Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Rural Gourmet.

Yesterday, I had just finished weeding the rain garden on the grounds of the nearby museum, and since I did not look too grubby, I stopped by a grocery that I rarely use to pick up some basic food items.

During this quick visit, something caught my eye.  As I passed the freezer cases I saw white 3-gallon plastic buckets of something sitting on the bottom of the case.  My curiosity got the better of me and I paused to read the top of the label and it said simply 'pork chitterlings'.  I was not exactly sure what these are, but I did not think they were probably healthy and I was sure they were a 'southern thing'.  It is a good-old-boy county that I live in after all.

If you Google images of pork chitterlings you will get photos of what look like little gray white slimy unappetizing grubs.  If you go further in research you will see that this food, sometimes called chitlins, is pig intestines.  To be a more accurate connoisseur...they are from the SMALL intestine.  Boy that makes me feel mouth watering better.  While I feel free to denigrate this food on my blog and might assume it is the food of poor people since it was given to slaves in our early history,  my research reveals that it is eaten everywhere across the globe.  I know that the French eat strange animal body parts...but this part of the pig is eaten EVERYWHERE!  Yet I still wonder why someone would need three gallons of it!

Nutritionally these rubber tubes are high in calories from fat.  What a surprise.  They get a C- in nutritional value but since their preparation requires detailed attention due to the fact they carry salmonella and e-coli, maybe weight issues are of no concern.  After a bit of e-coli, you can be very thin.

I did read that in the U.S. a small onion is added to mitigate what might be an unpleasant odor when it is cooked.  Really.  An unpleasant odor...wonder why?  When you have to add an ONION to erase odors...well, enough said!  I do not think I will be eating these in my future.

Now before my readers put me in the food snob column, as a small child I loved pickled pigs feet and did eat them as a snack with my dad.  Of course,  we were farm folk and food was never thrown out.  But when the pigs were slaughtered, I am sure we did not eat chitterlings.  We did have our standards.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumnal Reverie

This is my favorite time of year.  Days are cool enough for roast chicken dinners.  I harvested the last of the garden vegetables and the farmers market completes the rest.  I do not mind having the oven on for over two hours to let the big bird brown as the afternoon cools.  The fall rains have started and after our two-month drought, this is like champagne from the sky.

While I can no longer run outside barefoot across the wet grass to harvest the rosemary and sage for the chicken, I also do not have to avoid the hot sidewalk on the quick return.

I can no longer watch the moon rise in my Chinese pajamas (pink "silk" which my Princess granddaughter loves) because the evenings are most chilling now on the back deck, but I can still BBQ on the deck and enjoy the earlier sunsets through the flame red and yellow trees.

Perhaps I will also finally have time to search the back seat of my car and find the injured grasshopper which my grandson saved, wrapped carefully in a napkin, and then somehow lost on our trip back from the ice cream booth this past summer.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Authentic Ski Town---Not

The historic town of Breckinridge? I found it has changed so much. I remember it as a small town where I could get a decent bowl of chile or a plate of hot enchiladas after a cold day of skiing. Back during my youth the few restaurants that were open were small and crowded with skiers in bulky jackets and ice crusted hats. Muddy snow covered the floors and the places were always noisy with energetic talk of great runs at the end of the day. People hurried through their meals as many of us had the long trip down the mountain and back home in the evening. Only a few stayed at the ski lodge.

The town has now morphed into a cutsey Yuppieville of boutiques and high-end souvenir shops complete with one of the best French bakeries in the state. The owners are very much French and the American waitress told me she had learned all the bad words of the language from the couple when they argued with each other during the day. Passionate couple I guess. The crepes are wonderful and the beignets are like sugar and air as they melt in your mouth. Forget the diets all ye who enter here. There are plenty of uncrowded restaurants in mid-September offering a wide variety of food.

