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Yes, that is a nice-looking gizmo. Can one adjust the heat level?
Yes, the knob on the right is the temperature, and the knob on the left is a timer. Being able to (hopefully) set a nice stable temperature is kind of the best part, for me. Though as I note, I think the thermostat might be running a bit hot. Next time I use it I'll check with a meat thermometer and adjust accordingly.
Also shrimp, squid and other marine creatures. Smelt.
Pro tip: if you're in the mood for donuts, and smelt, fry the donuts first and not the other way around. :0
Cool! I haven't looked for a deep fryer because I can't justify the cost or the storage space right now when the wok technique seems to be working just fine.
That's always been my thinking too. And I do still have to figure out the storage part. And also the not letting this make us fatter part.
Yeah, the fatter thing sucks. I made friends with the first 10 lbs, not so friendly to the second. And there's only so much walking and biking one can do - although the dog is loving the extra activity. :)
Especially as the temps get chillier! I loved the mild winter last year, as I put no winter weight on at all. Winter before that, not so good.
Well, I hope to do some cross-coutry skiing, and I can walk in the cold to -25 or -30 if I'm dressed for it. But winter is always a challenge for staying active. And winter comfort food is soooo stick-to-your-ribs most of the time!
ETA: I don't actually diet. I cut back on sweets and alcohol and try not to go for seconds. Other than that, I am incapable of willpower-oriented dieting. :)
This past week, my local No Frills had little 5" frozen meat pies on sale for a buck, so I picked up a couple of beef and couple of chicken (they also had turkey, but I figured that without looking at the box, I probably wouldn't be able to tell them from chicken, so whatevs.)
They were pretty much as you'd imagine. Not as good as homemade, and not exactly burdened down with huge hunks of meat or anything, but for a dollar, perfectly adequate for a quickie dinner.
But they also awakened a latent fascination I've had for the idea of a pie floater. A meat pie, upside down in a bowl of mushy pea soup... what's not to like? And I figured that if they're traditionally served to drunks at 3 a.m., from a truck, probably these pies would be just about perfect. The only problem was tracking down marrowfat peas.
I'm positive I saw them in the grocery store years ago, and I think I even bought a box out of curiousity (though I can't remember actually using them for anything). Suddenly, though, nowhere to be found. I tried the grocery stores, I tried Kensington Market stores, I tried little local stores... nothing. And apparently, common green split peas aren't an adequate substitute.
Finally today I found a bag of unsplit dried green peas at one of the Portuguese butchers. They didn't say "marrowfat" on the label, but they were the right greenish-grey, they were clearly in their skins, and they seemed large enough. And I got a big bag for $1.79 (whereas I'd been expecting a small box for $3, or something like that).
No idea when I'll really get down to it, though. Next few weeks, I'm thinking. Could be worth waiting for a chilly day.
It seems to me that marrowfat peas are also found in Caribbean shops.
Though to each his or her own taste. What I like most of the guilty pleasures of those wee savoury pies is crisping the crust.
Here, soon we'll be working on making tourtières. I usually make a couple of duck tourtières (from braised frozen ducks - often from Chinese or Southeast Asian shops) and a couple of vegetarian ones. I'm thinking of incorporating quinoa, along with mushrooms and other things.
You'll have to let us know how it goes - never heard of floaters. Sounds kinda good and kinda gross at once.
I came across a special on shrimp, so I'm doing them up in lime and coconut sauce tonight, with rice and stir fried gai lan.
That was my thinking too. After the first round of fruitless searching, I told my wife "I'm just going to go to the Carribean grocer in Kensington and I'll probably get my choice of four sizes and three brands". But NOPE. And the guy in the venerable "House of Spices" didn't even know what they were.
Sounds kinda good and kinda gross at once.
YES! Hence my fascination. When food really shouldn't work, but people love it anyway, I get curious.
Best example around our house: the first time I grilled some lamb and served it up with mint jelly. My wife thought I was out of my tree, but now the mint jelly is mandatory. Shouldn't work, but works.
I came across a special on shrimp, so I'm doing them up in lime and coconut sauce tonight, with rice and stir fried gai lan.
