Where the Buffalo Roam

IMG_7711b

Real men from New York State don’t rely on GPS guidance.

She:  You missed that turn, My Heart.

He:  Don’t worry about it.  She (the GPS) doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

IMG_7595b

Lost once again in Pennsylvania, we chanced upon a buffalo farm.  A real buffalo farm!  A good sized herd was ruminating, roaming around, eating grass and looking very free range. I didn’t have my camera with me because I didn’t know that we’d be taking the long-cut home.  Next time when we intentionally return to the farm, I’ll get pictures to post.

IMG_7636b

The farm has a little store in the front with freezers packed with buffalo meat cuts.  I thought I’d try the short ribs for my first experience cooking buffalo.  All the cuts were expensive but so is everything else in the States that is raised and butchered by individuals. Tant pis.  This farm is a good source of unadulterated protein and the short ribs were delicious.

IMG_7623b

What’s the deal with the fat free thing!?  I didn’t imagine that anything could be done to everyday, ordinary beef broth in the can so I didn’t read.  But when I got it home, I noticed that it was 99% fat free.  From the ubiquitous range of fat free products in the supermarkets (there’s no getting away from them!), we Americans should be some of the fittest people on earth!  And we all know that’s not true.  So what are they doing with the fat that they’re taking out of everything?  You know they’re not throwing it away!  I guess it’s better not knowing : -0

IMG_7621b

To my relief, I found some local, good sized, juicy garlic at the Super Duper market.  I don’t usually shop for vegetables here but pass from time to time for their great sales on cat food and litter.  In the future I’ll look at everything.

IMG_7640b

In Pennsylvania alcoholic beverages, except for beer, is sold in government state stores. As far as bottled French, Italian and Spanish wines are concerned, it seems that the civil servant who chooses the wines  1) Doesn’t know a thing about wines and doesn’t care.  2) Is only interested in saving the State money by choosing the least expensive imported wines with names he/she has vaguely heard of; Chardonnay, Chablis, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaujolais Village,Valpolicelli, etc.  Of course these are wines that no self-respecting, homeless, on the dole, European would drink, so they export this “plonk” to Japan, the US and China.  Our federal government demands a healthy import tax, the state of Pennsylvania has their say and before you know it, you’ve got a 1 euro bottle of Cote du Rhone for $22 on the shelves.  You can imagine how we hate this.  Worse, you can not find, other than Veuve Cliquot, a decent bottle of wine on these shelves for neither love nor money.  We have got to go into the city (New York) to find a solution because the Black Box seems to suck us into a black hole.

IMG_7669b

I love roasting vegetables!  This are from local farmers.

IMG_7695b

The Indians probably ate like this when they got tired of buffalo.

Roasted Buffalo Short Ribs

3 lbs buffalo short ribs, cut into individual ribs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 heaping tbsp meat rub (Emeril’s essence/Bavarian essence/your favorite)

3/4 cup flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, halved then sliced

3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 bay leaves

5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 can normal beef broth

1 cup red Black Box wine or if in France, Cote du Rhone

Mix the salt, pepper, rub and flour together, then dredge the ribs in the mixture.  Brown the ribs in the oil, a few at a time, no crowding, then place them in a roasting pan.

Briefly saute the garlic and onion the same pan until the onion is wilted, the pour over the top of the ribs in the roasting pan.  Tuck in the bay leaves and thyme, then pour the broth and wine over the top.

Cover the ribs with aluminum foil, then roast at 375 F for 2-2 1/4 hours.

Garlic Roasted Vegetables

1 each,  small zucchini and yellow summer squash, cut into large chunks

1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

12 large mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1  fresh scallion, sliced

5 huge cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Mix everything together, place in a baking pan and roast at 375 F for 45 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_7529b

A couple of years ago I made a macaroni and cheese to take to a barbecue in Villiers-Louis, France, deep country.  I made this casserole in a sort of can’t be bothered way but the French loved it!  I used 3 different French cheeses (reblochon, tomme de savoie, comte) and creme fraiche.  I also mixed in some red bell pepper and onion.  It was good, so I thought of making a reasonable facsimile today with the cheeses that are available in Pennsylvania, USA.

IMG_7542b

Surprisingly, it was difficult to find cheese that wasn’t reduced or low fat!  Ditto for the sour cream (I substituted this for the creme fraiche).  I like all the fat that’s supposed to be in my milk products.  In the case of a particularly rich dish, I eat less of it, but I want all the flavor of the unadulterated product.  The same goes for butter.