We ate lunch on this patio at a Thai restaurant that was not run by Thai but served reasonably authentic food. I could have been eating anywhere including my city with the choices. The only genuine experience left was the dramatic view of the mountains on either side of the town. There were HUGE parking lots just outside of town where they shuttled people to the lift or into town. It must be a nightmare here during the ski season. (For all the hiking fun that I had on this trip you have to check out my other blog.)

Interestingly, everyone walking around this place looks young, healthy and like they have a trust fund!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

That Time of Year

It is that time of year when the river's bounty is providing us with seafood for enjoying during the cold winter months. My kitchen smells like either smoked fish or or steamed crabs...both of these are not necessarily good smells when you have them on and off during the day. But it is nice to see the freezer beginning to get full once again.

I was steaming yellow beans all last week and will be processing the pesto from our bolting basil this next week.

Tomatoes we are eating as fast as they come off the vine. The plum tomatoes this year are mealy tasting and disappointing. The tangerine tomatoes are prolific but not all that delicious. The sweet little grape tomatoes are as good as in the store, but even sweeter. There are a few other varieties ripening and not ready to pick.

My hair is damp from steam and hanging in my eyes and my apron looks like I lost a food war. Too busy these days to write anymore.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Diet

My husband has been gone for several days on a business 'junket' to Hawaii. I have eaten all the leftovers that were sitting in the refrigerator from the meals I had cooked before he left. Yesterday I finally went food shopping. When my husband is gone I tend to ignore meal times and just graze throughout the day when I feel hungry. Grazing may sound healthy but I decided to list in order what I ate yesterday as I ran around doing stuff just to remind myself of something---like my lack of self-discipline.

1/2 blueberry muffin
2 cups of coffee with cream and sugar
1 banana milk shake (to use up some coffee ice cream while cleaning out the freezer before shopping)
1 small yogurt (just past its due date)
A roast chicken leg and thigh (from a whole roasted chicken I purchased at the grocery store and tore into while still warm)
1 chocolate covered and filled Bismark doughnut (ditto as immediately above---I did only buy two doughnuts to my credit)
A glass of club soda
8 strawberries (from the garden that I picked while weeding)
2 pieces of dark chocolate (to reward my garden weeding work)
1 glass of red wine
1 piece of string cheese followed closely by a piece of blue cheese
2 Pepperidge farm cookies
1 ham sandwich with lettuce and tomato and mayonnaise
A handful of peanuts
2 cups of tea
2 more Pepperidge farm cookies

He better get home soon or he will not recognize me!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Hubby woke up in the middle of the night with the worst intestinal pain ever. At first we thought it was the curried shrimp I had made for dinner (the best I have ever eaten--secret to be revealed in another blog) but since I felt fine hours later we eliminated food poisoning. This morning the agony continues along with the expected results (pushing fluids in and out) and a 100 degree fever. It is the flu, probably caught on the plane flight back from Hawaii. So instead of being worried about food poisoning for myself I am now worried about getting a nasty case of the 'epizootic.' I cancelled the promised babysitting, and I immediately made some fudge from a mix I had on the shelf, added some pecans and tiny marshmallows and when it finished setting I slowly ate two pieces. If I am going to get sick, I want to make sure that these calories are not wasted! (And, yes, we both got our flu shots--clearly immunized against the wrong strain.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Thoughts #11

1. This morning Hubby and I had a crab omelette which we made with two of the crabs we recently caught beneath the dock. This is a luxury meal that is much easier to prepare in retirement as picking crabs requires a leisure morning.

2. I have trepidatiously planted one hybrid tea rose in a bed near the front of the house knowing full well that they are like creme brulee for deer. I was weeding around it this morning and I looked up to marvel at the dozen or so pink buds getting ready to open. Then, even before I sighed with pleasure, the plant said, "I'm too hot. I'm thirsty. My feet are getting too wet. There is some strange fungus in that mulch. That salvia is too close to me..."on and on the temperamental beauty ranted.