I would eat so much shrimp if Mrs. M. liked them the way I do, but if I put them in (say) a chow mein, she'll usually eat one to humour me, then give me all of hers.
But we do love gai lan. The first many times I bought it I just sauteed it in a bit of butter (like I do with a lot of vegetables) but we always found it bitter (and we both LIKE bitter). Then I figured out that if you boil it (like I do with almost no vegetables) and dress it afterward then it's not bitter at all.
Strangely, even in Chinatown it's as much as double the price of a lot of other Asian greens (e.g. bok choi, choi sum, pak choi, etc.).
I said to buy gai lan, but it turns out the blond guy picked up yu choi. I wokked it up in a little sesame oil, and it was quite nice. There's a wide variety of cheap Asian greens at the supermarket near the Kung fu school the girls go to. The shrimp were pretty good, but I'd tone down the shrimp paste in the sauce next time. Just enough for a leftover for lunch for one of us.
I said to buy gai lan, but it turns out the blond guy picked up yu choi.
What is it about the help these days?
but I'd tone down the shrimp paste in the sauce next time.
Hehe. I get the necessity of shrimp paste for lots of things, but why does it have to be so much like wet cat food?
Timebandit, I'm glad you can find those things in Winnipeg! Yes, also here in Montréal, it is usually one of the most expensive Asian greens.Right now, I have locally grown flat cabbage, so I'm refraining from more exotic cabbagy greens. It is so nice in either a slaw or a stir-fry. Hint: I use the top part for slaws and the lower half (more ribs) for stir-fry.
Magoo, not fair - now every time I open one of those little tins of shrimp paste or those other Southeast Asian fishy pastes, I'll think of wet cat food. Livia doesn't like wet cat food as of now, except for a very expensive kind I bought from the vet because she lost so much weight after That Nasty Operation. She just wouldn't eat. With most of our spoilt moggies that wouldn't be a problem, but she wasn't much more than 5lb/2kg approx. to begin with. She's fine and dandy now.
There isn't much you can't find here - very diverse food, but you might have to travel a bit for it. We have three Asian markets that I know of, one of them more focused on Korean goods, one quite small and one that's huge. There's a large Filipino population here, so I'm seeing things that were hard to find in saskatchewan. A couple of South Asian stores, too.
You must also still have Eastern European groceries and butchers, I imagine? The closest Southeast Asian shops to me, a short walk away, are Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Cambodian - they are good for "Indochinese" food as well as Thai, and Chinese of course, but to get the Indonesian products I got to love in the Netherlands, I have to travel farther afield. Not much Filipino food here either, but a lot of Filipinos in the Côte-des-neiges neigbhourhood at the other end of the Blue Line of the métro.
Tonight I'm simply roasting some good chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) from PA Nature, a shop on avenue du Parc that is part of the small Supermarché PA chain, where organic, local and natural products are cheaper than elsewhere. I unwrapped the legs and salted them, leaving them to dry out the skin a bit, overnight in the fridge, and today for some more hours, salted on the underside and turned over. I wipe the excess salt off before roasting them.
Winnipeg has, reportedly, the highest per capita Filipino population in Canada. I'm not sure why that is, but apparently Tagalog has overtaken French as the most-spoken language after English here.
Yes, there are some eastern European places, and also Kosher bakeries and such as well. There's a places that makes bagels I have yet to try - hoping they are somewhat close to Montreal bagels! We always get my SIL to bring bagels when she passes through, they're the best!
Yes, actually Mile-End is just south (and mostly, but not all, west) of my neighbourhood. There is a new "creative hub" in a former garment factory district immediately south of where I live, sometimes dubbed "Mile-End East", and I have a couple of clients there and think a colleague and I can develop another. Obviously still not enough for a "good living" but every bit helps, after the Harper cuts and other economic problems.
lagatta why do you salt them?
Here is the best simple explanation I could find. Though I wipe off the excess salt before cooking - she doesn't seem to do so:
Sounds almost like a "cure".
