Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Potato Pie

Today's experiment was inspired by some of the old American cookbooks I've been reading lately.

Yesterday, I made a mountain of potatoes, knowing that there was absolutely no way that my family could eat all of them. I had potato pancakes made with mashed potatoes in mind. Today I mixed up the potatoes, two onions finely chopped, some flour, two eggs, a tablespoon of baking powder (the only thing I measured), milk and a pinch of salt.

They half cooked, the side closest to the center of the pan was gorgeous, brown and crispy, but the side by the edge of the pan was potato mush. I tried slowing down the cooking until it almost stopped to get some decent ones, but it would have taken all evening to cook enough for dinner at that rate. I took the rest of my batter and thickened it a bit more with flour added a bit of oil to the cast iron pan, poured in the mixture and popped it into the oven at 375 degrees. It was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

There is a bit left to pop in the toaster oven for breakfast, it will be a good morning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Got My Goat

Got My Goat
A local supermarket (SweetBay) carried goat for a while, stopped carrying it and is now carrying it again!! I almost did a little dance by the meat case, but being a bit gimpy at the moment, I refrained. I did hum to the 70’s tunes and sing along a little though.

Goat has a flavor similar to lamb, but takes a bit longer to cook. I find many people’s aversion to goat meat puzzling. Most have never tried it, they even seem to fear it, but they are willing to eat bottom feeders such as lobster and catfish. I don’t get it. The “mutton” that the Brits ate in India was almost all goat meat. They just couldn’t call it by its proper name, somewhere along the way goats unjustly started getting lots of disrespect. They are smart animals unlike their vacuous sheep cousins; maybe their craftiness is their downfall. I believe that long ago the folks who kept Western civilization moving along were shepherds and fought the goat herders for land, water, power, religion (all the usual stuff) and then vilified the poor goat along the way, they even gave the greatest villain of all goat horns and a beard.

Luckily, some folks appreciate a little goat meat once in a while and enough of them live close enough to Sweetbay and complain enough (like me) to make them carry it again. I bought some to support the cause, and pulled it out of my freezer yesterday, uncertain what I was going to do with it this time. I wasn’t in the mood for Scotch broth or a curry, so I pulled out my Middle Eastern recipes and looked through the lamb recipes and then spotted a chicken recipe that I had made quite a few times and had forgotten over the years. Out came my trusty pressure cooker, into it went a can of beef broth, the goat meat, some additional water, about 1.5 cups of tomatoes, a couple cinnamon sticks, a good amount of coriander, black pepper, and turmeric, then a pinch of each cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg (I measured by sight, not spoons). I didn’t have orange or lemon peel to toss in, so I used tangerine zest (I sent the peeled tangerine in Jillian’s lunch today). I pressure cooked it for about 45 minutes and then dumped it into the crock pot, because I wanted to soak and cook some chick peas quickly in the pressure cooker. The cooked chick peas were dressed with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt. I served the goat and chick peas with creamed spinach and rice.

Jillian had creamed spinach for the first time last night, she didn’t want to try it, but we used our best parental “persuasion”, then she did try it. A moment later she said she wasn’t sure if she liked it. We encouraged her to take another taste and didn’t say anything. It didn’t seem to be going over well, so I scraped the last of it on to my plate and ate it. Moments later she asked if there was more spinach left, hers was gone and she was a convert.
The meal must have been pretty good because Kirk thanked me for the nice dinner, twice. He seems to have missed my cooking (the gimpy state gets in the way of standing in the kitchen; I started dinner at 2:30 and took numerous breaks to serve dinner at 6:15). The parrot snatched up the tidbit of goat in her bowl at dinnertime, and clutched it tightly, not dropping a crumb, very unusual for a very messy parrot.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dip Success

Headed to a friend’s house for dinner last evening before the kids headed out for trick or treating, I decided that the menu was skewed toward the kids and the adults needed a little something interesting to go with it. So, I thought that I would bring hummus, but there wasn’t enough time to soak and cook the chick peas and my canned goods pantry didn’t help me out.

I puzzled over something quick to toss together, but interesting. So, I mixed mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, apricot preserves, Vietnamese chili garlic sauce, and lime juice to make a dip. I was thinking that it would go with the Sun Chips that the hostess had mentioned on the phone, but the other guests were waaaaaaaaaay more creative than me. One suggested that we put it on the hot dogs (worked well), another guest drizzled some on sliced apples (worked well, again) and then another started dipping pretzels in it. One suggested to use it on a salad, but we weren’t having salad, so that experiment will have to wait. I guess I’ll have to name the dip now, but inspiration hasn’t hit me, yet.

Yesterday for lunch we had corn chowder, it has been a while since I have made it and I needed to use up some goat milk before it spoiled. I only needed to stand in the kitchen while stirring the bits of salt pork and onions, the rest of the ingredients cream style corn, corn, potatoes, black pepper and milk didn’t require much attention at the stove. There are leftovers, so it will be lunch again today!!