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eG Foodblog: tejon - Pepper Steak and Power Tools


tejon
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Re labeling spice jars (and other kitchen ingredients):  You'll have a philosophical decision to make about this very soon, I expect.  As you begin to teach your boys to cook, will you label everything to make it simpler or will you teach them to recognize and remember each spice?  I teach kids' cooking classes in my kitchen every summer for our 4-H group, and find it a necessity to have everything labeled since I can't be watching every child at every moment.  With my own, I've taught them to know a lot by just working side by side, but the labeling becomes convenient when they are old enough to cook when I'm away from home.

I hadn't thought of that, but it's an important point. Ryan is just starting to really get into reading, so it hadn't occured to me before that the boys will need labels when they cook. I'll be sure to fix that soon.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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FabulousFoodBabe - these are the jars Dan gave me for my birthday. I smile every time I see them, and can't wait for everything to be in nice rows of bottles.

LouisaWhite - I lived outside of Philadelphia for a few years almost two decades ago and remember the frustration of being able to find NOTHING that I wanted cooking-wise. Once I had to go to five different stores to find fresh cilantro, and tortillas were purchased in cans. MAkes me appreciate the bounty here all the more.

I think Dan may be able to accomodate that Animal-style request :wink:

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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The boys had "Os" and milk for breakfast and I packed lunches remarkably similar to yesterday's fare. Dropped Ryan off at school, then came back and helped Arden get ready as his preschool starts a bit later. Time for my pre-workout breakfast: yogurt, chopped apple, walnuts, and a sprinkle of Korinje cinnamon. Black tea to sip and give me some needed caffeine. After I drop Arden off I'll drive to yoga class. I know, yoga sounds relaxing and soothing and hardly like a workout, right? Not this class. One of the regular students nicknamed the teacher "Hitler's wife", if that gives you any idea of how hard she works us. I will be working up quite a sweat, which is perfect to work off what I have planned for lunch :cool:.

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Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I think I'll miss the diversity here the most. There are Indian and asian communities close by, and I've learned so much by having such a wide mix of people and cultures around to learn from. This also means that ingredients are easy to find, an area in which I've gotten a bit spoiled. There's an Indian restaurant called the Peacock Gardens that I will sorely miss. Wonderful food, and I'm making sure to go there at least a few times before we leave.

Having been in Portland for three years, my advice is to eat all the Indian food you can before arrriving! Portland is a fabulous food town in many ways (Vietnamese, Mexican, Northwest), but the Indian food here is, on the whole, abyssmal. We drive to Seattle every so often to get our fix.

Kartoffel

A Food-Obsessed Linguist

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I'll make eating good Indian fare a priority, then. I do make some pretty fine Indian food on my own, so at least I won't go hungry :wink:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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LouisaWhite - I lived outside of Philadelphia for a few years almost two decades ago and remember the frustration of being able to find NOTHING that I wanted cooking-wise. Once I had to go to five different stores to find fresh cilantro, and tortillas were purchased in cans. MAkes me appreciate the bounty here all the more.

A lot has changed in two decades, tejon.

For now, I will simply leave it at that.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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A lot has changed in two decades, tejon.

For now, I will simply leave it at that.

Oh, I know it's very different now! I've peeked at the Pennsylvania forum now and then and have been caught between marveling at how good things have gotten and asking why it wasn't that way when I was there :hmmm:. Mostly just showing that I understand scarcity of ingredients and how that affects cooking. I think I'd be pretty happy out your way now :smile:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Lunch was In-N-Out, that California burger mecca. Note that contrary to popular belief, it does rain here occasionally. The usual result is confused drivers, a plethora of down jackets and mittens (it's 60 degrees and I swear I saw someone with mittens this afternoon), and hysteria on the part of local weatherfolk.