I do a similar thing to salmon, before cooking. I pack it in kosher salt, brown sugar and pepper for at least two hours before smoking or pan searing. Google "brine a chicken" to see the same thing but with water. It really does work, and it really doesn't result in too much salt.
When I took the chicken thighs out of the fridge they were bright red - this colour dissipates with cooking, but the kind of free-range poultry I had can have some pink inside when it is really fully done - I really cook poultry, more than some would advise, and with this method it doesn't get dry inside while being obviously fully cooked. Yes, it is a kind of cure.
Yesterday I was at my local Metro, picking up some chicken thighs for dinner, and I had about $10 in my pocket so I thought I may as well grab up anything else we're out of, so long as it all rang up under ten. I grabbed a couple of cans of baked beans -- one of a very few things we ever buy in a can, and something we wanted recently but didn't have. Then I spotted some holiday-themed Oreo cookies that I thought might make my wife smile, so I put the beans back. And on the way home, it occurred to me that it's been ages since I've made baked beans, so why not do that?
So I'm giving this recipe a whirl. Seems uncluttered, and doesn't call for any bullshit like a can of tomato soup, or sriracha sauce, or whatever.
So I soaked up some Great Northerns with a bit of baking soda -- I'm curious to see if that helps -- and then gave them a brief boil in the pressure cooker just to be on the safe side.
For the pork, I'd thought of buying a wee piece of salt pork from Metro, but for the morsel you get it's not cheap, and more importantly they don't always have it, so I went a bit further afield to one of the Portuguese butchers, and sure enough I got a glorious hunk of smoked (but whole) bacon for a couple of bucks -- enough to do this and also the next two things that call for salt pork or fatback or similar. So I guess I'll find out how it all worked out in about seven hours or so. For once I didn't really deviate too far from the recipe, besides scaling it down some. I even bought actual Dijon!
I also went with Great Northern beans, rather than the more common Navy or haricot. They're a bit harder to find (e.g. Metro doesn't carry them) but when I'm in a Loblaws or an affiliate they've always got them. If you like white beans to cook to a nice creamy tenderness while still staying mostly whole, they beat the other two hands down. I can't emphasize this enough... WAY better.
I just tried my hand at Boston baked beans last weekend. They came out pretty well for a first crack at it. Molasses and Demerara sugar, a little salt pork, dry mustard, baked in a crock in the oven for 6 hours. The sauce was a little too loose, so I used a little cornstarch to give it some substance. The family mostly demolished it, so I'll call it a success. :)
Any trouble sourcing the salt pork?
Superstore, unbelievably! I checked just on the off chance they had it. Used half, froze half for next time.
Salt pork is readily available here in Québec because of the beans - by the way, you might want to try them with maple syrup instead of molasses. Thus it is readily available in ordinary supermarkets, but here too, I find the Portuguese butchers have the best deals and product.
Personally I find that dish too sweet, and prefer the tomato version - no not tomato soup! Tomato is of course sweet and acid too, so it prevents the beans from cooking up as a mass, but it is less sweet than the Boston version. The wonderful Greek version with "Gigantes" (very large lima beans, or similar beans) uses tomato and perhaps some other acid such as lemon or wine.
This coming week, PA Supermarket will have goat stewing meat. It varies a lot in quality; sometimes it is too fatty, others much better. Curry goat is a Jamaican and other Caribbean staple, and there are other ways to get your goat.
Slow cookers really are a good way to make tasty and nutritious food from very cheap ingredients. They are useful for people working either outside or at home, as many dishes can go for hours on slow without needing attention. Small ones are even popular among truckers!
Curried goat is on my recipe list this week. We first had it when we were in Tobago, and I've been tinkering with the recipes I've found to get it close to the original. We have a small South Asian grocery en route to the kung fu school that carries fresh goat, or I can buy frozen at the superstore. And some plantain. :)
They are useful for people working either outside or at home, as many dishes can go for hours on slow without needing attention.
I read a suggestion the other day that they were developed, at least in part, to facilitate the making of Cholent for the Shabbat meal. Lots of good non-kosher uses as well! :)
Curried goat is on my recipe list this week.
Ah, goat. For when lamb just isn't gamey enough anymore.
