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Category Archives: food

Me and the Purple Potatoes

That should be more alliterative, like Patty and the Purple Potatoes.  That sounds like it would make a good children’s book.  I’m also thinking that Purple Potatoes (I like to capitalize it) doesn’t even sound like a real thing, but it is.  I just ate some.

Since today is Non-Sequitur Thursday, I will just interject that the poor dog across the street is barking mournfully.  I don’t think he likes to be left outside by himself.  If I still had a dog, I would have her here in the living room with me, even if she did keep bothering me for a treat or to pet her or take her for a walk.  Sorry, just a little pang of sadness, because Tabby used to eventually lie down on the floor or love seat and patiently wait till I was ready to pay attention to her.  I’m sure other dog owners understand.

Where was I? Ah yes, purple potatoes.  I purchased them at T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables in Herkimer, NY.  I had gone in primarily for some celery for my lunch.  While there I realized I also needed some tossed salad fixings, cheddar cheese, red bell peppers, and oh yeah, some potatoes.  We don’t buy potatoes all the time these days and lately I’ve been craving some.

Potatoes sometimes get a bad nutritional rap, but that’s only because carbohydrates has become such a dirty word that nobody can even say all the syllables any more (and don’t get me started on that!).  Well, really, you don’t have to deep fry them or eat them by the heaping mound.  I’m sure they are perfectly good for you in moderation.  So I started to grab some salt potatoes (oh, just be quiet, whichever of you was going to get onto me about salt; I don’t use the whole packet!).

“We have purple potatoes now,” a lady said.  I think she was one of the owners, but I foolishly did not ask.

She explained that purple potatoes are better for you than the regular kind.  They don’t raise your cholesterol.  That shows how much I pay attention.  I didn’t know potatoes were bad for cholesterol.  I thought that was bacon.

“You cook them the same as the regular kind?” I asked.   Yes, I was told.  They are just like the regular kind only purple all the way through.  So I bought them.  I baked them in a kind of a casserole with the red pepper, some onion, cheese, sour cream… oh a bunch of stuff.  It was YUMMY!

I ate some of the leftovers before making this post.  As you can see, it gave me enough energy to make a post that is NOT me whining about how I’m too tired and busy to write a blog post.  Tune in again on Lame Post Friday when Mohawk Valley Girl says,  “EEEE!  It’s Opening Night for Lunch Hour at Ilion Little Theatre!!!”

PS.  The dog stopped barking.  Maybe his people let him in the house.


When’s That Cast Party?

This would probably be a good day for Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  It is closing performance of Roxy (can’t say closing night; it’s a matinee) (I’m not going to say again what Roxy is) (Oh, OK, it’s a play I’m in).  I have to pick up Steven at work at one to get to the theatre late, and I have a number of things I must get done first.  Naturally, I have spent some time looking at Facebook and reading blogs before starting anything.

However, for your entertainment today, I offer a food post about my contribution to the cast party (can’t say cooking; it is raw):  homemade salsa.

I thought of the salsa when I saw that I still had some Roma tomatoes in my refrigerator.  I had purchased them from a vendor at the Mohawk Garlic and Herb Festival in Little Falls last Saturday, and I knew them to be flavorful and fresh.  I asked Steven to purchase some fresh cilantro when he went grocery shopping, if available.  I was in luck.

I made the salsa yesterday, when I was waiting for Steven to get home for lunch.  First I minced some red onion I happened to have.  You know how big red onions can be.  This one has enhanced several salads and was almost gone.  I minced what was left and hoped it would be enough.  Then I chopped the tomatoes.  After chopping two finely I went with bigger chunks for the other four.  For one reason, I was getting tired of chopping. For another reason, I wanted chunky salsa and thought some bigger chunks would be nice.

The aroma of the cilantro was intoxicating.  I pulled leaves off stems and started chopping.  I don’t know if I got the pieces small enough but I did the best I could.  I sometimes make salsa in the blender or food processor, which ensures finely minced cilantro, but it also condenses the tomato considerably and I only had six tomatoes. Also, I really like the chunky stuff.

