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Hard Hearted Alice

After pulling the Dracula wallet out of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunch box, the man in the Planet of the Apes t-shirt slid his plastic into the pump and began filling his Equinox with petrol. Using the available squeegie he cleaned his SUP POP license plates and let slip a grateful smile as he seen that it only cost him $12.00 to get to work and back this week. There were times not long ago when it cost 40 to 50. Different vehicles and higher prices, but still reason enough to crank some Alice on the way home for the weekend. He never needs a reason.
Some days are good. All days are Alice.

Mr. Nelson, Going Up?

Dearly Beloved
We R gathered here Today
2 get thu This Thing called Life

Electric Word Life
it means Forever and that's a Mighty Long Time
but I'm Here 2 Tell U
There's Something Else
the After World

...and if The Elevator tries to bring U down
Go Crazy
Punch a Higher Floor.



Cold Oats

Ok, so this morning I'm watching this documentary on the San Diego punk scene that was taking place during my occupation of 1988-89. Today also happens to be a work day, so I am simultaneously getting ready for work. Not wanting to miss anything familiar, I keep one eye on the television. This is somewhat easy for me because unlike my cat, I have two eyes.
Making oatmeal for breakfast, I put the water in the pan and stand by until it comes to a boil so I can add the oats. Now I have two eyes on the telly with an occasional glance at the cooker to see if it's boiling yet. This goes on for about 10 minutes longer than necessary before I realize that I didn't turn the stove on.

How punk is that?

Dandroid App Test

A man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.

No Joke

I'm Back.

Details are over on Mondo Dandy, but Look for more stories on the ol' joural very soon. I just feel like talking someplace where I know no one is listening and clicking LIKE because it's what you do.
Ugg. I know I've said this before so, at least it's April Fools Day and I can blame it on that if I don't follow through again.

Meanwhile, over on Mondo Dandy...

And Come It Did

In reviewing last weekends entry on my journal it can be said that nothing went quite the way I had planned. The beautiful morning snow turned into the first storm of the century of the year.
At noon my power went off.

My ribs had only been in the oven for one hour and I needed at least another
one to three hours to slow cook them. Oh well. For the next few hours I figured the power would be back on at any minute. But it was not to be. Not until 4:30 the next afternoon. Eventually I ended up storing my partially cooked ribs and a bunch of raw chicken in an ice chest packed with snow.

I think we got about 2 feet of snow that day and it came down fast and hard.
My country road wasn't plowed til after dark and several cars were temporarily stranded here and there and in the middle. I entertained myself by trying with little success to push some of the stranded travelers that were spinning tires on almost level ground. Even 4X4 trucks were fishtailing trying to get through. It was pretty entertaining for me in that I was safe on foot and never far from my own driveway. I did help one guy get his car into my driveway so he could come back for it after the storm. (When he returned the next day, he brought me a case of beer for my troubles.) Eventually with help of better equipped travelers, every one made it out. At least from my stretch of the road.

I was, and am usually, prepared for such emergency situations although this time I was not expecting it in the least. (Hey, I was just sitting outside enjoying a warm gentle rain the night before.)
I don't have wood heat, but I do have a little generator that I can wheel out the front door to power my electric space heaters to keep the house comfortable. I also used the generator to hook up to the internet every once in a while. On day 2 I hooked it up to the fridge for awhile to save my freezer stuff. But, not wanting to waste gas, I used it sparingly.

I have plenty of candles, extra carboys with drinking water, a Coleman gas lantern and camp-stove. I also have a handy little crank radio/flashlight so I can listen to MPR.  Also, being that it never got really colder than about 35 or 40 outside, I still had a rain barrel full of water to keep the toilet operational. Normally when there is a chance of an outage, I fill a couple 5 gallon buckets in the shower for just in case.

All in all, it was a nice little adventure. I called it a dress rehearsal. This was similar to the 2 day outage we got last Christmas without the below zero temps. I think that with this early season scare everybody will be getting their emergency kits together.

What really sucked was that it threw off my routines. I didn't get my laundry or cooking done so I didn't have leftovers for my lunch at work. So I just felt tired and out of synch all week.
What really didn't suck was that the next day a neighbor, who was passing by on his tractor, took the time to scoop up the the mounds of snow at the end of my driveway that had been pushed up by the snow plows.

The Land of Come What May

messy business this here snow is. of all days to wake up with no milk. most days I can let that go but the weekend coffee needs to be special. it was a nice little adventure. since it was the first snow of the year I was happy to brave the half mile and back to the store at the outskirt of my forest. not being too cold the snow was wet and clingy. clumpy, even. yet beautiful.

safe back in the cozy warmth of the cabin I enjoy that Sunday morning coffee to the gentle side of John Coltrane.

if Cayo were here she would feel my excitement as I hold the door open allowing her to put her eager face and feet into the wet morning air while debating if curiosity were reason enough to brave the full force of it's white swirly invitation.

a slow cooking rack of bbq ribs will be the oder of the day.
life. good.
Cayo Forever!


Comma Toes

I may have forgotten how to write and post on here and I'm not going to browse whatever random and rare stories or excuses I'v posted over the last few years because they are probably just like this one saying that I will stick my toes in the water and start blogging again and then I don't but with the hole left in my home activities since the passing of the love of my life and not to mention all of the time I'm saving by not using puncuation I may have to start writing again because I am still here and if you are reading this then so are you but we'll see.
Cayo Forever!

