Thursday, February 27, 2020

Cow and Fish and a "Cuiz"

The “Cuiz” may only be meaningful to my faithful STL readers…

Before that, a reminder that last Tuesday (25th) was a gloomy, rainy day here in Paradise.  I had a visit to our cardiologist (Dr. “Amish”) whom I like very much.  Was a very positive session, he saw nothing that concerned him, so see you in four months.  We were out of a crowded Bean Building about 12:30 and decided to visit Cow and Fish for a lunch.  We were nearly the only guests due to Tuesday and rainy gloomy conditions.  In (many) previous years, I would have been self-conscious, but now I relish it.  We had a nice visit with Sylvia the owner, about this and that, over “your usual drink?” and MFO had hot tea.   Just right for the day.

Anyway, we finally got around to considering food, but before I get into that, the Quizzzzz!  I will take my (figurative) hat off to anyone who can identify Chef in these pictures from many (many) years ago.
Hint: he opened a restaurant in University City (greater St. Louis) named “Painted Plates”.  

We had several good meals there, and he and I were in a Wine Tasting group at Starr’s on Hanley road (now Big Bend??) in Richmond Heights hosted by Budd Starr himself.  It was a blind format, i.e., the wines were in brown bags to conceal the labels, only yielding whether they were low or high shoulder.  My monthly opportunity to embarrass myself but got to taste some very good wines. I got fairly accomplished at identifying new or old world, the grape varietal, and country of origin.  It was in this group my eyes were opened to some of the great German wines which remain unappreciated with the glut of cheap, sweet Rieslings (Blue Nun) over shadowing the magnificent wines like aged .  Trockenbeerenauslese.  As an aside, the best of the group was Mr. Starr’s wife.  She could nail Bordeaux down to the commune.  Amazing. 

But, I digress.  What got me started was the habit of Chef Michael at Cow and Fish to always “paint his plates”.  MFO got the perfect dish for the day and weather, the Bolognese over Penne.  Great choice

But notice the rim of the dish which is “painted” with a dusting of (I don’t know what), or my terrific Pork Tenderloin with a cherry reduction with its own paint.

Both were delicious.  The Bolognese was a lovely sauce, fresh and bright, tangy, and not at all with any trace of “Ragu” sweetness.  The Pasta was cooked just right, not mushy, not crunchy, but the perfect definition of “al dente”.  The pork was also lovely, not dried out, and (I think) probably sautéed a bit in something that lent a nice background for the sauce.
Being in no hurry to get back into the weather, we did a “two fork” Mango Parfait for dessert. 

Nice and light and I had an espresso to keep me going through the rest of the afternoon (despite which, is what I had, an “afternoon rest”).

The drive up 235 is richly rewarded with great food.  Best around (IMHO).

We are, always to the best of our ability

 “A recipe has no soul.  You, as the cook must bring soul to the recipe”
Thomas Keller

Lagniappe:  I spent the money to enroll in the “master class” site where Thomas Keller has at least three “lessons”.  No pretense or fake showmanship (a la Guy Fieri) just a chef with a passion for cooking.  Invaluable insights into techniques and (I hate the word but) tips.  Worth many pennies. 

And the answer to the “quiz”

Monday, February 17, 2020

(what goes here?) on the Brink

The first word should be “Teetering” which is what we did last week.   Oddly enough (you might well think) although the place has been open for over a year, the Feeder never was able to take a tour.  MFO still prefers Giant, saying the parking places at Teeter’s are narrow and hard for the MOMSTER to fit easily.  But with me along we have the (deserved) blue tag enabling us to take advantage of closer in (and wider) parking.  So I asked if we could take a “fam flight” as we used to say.  Yup, she was up for it so off we went.

They were setting up for Valentine’s Day

As you can see, in general, the layout is popular concept of “islands”, 

smallish “centers” dedicated to a single item.

Appetizing, eh?  Ooey, gooey cornstarched to death

or at most harmonious parings, like Pizza and Cheese

Between the islands there is plenty of space to maneuver in and the other aisles are quite spacious

Specifically there is much more variety of product available than the Giant across the road.
The produce, while abundant is somewhat quality challenged as friends who go there warned us
Poor little parsley

However, as I said, the variety of stuff available far outstrips its competition.  Take the "seafood" department or, excuse me, the

For example, you don’t often see Branzino and Monkfish in (our) grocery stores:

Nor squid/calamari, octopus, and not pictured Mussels (dead, dead o)

Of course, I have no way of judging quality nor freshness..
The meat area has actual non-packaged cuts with a person there to help you (“no, the one under the cut the closest to me”) and features Angus beef (did not see the word “certified”).  