IMG_7433b

In the end, I had to settle for reduced fat cheddar, but normal monterey jack and mozzarella.  The cheddar was an accident.  My eyes were so glazed over from looking for normal cheddar that this one slipped by me.  There was one container of normal sour cream left.  I snapped that up!  I think I have to make a bi-weekly visit to Wegmans in Scranton.

IMG_7441b

I do most of my shopping at the local Weis Supermarket.  They offer both local and some organic vegetables and fruit.  Fresh and pretty.  And sometimes you can find meat that is organic/grass fed/free range.  Like these lovely center cut pork chops.

IMG_7485b

I baked these in my usual way; salt, pepper, flour, butter in the pan.  Marvelous!

IMG_7552b

Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 tbsp butter

1 lb small elbow macaroni, cooked

1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, grated

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 cup sour cream

Bread crumbs

Saute the onion and bell pepper in the butter until the onion is soft, then toss with the hot macaroni.  Add the monterey jack, the mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the cheddar and the sour cream.  Stir to blend well.  Pour the mixture into a baking pan and top with the rest of the cheddar, then the bread crumbs.

Bake in a 425 F oven for about 30 minutes.

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Bento a la Carnivore

IMG_7375b

The problem with my kitchen is that, in the 80s, the owners of the house bought top of the line, fashionable, electric, black and stainless steel appliances to compliment their quality but dark, real wood, kitchen cabinets.  Over 30 years later, the appliances are old, and I’ve never liked electric, black or stainless steel appliances.

IMG_7419

In addition, the butcher block island top looks like a real old and aggressively used, third world country, butcher’s block.  Trying to get the top replaced, plus fitting the new white, gas stove into the old space for the electric oven, plus replacing the leaking dishwasher has been a nightmare.  Apparently, removal and installation are two separate areas of expertise and we had to schedule a remover before we could schedule installations.  I almost lost the will to live.

IMG_7412b

The good news is that after a brief tryst with vegetarianism, Jade has rejoined the fold. While not discouraging her foray into non-meatitude, we continued to cook and eat all manner of beasts that smelled and looked delicious, causing understandable salivation and dissatisfaction with her healthy but meat-less meals.   A little propaganda, and voila!

Killer Vegetarians

Where is Jamie Oliver when you need him!?  Jade’s high school cafeteria could use a visit. I have started to prepare bento boxes for her lunch at her request and because I like preparing bento boxes :)

IMG_7399b

Today’s lunch was packed with furikake sprinkled inarizushi with tuna, Major Grey chutney glazed lamb meatballs, steamed and buttered acorn squash with chunks of orangesicle fudge for dessert (bottom layer, top photo), steamed ginger chicken, cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette, star and heart shaped boiled egg halves (top layer, photo just above).

IMG_7271b

With our household effects somewhere between Stuttgart and Honesdale, I bought a few bento supplies on amazon.com.  I found a non-traditional, stainless steal, tight sealing , neon green box that I thought Jade would like.  I have to find a matching fork, knife and spoon case for her.

IMG_7315b

Inarizushi are sweet, seasoned and fried bean curd pockets that you can buy prepared in a can.  You just drain them, then pry open the pockets for stuffing.  Easy.

IMG_7294b

Make some sushi rice, seasoning it with mirin, rice vinegar and sugar.  Use Hon-mirin if you can find it instead of Aji-mirin.  Also, be sure to read the outside of the rice vinegar bottle because I found some rice vinegar that was made with wheat.  Holy Mother of God! What happened to the honesty?

IMG_7267b

When I was making the tuna for stuffing into the pockets with rice, I was a little concerned about the tuna, but Bumblebee Solid White Albacore in water is a nice tuna, although I do still miss my Petit Navire from France :)

IMG_7242b

Jade loves these!  We all do, even me.  This doesn’t count as rice :)

IMG_7308b

The steamed chicken thighs are simple to make.  Bone or buy boned 5-6 chicken thighs, skin on, place inside a bowl and then inside of a steamer basket, then sprinkle with slivers of garlic and ginger and slices of scallion.

IMG_7330b

Pour over some soy sauce and mirin, then steam.  My steamer baskets are not here yet, so I used a metal colander.  A little tricky but it worked.

IMG_7343b

Skin removed and thinly sliced, this chicken reminds me of something similar I had in The People’s Republic, back in the day.  Good over Thai rice noodles.

