Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dark and Stormy

I've been craving one of these.......

......for over 6 months.

It's a "Dark and Stormy".  And it's really good.   Being the sophisticated drinker that I am  (not)  I had never heard of one before I purchased this cookbook, Dinner, A Love Story, by Jenny Rosenstrach.  (but on later research have discovered that they are quite common and popular )  It's the author's favorite drink.  Or her husband, Andy's.

The drink itself  has dark rum, limes and Ginger Beer.
So seeing how simple it was, and how much Jenny Rosenstarach  (or her husband, Andy) loves them,  I was on the look out for  Ginger Beer.  I had to have one too!

I went to every market and liquor store in town.  No Ginger Beer.    I thought our town was just too small to carry  Ginger Beer.
I asked my friends who went to Reno or Boise, or any bigger town,  to be on the look out for Ginger Beer.  I thought maybe I should order some  Ginger Beer off of the internet.  
I was going crazy for this elusive Ginger Beer.

Then one Saturday afternoon,  my son texted me a picture  from a grocery store here in town.   Even he knew I was going crazy wanting a Dark and Stormy.  
I immediately jumped into the car and headed down to buy my Ginger Beer.  I walked thru the beer aisle.  I didn't see it.  I went back thru the beer aisle--very slowly.  I still didn't see it.   I called my son, he tells me it is by the Snapple, etc. 
That seemed weird to me---I thought it must have been  because it is such a unique beer.

I went home, chilled the Ginger Beer and planned to surprise the Handyman with my find.  

I told my family that I would only have one drink,  because this drink would be TOTAL alcohol.   Rum and Beer!!  I didn't want to get drunk, I only wanted to try this drink, so my limit (self imposed) was one.  I made them. We drank them.  Mmmmmm....They were really good.
Imagine my surprise when it didn't taste as  'straight alcoholy' as I thought it would.
I still only had only one.   The Handyman had two.

Then it dawned on me. Ginger Beer is not beer.   Ginger Beer is like Root Beer.  It's a SOFTDRINK!  (dawned on me and then I actually looked at the bottle)

I'm just that sophisticated.  (sigh)

I think I'll go have one now.

from Dinner, A Love Story
this taken from their website. Click on this  to go read  their blog post.  Better yet, fix a Dark and Stormy and sit down and  browse their blog.

 The Dark and Stormy is everything a cocktail should be: damned tasty, of course, but also fizzy, cold, summery, citrusy, and very, very easy to make.
Here’s how. Get a decent-size highball glass and pack it full of ice. Now fill that glass halfway with some good dark rum. (We use fifteen-year-old El Dorado from Guyana or the equally good Zaya from Guatemala. And there is always Gosling’s.) Then—and this part is crucial—top it off with real ginger beer, as opposed to standard-issue ginger ale, which tends to be wan and sugary and overly carbonated. (We used to use Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, but we’ve recently switched to Regatta, which is a little less sweet and even more gingery and hails from Bermuda, where they know from cocktails.) Finally, the lime. Don’t skimp on the lime! We love the way it balances the sweetness and spice of the rum and the ginger beer. Squeeze two wedges into the glass and discard. Take your third wedge, squeeze it, run the fleshy part once around the rim of the glass, and drop it in. Give a quick stir with your knife. Now partake of the Dark and Stormy. Summer is upon us.

 I am linking up with  Weekend Cooking--- once I'm done browsing thur the Dinner, A Love Story blog,  I'm going to brows thru  everyone's  Weekend Cooking posts.  So maybe  tonight I'll have TWO Dark and Stormys.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

World Book Night 2013

It was ---the funnest thing EVER!  

And I'm exhausted from laughing so hard.   We stood on the street corner  (you IS legal in the State of Nevada)  and solicited  (like I said---perfectly legal) men, er, I mean people,  and gave them our wares.  Books, I mean!!

Can't wait for World Book Night 2014.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Heart Cooking Clubs

Here it is, another  'semi' week for me with I Heart Cooking Clubs, where we are featuring Chef  Yotam Ottolenghi for the next 6 months.

This week it's all about the roots.   Root vegetables.  I have to say that  I love them-- I always have.  They just seem so rustic and homey--and they are very good  roasted with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. 
That's how I would do them, BUT  Yotam Ottolenghi doesn't roll that way--he actually takes something and makes it better.

The potato latke  is something you might think of as common.  You hear about them often, especially around the holidays ( Hanukkah.)
I've never had them with parsnips though. I've never had a parsnip in my life, perhaps the only root vegetable I haven't had.   So, I thought I'd go out on a limb and do the Ottolenghi way with parsnips.  

