Monday, September 26, 2011

Canning Dilly Beans

They are salty, spicy, pickl-y (not a word. I know.) and just heaven. I know this because one of my jars didn't seal so I put it in the 'fridge. For later. Or now.

Highlander ran the Quad Cities marathon yesterday morning, and qualified for Boston. (yay!) So I get to figure out what one eats when one is in Boston. (yay!)
I stayed home, roasted a chicken, made peanut butter bars, and ate Dilly Beans.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh Yes I Did.

Iowa Valley Food Coop brought it home today with a fabulous grand opening. I brought it home, too. Onions, potatoes, green beans, garlic, bacon, hot peppers, and those beautiful raspberries. Which I promptly poured Everclear over. I'm convinced that I can conquer something so simple as Raspberry Liqueur. Especially if I have two pints of pristine organic raspberries to fiddle with. Hooray.

Live in the Cedar Rapids area? Not a member of Iowa Valley Food Coop? Join. The longer you wait the more embarrassed you'll be for waiting so long.

Iowa Valley Food Coop Website

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I waited inside the front door for the bus this morning. Zoe and her cousin sat on the bench facing the street. When the breeze blows, it knocks the first few fall leaves off of the trees and the whole thing looks like the inside of one of those silly little fall themed snow globes. I was enjoying the view when it occurred to me that today is the last day that Zoe is a five year old. It's technically too early in the day to have a cocktail, so I refilled my coffee and decided to make a trip to the apple orchard by myself today and score some tart fruit for a big batch of applesauce. I should be cleaning the house for the birthday party on Saturday, but I don't want to. I want to stay home, peel apples, and not cry.

Not cry.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Potato Pancakes

I struggle with leftovers. If I don't plan for them, the family sucks up every scrap of food on the table and then complains that there's nothing in the fridge for lunch the next day. If I fill the fridge with leftovers, everybody wants to eat out. So to solve this problem, I employ my new favorite tactic. Apathy.  

You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

In this case, you get potato pancakes made with an abundance of eggs from happy chickens, and leftover smashed garlic potatoes. If you don't want to eat it, I'll feed it to Max. He loves me. And my cooking.

2 cups leftover smashed garlic potatoes or mashed potatoes or hash or something from last night that had potatoes in it
3-4 eggs from happy chickens
1 cup of shredded cheese, preferably cheddar but whatever

Mix together with a fork until well combined.
Heat a big cast iron skillet over medium heat until you can warm your hands over it. Add a pat of real salted butter and about a teaspoon of oil. Swirl around until the surface of the pan is covered.
Drop the potato pancake batter in with a big spoon. It will be lumpy. We don't care.

Turn the heat down and walk away for a few minutes. Read the paper, find a good Eminem song on your MP3 player, feed the dog. I'm sure you can find something to do.

Flip the lumpy eggy pancakes over with a spatula, wait a couple of minutes to make sure they are cooked through and serve with ketchup. At least one of your family members will eat this and appreciate it. But it doesn't really matter, because no one is keeping track.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My house smells like cow leg.

So, maybe I have a reputation for being the chick that will figure out what to do with the cow bits that no one else wants to mess with. I may have gained that reputation by asking for (begging, really) the parts of the cow that no one wants to mess with. So I have this pile of shank....
It was only a few years ago that I was asking the dude in Hy-Vee how one might cook a steak. Now I'm on my fifth batch of homebrew beef stock and have managed to turn Elk knuckles into soup. Now that made my house smell odd.

I have five sections of shank, each about an inch thick. I browned them and put them in my crock pot with some salt. The plan is to make Phu from the juices and shred the beef for my tall son's barbeque beef sandwich obsession. We'll see how that goes.

See that book over there? This is the second book by the woman who wrote Julie and Julia. They made it into a movie. Really, you can just watch the movie and you'll pretty much get it. In Cleaving, Julie decides to be an apprentice butcher. The meat parts are really interesting and kind of hilarious. However, her relationship is dying (perhaps because she's constantly confusing it with a side of beef and always hacking away at it.) The book is painful, but would be a good read for fall, especially if you live in the midwest, where reading a painful book in February can land you with a box of kleenex in one hand and a prescription in the other.

I blame this somewhat terrible book for my willingness to cook unfamiliar bits of meat. Our family cow has gone to meet his maker, and what he left behind will feed us for then next year or so. I asked for the tail, tongue, liver, and knuckles. Should be interesting. My brother in law got the heart. He promised me a bite.