Product Review: Salsa Mix

You come home from fairs with interesting things, some times. In this case, it was a new-to-me product that is a salsa mix, from Simple Salsa ( www.simplesalsamix.com ). The can has the dry ingredients. All you do is add a can of crushed or diced tomatoes, blend with one scoop of the dry stuff, let sit for 10-15 minutes for the dry vegetables to rehydrate and the flavors to mingle, and you have salsa. Continue reading

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Better for the Planet?

Apparently, because of not living on the Coasts or in a major city, I missed the memo that 1. waffle cones will save the planet from the evil polluting effects of cardboard bowls and plastic spoons, and 2. that plant-based ice-cream has a smaller effect on the environment than does Ye Olde cow-milk sort. Since I’m a fan of waffle cones, I see no problem with people eating the serving dish rather than throwing it away, although some of the bright colors (hot pink, kelly green, electric blue) are a touch disconcerting.

I’m not certain about the plant-based ice-cream being better for the planet, though. Continue reading

Chick-pea Fish in Berbere

The Coptic church has well over a hundred fast days per year. Some are only meat-free, some are meat and fat free (no dairy), some are meat, fat, egg, and fish free. As a result, Ethiopian cuisines contain a large number of non-meat options.

This one uses chick-pea flour to replace meat. You make a dough of chick-pea flour and mold it into little fish shapes, then deep fry them and serve them with bread and a berbere-based sauce.  Again, the basic recipe comes from the Time Life Foods of Africa cookbook. I would advise a well-ventilated kitchen, because you are going to be chopping and grating a lot of onion. Continue reading

Berbere – Mild

Back when I had more time on my hands, I used to make Ethiopian food from scratch. The hardest part was the day required to make the two main condiments, niter kebbeh (spiced clarified butter) and berberé. But both made large batches, and they keep for months, so it was worth it to make up a batch of doro wat (chicken stew) or other food on short notice.

I’m going to give you my recipe for berbere. It is relatively mild, with a lot of flavor but not so much heat. The commercial version I’ve tried is far too hot for my taste, and this is closer to what I’ve had in Ethiopian restaurants. The recipe originally came from the Time Life Foods of Africa cookbook. It is a bit like curries, in that once you have the theme, you can vary it to suit your preferences. Tomorrow I’ll post a fast-day recipe using the berbere.

So, you need a bunch of spices, some red wine, and an hour or so of time. I prefer to use a moderate paprika, since you need two cups of it. Once you’ve gotten the basic idea down, feel free to experiment with hot, sweet, smoked, and different dry spices. Continue reading

Southern Paella

Paella (“pie-ee-ya”) is a Spanish dish based on rice and peas. Usually it has seafood and sausage, unless it has seafood and ham, although some versions have seafood and seafood. It always has seafood unless it doesn’t, in which case I consider it something that can taste wonderful but is not paella. Rice, peas, and meat are required, and it is cooked in a giant pan that looks a bit like someone ran over a wok with a steam-roller.

The classic. This is a screen-shot of Laura Vitale’s home-made recipe. Click the image to go to the video for the dish.

Sib-in-law has been experimenting with one-dish meals this summer, and came up with a simpler, stovetop Southern version of the classic.

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Fruit Soup Season Once More

MomRed requested that I stop by the peach place on my way back from the meeting of the North Texas Shooting and Writing Club. She has been wanting fruit soup, and the grocery store peaches are not quite ready for prime time.

Monroe’s Peach Ranch has a fruit stand on US-287, just where the Caprock breaks into the Low Rolling Plains. They have other kinds of produce, depending on what is ripe, but peaches are their big seller. It just so happened that they were re-loading the peach boxes when I arrived on Friday afternoon, so I had a good selection of nice, just ripe peaches. I got two boxes, each with about six peaches, for twelve dollars. That works out to about three dollars a pound. Yes, it is higher than what we’ll get later in the season. Continue reading

Who Moved my Cereal?

OK, enough is enough. They are remodeling, sort-of, the drugstore cum natural-stuff emporium where I get my medicines, drug-store stuff, and cereal.

They moved the cereal. Specifically the stuff I have been eating for over a decade now, because my gastroenterologist recommended it. They are the only place that stocks it on a regular basis, and so I buy it there rather than ordering it. And it moved!!!!!

Continue reading