IMG_7357b

Really happy to have access to acorn squash again.  I could never find these in France. Simply baked or steamed, these are delicious.  Stuffed is good too :)

IMG_7378b

The lamb meatballs (lead photo) were made in a “can’t be bothered” fashion.  Good though.  The recipe included here is what I can remember.

Major Grey Chutney Glazed Lamb Meatballs

1 lb ground lamb

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup Major Grey’s Mango Chutney with Ginger

1-2 tbsp water

Mix together the lamb, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, bread crumbs and egg.  Form into normal size meatballs, then bake in a 350 F oven for 20-25 minutes.

Melt the chutney over a low flame with the water, then pour over the cooked meatballs, gently stirring to glaze.

Tuna and Sushi Rice Stuffed Inarizushi

1 large can tuna, drained

2-3 tbsp chopped onion

2-3 heaping tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp mustard

Salt and pepper

1 can inarizushi, drained and pockets pried open

3 cups hot sushi rice

Assorted furikake sprinkles

Mix the tuna, onion, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper together and set aside.  Stuff the pockets with a layer of rice, a layer of tuna and then a final layer of rice.  Sprinkle with furikake.

Steamed Ginger Chicken

5-6 chicken thighs boned, skin on

1 inch fresh ginger, slivered

1 large scallion, sliced

2 large cloves garlic, slivered

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce

Put the chicken thighs in a heat proof shallow bowl.  Top with the ginger, garlic and spring onion slices.  Mix the mirin and soy sauce together and pour over chicken.  Put the bowl inside a steamer basket and steam for 15 minutes, covered.  Baste with the soy sauce mixture and steam for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove the skin and thinly slice. Serve over rice or noodles with the sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, bento, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Grilled American Lamb on Kaiser Rolls

IMG_7210b

I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make for our Labor Day meal.  I visited the Alpine Wurst & Meat House, vaguely thinking of beef brisket.  After talking to the butcher, I knew I didn’t want to grill the brisket for 12 hours, so decided on a lovely piece of butterflied lamb.  Yes, butterflied.  That’s what they call it here in America, you British people. Butterflied.

IMG_7205b

It really is a shame that American lamb has very little flavor, other than grain.  I love the grassy, tangy taste of normal lamb.  The lamb here looks good, but if I had not rubbed it with Bavarian essence, it would have been tasteless. Coming from the only credible butcher in the region, this is disappointing.  Whine :(

IMG_7169b

Some days my tzatziki is better than other days.  Today was a good day.

IMG_7159b

On Sunday we went to a volunteer fire department clam bake about 10 miles away near Hawley, P.A.  We like to attend community fund raising events held at these small town firehouses; pancake breakfasts, chicken and beef dinners, penny socials and clam bakes.

IMG_7154b

I’m usually fairly cautious about seafood at these open air affairs in the summer but this time I threw caution to the wind and ordered 12 of the raw clams, afraid that the steamed would be overcooked and chewy.

IMG_7093b

The raw clams were firm and briny.  Delicious.

IMG_7081b

As predicted, the steamed clams were overcooked and chewy.  The two “fraidy cats”, my husband and Jade, switched to the raw and ordered another serving of the delicious corn on the cob.  The corn is GM of course, all American corn is but, like cake, an occasional piece shouldn’t hurt.

IMG_7118b

Because the towns are close, the different firehouse events are attended by almost everyone in the region.  We saw our framer there.  People are open, friendly and ready to engage.   It’s a good way to let everyone have a look at you and get used to seeing you. Comparative to attending all market days in Sens and/or lolling at Le Litteraire over coffee.

IMG_7128b

It’s always good in the beginning to eat the trashiest food on offer, then you’re completely over it and need never eat it again.  Unless you’re a starving to death vegetarian and all food, save meat, is delicious and elegant :D

IMG_7142b

I really thought she wouldn’t be able to resist the lamb on kaiser rolls.  Nope.

IMG_7229b

She just sat there mechanically working her way through the macaroni and green salads. Rather sadly, I thought.

Bavarian Grilled Lamb on Kaiser Rolls

1 leg of lamb, butterflied

Bavarian essence

Tzatziki

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Kaiser rolls

Stab the lamb all over with a knife, then rub in the Bavarian essence.  Refrigerate overnight.

