Archive | food

the adventure of beans, beans . . .

I discovered that the library where i do all my research at has a copy machine that does scanning as well…and i mean SCANNING, like scanning entire books to multipage pdfs. That is going to save me soo many hours.

I have a couple of books, i want to get digitized by the end of the year…as well as a fat book on women journalists…and a suprize entry..Secrets of New England Cooking which was my go to references for 18th and 19th century recipes. Turns out it is in public domain. So i scanned it which is the 1st step towards digitization. The next is transcription..which is so much faster from a digital version. I am planning to have a nice selection done by the end of the year… I promised the Farm Store I would give them a spinning rack by late september, hopefully I can afford it.

I spent too much time reading this book today, and ended up throwing a pot of baked beans in to cook. As carb filled as old tyme New England Cooking is, you have to admit it is cheap and filling. It is also the menu of my youth…aside from a dozen back of the box recipes, and a small cluser of Canadian recipes, my mother was a basic Yankee cook. Clam Chowder, Baked Beans etc… She wasn’t a very adventurous cook, but i survived…and became an adventurous cook. Now the wheel has come around and I am relying on the simple recipes that I can cook with my eyes closed.

pan galactic

I finally asked around outloud…and a friend of mine who has access to such things is going to help me out by cutting this in pieces….let me explain… years ago i had my oven disconnected. I just didn’t like the idea of a gas pilot burning night and day on an oven i don’t use. And the reason i wasn’t using it, is that i just didn’t like the idea of heating up the entire oven, to cook what is usually a loaf pan’s worth of food. I do miss the burners like mad…but i have found the electric burner is workable…back to the pan…. the oven i use is a counter top model which is pretty big on the inside, i can bake bread and cook chickens etc.. not so small as a toaster oven…but not so large as a real one. In fact no pan can be any wider that 12″ …which excludes a LOT of pans. I have carefully collected a selection of smallish cooking pans over the years…but the Giant or Texas muffin pan has escaped me. For the most part they are 14 inches or more wide.

In the past i tried cutting a pan myself and ended up with a mangle mess. You can cut flimsy aluminum with tin snips..but because of the rolled edges and the tight space between the divots it tends to not stay in the original form. What I really wanted is a steel pan with the reinforced muffin divots. Ray said he’d take a stab at his machine shop, so i quickly ordered two of the Wilton pans, the King sized and the Giant Sized…this should give him one to muck up for the first try. They will arrive on Monday…

I want to say they are my first Birthday presents to myself this year.but that’s probably not true. I know i have bought stuff frivolously this week… extra Christmas presents for a friend, a handful of Kindle publications, take away foodstuffs….usually i start buying myself birthday presents after Thanksgiving and stop somewhere in January. Very self indulgent i know. But I REALLY want these pans…i have PLANS. I have plans for meat pies and cupcakes, cheese cakes and meatloaves…

It occurred to me that other people are probably looking for these in a small width as well. I wish I was clever enough to exploit this kind of niche market by cutting them and selling them on ebay or something.

chicken heart

I started thanksgiving a little early…after selling so much this week and paying the phone, internet and car insurance…a WIDDLE bit towards the truck repair…(i still owe $400…but i have a few more dvds to sell. )  I had my heart set on roasting a chicken.  Most chickens are around $5-$6, so i can splurge a little and get a few meals out of it….

Needless to say the Holiday season has changed the available poultry scene at the store, they are all large and fat and injected with water and hormones and so forth..so i get the smallest cheapest one i can find… I am limited to what my Countertop Oven can hold anyway.   Upon dissecting the chicken ..the giblets bag contained…a green heart..not a blackish rotten color but a bright green chlorophyll color – yes i know that the giblets don’t come from the chicken at hand..but i just couldn’t cook that chicken – i actually considered photographing it, but i didn’t want to have that image in my computer and stumble upon it years later and say…oh yeah….hearts can be green…ick.….and it all got exchanged for a chicken the same size with surprisingly NO heart at all in the giblets bag..no liver either just a neck…go figure… regardless this $6 roasting chicken is fatter than the normal chicken available and wouldn’t fit in the pan nevermind the oven. So it was cooked in shifts…the leg quarters  then the breasts…i already cut off the back and wings for the freezer/stock ingredients.

In the end I got my chicken fix…and annoyed my roommates who are NOT getting any of my bird.

I usually don’t go anywhere for holidays..i try to join friends who have open houses feeding all the lost souls..and I may indulge in that if i have the gas money this week.   But I DO like the cooking part.  In previous years i have cooked all my favorite dishes..the ingredients ARE on sale after all…and then stowed them in the fridge so i get the Leftovers, which is one of the great by products of holiday.

