Bacon – Flat, Crisp & Splatter-free

Spread bacon strips between layers of paper towels on a flat plate. (Don’t overlap.)

Microwave on high for 6.5minutes.

Check crispiness. If more is desired, cook at 2 minutes increments until it’s how you like it.

Hal Greene’s connection to the Wrysinski / Schmidt’s; Two of his sons married two of the sisters.


A byproduct of this cooking method is a heap of bacon fat-infused paper towels. Most composters agree animal fat should not go into the outdoor pile. Putting these paper towels in the garbage may attract dogs and urban adapted animals such as raccoon, coyote, and bear (in more remote areas). Since I’m always interested in alternatives other than entombing refuse in great twentieth-century pyramids, I encourage and welcome waste disposal recommendations in the comments section.

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Sauce Series – Brown Sauces & Thickeners – 3 of 5

Meat based liquids with thickening agents. Start with simple pan sauces or gravy and extend it into soups and stews.

 

Basic Brown Sauce

2 tblsp. Butter

3 tbslp. Flour

1 cup beef stock

½ tsp salt

Pinch of pepper

 

Melt butter in pan. Stir in flour and cook until browned, stirring continuously.

Little by little, add beef stock. Stir until it boils and thickens, continue to cool three more minutes.

Add any desired seasonings.

 

Pan Gravy

Approximate the amount of flour needed to thicken the volume of meat drippings available. Place flour in a dressing / gravy shaker or whisk with cool water and shake or blend till smooth.

To meat drippings (fat) [from a turkey, chicken, bacon, or roast] in a deep pan over medium heat, slowly add flour and water mixture. Stir continuously. After the mixture has thickened, continue cooking for a few more minutes to make sure that the raw flour taste has been dispelled.

 

Peanut Sauce

¾ cup organic creamy peanut butter

¼ cup + 2 tblsp. Water

½ tsp. Hoisin sauce

2 tblsp. Freshly squeezed lime juice (approx. 1 ½ medium limes)

4 ½ tsp. soy sauce

3 tblsp. Maple syrup

1 ¼ tsp. chile-garlic paste

1 med. Clove garlic, mashed to paste

½ tsp. toasted sesame oil

Blend, whisk or stir all ingredients together till smooth. Store in refrigerator, but let warm to room temperature before using.

Can be used a dipping sauce, over noodles, as a salad dressing or in spring rolls.

 

Cilantro Sauce (It’s green)

 

THICKENERS

Flour  – velvety texture – opaque

(can be stirred directly into fat – butter, meat drippings, etc.  If mixing with water first, it must be cooked for a while to eliminate the raw, starchy taste)

Instant Blending Flour – Wondra or Shake & Blend

Can add to liquids without lumps

Kneaded Butter (Beurre Manie) – equal parts butter and flour – kneaded till smooth and rolled into teaspoon sized balls (can be frozen for storage). Drop a ball or two into sauce when needed.

Cornstarch – smooth – glossy – clear

Mix starch with equal parts water, then add to warm liquid

Arrowroot flour | tapioca flour, rice flour

Gums – Xanthum gum, agar agar, pectin, and guar gum

Egg Yolks – velvety – smooth

Add to heated liquids (no hotter than 190 degrees) slowly and stir constantly – or scrambled eggs will be the result

High fat cream / yogurt – thick – smooth

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Additional Resources

WikiHow – thickeners

A Life of Geekery – guide to thickening sauces, soups, and stews

Youtube Videos

French Cooking Acacemy – What is a Roux – white, blond & brown

Beurre Maniékneaded butter

French Cooking Academy –  Hollandaise sauce tutorial for beginners (w/o double broiler)

Julia Child – The Hollandaise Family

Harvard University – Science in Cooking class – Working with Modern Thickeners

 

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Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

Sauce Series – White Sauces – 4 of 5

White sauces are made with milk, buttermilk, yogurt, coconut milk, butter, other white liquids and thickening agents.

 

Basic White Sauce

2 tblsp. Butter

2 tblsp. Flour

1 cup milk

½ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Melt butter and stir in flour. Gradually add milk and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cook an additional 3 minutes.

Use on seafood, vegetables, fish, or meat.

