The food group, such as it is, met for dinner last night. I have to say it was really on of the best meals I’ve had in ages.

  1. Charred green onion and lemon hummus. (RECIPE) This could have used less lemon and more charred green onions but it was good. And looked good, and really, isn’t that what counts?
  2. Shrimp and cucumber tower (RECIPE) I’m not sure if this link is actually the real recipe since a certain TasteBud isn’t coughing up the recipe. No one is ever gonna make this or any recipe from this blog anyway.
  3. Asparagus risotto (RECIPE) This is an adapted mushroom and pea risotto. Asparagus was substituted for peas since a certainTasteBud does not like peas.
  4. Brown butter scallops (RECIPE) These were fabulous and the shallot, caper sauce was a phenom.
  5. Lemon swirl cheesecake (RECIPE) Apparently really easy to make and really good. (no photo)

Feeding the sick (and hungry)

Having COVID did have its upside. My friend Karen made this awesome lime coconut chicken for me. While somehow I lost my taste for coffee apparently, this tasted fabulous and was enough for 2 meals. Score. Recipe here in case you were interested. The rice was perfectly done something the Royal Indian Mounted Police would appreciate if he were still here.

Jings and things

I was given this gourmet treat for my birthday. I guess it is taking the world by storm. While I pride myself on being super-up-to-date on everything, I’d never heard of it. It’s Sichuan chili crisp, a “moderately spicy” sauce that comes from Chengdu, China. And everybody is talking about it. Except me apparently.

It smelled right up my alley and I like spicy so I made shrimp with red bell pepper and tossed it with rice. It is really delicious but I’d put the spicy level at not-really-all-that spicy. I think it would be good with just about anything. More on this at some point later in time.

The sad part of this story is that I somehow put a huge slice in this nearly brand new nonstick pan that I thought was unsliceable. I don’t know how. I did not, as you can see, use any metal on it.

Hoppin’ John

This is traditional New Years Day food somewhere. Not here in Milwaukee, although that’s where I first had it, but somewhere, I dunno. I’m sure there’s an answer on the google but I’m so tired of looking there I just don’t care.

It’s eaten for luck in the coming year and Jesus do we need it. I did google for a recipe and got approximately 476 versions of it none of which were similar or what I wanted. What I wanted was something simple, it’s freaking simple dish. Like people-who-live-in-shacks-in-swamps-on stilts-with-‘gators-waiting-below simple but it seems that everyone who is expert enough to get their sites to come up on the first or second Google page has had to come up with their own highly complicated version of it. The beans go into a pot with the pork hock and when the pork hock is falling apart add the rice. The rice should be added to the pot and cooked right in the same liquid everything else was cooked in.

I used black eyed peas my eyes almost rolled out of my head with people (I’m looking at you Martha) insisting you need to use not black eyed peas but fuckin’ red cow peas or some damn thing. I am so goddam sure. Anyway to that simple start I added celery, onions and a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Then I got a little fancy because I used basmati rice, it was all I had, and really it needs short grained rice. But we survived.

I made this for the BOELDT, Benevolent Order of the Ever Loyal and Dedicated Tastebuds for a zoom dinner we had. Quay’rn even had leftovers for breakfast. Talk about lucky.

It was so good
Photo used without permission

The Beneficent Order of the Ever Loyal and Dedicated Tastebuds

BOELDT for short, had an abbreviated COVID Zoom meeting and tasting yesterday called to order by our illustrious leader Caryn. Her idea was all appetizers and that suits me just fine. I’m sure my fellow BOELDTers are looking up recipes from exotic cookbooks and websites (we have no formal rules defining what we make, as such) but my personal theme was leftovers. I made leftover BBQ pork hand pies, an assortment of little leftover cheese tartlets, and some thing I calling mac n chuffins. Isn’t that adorable? Leftover mac and cheese baked into mini-muffin shapes. While the name may be nauseating I assure you that they were delicious.

This is my offering, the thing at the right is the handpie with a splash of BBQ on it.

Nothing to chuckle about

I’ve been perfectly happy living my life without the knowledge that these existed. And then bang some evil person introduces me to them and they supplant my personal favorite candy-vice; Dots. I’ve known Chuckles in their original size but have never been crazy about them for one reason or another. (I don’t feel I can go into those reasons without the presence of a therapist.) But now apparently Chuckles comes in the more edible (to me) mini size. And while I like Dots because they are fruit flavored, I do also like licorice, but not spice flavors. Mini Chuckles have licorice and fruit flavors but no spice flavored ones and the fruit flavor is better than Dots to me. They’re just about perfect.

Oh, I’ve got to go, my therapist is returning my call….

Marketing genius

Aware of my chronic and relentless fruit fly problems Karen (of the screaming hot peppers) forwarded some post about the perfect fruit fly bait. Aperol. The only fruit that got trapped here was me. Twenty dollars and 48 hours later there are no fruit flies in the drink and the wall-to-wall crowd of fruit flies in my house are still interested only in my red wine. Or, maybe they’re just red wine drinkers. Hm. I know people like this.

Unless this is just some way to get me to buy Aperol. If so, it worked.


New Mexican Hatch chile peppers

Karen picked up some of the fabled New Mexican Hatch chiles for me. I have barely ever heard of them but I like being, you know, on the cutting edge of things. Plus I like peppers even hot peppers (thank you mom), so, I thought what the hey let’s give em a try. The internet tells me they have a Scoville unit scale rating of 0 to 70,000. Seems fair. Not that I really know what that means but since it’s a pretty broad spectrum of heat chances are that these would fall midway on the scale and that wouldn’t be too bad. I mean, I can take it.

I roasted, peeled and tasted a bit of one (there were 4) and then I ran around the kitchen screaming “Help! Help! Help!” But in a pretty masculine way. Then I, as one does, tasted the other 3. I figured that with such a huge range I’d be lucky and actually be able to taste one of these storied peppers. So about 20 minutes later when I was able to stop sobbing and catch my breath, this time not as masculinely as I would have liked (thankfully no one was watching me), I wiped a tear off my eye and realized that a scoville unit scale rating of 70,000 is not as eye-friendly as one might assume. I couldn’t actually form words or even see at that point but I did have some rather ungentlemanly thoughts.

I haven’t really recovered as yet but I did manage to tuck these babies into a lunch that I plan to give to Karen sometime soon.

Kunaafa naabulsiya


I may be out of my league. It may seem like I know what I’m
doing but really I have no clue. Karen made kunaafa naabulsiya and I threw together some meatballs. Sharon and
Karen, two of the members of the Tastebuds (I have a hard time bringing myself
to use this name. It seems a little too fanciful for people who use things like
membrillo [quince paste, whatever the hell that is] and kataifi [finely
shredded phyllo dough]) made highly complicated, elaborately thought out,
spectacularly presented food that made mine look like slop. Which, technically, it was. I’ve gotta up my game.

Not so hot

Looking to put some zip into my microwaved cauliflower, which to be honest, I love just plain so I don’t really know why I opened this jar of extra hot Calabrese peperoncino that Karen gave me knowing my love of spicy food. 

The label got my attention, it looks like the flames of hell. I was apprehensive.

Peh. Extra hot my butt. It was good though.