I’m sure I’ve professed the horrible affliction that is my attraction to anything British. TV, movies, automobiles, WWII era stuff – it’s all in there. I’m sure I should have been alive during WWII living in England somewhere. British food is less exciting, if only because it’s often fairly bland. It’s less exciting than their automobiles – the lead electrical supplier for automotive electrical equipment in Britain used to be Lucas Electrics. So disastrous is the reputation (deservedly so) for anything bearing the Lucas name - Lord Lucas is known as “The Prince of Darkness.”
Often in one TV show or another someone will reference bubble and squeak. Sounds a bit odd I know. I didn’t investigate until I watched an episode of Two Fat Ladies some time ago (it’s a cooking show and if you haven’t watched before it’s worth checking out.) As the title probably gives away – there are two ladies. And they are fat. They mentioned bubble and squeak and I figured if they brought it up – it’s got to be pretty good. Continue reading →
Shepherd’s pie dates back to the late 1700′s when potatoes were coming into common usage as a crop. It was a cottage pie back then. The term shepherd’s pie came about in the 1870′s. The terms cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are used somewhat interchangeably but I think that’s a bit of a mistake. Cottage pie is generally a meat pie, while shepherd’s pie includes mutton or lamb. That may be splitting hairs but I suppose it’s worth noting.
I like shepherd’s pie. It’s one of the few times I use lamb. It also reminds me of “The Tao Of Pooh” and the companion book “The Te of Piglet” by Benjamin Hoff. Why? There’s a brief passage about Cottleston Pie which Winnie the Pooh sings or repeats.
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie, A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly. Ask me a riddle and I reply Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie, Why does a chicken? I don’t know why. Ask me a riddle and I reply Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie, A fish can’t whistle and neither can I. Ask me a riddle and I reply Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie. Continue reading →
I find that steak dinner is often a bit overrated. I’m sure that heresy to a lot of people. But even a decent cut of steak often goes funny when cooked. You can buy yourself a nice small piece of sirloin, get it nicely heated over a pan, baked in the oven, or what have you, and no matter how accurately you temp the steak, it’s still like shoe leather. That’s a shame. I paid $55 for a steak at Morton’s in Washington DC – and just for the steak mind you – no sides, nothing else. For a filet mignon it wasn’t particularly awe-inspiring. Good to be sure. The best steak I ever had….no where close. I’m no cheap skate but I expect a hell of a steak for $55. Partially made up for by our waiter who I’m fairly certain could have been Link from the Mod Squad. But only partially.
I’ve quite a bit of steak and meaty bits in the freezer and every time I cook one I’m left a little sad. Sad that although I’ve done everything I thought possible, things don’t often come out exactly the way I want it. I’ve baked, roasted, broiled, fired, sautéed, grilled…in short I’ve tried just about everything. Never quite right. Even out at a restaurant I’m never quite satisfied. Why is that? Steak shouldn’t have to be tough. Yet it always seems to be that way. My steak at Morton’s wasn’t that tough, but it wasn’t velvet either. For $55 it ought to be silk. Continue reading →
Yes you read that right. Waffle iron hash browns. Am I nuts? No. I’m a man who likes potatoes in just about any form. That form includes hash browns. Mmmmm. Hash Browns. What a great breakfast item. Not particularly hard to make. But 90 seconds in a waffle maker is a heck of a lot quicker than waiting around for them to brown in a pan. It’s also kind of novel, which is always cool. I like being novel.
This another recipe that’s hardly even that. It’s so few ingredients and so easy I feel guilty calling it a recipe. It’s just fun. It’s only fun if you have a waffle maker though. A waffle iron is one of the few things I’ll put in my kitchen that only does one thing. I hate things that have only one purpose. Having a small kitchen, it seems like an extravagance. I make an exception for a waffle iron though, because if you want a waffle how else are you going to make one? Now I don’t have to feel even a little bad about my waffle maker either though. Now I can do something different with it. Uni-tasker no more! Continue reading →
OK you’re asking what the hell is Poutine. Unless you’re from Canada, then you’re saying rock on! I’m with you. I didn’t know what Poutine was for a really long time. Isn’t he the Prime Minister of Russia? No, it’s really cheese fries with gravy, sort of. It’s a dish that started in Quebec, which explains the name, silly French. It’s not an old dish, it was “invented” in the late 50′s. Hard to say that it was invented, probably more accurate that someone stumbled upon it, or discovered the possibilities. All the ingredients were already there, it’s not like someone set forth a new element. So popular is poutine in Canada that McDonald’s, Burger King, AND KFC all sell their own version of it. That’s cool. Not that any of it is likely real food, but it’s still cool. Like a Royale with cheese.
What is poutine? REAL poutine is simply french fries, topped with cheese curds, with brown gravy ladled on top. Nice – a health food then! Fake poutine can be found many places, where cheese curds are replaced with mozzarella. I don’t find that insulting or all that different but it seems like Canadians don’t have the same open view. What are cheese curds then? Just think of it as squeaky cheese. It’s really the solid part of sour milk, but you didn’t really want to know what. And yes I meant squeaky. If you can get fresh cheese curds (not likely outside of Canada or some specialty markets) they squeak when you eat them. Like rubbing two balloons together. Freaky huh? If you get them not so fresh (more than 12 hours after being produced) they don’t squeak. I don’t care if my cheese curds squeak (I rather prefer my food doesn’t produce its own party noises), but in Canada they must squeak. Duly noted. Continue reading →
I’m a fan of the French Fry. Probably too big a fan. I like steak fries, I like thin fries, I like big potato wedge fries….Basically stick a potato in oil and I’m along for the ride. To be sure there are bad fries as well. There’s nothing good about soggy fries, for example. They make me want to toss things off my balcony. Sometimes the place down the street makes fries that are awesome, other times they come out like a mushy wet mess. When that happens I want to toss the fries at their plate-glass windows in protest.
Fries aren’t really particularly a health food either. No surprise that. While potatoes are cheap, continually buying enough oil to fry them in is neither cheap nor particularly earth friendly (not to mention being able to hear your arteries snapping shut.) So what to do? Bake them, that’s what. Not convinced? I wasn’t particularly when I first decided to try it. It does make a good fry. Is it the same thing you’ll get from McDonald’s? No. Is that a bad thing? Not in my mind. This makes a great “fry” if you can call it that. And they’re a hell of a lot healthier than something cooked in oil. You’ll use some oil in this recipe, but not a vat full. No bad thing, that. Continue reading →
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