Saturday, October 29, 2011

Onion Stuffing (Winging It)

Just using up perishable foodstuffs here, folks. Based on the ingredients, this should be edible--probably even palatable.

  • 4 medium/large sweet onions, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 5 small sweet peppers, chopped well
  • 6 oz. package of stuffing mix
  • 1 c. water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven.
  2. Add onions and peppers and cook over medium heat for 2 hours.
  3. Add salt, pepper, water, and stuffing. Reduce heat to low and heat for 15 minutes.

This is more of an inspiration than a recipe. Obviously, you could cook the onions and peppers for less than 2 hours and produce a result of equal delectability. I'm just documenting my procedure here.

In my case, this dish will be combined with baby limas and beef stew to make a full meal.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fake Mashed Potato Experiment

I've been thinking about a fake mashed potato recipe for a while now. My first (and only) experiment was to follow conventional wisdom. I boiled and mashed cauliflower and served it as I would mashed potatoes. The result was not horrible, but it was very thin and bland.

The other night, I baked some Delicata squash.  The texture was like very moist potato steak fries.

So! In terms of texture, what would happen if I mixed cauliflower and winter squash? This is what I'm trying tonight.

After baking the squash and cauliflower, I mashed them with a hand-held potato masher. This left lumps. Since it's just an experiment, I carried on. I added 1 cup of milk and some salt and I put it in a sauce pan to simmer at low temperature as I prepared the rest of my dinner.

For the purpose of documentation, here is the "recipe" I used for tonight's dish. The procedure will be improved upon.

Fake Mashed Potatoes v.0.1


  • 13 oz. firm winter squash
  • 13 oz. cauliflower florets
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Peel, halve, and seed squash
  3. Place squash and cauliflower in a pan and bake for 1 hour.
  4. After the vegetables are cooked, transfer them to a medium sauce pan and mash with a potato masher.
  5. Add milk, butter, salt, and pepper, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.


Next time I try this, I won't use a hand-held potato masher. I'll put the squash, cauliflower, and milk into a food processor and blend until smooth.

An open question: Is a one-to-one ration by weight of squash and cauliflower optimum? Taste till tell.

The Delicata squash had a somewhat sweet flavor after baking. I don't know if the same will be true of the Festival squash that I used in this experiment. It may be that I'll need to offset the sweetness of the squash with some other ingredient.

A word of caution: Winter squash is very firm/hard. As you're peeling it with a sharp knife, there is some potential for a nasty accident. As you peel the squash, please try to hold it in such a way that your gripping hand would not be in the knife's path should it slip.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grasshoppers Pickup Number 12

This week I received:
  • 4 bratwurst
  • 3 pork patties
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 Winter squash (Festival)
  • 2 apples
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 large bag green beans
  • 7 small green tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 head garlic
  • 1 small bag potatoes

Holy cow! I need to kick my cooking into high gear. Perishables are piling up! And that's in addition to the frozen meats that are accumulating in my freezer!

The past week or so, I've been using CSA ground beef to make cheeburgers. They were quite delicious, but the accompaniment of olives and chips did nothing to use any CSA produce. The first thing on my agenda this weekend will be a beef stew of some sort. The potatoes in this basket were perfect, because I'd have had to buy them at Meijer otherwise.

I love greens. The turnip greens will make an awesome meal combined with a small amount of pork. But how can you have greens without cornbread? So... cornbread in my future.

The eggplant is probably going to be used in Eggplant Parmesan.

The radishes should go into a salad.

Some of the green beans will go into the beef stew. The rest will make for a delicious side dish--maybe for the beef roast I have in the freezer (groan).

The tomatoes are screaming "Fried Green Tomatoes". I don't think I've had those since I was a kid.

I'll have to think about how to use the squash. Maybe it could go into the beef stew. On the other hand, it might be good in a vegetable curry.

Oh, and then the frozen pork works out to 5-7 quickie meals all by itself.

There are, what, seven days in a week? Maybe I should take vacation time and cook lunches, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Three Mouseketeers

Last night, a field mouse found its way into my computer room. How did it get here? No mystery. There is a crack in my drywall that was caused by a sloppy gutter installation. I've never gotten around to repairing it.

If you have cats, you're probably aware of the body language and sense of excitement in your felines when they've detected a rodent in the house. Whenever that happens, I leave the cats to their business. I might open a closet door if they're obviously waiting for the mouse to make a break, but generally let them do their job on their own terms.

I'm not afraid of mice. Field mice are actually quite adorable. I would be annoyed if a mouse chewed into a box or bag of my foodstuff, but with 3 cats in the house, visiting mice are not going to have much time to check out the pantry.

One thing I do worry about when a mouse comes inside is: How is this sitch going to be resolved? My kittehs are very much into the "Show Daddy" mindset. Gypsy has a disturbing habit of fishing up my bathtub drain filter and depositing it on my bed near the pillow. Yuck! When the kittehs are messing with a mouse, I'm seriously worried that I might wake to find a partially eaten mouse carcass beside me on the pillow.

This particular incident had a happy ending. When I was in the kitchen, Gypsy brought the captured mouse in and dropped it on the floor. The mouse had been "played with" and was completely dazed but apparently unhurt. I scooped it up in a glass jar and tossed it outside. Believe it or don't, I said, "Here ya go, Sweetie," as I tossed the mouse out. They really are adorable creatures.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Grasshoppers Pickup Number 11

Here's what I got in this week's basket:
  • Ground beef
  • 1 Round roast (beef)
  • 1 carving-grade pumpkin
  • 1 package of spinach linguini
  • 6 small sweet peppers of various colors
  • 1 bag of parsley
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 Delicata squash
  • A bag of arugula

I'm being challenged here! So what else is new?

The beef: no problem.

The carving pumpkin? It's just a question of finding someone to whom it to give (am I being grammatically anal?). "Carving Grade" apparently means don't bother roasting this in your oven... it will taste like doo-doo.

The linguini was a freebie. Grasshoppers is promoting a new pasta subscription, so they gave out pasta to all current subscribers. We're talking about 2 meals, minimum, per package. I'm just not sure that I would want to commit to eating pasta on a regular basis. I'm excited about this one package of spinach linguini! I bought a jar of low-sugar pasta sauce and I've added sauteed green pepper and sweet onion to it along with a generous sprinkling of dried oregano. What could be bad?

Ah, the sweet peppers. That's going to be a problem. These are very small peppers.  Traditional "stuffed green pepper" recipes would not be appropriate. I could treat them like Ancho peppers and make chilies rellenos, but I'm worried that the pepper taste might be overpowering. The sweet pepper problem will require some research.

The corn will be, I'm thinking, part of a side dish when I cook the beef roast.

Oh yeah. Delicata squash. What the hell to do with that? It looks sturdy, so I'm thinking I have a little bit of time to determine its future.

The arugula gets sprinkled into my previously-made bag-o-salad. Easy & good.