Steven had also purchased a jar of pickled jalapeños, so I chopped up a few of those.  I was careful not to add too many, because I didn’t want to make Steven’s bald spot sweat.  Next I squeezed in some fresh lemon juice.  I know, lime is more common, but I didn’t have any fresh limes.  I added some cumin and lemon pepper.  After some thought I found the salt-shaker/pepper-grinder and added a grind or two of pepper and a very little salt.

I stirred well and put the mixture in the fridge so the flavors could blend overnight. I figured if I had accidentally put in too many jalapeños, I could add a can of black beans and some corn.   This morning Steven and I tried it.  Yum!  No additions necessary.

Of course I hope my fellow cast-members enjoy the salsa.  However, if they do not, I can assure you it will not go to waste.  Now I must hit Publish and get on with the dozen or so chores I want to complete before taking the stage for our final performance.  I feel sure you hope I will break a leg, so thank you, and Happy Sunday, everyone.


Actors Have to Eat, Too, You Know

Another thing about being in a play is that often one does not have time to grocery shop. Yesterday, therefore, I made a salad for today’s lunch using that old standby ingredient, What I Already Had In The House.  Today I make bold to offer a food post as part of this week’s All Roxy All The Time.

First I dumped a can of black beans into a colander and rinsed them.  While they drained I chopped up a tomato, zucchini and part of a red onion I had in the fridge.  I had purchased the tomato and zucchini at T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables in Herkimer earlier in the week, just to give the post a little local flair.   Next I sliced a few green olives.

For dressing I used mayonnaise and a little pub mustard (I like to buy different kinds of mustard; pub is the latest one I’ve tried).  To this I added a small spoonful of horseradish, a dash of hot sauce, garlic powder, salt-free lemon pepper, and cumin.  I taste-tested it as I stirred and it seemed OK.  I thought it could only get better as the flavors blended.

I’ve been eating it as I write this (at lunch time the next day) and I pronounce it  pretty good.  It got a little soupy, as salads with chopped tomato sometimes do, but not too bad.  Perhaps it is not a gourmet masterpiece, but as weekday lunch, it’ll do.

As a blog post written while I ate lunch at work then hurriedly typed in before rehearsal, I hope this will do.  Happy Wednesday and, oh look, I didn’t Wuss Out!


I’m a Fool for Fuel

Three days till the Boilermaker!  I went to the grocery store this morning to get nutritious food to fuel myself up for the big day.

I got some fruit, which is an excellent source of hydration, and vegetables, because salad is just always a good idea. I also got some bananas.  Oh, I know, that comes under the heading of  “fruit,” but I thought I’d just mention how I thought I’d have one with peanut butter before leaving the house Boilermaker morning.

In the meat section I found a London broil to put in the crock pot on Friday.  A fellow at The Sneaker Store in New Hartford, NY, (where I go for my running shoes and for running advice) told me to have a steak dinner on Friday, pasta on Saturday.  I don’t know how to cook steak, but roast beef in the crock pot is easy enough.

I had had the notion to get some of the frozen, pre-cooked chicken strips, you know, boneless, skinless chicken breast, but I saw some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the meat section.  To me, this is much better.  I like the taste better, it’s easier to cook without drying out, and it costs less.  And one package is good for five meals for me and Steve.

I had meant to write a post detailing the healthy dinner I’m cooking tonight (pasta salad and chicken with pesto), but after writing the above, I’m getting the Boilermaker butterflies again! Maybe All Boilermaker All The Time isn’t such a good idea. Maybe I should take my mind off it.  I may try that tomorrow, on Non-Sequitur Thursday.  Hope to see you then.



A Not Lamentable Supper

Usually when I do a cooking post, I have cooked something unusual or made up a new recipe. However, I enjoyed tonight’s supper so much, I feel it deserves a blog post.

