Saturday, June 19, 2010

Honoring My Father

My father passed away last night.

Some might say he lost his battle with cancer, but I would say that he won.

He died with dignity and in the end he was at home surrounded by family.

I'll be taking a hiatus from the blog, but I hope to return soon with a series of posts that honor my father.

Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.

keep on the sunny side,

P. S. Take time during the next few days to share a meal with those you love.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reading Beer

I'll read anything. If the printed word is in front me, I read it.

Exhibit A:

Even though I have no interest in golf, I recently flipped through an issue of Golf Digest because it was the only reading material in the doctor's office. Despite my lack of interest in golf, I still enjoyed reading the magazine.

Exhibit B:

I love reading beer bottle labels. If brewers knew how much joy I derived from merely reading their labels, they could get away with charging me much more for their beer.

A few weeks ago, this label on a bottle of Shinerbock 101 rejuvenated my interest in beer.
I like the simplicity of it. Four ingredients. In a world of where polysyllabic ingredients dominate most processed foods, it's refreshing to enjoy something simple. Barley, hops, yeast, and water. That's it.

The next few weeks I plan on drinking and reading this gallery of beers:

I'm especially looking forward to Rogue Brewery's Chipotle Ale. It's simply malt, hops, water, peppers, and yeast. I wonder what a Pacman Yeast is.

What your favorite beer to read or drink?

sippin' and readin'

Monday, June 7, 2010

Matzo Ain't Nothing But a Cracker

Over at The 12th Man Training Table, they used a Mark Bittman recipe to make crackers. This reminded me that I have a man crush on Mr. Bittman, and this inspired me to list my top-five man crushes in the comments of that post. Crushes often lead to irrational actions.

Are these crackers worth making? I guess, it's OK to allow Keebler to do my cracker baking. However, I do like the idea of knowing what's going into my food. It's also nice to get in touch with the craft of creating something so simple. There's art in small things like making a cracker, and I'm better off baking crackers than trying to recreate the Sistine Chapel ceiling in my garage using dryer lint as my medium. Although there's value in doing that too.

Anyway I was also reminded of Mr. Bittman's recipe for Olive Oil Matzo, which I tried this spring, so consider this post spring cleaning.

What small thing do you do well?

keep it crunchy,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Black-Eyed Peas and Basmati Rice Salad

I'm a man of leisure in the summer, which gives me more time to try new recipes. It's not uncommon to try 3-4 new recipes a week. Out of those recipes, my family usually approves of 70-75 percent of them. However, some recipes are greeted with scrunched up noses as a scant servings are spooned onto plates. If a recipe doesn't receive approval, my wife will politely say, "It's OK, but you don't need to make it again."

I usually agree with their assessments of recipes, but sometimes I try something, I like it, they don't like it, and I lament the fact that I will rarely get to prepare the recipe.

This was the case with the black-eyed and basmati rice salad from the recent issue of the Food Network Magazine. I liked this salad because it's a nice change from potato or pasta salads, and it's a good way to use leftover cooked rice.

Black-Eyed Peas and Basmati Rice Salad
  • 1/2 cup canned black-eyed peas, rinsed
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cup basmati rice (For instructions on perfectly cooking rice, visit my post titled Rice, Rice, Baby!)
  • 1 teaspoon minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly slice red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

  • 2 tablespoons coarse-grain dijon mustard (I didn't have a coarse-grain dijon mustard, so I mixed a little coarse-grained mustard with plain ol' dijon mustard. I like the Inglehoffer brand.)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  2. Toss the salad ingredients. Add dressing and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Later this week I'll prepare a salad with fennel, something Kansans rarely use in cooking. I'll keep you posted.

keep on the sunny side,