Sunday, August 11, 2019

Honey Basalmic Cod with Mandarin Oranges

The first time I saw this recipe, I thought "Eww, sickly sweet." The second time, I thought "How do they make that tasty?" And five years or so later, I've tried it, with a few additions, and my husband liked it so much he wants me to make it for group dinner (for 12) instead of just the two of us. If I do that, I'll need to figure out how to scale things up. We'll see.

Honey Basalmic Cod with Mandarin Oranges

4-5 filets of cod, frozen
1 can mandarin oranges
1 orange's worth of juice

1 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp melted butter or very light oil + extra to grease the baking sheet
1-2 Tbsp thick balsamic vinegar

+1 pack steamable butternut squash noodles
+1 pack steamable baby brussels sprouts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line baking sheet with either a silicone baking mat or greased aluminum foil, so cod doesn't stick to it. Place cod on sheet.

If you have an orange, juice it.
In a bowl, mix all ingredients except cod, mandarin sections, and steamables packs, until blended. Spoon over frozen cod. Put in oven and bake for 22-25 minutes.

About 16 minutes out from done, stick butternut noodles pack in microwave. While it's cooking, open mandarin can. Rinse and drain 3 times to get the canned taste out, set aside.
When noodles finished, carefully remove package. Put in brussels sprouts pack and nuke.

Drain butternut noodles, add drained orange sections on top, reseal packet (if able).

When Brussels sprouts are done, plate the noodles & oranges, then open the sprouts and plate them, too. Fish will be done at this point, and you can carefully pull it out of the oven. Put cod chunks on noodles, spoon the sauce in the pan over the noodles.

Serve with a drizzle of balsamic over the Brussels sprouts, and it's ready to table. Serves 2-3

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Research or Writing, pick one...

So it begins: I have a good chunk of outline, a couple characters sketches, some research, and I'm just going to write this small section of the story in order to help figure out the plot. Right? No dstractions, just writing!

...close the browser...

Less than three hundred words later, "1911's come in single stack, right? I'm not crazy?"

*open browser, lose an hour to the siren song of online*

Close browser. Now I'm going to write!

Two paragraphs later "Is there any steel-core pistol caliber ammo?"

..lose ten minutes to searching...

No! I'll just ask the subject matter expert in the house!

"Love? Are there any steel-content bullets out there in pistol calibers? Is it feasible for them to be produced if you're prioritizing defennse rounds against fae?"

Mind you, asking my husband for help has temptations and distractions all its own...

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The difference between supplies and junk

Peter put up a post about thinning stuff down, and got a bit of pushback from his commentors about the drive to own less stuff. They have a valid point - that there are socialists trying to push communist no-private-ownership theory in the name of "saving the planet". What they miss, though, is that just because a red squirrel finds an acorn doesn't mean the acorn is communist... and the idea of acquiring and holding onto less stuff that you don't need goes straight back to Biblical advice. (The emphasis there was to focus on actions and words, thoughts and habits instead of on acquiring riches - completely different philosophy, and much wiser than communism.)

That said, one of the points they challenged Peter was "How does the no-piles-of-stuff goal square with being prepared for disasters?"

And that made me facepalm. There's a very simple, clear, and hard line that separates the two: inventory control.

In order for something to count as emergency (or non-emergency supplies), all parties involved must:

1.) Know that it exists
2.) Know where it is
3.) Be able to access it
4.) Find it in a usable condition.

For example, we have a few jerry cans of ethanol-free gas (No, they're not in the garage. They're in a remote shed.) We both know where they are, where the keys to the lock to access them are, can easily get them out, and they've been treated with stabilizer in order to be usable whether pouring into the lawnmower or into the vehicles. They're also rotated (usually by refilling the lawnmower.) These are extremely useful emergency supplies - well, everyday supplies for the lawnmower, but emergency for the vehicles or generator.

