cooking to enjoy this bit of a warm break in the midst of winter? Snow or at least freezing temps last weekend and 78 to 80 this weekend. Calls for something different in my winter line up.
  23. Dean, is that really the oven at 400 F? Just checkin' . . . Baked for 45 to 60 minutes we do essentially the same wings at 300 F.
  24. Superb report, Ellen, beautiful photos, and a fine read. Thank you! Cheese is from what dairy source in this region?
  25. Looking forward to this blog! More vicarious adventure. Of course all the food has to be imagined as well (where is our sensoryvision? ), but I know you'll do a bang up job of that for us.
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