Escalloped potato

Potato as a meal. It's a very large potato. I got tired of eating it.

Pork chili, Hatch chiles

* Hatch chiles from Whole Foods, not from the street vendors that appear each year
* white onion
* garlic
* 3 regular size tins of roasted tomato pieces
* corriander
* cumin
* Mexican oregano
* salt

 I could have doubled the amount of Hatch chiles and still been reasonable. The chili is not hot.

No tomatillos.

No masa harina or any corn element, no posole. 

No tortillas because I didn't want to make any. 

No lime or vinegar or sugar, no sweet/sour elements

No black pepper.

It's rather plain. Like hospital chili. It's open to any enhancement. It's tamed. Chili that children could eat. Not extravagant or exotic. Just plain. The pork is very tender and nice.

Sweet potato pie

This pineapple is too old. It cannot be used so it was discarded 


I intended to resort to lemon and lemon zest but then I forgot at the critical moment so my pie lacks these acidic elements. Though it has a quart of orange juice, and that's very acidic.  But I spaced out adding actual oranges. 

Dried cherries and apricots. 

These dry elements are soaked in rum.

They turned out to be insufficient. Triple this amount was used. The rest not soaked in rum.

All this is cooked stovetop in about a quart of orange juice. Cinnamon and clove and brown sugar was added in increments until I felt satisfied. Also salt. Also white sugar. Also one stick of butter. 

This pie is very buttery. Butter in the filling and butter in the crust. No holding back. Oh, Baby, it's on!

And that's why we're all going to be fat.

Turns out the pecans comprise a single layer inside the pie. A full layer of pecans edge to edge. The remaining filling does not have pecans. They are not frozen with the remaining portion. 

Pie crust made like a farm lady does.

2 cups of flour, one stick of near-freezing butter. Cut into fourths lengthwise then cut into tiny chunks that were smashed between thumbs and index fingers into the flour, rapidly until all the butter is smashed. So the flakes are built in. 

These flakes are built up until the entire bowl of flour is embuttered fairly heavily. Originally 3/4 of the stick of butter then more and more until the whole stick was eventually used minus just a few small chunks. 

The ice-water added, over 1/2 a cup. Drizzled in increments until the mass pulls together just barely. It's always more water than recipes say. Apparently Denver is terribly dry and so is the flour. 

Vodka works very nicely for this because it evaporates more completely when baked. But I forgot about that when I added the water.

I needed more dough. Two cups of flour wasn't enough. I wanted thicker crust with extra for more generous decoration. I wanted so much extra that I could bake pie-crust cookies with the surplus As it turned out I used every molecule and had to cut corners and roll it too thin. There wasn't enough to provide a generous edge.

Baked at 425℉ for 40 minutes.

I smelled it cooking before the end so with ten minutes left it was darkening irregularly and I turned down the heat to moderate level. 

This project was fun.

I have two Glad storage containers of frozen sweet potato filling without pineapple or any acid element like lemon and without pecans. It tastes very good. I suppose the sweet potato chunks could be larger but I don't care about that.

Look how much I held back. I didn't add orange brandy. I didn't add any chiles. I didn't add apple. I didn't add oranges. I skipped pineapple. No nutmeg or allspice. No cardamom. I could have went crazy with dry fruit, figs and dates, but I kept it all conservative. 

Commercial sushi

I love these things. 

They do a little bit better than I do myself.

And they're such a massive pain in the butt to make yourself. 

I mean it. 

Make the sushi rice, just so.

Make the wasabi just so.

Cut the seafood portions, just so. (I notice this preparer wasn't so careful. The fat-lines in tuna run both vertically and horizontally. Amateur!)

Prepare the shrimp just so. 

Drag out the nori and the bamboo roller and proceed like you're rolling massive joints. Just so.

Press rice into your hand and form the cut fish portions onto it, just so.

It's so persnickety. So fussy. So exacting. So technical. So precise at each step. So many steps. So many things to drag out. Such a mess to clean up. Then store extra rice and put everything back; the soy sauce, the wasabi powder, the vinegar and sugar used for the rice, the bamboo roller and the nori. Clean the pot for the rice, the implements used to cool the rice. The knife used to cut the fish and the rolled sushi. 

I'll only mention shopping for suitable fish in Denver.


So much nicer when somebody else does all that. They say, (cooks say this) that sushi chefs apprentice for ten years. But honestly, that's Japanese bragging again about how technically exacting and how fussy they are, similar to French chefs. Americans are a lot more slipshod.

Hatch chile - vegetable - chicken stock soup

When the cream is blended into the soup before digging in, the soup goes from Papa-Bear to Baby-Bear in an instant and its color turns to light olive.

Any vegetables will do. My preference is leeks and potato. Those two things by themselves make a very good soup.

These were frozen Hatch chiles from Whole Foods that were a total mess when they thawed. I never did see any of those roadside vendors this year. Loaded with loose char and filled with seeds, damaged by freezing.  They were awful to clean up. Finally I resorted to holding them under running water and they cleaned right up. They say, (cooks say this) don't ever do that because it rinses away roasted flavor, but I say the flavors were kept intact. Whatever sacrifice was worth it.  These were actually hot. The cream vitiates the capsaicin heat comfortably and it provides the satisfying mouth-feel of fat that is absent from the soup. The soup with cream is much better than the soup without cream.

Blueberries because I have three cartons right there on the table. 

Napa cabbage, cod, sausage, vegetables, Asian flavors

The Asian flavors mentioned are the ones listed on the front page of this blog.

Speaking of Asian flavors you couldn't go wrong by adding ginger and garlic.

This is a very large piece of fish for this sort of thing, but man, it sure is good. I always wish someone else was around so I could give them a bowl of this and blow their mind. They'll be all, "What? What? No wait. What? Where did you learn this?"

And I know that because it happens. It hits all the spots of an American's impression of what Chinese food is. And the liquid that weeps from the vegetables as it cools as you go and blends with the seven magical Asian ingredients that are each awful on their own is the most delicious surprise at the end. You've never tasted anything like it. Vegetables don't get that delicious on their own. And you're left satisfied but still wishing there was more.

Cherry pie

Commercial. Personal size.

This was breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Along with chocolate milk and potato chips.

These pies are really good. And the whole time I was eating it, I was thinking it could just as easily be a turnover. 

Cream of Poblano and Anaheim chile soup

With blueberries, what the heck, they were there. Either those or pecans.

These are both mild chiles between bell peppers and jalapeños on the Scoville scale.

Honestly, I think anything you do with these chiles will be successful. I make this soup differently each time I make it and it's truly great each time.

The idea is use some kind of soup stock as base, add vegetable components such as mirepoix, then roast the chiles, peel them, de-seed them and blend it all together.

I would have preferred leeks. I thought that I bought them, but failed on that one.

And I would have preferred beef stock but I failed on that too.

But I did have more parsnips than I cared to have around and I did have plenty of honey-baked ham including the bone.

So this soup is pork-based and this has many more parsnips than I'd ever use without being stuck with a bunch of those stupid things.

Another thing that makes this soup different from all the other cream of poblano soups that I tried is the vegetables were run through the juicer. It was their juice that was added, not the vegetables and I juiced a lot more vegetables than I would have put into the soup whole.

I wanted pork bits but everything else pureed. To get that, then everything was treated differently before it was added to the soup, instead of blending the whole thing afterward.

Everything about this was weird and it still came out tasting outstanding. The next time I make this it will be entirely different and that too will be outstanding. These roasted chiles are excellent in soup. I recommend them for everyone. You can even put cornmeal or masa in this to thicken it, if you like. I'm certain that anything that you try will be great.

You'll wonder why this isn't more common.

Glazed ham, with two fried eggs, sweet potato and toast

Instructions are printed on the back of the label. On the glue side. In light gray on white. They're expecting, I don't really know, that you're young and blessed with Superman vision and that you expect useful information to be in unlikely places. 

*Pepé  Le Pew voice* It's a game that they play. No? It iz the the little boy and the little girl in them. No? They like to play the game of chase.

The label is important for the weight that it states. The cooking time is based on its weight. The thing is already cooked but if you want to add the glaze then it must go back into the oven.

I think it's best not to bake it. A lot of flavorful liquid came out. And then again maybe we're paying for a lot of water.

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