Slow Cooked vs Half Baked

As more and more of our daily routines are being assimilated by technology, new habits are forming. We now slide our fingers across new fangled gadgets that keep our information, communication, and our heads in the clouds. Most people from away never have to leave their comfort zone to shop, communicate, or find entertainment. I believe that this instant gratification is less savory than that which takes some time to simmer.
Fortunately, here in Waldo County, we find comfort in simple things like farmers markets, festivals, theaters, and video stores. Yes, video stores!
That which was once a corporate mass market has become a niche, a novelty, and a way of life for us ruralites. The video store has become the farmers market of entertainment. Where you can mingle with real people while you select the movies suited to your tastes. The motion picture is still very much alive. But, how you decide to enjoy it can also reflect the way you choose to live. 
Personally, I like to take it slow. How about you?

Bon Apatite'!

My, What Big Teeth You Have!

It's a beautiful day in my neighborwood. Ya see, I got all woods and no hoods. Like the cottage in the wood from red riding hood. I don't know where I'm going with that so I will just cut to the chase....I woke up to a lovely downpour and that's my kind of day. I have an oven chock full of slow cookin ribs (Yeah I know, I had that last weekend but they was on sale so I got me a double  size mess o' ribs cookin this week!)
I have some nice music projects to work on. I am learning myself how to do some sound editing on Audacity. I just got a cool little unit that allows me to finally (after a couple decades) transfer some irreplaceable cassette tapes into mp3 format.
The first little transfer was a live song from Lyzzy Bordyn recorded at Christmas party back in 81. The quality is questionable but the test was a success. Once I learn how to clean up the noise and other cool things, I'm sure I will be able to make it better and preserve it for the uncaring generations to come. Most importantly is that I will finally be able to share some of my archival rarities with friends that share the same memories.
Today's project is a MicroTones tape full of original songs. A couple old TC friends will be wicked stoked to get this in their ears again! I was fortunate enough to be friends with the bass player for awhile and he gave me this cassette back in the 80's. I have already made the transfer to mp3 last night. I now have to figure out how to separate the songs into individual tracks and maybe reduce some noise (and if I can't, it still sounds awesome enough as it is) so I am a happy camper either way!
Other cassettes that I can't wait to transfer are my old Weekend Underground radio shows from WNMC, Other TC bands like Zulu Groove and Kenny Olsen that only released their albums on Cassette. I have a small collections of local bands from other locales as well. Then there are the old Lyzzy Bordyn tapes from band practices and parties. Nothing there that is going interest most people but by getting it digitized, all the same, you never know what could suddenly sound good in a fresh context like in a weird video or something. I really am excited about this! I have been keeping this collection in order knowing that some day I would find a way to preserve them and exploit them and that day has come!
Thank you. I'm Jim Dandy and I bite.



I had kind of a funny start to the day, I was enjoying a classic beach party movie with my coffee and decided to take advantage of the cool of the morning and get me some taters parboiled to be used later. Simultaneously, I was shopping on Amazon to flush out my beach party movie collection with a couple more classics that I suddenly decided that  I just can't live without. I put some taters in water and put em on the stove. After marinating them for about a half hour I realized that the stove was not on, so I turned it on high. Then after hearing the water boil from the next room I came in to give em a poke to check their progress. The wrong water was boiling. The back burner was on under my tea pot. So I turned that off and finally got the correct burner burning! Yeesh.  Now I know that is all pretty dumb, and I never turn on the wrong burner. I always use the same front burner. But I do take the precaution of keeping a tea kettle full of water on that back burner just in case, so, yay me! I blame the internet connectivity. If I was not connected to the internet, I wouldn't have been so distracted. So now, the TV is off and the radio is on. I am still at the computer and I overcooked my taters. But I can work with that. This weeks home fries will just have to be mash browns.
Thank you. I'm Jim Dandy and you're not.

Squeaky Wheel

Well, here it is Sunday morning on Labor Day weekend. It's sunny and warm. I have my oven full of ribs that will be slow cooking for 4 or 5 hours and a mess o' chicken to grill outside later. I made it this far without bitching, but...
It Was Supposed To Be Raining!
Why else would I start the oven up early and get the temperatures rising in my cabin if I hadn't planned around a nasty rainy weekend forecast. Now I'm going to have to be outside and leave all the major chores I had saved for the weekend.
Now I will have to mow my lawn and sweat all day!
My entryway is piled up with cases of record albums and boxes of comics and books from my storage space that need to be skillfully integrated into my tiny
home. A chore best done on an indoor kind of day.
On the outdoor kind of days, I reserve the cool that I collected over night through the open windows. Instead, I have spent that already and am heating it from inside and out.
I even brought home the final season of Stargate Universe that I was going to tackle on this would be dreary weekend. Oh Well.
I mean it's still possible that the clouds could roll in and it could cool off but really, what's the point of even having forecasts?
So, good news for all you outdoors peoples that haven't already changed your picnic plans. Yay. It's a wonderful sunny day. Good for you.
Meanwhile, my friend Mark's internet radio broadcast is about to begin so I have to get this whole listening rig set up outside under the umbrella with Cayo, instead of choring to the oldies inside as I had planned. yeah, who's the Grumpy Cat, now? haha.
(Not Cayo. She's happy to get outside after being a prisoner of love all week while I am at work.)
All Righty, then. As I always say, if Cayo's happy, I am happy.

Happy Labor Day.

