Category Archives: Culinary

Dot . . . Dot . . . Dot . . .

Let’s pause for a moment to recognize a moment. Dad’s Hat Distillery canceled my tour for Saturday due to the extreme heat expectation. I did not become emotional. I just removed it from the calendar and continued on . . . Things are changing. Usually, as I come across things as I re-build this blog I become excited and then start thinking I should do that stuff again. When I come to Toastmasters posts, all of a sudden I want to do Toastmasters again. Homebrewing was the same. And geocaching has been too. But I’ve taken a break from the blog and from geocaching. I just came across some caches that I am posting. I noted that I have absolutely no passion for returning. Who knows what will happen, but my caching days may be over (save what flowers22 drags me to) . . . Carnitas! Now that’s some good stuff . . . One of the benefits of the no single-use bags mandate in New Jersey is that beneath my sink is neater. I have finally run out of single-use bags and am now working on the single-use bags I had to purchase. No savings here. Instead of recycling bags, I now actually purchase single-use bags. The system is flawed . . . Locks on doors. Broken handles, No way to live . . . We all want to be heroes, but reality says otherwise. We’re just humans doing human things. It’s not heroic, it’s life . . .

Fresh Jersey White Peaches Added to the Rumtopf

22-07-31 Fresh Jersey White Peaches Added to the Rumtopf

This project has taught me some things. I began the rumtopf with strawberries. I think of strawberry season the very beginning of June. Strawberries were ending that week. Likewise, I think of peaches as August, yet I have been seeing peaches everywhere. The other day I stopped at Ingraldi’s as I needed some items. They had peaches. I asked if they were Jersey peaches. Indeed! Then I heard how everything came in early this year. They’ve had peaches all month.

Well then!

Picked up three quarts ($5 per). That was 15 peaches. I opted for white for no reason.

Here’s the thing. I like peaches, but much like with oranges, I don’t eat them. They are too much work. It’s been since childhood that I cut open a fresh peach on my own. Today was interesting.

I knew peeling peaches wasn’t done with a vegetable peeler as the flesh gets cuts up. I looked at some videos. It seemed easy enough. First I scored an X in the bottom of the peaches’ skin. Then I boiled some water, tossed in six peaches at a time for 30 seconds. Took them out to an ice bath, and repeated.

Peeling the peaches at this point could not have been easier. The skins came right off.

Then I set to slicing the peaches. Ugh.

These things are slippery than eels without skins on them. And pitting them was a chore on a few of the peaches. Oh, everything was ripe, it’s just that I was trying to preserve the flesh and well things got messy.

All of a sudden I was concerned that the peaches would turn brown, so I opened the rumtopf and just placed the slices right into the pot. Filled it all the way.

I had planned on stopping with peaches. It’s a good thing for there is no more room in the two-gallon pot. Now it’s time for the alcohol to do it’s thing.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

This series highlights the International Bartenders Association (IBA) The Unforgettables cocktails. I have decided to work my way through this series of cocktails to investigate the classics as I teach myself mixology and build out my home bar.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had an Old Fashioned. I grew up in the era of muddled fruit, so this is different than what I was accustomed to. In the end, it is watered-down bourbon. That’s all. Take bourbon, add sugar and water to it, add ice, and stir. That is watered-down bourbon.

Even so, I made it. Okay. Any drink with sugar (Mint Julep) gets consumed so quickly that I think it is lost upon me. Here too.

The second I preferred as I used rye. I have no issue with bourbon, but i thought rye worked better. The third one, hey, I am all about experimenting, I added simple syrup instead of water. Yeah, I can see why folks would like something like that. It was indeed sweet.

I would certainly drink this out, but probably only if the crowd were having these. Otherwise, I think I would opt for something different.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

Recipe by Robert OwensCourse: Cocktails, The Unforgettables
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calorieskcal

IBA recipe

Ingredients

  • 45 ml Bourbon or Rye Whiskey

  • 1 Sugar Cube

  • Few Dashes Angostura Bitters

  • Few Dashes Plain Water

Directions

  • Place sugar cube in old fashioned glass and saturate with bitter, add few dashes of plain water. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey. Stir gently.
  • Garnish with an orange slice or zest, and a cocktail cherry.

Negroni

Negroni

This series highlights the International Bartenders Association (IBA) The Unforgettables cocktails. I have decided to work my way through this series of cocktails to investigate the classics as I teach myself mixology and build out my home bar.

So, I’ve returned to the Negroni. This is a classic. My first go-around with this was . . . bitter. Well, of course, as it was my first encounter with Campari.

I made it the same way: one ounce each of gin (Beefeater), Campari, and sweet vermouth (Carpana Antica). I think my palate has expanded to accept Campari. It is indeed bitter, but I am enjoying this far more this time. I garnish with an orange zest instead of a slice. I can see this being something I have on occasion.

