Honey roasted pecans

coated ↑
baked ↓

They came out like pralines this time.

I just kept adding things until flavor was built up. Perhaps I went a little overboard with sugar. I added three increments.

* Honey. the end of one jar, and more of another jar
* Maple syrup. The end of one jar
* Sugar. Three increments with taste-tests in between
* Chile powder. Two increments
* Fennel.
* Cinnamon.
* Ginger. Freshly grated, one little piece.
* Worcestershire sauce. A bunch of drops.

The ingredients are not spread 100% evenly. Pretty much every pecan tastes a little bit different.

This was 1 Lb of pecans.

Pennsylvania Dutch chicken pot pie

Macabre, isn't it?

Previous chicken bones and stuff that comes inside a whole chicken.

Boiled under pressure for 1.5 hours

Strained twice, into a new pot and back into the pressure pot.

The real recipe will have celery and carrots such a French mirepoix, cubed potato and peas.

This has corn and peas and cubed potato.

Poor people sure ate well.

I had this growing up and I could have lived on it. It's actually chicken noodle soup. The egg noodles are made to be thick and dense. Sometimes they overlap and stick together for double thickness and those are the things I loved the best.

Then I moved from home and this slipped to memory.

Then, on a visit to Omaha my sister said she was making chicken pot pie. I visualized a commercial style chicken a la king inside a pie shell. Another favorite thing. And I always felt gypped when the frozen version had only the top pastry shell. But my sister came out with this. True to my mother's recipe. 

I think the pressure pot version is improvement because it wrests the very last molecule of goodness from the bone marrow. 

But the battery chickens of today are worse than the farm chicken of yesteryear. So now you must buy a free-range chicken or an upscale organic version. Just a few weeks older, and just a little more varied diet makes all the difference in the world. And you can really see that in the chicken broth that is made from the carcass. The fast battery young depressing battery chickens make weak broth that divides into thin layers of aspic and fat when chilled. The slightly older chicken with more varied diets produce broth that is entirely aspic with a thin layer of fat, and the taste is deep and rich and magnificent.  

If you're lucky enough to get a genuine free range chicken you'll probably find it a bit gamey. They taste very much like pheasant. And the broth from those bones is incredible. And that's how all chickens used to be.

potato salad with pork and vegetables

Two large Russet potatoes and three thin pork cutlets.

Onions are salted so they weep out their stinging volatile sulfur compounds then rinsed and squeezed.

Cucumber slices are salted to weep their water, then rinsed, squeezed and dried.

Good salami. The kind that comes in a log and that you must slice yourself. 

Taste-tested, and with all my favorite Asian flavors and excessive rice vinegar, there was still something missing and citric acid seemed the thing. All the zest and all of the juice is included. And boy, did that hit the spot.

I have a good choice of fresh herbs presently and mint seemed the way to go. With the lemon, it's irresistibly delicious.

There you are going along enjoying the creamy potatoes imbued with complex overlapping umami flavors that do not belong in potato salad when suddenly your mouth encounters a more challenging chewy piece of peppery salami. You continue tasting the lemon cool as a summer drink, encountering crunchy texture of celery and crispy cucumber when BLAM capsaicin heat fills your mouth then cooled by creamy mayonnaise and persistent lemon and pervasive mint. Then your mouth detects a small chunk of cooked pork loin and you're all, what? Am I having a balanced meal, or what? 

This is not your grandmothers potato salad. No. This is delightfully alien as a trip to Bangkok.

Cheesecake soufflé

Small version. Six egg whites, three egg yolks.

The metal bowl on this blender makes a big difference. My regular blender has a plastic bowl and plastic is a petroleum product and oil is to be avoided. It does whip egg whites to stiff stage but metal bowl gets better volume. It's a silly old mixer that's not even orbital. But it works.

I didn't fashion a parchment paper collar. But I should have.

Napa cabbage with chicken and vegetables

Plus the seven magical flavor ingredients that make everything better.

In case you just arrived at this blog from Mars.

* 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
* 1 teaspoon mirin
* 1 teaspoon sake
* 1 teaspoon fish sauce
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
* 3 teaspoons soy sauce

It goes fry, fry, fry, splash, steam, done.

On Sunday a long-term friend came over. It was his birthday. He didn't want to come over because he was busy working. I said, I want to make you cake. He said, okay.

He arrives. No cake.

But a dozen eggs were at room temperature. 

I said, I thought it would be fun to make the cake together. That way you can spring this on your lady friends. It's actually a cake for ladies. 

So he made his own birthday cake. 

And that really did turn out to be rather fun. Because now he knows how to make any soufflé. 

And while that cake was cooking I also showed him how to make this. How to use Napa cabbage and about the 7 magical ingredients, and how much to use, and how to douse the whole thing all at once to create steam, and how quickly the whole thing goes. 

And we ate it while the cake baked. And the whole time he goes, "This is good. This is good. This is good. This is good. Man, this is really good. This is good. This is good. Man, oh man, this is really good. This is excellent. Good Lord, this is wonderful. Goddamnit this is good." Then he's down to the last remnant vegetable bit. He lifts the bowl to his lips and drinks the liquid that wept from the vegetables and combined with the seven magical flavor ingredients. He goes. "Wow. This is really good." 


The cake is done.

And it's the whole thing all over again. "This is good. This is good. Man, this is good." Over and over until the whole thing is gone. And we're like, "Hey, where'd the cake go?" 

Date and banana milkshake

Not a genuine milkshake. It has no ice cream, just whole milk.

Roasted chicken

tunafish salad made differently

Spiral cut daikon radish, not noodles.


The student becomes the master.

I have surpassed all that I know. I left my teachers behind in the dust. This is the best tunafish salad that I've ever had. And I sense ways to make it even better by using a few of my favorite Asian flavor ingredients in place of mayonnaise.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to have some more of it right now. And I'm not even hungry.

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