On the other hand, somewhere under a pile of something in the garage is a case of toilet bowl cleaner bottles that's already had a couple taken out. The last time I saw it was months ago, when I spent 4 hours digging through piles and pulling things out that had been stuck into the aisle under "I'll just stick this here" until the entire aisle was filled in. Since then, it's been moved... and so I just drive to the store and buy more toilet bowl cleaner, because it's not worth four hours, a couple bruises, and getting cut open on something to find the case again when I can get to the store and back in 20 minutes.

That case is now junk, useless and worse than worthless. I may know it exists, but I don't know where it is, and I can't get to it. So the money we spent, saying it was cheaper if we bought in bulk, is wasted, and the garage is more cluttered by its existence in there somewhere. It is now an active detriment in my life, filed firmly under "Your useless junk that's forcing us to park the vehicles out in the hailstorms, honey."

That is the difference. The big pantry has a couple shelves that I have to use a stepladder to reach, and am never going to use for everyday stock - because getting out a stepladder is a pain in the rear. Can those of you over 5'5" imagine having to do that every time you wanted to get the black pepper or garlic powder? (Everyone under 5'5" already understand this point. "Honey, I need your tall!" being a common kitchen cry in quite a few households.) So when Peter proposed using those shelves for emergency supplies, I was all in favour - it puts them out of the way, and yet easily inventoried and accessible when needed.

Keep this in mind when dealing with your spouse, your house, and your own supplies. And if you know that you've got stuff "in there somewhere?" Fix that, because trying to find stuff by flashlight when the power's out (and the heat or AC with it) and the wind is ripping shingles off the roof isn't going to get any easier.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

deviled eggs (with bacon grease)

While making this dish, I realized I was down to my last spoonful of bacon grease. I texted this sad state of affairs to a group of friends, so that they might have a chuckle... and less than seven minutes later, there was a knock on the door and Aepilot Jim was standing there with a tub of 5 pounds of bacon grease, so I could refill my jar. I have the best friends!

Deviled eggs (with bacon grease)

16 eggs (It's what my large pot easily holds.)

1/4 to 1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp mustard powder
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard*
1 tsp Tabasco (or more, to taste)
1 Tbsp bacon grease
8 dill pickle slices, minced
1Tbsp pickle juice to thin the mix, if needed
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using pickle juice to thin)

mesquite-smoked salt sprinkled on top
smoked spanish paprika sprinkled on top

Hard-boil your eggs, however makes you happiest, and shell them. Cut the eggs in half and dump all the yolks in a bowl, put eggs on your tray or paper-towel lined paper place, whatever.

Mash yolks until they're finely crumbled. Add everything else, mix well. When the only lumps left are the pickles, spoon into a sandwich bag, cut the tip of a corner off, and squeeze out the filling to fill each half an egg. Sprinkle the mesquite-smoked salt and paprika on top.

I prefer to make a day ahead, so I don't have to worry about it and they're ready to go when people come over for dinner. Also, lets the flavours meld and mingle.

*I actually have been using Fischer's Dusseldorf mustard, but any good spicy brown mustard will do

Thursday, June 13, 2019

mock stuffing with hatch chilies

My darling husband has been known to wonder why Americans call it "stuffing" when it's not stuffed in anything. The statement that it's the recipe for what normally got stuffed inside the bird was dubiously accepted. The last time I made this, though, I was very glad it wasn't inside the bird, because the bird turned out to be still frozen even after 3 days in the fridge! No, I'm not sure how it managed that either.

Fortunately, this can be made ahead of time as a nice big casserole pan, and then just popped in the oven to warm up in that lst half hour after you pull the bird out to let it rest.

Mock Stuffing

Step 1: mock cornbread (make ahead of time)

6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup diced hatch chiles (flame roasted is even better)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp bacon grease

Mix eggs, cream, and hatch chiles together, and add coconut flour and almond flour. Let sit for a few minutes to properly hydrate. Preheat the oven to 325F and stick a 10.5 to 12 in cast iron skillet in the oven with the bacon grease while it's preheating.

Melt the butter, add it, the baking soda, and salt to the mixing bowl. Stir well. Pull the hot pan out of the oven, pour in batter. Stick back in oven, cook for 25-30 minutes

Step 2: Toast the bread.