Negroni

Negroni

Recipe by Robert OwensCourse: Cocktails, The Unforgettables
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calorieskcal

IBA recipe

Ingredients

  • 30 ml Gin

  • 30 ml Bitter Campari

  • 30 ml Sweet Red Vermouth

Directions

  • Pour all ingredients directly into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, Stir gently.
  • Garnish with a half orange slice.

Monkey Gland

Monkey Gland

This series highlights the International Bartenders Association (IBA) The Unforgettables cocktails. I have decided to work my way through this series of cocktails to investigate the classics as I teach myself mixology and build out my home bar.

Certainly an oddly named cocktail. This is my first experience, I believe, with absinthe. Easy enough to make. Just looking at the recipe makes me think the proportions are off given a tablespoon of absinthe. From what I’ve seen, absinthe is usually used to rinse the glass, not as a liquid ingredient in the cocktail.

One absolutely tastes the absinthe. It’s not bad, but it does dominate. Looking elsewhere I see others just rinse as I said above. It seems like most have two ounces of gin and less orange juice. I’ll play around with this.

Overall, it’s not bad, but I don’t see me jumping up and down ordering this out and about.

Monkey Gland

Monkey Gland

Recipe by Robert OwensCourse: Cocktails, The Unforgettables
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calorieskcal

IBA recipe

Ingredients

  • 45 ml Dry Gin

  • 45 ml Fresh Orange Juice

  • 1 Table Spoon Absinthe

  • 1 Table Spoon Grenadine Syrup

Directions

  • Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • No garinsih

Mary Pickford

22-07-25 Mary Pickford

This series highlights the International Bartenders Association (IBA) The Unforgettables cocktails. I have decided to work my way through this series of cocktails to investigate the classics as I teach myself mixology and build out my home bar.

It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve worked on this series. For this cocktail, I tried to obtain fresh pineapple juice from Mission Spirits. They do not use fresh. I purchased a can from Shop Rite. Apparently, another thing that can’t be purchased any longer are the small cans with the peel top. I had to purchase a large can (half gallon). I note that I do not know where my Swiss Army knife is these days. Maybe I didn’t bring it with my from the house. Don’t know. Had to take the entire lid off.

The cocktail looks nice. The glass IBA used (below) is nice. I think the Nick & Nora is nice as well.

I made my own grenadine. Easy peasy.

There is nothing wrong with this cocktail, but it doesn’t wow me. It feels thin. Frankly, I was almost expecting gin to be tasted. I wonder how gin would work with this. Frankly, the Dole pineapple is just making this flat. Perhaps a splash of soda would enliven this. I don’t see me returning to this one any time soon.

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford

Recipe by Robert OwensCourse: Cocktails, The Unforgettables
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calorieskcal

IBA recipe

Ingredients

  • 45 ml White Rum

  • 45 ml Fresh Pineapple Juice

  • 7.5 ml Maraschino Luxardo

  • 5 ml Grenadine Syrup

Directions

  • Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish: none

Notes

  • Despite the call for a lack of garnish, I think a cherry works well with this.

Jack Daniels Triple Mash

Jack Daniels Triple Mash

There’s been a lot of buzz regarding this new release from Jack Daniels. There have been two releases: Jack Daniels Bonded and Jack Daniels Triple Mash. The reviews have been favorable about both, but the triple mash is always highlighted as better.

I picked up a bottle at Toast in Vineland for $41.

Right off the bat, Jack Daniels has adopted the international new standard of 700ml. That means less booze in the bottle. This 100 proof. I don’t normally drink whiskey that is under 100 proof.

There isn’t much on the nose for me. Some caramel and vanilla notes. Typical, but nothing that wakes me up. Maybe a hint of French toast.

In the mouth has moved all over the place. The beginning of the bottle was sweet, sweet, sweet. Candy-like. Very easy to drink. Frankly, probably too sweet. But it went down easily. I am past halfway. The taste is thinner. Not as sweet. A little watery on first taste. The corn comes through. I am definitely not tasting the sweetness I did when I popped the bottle.

This does not have much burn at all. And it does not last in the mouth. It’s gone pretty quickly.

Even when it was full sweet, this wasn’t a bottle that said, “Hey, this is going to be something you need to restock.” I wouldn’t run away if this was offered to me somewhere, but I don’t think I would re-buy this on my own as I can think of other whiskey at this price I would prefer to drink regularly.

Everything Is Better with Butter & Cream

Mac & Cheese

Somewhere along the line I recall my mother stating that everything tastes better with butter and cream. I think it was in reference to my grandmother’s cooking. Mom is correct.

Beetle has a boyfriend. He’s a nice boy. Apparently, he has his own issues with food. That is fine. Beetle likes boxed macaroni and cheese. She has not taken to homemade versions, so I have stopped trying. Once upon a time she poo-pooed the Shop Rite brand, but that is all I buy. She eats it. She likes it.

Why? I use butter and heavy cream. It’s hard not to like.

One day Beetle’s boyfriend was visiting. I made mac and cheese. Beetle explained that he doesn’t like boxed mac and cheese. Well, that’s what I had. I don’t have a pantry full of goods to pull out at a moment’s notice. The boy is nice; he’ll eat what is served.

Word got back to me later that he LOVED the mac and cheese and has requested it on future visits. I have complied.

Everything (even $0.39 Shop Rite brand boxed mac and cheese) tastes better with butter and cream.

Dot . . . Dot . . . Dot . . .

Watching some lady on YouTube. Her virtue signaling is omnipresent. Even that wedding ring signals, doesn’t it? . . . July 2022 (the current month) is a no-buy month for me. I will only permit myself to purchase consumables for myself. There may be some physical things purchased as gifts for my children (my daughter is preparing for college) . . . I am not a good enough writer to complete the wedding card I purchased for my ex-wife. Nothing I have tried comes off as totally joyous for her without it being read into on some level. I will take the advice others have provided and not send a card. I e-mailed her a congratulations when she first wrote me about it. That will have to suffice . . . Social media is insidious! I follow a guy on YouTube. Nice guy. No issues. But even he has a video called 5 Ryes You Have to Have. No, I do not need five ryes. I like rye, but I don’t need five bottles of it at once . . . Haven’t been a fan of Dad’s Hat Rye as a sipper. Decided to try it in a Manhattan. Much, much better! . . . Completing the The Unforgettables challenge is not healthy; it encourages me to drink. That isn’t a good thing . . . My inner voice is too negative. I need to either train it to be positive or turn the voice off altogether . . . Sent my ex-wife AND her fiancé a wedding card today. I believe they are being married Friday, Believe because I wasn’t invited. 🙂 It was most freeing . . . I noted recently that Dead & Company were not selling out the stadia they play in this summer. I saw this again the other night in Foxborough. Just saw a quick clip of Poison at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Looked like the upper deck for that show was sold out. Just saying . . . Canceled my credit card today. I used it twice. I don’t see a need going further . . .

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

22-07-04 Black Bean and Corn Salsa

As I noted earlier, I was bored this morning. A little bit after I posted that, I got motivated and went out. Something struck me and I decided to go fetch some vegetables to make a western style omelet. That took me out to Ingraldi’s. As I perused the offerings, one of the ladies suggested the corn was really good. I picked up a few ears, a big tomato, a zucchini, and some potatoes. I paid and went to the vehicle.

That is when I began thinking about black bean salsa.

Many years ago I went through a short phase of eating this. I had never had it before, stumbled across it (Cooking Light, I think). I know someone gave me a jar of it too that was very good. So, I sat in the vehicle, googled a recipe, looked it over, got out of the vehicle, and purchased some more corn and some limes.

Off to Shop Rite I went for some more ingredients. I came home and began making this. I opted to make my own beans. Somewhere in all this I was looking at other recipes and someone mentioned how easy it is to make one’s own beans. This is something I have always wanted to do, but never wanted to put the time into. Well, with an Instant Pot, time is trivial. Easy peasy and it is one-fourth the price of canned. I dare say they are better than canned too.

So, I made the beans, fried the corn, prepped all the other ingredients, and assembled.

This is one of those dishes that improves over time. I wanted it cold, so I forced myself to wait an hour before having any. I had some more a few hours later. That was better. The stuff I have tomorrow, I suspect, will be better still.

This looked just like the Southern Living recipe did. It tasted good. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Next time, I think I need some more tomato and more lime juice.

Shop Rite was out of jalapeno, so I substituted a habanero. A second one would have done well. While nothing wrong with this salsa, I thought it needed something else to pull it all together. A little zing might be just the thing.

Also, since it’s made with all fresh ingredients, there was no “sauce” to this salsa. Salsa is usually slurpy. I missed that with this. I kept thinking if I had blended (no way for me to actually do that, mind you) some of the black beans and added it in, much like one does with soup, I would have had some of that texture I was looking for.

I was excited after purchasing the vegetables. I have pared my lifestyle down so much that it is drab. Today I needed some color, some brightness. This salsa did that for me without adding to my things. That was important to me. Yummy!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Recipe by Robert OwensCourse: Culinary
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calorieskcal

Southern Living recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 fresh corn kernels (from 5 ears)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 medium pepper)

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup chopped plum tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes [5 oz. total])

  • 1 cup chopped red onion (from 1 small [5 oz.] onion)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (from 1 bunch cilantro)

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño chile, not seeded (1 small chile)

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high until hot. Add corn and oil; cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in bell pepper until combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  • Add beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt to corn mixture; toss gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve.