Saturday, June 4, 2011

Down With A Sickness

Well...I'm sick, midget pigmy #1 has a cough, midget pigmy #2 sounds like Barry White, and Mrs. JellyMan is run down and sniffling.  Today of all days.  Wifey's friend is getting married, and I was volunteered to help, all I had to do was deliver a mess of fried chicken, and watch over food levels.  Well delivery was made, dressing up to look nice was done, and then it happened.  The description Stomach Flu is quite right, because stuff literally flew everywhere.  So now I am home alone doing laundry and mopping floors.  Yuck, so enough on that let’s talk about food!  Okay?

Growing up home canned goods weren’t normal, but not abnormal either.  Both of my Grandmothers canned, my Aunt canned, back then I was just indifferent to it.  Christmas came along, and gift baskets were received with canned goods, Jelly’s. Jams, Preserves, Syrups.  I talk about canning at work and people look at me like I am crazy, and not crazy in a good way.  The outlook of most people I come across is that only Okie white trash people that eat road kill put away foods.  Well I know many fine people from Oklahoma and they are alright people, white trash is a label that I do not agree with but unfortunately in today’s society if you don’t have a label then you’re just plain out of luck...and I don’t eat road kill.

When Mrs. JellyMan was pregnant with Midget Pigmy #2 I built her a rocking chair.  I went to my friend Pop's, we found plans, and went to work.  (He actually built most of it and made me stand and look over his shoulder, hold his tools, and fetch him more beer when he was getting low).  Even the little bit that I did made me proud to do something with my hands.  Making Jams and Jellies for people as presents, or just making it to store in the cabinet, and reflect on it 6 months later when you get to enjoy your hand made product is probably the best feeling out there.  You have actually taken control over what your family has put into their body, and are feeding them love.  YES!  Jams and Jellies, and for that matter anything that you can or dehydrate is literally Dried love (Dehydrated love is great, add water and enjoy) or Love in a Jar.  There is that song you can’t hurry love, can’t hurry Jelly making, or dehydrating.  If you do you, you end up with something that you just might well have purchased as a mass produced product.  No love there.

When you look at canning Jams and Jellies, or any food for that matter you might think that you will be spending a lot of money.  You really won’t.  Water Bath Canners' are anywhere from 21.00 to 50.00.  Check out, chances if you put a canner in your shopping cart, it will probably give you a pop up with a canner, a canning kit, and a canning cookbook for under 75.00.  Not too shabby, well then go to a flea market or yard sell.  You would be surprised that people will sell perfectly good Water Bath Canners, Pressure Canners, and other items like that for dirt cheap.  The people selling them have been holding on to them for so long, they just want them gone. 

So, now you have your canner, your kit, and cookbook.  Your next step is the internet.  Research, research, research.  Look in your recipe book for an easy, fool proof recipe.  I pickled Garlic, and made Red Wine Pickled Onions.  I really didn’t spend that much on ingredients, so if it failed I wouldn’t be out of luck.  They worked, and they were yummy. 

Sorry for the lame post, when the stomach stops flying I promise you guys something good.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Rise and fall of Ranch Dressing

Tonight was Pizza Night.  Not any old pizza, but Round Table Pizza.  Large Peperoni and Olive, with Extra Cheese, and LIGHT creamy Garlic Sauce.  It was good, it was quick, and I actually have time to blog due to the lack of dishes! 
So, my 6 year old was eating his pizza with ranch, and said “I remember when I was 4; we used to have 2 kinds of ranch “(He was way younger than 4, maybe 3 and a half or something).  The wife looked at me with a “ where does he come up with this stuff look “ and then I was like “YES WE DID”  Back in the old days before the second midget pigmy child came to live in this establishment, we were ranch connoisseurs.  I preferred the Bacon Ranch, and my wife liked the buttermilk ranch.  We would fight about whose turn it was to give the 1st midget pigmy child ranch out of their supply.  (Not a pretty sight)  So then midget pigmy child number 1 from then on got his own bottle of Original Hidden Valley Ranch.
My life came to an abrupt halt one day when did my shopping, and there was no Bacon Ranch….NONE!  I tracked down the first stock person I could find, and hung from their shirt begging and pleading “ What have you done with my Bacon Ranch, what have I done to deserve this “ he was like “ Dude…no one eats that stuff, so we stopped carrying it, and let go of my shirt…do I need to call security?  I walked out of there indignant as I could, they would not do this to me, and I would have the final say.  4 Grocery stores later I went home a whipped puppy.
Later at home, I broke the awful news to my wife.  I poured my heart out, I was in tears, I was truly heart broken.  The only other time that has happened, was when they canceled Jericho.  (That was an ugly couple of weeks) Her response “So, did you get my Buttermilk Ranch”?  Where is the love, where is the compassion, I mean I just lost my best friend and my wife had no sympathy.  So I was on a mission, a mission from the Ranch God himself.  I was heck bent and determined to get my Bacon Ranch.  I looked high, and I looked low.  Nada, zilch, zippo.  Not a drop of Bacon Ranch in Sacramento. 
So, what point am I trying to make tonight?  Duh, there is no point.  I like Bacon Ranch and I don’t care who knows about it.  I did get the last laugh though.  I did the shopping one day and we had Chef Salads that night and wifey asked “Honey can you bring out my Ranch Dressing “straight faced and solemn…” Nope, no one was buying that stuff so we stopped carrying it“.  =) 