Love Hate Love

Wow, the internet.
I've been without it for quite a while. I don't mean completely with out it. I have it at my work place, but only while standing at the counter between customers and I'll be damned if ever I could watch an entire 3 minute video without pausing a dozen times in the first minute to the point of frustration that I usually say "frack that" and give up.
Then there is the internet that I have been borrowing from the neighbors wireless (with their blessing) that would occasionally be good enough to check out a thing or two in a place or 2 but God forbid I want to click on a link and wait and wait and wait and give up. Lately it has gotten to the point where I could barely connect at all.
So, I got me some genuine internet. no bells or whistles fancy stuff with tv channels or a land line telephony thingy...just internet. DSL. I fancied myself up a bit as well by also buying a wireless router. So now, and this is a first, I am not limited to where the computer is part of  a desk that is anchored by a cable to the wall. I am free to use my laptop anywhere in or out of the house!
I know this is no big whoop to most people. It's easy to take for granted unless you don't have it. That's why I'm flogging these thoughts now while I am excited about it. I like spontainiatious  blogging.
Example, if I knew I had to type this out then put it on a flash drive and take it to work and find the time to get it on this page I would be bored with it before I started it.  And that is how most of my ideas have fallen off my thought train these last few years.

Of course, this also means that I will be always looking at the computer even when I'm trying to watch a movie, or laying in bed til 3 a.m. catching up on videos and pop culture crap (like last night) but, I will take the bad with the good. Even now, I am listening to a nice jazz station on my Pandora via my spare laptop connected to the house stereo while I type this under the umbrella outside next to my cat. (It's a pleasant breezy summer morning that may have otherwise been wrought with internet connectivity issue frustrations.)
Then, let I not go without saying it, there is the real reason I need good internet at home, listening to my friend Mark on Catamount Community Radio!
That happens 10-12 Sunday morning (right coast time).


So simple, so tasty,  and after years of soggy too sweet cole slaw, this is the method I wish I always knew. I say method because the ingredients were always there, I just used them wrong. The original recipe goes like this...

1 2-pound head of green cabbage
quartered, cored, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices (about 14 cups)

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup grated peeled carrots
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise

You may play with that to suit your own tastes, as I have used other variations. My most recent favorite used White Vinegar, Sugar, and a few pinches of dry dill for the marinade. The onions I never tried but I have topped it with chives. All that stuff is up to the artist. The real trick is this...

Mix the vinegar and sugar. Add it to the shredded cabbage and toss well. Then just cover (or not) let stand for 30 minutes. Toss again and let stand for another 30 minutes.

Then you drain it well and cover it up and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill, dude.
The beauty thing is that you can do this the day (the original recipe says 8 hours) before you need it and it stays fresh and crispy.
When you are ready for it just add the quarter cup mayo, and carrots or whatever. Sometimes I don't even add the carrots, but may grate some on top as a garnish.
For just myself, I add the mayo to just the portion that I am using. Like a spoon full for a small salad bowl of slaw. Then the rest stays crispy till the next meal and I find myself saying, "Damn! Did I just make that?"

The white vinegar variation seemed more tangy and may be good with some fennel seed too. I just happened upon the dill before I found my fennel. (and also just happened to be out of apple cider vinegar, and glad I was.)
And as all great recipes add as a disclaimer...
Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I don't)


Holy Guacamole! Has it really been that long since my last post on this thing. Well I better fix that right now!
This is actually a recipe I was gonna share with my friend Mondo Marco,  so I will use it to fill some space on this page and maybe make the world a little better place in the process.
So simple, so tasty,  and after years of soggy too sweet cole slaw, this is the method I wish I always knew. I say method because the ingredients were always there, I just used them wrong. The original recipe goes like this...

1 2-pound head of green cabbage
quartered, cored, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices (about 14 cups)

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup grated peeled carrots
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise

You may play with that to suit your own tastes, as I have used other variations. My most recent favorite used White Vinegar, Sugar, and a few pinches of dry dill for the marinade. The onions I never tried but I have topped it with chives. All that stuff is up to the artist. The real trick is this...

Mix the vinegar and sugar. Add it to the shredded cabbage and toss well. Then just cover (or not) let stand for 30 minutes. Toss again and let stand for another 30 minutes.
Then you drain it well and cover it up and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill, dude.
The beauty thing is that you can do this the day (the original recipe says 8 hours) before you need it and it stays fresh and crispy.
When you are ready for it just add the quarter cup mayo, and carrots or whatever. Sometimes I don't even add the carrots, but may grate some on top as a garnish.
For just myself, I add the mayo to just the portion that I am using. Like a spoon full for a small salad bowl of slaw. Then the rest stays crispy till the next meal and I find myself saying, "Damn! Did I just make that?"

The white vinegar variation seemed more tangy and may be good with some fennel seed too. I just happened upon the dill before I found my fennel. (and also just happened to be out of apple cider vinegar, and glad I was.)
And as all great recipes add as a disclaimer...
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Personally, I just grind a little black pepper on my portion because I'm a pepper freak.

As for that tangy sweet juice that you drain from the cabbage. I always save it in a jar in the fridge, thinking it will come to good use. Try adding cucumber and onion slices to it and turn it into a quick jar of refrigerator pickles.

Mmmm, mmm! Now THAT'S Good Eats!


How I Invented Apple Pancakes

It all started while reading an interview with director Larry Cohen in RE/SEARCH #10 Incredibly Strange Films(Second Printing May 1986). Larry was the director of many cult films including "It's Alive", "Q", and "God Told Me To".
The interviewer mentioned that they were only interupted by the directors daughter who supplied them with apple pancakes, which of course weren't invented yet because, as a result of the afor mentioned interview, they would be invented by me some 26 years later. (Hense the title of this article.)

