Food Czar

The Frankfort library has an extensive movie collection and I take advantage of it frequently. Two days ago I checked out three films none of which I have ever heard of before. All three are relatively recent: 2014. Magic in the Moonlight, They Came Together, and Chef. Of the three, I definitely liked Chef the best, it has all the elements of a story that I like. The cast was familiar but I must admit I did not know the main character John Favreau, but I recognized Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergaro, and Scarlett Johansonn.

The story revolves around Chef Carl Casper, his ex-wife Sofia Vergara, and their son Emjay Anthony. Chef Carl is preparing a special menu to serve a food critic that evening. His boss, restaurant owner Dustin Hoffman, tells him that he has a winning menu and he should stick with it. Chef Carl obeys his master. The food critic hates the food, and pans Chef Carl on his food blog. To make matters worse he Tweets a disparaging remark about the Chef. Everyone sees the article and the tweet except Chef Carl who is so into his food that he doesn’t have time for social media. His ten year old son helps him get started by signing him onto a Twitter account. He shows his dad how to send messages. Chef Carl sends his first tweet which is a return remark at the food critic, equally caustic. His message goes viral and he instantly picks up nearly two thousand followers. The two of them Tweet insults back and forth and the follows increase. Then, the story gets interesting.

Without a doubt this movie is hilarious and serious at the same time. The story about the relationship between a divorced father and his son is sometimes, happy, sad, and funny. The son becomes a hero by building his dad into a food czar on Twitter. I loved this story, I give it five stars.

Trust Me I’m An Engineer

One of my engineer friends sent me this series of photos and I just have to share them. These inventions are ingenious for the most part, but my all time favorite is just plain stupid. Thanks Rich for a genuine belly laugh. These people are real aren’t they? Will someone SNOPES me on these photos?

There isn’t any need for a Weber grill at this house, just pull up a chair and light up the charcoal.

An emergency fix which probably became permanent because of its simplicity and functionality.

Have you lost your exhaust pipe?

Just reach into your clothes closet and steal the coat hanger from your best suit.

Now this invention is a space saver. I’m sure the only place this guy had for installing a washing machine was in his john. All the plumbing was right where he needed it. I’m not to sure about the way he has the washer mounted, but it looks scary at best.

I’ll never want to sit on that toilet while the thing above me is spinning through the rinse cycle.

Morning sausages ready in a jiffy, I bet the wife appreciates the nice shiny look she gets on her blouse when she irons.

Grandma has the best idea yet. This is something I will try the next time I work on a  new recipe. The darn instructions are always covered with flour, eggs, or some other stuff used in cooking.

I bet this guy lives in a one room apartment. A rather unique and inexpensive way too cool your hot computer.

Quick draw McGraw has it all figured out. I wonder if his wife is looking for her slipper.

Hey, this fix beats taking the car to the dealer to get a new handle. I’m sure the dealer would charge several hundred dollars. I love the rubber band he uses to get the handle to return.

Need an egg beater quick. A battery-powered drill and a pair of scissors works fine.

This one cures the problem of taking home all the groceries on a bike.

This guy’s Chinese mother in law was too old to squat any more so he rigged a sit down toilet for her.

I hope this not a union electrician at work.  He lives on borrowed time for sure.

The world’s laziest guy couldn’t walk down a flight of stairs to pick up his laundry. My favorite after the electrician.

Ugleee!

ugly-tomato-contest-winner

ugly-tomato-contest-runner-up (1)

For all the folks in the world who think I am a loser here is evidence that I am not. A few months ago a blog that I follow offered an ugly tomato contest and solicited entries. This was my big chance to show the world I can grow a tomato. The plant came from Home Depot and I planted it late. The species was labeled as Big Beefy. I wanted a big, juicy, meaty, red tomato to slice on to my sandwiches. Alongside the Big Beefy I planted a cherry tomato. I can report that I thoroughly enjoyed the cherry tomatoes in abundance all summer. The Big Beefy was somewhat sluggish to produce. When it did finally yield a fruit, it was always a distorted orb with tumor like growths projecting. The one in the photo caught my eye as a work of art and not as a meal. I picked it green to take photos. That’s when Soulsby Farm was looking for candidates. I seized the opportunity if only to redeem this fruit’s self-esteem. It would be an entrant in the ugly tomato contest. Never in a hundred years did I expect Big Beefy to become a finalist. Big Beefy won the runner up award.