Steven had to work till 5:30 this evening and he had rehearsal at seven for Dirty Work at the Crossroads (the show he is directing for Ilion Little Theatre; perhaps you read some of my blog posts about it) (I have a small but pivotal role). Being a dedicated director, he planned to be at the theatre by 6:30.

“I’ll just grab something,” he said, when I asked him what he wanted to do for supper.

As 5:30 approached, I couldn’t help noticing there was not a lot to just grab in our refrigerator or pantry. We had some Heidelberg bread left over from Easter dinner (we left some for Mom and Dad and brought the rest home. Love that Heidelberg bread!). If we had some deli meat, which we often do, I could have made him a sandwich and had done with. No luck. We had some mozzarella cheese. I could make grilled cheese sandwiches.

The question was did we have any tomato soup. It is perfectly possible to eat a grilled cheese sandwich without tomato soup, but the last time we did, Steven lamented the lack of soup. I wanted him to go to rehearsal happy. Ah, we had the soup. Did we have enough milk, because tomato soup made with water is, again, lamentable. Yes!

I got the soup on. I sliced the cheese. It wouldn’t do to start the sandwiches too early. Of course it would be nice for Steven to walk in the door and hear me say, “Oh, supper is just about ready, sit down!” However, for Steven to walk in to me scraping black grilled cheese sandwiches out of the frying pan would be — you know, it’s a very good word — lamentable.

Of course he was late getting home. I threw the sandwiches on while he changed into his jeans. They didn’t take long. When they were done I cut each one into four slices, for better dipping.

I must say, it was a very satisfying supper. No doubt the Heidelberg bread deserves the credit. Can I just say: YUM! Still, I had to feel a little pleased with myself for thinking of it. And I hope that as a blog post, it was not too lamentable.

Fast Dinner

As Mohawk Valley Girl, I don’t usually plug chains and I almost never eat fast food. However, as the week wears on, I don’t have a whole lot to post about, so I thought I’d mention our Tuesday dinner.

We did not have a whole lot of time before rehearsal (regular readers will recall we are rehearsing Dirty Work at the Crossroads for Ilion Little Theatre) and, quite frankly, we did not have much inclination to cook or even slap a sandwich together. I suggested looking in Sunday’s paper (we hadn’t recycled all of it) for Arby’s coupons. No luck, but once you start thinking about Beef-N-Cheddar and Curly Fries…

So off we went down State Street in Herkimer, NY, to Arby’s. There was no line at the counter, although they were a little busy at the drive-thru. We studied the menu. No calorie counts listed like they do at Taco Bell. Um, not that I go there a lot, either. I briefly considered one of the new sandwiches, such as the Reuben or turkey something or other, but ultimately had to go with my favorite.

I just got the sandwich while Steven got the combo with Curly Fries and soda. I figured I could share his fries, to which he graciously agreed. While we waited for our food, I started flashing back to my first job, which was in fast food. When fellow came up and ordered just a small curly fry, I asked the worker if when someone asked for a small fry she ever gave them just one small french fry.

“A girl I used to work with would do that,” I told her. I’m not sure if she got the joke, but it used to amuse my former co-worker mightily.

Our food was pretty good, for fast food. At least, the sandwiches didn’t seem too fast foody. The fries did, of course, being deep fried (one of my favorite flavors). I put Horsy Sauce on my sandwich and dipped the fries in it as well. I do love that Horsy Sauce.

The service was good too. A not bad dining experience before our rehearsal.

More Green Cooking

I realize that headline implies my recipe (if I may call it that) will be good for the environment. I don’t think it is necessarily bad for the environment, but “green” in this context is meant only to denote St. Patrick’s Day.

Yesterday I wrote about how I added a green pepper to sausage balls in honor of the day (perhaps you read my post). While the sausage was cooking (I did mention it tends to take a long time), I made guacamole with a couple of avocados I had purchased the week before, when they were on sale. How clever of me to save my GREEN avocados for St. Patrick’s Day! Luckily, they last a long time, especially if you intend to mush them, as in guacamole.

