Archive for February, 2015


Cauliflower and spinach with cheese sauce

Several options to cook tonight, decided on califlower and spinach with a sauce. 

Most likely will be baking bread later on.

So I started with onion garlic and rosemary, sautéed . Aromatic….


Make a roux, (add flour).  While it cooks set the oven to 350 degrees…

Add milk to make a sauce and cook till sauce thickens. I thinned it with a bit of water.

Steam up some cauliflower  and spinach

Season the sauce , salt,  pepper , Add  cheese  and  spices as preferred . I used a small amount of mozzarella .

Layer about half of the spinach and cauliflower in a baking dish to fit.

Add  1/2 of the sauce  ,then the remainder  of veggies and the sauce.

Top with crushed crackers, ( or breadcrumbs , bread cubes)

Bake  at 350  till done , ya know bubbly, browned top.

Tasty , good balance of seasonings.  



One disadvantage of shopping a the supercenter vs. the warehouse club is that the carriages are small and if you use the self serve check out there may not be enough room to hold all your purchases, especially if you purchase large bulky items (food that is ) like a 20 lb bag of rice and 25 lbs of flour also a large bag on sugar. No problem , when the cart is somewhat full , a trip to the car (or truck) to unload groceries and then return to the store to complete the purchase. In this weather I don’t mind leaving groceries on the truck while I go back in to purchase other items.

Stock up time….

IMG_7528 IMG_7535 IMG_7534 IMG_7533 IMG_7536 IMG_7532 IMG_7531 IMG_7530 IMG_7529











Spanish Rice Casserole

Spanish rice casserole
Rice, two cups


Tomato paste about 1/2 can
Several spoonfuls salsa
Chopped onion
Chopped garlic
3/4 habanero pepper (more or less depending on heat level preferred.)
1 red bell pepper
Total above  ingredients (less rice) should be about 4 cups.

Place in a casserole dish, cover with foil and bake at about 320 for 30-40 minutes, till liquid is absorbed.


remove and top with cheese if desired, return to the oven and broil till cheese is melted.IMG_7272 IMG_7273 IMG_7274


Favorite yellow cake

From the Good Housekeeping Cookbook

An exercise in baking a cake. A simple recipe for a yellow cake other than using a box mix. Recently worked on oven, checking temperature settings.

Oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2 and 1/4 cups cake flour (I used all purpose flour)
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
3/4 cup of shortening

3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

I split the wet and dry ingredients……


The original recipe has you put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix.



Using a fluted pan here instead of two layer or cupcakes.

greased and floured



Batter mixed for 5 minutes… Do you taste your batter ?    I do .



Into the pan..


Into the oven… About 35 minutes later….


cooling off….


It did stick a bit, but a decent cake for a short amount of work.

The 3 eggs give this cake a medium body, not like the killer pound cake recipe Diane bakes.

Plain for the lunchbox or served with fresh, frozen or canned fruit this cake makes a good base for a dessert creation.


Habanero pepper flakes

Dried some habernaro peppers in a low oven about 150 degrees over several hours to preserve them .




Beef bourguigion

A scaled down version of this beef dish from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

In a large pan brown two slices of salt park to render fat.


Remove and set aside.
Peel small white onions about a dozen or so.


Add them to the pan and brown in the pork fat.


Remove the onions and set aside.

Prepare the meat, here I am using about 1 lb of beef from a sirloin cut.


Coat the meat with flour (and salt and pepper).


Brown the beef in the pork fat.

About toward the end of batch browning I had to supplement the oil with a shot of vegetable oil.
Set the browned beef aside.

More onion !
Now add to the pan chopped onion and carrot.
Cook about five minutes according to the recipe.

Return beef to the pan, pour over 1/4 cup brandy, (I used whiskey) about a shot’s worth and ignite. Traditional French style flambé , take all precautions about having an open flame on the stovetop, tie back your hair if necessary.


Add the reserved bacon, a coupleof cloves of garlic, some salt, thyme, (thyme and oregano ), pepper, bay leaves, and wine. here instead of the traditional Burgandy I am using my own blend of meads, a melomel and a payment. Very fruity taste.


Now cover and bake or simmer several hours I doubt I will let it simmer more than an hour. A taste at this point and the previous time spent was well worth it!


There’s more to do after this……

After the stew has simmered add mushrooms and reserved onions.


It wasn’t necessary to add any thickener (butter and flour) to the stew.

Didn’t get any photos of the finished dish but it was an excellent stew and served it over rice.


A modified Mac and cheese



Ok  ! prepare a roux as you usually would for a mac and cheese,  crumble some sausage and cook first. Add the flour and milk etc. Add some tomato paste to give it a tomato flavour. Add seasonings to your liking.

In an overly large casserole dish,( this is so it is not a deep dish bubbly saucy casserole but one that the pasta is almost a single layer and is lightly coated with the sauce), spread some greens then the pasta. (Cooked to liking)

Pour the sauce over over the pasta, if you prefer, spent grain bread cubes on top. Heat through in an oven, broil and brown if preferred.