Monday, May 30, 2011

Grilling Freak

Well, dishes are done, garbage can is filled with gnawed on bones, all things considered, it was a good day.  Prep started at about 4 yesterday, and resumed when I was able to coax my sore bones out of bed at about 9am today.  ( Its weird waking up and not having the pygmy children of this establishment running around....we also sleep in later ).  Up first was Great Grandma Nelda's BBQ sauce.  This is an uber secret recipe to be shared with no one....the original was written on velum, right next to those stone tablets that everyone is always talking about.  There was an 11th stone tablet...Thou shall not eat bad BBQ, and don't use store bought sauce, but people tend to forget about this one.  Funny story, when I was buying groceries for today, a very young checker asked about my cart, and I told him I was making BBQ sauce...he had this smirk and informed me that the BBQ sauce was located right next to the Ketchup, I must have missed it.  Actually, I think he missed it but oh well!

I made a couple of batches as one is never enough!  We will probably BBQ something else this week, and it will be a welcome addition to what ever I BBQ.  Next up, is a good rib rub.  I have been working on my rib rub for years, never really ever able to get something that is what I want.  I scoured the Internet, and still found nothing that tickled my fancy.  I opened up the cabinet, took stock and an idea was formed. 

I never measure, I find it a waste of time, but I can never get anything just right the next time I make it.  I measured this time!! 

1/3 Cup Sea Salt ( If you cheat like me and have a propane grill look for Alder Smoked Sea Salt..Yummy! )
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Sweet Paprika
2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder
2 Tablespoons Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
2 Tablespoons Dried Rosemary ( Use a mortar and pestle to crush the above 2, it really makes a difference )
2 Tablespoons Cumin
1 Tablespoon Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Allspice 

Mix it all together, and put it into a Tupperware container. 

This does tend to make alot, BUT use it then stick it away in your cupboard and you always have it! 

Okay, so we got the sauce, and we got the rub....oh yeah, its time for ribs!

Now for the tools of the trade

I got all of my tools ready to operate.....and did not find a membrane on the back of the ribs...I had to call for a second opinion....either OH WELL!

I had 3 Racks, so I did a double layer of foil, gave my ribs a sensuous rub down, wrapped them, and added another layer of foil.

Wow, all of that for some stinkin meat!  HEY my rub don't stink!

So we have the main course, what about desert?  Homemade Ice Cream. sure does help if you read the directions, I was going to make this the day of, so I put it down on my list of stuff to do...then read the recipe and it says the batter needs to set overnight.  Whoops, guess I'm still cookin. 

First thing this morning ( well its still first thing if I am up and moving less than 30 minutes after getting up ) Put the Ice Cream mix in the maker, and started on the Pineapple Upside Down Cake....what was that...what did I cook it in...OH best Friend the Cast Iron Skillet. 

11am I put the ribs on.  I put them on still wrapped.  I have 5 burners, so I had them ALL on, then when the meat goes on the grill I turn down the 4 burners that the ribs are on.  I cook them for an hour on each side, then I cook them for an hour un covered, then 30 Min's with the uber secret sauce.  Wow, that's real easy.  Its real quiet out side...not a bird chirping, not a leaf blower or lawn mower in ear shot...and no sound from the BBQ regulator.  That's right, I ran out of propane, that's okay because I roll with 2 tanks.  Um yeah...I swapped out tanks 2 weeks ago.  Uh Oh.  I ran down to Hollywood Hardware...every one in my neighborhood was there...and all of them needed special help.  20 minutes later I had my propane installed, and the temperature was still at 200 degrees.  Gotta Love Cast Iron Grates huh?  So I thought that I would try to compensate for the temperature issues so I cooked them a bit longer.  Ribs turned out not quite so perfect, but I think I am just a bit hard on myself. 

Dinner with Friends and family was the perfect way to end this weekend.  Dinner Menu was;

Mac and Cheese ( Heck yeah it was home made )
Auntie C's beans
Hot Dogs and Chips for the boys
Home Made Ice Cream
Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Busy weekend it was, but alot was accomplished.  Jelly was made, people were fed.  Hey did you hear that?  Sorry, I thought it was Calgon calling my name...its just a one of the local inhabitants of the dwelling.  Till next time...keep your Cast Iron seasoned, and your ribs rubbed.  Later!