One of the uncluttering chores i have been doing is sifting through old computer files..including recipes..most of them are 10 years old or older…including the Brown Rice and Spinach stuffing recipe… i may have to make that soon.

cheesy


So far this is my favorite broke food. Some of my patented no knead rise pizza dough, a layer of that cheap Parmesan grated cheese in a jar, topped with spinach and then shredded fresh Parmesan. Yummy. Now i know why poor people in the US are fat…hell i have always known that. But you can’t get any cheaper than cheese on bread. I used up all my fresh Parmesan..so tomorrow i think another Tomato Pie is in order, until I run out of mayonnaise.

 

 

bells and whistles

the Kindle Fire is a quasi android tablet…..android is the freerange operating system that combats the global domination of the ipad and iphones IOS…The reason it is only quasi, is that Amazon WANTs you to buy stuff from THEM for this device…heck the opening flash page is a rotating advertisement ….apparently you CAN spend $15 to turn off the advertisements and it is probably worth it.

Another way Amazon has the throttle cranked way back on the Kindle Fire is how it directly connects to the Amazon APP store..which isn’t the free market Google Android store …not all android apps are available on Amazon’s store…they must really want to squeeze every penny out of this device..

BUT they left the back door open..which is surprisingly very obliging of them. IF you download an Android APP from elsewhere providing is a nice virus free file you can install it on your Kindle Fire simply by dragging and dropping and clicking.

I managed to install a by simply moving the .apk files onto the device and installing them. There are a lot more changes you can make to the device by sort of jailbreaking (rooting) them…which i think makes the device much more appealing to the more creative users. ….but i’m good for now. I just really needed more mobility away from book and magazine reading.

Getting better at referencing the Evernote material which if I keep it neat and organized is perfectly suitable for tablet viewing. Sometimes i use it like a file cabinet drawer and just shove things into it willy nilly.

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and for broke food breakfast….i made my own english muffins…and i think i came very close. I made an especially gooey dough last night..and fried a couple of lumps in the pan after the bacon and before the eggs. I think if i had let them cool, they would be quite acceptable for toasting. As it was I sliced them when warm and they were a little squishy but tough enough to make breakfast sandwiches.
(NO I DIDN’T EAT THEM BOTH COMPLETELY..I HAVE BEGGING ROOMMATES SO I HAVE TO SHARE HALF OF EVERYTHING)

oh dry up

after one good batch of dried apple chips and one bad batch, I successfully dried a couple of tomatoes..and now they are swimming in olive oil.

I have another batch of tomatoes in the dehydrator and i bought some more apples to figure out where i went wrong.

Basically I am trying to recreate some of my favorite things, so i won’t feel so broke.

I need to get back on track but i went a little whacky storing food this week…perhaps i have been possessed by a chipmunk…winter is coming..i started sealing up the windows..i have 2 left to seal…i haven’t turned on the heat…i’m terrified to owe the gas company anymore money.

Meanwhile someone gave me a wonderful gift of a Kindle Fire…i was of course embarrassed, thrilled and grateful…it doesn’t do everything my iphone does, but it certainly does a lot of it…and the screen is bigger..so my eyes are delighted.  From what i can see the apps available are limited and more expensive so i am sticking with as much as i can get for .99 or less.  take THAT amazon. i will report on it when i can teach it some tricks.

 

 

 

tomato pie in the eye

I had never heard of tomato pie….but sadly they never kept it up.. I was intrigued…and eventually one day I made it…and i made it again..so far about 4 times..yesterday..i woke up desiring it..and i had dehydrated my last tomato..so this time i made it with a can of tomatoes..and shit it was still yummy. We never had a lot of back of the box, white trash, middle america, and white bread recipes growing up in my house..i guess over the years I am discovering them one at a time…i remember the first time i made that mushroom soup, green beans and fried onion thingy…that was damn tasty if you put the sodium count out of your mind.

I will have to make sure i always have the ingredients for this one in the cupboard.

My personal shortcuts are to precook the onions for a minute or two in the microwave and sprinkle some grated cheese under the tomatoes..one can never have enough cheese. Is the mayo supposed to melt? it never really changes texture or consistency..but still tastes yummy.

scratchy food

more broke foods tales

I am one of the few americans who finds mac and cheese unappetizing..the yellow mac and cheese in a box even makes me ill looking at it in the grocery store..somehow it brings to mind some bad childhood memory. probably something i ate or refused to eat in a school cafeteria once…or many more onces… as broke food goes you can’t really knock it..it will keep you alive i guess…but would life be worth living?

In college I remember it sold 4 for a dollar..now it’s probably more than that..yet still overpriced. It’s pasta with a packet of salty dried dairy powder….of course I will eat the BETTER and more expensive kind..the 2.99 a box organic, Parmesan or white cheddar type..the kind without ALL the heaps of salt. So, i am attempting to recreate IT for a reasonable price.

