Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beans for Breakfast

Earlier this week I ate red beans and rice baptized with a healthy dose of Tabasco for breakfast. I decided that this is the ultimate cold weather breakfast, and it's something might work into my regular breakfast routine.

However, as I happily ate my beans for breakfast, the following Johnny Cash lyrics echoed in my head:

"Beans for Breakfast"

I couldn't hear you for the TV, I didn't know you said goodbye
I saw your cancelled check for the airfare, didn't know flyin' got too high
Beans for breakfast once again, hard to eat 'em from the can.

I've run out of clean utensils, I'm a hungry nasty lonesome man
I heard the crows outside my window, guess it's me they're talkin' about
The fire you lit has burnt to cinders, every good things fizzled out
Beans for beakfast once again, hard to eat 'em from the can.

Wish you'd come back and wash the dishes, I'm a hungry nasty lonesome man
Caught a cold with the window open, crow droppings o my window sill
Probably got histoplasmosis, got no gun or I would kill them crows
Beans for breakfast once again, hard to eat 'em from the can.

Plastic forks are a dime a dozen I'm a hungry nasty lonesome man
Finally made it to the mailbox, felt so bad I thought I'd die
All I got was a bill from my doctor, well I guess flyin' ain't so high
Bean for breakfast once again, hard to eat 'em from the can.

Blue tick mattress cold and greasy, I'm a hungry nasty lonesome man
The house burned down from the fire that I built, in your closet by mistake
After I took all them pills, but I got out safe in my duck head overalls
Beans for breakfast once again, I'm a hungry nasty lonesome man.

I thought about how eating beans could be viewed as a desperate act and how food is more than food and how there will never be another Johnny Cash. Despite this, I still enjoyed eating my beans for breakfast.

What's your favorite unconventional breakfast?

don't build a fire in a closet by mistake,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Twitter: I'm a Mannish Boy

I listened to some coffee guru on The Splendid Table speak about how easy it is to roast coffee beans at home and how it was the best way to prepare a pot of coffee and I thought this sounded like a great idea, so I was making plans to order green coffee beans and the appropriate equipment to roast them and then I thought about my wife's reaction when she came home one day to find me roasting coffee beans and I decided that I really liked being married, so I didn't order anything.

i'll do whatever the hell I like -- as long as it's ok with my wife,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Banana Bread Pudding with Cane Syrup

For the past few months, I've been monitoring the calories I eat. Vanity isn't driving this lifestyle change; I just want to be healthier. When I crave something sweet I reach for a piece of fruit, and this has worked well for me. When I crave something sweeter, I've started preparing desserts from a cookbook titled Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos. This cookbook has recipes for two-serving desserts, so instead of being faced with the temptation of a pan of brownies, I just eat my one-serving dessert to get my sugar fix, and then I can return to healthier option of eating fruits.

The recipes from this book also give me the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen without all the residual calories. I've tried a few recipes from the cookbook, and this one is my favorites:

Banana Bread Pudding with Cane Syrup


  • Cooking spray for ramekins
  • 2 tablespoons cane syrup
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups stale wheat bread cubes
  • whipped cream or vanilla or butter pecan ice cream for serving

Note: The original recipe called for twice as much cane syrup and sugar. It also called for cream, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, and white bread, but I lightened the recipe.


  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray two 1-cup ramekins with cooking spray. Pour 1 tablespoons of cane syrup into each ramekin, and place ramekins on a baking sheet. Set aside.

  • Peel the banana and slice one third of it. Arrange the banana slices on the syrup in the ramekins.

  • Cut the remaining two thirds of the banana into chunks and place them in a food processor. Add the egg, milk, brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium-size mixing bowl and stir in the bread cubes, pressing down on them to submerge them. Let the bread soak 5 minutes. If you want to add chopped nuts at this time, you may.

  • Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, diving it evenly. Bake until the puddings are firm and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Removing the baking sheet from the oven, transfer the ramekins to a wire rack, and let them cook for 10 minutes.

  • To serve, unmold the puddings: Run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins , and invert the puddings onto individual plates. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream or caramel syrup or dusted with powder sugar or simply plain. Enjoy.

take care,



There's always something left to learn. I love this aspect of life. While I love seeking out knowledge, I probably savor the little bits of wisdom and knowledge that land in my lap when I need them most.

Thursday I stumbled upon the concept of gleaning while listening to a podcast of The Splendid Table. According to Wikipedia:

Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.