And guess what?  I liked them.  I knew I would like them if made with potatoes, but the parsnips?  I was a bit cautious to be honest.  I didn't want to ruin a good thing,  but what do I know?   They were good.
They are my side dish for some ribs tonight---I personally wonder why we wait until a holiday to do this side dish--you needn't,  they'd go good with any type of  roasted meat. 

from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi  and Sami Tamimi

5 1/2 cups peeled and grated waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
2 1/2 cups  peeled and grated parsnips
2/3 cups finely chopped chives
4 egg whites
2 Tbs cornstarch
5 Tbs unsalted butter
6-7 Tbs sunflower oil
salt and freshly ground peppper
sour cream to serve

Rinse the potato in a large bowl of cold water, drain in a colander. Squeeze out any excess water and then spread out onto a clean kitchen towel to dry completely.

In a large bowl, mix together the potato, parsnip, chives, egg whites, cornstarch  1 tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper.

Heat half the butter and half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Use your hands to  make patties of about 2 Tbls of the latke mix, squeeze firmly to remove some of the liquid.
Carefully  place as many patties you can comfortably fit into the pan, push them down gently and level them with the back of a spoon.  Fry over medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.   The latkes need to be completely brown on the outside.  Remove the fried latkes from the oil, place on paper towels and keep warm while you cook the rest.  Add the remaining oil and butter as needed.
Serve at once with sour cream on the side.

While searching the internet for info on Yotam, I found this Youtube video trailer on the cookbook Jerusalem.   Um....I want them to come cook for me!  (no more me messing up their stuff)  They make everything look gorgeous.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Aviator's Wife, Book Club Lunch and World Book Night Pick up

I loved this book.  I knew virtually nothing about Charles Lindbergh before, except that he was the first to fly across the Atlantic and the baby kidnapping... and after reading this novel and researching  some facts about Lindbergh, I was flabbergasted! He did not come off in the best light---in his personal life.

I have such respect for Ann Morrow Lindbergh--what an amazing woman in her own right.  I realize it was a novel, but it was very enlightening and interesting. 

I am not a book reviewer by any means, so if you want a fair review,  read this one from Bermudaonion's blog.   I agree with everything she says.  Fact.  Everything.

As I said,  I loved it, and was  more than willing to share my opinion and suggest it to all my friends, so imagine how  surprised and pleased I was when I attended my  Lunch Book club (The Literary Guild)  the other day and saw that they were reporting on  "Gift from the Sea" by Ann Morrow Lindbergh. 
I was so  delighted---I had to raise my hand and share that I had just finished "The Aviator's Wife"  (nothing like taking over someone else's book report).  I thought it was a 'sign'.  Of what?  I don't know.   Okay, I jest...I don't know what it was a 'sign' of,  I just thought it a really odd, but nice coincidence. 

Here are my friends who gave the report on "Gift From the Sea"  (we meet in the back of an old Basque Boarding house/restaurant--not pretty, but the food is great)

They had some 'gifts from the sea' on the table.  My friend Jean, on the right, is a fellow  "World  Book Night" Giver!

And speaking of World Book Night---it's this coming Tuesday, April 23rd.
I drove to Elko today ( 2 hours over and 2 hours back---it was worth it!) to pick up our books.  We have another friend who is with us that evening.

Me in front of book store with my box of books!  I can't wait!!

Saturday Snapshot

Today I drive to the town east of us, over two hours, to pick up my books for World Book Night.  There was no place in my town to pick up  (we'll work on that for next year)  but it's okay, I can listen to my audio book coming and going--4 hours of uninterrupted book!!
I am excited to catch up and have lunch with an old friend and to visit their little bookstore.

This morning, I sat down with my cup of coffee, wanting to do a quick post for Saturday Snapshot, so I thought I would leave you with this....
the front door of the library in Joseph, Oregon.
It's my favorite library door ever!!

I forgot to add it when I wrote THIS Saturday Snapshot (about libraries)
Truth is, that I forgot I had it, until I began looking thru some old photos.

So, I am linking up with Alyce from At Home With Books and her Saturday Snapshot meme.

And now I'm off to get my books for World Book Night!!

Don't you just love this entryway?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Overnight Oatmeal

I have wanted to make steel cut oatmeal for years.  Ever since I saw a recipe in an old Amish cookbook. But that one required an asbestos pot holder wrapped around a simmering pot all night long.  It seemed like too much trouble for me. that time asbestos was in the news a lot as a cancerous agent and finding an asbestos pot holder seemed dangerous to me.  So, I just never got around to it.