The first time I ever ate goat was also the first time I ever ate Indian food (including my first time eating basmati rice, which I naively believed was a recipe rather than a type of rice!). A friend and her mom took me to an Indian buffet on Gerrard, circa 1987, and it opened my eyes to a lot of things.
Later, when we'd moved to Toronto and I was going to school, there was a wee little hole-in-the-wall Carribean joint around the corner called "Coconut Grove". We used to swing by for a super cheap lunch, oftentimes just a big takeout container of rice and peas for a dollar. The magic happened when they'd ask if you wanted some gravy on your rice, and you could pick from the sauce on any of the curries that they had simmering away for rotis and such. I always chose goat, and more than once I noticed the nice young woman behind the counter fishing around in the gravy to make sure I got one or two little scraps of meat.
When I finally felt like my kitchen skills were up to the challenge of making goat curry at home, I asked a Trinidadian co-worker for any advice, and she basically told me I couldn't go wrong unless I didn't use the correct type and brand of curry powder -- Chief. Two days later she brought me a pouch, and she was right. First kick at the can and it was exactly right.
It comes in a yellow cellophane pack, like this:
Add it to something and the result is West Indian Curried Something.
The brand actually makes a curry powder specifically for duck and goat, but I've yet to try that one. My No-Frills carries a whole bunch of different Chief products, though who knows how easy it would or wouldn't be to find outside of areas with a Carribean population. I tried once making my own WI curry powder from scratch, but it didn't even come close.
lagatta, oh yes more like a brine dried rub. i just have never done with individual parts thought it might dry out too much.
A little more on that first goat curry. Maybe it wasn't "exactly right", though the flavour certainly was.
If I recall correctly I'd picked up the goat at Dominion (before it became Metro) -- a 1kg bag, frozen, for ten bucks. If you've never bought frozen goat, it's basically just cut (with a bandsaw) into fairly random chunks, complete with bone. Big bones, little bones, tiny wee sharp bones... you get it all. And it's typically just cooked on the bone, and you figure the bones out while you eat.
This was kind of new to me. I guess we all start learning to cook by watching our parents cook (Mom, probably, but Dad for me, since he did all the cooking). And I don't think my Dad ever cooked stewed meat on the bone. In fact he would buy that crappy, fatless, supermarket stew beef that looks like large pink rocks. He'd throw some onions and carrots and potatoes and garlic and the beef into a pot, add water, and cook it until the beef was done, but the gravy on his stew was really just salted water -- no colour, since he didn't brown the beef, and no texture since he didn't add any thickeners and there were no bones. One of my first food epiphanies was learning to brown that meat!
So I'd browned my goat meat and added onions and garlic, the curry powder, then some water and started cooking, low and slow, with some carrots and potatoes cut up to add closer to the end. Things were going great until Mrs. Magoo got a phone call from one of her sisters, in some kind of crisis, and they got to talking. Meanwhile, my curry was simmering away. They chatted and chatted and chatted, and at a certain point I noticed that the gravy on my goat was magnificent. Thick, but not too thick, aromatic and velvety and shiny. But they were still talking, and talking and talking. Long story short, by the time they were done talking, the gravy had broken. It still tasted right, but once it separated, no amount of stirring would bring it back together.
Still, though, my take-away from it was that bones are awesome. The gelatin and collagen in them (and the other connective tissue) thickens a sauce naturally, and in a way that cornstarch or a roux just can't. When I make a beef stew now, I usually use either a shank (with the bone(s) thrown in just for the gravy) or sometimes beef rib, again with the bones.
I actually have a cookbook called Bones. I think i'mma have to take it off the shelf and give it a read again. It's the right time of year for it.
Yes, I should borrow that - it is in "Nelligan", the Mtl library search engine.
Chief is available at a shop near me; I think they might also have the duck and goat one. Before this particular shop opened, I had to go to another neighbourhood (Côte-des-Neiges, due west on the Blue Line) if i wanted to make BWI Caribbean dishes; the spice mixes are different in Haiti and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and in the Hispanic ones. More Dominican - I don't think Cubans make curries, and their cuisine is not very spicy.