Additions to white sauce:

Chopped parsley 2 – 4 tblsp.

Mustard – 2 tsp.

Cheese – ½ – 1 cup grated cheese

 

Horseradish Cream Sauce

½ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks.

4 -6 tblsp. horseradish

½ tps. Salt

Pinch of pepper

Serve with ham, beef or fish.

 

Makes ¾ cup sauce.

 

Lemon Roux

 

Pan Gravy

Approximate the amount of flour needed to thicken the volume of meat drippings available. Place flour in a dressing / gravy shaker or whisk with cool water and shake or blend till smooth.

To meat drippings (fat) [from a turkey, chicken, bacon, or roast] in a deep pan over medium heat, slowly add flour and water mixture. Stir continuously. After the mixture has thickened, continue cooking for a few more minutes to make sure that the raw flour taste has been dispelled.

 

Hollandaise Sauce

2/4 cup butter

1 ½ tblsp. Lemon juice

3 egg yolks, well beaten with dash of salt

Cayenne pepper

 

Divide butter in the three parts. Place one piece in top of a small double broiler, add lemon juice and egg yolks. Place over hot water (not boiling) and cook slowly, whisk constantly.

When butter is melted, add second piece. Keep whisking. As mixture thickens, add the final piece of butter.

Once the mixture is about as thick as gravy, remove from heat, add salt and serve immediately.

Can be used over vegetables (asparagus), fish, shellfish and poached eggs.

Lightly finish with cayenne pepper.

 

Makes: ¾ cup
Trouble shooting: If sauce is curdling, dilute by the teaspoon with hot water while constantly whisking.

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Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

 

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

Group Cooking Challenge – Mock ‘Chopped’

Here’s how to organize a group cooking challenge in your kitchen. (Roughly based on the TV show ‘Chopped.’)

Goal: Create a social experience, experiment, learn something new, and have fun!

Mystery Items:

Each participant brings 3-5 strange, unusual, foreign, untried, or previously unknown food items.

At the beginning, the challenge master collects these, groups them, and distributes them evenly among the chefs.

‘Rule’ Guidelines:

We decided not to attempt timed rounds. (Too much pressure!)

As a group, open and taste all the ingredients.

Everything in the kitchen pantry, spice cupboards, and refrigerator / freezer is available for use. (Or clearly define off-limits areas.)

If someone is stumped about what to prepare, everyone helps to brainstorm until they have a direction.

At the conclusion, everyone shares the meal.

Judging (if desired) can be accomplished by an individual, with a panel, or as group.

 

Ideas for Group Kitchen Challenge Themes:

All organic

Appetizers

Breakfast foods

Egg based

Ethnic cooking

Foodie specialists

Foods of color – purple, orange, green, etc.

For people around the age of ten (scrambles, healthy snacks, smoothies)

For people over twenty-one (food and beverage / wine pairings)

Movie / game night foods

Pasta & toppings

Picnic fare

Salads

Soups – freezer container portioned for make-ahead meals

Vegetarian

Wraps

 

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Boiled & Spiced Citrus Chicken (or Pork)

It takes time and patience to prepare chicken this way, but it is so worth it!

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs OR about a 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder – chunked into quarters

Rinse, pat dry and place meat into a large food-safe plastic bag

Add to the bag;

1 tblsp. cumin powder
1 tblsp. sea salt
1 tblsp. garlic powder
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. cayenne pepper (reduce to half or less if you don’t like spicy food)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

If you remember Shake-n-Bake …do that. If that reference is meaningless, then shake everything inside the bag until the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.

Place the spiced chicken and citrus juice in a pot. Fill it with water – just until the chicken is covered. On the stovetop (uncovered), cook on high until the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat, but still keep it bubbling.

This where the patience comes in. Keep an eye on the pot as the liquid boils. This can take anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. Once the liquid is almost gone, let the meat brown – turn it so it cooks evenly – but not so much that it burns.

Liquid almost all-the-way boiled down.

 

The chicken meat can be shredded, chunked or eaten off the bone. Use it in salads, soups, on tostadas or in tacos…and the list could go on and on!

