Day 31: Supper

Day 31:  I like bowls of things.  This one consists of three layers: mashed celery root and parsnip, sauteed kale and onion, "kitchen sink" sausage from the Smoking Goose in Indianapolis.  If you haven't tried any of their products, DLM carries several, and they are all wonderful.


Day 30

Day 30: The Carnitas Process: delicious porkiness in about 3 hours.  4.5 lbs of lard slowly bathing 4.5 lbs of pork butt into porcine perfection, AKA a pork confit.   The last two pictures were taken by Gary (obviously, with the beer in the background and the missing, ahem, prettiness of the pics)), who sous-cheffed as Hannah and I traveled to New Carlisle to check up on my little sis at her basketball game. She is the team manager and dancer.  Seriously, you have got to see her lawnmower!  She's having a rough time with Daddy being gone and our Grandma on her way to our heavenly home...

Even as we are going through this tough time as a family, I am reminded that one of my greatest joys in the kitchen is getting to create meals and dishes for others.  Food is always about sharing for me, whether it be with family, friends, or complete strangers.  I always seem to cook better when I have someone to cook for.    In difficult times, I always turn to food.  Everyone needs to eat, and there is always comfort in sharing a meal


Day 29

Day 29: So...what did you do with your evening?  I just spend 2 1/2 hours screaming some Wagner, after 2 hours of Bach last night, stretching my vocal chords to lengths I didn't even know existed.  After singing, oh, I don't know, about 100 high A's (with a fair amount of G's mixed in as well), my voice is fatigued.  And I have singer's shoulder (Anyone who has had to hold a heavy score for a few hours knows precisely of what I speak.).  So now for a little post-rehearsal therapy.  I am drinking bourbon, and I don't even really like bourbon.  But with their last exhausted gasp, that's what my vocal chords requested.  And a cookie.  And a couple Tylenol PM.  Gute Nacht.  


Day 28

Day 28:  Yeah, I know this photo is kind of lame-o, but so was my food day today.  Mondays and Tuesdays are crammed full in the Grubb household, so while there's a lot of learning going on (and housework, blech), there's not a lot being created in the kitchen.  So, needing a quick lunch for us for tomorrow, we head to our local market to this aisle: all sorts of packed-up lovely food stuffs that are easily packed up for another day of intellectual and creative enrichment.  Plus it's a lot healthier than the drive-thru.


Day 27

Day 27: So these happened today.  In spite of my befuddled brain.  They are peanut butter and bacon cookies.  Haven't tried them yet,, so we'll see...


Day 26

Day 26: Sometimes the answer is pizza.  And a Mexican coke.  And college basketball.


Day 25: Go-To's

Day 25: When I'm feeling lousy and I need to eat, there are a few go-to edibles that I always turn to.  One of those is pictured here: the egg sandwich.  I made this one with some lovely country sourdough, cheese, bacon, and a little homemade relish.  Not at all glamorous, but nourishing and filling.


Day 24

Day 24: The sign welcoming you to Sam and Ethel's Restaurant, Tipp City, OH.  Decent food, friendly people, comfortable atmosphere.


Day 23

Day 23: Simple meals are often the most satisfying.  No pretention or complication here; just good, honest flavors.  Sausage (From our stash from Cochon Butcher in NOLA.  Please, please go there.  It is so stinkin' good), sauteed red kale, sauteed apples, and popovers, which are as simple and easy as baking comes.  Satisfied family with satisfied stomachs.  See you tomorrow.


Day 22

Day 22: Two new reads purchased this past weekend.  The quest for the perfect loaf and a journey down the road of forgotten American regional dishes.  Can't wait to get started!


Day 21: I ♥ Rusty Cities

Day 21:  I really do love rusty cities.  This one was a new visit: Buffalo, NY.  I am still attempting to put a finger on the exact reasons why, but there is just something about these places that really speak to me.  Detroit Cleveland, Buffalo, they all have their own distinct appeal.
We did Buffalo up right.  Lunch at Ted's Hot Dogs (complete with lingonberry soda), books from Talking Leaves, donuts from Paula's, pizza and wings from Bocce Club, and the infamous sponge candy (we opted for the "dark sponge) from the landmark Parkside Candy, still going strong after 86 years.  I will definitely be going back.