Then---fast forward  25 or so years.  This brings us to today, when I found a recipe for  Slow Cooker Oatmeal.  Wa-LAH!   My problem was solved.
Bring out the old slow cooker, and cook the oats all night WITHOUT asbestos.
The Handyman thought it weird to cook it all night,  since the steel cut oat package said in the directions that  30 minutes would do it.  But he was missing the fun of  starting it before bed time and waking up to it being done!

Here is a photo of the three different kinds of oatmeal  (yes, I do have all 3 in my house.  I like oatmeal, what can I say)

The top one is the steel cut oatmeal, the one on the right is  cooks in 1 minute oatmeal and the one on the bottom left is old-fashioned oats.

While it was fun to do the overnight steel-cut oatmeal,  my favorite is the Old-Fashioned Oats.  I think it's a texture thing  and what I'm used to.  I would do the  Steel-cut oats again tho.  They were good.
It would be fun for when I had company and  when we awoke the oatmeal would be done --with various toppings to add.
Like an oatmeal bar!

I found the recipe for Slow-cooker oats in a Better Homes and Gardens publication   HOMEMADE, 115 Recipes for Home-Cooked Comfort, winter 2013.

Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal
6 cups water
2 cups steel-cut oats
1 tsp salt

Toppers: (pick what you like)
dried cherries
snipped apricots
chopped nuts
brown sugar
maple syrup 

In a 4 quart slow-cooker, combine the water, oats and salt. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for  5 1/2 to 6 hours or on high-setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Top each serving with desired toppers. Serve Warm.
Makes 9 servings.

** overnight oatmeal?  6 hours of sleep is not much, but I let it go longer than that, more like  7 hours of cooking time and it was fine.  OR I do get  up early every day, like 5:30ish. So that is plenty of time to cook the oatmeal for guests who eat around 8:30 or  9:00.
***for my favorite Old-Fashioned Oats, I like honey and half and half.

But these things would be fun for the Oatmeal bar.....

Blackberry-Walnut Oatmeal
Top each serving with toasted broken walnuts, graham cracker crumbs and fresh blackberries.

Chocolate-Almond Oatmeal
Stir about 1/2 cup pre-sweetened cocoa powder into cooked oatmeal.  Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and toasted sliced almonds.

PB&J Oatmeal
Stir about 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter into cooked oatmeal. Top each serving with strawberry jam and granola.

Cinnamon-Raisin-Crunch Oatmeal
Toast and slice four slices cinnamon-raisin bread; cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Top each serving with brown sugar and toasted bread cubes.

Bacon-Berry Oatmeal
Slice fresh strawberries and sprinkle with sugar.  Top each serving  of oatmeal with strawberries and crumbled, crisp-cooked bacon.

Banana-Honey Oatmeal
Top each serving with sliced banana. Drizzle with honey.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Green Chili Chili

Chili probably seems like a 'cold weather' food, but it's spring in Northern Nevada, and it IS cold. 
About a week ago, on a long 6-hour drive, (taking my grand kids to meet their dad) I  took along some cookbooks and bookmarked things I wanted to make (I was not doing the driving, the Handyman was) and this  Green Chili Chili was one of them.

I found it in this cookbook,  Foods and Flavors of San Antonio by Gloria Chadwick.
It's all Tex-Mex cuisine, which I love.

I also love the flavor of green chili, so on the next cold day, I made this one.  I bookmarked a few other chili recipes too,, to make at a late date.  Some with beans, some without.  There is a great debate in certain places whether chili should have beans or not.

And----this means nothing to anyone, but I find phrases interesting--my friend Traci will say that she is going to make chili beans for supper.
I say that I'm going to make a pot of chili for supper.
We are talking about the same thing.  Our  mothers probably said the same things we do and that's where we get it from. 
I just find stuff like that interesting.
I should be a sociologist.  Or an pop-culture anthropologist.
I digressed a bit---so sue me.

Anyway, this chili---this Green Chili Chili---was good.  It didn't have as much of a green chili flavor as I thought it would, but it had a nice spice and lots of good ingredients.  I doubled the tomato sauce and the green chilies.
Next time I would leave out the cinnamon.  I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon in savory dishes.  It didn't taste bad, but I knew it was there, so while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it.  You might tho.  The Handyman ate it gladly, for more than one night and lunch too!  (I have made other things from this cookbook and loved them.)  I would suggest you put in more green chili than it calls for and the cinnamon?  It's up to you.

Green Chili  Chili
from  the Foods and Flavors of San Antonio
by Gloria Chadwick

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb stew beef, cubed
1 green pepper,chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1  4.5 oz can chopped green chilies
1  8 oz can tomato sauce
2  14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
2  15.5 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 T chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper

Brown the ground beef and stew meat with the green pepper and onion in a large saucepan/dutch oven, over medium-high heat.  Drain.