Plenty of pre-packaged stuff like sausages (including Andouille!), and a bow to the burgeoning “no beef” mania
Say it ain’t so!! Bubba!!! What’s the world coming to??

The rest of the store is laid out somewhat peculiarly and the aisles are clearly marked with what's on the shelves 
No comment

A more reasonable grouping

And what, pray tell, are “New Age Drinks”? maybe means something to millennials, which I certainly am not!

If it were up to me, I would go their in lieu of Giant, but it is not in my job description.  Be interesting to see what McKay’s does with the old “Shopper’s” location in San Souci…

Enjoy your president’s day!

Descending into (the seemingly popular):

I suppose this is sacrilege, but I can’t help it.  Of course I am sorry that Mr. Bryant and his daughter (and the others) perished in the ‘copter crash.  BUT… all of a sudden the man is a saint.  Name awards after him, eulogize, best human ever, etc.  I hear there is talk of replacing the statue in the Lincoln statue in DC with one of him.   He did have a great career, but if a second string shooting guard was one of the victims do you think the outcry and mania would be the number one topic in sports show, after show, after show, after show, after show, with all the hosts being almost breaking into tears?

Segue into sort of a related topic (of hosts), where they find those obnoxious “side men” puzzles me.  It’s not about the game, it’s about THEM.  They know more than any of the coaches or players (he should have passed to so and so, going away from the zone was a mistake, he should have called time out, on and on).  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  If they’re so damn smart how come they’re not coaching?  My lineup of mute button insufferable examples is:
  1. Dan (I know it all) Dockish;  
  2. Bill (Move those puppies, big fella!) Raftery.    
  3. Gary (Sincerely cute) Danielson
  4. Booger (listen to ME – I played at Auburn!) McFarland
  5. Beth (always “performing” her comments or play by play)       Mowins
  6. Dick (“Diaper Dandies” Are you kidding me?) Vitale (could be anywhere on the list)
  7. Amanda (see how many teeth I have?) Balionis

Best of the best (IMHO): 
Nick Faldo; Tony Romo; Chris Collingsworth; Troy Aikman; Rebecca Lobo; Dottie Pepper; David Feherty (in a class by himself)
Why they let Gary McCord go for DLIII is a mystery

Okay enough is enough

Don’t forget to honor our President’s George and Abe by

Cuisine is when things taste like themselves

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Brunching and Bitching...

Well, with apologies (for timeliness) to a one time program director who cared about such things, last Monday one could say:
MM x DD = YY

Anyway, when I was a bit more mobile one of the things The Feeder most enjoyed was going to local meals, mostly in churches or social halls.  Usually cooked by their volunteers which I lovingly refer to as “church ladies”.  I am not alone in appreciate of these local cooks, as there are a myriad of those comb bound cookbooks, with titles like: “The Saint So-and-So Cookbook”, usually filled with homey recipes for meat loaf, three layer dips, dream whip salad, and so on.   I usually pick a few up at the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale, never look at them and “donate them back the next year”.

Speaking of said organization, they hold an annual “Brunch” along with a speaker from the libraries, or about books, etc.  MFO was deeply involved in the early book sale, taking it (excuse trite expression) “to the next level”, and has continued to grow to one of the most popular sales in the region (good quality books, cheap prices).  So we have been attending the brunch for years, (usually a check is presented to the St. Mary’s County schools from the proceeds of the sale).  And FINALLY we get around to saying we did again this year.

After many years in St. George’s Episcopal in Valley Lee, this year it was held in St. Andrew’s church on Chancellor’s Run Road.  

Besides hosting it every year for a long time, the menu is largely unchanged, and always reliable.  Robert Abell sort of leads the kitchen team (okay, he’s an honorary Church Lady)

He always comes out to describe the food (which, as I say, hardly ever varies from year to year)

His “famous” Keugel; the equally famous “French Toast”, Stewed Apples; Ham; Fruits, Sausage Balls, Home fries, and Country Gravy, for the home-made biscuits.
various Quiches (attention real men);

Tables were nicely set (more Church Lady work) with juice and coffee cups

MFO did the buffet line and got me a plate

(clockwise from 12 o’clock): Scrapple! (for which I have acquired a taste – others: eeeewwww); cheese quiche; home fries; Sausage balls; Stewed apples; and the cloyingly sweet (to me) French Toast.