Next time I make it, I will double this recipe so that leftovers will linger longer.

boiled and spicked chicken

 

Flat Bird – the Spatchcocked Turkey

 

spatchcock turkey

A flat turkey may not match the traditional visual image of a Thanksgiving bird – but the benefits; evenly cooked juicy meat and reduced cooking time – make this ‘new’ method worth trying.

Cut out the back.

Flip the bird.

Apply chest compressions until it lays flat.

Tuck in wings.

Place vegetables on dripping pan below turkey (moisture keeps dripping from smoking).

Cook at 450 degrees for approximately 80 minutes or until breast temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Flat Bird ‘stuffing’ method:

Place stuffing in deep baking dish.

Lay flat bird on top and cook about 1/2 way through the cooking time.

Remove stuffing pan and move turkey to baking pan with vegetables lining the bottom.

See Serious Eats for the complete article.

turkey-852044_640

Tiramisu – Kid Style

This ‘kids version’ of Tiramisu was a great hit in my son’s classroom for the holidays….especially because he made it all by himself.

This is a simple recipe that comes together quickly.

It’s a real confidence booster for an up-and-coming foodie.

tiramisu kid style

2 pkg. lady fingers

2 pints heavy whipping cream

powdered sugar to taste

hot chocolate mix (made with hot milk or water) to taste

grated Ghiradelli Chocolate

Preparation:

Use a fine grater or a food processor to grate chocolate.

Prepare hot chocolate mix (sweeter than you’d usually drink it)

hot chocolate

In a deep bowl mix 2 pts. heavy whipping cream with about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
With an electric mixer, blend on ‘high’ or ‘whip’ until the mixture starts to thicken.  Do a taste test to see if the sweetness is to your liking. Add more if needed.
Continue blending until stiff peaks form.

whipping

Using a deep, clear sided bowl or baking dish, assemble.

1st. Put down a layer of lady fingers.sauce

2. Slowly spoon or pour liquid hot chocolate mix over the cookies until it’s absorbed the liquid (but not swimming)

3. {See note below for cream cheese variation} Spread a layer of whipped cream.

4. Repeat.

5. Top with grated chocolate.chocolate shavings

Note:

Almond /  ‘peppermint pattie’ variation

to the whipped cream & powdered sugar – add a few drops Almond extract

Peppermint Cream Cheese Filling

1 pkg. cream cheese – softened

powdered sugar – to taste

peppermint flavoring (food-grade Peppermint Oil) to taste

blend all together till smooth

carefully & gently spread over first layer of chocolate covered lady fingers

Additional Information:

Wikipedia – Tiramisu 

Slumgullion Stew – A Historical Mystery

Stew and the making of it has been going on for centuries.  Ancient Greeks (8th – 4th centuries BC) put ingredients into a stomach-like (paunch) of an animal and cooked it over an open fire.

Miriam Webster

slum·gul·lion    noun \ˈsləm-ˌgəl-yən, ˌsləm-ˈ\
Definition of SLUMGULLION
:  a meat stew
Origin of SLUMGULLION
perhaps from slum slime + English dialect gullion mud, cesspool

 

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

A variety of cultures lay clam to the name ‘Slumgullion’; English, Irish, Pirates, Pioneers and many more. Some folks have negative associations with it (Ancestral Dish?)‘Slumgullion’ denoted fish offal of any kind. It also has meant “the watery refuse, mixed with blood and oil, which drains from blubber.  Later, ‘slumgullion’ was the name for the muddy deposits at a mining sluice. And finally, it came to mean “a kind of watery hash or stew.

 

One of the earliest mentions of Slumgullion in literature comes from Mark Twain’s book “Roughing It” (1872) where it was a vile drink served at a roadside way station.

 

In 2013,  a visiting friend from the United Kingdom (Paul W.) described an ‘If It’s Stew’ that his mom makes. “Basically, if it’s in the refrigerator, it goes into the mix,” he said.

 

By all accounts, Slumgullion Stew falls into the category of a ‘clean-out-the-refrigerator,’ ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink’  type of meal.

 

I think that there is no reason that the dish cannot be delicious and delightful as long as the preparer has a good sense about flavor, texture and spice combinations.