So I said to myself, which is my prefered method of talking to me, that apples in pancakes is something I have never tried. That's not too amazing being that I'm not much of a pancake fan to begin with. The amazing thing is that the apple in the pancakes just make so much sense!

As I said I'm not a pancake fan but I do like to be ready for any culinary needs that might impress an unexpected guest (or hangover) so I keep a box of Krusty's Instant Pancake & Waffle mix in the cupboard. Just add water.

Well today, not having a guest but the latter, I decided to try my new invention. I tossed some batter together in a bowl and added a cored, peeled, and diced Granny Smith Apple of the Beatles variety.

Dang if it weren't awesome!

I was out of maple syrple so I only topped it with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It was like fresh apple pie! And I'm talkin' about one big ass pancake the size of a 10 disc stack of 45's on a platter! The apple had just enough time to cook to a soft warm crunch. One bite and I screamed, "Happy Apples!"

Next time, and there will be a next time, I may toss the cinnamon with the apples before I mix it in the batter for a more insidious approach with the spice. I'm also wondering if it might be good with a bit of grated cheddar because, as my great grandma used to say, "Apple Pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze."

And that's how I invented Apple Pancakes.

Bon Appletite'

Got the Life

Cayo eagerly explores my fingertips as they create a make-shift bowl in the landscape that is her blanket.
I chuckle to myself at her youthful anticipation, which is about all she can muster in these, her declining years.
She wastes no time devouring the crunchy treat.


While in line at the bank drive-thru this morning, a girl got out of the car behind me and approached my window saying... "Are you him?"
When she got close enough to see me she said, "Oh, I thought you were someone else," and started running back to her car.
I stuck my head out my window and yelled, "I AM SOMEONE ELSE!"



"Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"
Col. George Taylor --1968

"Take your hand from me, you unctuous platitudinizing eunuch!"
Doc Martin --2004



my Only birds
sO far are crOw
they peck the snOw
for food belOw
[my Ode to O]
it's spring, you knOw
sO sadly thOugh
my snOw won't gO

The View From My Back Door Taken April 2 2011


FakeBook Status of the Day

People tend to have two reasons for doing a thing; one that sounds good and a real one.

zig zag [stunt poem]

I was thinking to myself [my favorite way]
that 'til a friend stopped by [to pass the time]
I could toss a few [drink some beer]
to help time fly [and make some rhyme]

I don't know if this is a style of poetry but it kind of works in a mix and match way.
I've found at least 6 different ways to read it.
Any improvements on this puzzle are welcomed.


Deviant (Redux)

Tangerine Beef
Fried Rice
Carnitas w/ Pico de Gallo
I don't really have time to write anything now, and I didn't prepare anything to have ready to post but above are the links to the recipes that I recreated this last weekend. I will try to update this soon with all of the deviations I made to make these awesome dishes my own.

Ya see, I just got a DVD collection of
Guy's Big Bite and am enjoying some inspired cooking. Details to come.
Suffice to say, It were some kick ass food!  Stay Tuned! (This photo from Guy's  Page, Not Mine.)


The following are the above mentioned Deviations from the recipes at the top of the page.

Day One: Carnal Carnitas with Pico de Dandy
These Carnitas were a new flavor to me. They are like tacos with a twist. A twist of lime!
(Although the pun was not intentional.)

My deviation on this recipe was that while pricing the pork butts I found a boneless pork loin to have a friendlier price tag. And although the Manteka Lard was costlier than I expected, ($2.50 #) I went with it anyway. However, after finishing, I did strain and freeze it for future use. (I'll let you know how that works out.)
The only other deviation on this dish was the radishes. Ever the frugal gourmet, I was shocked at radish prices. It must be because it is dead of winter but most produce is outrageous. The Cilantro was $2.50 for a small bunch, and Radishes were no exception. So I got a nice chunk of Daikon Radish. It was cheap and did the trick.

The Pico de Dandy is basically a fresh salsa so I added a few cloves of pressed garlic to the mix and doubled up on the fresh jalapenos.

The Carnitas as a finished meal were Magnifico!
A warmed corn tortilla with a generous pinch of the pulled pork and topped with a little shredded cabbage (I splurged on a small bag of pre cut slaw mix that will go into the fried rice as well). Then about 3 slices of fresh jalapeno pepper, 3 slices of that daikon radish, a nice little scoop of the Pico de Dandy, and a squeeze of a lime wedge.
I won't say it's not a little messy but what a flavor combo. It's cool and crispy with a spike of jalapeno hotness. The lime balances the hot and cool. And anytime there is fresh cilantro you know I'm on board! I couldn't stop eating them.
The only thing I accompanied these with was some corn chips that I made myself, (Store bought corn tortillas, cut into 6ths and deep fried) and need I say...Beer!

Day Two: Spicy Dangerine Beef with Vegetarian Fried Rice
On day one I had cooked off some brown long grain rice specifically for leftover to be used in the fried rice. I also had planned on using leftover pork from the Carnitas but wonder of wonders...I ate it all. (I told you it was magnifico!)
Besides the pork and the grain of rice my only other deviations on the fried rice were that I didn't have any snap peas or sesame seeds. Oh, and that I completely disregarded the quantities on everything except the sauces.
I made this early in the day and left it covered on the stove until I needed it much later.

