This just drives me crazy. One of the blogs I follow called My Plastic Free Life calls these little dealios a “gimme” meaning it’s an unavoidable platic. Me, I’m not so much concerned about the plastic here but the ruination of fruit.

On the plus side I was forced to eat this immediately and it was the best I’ve had in years. I took one to my mother who could not believe how delicious it was commenting on every single bite.


I ran out of peppercorns. Seriously? How did this happen?! I cannot cook without it. And while I do love The Spice House and for some things, like their chili powder, there is no other place, I have learned from certain Indians I know that Indian stores are much cheaper for certain items. I mean, I’m probably not going to buy filet mignon there, but peppercorns and sev, yes.

Four ounces of peppercorns at the Indian store is $3.99 and 2.3 oz at The Spice House is $6.49 although you can save 20 cents by getting the flat pack, so that’s good.

The Indian Store, which does not have a website—surprising since the Indians are the ones making the websites for the rest of the world— is located just south of Mayfair in the back of some obscure office building. You can see the Yelp reviews here.

Patriotic pie

Alternately titled, Strawberries, Cherries and an Angel’s Kiss in Spring. However, this is not a pie but a galette (which spell check is insisting on changing to Gillette) you can tell because I did not make a fancy edge. At least I think that’s the difference. I use the word pie for the alliteration.

Full disclosure; purchased crust. I did not grow any of these fruit, and I used raspberry jam as a glaze. Blueberries, cherries and strawberries. And vanilla ice cream. It was delicious.

It was also my nephew and niece’s wedding anniversary. Not that I remembered that fact.

Peaches or pretty

Which would you choose? The tulle seems to be very effective against the squirrels. It isn’t pretty but there have been no recent forays into either the peach or olive tree that I have seen. And for some reason that olive tree was a fun place for them to whizz up and down in their cute little whizzing way they do. They were constantly in it. I fucking hate them.

In the meantime it looks like a bridal party came whizzing through here and had a situation. I hope there’s cake.

OK, fine, salsa recipe

My nephew and his partner (girlfriend?) were here for a few days from the land of salsa, well, one of the lands anyway, California, where they live. They were over for dinner and he went crazy for my salsa. I was flattered since he’s pretty discerning about food but also confused since he worked as a waiter in my restaurant and it’s essentially the same salsa we had there. More or less. Of course that was a long time ago and he probably had other things on his mind, if memory serves.

It’s really easy. Seriously, if you ever want to impress people. A jar of salsa. I may be crazy but I think this particular brand is the best (for this anyway). Then add about a quarter cup of each of these: cilantro, tomatoes, these particular jalapeños, green onions and in this case I added fresh pineapple all chopped but you can add peaches, mangoes, green peppers, radishes, an envelope of turkey gravy, ok, not that, but nearly anything.

You can also add a tablespoon or two of chili powder although this must be Spice House chili powder. There is no other.

And here’s another tip. Put this just-plain-jarred salsa and sour cream on a salad.

The battle rages on

Probably a lot of history buffs are going to always remember the Great Squirrel Battle of 2021. And possibly the attendant Potato Bug skirmish.

The little nails I put on the top of the fence are def not working but I have been told that squirrels hate tulle (just watch my squirrels will looooove it). So I ordered a bolt. The squirrels have already begun denuding my peach tree. The peaches are not bigger than my little fingernail but the ground under the tree is littered with the ones that get knocked off while they’re frisking about noshing on the other baby peaches. So I’ve started with a base of wadded up tulle and one branch enrobed. I will see if this keeps them out. I can see that they would really not know how to deal with this but on the other hand squirrels aren’t as stupid as I wish they were.

And in my experience where there are potato plants, potato beetles are not far behind. You can put something called floating row covers on them, but I think tulle will do the trick and it’s a lot cheaper.

As an added plus I can wrap myself in oceans of it and dance around the house. Shades drawn of course.

Chili, of a sort

A fellow Milwaukee food blogger, Cooking Secrets for Men, recently posted a recipe for Cincinnati chili. Something that had completely fallen off my radar so his posting inspired me to get on top of the situation.

Cincinnati chili, like the chili at Real Chili is a more or less composed dish. A base of pasta (generally speaking it would be spaghetti but I used penne or rigatoni or something, I don’t think the Cincinnati police, unlike the Royal Indian Mounted variety were gonna kick up too much of a fuss). The noodles are topped with sauce, like you would with spaghetti, followed by beans, if you want, and shredded cheese.

I made a third of a recipe (which is on the back of the packet), measuring the spice mix on my not-very-trusty scale and using a third of a can of tomato paste but it worked very well. I also added the glorious Rancho Gordo beans. And it was enough for 2 meals easily (and some intermittent snacking).

His recipe and procedure is here. He uses ground turkey because there is less grease but I find that the grease is one of its charms.

Food hack, of a sort

Supposedly if you just score the skin of a potato before you boil it the skin slips right off.

It does not. I ended up using the same little knife to scrape the skin off that I’d used if I hadn’t scored it at all. I mean, it’s not like I spent an hour and a half scoring it, but why bother.

Coleslaw, of a sort

Back when I was a jerk, a soda jerk more precisely, I used to periodically work in the kitchen besides making sundaes, malts and ice cream cones. And when you made a fish fry it, french fries and coleslaw all went into a compartmentalized foil tray.

The coleslaw was just sliced cabbage, nothing else and you poured a glug of Henri’s Tas-tee coleslaw dressing on it. I loved that stuff so much. I’d pour it on any damn thing. Good with french fries, fried chicken, fried shrimp, anything, well anything fried anyway. I may possibly have just poured it from the bottle directly into my mouth from time to time.

So . . . whilst waltzing down the salad dressing aisle recently in search of Miracle Whip this caught my eye. No longer called coleslaw dressing, vying I am sure, for a wider audience than raw cabbage eaters, it still looks pretty much the same and I was immediately transported back to the kitchen at the Kiltie. Those were the days.

I ran back to the produce department and grabbed a bag of shredded cabbage and voila, coleslaw. I forced my nephew to tell me it was delicious. He may have been humoring me but I thought it was an A++.

Feeding my pet squirrels

I knew that the avocado trees were going to be an issue. While the trees are pretty far along and are more than a year old, the pits are still there and apparently pretty tempting. When I set it/them out in the spring the squirrels ripped one of the trees out but I stopped them from getting the pit which began to regrow.

And then I put plastic fencing and onion scraps over the dirt mistakenly thinking that might solve my problems (some of them anyway). Since it seemed to foil the little darlings for a minute and a half I became less vigilant. During my French lesson on Monday I saw the little fucker yank it out of the pot, I leapt out the door and he/she/they dropped it on my bridge and to spite it I took it and threw it away. I also had to explain to Franck my online French teacher about the ecureils careful to seem calm and not completely insane. After that I put a little fun contraption around and on it which does look a little off kilter. But I won’t be showing that to Franck.

I do not plan to get avocados, les ecureils would not let that happen anyway, but I do plan to use the leaves to cook with. Recipes here.