I didn’t bother looking up a recipe; I just threw stuff in. A little of the garlic I had crushed for the sausage balls, some minced onions from the spice rack (I had had enough of chopping onions), a splash of lemon juice, a smaller splash of Worcestershire sauce, some cumin, some lemon pepper (actually, I think they call it Lemon & Pepper now). I mushed it with the potato masher, then stirred it thoroughly with a fork.

I taste tested it, as did Steven. I added more spices and let the flavors blend. It turned out pretty good.

I had meant to include this recipe (such as it is) with yesterday’s post, coming as it did in the middle of that cooking adventure. However, as I typed that post in, I feared it would be too lengthy. I always say, waste not, want not. Now I have plenty of time to worry about tomorrow’s post.

Unable to Entertain with a Cooking Post

Yesterday (Saturday) I thought to cook something good, so I could do a cooking post today instead of having Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I had some lovely sausage from Dino’s in Utica, NY that was thawed out and ready to go. What to do with it?

Of course, sausage is always good in spaghetti sauce, and I do love me some spaghetti. However, I did not have any green peppers. I have many times made perfectly tasty sauce without green peppers, but for some reason yesterday, I just did not feel that I could. And I was definitely not inclined to go to the store. Oh dear.

I thought, really, wouldn’t it be a good idea to go out to eat? After all, dinner at Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner would support a Main Street business, which I believe I mentioned in yesterday’s post is something I intend to do. I had mentioned dinner at Crazy Otto’s to Steven that morning, and he seemed a little unenthusiastic. Oh, he loves Crazy Otto’s. It’s just that after a long day of work, he would rather stay home, put on his sweats and relax.

Steven was working till 6:30. As the afternoon wore on, I started to think how happy Steven would feel to come home and see me in sweats. I do like to make my husband happy. I was ready for the sweats on, bra off portion of the day anyways. Surely I could cook SOMETHING.

Then I thought of Sausage Balls. We love to have appetizer-y things for dinner! I started to search for the recipe, first pouring myself a glass of wine, because I like to cook with wine.

And then the whole thing came to a grinding halt. We didn’t have enough Jiffy Baking Mix. I was already in my sweats. It was after 6:15.

I suppose as Saturday night disasters go, this was pretty minor. We still had plenty of options regarding food. I talked Steven into one of my favorites: we called Carney’s Corners and got delivery. A Chicken Bacon Ranch Sub and Potato Wedges. We also ate some cottage cheese, which I think goes delightfully with potato wedges (unless you are having ketchup; I don’t care for ketchup on my cottage cheese).

So here I am on Wrist to Forehead Sunday, unable to entertain you with a cooking post. I went to Hannaford this morning, though, so things may be looking up for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

On with the Salsa

I don’t think it’s Non Sequitur Thursday if on Wednesday I say I’m going to tell you my salsa method and on Thursday I actually do it. Then again, considering my salsa method (especially this time), it might be eligible for Lame Post Friday. And there we have it: If I do a post better for a Friday on a Thursday, that makes it a non sequitur post. Ipso facto (I have no idea what ipso facto means; I just thought I’d throw in a little Latin to class the post up).

I could go into some half-baked philosophy here (or is it middle-aged musing?) about how I’ve been posting lame Thursdays and Fridays for some time now (as well as other days, but let’s leave that alone for now). But that sounds a little dull to me. On with the salsa.

For those of you just tuning in, yesterday I roasted vegetables with cilantro. There was plenty of cilantro left to make salsa. I tentatively planned to bring the salsa, with chips of course, to the monthly dinner meeting of Ilion Little Theatre Club.

My first step in making salsa consisted of calling home while I was a work and leaving a message for Steven to pick up a red onion after his work. He had planned to pick up a few things anyways, so I didn’t feel I was placing an undue burden upon him. Also, I said IF it wasn’t too much trouble (a thing people often say when they are hoping the person will do the favor anyways, even if it is too much trouble).