Now for the Dangerine Beef I deviated from the cut of meat. What a shocker! I thought the flank or skirt steak would be an inexpensive cut. I've never bought it before knowing that it had to be marinated and used properly. It never really fit into my throw it on the grill plans. Well this stuff was like $6.50 a pound and I'm a cheapskate. So I went with a big ol' Top Round for London Broil that was only $2.25 a pound and marked down as well. I don't mind, and usually prefer, the marked down steak. I think it tastes as good and sometimes better depending on the cooking method.
(While on that subject, I never buy anything but the freshest when it comes to pork, poultry, and fish. Beef is my exception to that rule. But that's me, you do what you are comfortable with!)
Back to the beef. I first located the direction of the grain on the big ass hunk o' meat, and then cut the steak into chunks that would allow me to make the thin slices across the grain.
The marinade went as prescribed in an eyeball it kind of way. I tend to go heavy on my eyeball measurements, and I used mushroom soy sauce. The beef actually stayed in the fridge for several hours and then I pulled it out to room temp about an hour before I actually got around to cooking. I never started cooking the beef until early evening.
I was expecting a beer drinking buddy early in the day so did all my prep work before noon and we munched on bar food all day. (My home made french fries, corn chips, and I prepared another batch of Pico de Dandy for a salsa dip.)
For the sauce on the Dangerine Beef my only deviations were the sherry and the oil. I use peanut oil for stir frying. And I didn't buy any sherry either, but I always have some kind of leftover wine in the cupboard. Alcohol doesn't hang around long at my house so I keep a small jar for wine over the stove just for cooking. I top it off with whatever wine I may be drinking at any given wine weekend. It might be Burgundy, it may be white, and it is probably a mixture (but not a temptation, hehe)

I'll tell ya right now, this were some kick ass shit!
It's the kind of flavor that I might find in a Chinese restaurant and wonder why I couldn't make it at home. But I did.
It was spicy from the ginger, but sweet from the tangerine. It was tender and thick. Served with the rice it was like, "OMG, did I do that?"

It felt good to get out of the meat and potatoes rut. And as Guy might say, When it comes to my cooking, "No bite is to big!"

Bone Appetites!


The Ambiguous Cow

Thursday 02FEB11 10:30 a.m. Music playing...T.REX
Temperature outside...10 degreez above zero (heat wave)

My ground beef never seen it's shadow so I recon spring is on it's way!

I took today off from work because of the predicted "Storm Of The Century". (It seems like we get one of those every year, don't it?)
My work partner was generous to cover for me, as I live 15 miles out of town (up in the hills) and she lives only a few blocks from the store in town.
I just finished snow blowing my driveway for the first time today so I can map the progress of the storm. Will we really get that 18 inches?

Now, what to do about food. Today's menu actually started two weekends ago when I froze a 5# bag of ground chuck. I had bought two such bags on sale and never got around to portioning it before I had to freeze it. That left me thawing More than I needed for any single project this last weekend. So, I cooked the entire 5 pounds with fresh chopped onions, garlic, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then I threw it in the big ass crock pot with a can of tomatoes with basil and a bit of oregano.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to go Mexican or Italian so I stopped the seasoning there until I knew what it would turn out to be.
It turned out to be both. I started by snacking on large flour tortillas topped with a romaine leaf, sour cream, a scoop of the ambiguous beef, and some fresh grated cheddar.  That were some kinda yummy. A jar of sliced jalapenos from the fridge added that extra heat I needed to each bite. Instant Mexican!

Along with this I had cooked up some simple Spanish rice.
To make this I sauteed a couple small yellow onions in oil and then added a pinch of cumin, a bit of chili power, a small can of diced Mexican style tomatoes, one cup of long grain brown rice, and 2 cups of water. After bringing to a boil I lowered the temp to low and put a lid on it. Don't stir and don't peek for at least 20 minutes. Once you do  start peeking (because you have to eventually) look for the water to be absorbed into the rice rice but still slightly bubbling. (or slightly past that point.) Then I turn the heat off and let it set even longer. It will finish cooking and won't burn.
Remember, DON'T STIR YOUR RICE WHILE IT"S COOKING. Wait until it is done and you are ready to serve it. And maybe not even then, unless you are transferring it to a serving dish.

That morning I had also soaked a pot of red beans but decided not to cook them until the next morning.

As it happened I felt like Italian the next day so the boiled beans went to the fridge and I cooked off some pasta. I wanted to use penne regatta but was out, so I used elbow noodles instead. I was thinking goulash (or Chop Suey, as they call it in these parts.) This I prepared per portion in a bowl and topped with fresh grated Parmesan. That were some kinda yummy as well!

Now thinking ahead, as I do every now and then, I thought I may as well portion up some to-go dishes for lunches to take to work.
One microwavable container first got a layer of the rice topped with a layer of the beans and then topped with a layer of the beef. Simple healthy Mexican.
The other 2 containers went Italian. I discarded the goulash idea here and thought lazagne style. Using the elbow noodles I layered noodles, beef, Parmesan, Romano, repeat.

Them was some kind of awesome. And since I'm not at work today, some of it is still in the fridge at work waiting to be enjoyed.

Now...back to today. The remainder of the meat in the crock pot started reheating first this this morning after I realized I wasn't going to work.
After blowing the driveway clean I thought it would be a good day for chili. Hey! I still have those red beans. Throwing them into the mix, I added a big can of diced tomatoes and some cumin & chili powder.
Voila! A pot of chili for a blizzardy day in the country.

Bone Appetite!