 

 

slumgullion mystery

 

Redfern Slumgullion Stew

1 large onion, peeled & chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1 medium sized yellow beet, peeled & chopped
1 large turnip, peeled & chopped
4 medium sized yellow potatoes, peeled & chopped
6 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 can tomato paste
4 slices bacon – cut into small bits
4 tblsp. olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 pkg. Saag’s Asiago Fennel Chicken Sausage – cut into bite sized slices
salt & pepper to taste

Start with olive oil and uncooked bacon bits in a pot. Heat on medium heat until bacon starts to release it’s fat. Add all peeled & chopped vegetables. Saute till lightly browned.

Add tomato paste and chicken broth. Simmer for several hours until vegetables are done.

About 20 minutes before serving, add sliced Asiago Fennel Chicken Sausage and salt & pepper.

Serve with Baking Powder Biscuits.

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Historical research for Slumgullion Stew came about as part of a fiction series that I wrote (Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone).

Haylee is an illustrated, paranormal, adventure. A young woman struggles to understand and control an unusual power that causes her to steal something that should never be stolen.

In Haylee The Traveler (book #3 of the trilogy) , the main character is suddenly transported to San Francisco in 1849 where she directed to find another Traveler who carries a stone with answers to some of her problems.

Excerpt:

Maybel and Song from the Bella Union on Portsmouth Square. [ Fictional characters from the book Haylee: The Traveler, by Lisa Redfern ]

Maybel and Song from the Bella Union on Portsmouth Square. [ Fictional characters from the book Haylee: The Traveler, by Lisa Redfern ]

Stepping into the dimly lit interior, Haylee was assaulted by the smell of cigar smoke and cheap perfume. Underneath those layers of smells was the cloying scent of unwashed bodies.

Maybel led them through the room, winding between gaming tables crowded with men. A few women served drinks, one woman led a man up a set of stairs, and several more leaned over the balustrade at the top, wearing…not much at all. Haylee’s cheeks flamed.

Focusing her attention away from those disturbing sights, she watched the layers of clothing sway back and forth over Maybel’s behind. Haylee thought that the dress must be hot, heavy, and uncomfortable. She was glad to be wearing men’s clothes.

People glanced curiously at Homer as he clomped along in the rear. Moving through a set of curtains, they were led into a small room with only a few tables, one of which was occupied by a tall, thin man in formal attire and a woman dressed similarly to Maybel. The hostess’s eyes met the other woman’s. An imperceptible nod communicated across the space between the two. Maybel seated Haylee and Homer farthest from the couple.

A hearty Slumgullion Stew with biscuits arrived. It smelled wonderful! Haylee would have liked nothing more than to shovel it down. But she noticed that the woman at the other table, although chatting and interacting with her partner, kept sending quick glances in their direction.  The woman looked familiar but Haylee could not place where she could have seen her before. It made her nervous.

Eating slowly, pausing to put spoons of thick broth to Homer’s lips, Haylee surreptitiously studied the other woman as well. Dressed in a ruffled, deep purple gown, dark hair swept up on her head revealed clear olive skin. Tendrils that escaped confinement snaked their way along her graceful neck.

Her table partner leaned in close to whisper in her ear. She laughed, placing her hand on his cheek. He moved his head down to nuzzle her neck. Letting her head fall back, her eyes met Haylee’s.

Haylee could feel the burn of embarrassment scorching her face.

The man stood, making a curt bow to the woman as he took his leave. “Until next time, Martina.”

 

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More about Slumgullion Stew – History & Culture

Grim to the last drop. – Word Dective

In the 1880s, “slumgullion” was apparently also used to mean the watery refuse from processing whale blubber as well as the muddy sludge created by mining operations. 

The late Eric Partridge, in his Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, sees the “slum” as being a variant on “slob.” A related word, “slubberdegullion,” meaning “a slobbering or dirty fellow.”

So the root sense of “slumgullion” appears to boil down to “unappetizing liquid concoction.”

The Lost Slumgullions of English – New York Times Opinion by Kate Manning

– Informative and entertaining piece about lost words in vernacular.