Turn on all the burners of a gas grill and preheat with top down to 500-600 F.  Sear the meat on both sides, turn off half the burners, put the lamb on the side without flame, put the top down and roast for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the lamb from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then slice and layer onto kaiser rolls with tzatziki, lettuce and tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Babies

 

Meat loaf_0412b

After having experienced some of the cuisine in Germany,  I have come to the conclusion that much of our  “American” cuisine has roots in Germany;  potato salad, hot dogs, hamburgers and meat loaf.  The average German deli offers a wide range of meat loaves with variations in spices, herbs and meats.

Meat loaf_0396b

Today I made a meat loaf with ground baby beef (veal) and baby sheep (lamb).  My husband loves this!

Meat loaf_0236b

How can one tell if the beef and sheep were truly babies when slaughtered?  Well, the meat is a pale, delicate pink, sort of like English and Irish babies.  Although, of course, I would never eat a human baby!  Maybe my ancestors did but that was on another continent, during a different time, and it wasn’t my fault :)

Meat loaf_0181b

Interlude.  Our airfreight arrived on Friday and contained our espresso machine.  My husband made coffee and I found an old, unwrapped, crushed biscuit in the bottom of my purse from Le Litteraire in Sens.  It was almost like being there!

Meat loaf_0170b

I found this poster at a second hand store for $38.  After looking at reproductions of it on the net, I noticed that it wasn’t exactly the same; Depots Partout was missing from the reproductions.  Researching further, I discovered that this was a poster by Leonetto Cappiello, considered the father of modern advertising because of his innovations in poster design.  My poster seems to be worth from $300 to $12,000 dollars.  I love not knowing :)

Meat loaf_0195b

Staring dreamily at the poster, I consumed a breakfast of toast, egg, tomato, cheddar, bacon and grapefruit juice.

Meat loaf_0246b

Meat loaf.  Meat loaf is one of the easiest meals I make.  You can make it with just about any combination of ground meat, add bread crumbs, eggs, herbs and some liquid to keep it moist.

Meat loaf_0204b

Normally, if I was using a tomato base for my liquid, I’d make a quick homemade sauce with onion, garlic, diced tomato, oregano and basil, but I decided to use the canned tomatoes I bought at Wegmans that already had the herbs added.  Never again will I buy these tomatoes!  They were sweet.  Bleah.

Meat loaf_0223b

I hate this butcher block top that’s on my island.  It looks like it was used for butchering cats or something.  Bandit, the curious cat, never jumps up on the island.  Clue.  My new top should be coming in a week.  I added a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to the diced tomatoes.

Meat loaf_0249b

Baby potatoes.  I adore cute food!

Meat loaf_0263b

I still haven’t found normal size garlic; the cloves are small and wimpy, except for something they call “elephant garlic” whose cloves are larger than baby potatoes.

Meat loaf_0272b

Colorful food is pleasing!  It makes me smile.

Meat loaf_0275b

I prepared a batch of baby potatoes with baby red bell peppers for roasting, thinking about Jade the vegetarian.  She who must not eat meat.

Meat loaf_0327b

I’d be willing to wager that if I found a French magret de canard in this ex-British colony gone rogue, she’d de-convert in a flash :D  In the meantime, it doesn’t help that I like and make good vegetables.  Still, she’s starting to have the Cassius look at meal times.

Meat loaf_0360b

She’s salad with baby, plum colored tomatoes and cucumbers.

Veal and Lamb Meat Loaf

1 lb ground veal

1lb ground lamb

2 eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes with aromatics (not Wegmans) with 1 tbsp olive oil added

Mix the veal, lamb, eggs, crumbs, salt and pepper together.  Add 1 cup of the diced tomato mixture and mix well to blend.  Form into a loaf and place in a lightly oiled roasting pan.

Roast the loaf in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Pour half of the remaining diced tomatoes over the loaf and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool for 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve with the remaining tomato sauce.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, German, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Buddha

Vegetable stir fry and chicken 050b

Jade left the school in Massachusetts wanting to get into the Zen of meditation, green tea, vegetarianism and Buddha (Buddhism).

Vegetable stir fry and chicken 025b

The food in the school cantine must have been shocking.  Well whatever.  I cook vegetables anyway and we don’t all have to be vegetarian  :)

Vegetable stir fry and chicken 036b

A vegetable stir fry is an excellent way of emptying the refrigerator of an overabundance of very expensive organic vegetables, bought joylessly in a Wegmans and Callicoon, NY farmers market spending frenzy.

