Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

Recommended Posts

14 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 If you found it by googling check the ingredient list. It contains garbanzo/chickpeas. 

 

:shock:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad you don't like chickpeas, @ElsieD!  With all the other beans you might not notice them, but I realize that's like the line from the Monty Python "Spam" skit: "There's ham, eggs, sausage and Spam...that doesn't have much Spam in it!" I feel the same way about lima beans, and as I read the ingredient list I see there are both baby and large lima beans.

 

Incidentally, I'd forgotten that a holiday ham bone was also simmered in that soup until all the meat scraps were claimed and the joint was softening.  I realize the ham bone is the traditional bean soup/pea soup meat provider, but we added the andouille to make sure there was enough meat to suit us.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad to know the HamBeens soup mix should be readily available.  It's something worth keeping around, IMO. @Thanks for the Crepes, thanks for clueing me in about where I probably found it in the first place.

 

Last night was fairly typical of our volatile dinner plans.  I had thawed chicken thighs the previous day and run out of inclination to cook them.  Yesterday morning I put together the marinade for a Chicken Adobo recipe from the Cooking Light Diet for which I signed up (but so far have only used for suggestions). By having the thighs in the marinade and the vegetables for stir-frying already cut, it should have been easy to start dinner. I also got a batch of pita bread started, to be cooked on the outdoor stove.

 

Well, it's still all uncooked:

  • The marinating chicken thighs (which are covered and refrigerated, and have spent the night that way)
  • The pita balls, which spent the night in the refrigerator and are now losing their chill
  • The chopped broccoli and asparagus (no photo) which admittedly are good raw snacks

20180206_092210.jpg

 

20180206_092713.jpg

 

Instead, we had leftover "Bedouin-style tuna noodle hot dish" (my darling's invention).  This is comfort food for us, and it's dead easy, and a batch makes a lot of leftovers for easy dinners.

 

20180206_093510.jpg

 

Breakfast this morning, while I've been writing:

20180206_092044.jpg

 

It's time to light that stove, roll out the pitas and get them going.

 

I told my best friend last night about my efforts to simplify my cooking.  She scoffed, "Nancy, you don't know from simple!"  She's right.  On the other hand, last Friday night we just had popcorn. :D

  • Like 5
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure I've done pita on the stove top before, but never on the campstove.  It took a while to get the heat adjusted properly.

 

20180206_120742.jpg

 

Whether it was the overnight rest or the temperature of the skillet, or something else I haven't considered, these didn't puff into nice pockets as they should have. I think I've had this problem before when I stored pita dough overnight in the refrigerator, but I don't know why it should make a difference.

 

20180206_114647.jpg

 

Didn't hurt the flavor, though.

 

20180206_151845.jpg

 

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chicken adobo was finally cooked for last night's meal, and it was a success.  I took some liberties with the recipe: I ran out of rice vinegar for the marinade, and supplemented it with plum vinegar that I'm determined to use up.  I also ran out of interest in stir-frying the vegetables separately, so they all went into the same pot.  Fewer dishes to wash.  We were pleased.

 

20180207_220140.jpg

 

20180207_111730.jpg

 

We went grocery shopping today.  In light of the Top Rated US Supermarkets topic I'd intended to take pictures of Fry's, to show folks away from this area what a nice setup they have.  I forgot to do so. On the first Wednesday of each month they have super specials, and the place is so jammed that it's difficult to remember anything without a shopping list.  Never mind, I'll tell you about Stater Bros. in another post.  They're even better.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Smithy said:

Never mind, I'll tell you about Stater Bros. in another post.  They're even better.

 

The chicken adobo looks wonderful.

 

Yay Stater Bros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Porthos said:

 

The chicken adobo looks wonderful.

 

Yay Stater Bros.

 

Thanks, Porthos - and indeed, Yay Stater Bros!

 

I didn't fully appreciate this grocery store when I lived in the area.  When I lived within easy walking distance of a Stater Bros. I was in college, on a meal plan at the dorm.  A trip to the grocery store meant walking with my best friend to have a good round-trip gabfest and buy Mystic Mint Cookies.  I'm not sure we ever made it back to the dorm before tearing into the package.  Later, when I was out on my own and working, my normal routes didn't take me near a Stater Bros. and I wasn't as fussy about meat quality or selection as I am now.

 

@andiesenji and @Porthos have both extolled the virtues of Stater Bros. in various posts. You can read more about their history here than I care to go into; suffice it to say that we try to visit at least one Stater Bros. during our Southern California sojourns.

 

Their produce department is delightful.

20180127_125329.jpg

 

I'd never seen a miniature pineapple before this trip.  I didn't buy any, but I held one and said, "Awww!"

20180208_101555.jpg

 

Their meat counter - not including the frozen section - includes a good variety of cut but untreated meats...

 

20180127_125822.jpg

 

20180127_125935.jpg

 

marinated, ready to cook meats....

20180127_125842.jpg

 

cuts that we simply can't find in northern Minnesota any more...

 

20180127_125412-1.jpg

 

and plenty of their own sausages.  We purchased some "New York Style Calabrese Italian Sausage" because we remembered loving it from last time, and some "Salvadorean" (sic) Pork Chorizo because it's so darned cute and we wanted to see whether we could tell a difference in the flavor from the Mexican Chorizo commonly found around here.

 

20180208_102040.jpg


We also purchased flap meat and smoked pork shanks. 20180208_102242.jpg

 

The shanks are conveniently sliced and will be great with sauerkraut and potatoes, if we ever get into cool weather again.  (I'm surprised at how long it's taking to get through 5 quarts of sauerkraut.  Next year, I won't pack as much. That probably means, in turn, I won't make as much as I did last fall.)

 

In the mixed-blessing department, the beautiful variety of meats and produce is commensurate with the selection elsewhere in the store.  We had recovered enough from whatever ailed us to believe we'd want to eat again, but still had little energy.  We wanted to pay, get out of the store and get back on the road.  Still, we needed toothpaste.  This is what confronted us: 

 

20180127_130328.jpg

 

(No wonder my best friend's son, freshly back in the States after spending his formative years in Tanzania, was befuddled when we went grocery shopping together.)

 

We finally made it out, got everything packed up, and moved to our new camping spot.  I don't remember what we ate that night. We may have picked up some fried chicken from the Stater Bros. deli.

 

Sometime in the next day or so the flap meat went into a marinade of mixed citrus juice: orange, minneola, possibly some mandarin.  Sliced onion, red bell pepper and poblano pepper shared the bath and they all got acquainted in the refrigerator for a day or so. When I felt like dealing with it I drained the lot (saving the marinade), sauteed it, then pitched it onto a bed of spinach.  The drained marinade was boiled, then mixed with some sort of oil to make a hot dressing for the salad.

 

20180208_103158.jpg

 

One of us had that as a salad; the other wrapped it in a tortilla.

 

20180208_103536.jpg

 

 

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you're better. And, but for the  peppers, the salad looks wonderful.

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my "start using or stop buying" dinners during our slow times featured corn I'd frozen and vacuum packed at home, some mesquite-smoked olive oil I purchased last year (unopened), prickly pear balsamic vinegar (ditto), onion, and (sorry, kayb :P) a collection of peppers: jalapeño, poblano, red bell and some medium-heat roasted and peeled Hatch chiles that are taking up freezer space. I softened the peppers and onion in a pan, using the mesquite-smoked EVOO, then added the corn and Hatch chiles. At this point I was regretting the use of the smoked oil for sweating the veggies, so I opened and added the balsamic vinegar to sweeten it up a bit.  When I was satisfied with the flavor, more or less, I distributed the mixture between two bowls I'd picked up during a retail therapy trip last month.  Those went into the oven to stay warm. 

 

Back went the pan onto the fire.  I poached some orange roughy filets in butter, put them atop the vegetables in the bowls, finished the sauce with a bit of mustard and Meyer lemon, and distributed it over the fish. Voilà!  A one-pan, two-bowl meal.

 

20180205_150221.jpg

 

It was better balanced than most of our bowl foods, with good protein underlain by good vegetables. Cleanup afterward was much less work than usual.

 

20180205_150127.jpg

 

We liked it enough that I scribbled out what I'd done, along with what I'll do differently next time.  That smoked olive oil would be better as a finishing oil than a cooking oil; I tasted the smoke far too long after the fact, although my darling didn't.  The orange roughy was cottony to me - overdone, perhaps? wrong fish? - and we both agreed that the fish was superfluous although the butter, mustard and lemon sauce was not.