3. I just noticed that I have not worn my engagement ring in almost a week, a longer time than I have ever had it off. I took it off to work in the garden and to clean and move basement boxes and it seems that I am doing all of this constantly these days and the ring sits in a ceramic box near the sink.

4. I got an email from work yesterday asking me if I remembered my Safeboot password for the laptop I had turned in. I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants.

5. Daughter is coming down this weekend since both of our husbands are otherwise occupied with fishing and/or golfing making us weekend widows. Since my husband is taking my son along for all of the following week, I may get to see his new girlfriend as she drives him down. I am trying to get her to stay the might be a fun girly weekend after all---although there are toddlers involved so we will have to be wise on the wine.

6. I have not had to plan exercising time much this past month. Moving tons of dirt, digging holes, laying out bags of top soil and peat moss and working it all into the mounds of clay-based soil, laying out bags of mulch, lifting small shrubs and trees in containers all seem to be helping me get plenty of weight lifting and aerobic exercise. Just to increase all this fun, I and hubby have put down quite a bit of landscape brick after putting down the bed sand. Below is just one of the beds we have been working on.

7. I finished reading the Namesake but found the Kite Runner more moving and poetic.

8. I live out in "NO-NPR" land and there is a religious radio station that sits right next to NPR on my dial and overpowers the signal. I have spent time trying to get an antenna to capture NPR but have had no luck. I can only really enjoy NPR very early in the morning or while I ride in my car and now the tuner button has broken on that as well!

9. Kafir lime leaves are quite pungent and certainly two different meals (salmon patties and beef with asparagus) using this flavor are enough to satisfy us for quite some time. My tiny Kafir lime tree is also pleased that I have stopped denuding it for a while.

10. I actually did a crossword puzzle yesterday. That may be common fare for some people, but for me it always was something for those who have idle time which I never had. Although I love words and their meanings, I am not very good at crosswords and actually somewhat intimidated by them. I also rarely have the patience to sit and complete one puzzle. I didn't finish this entirely...but I got close!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Winter Tastebud Sharpening

Soon in the middle of the rest of this span of short gray days, the colorful catalogs will start arriving. They will be shocking in their brilliance and seduce us once again into purchasing joy for the spring season. I am writing about the seed and plant catalogs, of course. My husband will look forward to the heirloom plants and think about planting his 'half acre' of tomatoes.

Because of my Italian heritage, tomatoes have playe
d a very important role in my dietary preferences. As you may know, if you also love tomatoes, during this time of year (actually during all but the late summer and early fall months) the stores are filled with red orbs that are labeled as tomatoes, but taste like cardboard and have the texture of mushy apples surrounded by a hard gelatenous layer. I have discovered an acceptable substitute in the grape (and sometimes) the cherry tomatoes. These grape tomatoes (the size and shape of grapes, duh) are sweeter and while not excellent, have a touch of the essence of tomato.

I got a Nigella Lawson cookbook for Chr
istmas from my daughter, (Yes she is that lovely and voluptuous--stop drooling guys-- and a wonderful chef as well.) and we decided to check out the tomato recipes and found this recipe below. I have to paraphrase since I left the book at my daughter house.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (232.2222222 degree Celsius)
Slice tomatoes (as many as you want) (large tomatoes need more chopping)
Set in large baking pan or dish and drizzle olive oil over all
Chop an herb (basil, oregano or the recipe called for thyme)

Sprinkle herb, kosher salt and a tiny bit of sugar over all. (you can also add pepper to taste)
Pop in the oven and turn the oven off

Leave in for about 12 hours.
Enjoy in so many ways--spread on toast, in salad or eat them like popcorn as I do.

The flavor or the tomato is very concentrated yet they are still a little juicy and less chewy unlike the dried tomato. The recipe allows use of regular tomatoes, but I think that cherry or grape are the best even though slicing them in half takes a little time. If you crave that tomato taste in the winter, as I do, I think you will like this. Let me know what you think if you try it.

PS--While these can be stored in the refrigerator...they must reach room temperature or be gently heated for best flavor.