A Day In The Life

Sunday 1/23/2011 11:59 a.m. Outdoor temperature 12 below

I just finished making a huge pot of potato chili & cheese soup.
I am also on my 4th beer. I should have a reality cooking show.
If I did, it would go something like this.

First thing this morning while the coffee was brewing I started soaking a pot of red and black beans.
After coffee and a breakfast of home fries, eggs and toast,  I started peeling potatoes.
Last week my neighbor gave me a big bag of potatoes from her garden. Organic and local. They were very dirty and starting to grow eyes but the chore was quick and easy with a paring knife and some cool running  water.

I filled the pot about 3/4 full of large diced potatoes, added some salt and just enough water to cover them. After boiling a bit then simmering a bit more so the taters were sufficiently tender, I removed them from the heat.

Next I pureed them in their own stock. I actually used a masher to break them all up into a soup consistency. And I always leave things chunky, knowing that it will break down more as it cooks or is reheated. To this I added milk and fresh ground black pepper. And this whole mess I poured into my big ass crock pot.

While the potatoes were boiling I had peeled and diced a bunch of onions and fresh garlic.
Then when that the potatoes were out of the way I sauteed the onions and garlic in my wok.
The wok is actually my favorite cooking pan. It's big enough for any size frying project and it's fun to maneuver or flip your food with. I even use it for breakfast.

Mine is a nice non stick version.  Don't think it's just for stir fry!

Next, to the translucently sauteed onions, I added the spices. Oregano, chili powder and cumin. (I didn't have the foresight to have green or jalapeno peppers on hand for this stage of the project. Use em if you got em.)
I let this saute just a couple minutes to marry the flavor before removing from the heat and adding to the potato mixture in the crock pot.
Soup is done. Just add grated cheddar to each portion as you eat it. A dollop of sour cream is a nice addition as well. (This ain't no health food show!)
My original recipe would call for adding the cheese right to the soup at the final stage of preparation but it serves me, the lonely bachelor, better by doing it per portion. It will survive a few reheats better. That, and I just like to grate cheese on my food. It just adds a freshness to leftovers.

Since I had cooked up so much of the onion and garlic mixture, I left some in the pan for my next project.
I returned the wok to the heat and added some ground chuck. This was a spontaneous choice because I knew I was gonna do something with the beef tomorrow and this would save a step. Plus, it's one less time that I have to wash the pan. haha
The beef and onion mixture will go well with the beans that are still soaking.  I'm thinking burritos or chili.

Remember, I am cooking for myself for the whole week. Lunches to take to work and dinners for when I get home at night. My work days consist of coffee and breakfast, then I go to work and it's straight through with no break until get home around 9 p.m.

So what am I gonna eat today now that all the work is done? Probably gonna cook up some burgers and french fries. haha
Somewhere in the middle of the onion cooking session I was also peeling and slicing russets into french fries and have them soaking in the fridge in a tub of water with a bit of vinegar. Those will go in the deep fryer that is set up in my garage. One case of the munchies and I am good to go!

Man can not live on soup alone. I think tomorrow I will make a meatloaf for sandwiches this week. That plan is subject to change. I might feel like Mexican tomorrow. I didn't even know I was making soup today until I started peeling potatoes.
Bone Appetite! Gimme a beer!

Monday...The Follow Up.
That was some kick ass potato soup!
Before it degraded any, I culled off some portions to take to work with me this week. (Then over the course of the day ate about half of the rest of it.)
The cheese burgers and fries went awesome as well.
Nothing like eating out without leaving the house!

I began this morning by returning the heat to the potato soup in crock pot so lunch was underway before I made a waffle and eggs for breakfast. After lunch, the beans and beef mixture turned into a nice chili that I moved to the crock pot after removing the small amount of leftover potato soup. With that chili working on it's own I decided to turn the rest of my raw ground chuck into mini meat loaves. They will be good for quick sandwich fixin this week. I love me a cold meat loaf sandwich! I used a non stick bread pan that makes eight mini loaves.
Now, if I only had my own bread. Hey, waddaya think I wanna spend my entire weekend in the kitchen? haha...well...actually...


Hey Look At Me!

I spent a lot of time yesterday composing a post for this page that gave my views on LiveJournal, BlogSpot, MySpace and FaceBook. After reading it I decided not to post it. In a nutshell, MySpace still sucks, and I left FaceBook but will try to rekindle my self promotions here on my LiveJournal and Blogspot sites. (I wonder if I will read this tomorrow and then delete it?) Stay Tuned!

Kitchen Diary of a Madman

The highlight of every week for me is a weekend of cooking. Now that it's cooler outside I love having food projects going all day. Every weekend is a little different. I don't like to waste, so often, one thing leads to another thing. I often have little idea what the final dish is going to be as I start cooking it. Other times I prep little things for a couple days to be specifically used in a dish.
This will tell you what I did this weekend.

Why I did it;
Well, I like to cook and I need to eat. Most weekends I do cooking that will last me all week. This often includes cooking a whole bag of red potatoes then keeping them in the bottom drawer of the fridge for quick home fries, soup or potato salad. Fresh and ready to eat. This week I also had baked a bunch of russets. Lately I have also been cooking extra amounts of rotisserie chicken. I have some for nibbles all weekend then have meat left for sandwiches for lunches during the week.

