Journal

2019 - Week 16 Cooking

Going after the freezer cleaning, I’m still left with quite a bit, but way way less then before. A good chunk of it, however, is organ meat, which is often hard to a. find recipes for, and b. sneak through for an acceptable meal for Shannon. Chatting with some of the dance parents at dinner, I couldn’t tell if they took my excitement over the organ meat as weird or interesting.. Meh. Pork liver pate is somewhere in the near future.

I understand that people want to track usage, and email usage, but can’t that be done without having 7 attached variables to the link? maybe to a redirector and then land on the page. I’m looking at you serious eats and food and wine. you make using your websites annoying, as the attached variables are longer then the actual web URI itself.

2019 - Week 15 Cooking Results

Piri Piri Meatballs

Unlike some weeks in the past where I have made entirely to many meatball dishes, having one is not to bad. I used some grass fed beef. Making the sauce was nice. I feel like my blender two often sits idle, to where sometimes I wonder why I have one. This week, twice! The Piri Piri reminds me a bit of the sauce that I bought once or twice but it lacked some of the flavor, even so, I think. It was nice, but I would be curious about an actual sauce, though getting the pepper here would challenging. This made for a nice dinner. Maybe it should be served with bread or on flatbread.

Peruvian-American Pork Adobo (Friday, Saturday)

I made the brine on Friday night before making a nice grilled cheese for dinner. I adjusted it a bit, as I didn’t feel like making the paste, but i did have some of the powder (woo Allspice). While I was going to start it Saturday morning, we are leaving the option open to go out with Shannon’s sister as they are up here for my niece’s dance competition. Unfortunately we won’t be able to go, but it’s nice that she is progressing in her dance. I’ll finish this on Sunday. I do feel vaguely guilty for using corporate pork. So Continued next week…

Buffalo burgers (Bare Bison)

To add cheese but not overwhelm the bison, Darren recommended the Consider Bardwell Farm Pawlet. It made for a nice combination. I did like the bison so I’m going to probably order more when I start to get the freezer to the point where it is ok to fill it up again.

Chacarero Chileno (Modified, Sous Vide) (Sunday)

Instead of taking out a grill and searing these outside. I took some steak cuts from Lucky George and sous vide then to just over mid rare. I then seared them for about a minute on each side. I was able to time this so that we could eat dinner at about the time we would. I really like the mildly pickled beans and steak on the sandwich. As a side note, I used the mayo and beans on several lunches later in the week. The beans did not go over well with Shannon but they garlic mayo did.

Easiest Lamb Gyros with Creamy Yogurt Sauce (Mutton, Lucky George)

Yes, this was very easy to do. So easy and quick that I think Shannon was surprised when I called her up for dinner. The mutton combined with a few spices made it easy to mix and prepare and the cooking led to allowing to do other things (unload and reload the dishwasher) while waiting for the sear to happen. I would make this again. I passed on the cherry tomatoes cause it seems like a paltry add (and spring has barely started so most tomatoes taste like garbage).

Ham Prep

Grilled Cheese

2019 - Week 15 Cooking

I’m going to smoke a ham. I’m using Project Smoke as a guide. I’ve got some spices to pick up, an uncured ham to thaw, and I’ll start the brine this week, and smoke it next week. I’m kind of excited. It’ll be my first smoking project of the year and will hopefully yield good results. I’ve got a second ham to do (yes seriously) and some fresh side to turn into bacon. My freezer is starting to get a bit lean, but I’ve still got a way to go (including rendering pork fat), and unlike last year, where I had good intentions but my brain wasn’t being very cooperative.

2019 - Week 14 Cooking Results

Green Mac & Cheese

This was a nice way to vegetables and fiber to the diet, making it hard to avoid. it was easy to do, if you have the tools, but would be challenging without a food processor. That beings aid, I used smoked hot paprika (instead of basically coloring paprika). I would add maybe a dash or two of hot sauce. Luckily the cheese shop had some mozzarella again, so I was able to use that to top it off.

Canadian Bacon Strata (I have a surprising amount of Canadian Bacon left)

I’ve been cleaning out my freezer and noticed that I had quite a bit of Canadian Bacon left. So This seems like it used a lot of Canadian Bacon, so there we went. I made it Friday night, then cooked it Saturday. I thought about making it for breakfast, but the long bake time and Shannon heading out for her hair appointment made it unlikely to get finished in a timely fashion. I popped it in the oven a little before 5:PM and we ate quite a bit later.

Spicy-Sweet Sambal Pork Noodles

Shortly after making this the first time, I stated, I need to make this again. It holds up. Delicious and easy.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Unlike last time where I could’ve sworn I had bought wild rice, I actually had wild rice. The soup turned out just as good as last time. As a change, I used some chicken thighs and sous-vide cooked them one of the previous days (butter, salt pepper, chicken) Made for perfectly just underdone chicken to finish off in the soup in nice neatly chopped chunks.

Hamburgers (Lucky George, label for type obscured)

Good as always.

Chacarero Chileno (Modified, Sous Vide)

Delayed! (I was going to make this Saturday, but the Friday plan wanted to soak for 2+ hours, thus pushing this into Sunday)

Weezer & Pixies (Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, 3/28/2019)

Pixies

Weezer

2019 - Week 13 Cooking Results

I need to sharpen my knives. I got a new magnetic block which I like, but I’ve noticed as I’ve swapped the order of the knives available, that I need to sharpen both of my chef knives. I’ve taken them to be sharpened before and I’ve had my brother sharpen them. I’ve intended to buy a sharpener for a while, just keep putting it off.

