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    Des Moines
  1. Yeah, fatten that sucker up. Once the vegetables run out in February he may be supper.
  2. Last year the city switched to an automated trash pick-up system. Everybody got one fairly big can that holds maybe seven or eight bags of trash. The truck has an arm that swings down, picks up the standardized can, dumps it into the top of the vehicle. The idea is that the workers won't have to get out of the truck or pick up anything heavy so they won't ever get hurt on the job. Until this week the city had these chaser trucks that would come through an hour or two after the automated truck. These guys picked up everything on the curb that wouldn't fit into the standard can. But they were j
  3. Tuesday Woke up to find that our neighborhood raccoon had found his way into the garbage and decided to gnaw on the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving. Our garbage pick-up is Monday but for some reason the city decided this would be the week to change their policy on the number of bags they would pick up from the curb. So after I heard the garbage truck come, I went out front to find five garbage bags remaining on the curb. Figure that out: the second biggest garbage week of the year (behind Christmas) and this was the week people would be left hold the (extra) bag, literally. The carcass lay in
  4. Very cool web site Moto Chef. Unique concept. You and Bourdain would get along swimmingly.
  5. We fry them. I give them a soak in water first to get the starch out.
  6. Your kids get a toy with their meal. The waitress apologizes that your food took so long because "our microwave is on the fritz."
  7. Actually, cheese has been one of the challenges. There are a few cheese makers in the state -- mostly goat cheese -- and man (and kids) can't live by goat cheese alone. There's a couple of small cooperatives in northeast Iowa where we can buy cheese in bulk.
  8. Monday Breakfast at the Wagner house is pretty simple. Zoey has to be out the door by 7:55 for pre-kindergarten and we are all slugs in the a.m. CeCe drinks coffee (that's our beverage exemption) and Zoey and Kiernan usually have some fresh toasted bread or some eggs and hand cut bacon. We get the most amazing fresh meats from tiny locker plants all over the state. My best find is a beef stick that's shaped like a slim jim but contains no trim: it's all meat. We buy those from a small cooperative of livestock farmers who have them made at a locker in northeast Iowa. They are sold at our indoor
  9. There's a Barilla plant just north of Des Moines in Ames. But we've also made pasta this year. the kids prefer the Barillas.
  10. Sunday: On Sunday, my parents drove into town from Sibley, about 200 miles northwest of Des Moines, for a belated birthday celebration for my now five-year-old daughter, Zoey. My parents suggested leftovers for lunch and so I threw together a casserole with of bed of mashed potatoes zipped up with sour cream, some diced turkey and ham, topped with a quasi-tettrazzini sauce. For the sauce, I diced some onions and simmered them in butter then added a ½ cup of flour, some ground mustard and poultry seasoning, just a hint of cayenne, and some salt and pepper. I stirred it up to make a kind of rou
  11. Pac Choi, a regular item in our CSA box each week. What do you do with it besides chop it up for stir fry?
  12. There are a handful of maple syrup operations in northeast and eastern Iowa. Except for Green's Sugar Bush, it's mostly hobby farms. Greens is available in a few locations in eastern Iowa and produces probably our best maple syrup. I spent a terrific day there a few years back when the sap was starting to run.
  13. I like the way Bobby Rivers always ..... pauses for EMPHASIS. That show also drives me nuts and it drives my wife nuts because I bitch about it while watching.
  14. A ricer is a gadget that looks kind of like a oversized garlic press. You stick your cooked potatoes in it and press them through the sieve-like bottom and you get lump-free potatoes. A great gadget, although it's a bit of a pain.
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