Yes, I should borrow that
And look for her other cookbooks as well: "Fat" and "Odd Bits". I have them all, and they're all amazing. Shameless and decadent, right and wrong at the same time.
Seems she has a new book: "Bitter". I may have to have a chat with Santa about that one.
All those books are chez Nelligan.
My curry doesn't get overly thick, but that may be because I use the crock pot. I've never come across Chief curry, but have a recipe for Caribbean curry that I mess about with. I don't brown the goat like I do beef for stew, but I do coat it with the spice and let it sit overnight. It still comes out pretty brown, which is great.
I learned the basics of cooking from my mother - how to bread and fry pork chops, boil potatoes and the like - so I could help out on the week's she was delivering Avon orders. At 12 I was cooking for the family regularly, making basic meat and potatoes, simple casseroles and things like spaghetti sauce (not the authentic stuff, the very Americanized versions). My mother is not an inspired cook and is very timid in trying things out. She did teach me to bake, though, which I am now much better at than she is.
My dad was the culinary adventurer. He'd cook his own game (wild duck with oranges! Pheasant! Venison roast!) or come home with an armload of interesting stuff from a nearby Hutterite colony or something he found in the international aisle at the grocery store, and we'd make a huge mess figuring out what to do with it. My mother hated it, but we had a blast. I think those times were what made me love to eat and to play in the kitchen. Gosh, I miss that guy.
I have to kind of wonder how your parents ever negotiated the kitchen. When I was growing up, my mother knew to stay out for the most part, and in my own home now Mrs. Magoo doesn't do any more in the kitchen than is absolutely necessary (e.g. reheat leftovers). I suppose a lot of guys want to (or wanted to) marry a good cook, but if I'd married a woman who loved to cook then I think there would have been trouble.
something he found in the international aisle at the grocery store, and we'd make a huge mess figuring out what to do with it.
That sounds very Kitchen Dad.
Kitchen Mom: "you can help by very carefully peeling the carrots -- don't cut yourself!"
Kitchen Dad: "look, kids! It's Headless Raw Chicken Puppet!"
I remember once, when I was about 14, accompanying my Dad to buy some groceries -- for some reason, I think it was on Xmas eve -- and one or the other of us spied a can of octopus in tomato sauce. Dad said "hell, ya", and we brought home some octopus and ate it, to the disgust of my mother.
But hands down, Dad's favourite way to troll Mom in the kitchen was to buy a block of Limburger cheese, in the little foil wrapper that said "XXX", and then put it in the fridge and not even touch it for about a week.
My mother hated it
My parents did not negotiate the kitchen. The kitchen was my mother's territory which was occasionally annexed to dad's purposes. Sometimes a hostile takeover. If we got very experimental, there were parallel meals - one for dad and me and another for my mother and sister. Or if we made "snake and kitty pie" - with actual kidney, which my mother wouldn't touch, but my grandfather would drive across the city for. We would try frog legs and once barbecued octopus (a bit overdone and rubbery) or some odd thing. He made me shrimp in black bean sauce for my birthday when it was something you wouldn't even find in all Chinese restaurant menus at the time. But most of the cooking was done by my mother, or me when I was older.
The blond guy and I both cook. I'm better at it, but he's perfectly competent and even pretty creative. Now the wild girls are getting into it, too. Thing 1 is making "black silk chicken" for us this week and Thing 2 is the baker - cupcakes are her main thing, but she made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last night.
The blond guy and I both cook. I'm better at it, but he's perfectly competent and even pretty creative.
As long as he's not Stereotypical Kitchen Dad: "Stand back, everyone! Kitchen Dad is about to make 11 gallons of his famous Habanero Sriracha Chili... a delicacy so complex that it shall require dirtying every dish in the house, down to the smallest ramekin, and perhaps getting tomato sauce all over the toaster somehow!"
Thing 1 is making "black silk chicken"
A silkie! I see them all the time in Chinatown. I guess now's the time to buy one, since my understanding is that they pretty much need to be stewed. I'm glad I read that before buying one for the BBQ.
