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Thursday, January 27, 2005

"Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings..."

A few of my favorite recipes—all easy, all the time All easy recipes, all the time... Quick Salsa Chopped RIPE tomatoes (not the flavorless rocks you normally buy in the produce section) Finely minced onion Finely minced garlic Chopped peppers: serano, jalapeño, habañero. Whatever suits your taste. If you can stand the soapy taste, chop a little cilantro and add it. Mix all that, set it aside for a few hours in the fridge and you have a decent tomato salsa. A little quicker/easier: substitute a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis for the tomatoes ONLY. You'll still need some real peppers to add a little flavor, unless you're a total wuss. Basic Beans Wash and sort 2-3 cups of pinto beans (more or less, depending on folks to be fed, how much you want left over for chili, etc. NOTE: I don't guarantee the method below for red beans) In a heavy stock pot, cover the beans with water-about 2"-3" more water than beans. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit for an hour or so. After an hour or so off heat, you have a decision tree branch: 1.) Do beans often give you gas? If so, and if it bothers you or others around you, toss the water and cover the beans with fresh water before proceding. 2.) If beans don't seem to give you gas or passing gas doesn't bother you or those around you (in my family, we call passing bean gas "love farts"—well, at least I do), then go ahead and cook the beans in the water they're in. Add a ham hock. No, don't get fancy or make some sort of substitution. Add a ham hock. Bring the mess to boil again, then cover, back the heat off to a simmer and leave it. After about an hour cooking time, you can add salt or other seasonings to your taste. With the ham hock in, all I usually add is a little salt. When are the beans done? Take a bean or two out and blow on 'em. If the skin curls away from your breathe either the beans are done or you have some knarly breath, dude. What to eat with such ambrosia? Cornbread, of course. My Fav Cornbread (One of a very few "measured" recipes in my repertoire) Make it in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit (Yeh, I know I could just type "F" but "fahrenheit" is a fun word... even after its recent Moore-onic usage.) 2 cups corn meal (white or yellow) 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (wheat or white) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar (I know, it's not "Southren"—so sue me) 1 egg, lightly beaten (or not. sometimes I just dump it in and let nature take its course as I mix other things in later. Seems to work as well) 2 cups buttermilk (NOTE: no buttermilk handy? put UP TO—no more!—1/4 cup of vinegar in your measuring cup before adding milk to the 2C amount) 2 tablespoon melted shortening or vegetable oil. (But bacon grease, just melted, is MUCH better-tasting. Combine with olive oil if you're concerned about the trans fat stuff) Dry ingredients mixed together. Combine wet ingredients, then add them to dry & stir until it's all just wetted. Pour the mess into the skillet and pop it into the 400 degrees fahrenheit oven for about 25 minutes—more or less depending on your oven, etc. When you think it's done, stick a toothpick into the middle. If it comes out clean, it's done. Beans, cornbread, freshly-sliced onion—heaven. Milk or buttermilk with this ambrosia. Kickin' grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. Kickin' Tomato Soup Easy. Just take any old condensed tomato soup. Add your fav salsa. heat. Done. Kickin' Grilled Cheese Sandwich Chop your fav HOT pepper Mince a slice or two of onion Combine in small microwavable container with Easy Enchilada Sauce and some olive oil. Nuke the mess for about a minute, more or less (depending mostly on your microwave oven) Spread on bread Add fav grated cheses Grill. I like butter & olive oil in a cast iron pan, but one of those electric sandwich makers is OK, too.