Well, when you're on a roll...
Mom bought some German sour kraut at the local Natty Flat Smokehouse the other day. We still had some tortillas and franks. I also had some Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese. My mind immediately jumped to Reuben.
No. I didn't have any dark rye bread or corned beef. But what I did have made a passable dog using the procedure for Cerdos en Serapes given below.
Variations. Variety is indeed the spice of life.
My family likes pigs in blankets, a nice substitute for hot dogs. Me, not so much. Usually they do canned biscuits for the blanket part and the sweetness of the biscuit against the savory of the frank just doesn't work for me.
Enter the lovely and versatile flour tortilla. I keep these around for quesadilla and the occasional burrito. Today, Cerdos en Serapes.
What you'll need:
Begin by laying out the tortilla and adding the cheese and other things you might want with your little piggy. Be careful not to overload or you won't be able to close the deal. Then, place the frank in the middle of the tortilla and do the burrito wrap. Secure with a wood toothpick or two.
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the cerdos on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and allow to bake until the serapes are crisp, the cheese is melty, and the cerdos are hot.
Any number of dips and condiments are appropriate here. If you're a gringo, mustard. If you're more into the Tex-Mex vibe, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, queso, ... My Dad likes his with steak sauce (!).
Depending on the condiments, you might serve with side dishes including potato salad, sour kraut, refried beans, ...
Cerdos en Serapes: They're quick, easy, inexpensive, and sure to be a hit with the little ones.
Rowdy, our little rescue terrier mix, has become a very picky eater. For some time, he would only eat if Mom fed him from a spoon.
Well, now we have him eating from a dish again AND eating a good quality dog food, small kibble.
Place one cup of kibble in a glass microwaveable bowl. Mix in one tablespoon of ricotta cheese. Try to coat all of the kibbles; at least distribute the cheese amongst the kibbles.
Microwave for 30 seconds.
Stir thoroughly. Then sprinkle on a very small amount of parmesan cheese; we use the little packets we get with pizza but don't use a whole packet! Stir again.
Transfer to Fido's food dish and watch the gobble fest.
Rowdy eats this like he's afraid someone is going to steal it from him...
I love lasagna. Actually, I love pasta in general which is funny given my upbringing. Mom is good with trying new things and she's a fan of traditional lasagna as well. Dad, not so much. He'll eat it. But then he'll complain about it.
What Dad does like is mac and cheese. Unfortunately, the cheese for him is Velveeta, which I think is pretty much glue. I'll use it to appease him, but I make a sauce with other dairy products and some spices to make is palatable.
So, that's the back story.
I make several different varieties of lasagna. What they all have in common is that they are quick and easy to prep, bake in the oven (so I can prep and walk away), and are anything but bland.
This one's no exception. But, it definitely does NOT have an Italian flavor.
large elbow macaroni noodles
shredded cheese, colby jack blend
BBQ pulled pork
maybe a little additional BBQ sauce
Notice that I did not specify amounts. I usually make a small lasagna so use about one cup of each of these. You adjust as needed.
Prep the macaroni as directed on the package then drain.
Thoroughly blend the ricotta cheese and the sour cream. I sometimes add seasoning even some onion and peppers to this, depending on who's going to be eating.
Warm the pulled pork on the stove top. This will speed the baking.
Thoroughly spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, bottom and sides. Then sprinkle shredded cheese on the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover. Add a layer of the macaroni, about half of what you've prepped. Again, distribute evenly. Add the pulled pork. (I find that it's best to put small dollops and pat them down rather than try to spread the pork. Another layer of macaroni noodles. Then dollop on the ricotta cheese mixture. Finish with the remaining shredded cheese.
Bake in a hot oven (400F) for 20 to 30 minutes.
Allow to cool about 10 minutes to facilitate cutting and serving. (I slice this like a meat loaf with a good metal spatula. I get 6 slices per loaf so my family gets 2 meal out of this.)
I usually serve with some fresh hot Italian bread.
As an afterward, Dad ate this for two meals with no complaints. AND, there's not a bit of Velveeta in it!
My family has 2 dogs -- Muppet, my 9 year old Maltese and Rowdy, Dad's 4 year old rescue terrier mix. Muppet will eat pretty much whatever you set down in front of him. Rowdy, on the other hand, is the very embodiment of the picky eater.
I also have 2 American Buff Geese in the back yard, both females. Each Spring I get eggs, the exact number depends on how the birds are feeling. This year, not so good; but that's another story.
I usually collect the eggs, blow them out, then use them for crafting or just decorate them as gifts. Today was egg blowing day. I blew out 12 goose eggs. The shells have been washed and are drying. The edible portions have been put in half-pint jars and placed in the freezer for future cooking.
Most of the eggs will be used to make dog food. Following is the recipe I use.
1 goose egg
1 half cup frozen peas and carrots
Scramble the goose egg in a microwaveable glass bowl. Add the frozen veggies and scramble again. Be sure to break up any clumps of veggies.
Microwave bowl and contents, depending on the machine, about 3 minutes or until the egg is thoroughly cooked.
Cool. Break this omelet into bite size chunks and serve.
In our house, this will feed 2 dogs 1 meal each. And they LOVE it.
Bon Apetit, Fido!
Monday, 20 March 2017, after lunch...
I have a love hate relationship with salads. On the one hand, I like the variety of flavors, the possibility of low cal, the coolness, and the bulkiness of salads. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of iceberg lettuce and, much as I love them, the dressings often defeat the purpose of having a salad in the first place.
Enter my no lettuce, light dressing, quick and easy salad.
Also, I like to add chopped onion, chopped baby bella mushrooms, even a few sunflower seeds.
I often serve with some protein like baked boneless, skinless chicken thighs (no breasts for me -- white meat is too dry). This will also keep and I actually like it cold.
We're all trying to lose a few pounds here. Mom and I love this. Dad, of course, wouldn't eat it if there was literally nothing else in the house.
17 March 2017, St Patrick's Day, before sunrise...
I love NetFlix. I love the control it gives me and the lack of on screen advertising. What I sometimes miss is the advertising for new (to me) programming I might enjoy.
So, I was intrigued when I stumbled upon a documentary called "Cooked."
This documentary is based upon a book of the same title written by Michael Pollan. It consists of 4 approximately 1-hour episodes corresponding to the 4 elements (fire, water, air, and earth) and the 4 fundamental methods of food preparation. It examines the history and science of these methods. It is fascinating.
If you truly enjoy food preparation. If you want to learn more about food preparation. If you have a bit of an anthropology bug. Or if you just like to eat. This documentary will not disappoint.
After watching the series twice, I purchased the book. I haven't finished it, yet. But, wow!
Doggy Din Din
Bon Appetit! Fido.
Cooking as Creativity
Cooking can be a creative act. At the very least, unless you merely heat something up, it is an act of MAKING and gratifying as such. I cook as often as I can. Sometimes, though seldom, I work directly from a recipe; this is MAKING. Sometimes, I work totally from "instinct" using what I have on hand, considering the likes and dislikes of my family, thinking about what I'm hungry for, and coming up with something totally unique; this is CREATING. More often, it's something in between working with memories of recipes and the restrictions of the pantry. This last is less creative, but still qualifies. At either end of the spectrum, cooking can and should be fun and gratifying. And you get to eat the results!