Not sure if it was our recent discussion of bones and stuff, but we elected to go with beef stew today, so I picked this up at one of the local Portuguese butchers -- Pavao -- which is now open on Sundays! 1.7 lbs of beefy, boney, beautiful shank.
I had a craving to make the stew up with blackeyed peas, so they're cooling in the pressure cooker.
Love the peas! Sounds great. I have some smaller pieces of shank for beef soup with barley and veg some Saturday when I don't have too much out and about to accomplish. Bone and fat make the flavour come alive.
I apparen got the chicken wrong - black satin, not silk. Although I'd love to try silky chicken at home one of these days.
The other cooks in the house mostly clean up after themselves, although cutting boards are a sticking point. And I insist my good knives stay out of the dishwasher, so I'll often take care of those myself. :)
So I finally made my pie floaters yesterday, and they turned out awesome. The pies, of course, were just cheapo supermarket pies, but the soup ended up really being the star of the show, and it was so simple.
I soaked the whole green peas overnight with a bit of baking soda -- apparently that really helps them soften up, and works with other beans too.
Next day, I sweated up about a quarter of an onion and a half of a rib of celery in a bit of oil, then added in the soaked and rinsed peas and swished it all around for a minute. Then, water to cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, I browned up some of that hunk bacon I got recently, sliced into bits, and once the peas had significantly softened, I added that to the soup. Then, a few more hours of simmering at a very low heat, then salt and pepper to taste. That's it. No stock, nothing tricky.
It's definitely all about the whole peas. I've made split pea soup -- both yellow and green -- and that's good too, but the splitting process discards the skin, so split peas break down quickly, and split pea soup sometimes has the consistency of a very thick gravy, whereas this pea soup had plenty of splorpy wet goodness, but also lots of pretty much whole peas in it too (and apparently that's the goal -- so, no overstirring, or worse yet, blending).
Good as the dish was, I might make just the soup the next time, and serve it up with some chunky buttered bread. Or, I suppose I could knuckle down and try to make an authentic Aussie meat pie from scratch.
Funny addendum to the whole floaters/marrowfat peas thing. After all the legwork I had to put in just to find some unsplit green peas, I was at my local Metro today and they had a big bag of whole dried yellow peas for a buck and a half! Naturally, I snapped one up. I don't think I'll end up using it for floaters, since I sometimes like to obey the rules, but that floater soup makes me want more whole pea soup, so soon enough I think I'll be cooking up a pot. Maybe I'll use the last piece of my bacon hunk, or maybe I'll just use a couple of strips of regular breakfast bacon.
Pro tip: next time bacon you like is on sale, grab up a package and remove each strip individually and roll it up into a tight little roll. Put your little bacon rolls in a resealable plastic bag (putting each one at a ninety degree angle to its neighbours, so they don't stick) and freeze the bag. Then, when a recipe calls for a a little bit of bacon (e.g. bacon and lentil soup, stuffed mushrooms, collard greens) you can pull out one or two of the little rolls, and you don't have to thaw a whole pound.
I made the goat stew. I managed to get very good, fairly lean pieces including some leg (gigot) and a chop. Of course it takes about 6 hours (I got up before dawn, afraid that it would be overcooked) then did all the post-crockpot stuff such as removing bones, cutting into smaller stew pieces, pouring off the wine-based stock into a large Mason jar and skimming off excess fat etc. I cooked down the wine-based stock (which had been thickened by also cooking potatoes in it, and now the stew is attractively encased in the reduced stock, to which I added a bit of tomato paste as it looked too evil.
This stew could also be stretched with chick peas or various beans, and what is left over will be, and frozen, for an end-of-year supper. The meat can also be further shredded, if you like it that way with beans.
Sounds good! I made the goat curry this week. I like the bone-in stew meat, mix them with a couple of tablespoons of the curry and let it sit overnight. Then it goes in the crock pot in the morning with coconut milk, chicken stock, onions (fried with some more curry spice before being added to the pot), garlic and lime juice. It simmers all day, at the end I skim some of the fat off. I served it with rice and beans and some plantain sauteed in butter.
Not exactly fat free, but gosh was it good! None of us mind picking out the bones as we eat, and I think they add to the flavour.