Vegetable stir fry and chicken 062b

Naturally, I thought of adding chicken broth to the sauce for the vegetables but that might have retarded Jade’s growth towards nirvana or something.  I did add black sesame seeds for protein.

Vegetable stir fry and chicken 087b

Jade, I think unfairly, accused her father of unnecessary, loud chicken crunching and juice dribbling, in order to sway her from the path of righteousness.  I wonder how long she will last :D

Vegetable stir fry and chicken 095b

Vegetarian Stir Fry

4 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp sherry

2 tbsp peanut oil

1/4 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, slivered

1/2 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 each, red, yellow and orange, mini bell peppers, sliced

6 mini white turnips, halved and sliced

3 baby bok choy, stems separated from leaves (stems sliced, leaves torn into pieces)

1 summer squash, halved and sliced

Black sesame seeds

Stir the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic sauce, vinegar, honey and sherry together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok and add the onion, garlic, ginger and peppers.  Stir fry until the onion is just wilted.  Add the turnips and bok choy stems, then continue to stir fry until the turnips are crisp tender.  Add the summer squash and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the bok choy leaves.

Pour in the sauce mixture, then stir until the bok choy leaves are just wilted.  To serve, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Baby Beef

IMG_6721b

My husband loves the old fashioned American diners that you can still find on the East coast.  Nothing like the hamburger joint in Pulp Fiction, way too upscale, but he likes the ones with meat loaf, roast beef specials and enormous breakfasts that include pancakes with eggs, bacon, home fries, buttered (margarine) toast and jam.  He’s not obese and no more than middle age overweight, but it’s a good thing he got that new valve.

Baby Beef_0006b

Anyway.  Our house is a mess.  Our things from Germany haven’t arrived yet but we already had a house full of thousands of pounds of boxed household effects that have been stored for decades.  In those boxes, somewhere, is a ridiculous amount of cooking pots, pans, cooking utensils (mine and my mother-in-law’s), etc.  This, plus the stuff coming from Germany, is more than anyone would need in a lifetime, so I must unpack the boxes in order to cook anything worth while instead of going out and buying more things.  I’ve been unpacking unenthusiastically and slowly.

Baby Beef_0017b

We’ve had breakfast in a diner at least 5 times since I arrived on August 5th and on August 17th, my husband’s birthday, he wanted another early morning blow out.  There are several diner-like places in the small town of  Honesdale, Pennsylvania where you can get breakfast and my husband has tried them all.  On the outside of one of his favorites, and the one he chose for his birthday breakfast feast, is a sign that says “Baby beef liver.”  I was curious.

IMG_6708b

We ordered our meals and I asked the very friendly, very efficient waitress if the sign was a cute way of saying veal.  No, she said and explained to us very carefully and patiently that, like the pork cuts of ham and bacon, beef also has a cut called veal and that it is located somewhere near the shank of the cow.  Baby beef, she said a bit sadly, comes from cow babies.

I nodded, kept my head down and refused to look at my husband because even though he looks like a really nice, sweet, leprechaun kind of a guy, he’s bad to the bone and would have made me laugh out loud, embarrassing the nice lady and probably getting me barred from the diner for life.

There are two things that are puzzling if not appalling about this:  1)  Honesdale is a farming community and livestock is common.  2)  What in the world does the Wayne County education system require for a child to graduate from high school?!  We discussed this for hours, giggling over several glasses of Prosecco in the privacy of our own home, while wondering if we should home school Jade.

I haven’t figured out the light in the kitchen yet and my tripod doesn’t arrive until Tuesday but I really wanted to start posting from Honesdale.  The light situation could be caused by the glare from the enormous stainless steel refrigerator.  I’ll try covering it with a sheet. The out of focus pictures are caused by the trembling hands of the aged.  Tripod.

Baby Beef_0097b

The Farmer’s Market here in Honesdale is somewhat of a disappointment.  It’s like they moved those roadside vegetable and fruit stands to a parking lot.  Not a big selection but I did find those beets and some lovely wax beans.  I made a salad with the beans.  The plate is hand painted from Austria and was the first set of dishes I owned before my marriage 38  years ago.

Baby Beef_0106

The butcher didn’t have baby beef flanken ribs but did have some from mature adults.  I rubbed the ribs with my Bavarian Essence, refrigerated them for about 6 hours and then grilled.  The salad was a mixture of steamed wax beans, drained and rinsed canned pinto beans, sliced scallion, roasted red pepper, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments