Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bounty Hunters and Pot Roast

Last week I was watching a classic motion picture, Hannie Caulder, in which Raquel Welch, under the tutelage of bounty hunter Robert Culp, becomes a gunfighter so as to exact revenge on Ernest Borgnine, Jack Elam and Strother Martin, the three of whom killed her husband and, ah, had their way with her.    We meet Robert Culp as he rides in, a dead outlaw with a price on his head tied across the saddle of his pack horse.  At this point a question occurred to me; do you suppose old west bounty hunters minored in undertaking?  I mean westerns are littered with bounty hunters hauling dead guys around the desert, waiting to cash in at the next Sheriff's office.  You would think things would get a little rank.  So, it occurred to me that, obviously, these guys must already be embalmed.

But enough philosophy.

It was an interesting weekend, culinarily speaking.  I was being a very good (vegetarian) boy, perhaps too good.  Starting off Friday evening with a longer and more frustrating day at the office than I had hoped, I hit a mess of traffic on the southbound 215 en route to the homestead.  I had called Larry, my neighbor, to see how his commute was progressing, figuring that if we were stuck fairly close to each other on the freeway we could exit to some convenient bar to wait for traffic to thin out.  Unfortunately, or I guess fortunately for Larry, he was well ahead of me and close to home.  We agreed to meet at his house for a post commute cocktail.

(Here I should plug my concept for increasing ridership in carpools.  Various public agencies from the AQMD to CalTrans to whoever are always trying to come up with ways to incite people to carpool.  Excuse me, I suppose that should be "incentivize."  (God I hate that.)  My concept is simple; legalize drinking for riders in carpools.  The concept is not that radical, it's just taking designated driver to its obvious limit.  Think how much more enjoyable the ride would be, kicking it in the back seat with a frosty brew or maybe a nice Suavignon Blanc.  And the peer pressure from the drivers, encouraging their fellow carpoolers to drive so that each can get his turn behind the glass.  Ridership would skyrocket.  I'm thinking about trying to qualify this for the California ballot.  What the heck, screwier stuff comes out of our initiative process.)

Anyway, made it home and hooked up with Larry for a little Jack Daniel's.  I decided that we were in no mood for cooking, so we treated the Pimms to dinner at Oggi's.  I was sorely tempted to have something with MEAT, but I settled on a personal size  pizza, the Bocce Ball, with alfredo sauce, spinach, roasted garlic, red bell peppers and Gorgonzola cheese.  Plenty decadent without the meat.  A small Greek salad and a couple IPAs and it was a dinner made in heaven.

Saturday morning came around, Denise sleeping in, and I decided to mess around in the kitchen.  Denise had been saying she really wanted a nice flaky biscuit, not having had one in a long while.  I decided she would have to settle for my biscuits instead.  Strangely, I ended up making vegetarian biscuits and gravy.  Shoot, they were nearly vegan.  Not motivated to bake from scratch, I got out the Bisquick.  Started mixing them up and discovered I only had about a teaspoon of milk in the carton.  No problem, pulled a box of soy milk out of the pantry.   Biscuits in the oven, I started on the gravy.  A white sauce of SmartBalance, a little flour, soy milk and some MorningStar Farms Hot and Spicy Sausage Patties crumbled into the mix.  All things considered they were moderately acceptable, especially when smothered with fresh ground black pepper and habanero sauce.

Sometime on Saturday we were out harvesting miscellaneous goodies from the garden, including tomato worms, and I found this on the back lawn.  We had been missing our kitchen sheers for a while.  Apparently I, or someone, left them out by the garden and Leo converted them to a chew toy.  Idiot!

Oh well, for dinner we made eggplant parmessan with eggplants from the garden.

Breakfast Sunday was Pumpkin-Habanero Waffles, the pumpkin from last years garden by way of our freezer and the habaneros fresh from this year.  I substituted Citrus Olive Oil for the butter, but otherwise it was a pretty standard waffle recipe with an added half cup of pumpkin puree and one very finely minced habanero, seeds and veins removed.   They were very good, but the citrus kind of overpowered the pumpkin and frankly they could have used a second habanero; the spiciness was very subtle.

Lunch was just weird.  We had some leftover sauerkraut in the fridge, I think from our hot dog thing a while back, and loaf of rye bread hanging around.  Denise thought we could use up the kraut on meatless Reuben Sandwiches.  Something about a Reuben with just Swiss cheese and sauerkraut sounded wrong.  Unfortunately, I made it wronger.  I figured we could try some sort of fake lunch meat.  Sprouts carried nothing like meatless Pastrami or Corned Beef, so we bought fake turkey and fake salami  slices.  Piled in combination in the Reuben, they provided a more or less appropriate profile; bread, cheese, meatish-something, kraut, bread.  Taste was a little weird, but the swiss and kraut pretty much overpowered the rest of the thing.

Now, by Sunday evening, I'm thinking that I have strayed from my inner Gumby, not really adhering to the flexitarian ethic.  While at Sprouts I succumbed to the siren song of the meat department and bought a CHUCK ROAST.  It did happen to be a chuck roast from Open Space Meats, grass fed, low in bad fats, high in Omega-3's.   Besides, this was the first half-way cold weekend of the fall, signalling the start of Dutch Oven season. Dutch Oven Sunday with the Pimms.  Fired up the coals in the backyard around 3:30.  Browned the roast, then a little mirepoix, garlic, red wine, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and cumin.  Back in with roast.  A couple hours and several charcoal briquets later I threw in some parsnips, carrots and red potatoes.  Another hour and it was ready.  The Pimms brought desert, a nice apple cobbler in Larry's Dutch oven.  A pretty tasty Zinfandel with dinner.  All Excellent!

6 Comments:

Blogger BJackie said...

Yikes - can't believe Leo was chewing on scissors!

I have a question... Our veggie guy brought us 2 smallish eggplants in our box this week. Not enough prob'y to make e.p. parm. Any other ideas? I don't really know what to do w/ it.

October 20, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Hanten said...

How small? I can make parmessan out of some pretty small eggplants.

Are they those narrow Japanese eggplants? I have made a thing with those where you slice them lengthwise, very thin, on a mandolin, maybe 1/8 - 3/16". You coat them very lightly with breadcrumbs, maybe panko, and fry them quickly in a little olive oil. Put a thin layer of marinara down on a plate, fan a couple slices of the fried eggplant on top and then sprinke with a little crumbed feta and maybe a little chiffonade of basil. Yummy appetizer.

Or you could roast them and make some Baba Ganoush. I made some with an Alton Brown recipe and it's kind of tasty.

October 20, 2010 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Tee said...

Those Pumpkin-Habanero Waffles sound delicious!! I'm going to try to talk Nick into making those with me this weekend :)

October 20, 2010 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger BJackie said...

They are not the narrow japanese kind - they're the usual purple kind - little fat spuds, but not overly large. The one just fits in both my hands and the other is even smaller. Do you think that's enough to do e.p. parm?

October 21, 2010 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Hanten said...

Soitenly! Of course, I've also done some weird things. Once I cubed up some eggplant, breaded and fried them up and served them like little eggplant croutons on a salad.

Or I have done an eggplant, walnut baked pasta thingy, sauted eggplant chunks tossed with some pasta, marinara, walnuts and crumbled cheese and baked.

October 21, 2010 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger BJackie said...

Ooo. Eggplant croutons. I like the way your mind works. You should have your own cooking show. I'm telling you, people would watch The Surly Chef. It would be a nice break from all those freaking over-the-top-cheerful TV chefs!

October 21, 2010 at 9:15 PM  

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