I also skimmed a layer of fat from my wine-based stock. The goat fat has quite a strong flavour, I don't think I'll keep it, unless someone here has a good reason that I should. I did remove the bones, just because I had large pieces of goat meat and wanted them more even; the bones came out by themselves as they had cooked for 6 or 7 hours. In any case, it is definitely better cooked on the bone, and the bones contain calcium and other good things, and if an acid such as lemon or lime juice, or wine, is added this helps the minerals leach from the bones. There was one chop, which of course kept its bone.
I've made goat curry too, as taught to us by a friend from the tiny island of Grenada (which is about the same size as the island of Mtl). Would have done it this time too, were it not for my spice-averse Argentinian friend, who is the one who has promised to take photos of Livia with a good camera.
Sunday roast tonight! Lamb this week, and I'm attempting a mint sauce to go with it.
The goat fat has quite a strong flavour, I don't think I'll keep it, unless someone here has a good reason that I should.
Oil your bike chain with it. That's all I got.
I'm attempting a mint sauce to go with it.
Good luck! If you want a British style sauce, that should be do-able.
A few years ago, before my garden mint shuffled off this mortal coil, I tried making mint jelly. Tasted OK, but didn't set.
I found a pretty good recipe for sauce on Epicurious. Mint (mine's done for the season, so it grocery store mint), beef broth, sugar, red wine vinegar and some onion. Simmered,cleft to steep, strained and then heated with some cornstarch to give it some body. Very nice, I'll probably do it again.
When we first moved into this place the back yard was an arid and miserable place with very little plant life (it's now an overgrown jungle) but we did have a couple of sage plants, and a few mint, and they kept coming back each spring, and actually multiplied such that at one point I had about six big sage, and more mint than I could count. Then, one year, they just died.
So I replanted, and that was fine, but then those died too. Probably got smothered out when we stopped really caring what grew and just left everything to its own devices.
But now it pains me bad whenever I have to buy sage or mint at the grocery store (which I did recently for some sage and blue cheese pasta). If I go to No Frills it might be 99 cents, but if it's Metro or Loblaws then it's more like double that, whereas I used to just nip out back to pluck all I needed. Maybe next year I'll try again.
One year I bought and planted some spearmint. Sounds fun, yes? NOPE. Don't bother ever planting spearmint. It's nice stuff, but anything you cook with it immediately tastes like toothpaste.
So, tonight we're having bean burritos, and all because I bought some cilantro yesterday and have tons left. Some pinto beans to be fried, some cheap tortillas from Kensington, and no meat... more for the change than anything.
Sage is hit and miss for this part of the country- a very cold winter might kill it off, but sometimes it will weather the cold. I've got two potted rosemary in the house now, but my outdoor herbs have lasted until the last week or so with the mild weather. Hoping the tarragon I put the n makes it through and really establishes next year. Back yard has been a construction zone for a while, next summer 's project is to rehab it into usable space again. There's a lovely rose garden to not rose back to health and some perennials to take. I put in a hardy grapevine already. Also discovered some perennial physalis that are edible! I'll be coddling those along for sure.
Oh yum. What's in the cabbage rolls?
Just the usual. Ground beef, leeks, onions, mushrooms, rice, some seasonings. And over top, some pureed tomatoes, some tomato juice, some sauerkraut and a pinch of sugar and salt.
I just love how they look like little rectangular brains.
Just a sidebar post, apropos of nothing.
When I was a kid, in Sarnia, my bestie was a dude my age named Chris. He was the youngest of a family of Slovaks (by his reckoning), with two older sisters and two older brothers. His dad worked his ass off to pay bills, and his mom worked her ass off to feed seven.
But his house was the first time I ever had perogi -- and when Mrs. Chris made them, she covered the whole dining room table with them. Some potato, some cheese and some prune. And when she made cabbage rolls, I don't even know what kind of pot she made them in, because there was enough for 20. But she's totally my "high water mark" for anything Eastern European that I try. I wouldn't know how to tell her that I sometimes buy the dollar-fitty bags of frozen perogie at No Frills.