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with the chain, In-N-Out is dedicated to making quality burgers, fries, and shakes. Nothing frozen, nothing mass produced, each order made one at a time by well-paid employees who usually do a great job. Here's the menu, in it's entirety:

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We ordered a Double-Double Animal Style for Dan, a cheeseburger with grilled onions for me, a chocolate shake for Arden (he'd already had lunch earlier), and a french fries Animal style to share. This was the first time I've ordered french fries any way other than plain, and they were good. Animal style for the burger meant a mustard-cooked beef patty, additional pickles, extra secret sauce with grilled onions. Animal style fries includes cheese, grilled onions, and sauce on top. The fries were incredible this way, and we polished off every bite. Now I'm really going to miss In-N-Out!

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I tried to get a picture of Dan's Double-Double as he was eating, but he scarfed it down in no time flat. Later, he admitted that he hoped the pictures wouldn't come out and we'd have to order again :laugh:. Did get a good shot of my cheeseburger, though. Juicy, a tiny bit rare (perfect!), full of flavor, and all around delicious.

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Arden felt Dan really needed more french fries.

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Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Kathy, as one native Californian to another, I must say this:

How. Dare. You. :hmmm:

Mind you, I do understand your reasons for moving to Oregon, California housing market being as it is ...

Are you and Dan et al. planning some family excursions around Southern California before you all head up north? Besides In-N-Out and Indian food, what else will you miss?

BTW, Animal style fries? That's a new one on me!! I haven't even ordered the fries well-done yet.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I know, I know. There are so few people actually from California here that we should try to protect the remaining herd :wink:.

No time for family excursions, really. My dad and sister are both in the L.A. area, so we'll come back and visit regularly and catch up on the places we miss. Not really sure what I'll miss - it's so hard to know until you're in a new place and really find out the things that are different.

In-N-Out fries Animal style = must try. I never really liked their fries, finding them a bit lacking in flavor and crispness. Adding cheese and onions and sauce transforms them into something I'll happily order again.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Tonight's dinner was falafel. Hadn't made any in a few months and needed to fix that. I started the garbanzo beans soaking last night, then whirled them in the food processor with onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, and seasonings. Then I use a one ounce scoop and press the mixture into balls. This part is tricky since there isn't a lot holding it all together, but I don't like them as much with bulger or other binders. Then I fry in hot oil until golden and crisp on the outside.

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I added some pita bread, chopped radish and onion and cucumber, lettuce leaves, and tehini sauce (tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and water blended together). Mashed zucchini with onion, garlic, and mint rounded out the meal nicely.

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Here's what dinner looked like once we made up the sandwiches. This is one meal we all love, so there's nothing left except a bit of tahini sauce that I'll use for salads next week. This is my plate - I wasn't very hungry after such a large lunch, so I only had 3 falafel in a pita with some of the zucchini on the side.

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Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Niiiice! I love the radishes, actually. Great idea, one I'll have to try. I can just taste that through the computer screen.

Same thing with the In-n-Out experience. I've always heard about this place; it's really good to see the real deal. Ya gotta love a place that offers their items 'animal style'.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Note that contrary to popular belief, it does rain here occasionally. The usual result is confused drivers, a plethora of down jackets and mittens (it's 60 degrees and I swear I saw someone with mittens this afternoon), and hysteria on the part of local weatherfolk.

Hehe, I lived in SoCal for a few years and always laughed at the "Storm Watch 2006" any time it threatened to sprinkle! (Full Disclosure: I'm a native to the San Francisco Bay Area, living in AZ now.)

And fries Animal Style? Who knew! Once I was driving through In-N-Out and the kid standing outside to take the order (they do this when the car line is long, kinda cool) asked if I wanted fries. When I declined he scoffed! I explained that I wasn't a fan of their fries because they are somewhat dry and lacking in flavor. He suggested a "Light Fry" and so I tried them. Not crisp, but still much better than their regular fries. IF I get fries there, that is how I have them. I now have a new order though :biggrin:

ETA: Oh! I was going to mention earlier about the house smells when showing... I have heard some people are put off by a strong curry smell (yes, yes it depends on who is walking through) and since -in my experience- it can linger for a few days, you may want to be careful about cooking curry and showing the house? FWIW

Edited by Genny (log)
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[...]Arden felt Dan really needed more french fries.

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I love that picture!

I have to say, I've never gotten into burgers. Nice felafel sandwich and zucchini side, though! I like hot sauce with my felafel, in addition to hummus, tahini, salad, onions, and spicy pickles. Do you ever make or use a hot sauce in your felafel sandwiches?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Kathy, quick questions: What kind of pot & what kind of oil were you using to deep-fry the falafels? And what do you do with the oil afterwards? Pour it in a can with a lid & discard? I'll admit it: I have a fear of frying! Please help!

BTW, no spicy sauce with your falafels?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Kathy,

Great looking Falafels and Zucchini, both classic Lebanese dishes and look just like they're supposed to.

I'm also interested in your frying set up, may be we could see photos of the pot and basket?

I think you're super for doing this blog with the hectic schedule that you have as well as selling a home and moving. Thanks.

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You know, I've never even thought of hot sauce on my falafel. Interesting. I'm sure it would be delicious, but I somehow it sounds wrong to me. I think it's because falafel is something I had so often when I was little, and obviously ate mild versions then. In my mind, it has a particular taste that is immensely comforting and that doesn't include hot sauce. I'll have to give it a try, though.

The pot and frying set up were rather makeshift tonight. I couldn't find the pot I usually use for frying, so I subbed a much smaller one instead. Not the best idea, as the oil almost came to the top edge when I lowered the falafel down to cook it. The fry basket is something I got from my grandmother's kitchen when she moved to a small apartment. It's great for getting things in and out of hot oil easily, and pretty easy to clean up afterwards. Here's what the set up should look like:

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I tend to use safflower oil for frying. Canola has a fishy taste to me, and I like something light and tasteless. I fry these at around 375 degrees, using a thermometer occasionally to make sure the temperature stays even. When I'm done frying, I take a coffee filter and fit it into a funnel, then place that in the top of the now empty oil bottle. The filter cleans the oil well enough to use one or two times more for frying, though with something very strongly flavored like seafood I don't re-use it at all.

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Sorry it took so long to answer - I was in the middle of watching Battlestar Galactica :cool:. After that, it's bedtime.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Yummy-looking falafel. Heh. I think I need to make some falafel real soon. Especially since I'm having trouble finding really good falafel around these parts. But about that zucchini:

Mashed zucchini with onion, garlic, and mint rounded out the meal nicely.

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Somehow I have missed the existence of this dish. What a terrific thing to do to zuchini. I need to do this real soon too. :smile:

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Somehow I have missed the existence of this dish. What a terrific thing to do to zuchini. I need to do this real soon too. :smile:

me too! I love the combination of zucchini and mint. Tejon could you elaborate a bit more on how you make this? is the zucchini boiled or sauteed?

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The zucchini is steamed while the onions and garlic saute, then the mashed zucchini is added to the pan and sauteed as well. I added the recipe to RecipeGullet here. This would be a great way to use up older zucchini, since the texture isn't crucial.

Just finished up breakfast. I made up bacon in the oven, which I find a lot easier than frying it all in a pan. The slices come out nice and flat, there's no draining needed, it doesn't require much attention, and it allows me more stovetop room to cook other things. The oven is set at 400 degrees, and most bacon takes around 12-15 minutes or so.

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I make pancakes and topped mine with some strawberries. The berries weren't the most ripe, so I mixed them with a bit of brown sugar to bring out the sweetness. I had some oranges that were getting a bit long in the tooth, so I juiced them and had that along with some rooibos tea. Added a tablecloth today, since even I was getting tired of all that white :laugh:.

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Dan's off to the hardware store. Later today, we'll be pulling out the carpet in the upstairs bathroom (who puts carpet in a bathroom?) and installing tile. I'll do the last bit of painting in the kitchen later this afternoon. After that, all that's left in the kitchen is clearing off the counters. The microwave, KitchenAid and blender all have to go in storage, which will certainly make cooking a bit less convenient. Though I'd love to ditch the microwave altogether - it takes up a huge amount of room, and everything I use it for could be duplicated well enough some other way. Pictures of the kitchen a bit later.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Kathy, this is fun. Thank you for taking the time out of such a busy schedule to blog. I realize that your week is nearly over, but if you help out at school again around lunchtime, I'd love to see what other children are eating...if it's okay to take pictures of the food alone.

More about eating white and progressive moves towards items like beef and broccoli are welcome, too.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Sorry it took so long to answer - I was in the middle of watching Battlestar Galactica  :cool:. After that, it's bedtime.

Oooooh...thanks for reminding me I have an episode waiting on my Tivo! Now I can't wait. I heart that show.

And as yummy as the falafel looks, it's the zucchini that really blew my mind. I wish I could get good zucchini in the middle of winter out here in Ohio.

As for breakfast, does oven-roasting the bacon dry it out a lot? It certainly seems more convenient.

The food of thy soul is light and space; feed it then on light and space. But the food of thy body is champagne and oysters; feed it then on champagne and oysters; and so shall it merit a joyful resurrection, if there is any to be. --Herman Melville

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Kathy, this is fun.  Thank you for taking the time out of such a busy schedule to blog.  I realize that your week is nearly over, but if you help out at school again around lunchtime, I'd love to see what other children are eating...if it's okay to take pictures of the food alone.

I usually get to the preschool around lunchtime and sit with everyone while they eat. I was planning on getting a picture on Monday, so this is an easy request! It's always interesting to me to see what all the other children are eating every day.

More about eating white and progressive moves towards items like beef and broccoli are welcome, too.

Ah, a subject I'm well acquainted with. Ryan has a lot of sensory issues that tend to go hand in hand with Autism, so he has difficulty with many new foods. Arden had chronic reflux for many years and somehow associated food with pain, so he tends to pick "safe" foods like crackers, bread, and cheese. Both are on the extreme end of picky, something that is especially hard because I love to cook so much. I struggled long and hard with this, getting so angry that they just wouldn't try anything. The typical wisdom of "if they get hungry enough, they'll eat" didn't work at all for either of them. Requiring a bite of each food was outright impossible - it would have involved holding the boys down and forcing food into them. Works well for many chlidren, but not these particular two. Alll along we have encouraged them both to try new foods, and have offered a wide variety of things to try with every meal.

Finally, I came accross a book that has really helped called, "Just Take a Bite". It describes a whole therapeutic approach to helping children who are food averse branch out and eat new things. In a nutshell: have regularly scheduled meals and snacktimes each day, have no food or drink other than water available in between these mealtimes, don't push or require the children to try anything, take pains to show them how much you enjoy the food, make sure there is at least one food that you know they have eaten before at each meal, vary the presentation of any foods they prefer, work outside of mealtime on getting used to the taste, texture, smell, and even proximity of unfamiliar foods. The regular mealtimes and nothing in between makes sure that the children are actually hungry when food is set down, instead of grazing on preferred foods throughout the day. No pressure to try new foods takes away any power struggle, and we've found that the boys actually try a lot more now than they did before, perhaps because it just seems a more positive experience. Varying the presentations of foods they like (for instance, cutting cheese into different shapes or setting out different kinds of bread) helps build a comfort with food being different and helps prevent "food jags" where that's all they eat for weeks on end. We also added our own twist: the boys have a weekly competition to see who tries the most new things. Each gets a check mark for anything new, and on Sunday the winner gets a special treat. This puts a positive spin on eating something different.

Gradually, they have both started eating much more variety and are now asking to try new things. It's been an uphill climb, but it's working really well.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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