chicken breast, asparagus, baked potato, gravy

Gravy is made with roux and first saki then commercial chicken broth.

The potato is from a 10 lb. bag of small potatoes purchased for 99¢ on sale at King Soopers.


* 2 cups cane sugar
* 1/2 stick of butter
* 1 tin sweetened condensed milk
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* sea salt

The first batch is caramel fail. 

The heat was too high and it darkened way too fast and irregularly.

I didn't stir the ingredients long enough. It went so fast I thought that I didn't have time. But I was wrong. The outer edges are hard and center is too soft. 

The second batch pictured above is the exact same ingredients but with a cup of water added to even out the sugar as it heats and at lower temperature to slow the process. The water must evaporate before the sugar can cook beyond the boiling point of water (at your elevation, in Denver that's 8˚ lower) by then the pile of sugar is cooked to simple syrup and from there the sugar heats dangerously and browns fairly quickly.

Caramel fail

Live and learn innit.

sweet pickled hardboiled eggs

It's just that I hate throwing away the juice left over from pickles. I thought this might be a way to salvage it. 

These are rather small eggs (the kind that come sold 3 dozen at once) and seven fit in these medium sized jars. 

In Denver hard boiled eggs do not peel well at all, so these eggs are steamed in the pressure pot for ten minutes and the shells come flying right off. 

It is the juice from Bread and Butter pickles. I'm imagining that juice from dill pickles would be dreadful as the dill pickles themselves, and juice from sweet pickles would be fine while sweeter than than these. It's an experiment, okay? 

leek and potato soup

Celery de-stringed to aid blending.

Not shown:

* saki
* chicken stock
* bay leaves (these were blended in instead of removed.
* mustard powder
* tarragon
* oregano
* cayenne powder
* sour cream (I had "ranch dressing" style on hand)
* 3 slices quality aged cheddar cheese

All these ingredients are impulse. Whim. Based on what is on hand. It's like Food Network "Chopped" over here. And that's why every time things come out differently. 

hashed brown potato, eggs fried in butter

Grated potato blanched in the same pan that it fries in.

My egg broke.

swiss chard with bacon pearl onion and cranberries, diced potato


Small potato microwaved and cubed. 

I was thinking about adding raisins and pecans, but why go overboard?

This has sherry vinegar and simple sugar syrup. 

romaine lettuce and pear salad

* Vegetable oil (sufficient to cover the amount of lettuce you imagine using
* Rice vinegar
* Bread and butter pickle juice
* Asian fish sauce (anchovy)
* Mustard powder

Small Comice pear.

cheese popcorn

To get the grated cheese to stick to the popcorn and not settle to the bottom of the bowl the popcorn is baked a few minutes to make sure it melts. If the the popcorn and cheese bakes longer than necessary for that then the cheese toasts and that's very nice too.

This method with this type of cheese uses both stovetop and oven. But only for a few minutes each. 

It also transfers the popcorn to the bowl back to the pot to layer the cheese on the popcorn and to bake in the pot and not in the bowl because I want to hold the bowl when it's done.

* Turn on the stove.
* Grate cheese and flavor with anything. I used garlic powder and cayenne.
* Turn on stovetop burner.
* Heat popcorn kernels in just enough hot vegetable oil to cover the seeds.
* Before the seeds pop, remove from heat for a minute so the seeds all heat evenly then return to the stovetop burner.
* Pop the corn. I use a screen not a pot lid so that the moisture escapes.
* Turn out popcorn into a large bowl.
* Melt generous butter in the pot off the heat and drizzle over the popcorn. Mix it around so the whole batch gets some butter, not as they do in the theaters.
* Return the popcorn to the pot and layer the cheese as you do.
* Bake the popcorn for a few minutes. 

It sounds like a lot of steps but it's all intuitive and it goes very fast. 

gyros sausage, cabbage, onion, potato

The guy at King Soopers dealt me a real solid. Multiple times. First, this sausage was much more expensive than shown and it was not marked down. Second, I asked for only four and he threw in two extra without charging. Then he threw in two more of a different kind wrapped separately. So that's 8 sausages for the price of 4, and the price is simply made up. They never were 1 sausage for a dollar. They were marked three times that much.  

The sausages are lightly browned on two sides then braised in the oven on low heat for a long time. The moisture inside drips from the top and sort of rains over the layered pot. First the sausages by themselves until they're soft, then taken out and the vegetable portion added with sausage on top so the sausages flavor all the vegetables leaving behind a flavored sauce while becoming so soft that they melt in your mouth. This combination is very good. It makes a lot and it couldn't be more simple.

All of the flavor comes from the sausages. Faint salt is added at the table. It's amazing how much flavor is packed into the sausages. I finished this plate then went right back for another. 

great northern beans, tuna

Beans have very good bacon and yellow onion, fennel seeds, habanero flakes, and apricot preserves (because the jar was sitting right there).

sweet potato waffle

This is one medium size sweet potato cubed and boiled.

I smashed the sweet potato directly in the waffle maker and that did not work very well. 

The sweet potato, first boiled then waffled was turned out of the waffle maker into a mixing bowl with ingredients to turn it into a waffle batter.

* one medium sweet potato cubed and boiled
* 1 cup of cold milk (I didn't measure. I just kept adding until I had a thick consistency.
* 1/4 cup all purpose flour (didn't measure this either. 2 heaping tablespoons)
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla (didn't measure, could be two teaspoons)
* 2 tablespoons Lyle's Gold syrup (obviously didn't measure, just drizzled)

Here's where it gets strange. I ran out of baking powder. There was only a tiny amount left in the container.

* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

This wasn't enough. So I made my own baking powder with baking soda and citric acid (used for making cheese. I could have use cream of tartar, a tartaric acid but citric acid sounded better because that's used in soft drinks. 

* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon citric acid

These turned out very nice. The batter became foamy. A lot more batter was put into the waffle maker than the instructions recommend. They say, 3/4 to 1 cup of batter, but this was first 1 + 1/2 cup and the second one a measured 1 cup, and they still do not fill to the edges. They are light as air. 

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