Monday, August 25, 2014

Awesome August 2014 A Few Ruminations on Food

I do not always cook from scratch, I do not always serve on "real" dishes. With cats, it is much easier to eat from trays in the living room, off of paper plates. Dogs will haunt the area under and around a table - cats will just jump up and sniff the food. 

Hot Dogs, browned crispy in an iron skillet with a bit of bacon grease.
The wieners I remember from my childhood were always boiled in water, pale and flaccid. They never looked appetizing. Mom would occasionally split them, and put them under the broiler. I am not, have never been, a fan of hot dogs, but used to think the broiled ones looked much tastier than the boiled ones. Roger likes hot dogs, so when I prepare them for him I brown them until crispy, usually in a skillet with a bit of butter or bacon grease. 

Chili - extra meaty, with sriracha for a kick.
Another childhood ewww - rolls of chili con carne ( Valleydale brand maybe?), in plastic that was heated in a saucepan. It always had bits if weird stuff in it - I (well, we ) like  canned Texas Pete hot dog sauce. Seeing as I do not eat the wieners, I like to have a substantial chili, so I have started making the Texas Pete extra meaty. I brown a pound of ground beef - always the leanest possible - and break it into really really small pieces. I drain all of the grease off and add a can of Texas Pete and about 2 teaspoons of sriracha ( Cha, also by Garner Foods, the producer of Texas Pete). I then just heat it well, no need to cook it to death. I eat the chili on a hot dog bun, with all the fixin's. Relish, onion, mustard and ketchup. 

Diced Vidalia onion.
Yellow, white, red, scallions - any onion really. I have even made caramelized onion to go on the top of hotdogs, but fast and easy is usually my method, and that means an onion, diced. 

Sliced fresh tomato.
This tomato was a gift, from a dear friend. We did not plant tomatoes this year. If I buy tomatoes from the store, I prefer Roma or Grape for  the most part. I avoid fresh tomatoes from late Autumn until late Spring - I just do not like the hybrid gassed varieties that are so meally and tasteless.

Cole Slaw. 
I love to make slaw, but the mess and time usually means I but a container from the store. I avoid the Reisers if I can - I think it tastes bitter. Ballard and Gunnoes both have a good product. If I am at Food City and the deli is open I may buy theirs. I do not like to get deli slaw unless I know it was made the day I am buying it. When I make slaw, I may or may not add carrot - and the dressings I prefer is my go-to cold salad dressing. I mix mayonnaise (about 2 cups) with a spoon of white sugar { I use a spoon from the drawer like you stir coffee with, not a measuring spoon - trying to keep it real here}, a spoon of cider vinegar, a spoon of yellow mustard, about 4 grinds of black pepper {yes, I use a pepper mill} and if I have any maybe half a teaspoon of celery seed. If there is any left, keep it in the fridge, it is great in potato salad and macaroni salad. I like slaw chilled, and seldom think far enough ahead to have time to make and chill it before we eat. Also, I do not like slaw that is more than one day old. Oh, and I grate the cabbage on a box grater. 

Baked beans.
Another thing I like to make myself but usually buy from Food City instead. Bush's has a good line of specialty baked beans, and Food City has their store brand in the same flavors. I like the Steakhouse Baked Beans. A can is more than enough for two people. We usually have leftovers. 

August is a wonderful time to live in the mountains, where so many people grow fresh fruits and vegetables. The reward for labors is being harvested, and if you have not grown a garden, fresh produce is readily available. We feasted earlier this month, on fried peaches and cream corn. If you Google Fried Corn, you will get lots of recipes, so I will share my simple version.

I had about 6 ears of Peaches and Cream corn. After it was shucked and silked, I cut the corn from the cob and scraped the milk as well. I heated a skillet and added maybe 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. After it was hot but not smoking, I added the corn to the skillet, about 4 grinds of pepper, and very little salt. The Bacon grease was salty, and a light hand is always better when it comes to salt. Stir well, to coat the corn with the grease, and if it looks like it needs more moisture a bit of water can be added, but not much. Fresh corn is sweet, especially Peaches and Cream, so I did not add any sugar. I turned the heat very low, put a lid on the skillet, and let it steam/fry for a bit. I checked it every few minutes, stirred to keep it from sticking, and it was soon golden brown and tender. If you fry corn, and are unsure when it is done, taste it. Crispy but not raw is what you are going for here. When it is done, top it with a diced tomato, and enjoy. I forgot to take a picture of my fried corn, so I am using a picture of Peaches and Cram corn instead. 

Peaches and Cream Hybrid corn

Definitions of rumination:
  • noun:   regurgitation of small amounts of food; seen in some infants after feeding
  • noun:   (of ruminants) chewing (the cud)
    Example: "Ruminants have remarkable powers of rumination"
  • noun:   a calm lengthy intent consideration

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