Of course you can add cheese anywhere along the way….

other useful additions might included onions, garlic or any other veggie, a bit of heat ?


The sausage roux…….  mmmmmmmm……..


  Assembly of the sauce….. IMG_7219 cook and complete the sauce……. IMG_7220 line the bottom of the pan with greens………. I threw in some fennel……. IMG_7216 Add the pasta, could be only half cooked if you like al dente ……. IMG_7217   Layer on the sauce, it’s not imperative to cover all the pasta , let the richness of the sauce do the work……I often include some bread crumbs, or cubes on top. These from spent grain bread… Bake, I guess at about 350 degrees to heat everything up, the sauce will stick to the pasta, if you like the crunch, broil…. IMG_7221 As such……       IMG_7223 Close up of the finished dish…… IMG_7222Sort of like a pasta salad, wouldn’t you say….




A Radio Shack is a room or structure used for housing radio equipment.


Ok !any body over the years who ever has taken on an electronic project, messed with computers back in

the 70’s and forward most likely has crossed the threshold of their local Radio Shack.

They were so a neighborhood icon that most hobbyist would count on the Shack to be their

GPS so to speak, no matter where they lived the Shack could be found within a short

distance to gather parts, or find that last missing cable or component to complete a

audio, video, or digital project.

Can I recall my first visit to the Shack? Possibly I read the catalog first. There were

some competitors (Lafayette, Heathkit) ,but one’s first exposure could be by a snail mail

catalog back then. Radio Shack was also an advertiser in magazines like Popular Mechanics,

Popular Science and such projects in those magazines would also utilize Radio Shack

components. Any maker/hacker back than would quickly become familiar with the numbered

stock system. Hookup wire and tube sockets anyone ? Grab that high wattage Weller soldering gun !

Another brilliant move back than was the free annually catalog. One of The geeksters bibles

the shack catalog covered all current electronic trends from radios (real transmitters,

receivers,stereos, audio, video, (then televisions) and the real meat, electronic

components. Any one knows that a catalog is also an education tool. Perusing the pages

gave a wealth of info on the products. Don’t forget the book section at the Shack too.

The shack itself was an introverts playground as one would feel free to stay and spend an

hour scanning the shelves even though your total purchase might be less than $5.00 dollars.

The sales people would ask if you needed assistance and go about their business if you

responded “NO, just browsing”. Other retailers make you feel as though your are perusing

their store ready to stuff your pockets with their items or pepper you with questions

about what you didn’t want.

When digital started it’s transformation from the analog stream RS already had it’s

distribution in place for home and business computers. Also the shack transformed from the

vacuum tube era to the transistor to the Integrated circuit component supply not to

mention all the bells and whistles needed such as solder soldering irons, breadboards

power supplies etc.

Back then ,The quality of the Shack’s consumer electronics , even though they were from

off shore, tended to be better than other foreign goods as it seemed that the Shack

demanded higher quality. Even if they were at obscene markups, they were good enough at

the time. The other competition was a Kmart or local retailer or department store. Best

Buy, Circuit City, and comp USA didn’t exist yet.

It was the local Radio Shack that started my

education with home computers. A basic entry TRS-80 (affectionately know as the Trash-80) was

purchased and became a fixture on my living room coffee table. The blinking asterisk on the

screen indicated that the program recorder (a cassette recorder) was loading the program. I

learned how to play backgammon and lunar lander that was written in BASIC. With tutorials,

I learned BASIC and how to write save and load programs.

I wondered though as RS sold computers for home and business that the employees still

used the old handwritten pad of tickets for every purchase, That of course changed.

The Shack(s) was at that time a support center for makers as Heathkit, tended to cater to

the higher income hobbyist, closed it doors and later

my interest with the shack grew to a point there I went there once for employment.

Actually it was more of an interest, as a salesman I am not, and as customers entered the

store I would ask if they needed assistance and stumbled if they asked generalized

questions like whats a good calculator for school. Mostly knowing what I was going to buy

when I entered a store, I assumed most people did the same. The pay depended on sales and

the eager beaver salesman vied for the hours on the floor.

Not to sound trite but the rest, as they say is history your familiar with , the progress

of mass communication through the internet added another dimension to shopping and those

late adopters paid the price. Buy some consumer electronic devices on the internet today

and they come to your door directly from the overseas manufacturer.

Need components today and Amazon, and  Ebay, just to name a few will pop up in your search.





chicken thighs with greens, mushrooms and bulgar wheat.

       saute onions IMG_7256After browning the chicken thighs in a bit of oil,(not shown), gently toast the bulgar wheat, and add garlic!



Add the recommended amount of water or stock, about 3/1 ratio water to  bulgar.

Bring to a boil then cover simmer.



after about ten minutes, add the browned thighs and mushrooms.


IMG_7259like so…


decided to add these greens also, bout’ half a bag


Now cover and let simmer another 10 minutes or so.




Plate it up…

IMG_7264delicious and filling meal.


February 2015

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