 

20180209_105756.jpg

 

Now I just have to refine the recipe and rewrite it before it loses its place on the refrigerator.


Edited by Smithy Changed "much less" to "much less work" (log)
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Retail Therapy*

 

Those of you who live in, or frequenty travel to, urban areas may not assign the Cost Plus World Market the same glamour that I do.  When I was a little girl, Cost Plus was an import store with an amazing assortment of items from places I could only imagine.  It was like taking a trip to Chinatown!  Only the large, faraway cities had places like Cost Plus, and we didn't go to big cities often: before I left for college, I think we went to San Francisco and Los Angeles twice, each. 

 

In the intervening decades my once-little town of Visalia has doubled or tripled in size, and the retail offerings have grown commensurately.  I can't like the sprawl that has swallowed walnut groves to the west and cotton fields and pasture to the south; still, I confess that the shops there give me a pleasure that I normally associate with big cities.  My mother, sister and I all said, "Wow, Visalia has arrived!" when Macy's moved in around 15 years ago.  Macy's has palled on me since then, but I still love the World Market and its next door neighbor, Pier One. It's rare for me to make a trip to Visalia without visiting those stores at least once, and I usually come away from the World Market with something: a packet of spices, some vital (or irresistible) piece of cookware.

 

This year's visit had more intent than usual. I've been entranced by their hammered steel Indian pans for some years, and thought this might be the year I'd acquire one.  Not that I needed one.  Not that I knew where I'd put it. Not that I knew what size would be useful.  They just look cool. (I think they look better in real life than in the linked photo.)

 

Well, when I got through the spices and foodstuffs - Berbere seasoning was in the cart - I went in search of those pans.  I found them.  I fondled them.  I debated about size.  I debated about where I'd put one.  I debated about how useful it would be, even though it would be cool to cook and serve Indian food in an Indian pan.  Then I turned around and saw the Spanish clayware. It had a beautiful heft and feel.  Wouldn't it be nice to have soups or stews in these bowls!  The clayware is oven safe, stovetop safe (for gentle heating), microwave safe. I'd figure out a place to put it.  The only debate was over color. That was easily settled, too.

 

20180209_173031.jpg

 

(I think I'd have chosen blue for the baking dish if they'd had it, but they didn't.)

 

I still don't have an Indian hammered steel pan, but these bowls have already seen a lot of use. My darling, who usually protests having breakable dishes in the trailer, is as delighted with them as I.  

 

*with thanks to Anna N for the term

 

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cool stuff - I like both stores - oh my back in the day didnt we all have that incense embedded "Indian" cloth to use as bedsoreads or room dividers?

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Plethora of Persimmons

 

I never appreciated persimmons when I was a child.  Sure, they may have been pretty, but the persimmon cookies my mother made and the persimmon bread my cousin made generally left me cold.  A few years ago I started thinking that persimmons themselves can be pretty tasty, and that it might be the spices used with them rather than the fruits themselves. I began to experiment.  Persimmon pudding can be pretty good. Ripe persimmons on their own can be a treat.

 

They are also beautiful.

20180202_130038.jpg

 

So it was that when we found ourselves walking near a young persimmon grove that was being pruned, despite a lot of fruit left on the trees, I went back to scavenge fruit from the grove.  Some I snipped ahead of the pruner; some I snipped from the branches already on the ground if it weren't too damaged from the fall. Soon I had a few dozen persimmons.  I wanted to try some of those baked goods with my own take on the spices, and I solicited advice in this topic.  

 

First, the persimmons needed to be peeled and puréed. I consulted with my cousin.  She told me that if they were truly ripe I could slip the skins off, and if they weren't then they needed to be frozen for a while to make them palatable.  No room in the freezer for that!  I tried the same method we use for peeling tomatoes: make a small cut (in this case, remove the calyx), dip the fruit in boiling water for about 30 seconds, fish it out.  The peel slipped right off, and the skinned persimmons were easy to cut. 

 

20180202_130138.jpg

 

We were plugged into electricity - bless our hosts - so the food processor was readily available.  Soon, I had a couple of quarts' worth of purée.  I baked 4 small loaves of persimmon-nut bread: to give as gifts, and as a test case.

 

20180202_125358.jpg

 

Good flavor, good moisture, good crumb.  Oh, happy day!  I gave the gift loaves away.

 

I intended to bake more, or do more with the purée, so I left it in the fridge rather than freezing it right away. 3 days later, as I was headed out the door for a business meeting, I realized there had been an explosion in the fridge...not an actual "bang!" explosion, but a slow-motion oozing mess that had overflowed the container and dripped down into the shelves and drawers below.  I was too busy hurrying the cleanup to document the carnage, but here's the aftermath:

 

20180202_125041.jpg

 

Who knew that stuff would start to ferment so quickly?  And that's exactly what it was doing.

 

20180202_125146.jpg

 

It was bubbling of its own accord, giving off a slight sour smell, but not rotten.  Huh.  What to do now? Until I could do something with it, I stuck it in the freezer.

 

A few days later, business done and time on our hands, I thawed it.  Maybe the fermentation product would boost the wild yeast in sourdough?  They did play well together, with the proviso that the persimmon sourdough bread was not sour...but it was moist, and flavorful, and sweet like an enriched bread, not sweet like a fruit bread.  I'll be doing that again.  Next time, I'll take a picture.

 

In addition, if anyone has ideas about how to make a persimmon curd or a persimmon glaze for roasting or grilling meat, I'd love to hear it.  After all, I have not only the remaining fermented persimmon (frozen) but I also have at least a quart of unfermented persimmon: two days later, my cousin gave me a bag of the dead-ripe fruit!

 

20180212_124910.jpg

 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never even seen a persimmon...they are pretty!  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I've never even seen a persimmon...they are pretty!  

 

They are very pretty and the fresh cut slices have a lovely star pattern.  I love to use slices of Fuyu persimmons in salads. Google "persimmon slices" and look at the images. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Persimmons, what a pleasant memory you stirred. At Christmas time my mother baked persimmon puddings, lots of them. She would let the persimmons sit on the counter until they were almost ready to spoil they were so ripe. She used them whole, but I don't remember what she did to mash them up. Eating of slice o it was pure bliss ...


Edited by Porthos (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mama used to make persimmon jelly. I never have, so I have no recipes, etc., to offer. It was tart, and excellent.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned above that I was holding the last of the Hambeens Cajun Soup-cum-Stew until I could make cornbread for it.  I finally did, and that was a wonderful accompaniment.

 

20180212_193657.jpg

 

Now it's time to admit that I have never, ever made cornbread before this.  I don't recall liking cornbread when I was growing up.  It seemed too darned sweet on its own, and the cafeterias always made it worse by adding honey butter.  However, a number of posts about cornbread here on eGullet have made me think I needed to reconsider...and besides, that stew needed cornbread.

 

There was @gfweb' inspiration of cornbread madeleines here, with further elucidation here.  (I did not, as I'd intended, get around to trying the madeleines before Christmas - much less for Christmas dinner. I'll get to it.) In the few posts following, @kayb and gfweb discussed sweet vs. non-sweet cornbread, and cakey vs. non-cakey.  Fascinating.  I loved gfweb's approach but remembered that I've never liked cornbread because it was too sweet. I looked at other recipes.

 

@Shelby has posted at least one good-looking link to cornbread recipes.  I think she's responsible for putting me onto this Kicked-up Cornbread from cakewalkr, and probably also the Homesick Texan's Iron pan, perfect cornbread post.  

 

I decided to follow the Homesick Texan's version as a first attempt, with the addition of a small can of jalapeños per gfweb. Remember, I've never made cornbread before.  I knew I wanted it not-sweet except for the corn's natural sweetness. I didn't want to mess with it much otherwise. <scherzo> Well, except that I had no buttermilk and I wanted to use up the whey from my last batch of yogurt. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. </scherzo>

 

20180212_192933.jpg

 

Success!  It was pretty good - but perhaps a bit too crumbly and cakey. I think I may be in the non-cakey camp.

 

20180212_201545.jpg

 

This whole business of how to make cornbread and what the variations are has led me down at least 3 eGullet rabbit holes.  These topics deserve to be appreciated, and probably revived:

Cornbread 

TDG: Desperate Measures: Cornbread Wars

Leftover Cornbread

 

For myself, I'm especially grateful to @Jaymes for her recipe for cornbread salad.  That would never have occurred to me.  It sounds like the perfect thing to do with our leftovers.  Isn't it ironic that I made cornbread to go with the leftover soup, and now I have to do something with the leftover cornbread?