I take a lot of time to actually get to the salsa, don’t I? When you hear the actual recipe (insert usual disclaimer), you’ll see why.

One can make salsa with a food processor or blender, or not. I chose not. I chopped up the Roma tomatoes fairly small (diced? must find a glossary of cooking terms). Then I chopped a bunch of cilantro leaves as small as possible. This part was trickier, but I did my best. Next I cut up some of the red onion (red onions are BIG), also into as teeny tiny pieces as I could manage. I sprinkled ground cumin and Perfect Pinch Savory Seasoning over the whole, and mixed well.

Then I remembered salsa should have jalapenos. Luckily I had a jar in the refrigerator. I chopped up a few. Not too many, or Steven’s bald spot would sweat.

The flavors have been blending ever since. I taste tested it at the time, but taste testing as soon as it’s mixed doesn’t really tell you much. When I get home tonight I will taste test the salsa again. I trust it will be tasty enough to share with my friends at Ilion Little Theatre Club. If not, I’ll still have over an hour to think of something else.

NOTE: The salsa tasted fine. I also made some garlic dip (subject for another post?). On to the meeting! Hope to see you on Lame Post Friday.

Waste Not, Want Not

In lieu of Wrist to Forehead Sunday, I offer the following cooking post:

For dinner last night, I decided to use up some leftovers. We had some meatballs and some cheese dip. The cheese dip was an attempt I had made at Horned Dorset Dip, which I have enjoyed at wine tastings at Ilion Wine and Spirits. The guy there told me the recipe and I wrote it down.

The recipe is basically equal parts chopped onion, grated cheddar cheese and mayonnaise. You mix, put in oven and bake at 350 degrees till bubbly. I think. I confess, I relied on memory rather than searching through various notebooks I may have written it in (although now that I think about it, I bet it’s in my wine tasting notebook in my purse. Silly me!).

The dip did not turn out as well as what they served at the wine tasting. I don’t know if my oven was too hot or I baked it too long, but the cheese kind of separated, as melted cheddar sometimes does. We ate it and liked it anyways. We put what was left over in the refrigerator.

Regarding the meatballs, well, shake your gourmet fingers at me if you must, they were the pre-made frozen kind. I had heated them in the oven and we had dipped them in sauce as an appetizer/munchy kind of thing. The leftovers had no sauce on them so were open to many possibilities.

I set the oven to 350 degrees to preheat (kind of the universal temperature, isn’t it?) and grated some mozzarella cheese. I put on water to boil for macaroni then thought some garlic would be welcome. I peeled and crushed a few cloves, then set the stove timer for fifteen minutes, so it would reach its full antioxidant potential (or is it cancer fighting? I can never keep these things straight).

Where I somehow managed to time things right: the water in the pot came to a boil almost as the timer was at eleven minutes, the time needed to cook the rigatonis (my chosen pasta shape of the day). Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I added the leftover cheese dip, the freshly grated cheese, the leftover meatballs and a little butter for good measure (I used the butter that came with the Italian bread we didn’t eat the last time we ordered from Salvatore’s). I almost forgot the garlic but remembered it in time.

It was immediately after I put the stuff in the oven that I remembered that I had intended to add a can of mushrooms (pieces and stems) for a vegetable. It wasn’t too late: I pulled the casserole dish out and added them. This had the added benefit that I was now sure the garlic was thoroughly mixed in as well.

I baked it for fifteen minutes, stirred it, then fifteen minutes more, covered. Then I sprinkled the last of my Italian style breadcrumbs over top of it and baked it uncovered for five minutes more. I immediately added Italian style breadcrumbs to my grocery list (preview of coming attractions).

Even if I do say it myself (and who else is here to say it?), it tasted pretty darn good. There is a little bit left over, but I intend to heat that up for my dinner tomorrow. Steven won’t be home before seven, and I have a meeting at 6:30. So I’m feeling all kinds of pleased with myself today: used up left overs, have a plan to use up the left over left overs, and avoided a Wrist to Forehead Sunday post. Hope to see you Monday.