What I had in the fridge;
  • 2 leftover rotisserie chicken breast on the bone.
  • 8 or 9 baked potatoes
  • some boiled redskin potatoes
  • onion, celery, and carrots
  • cheddar cheese
What I picked up at the store;
  • Aprox. 4 pounds ground beef
  • 2 Doz. whole chicken wings
  • sour cream
  • T. Marzetti Bleu Cheese Vegetable Dip

How I did it;
Friday night after work I began by removing the breast meat from the bone and set the meat aside. In anticipation of my weekend, which is Sunday-Monday, I started a chicken stock with the bones and smaller scrap pieces of the chicken breasts. For more flavor I also cleaned and added the celery butt and end pieces, as well as an onion cut in half and some salt & pepper.  After cooking long enough to scent the house with that home cooking aroma, I left the whole mess in the pot and stuck it in the fridge. That was my prep work for the night.

Saturday night after work I started soaking a pot of red beans.

Sunday morning I woke up early and ready to kick some food butt. First I started the beans on one burner and the chicken stock on the other.
When the stock pot was warmed up a bit, I separated the bones and meat from the stock and then put the stock back on to almost a boil. In the meantime I added the diced chicken breast meat, some carrots, celery and onion, all diced large. I like my home cooking big and chunky so it doesn't break down so much when reheating a few times. This only needed cooking a short time. I seasoning to taste with some garlic, sage and a wee bit of grated nutmeg. Lastly adding some large diced pre-boiled redskin potatoes. (I wished I had some frozen peas to throw in too, but was I out) I then thickened it with corn starch and water. Quick, translucent and thick.
I was not sure what I was making yet. I just like cooking and working with what I have to use up. Kind of a something from nothing dish. If nothing else it was to be chicken stew for lunches next week.

Next I started the beef cooking in a big pot with a bunch of onions, diced large, and some garlic. By the time this was done, the beans were done as well and had been drained and waiting on the side. I decided to finish the concoction in the crock pot. I have a real big crock pot so I dumped the meat and the beans together adding 1 big can of crushed tomato with basil, and 2 small cans of stewed tomatoes Mexican style. (all natural)  Next a bit of cumin and chili powder, then a stir with my favorite big wooden spoon.  The rest of the cooking and marrying of flavors would happen on their own over the next few hours of slow crock pot cooking.

I won't mention the constant keeping up of dishes. I like a clean kitchen so I wash as I go.
I guess I won't mention the beers that I enjoy as I cook either. It's a cookin' party, after all!

Now the previous projects are all cleaned up and out of the way so I started cutting the baked potatoes in half length ways and scooping the flesh into a bowl. I filled a couple cookie sheets with half shell potato skins anxious to be reunited with it's flesh. I mashed the potato with some sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Next I refilled all of the skins with this mix and sprinkled gently with paprika. These I just stuck in the fridge until I needed them in the oven.

First order of business with the wings is to separate the drumettes and the tips. I freeze the tips for a future chicken stock. The rest of the pieces are about to become art. I tossed them in onion powder and garlic powder then layed them out on a broiler pan and cooked them for about a half hour at 350. As I pull them out of the oven, I put in a tray of potatoes. Next I put the wings back in the big bowl, which is miraculously clean again, tossed them in the sauce I made, then baked them another 15 or 20 minutes. The potatoes finished at at about the same time as the wings. I topped them with grated cheddar and served them with a dollop of bleu cheese dip. 
About the sauce...
Chicken wings. I love 'em! Usually the more spicy the better. Today I started with some super hot pepper sauce made by a friend of mine. Seriously, you could dip a toothpick in this stuff, touch it to your tongue and catch on fire. I added some of this to my favorite barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray's. It was a tolerable hot before cooking, meaning a spoonful would make me sweat immediately. But somehow, after cooking it was less than mildly spicy but very sticky sweet. In a word, Awesome! I had gourmet nibble for two days plus.

First thing Monday morning I stuck the chili back in the crock pot and lunch and dinner was working by itself. I had some wings left so when I got the munchies I just stuck them in the oven while I preheated it to cook off the other half of the stuffed bakes.

Then I remembered the chicken stew I made the day before and decided to make a simple pie crust and make pasties. I made enough pie crust for four pies filling each crust with stew and folding it over on itself like a calzone. I then put a small slit in the top of each one and stuck some butter in the slits. Then baked them for about 45 minutes at 350. I put a little pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven to add some moisture. These turned out beautiful. After cooling them completely I wrapped them in newspaper, then baked them to use for my lunches at work this week.
(I use newspaper because I don't buy things like baggies or wax paper. Why should I when they keep sticking this stuff in my mailbox for free?)

What I created;
  • Buffalo Wings
  • Double Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Beef & bean Chile
  • Chicken Pasties
  • vegetables and dip

There you have it. A weekend in the kitchen with me.

Bon Appetite! Chez Dande'


Back To the Stacks (or Records Revisited)

Sunday Morning September 12, 2010

How I spent my Sunday morning.
A few years back, when I still had internet, every Sunday I would comment on my friend Mark's intertubular radio extravagonzo. Or more simply put, his Sunday Morning Jazz Plus Show. Catamount Community Radio, on WWCU-FM. Sunday mornings from 10-12 (North Carolina time).
This will be an homage to that. Also, since I just got a new turntable I thought I should break it in all proper like, so from 9 am until 1:00 pm, this is what happened.