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just mixed some cornbread salad, mostly using Jaymes' recipe above with a couple of tweaks.  (No green bell peppers.  A few chunks of diced jalapeño added.) Even freshly mixed, without sitting overnight in the fridge, it's good.  I put a photo of the just-mixed salad here.

 

Glory be, we're getting a few drops of rain!  It may only amount to what a West Texan described as "2-inch rain" - that is, 2 inches between drops - but the air smells sweet.


Edited by Smithy Spelling (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Cakey vs. non-cakey cornbread -- try a ratio of 2:1 cornmeal to flour. Or buy cornmeal mix, which is about that proportion.

 

I add salt, baking powder, a couple of eggs, a big glop of bacon grease, and enough milk to make it cake-batter consistency to fill my eight-inch skillet, which is the cornbread skillet, unless I'm making cornbread for dressing, in which case I up proportions and use the 10-incher.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, kayb said:

Re: Cakey vs. non-cakey cornbread -- try a ratio of 2:1 cornmeal to flour. Or buy cornmeal mix, which is about that proportion.

 

I add salt, baking powder, a couple of eggs, a big glop of bacon grease, and enough milk to make it cake-batter consistency to fill my eight-inch skillet, which is the cornbread skillet, unless I'm making cornbread for dressing, in which case I up proportions and use the 10-incher.

 

 

The recipe I used had 4:1 cornmeal to flour, but only 1 egg. Which do you think made it more cakey?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Smithy said:

 

The recipe I used had 4:1 cornmeal to flour, but only 1 egg. Which do you think made it more cakey?

 

If by cakey you mean crumbly, it's both. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my go-to recipe for corn bread (and I can promise it's not cakey)

 

Place  4 Tbs. oil in a 10" cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 400.

 

Mix together 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. water and set aside.

 

Stir together 2 c. cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 2 Tbs. sugar in a large bowl.

 

Beat together 3 eggs and 1-1/2 c. buttermilk

 

Mix wet and dry ingredients until well combined. Stir up the baking soda/water and add.

 

Pour hot oil into batter and stir well. Pour back into hot pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Don't overbake.

 

The Southerners among us may object to the 2 Tbs. of sugar, but for the rest of us it's just about right. It may be too eggy for some--in which case reduce the eggs and add a bit of buttermilk to compensate--but we like it this way. We like leftovers toasted with butter in the toaster oven for breakfast.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I use the word cakey, I mean not  crumbly.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gfweb said:

When I use the word cakey, I mean not  crumbly.

 

In the Cornbread topic I linked earlier, there's also dissent about what "cakey" means.  I may be misusing the word.  The cornbread I made puffed up a lot.  In brownie terms I'd have put it at the "cakey" end of the spectrum rather than the "fudgy" end.  It seemed crumbly to us.  It wouldn't hold together well being dipped in bean soup the way @andiesenji says her GRAMMAW'S BLACK-SKILLET CORNBREAD does; she reports that hers is dense.  Mine was not dense.  On the other hand, it held up quite well to being cut up - not crumbled - for the cornbread salad I made with it, so it may not have been really crumbly.  Maybe it's dry, and I haven't enough experience (yet) to know the difference. 

 

@Nancy in Pátzcuaro, thanks for your recipe.  I can tell I'll be doing a lot of cornbread experiments to see which we like better.

 

I'm curious about a step in Nancy's recipe, given above, and the Homesick Texan's recipe, and some but not all of the recipes I've perused: to add the hot oil from the skillet into the batter and stir it, before pouring it all back into the pan.  That step caused a lot of sizzling, and clearly began the cooking, in my mixing bowl.  Not everyone seems to do it, though. Andie's linked recipe dumps the batter directly into the oiled hot pan. I infer from @kayb's directions above that she does the same.  What is the purpose of the precooking step?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My recipe is a combination of 2 or 3 others, one of which had the step of pouring the hot oil into the batter and then pouring it all back into the skillet. It jump starts the cooking and seems to improve the overall texture. You're right--it sure does sizzle. I think the hot oil is incorporated into the batter more thoroughly than mixing it into the wet ingredients in the usual way, and there's a nice crust. But in any case you need to find a recipe you like, which is what we all try to do. Have fun experimenting!

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×