All was quite good, after all those years of “practice”.  The talk this time was by Mr. Peter LaPorte (Executive Director of the St. Mary’s County Historical Society),

who gave very illuminating speech on “Why History Matters”, which contained a quote by Alexis de Tocqueville – a first for the FOL. 

Anyway it was a good morning under the watchful eye of

Changing Horses, mid Blog
Well, I was going to include a tour of the Feeder’s first trip to

Which will have to wait till next time.   Instead some not quite rants, maybe more of frustrations, yeah, that's the ticket:

A Starbuck’s Frustration:  After our (yet to be discussed) visit to Harris Teeter’s, I thought a nice Latte would be just the ticket.  Since we were just across the parking lot from the facility, we drove over to the cross road in front (back) of it, and seeing only one car at their “ordering board” I used the app to get my order ready. (Grande, half caff, whole milk Latte).   (fortunately) just before I hit the  “place my order” button, we had to wait for four or five cars in the cross road.  Guess what?  EVERY ONE of the bas***ds turned into the drive through lane and we would have not had enough room to get in line, so experience said it would take forever to get our order, so we bailed.   Sheeeesh.  Instead stopped at the adjunct to Blue Wind Gourmet, the Beanery Café and got said Latte there. 

A cooking Frustration: Lately I have fallen into the habit of fixing “Cheesy Scrambled Eggs” for my protein rich breakfast.  (Chased by a prescribed protein rich Ensure – have you ever had that crap?  Gaaack; but it’s “good for you”).   Anyway since my source of farm fresh eggs (home health nurse) moved from the area (darn Navy), I use Giant Large Brown Eggs as a convenience.  Yes, I know there are farmer’s markets around.  Anyway (does this happen to you?) upon breaking them into a mixing bowl and despite whisking the daylights out of them, invariably there are little pools of egg whites clinging together.  well, those damn things remain through the cooking process and upon plating the eggs there are little globules of said egg whites.

A Sad Avian Frustration: As alert readers of these ramblings know our “back” yard is somewhat regularly visited by a second year Red Tailed Hawk.  Just a nice guy (or gal) to look at.  Well, yesterday morning as MFO was heading off to “work” at Tudor Hall, she phoned to say there was a hawk that was fatally struck by a car out on 235, near the Credit Union.  Now, of course I know nothing about the incident, the bird could have been focused on lunch, and just flew under a car.  I earnestly hope it was not a (distracted?) driver not paying attention.  It is NOT a small bird.  Please be alert to wildlife in roads (our over-populated deer count, as they can cause you a bunch of money to repair your vehicle)

Anyway enough rambling and yakking.  Remember tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and act appropriately!

And besides acting appropriately you must
DFD appropriately

“laughter is brightest where food is best”
Irish Proverb

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

are you ready to.... watch?

In preparation for our viewing of the SB LIV, we decided to make some boiled shrimp and a remoulade dipping sauce.  Way back in 2018 we visited the local Tobacco Barn Distillery (watch for their tasting room to open!) as part of a “tour” we “won” in some gala auction.  After we did the tour, we went back to our host’s home where we were served lovely wine and what we thought was a delicious “remoulade” sauce that was different from your usual Catsup/Worcestershire/horseradish/hot sauce stuff and they were kind enough to share the recipe for what we refer to it as:

I’ve made it before, but never with the “Creole Mustard” ingredient (horseradish substitute).
These days we keep Amazon Prime in business, sometimes 2 items per week, so I decided to get Zatarain’s mustard and since we were boiling shrimp for the remoulade, also ordered their “Shrimp Boil” while I was at it… easy.. click; add to cart; buy now; what could be more convenient?   So, clicked on Creole Mustard, and the shrimp boil.

Too quick to click!

Well, within the two days, a package arrived at the door, and it seemed heavier than what I would have thought for a little jar of mustard and shrimp boil.  Well I opened the package to find

Wowsers!  That looks like a lot of boil.  But you usually use a lot, until I read the directions!

