Sunday, October 11, 2009

more culinary news from the unemployed


* Achieved: really good meatloaf made with ground beef, cooked brown basmati rice, eggs, ketchup, dijon, spices, a little crumbled bacon and (from the Necessity Is the Mother of I. files) a panade made with panko and rice milk! It really worked. I have a history of making horribly dense, unhappy meatloaf that makes you wonder why you ruined perfectly good ground meat and turned it--"stretched it"--into something that takes longer to eat up than just plain horrible overcooked meat. This meatloaf was tender and delicious and I am totally into the leftovers, a very good sign.

* Thanks to a friend and former co-worker, Vera Videnovich, who runs a CSA and a farm in MI (you can see a recent tour of it here), I got a beautiful free bag of Concord grapes at Veggie Bingo on Wednesday. I had an ambitious idea of making jam with them, but instead I whirred up the grapes--pips, skins and all--with some water and a tablespoon or so of vanilla sugar in the blender. Whirred and whirred, and then sieved through a very fine sieve, to arrive at this really delicious juice (left). It could have been thinned even further. The whole experience was quite purple. Delicious.

* Worth every penny (when it's on sale): Miller's Amish Country Poultry, produced in Orland, Indiana. It's exponentially better than any other chicken I ever buy and from a money-saving standpoint there is much less waste/trimming necessary. A great thing to stock up on for the freezer when it's on sale.

* Fabulous version #295387 of my favorite salad: four grated carrots, one cubed cuke, one 6-oz can of Natural Sea tuna, salted sunflower seeds, and a dressing made with fresh lime juice, honey mustard, miso, rice & cider vinegars and olive oil. Love that stuff.

* I am becoming a fan of cooking bacon in the oven these days. So much easier than dealing with one curling-up strip at a time. Just throw it in the oven in a foil-lined pan at about 375 for 1/2 hour. Done and done, and the fat is easy to drain this way too. Another thing really worth buying on sale.
You can freeze the cooked bacon too, and pull a strip or two out for flavoring purposes as needed.

* Hints from Heloise tip for your cat: best cat toy chez Cahiers at the mo is an empty and de-labeled prescription bottle, filled with a few matchsticks or sea shells. It makes a satisfying rattly sound and if it's small enough can be carried around in their mouth.

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