I must confess I doctored the fruit just tad. Big Beefy looked very much like an Ogre. So I got creative and used a heavy marking pen to enhance his features with eye-pupils and eye brows. I thought Big Beefy looked rather scary. If he lasts until Halloween he will be my contribution to the night of horrors.

Thank you Soulsby Farm for an entertaining post.

I Hate My Nu-Wave

It wasn’t long ago when I posted a short piece titled “I Love My Nu-Wave” about how great my Nu-Wave infrared cooker is. Oh how I gave it lauds. It is a great cooker, but on Easter Sunday, I learned its limit. We invited the family for dinner. Grandma Peggy and I decided to put a ham on the table. I decided to use the Nu-Wave. I have never cooked a ham this way before, but the cooker works so good on everything else I’ve tried why not use it on the ham?

The cooking chart instructed to give it fifteen minutes per pound. The ham we bought was ten pounds. That translates into one hundred and fifty minutes, or two and a half hours. Not bad for a chunk of meat that large. We asked our guests to arrive in time for a four o’clock dinner. I made a note to start the ham at one o’clock.

Everything was going on schedule and as planned. Then it happened. What? I’ve left out the part about this being a spiral  cut ham.  I placed the ham into the cooker with the bone horizontal. The traditional way. I placed the cooking dome over the ham and set the timer.

An hour later the aroma of fresh-baked ham filled the house. I love the smell of freshly baked ham. Something told me to check things out. I stopped the machine and lifted the dome. There was the ham with the spiral slices fanned out like a blooming onion. The outer one inch of the edges were dark red, no, they were black. When the ham fanned, the individual slices exposed themselves to the heater and cooked rapidly. Thank God, a section in the center was still pink, and edible.

I checked the internal temperature.  It was ready after one hour, and the guests don’t arrive for another hour and a half. I tore off a piece of the dark red outer edge and popped it into my mouth. Yep, it was crunchy, but still tasty. Grandma Peggy got on the phone and called our guests and explained. She asked them to come earlier if they could. Since the guests were all of our children, they did us the favor.

Instead of serving at four, we served at three. I explained my error in cooking and presented the ham on a platter. I suggested that they eat the pink parts only. To my surprise several of the kids loved the crunchy outer pork chips. The company politely said nothing and ate the burnt offering. Actually, many feasted on the sides.

After the party ended, it occurred to me that I should have stood the ham on end.  Oh well, next time.

A Challenge For Bakers

Monday is the day the agency I work for makes ...

Image via Wikipedia

This special recipe for chocolate chip cookies is for the bakers in the world.  This flavorful cookie guarantees to make you the hit of any small town. The assembly of the recipe will present a challenge to even the most experienced baker, i.e. unless you cook for large groups. I discovered the recipe while touring on a vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. The ingredients are simple, and easily accessible from any grocery store.

These cookies will make your taste buds jump for joy. They will bring you satisfaction for  a long time, and they freeze well too. The chocolate speckled wafers make a wonderful treat for great grandfathers who served in the Navy during WWII. No doubt, the taste will awaken a memory cell tucked deep within the recesses of  a sailor’s brain.

If you decide to bake up a batch using this recipe, send me a few dozen, I love them

CATALOG CHICKS

Grumpa Joe loves chickin’. He likes it roasted, broasted, grilled, fried, cooked in soup, and diced into a salad. All his life he had chickens to eat. His mom raised chickens for many years in the backyard coop.  She stopped when she finally discovered that it was cheaper, and easier, to buy a fresh chicken from the chicken store.  Until then, she raised chickens for our consumption.