After cornbread has cooled (could be a few minutes, could be a couple days later), cut into rough chunks. Put on baking sheets, and toast for 30 minutes at 300F. They should turn dark brown but not burn. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: Make the Stuffing

1 batch toasted mock cornbread
1 large onion (or 2 small)
3 cups chopped celery (more or less)
1 large handful fresh sage leaves (about 1/2 cup, once diced)
1 bunch fresh rosemary (about 2 Tbsp, once leaves were stripped off the stems and diced)
1 large handful fresh thyme leaves (about 1 Tbsp once stripped off stems)
1 large bunch fresh parsley, chopped. (I used dried, about 1/4 cup, because my parsley has bolted)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper (I used bourbon smoked cracked black pepper.)
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp bacon grease
3 cups chickenstock
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F

In a skillet (could be same cast iron skillet used for cornbread. Yay for fewer dirty dishes!), heat bacon grease. Toss in black pepper, so it gets all the flavour bloomed and into everything you saute. Once hot, add onion, celery, & salt. Stir until starting to get translucent, then add herbs and garlic. When herbs are wilted and garlic starts to brown, take off heat.

Dump toasted mock cornbread in large casserole dish. Pour the sauteed mix on top, then mix with spatula until roughly evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, mix 3 cups chicken stock with two eggs. Pour over the stuffing mixture. Cover dish with foil, bake for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

White mulberry pie

I have a white mulberry tree, and its fruit has presented some conundrum. They're not actually white, more a pastel purple - though that mean they don't exactly look like a normal rich blueberry or mulberry pie when baked. Still, I picked a bunch and stuck them in the freezer to try a pie later, and people liked it. Note: don't worry about the little stems, they bake soft. The pie turns out rather like fig newton filling, though, very crunchy with all the little seeds.

White Mulberry pie

1 Premade crust
4 cups mulberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash allspice
dash cloves
(Spices equal maybe 1/2-3/4 tsp added together)

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix everything but the crust - that goes in the pie tin. Once everything is a goopy thick mixture, use a spatula to get it scraped and splatted into the pie crust, and smoothed to pretty flat and level. Do whatever you like to the edges of your pie crust - some folks like to put a second crust on top and crimp, or lattices, or what have you. I just fold it over to create a rim, because it amuses me.

Bake for 45 minutes, let cool at least 10 minutes. Goes great with bluebell ice cream.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Pour some powdered sugar on me

Because my brain is as fried as a funnel cake.

I'm studying for the AGI - Advanced Ground Instructor - certificate, which qualifies me to teach flying on the ground. (Generally referred to by it's TLA (Three Letter Acronym), because the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration, though it used to be the Federal Aviation Agency, and prior to that, the CAB (the Civil Aeronautics Board)  sure loves its TLA's.)

I may have gotten into this on a dare. Not confirming or denying, just mentioning it's a possibility, and wasn't exactly a long-range plan slowly coming to fruition or anything. The first few sections of the study suckered me in. Okay, Aerodynamics & Aircraft rattled my brain cage and shook a lot of dust off some schooling I haven't touched in a long time, and force me to hit the books and start studying up on the actual principles that had become rule-of-thumb or "Ah, I don't fly that, so I don't care."(Look: I know a lot about flying off gravel and sandbars, and very little about turboprops. What we don't use, we forget, and it's a very big aviation world out there, with lots of specialties, too. Aerobatics? Those are things I don't want my airplane to do, not things I am comfortable or familiar with.)

But that was cool; it was a heck of a challenge, but actually pretty interesting to relearn, and learn ways the field has changed since I started flying.

...and today I hit Weight & Balance & Aircraft Performance, and it hit back. Nobody warned me there'd be calculus! Or spaghetti charts! ...maybe it was because I failed to ask. *facepalm*

I'm almost to the end of the first round of question study and review. I can do this. I really can...

After I go rotate the cat, mow the lawn, do some laundry, and whatever else it takes to get the brain to stop making crackling and spluttering noises.