 

I found a cheap grated cheesey blend for half the price of all the green boxes. I am actually looking for the qualities of the cheap cheese – finer grain, more bland, less tang, so that i can control the taste and saltiness. I also want it to be frugal enough to use it to make the cheese sauce.. I can make a cheese sauce from a cooked white sauce base, but i’m looking for quick, just like the box type.

starting with 1.5 cups of small shells just like in the box, I intend to add milk and a smidgen of butter just like on the box. To make my instance sauce I started with 3+ tablespoons of grated cheese, 1 tsp of basil, 1 of parsley and hoping to encourage a nice smooth sauce I added a tsp of corn starch.

As I discovered I think i could have left out the corn starch as the cheese and added more milk, the starch on the shells was plenty. I should sit down and hammer out the math..but i don’t want to.

 

 

 


Still eating the canned meats from the dollar store. Today’s dinner was the Van Camps Kippers, normally I eat the Brunswick brand…but the Dollar store has the Van Camps for half the price and the can says it’s a smidgen more product.  The van camps expire in 2014 and the Brunswick in 2015 go figure.

And surprise surprise..a canned kipper is a canned kipper. I am going back to grab more of those little fishies.  By the way that cooked Pink Good mashed up with some relish on crackers was shockingly good.

how dry i am

I got a dehydrator from freecycle. one of the few gadgets i have never played with.  It’s about 14 years old but the condition is great and the model is still sold for about $50.

And it is rather idiot proof, i like that in a gadget.  I had $15 dollars burning a hole in my pocket for the last few days, i sold a couple of books locally.  I spent some of it on candy for the tenants, and i spent the rest on a few apples and a tomato.

I don’t have great ambitions yet, i will start slowly..i like apple chips, so i will try dehydrating some apples. I should have gotten this sooner, the local orchard usually has an apples by the box sale in September. As it is they are a little pricey for turning into chips. But a damn sight cheaper than ACTUAL apple chips.  Apparently you can even make banana chips.

I doubt I will become one of the serious prepping fools, but there have been times in recent memory when i didn’t eat some fresh food item fast enough and it went all brown and squishy.    I think i will start cruising the bruised fruit and vegetable rack and just keep things little baby running.

The next things i have to buy are the oxygen absorbers….i found out what is ACTUALLY inside of those little packets…apparently RUST…seriously RUST, as well as salt and some vermiculite which probably has moisture all to feed the RUST grains which eats the oxygen.  Isn’t SCIENCE wonderful?

So the dried fruit and veg go into the jars along with the oxygen packets and the jars go in the closet and when i finally become homeless and am living in a cardboard box, i will have apple chips galore.

 

 

found food

Okay i finally broke off with the Survivalist forum ..i was spending way too much time on it…i posted this marvelous anti romney video from Joss Whedon and i got reprimanded because somewhere in it, he said two words ‘reproductive rights.’ I said fuck you fascists and the horse you rode in on. Too many paranoids mutherfuckers anyway.

Doesn’t mean i will stop putting crap away in the closet for a rain day..which is odd because it’s always raining in my life…right now i have about 20 bucks to my name and a negative bank balance, nearly no gas and a storm bearing down. Oddly i am not panicked at the moment…catch me tomorrow. While putting things away in the barn….i poked my nose into my travel trailer..it’s still there. I haven’t moved it in forever..i just can’t bear the thought of selling it. If i ever become homeless i will be sleeping in it…regardless i pulled out the 2 battery coleman lanterns…the batteries expired in 2008 and they still work..go figure.

I also opened up a tin box i had forgotten about and found a cache of bug out food. I don’t even remember putting it together..it must have been in 2006. Anyway..the only food that was inedible were the little boxes of raisins..and to be fair they were just a little dry…the pop tarts were perfect…the instant mashed potatoes taste just like they are supposed to..i think…i’m not into instant food..but the instant chocolate pudding was out of this world! 6 years in an airtight box didn’t do anything to it…i must remember to buy more pudding. I will eat the rest of the foodstuffs and then refill the box – don’t to waste a perfectly good airtight container. This time i will try to keep track of it.

I now regret tossing all the tin cookie boxes i have ever had in my life. My mother’s generation saved them like they were gold ingots, i used to use those round danish cookie tins for cables and probably still have some in the basement. So far the only special items i may buy when i can afford it are these things called Oxygen absorbers..little packets like silica gel packs that remove the oxygen from long term storage containers. apparently they are all the rage with the ‘prepper’ folks..and they seem to be something i can afford.

meanwhile i still have some 6 year old pop tarts and pudding to tied me through this oncoming storm. 8)

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