Day 20

Day 20:  "Why, is she in Korea?"  No, I was in Columbus.  OHIO.  Yes folks, one need only travel and hour and a half to enjoy the joys of an Asian tea/bakery experience.  This traditional low table tea set-up can be found inside Tea Zone Bakery & Cafe on the northwest side of Columbus.  They have some amazing bubble tea and all sorts of pastries:

I am planning another trip here soon, probably on my next trip to CAM, another absolutely essential food stop in C-bus.  Let me know if you want to come along!


Day 19: The Best of the West

In my opinion, the best part of regional travel is sampling the taste of the place.  On this trip: Buffalo and western New York  We had lunch at the famous Ted's Hot Dogs, complete with a lingonberry soda.  Then it was off to Paula's Donuts, for um, donuts, Talking Leaves for books, and Parkside Candy for the strangeness that is spongecandy.  All other food and beer stuffs (not all beer is pictured) from Wegman's.
Clockwise: utz salt 'n vinegar chips (Hanover, PA), Wegman's shopping bag, Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace saison, Parkside Candy "dark sponge" (Buffalo, NY), Weber's hot garlic mustard, hot green tomato piccalilli relish, hot Texan sandwich sauce (Buffalo, NY), Sahlen's smokehouse hotdogs and natural sheep-casing wieners (Buffalo, NY), dozen donuts from Paula's, including red velvet andpeanut and jelly (Buffalo, NY), and Wegman's travel coffee mug.  


Day 18

Day 18:  Giant Haribo with Legs!


Day 17

Day 17:  Um, well this used to be food...  We couldn't figure out what was stinking up Hannah's backpack.  Today, the mystery was solved.  In this picture you are witnessing a rotted, partially dissected owl pellet and a "cheese" stick.  Notice how the pellet has broken down and the "cheese" still looks to be in pristine condition.  Gross-out on both counts.  You are welcome.


Day 16

 Day 16: "Eat me!"  "Ok Mr. Giant Tuna-Salad Sandwich!"


Day 15

Day 15:  Dog chow for Finn.  I made a mix of poached chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, brown rice, garlic powder, and dried oregano.  To this was added 1 tsp. of egg shell powder (per serving) for added calcium.  We mix this in with his (hippie) kibble to make both lat longer, and so we can stop buying wet food, which is expensive.  I plan on making bigger (buttloads, even) batches in the future to freeze for later use.  He bolted for his food dish last night, so I can indeed attest to his liking my cooking.  Yeah, validation via the dog.


Day 14

Day 14: "Oh mighty chicken stock scum.  Thou art powerful, and scummy!"
(And yes, I know my pot is waaaay too small for this chicken.  It will still work.  Trust me, I'm a professional...)


Day 13

Day 13: Home-made "pop" tarts (I made two varieties: tart cherry and plum.).  I have to be honest, these were quite the pain in the arse.  I don't know if this is due to the fact that they are, in fact labor intensive, or that I really wasn't in a pastry frame of mind.  Either way, they'll do for a first attempt.  I will probably give it another go, but probably not for a good while.


Day 12

Day 12: This stack of pastry dough is taunting me.  You can't hear it, but it is.  I ignored it all day in favor of watching certain sporting events.  We will rendezvous tomorrow.  And make pop tarts.


Day 10

My burgeoning cookbook collection


Day 10: What Happens in the Kitchen...

Day 10:  This crappy picture is a perfect symbol of a crappy day in my crappy kitchen.  Grrrrrr......  I was going to be all creative and give a clockwise (or anticlockwise even!) tour of what was going on food-wise in my kitchen today, but alas, all I have is this stoopid picture.  And, seeing as my kitchen is now all tidied up and clean, there is no way to recreate this scene.  Nobody said this process would be all fun and games.  Life is often a series of crappy scenes and situations.  Blech.  See you tomorrow.


Day 9: Extra Virgin?

Day 9:  This is the cover of a book I consider to be an absolute must-read.  Another curtain pulled back; pay attention to the man behind it.  Know what you're eating and what you're paying for.


Day 8

Day 8: Still Life of Dinner Pathétique


Day 7: The Beige and the Beautiful.  Braised spare ribs, smashed buttermilk red potatoes, sauerkraut.  


Day 6

Day 6: "No Kenny, that's my pot pie!"  Thank you DLM for supper on a night when  our cook (moi) feels like 10 pounds of poop.

Days 2-5

Day 2: Hannah eating Israeli schnitzel at Olive Tree Cafe in Hilliard, Ohio.  She was absolutely convinced the vermicelli in her rice was little worms...

Day 3: Collard greens aren't just for braising; they're also great in salads.  Here I've made one with thinly sliced collards, apples, celery, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts with a simple vinaigrette.

Day 4: Hannah and I drinking our Mexican bevvies at our favorite Columbus taco spot, Los Gauchos.  If you have yet to go there, go now.  It's muy delicioso!

Day 5: My first tongue!  Innisfree beef tongue used to make tacos de lengua.  Muy delicioso tambien!

A Cincinnati-ish, Mole-esque Chili

As mentioned, here is the recipe for the chili picture posted yesterday.  It reminds me of a mole what with all the spices, cocoa, and heat.  Really quite tasty and satisfying, and very filling.  It also freezes well.  This will serve around 6 adults, probably with some left over.

Cincinnati-Style Chili, My Way

Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½-2 lbs. beef shanks (Or short ribs, which are easier to find, but a lot more expensive, being so popular and all.)
1 large yellow onion, diced
A few cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped (I used about 5.)
1 chile in adobo with a little sauce, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon celery seed
1 dried bay leaf
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes with juice, chopped (Or you can crush them by hand, a very messy but oddly satisfying task.)

2 15 oz. cans beans (I used 1 can of garbanzo (chickpeas) and 1 can of cannellini beans, I believe, because that’s what I had in the pantry.  Red kidney beans would be more traditional, but I really don’t like them.)

1 pound dried spaghetti

A giant pile of shredded cheddar cheese (I used a Widmer 1 year aged and shredded it.  Please don’t buy the pre-shredded junk.  It is just that: junk.)

Season your beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper.  In a large heavy-bottomed pot (a Dutch-oven is perfect for this), heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the shanks and brown them on all sides.  (This will really take you several minutes, and is pretty boring, but trust me; the browning makes a big flavor difference.  You’re looking at about 4 minutes per side, to get a really good brown.  I usually check the Facebooks or something while waiting.)  Once the meat is nicely browned, remove from the pan and place on a plate. 

If there is not enough residual fat left in the pan, add a little more olive oil.  (You will probably need to lower you heat a little at this time, maybe down to medium, so you don’t scorch things.)  Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and become translucent.  Add the garlic, adobo chile, and all spices to the pan and cook just until you can really smell the garlic.  Add the cocoa powder and tomatoes with their juices and give it all a good stir.  Season the mixture with some salt and pepper.

Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Add the meat and any juices left on the plate back to the pot.  Let the whole thing simmer for quite a while (I don’t have an exact time, there never is an exact time, so just make sure you have at least a couple of hours to let this cook!), until the meat is quite tender.  Remove the shanks from the pot and chop or shred the meat off the bones. 

Start a pot of salted, boiling water for the pasta.

Add the meat back to the pot and add the beans as well.  Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.  Let the pot continue to simmer while you cook the pasta.  Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and douse it in olive oil to keep it from sticking.

To assemble:  Mound some spaghetti in the bottom of a bowl.  Spoon the chili over the pasta, and add as much cheddar as your heart desires. 


Hello?  Hello?  Is this thing on?  Yeah, so I've been almost completely nonexistent on this blog for...oh ages now.  I have a myriad of excuses, some of them quite understandable even, but none of them serious enough to keep me off here for the last several month.  I really had no intention (today) to get back on here, but my dear sister-in-law laid down a challenge, so here I am.  She came up with a brilliant idea for their farm blog, a way to follow what she and my brother do on a daily basis on their farm, Innisfree.  She plans to take a photo everyday this year and post it so we can follow the goings on of all the goats, chickens, cows, horses, dogs, cats, etc. in all their farmy glory.  Look at them here  So I says (and it's on the Facebook, so there are witnesses and everything!), "Hey that's a cool idea.  Maybe I'll do a year in food!".  After this many years on earth as a member of my family, you would think I would no better, but no.  So, I will attempt to live up to the challenge and post pics of my life in food for one whole year.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the guilty pleasures, the weird...  Ugh.  This could get rough.  Seeing as it is already the 5th of January, I have some catching up to do.  I will try to post recipes when possible/I feel like it/I'm not loathing life as I know it.  So for tonight, I will leave you with this:
Day 1: Cincinnati chili, my way.  Made with beef shanks and a lovely aged cheddar.  I'm kinda proud of this one, so I plan on writing up a recipe soon!

See you soon!