Slumgullion Fest – East Bay Express (Oakland, CA) – Pirate Food

 

 

A few more interesting Slumgullion recipes from Cooks.com

 

MOOSE SLUMGULLION
In large skillet or kettle
brown 1 1/2-2 pound mooseburger and
one large minced onion,
seasoned with a good sized slug of
garlic salt and
enough salt and pepper to suit.

When meat is nicely browned,
add a #2 1/2 can of tomatoes or tomato puree.

Simmer about an hour and add one package of previously cooked spaghetti or noodles. Season to taste and serve.

 

GRAMMA’S SLUMGULLION (TAMALE PIE)
Brown:
1 lg. lean ground beef, drain grease
Add:
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
1 clove minced garlic

Cook 5 minutes – until onions are translucent.Add:
1 (16 oz.) can “Mexican” tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (16 oz.) can pitted olives, drained
3/4 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Bake in casserole dish 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with grated Cheddar cheese and bake 5 minutes.
SLUMGULLION
Boil rice until tender, not mushy. Drain and shake-up fluffy.
In meantime, slowly fry plenty of bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble. Use fat to saute
finely sliced cabbage, onions, and celery until tender. Drain if necessary.
Make white sauce; add bacon to sauce and pour over combined rice and cabbage mixture. Stir thoroughly and add pepper – no salt.
SLUMGULLION
1 1/2 c. potatoes, sliced thin
1 1/2 c. cabbage, sliced thin
1 c. diced onion
1 1/2 c. flour
1 lg. egg
Salt & pepper
1/2 stick butter
1 qt. water

In large skillet, cook potatoes, cabbage, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until tender. Add butter and cook until well-seasoned. Water may need to be added.In a small bowl, mix egg and flour with a fork. Drop onto boiling vegetables a forkful at a time. Cook about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Apple (or other fruit) Cider Vinegar

I LOVE it when I can work in my kitchen preparing one thing…and have numerous other things going on at the same time. This one utilizes scraps from ‘other things going on.’

apples

Apples or other tart fruit scraps

1 cup honey per gallon of water

Open glass or crock container

Towels or cloth for covering

Time…

Chop apples into chunks (or use scraps from pie making)

Add honey – stir to mix well

Put a glass plate on top with a weight to make sure all fruit is submergedapples in bowl

Cover with towels (the towels are to keep out fruit flies *see fruit fly trap below) or use a rubber band to tightly tie down a cloth around the opening of the container.

Place in dark spot on counter or in pantry for a month or more…taste occasionally till it’s reached the desired strength
Note: a white ‘fermenting’ scum will appear on the top [this is normal]…scoop it off if you wish…or scoot it aside for taste testing

Strain out fruit

Put liquid in a glass jar with a lid

The 'floaties' are a good thing....it's what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar 'mother.'

The ‘floaties’ are a good thing….it’s what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar ‘mother.’

Let it sit another 6 weeks – Voila! It’s Vinegar!jar

Lisa’s Notes:

Like many cooks before me, I have to test my results before sharing a recipe.gift bottles

I experimented with different sugars; concluding that I like honey the best. I tried different sitting times; deducing that a stronger taste will result from a longer sit – but also that the type of fruit used, air temperature, and the time of year that you make it will also have an effect. Which boils it down to – the taste will tell you when it’s done.

Fruit Fly Trap – In an open dish on your counter, place vinegar, liquid dish soap and a piece of fruit that sticks up over the liquid

Additional Resources: 

From The White House Cookbook 1887  – Digitized – Michigan State University Library

“Apple Vinegar (economical and good)
Have an earthen jar ready for use. Into this put your apple peelings and cores if good. Cover generously with water. Cover the jar tight, and let stand in cool place. Every day parings may be added, putting on more water each time. When cold tea is left, pour into this jar and also add molasses to the proportion of a cup to a gallon of water. In the course of two or three weeks you will have an excellent vinegar made of nothing. When ready to use, strain through cheese cloth and stand away. This has been tried with good results, and with a little thought economical housekeepers can make enough in one summer to last all winter. ”

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores – Mother Earth News

How to Make Homemade Vinegar – Mother Earth News

Creating Homemade Fruit Vinegars – Mother Earth News

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar

http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-history.html