Add the chilies, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, and the seasonings.  Stir to mix.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until the stew meat is tender.
Serves 6

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Booking Thru Thursday

This week's Booking Thru Thursday question is this:

What’s the last book that made you spring to your feet, eager to spread the word and tell everyone how much you enjoyed it?

While I am always ready and willing to share a book, the one that literally made me spring to my feet was,  "A Land More Kind Than Home," by Wiley Cash.

Kathy at Bermudaonion recommended it to me as an audio book, and I LOVED IT.   I wanted others to listen to it also, and was a bit nervous that it wouldn't be as good when read, but I needn't have worried.  I shared the name of the book with some book club friends who they passed the novel around between them (not an Ipod or audio listen in the group) and they too LOVED the book.

I had fun going out to lunch with a couple of them to discuss the book, as a book club 'extra'.  And now we all are  'springing' to our feet to recommend it.

It's such a good read, I couldn't do it justice if I tried to explain it. I just know--YOU don't want to miss it!

And that is my answer for Booking Through Thrusday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Outdoor Wednesday

Well, it seems appropriate to me---to share some outdoor Nevada activities, since I work in the tourism trade. (Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Center) 
Happy Wednesday!

I am linking up to Outdoor Wednesday hosted by a Southern Daydreamer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fry Sauce

Fry Sauce = Yum!
What?   You have no idea what I'm talking about? 

I just discovered that not everyone in the United States knows about Fry Sauce.

Let me backtrack a bit--
I love regional cooking, regional traditions and regional history/food history.

It's SO distinct in the South (grits, country ham, Cajun, GOOD--meaning real-- BBQ) the East ( lobster rolls, clam chowder, baked beans) the Midwest (cheese, pork sausage, jello desserts they pass off as salads--don't get me wrong, I love Jello desserts passed off as salads. I'm just sayin'--Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza), the Southwest ( chilies,  enchiladas, rustic cooking, Mexican influence, tacos,)  The Pacific Northwest (smoked salmon, Alaskan King Crab,  trout, fresh water fish, fruits, berries). 
And so on.  Let me state, for the record, that Texas and California have their very own food stuff and styles.  They make it up, put their own inique spin on it (Tex-Mex and Fresh Mex and Baja Style).

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I felt a camaraderie with the people when it came to food.
Then I moved to Nevada--The Great Basin area of the United States--there's not even a Wikipedia entry for foods of this region.  It's sad really.  
I guess  we could be lumped with chuck-wagon food  (cowboy beans, beef steak, fried potatoes).
I wanted to be known for something cooler than a T-bone steak tho.  Or a bowl of cowboy beans cooked in a Dutch Oven.

And then.... I heard some new friends from Texas say they just had Fry Sauce for the very  first time and really liked it.  I thought  WTH? It's fry sauce.   Then they explained they had never heard of it before, let alone  tasted it.
I emailed my friend in California--and said "can you believe it?--she said she has never had or heard of Fry Sauce.
I said,  YES YOU HAVE.  It's only stupid Fry Sauce--everyone's heard of it.

Then I Googled it.  It seems as if it is a regional thing. Apparently not everyone has heard of it.  Huh. Interesting.

 Fry sauce is a simple combination of ketchup and mayonnaise popular in Utah restaurants as a dipping sauce for French fries. Utah-based burger chain Arctic Circle claims to have invented fry sauce in the 1940s.  (this is from A history of fry sauce by Marsha Maxwell.  Click the link to find out more and to get the recipe on making your own fry sauce.  Be sure and click the AC link to see more about the burger chain)

Fry Sauce is not only popular in Utah. While it might have originated in Utah, there were Arctic Circle burger chains all over, UT, NV, ID, OR and WA when I was growing up, and we all loved AC!
WE HAVE OUR OWN REGIONAL FOOD IDENTITY!   How cool is that?  I'm so relieved.

Of course, it's just mayo and ketchup.  Mixed together.  Most 2 year olds could do it.   But it's good.  I like it better than ketchup.  I love it, in fact.
I LOVE stupid fry sauce!!

Unless I go to Zips. (Which is a really, localized burger joint in Washington and Idaho. )  THEN, I dip my french fries in their homemade tarter sauce.  Mmmmmm.   But that's another story.  For another time. 
Well, wait a minute!  Hold the phone!  Keep your pants on!   Hold your horses!
 I already told that story...see here.

Now, go eat some French Fries everybody. Make fry sauce and see if you like it.

PS:  I'm sure they have a version of Fry Sauce in every region of the U.S, right?  Except for Texas and California rumor has it.

For the record.... I present 
 "The Great Basin"
(yes, we really do have wild horses, and no we are not all cowboys)

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