It dawned on me I might have been a bit hasty in clicking… Fortunately it is not liquid,

So I think I can bust it up and cryovac smaller portions.  Will last longer than I will!
Anyway, naught to do but plunge ahead.
First the minced garlic and used a shallot for the “green onions”:

Then assembled all the dry ingredients (cut back on the cayenne) and a little less Paprika

Then combined the liquids (I had the end of my house made Tarragon Vinegar)

And whisked it and assembled all the ingredients

On to the food processor (not quite sure why instructions say do the garlic and “onions” first, but hey, I'm an engineer, not a chef)

Added the rest and pulsed then ran for a bit.
Finished product:

That done, moved on to the shrimp (Insert Jumbo Shrimp joke here)

Not trying to process 50 pounds of the little crustaceans, I winged it with a scant tablespoon (leaving only say, 10 years worth in the jar!)

After leaving the shrimp in the boiling boil for a scant minute off heat, into an ice bath and Voilá.
An aside, I never have known a “boil” to affect the little buggers.  Always taste like….shrimp.
All that was left was for the Plongeur— oh, wait that’s me!

So at last we assembled the fruits of our labor and settled in to watch the “big game”.  Actually, it was a good game, and the team I was rooting for (really Andy Reid).

Go Chiefs! Notice “son of Shanny” getting lots of flack.  The parade was in KC today, FOJTY was not able to work it or attend it..

Anyway almost time to

when there is very little else to believe in, one can still believe in a loaf of fragrant, homemade bread”
Anna Thomas 1948

lagniappe: was disappointed in the "barn" remoulade this time.  A bit hot, not a lot of tarragon came through.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Palindrome Bowl

First of all, we can’t let today pass without noting (for Birt) that today’s date can be written as 02 02 2020, a “palindrome” date.  That is, it reads the same forward or backward.   This won’t happen again for 20 million years! (actually 03 03 3030).  Hope you’re around to see it..

Other than that, there seems to be some sort of Sporting event going on tonight.  God knows we’ve been assaulted by talking heads for two weeks, prattling on and on and on about the 49’s defense, the miracles of Mahomes,  I am looking forward to the game because then it will be over and launching those heads into endless analyses.  Oh well, maybe the commercials will be entertaining. 

This year we ain’t entertaining or being entertained, just staying home.. BUT, that doesn’t mean we won’t be having good food!  we’ve both been spending time in the kitchen.

Our “sooper weekend” started yesterday with breakfast at The Slice House over in Leonardtown.  A trusted palate alerted us that they have great bagels, but have to get there early.  So I dragged self out of bed and we got in the car and bleary eyed journeyed across the peninsula.

Seeing some "new" landmarks

as well as being watched by some of the local residents

we did arrive at The Slice House in time to get some of their precious bagels (which were in limited supply at that point).

Mind you this is at the appalling early hour of 0900!   There was a steady stream of folks picking stuff to take home, but we stayed and each ordered a Lox sandwich, with jus d’orange.  Those of you who’ve been here a little while know that the building used to be Kevin’s Seafood (since moved to the “Willows), 

with a longer history than I can remember.  It’s kind of plain, still has a bar, and kind of institutional benches and tables.  They switch over to Pizza during the afternoon, and use the big pizza oven. Their hours of bagels and pizza are on their web site.

You tell them what you want, pay, and then they bring it out when ready. Our total order was $22.xx.   eventually it arrived at the table

Now I am not a connoisseur of bagels, but there was a noticeable difference between these and what one normally gets around here with the name Bagel.  The crust was nice a crunchy, the crumb inside was chewy and dense (and good), and the house-made cream cheese and Lox were very nice.  They did ask upon ordering if capers and onions were okay.  Yes.

We’ve had their pizza as carry out and it is very good also

Neither of us could eat the whole sandwich and we each brought home the other half and had it this morning.  By the time we left, a sign in the door told all

The rest of the day was spent in Mise en Place, chopping, dicing, mincing, peeling shrimp, and cooking for today.   On the menu (there is a story and pictures of each one, but I’m tired, so you gotta wait for it)
“Tobacco Barn” Remoulade Sauce

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Last minute shrimp for same

Rice for same (yet to be prepared)

So we will enjoy just us, although some who might read this can remember the good times had for Super Bowls on Wilson Court, in the “old days”.  We’ve scattered to the winds..

Go chiefs!
And we will be “rockin the red” to borrow a phrase, and be