According to the Holiness Code and the Deuteronomic Code of the Torah, farmers should leave the corners of their fields unharvested, and they should not attempt to harvest any left-overs that had been forgotten when they had harvested the majority of a field[1][2][3]. On one of the two occasions that this is mentioned by the Holiness Code, it adds that, in vineyards, some grapes should be left ungathered[4], an argument made also by the Deuteronomic Code[5]; the Deuteronomic Code additionally argues that olive trees should not be beaten on multiple occasions, and whatever remains from the first set of beatings should be left[6]. According to the Holiness Code, these things should be left for the poor and for strangers[4][2], while
the Deuteronomic Code argues instead that it should be left for widows, strangers, and for paternal orphans[3][6][5].

I like this notion of sharing the harvest. It's something I need to do more.

take care,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mr. Crankypants, Taco Hell, and the Chicken Enchilada Grilled Stuft Burrito!!!

Mr. Crankypants is combustible, so we try to censor any stimuli that may cause him to flare up. For example, we've deleted FoxNews from our cable directory, we don't invite him to eat at Applebee's, and we never ever discuss politics in his presence. However, it's impossible to create a completely sterile environment for Mr. Crankypants. He's bound to encounter irritants in this crazy world.

For example, last weekend we were watching a little college football and commercials for the following Taco Bell product kept airing:

This sent Mr. Crankypants into a tailspin. He already refers to Taco Bell as Taco Hell, and now they were insisting on butchering the English language by referred to something as STUFT and they were pushing a product that makes no sense at all: Chicken Enchilada Grilled Stuft Burrito! Each time the comercial aired, he twitched and mumbled something about the corporate bastards ruining America.

To soothe Mr. Crankypants I poured him a whiskey and cola, and then I made him watch the following SNL Taco Bell parody.

Mr. Crankypants laughed so hard that he snorted whiskey out his nose. I guess, laughter is the best medicine.

support your local Mexican restaurant,


Feelin' Cheesy

We have a dictionary in almost every room in our house because I never know when the need or urge to look up a definition will strike. You would think that having dictionaries this accessible would make me more articulate or at least a great Scrabble player, but unfortunately is does nothing but feed my curiosity and make me a bit odd.

I'm especially intrigued by the birth and evolution of words. When I read about a word evolving and taking on a new meaning, my ears perk up. This was the case this weekend as I read Eric LeMay's book Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese. In that book, Mr. LeMay ponders the following question:
Why has cheese come to signify all that's sappy, campy, tacky, corny, kitschy, vulgar, lame, stupid, fake, overdone, cliche ridden, and sentimental in American culture? What's wrong with "corny" or "soupy"? Why did cheese have to be sacrificed on the food-as-adjective altar? It's not fair.

Mr. LeMay spends an entire chapter exploring these questions, and I was riveted. Mr. LeMay cited that the first printed occurrence of "cheese" used in the above connotation occurred in a screenplay for a 1943 comedy titled Hail the Conquering Hero in the following line: "Of all the cheezy songs I ever heard that one certainly takes the crackers." Mr. LeMay then shares some historical background:

The answer might lie not in what cheese is, but in what cheese was. In 1943, the year Americans started saying "cheesy," World War II was on. Food was rationed, and the cheese that people were eating wasn't artisanal and organic. I t was industry. It was Kraft. In 1943, you could trade one rationing coupon for two boxes of Kraft macaroni and Cheese Diner, and Americans at home at about 80 million boxes that included orangey powder labeled "cheese.

American soldiers had it worse. The K-ration that they ate for lunch contained biscuits, sugar, salt tablets, cigarettes, gun, and a "cheese product" that could patch holes in airplanes.
Mr. LeMay goes on to share an account of a crew who patched bullet holes in their B-29 during a WWII bombing raid, and then he gives readers his explanation of how "cheesy" possibly evolved to mean something trite and schmaltzy:

Cheese wasn't cheese as we now know it when Americans started saying "cheesy." It was a fake, a substitute, not only for meat but for metal. Is it any wonder that it became slang for other fakes, other substitutes? You might call cheesiness an "emotion product." The label on it says "happiness" or "love," but when you experience it, it feels powdery, rubbery, not quite real.

I don't know if he's right, but I find all of this intriguing. And it makes me crave a grilled cheese sandwich.

oddly yours,