I went to see Weezer & Pixies and Basement (? I think) with Nathan. It marked the Pixies off the bucket list for me (I’ve seen Weezer a couple times before). I’ve kinda wanted to see them since college, but they broke up before college, and got back together after. It was a very fun show. Afterwards we walked to Hello Marjorie for some cocktails. I am annoyed that it was my first visit there. Maybe I’ll have to find an excuse to go for cocktails more.

On the cocktail note, we discovered a thing we didn’t know about. Aquafaba, apparently is a vegan alternative to egg whites, can be used as a replacement. More research is called for. I have an interest in cocktails but usually I get distracted by getting intoxicated. So you have notes but you can’t always trust yourself and your tastebuds after a few drinks.

Shrimp Fried Rice (cleaning out the freezer of leftover shrimp)

Made some rice, used it to make fried rice twice. I don’t remember what I bought the shrimp for, but it worked out pretty well.. I brought the shrimp up to temperature then cooked and follow the directions for the most part. Fried rice is a perfect example of why you need to get everything in place before you start. I admit that I don’t always do the prep first, cause I know that you usually have time built into a recipe while something cooks to get the next step or two ready. But often it makes sense to get ready.

Kielbasa and Lentil Soup

There was a judgement call to make on the type of lentils to use and etc, so I made a call, and apparently it was wrong (red lentils). It ended up being less soupy and more pea soupy. Which was fine, I think the taste was pretty good, but it looks nothing even remotely like the picture on the site. I had leftovers from an early lunch today, still quite good.

Large Black Ham Slices & Eggs

So they were a bit bigger then I expected so when I pulled out the ham slices, I expected it to fit in a pan…then had to pull out another pan… So I have scrambled eggs in a pan, then two other pans with ham steaks, it was a bit silly. Relatively easy to manage, dinner was done quick.

Mangalitsa Pork Burgers

Low and slow…still a bit of complaints from the smoke alarm. A warning. Just a bit of warning, but not to bad. The burgers themselves seem to be flavored with something. I can’t tell what, but not just a flavor of pork… Anyways I think I thought the same thing when we had it before. Did we have it before? I’m pretty sure. Anyways, It’s pretty good. I’ll have to try it again.

Green Onion Sausage Pizza

After the semi-failure of the pizza from week 4, it was good to get back on the right path. the Cheese Shop had by chance, some fresh mozzarella. I made a grab of it and used it. I slowly stretched out the dough (over about 30 minutes or so). While I was waiting for that I shredded the cheese, cooked the green onion sausage and made the sauce. It was good to have it again with a nice crisp crust.

2019 - Week 13 Cooking

We went out to the new Palms Imax theater in Waukee to see and early screening of Shazam! It seems like they opened early to start bringing in money. There seems to be thinks that are not in place yet. Also it seems like some parts are a flow design nightmare. The parking lot appears to be unlined, the “sidewalks” seem to be just other colored concrete (we saw people parked over it). They’re still installing some of the decoration on the outside. Inside, the kiosk where we get the tickets (from the fandango purchase), it is unclear where we’re supposed to scan the bar code. There is a restaurant, and snacks and these work about what you expect. It seems as if they haven’t gotten down the amount of frequency you need to clean the bathroom, or change the paper towels (I got it twice, once with no paper towels, once with just a single one). The closes bathrooms to the IMax and upper end theater are far enough away it doesn’t make for a quick run out mid-movie and return. So for the upcoming big screen experiences, it seems to exclude it from anything of any length (2.5+) from wanting to be seen there. That being said, the sound in the XL Digital screen has better sound then where we have been going. They also don’t even seem to be remotely concerned about recycling. Shazam!, was pretty good though. I think DC is finding the right balance, between darkness and humor.

I decided to put the fridge looking on hold for a bit. The one I limited it down to is supposed to come in stainless still and black stainless (black being more expensive). But they were out of stainless, and I prefer the Costco delivery over others I have worked with (also the money I get back). So I’ll wait to around the next appliance holiday sale or whatever and check again. I do have everything measured and noted. The old house challenge of having narrow (by comparison) doorways. I went all the perspective pathways and found the easiest one (31” max width) was the one with the most width. This is also related to the fact that I’ve blown through my flex spending already (new bifocals + new CPAP), so if anything comes up, we don’t want to be in a bind.

I’ve been adjusting our near term financial goals to have more in reserve. The adjustment has been a bit hard, as most money adjustments are. It is also challenging to know that I can pay off the last of my student loans, but that may not be the best financial choice.

Also, I’m going to Weezer this week. I’ve seen them before, but I also get to see The Pixies, which is also pretty cool (I’ve never seen them).

2019 - Week 12 Cooking Results

Fettuccine Alfredo

I did much better this time around, though I did forget to cook the chicken like I had planned, but that was ok. Maybe because I didn’t mess this up like the other recipe, I clearly like this one better. I’m much happier now.

Halved One-Skillet Cheese Beef And Macaroni

So halved in some places, others not so much. So it was a bit extra noodly by comparison. That being said…it was ok. Not enough pop, I guess. Just something that I’d expect out of a box meal (add one pound of meat for food like substance).

Quick and Easy Pork Fried Rice With Corn and Shishito Peppers Recipe

I couldn’t find shishito peppers, although I didn’t try that hard to find them (no extra stores), I just used a green pepper. The recipe was clear and simple and turned out pretty good for a simple meal. I made it early so we could go to a movie. I added a bit of heat to mine, Shannon not so much.

Taco Salad

Good as always.

Lamb & Fennel (Large Black) Sausage over Potatoes

Roasting, fat spills out over the potatoes, to flavor them with lamb and fennel. Perhaps the fennel was a bit more pronounced then it should be (I like fennel). Made for a good meal.