Play list
1. Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention (Side 2) Because it was still on the turntable from my last listening session. Includes many fun sound bites from the senate hearings on censorship. Can you spell PMRC?
2. Charlie Parker- 1949 Concert (Side 1, Side 2) At times you can hear someone shouting in the background, causing me to look out my front and back doors to see if I had company.
3. Black Oak Arkansas - 10 Year Overnight Success (Side 1) A random selection found while skimming the shelves for something to grab me.I haven't heard this in years. I always loved the track, When the Band Was Singing "Shakin' All Over".( Even when that guy from the Guess Who sang it.) This album also has some nice vocals from Ruby Star on Television Indecision.
4. Elvis Costello- My Aim Is True (Side 1) I actually caught myself dancing around the kitchen during Sneaky Feelings, and I never tire of Watching the Detectives. It makes me think that I was probably liking reggae before I knew what it was.
5. T. Rex- Ride A White Swan (Side 1, Side 2) Because I can never get enough T. Rex! More mystical than metal, this album was given to me by a British lady I know as part of her personal 'Teen Age Girl in 1970's England'  record collection. She actually gave a whole box of records. All of them from England, many of them with alternate covers, labels, and tracks than the American releases. Very groovy. Thank you Maxine, wherever you are! My favourite T. Rex album would have to be whichever T. Rex album is on the turntable at at that time. Right now it's Ride A White swan.
It's a little hard to follow the mystical styling of tunes like Elemental Child, Salamanda Palaganda, Strange Orchestras, and Cat Black (The Wizards Hat) with anything but more T. Rex, so I took a sharp left turn down Dark Pop Lane and stayed in England with...
6. Paul McCartney- Red Rose Speedway (Side 2) A quick note about the album cover. I don't remember ever noticing that there is braille on the back. Or at least ever seeing the bumps and knowing what they were. Could this have been around the time he was hanging around with Stevie Wonder? Either way, it's a kind of interesting courtesy to say the least. On the music, I've always loved this record for it's dark atmosphere. It's a great one to listen to in the dark. Maybe that was the idea, and hence the braille? When the Night, and Medley: Hold Me Tight-Lazy Dynamite-Hands Of Love-Power Cut really move me. Oh Dammit, so do all the rest of the songs. (but mostly the Medley!) And speaking of Medleys...
7. Melody Makers featuring Ziggy Marley- Play The Game Right (Side 1, Side 2) Naah Leggo. The children in the ghetto want food to eat. The people on the streets want somewhere to sleep. Help them mr. bigman, mr. bigman. You can't blame the youth them. They are victims of poverty. But we got to dread. Hang on in there. We naah leggo, we can't leggo, we naah leggo.
Not one bad song on this 1984 release from David (Ziggy) Marley, the "then" young offspring of Bob Marley. How songs of social injustice and suffering can sound so happy and hopeful is beyond me but it's a pleasure to listen to and leaves you thinking everything's gonna be alright!
Other highlights including the title track are  Aiding and Abetting, Revelation, and Unuh Nuh Listen Yet,
If I listened to this album enough, I could probably write some happy songs about my back aches and over due bills.
My daddy been telling you about it, unuh no listen yet. Yesus Kristos been telling you about it, unuh no listen yet. Leggo mi hand and mek mi cross river jordon. Leggo, leggo mi hand and mek mi cross river jordon.

This wraps up my little platter party. I've had a blast. Thank you Cayo for listening, and thank YOU for reading. Now it's time for ME to get cooking. Today's menu started with a simple beef and tomato concoction that will turn into some kind of penne pasta style goulash, but where it ends...even I don't know yet.
I will be dancing out of this blog to the swinging sounds of a British released compilation album called Reggae Party (on MFP records) Music For Pleasure!
"When the pressure drops, whoah whoah..."

Return of the Blog

Friday September 10, 2010 8:32 A.M.
I love the mellow feeling of moments like these.
I had a good nights rest after a day full of housework, cooking, drinking, eating and watching TV.
(I watched the entire Season 9 of Smallville.)
No hangover, just mellow.
The cat is fed and the coffee is fresh.
The sky is overcast and the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet.
Mellow. Calm.
If only I didn't have to work today.
I must try to reconstruct this feeling on my next day off.
This is also the first time I have sat down to write anything at the computer since I can't remember. I was hoping the words would just flow if I started typing.
I recently moved the computer to the table in the dining area of the kitchen. It had been in one of my extra rooms where it was set up like a nice little office that I never used. In the process I ended up with he spare stereo and turntable here as well.
I belong in the center of things so this feels right. Sitting at the half way point between the TV and the kitchen.
It seems to be working. I typed this.
Normally I would have just thought about typing something, went to the spare room to turn on the computer, and then lost momentum hanging out in the kitchen.
The hardest part is that, without internet, I can't post it to my blog immediately. I will have to put it on a flash drive and transport it to town and then post it only when I get time to do so while at work.
That will be fine with poetry and little stand alone stories, but seems less likely to happen with the "Dear Diary (and the rest of the world) this is what I'm thinking right now" entries.
We'll see. If you're reading this now, and knowing that I wrote it then...it is probably the same as me posting it then and you not reading it until now.
I guess the words flowed fine. The caffeine is kicking in and the sun is coming out.
I can start the day knowing I have already accomplished something.
Bye bye for now.

I Have A Plan

I never post because I never write because I have no internet at home and my computer is in an inconvenient location so I am going to rearrange my home and put the computer in the kitchen so I can still see the TV if/when I feel like typing while I'm cooking and maybe then I will resume my old plan of bringing my blogs from home to post from the internet at work (where I am at right now which is why I don't have time to punctuate and you are lucky I even was able to squeeze in the gnarly parentheses)
so, there!

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