Every spring, in March, the mail man arrived with a large, flat, box with holes all around the sides. The box made noise because inside there were two dozen newly hatched chicks ordered from the Sears catalog.

 

The chicks, squeezed into the box, were yellow, and furry. They hatched just a few days earlier. The cute fuzzy cheepers were fun to watch.  Outside, the temperature was still too cold to put the chicks into the coop, so Mom kept them in the house.

She got a large cardboard box with tall sides from the store, lined it with newspaper, then took it upstairs to my brother Will’s bedroom. The chick’s new home was near the window, and next to the heat vent.  Mom put a watering dish into the box with a feed tray.  She fed them finely chopped, boiled eggs. Figure that one out, which came first?

To keep them warm, she placed a light bulb over the box to give them more heat and light. As the chicks grew, she switched their diet to chicken feed. In a couple of weeks, the chicks doubled in size, and began to get their feathers.

When the weather got warmer, Mom moved them outside to the coop. There, they grew up to provide us with eggs. Eventually, they made it to our Sunday dinner table; yum, yum, yum.

I Love My Nu-Wave

I Love My Nu-Wave Cooker

Cooking is something that eluded me until I was forced into it. Then, I wanted to be Emiril overnight. I began watching cooking shows on TV to learn. Between the Food Channel with Emiril, Rachel, Mario, Bobby, Paula, Julia, Martha (yes I confess I watched Martha), and the memories of watching my mother in the kitchen I learned the basics.

Hunger is the mother of all cooking, and it became necessary to reinvent myself as a chef to satisfy that basic drive.

Over the past ten years, my appreciation for cooking gadgets has become overwhelming. First it was a proper knife and cutting board, then a whisk, a thermometer, a timer, and a salad spinner. I learned to use olive oil to saute (fry). Peggy showed me a vertical rotisserie for roasting meat, and a electric roaster oven.

The challenge was to use them all to cook, not just good, but great meals. The rotisserie was the first adventure with a whole chicken. Man did it turn out juicy. The success with the chicken led me to try a beef roast; it became another juicy success.

Thanksgiving turned into a challenge. We invited the entire family; all twenty-four of us. The volume of items being brought to the house in combination with the turkey and stuffing put a strain on our oven. That’s when we broke out the roaster oven and used it to make the turkey.

Among the best cooking gadgets ever invented is the George Foreman Grill. What a great way to heat meat evenly. Our first Foreman grill is worn out. It still works, but the Teflon is gone. During our winter hiatus to Arizona, we missed the Foreman so much we bought a new one.  We used it daily. The new one has removable plates and is easier to clean.

Two years ago, we visited friends in Georgia. I chronicled the trip in a post called Needed Downtime. Our hosts, Lou and Lori made us a huge breakfast of bacon and eggs. They cooked a pound of bacon to perfection in a record time without a mess.

“How did you do that,” we asked?

“We used our Nu-Wave cooker,” said Lori.

“What is that?”

That started them raving about this really cool gadget. They told story after story of how they use this thing to cook chicken, steaks, and even vegetables. Of course, we got a demonstration on how easy it is to use, and to clean.

“I’ve got to get me one of those,” I told them.

Fast forward one year.

Peggy and I are tourist shopping in Branson, Missouri. I should restate that, Peggy was shopping, I was gawking at the young ladies behind the counter and trying not to look conspicuous. The next thing I see Peggy walking toward me with a huge box.
“I bought you a Nu-Wave.”

My reaction was that of a normal husband, “you did what?”

“I bought you a Nu-Wave cooker.”

“How much was it?”

“Never mind, just take it, this box is heavy.”

So began my love affair with the Nu-Wave. We’ve had it nearly one year, and I have used it to grill steaks, chicken, pork chops, pork roast, turkey breast, sirloin-tip roast, potatoes, and fish. The feature I love best is the cooking card that gives me cooking times for both defrosted and frozen items.

Very often, we make our menu decision on the spur of the moment. We can take rock-hard frozen pork chops and put them on the Nu-Wave. I set the timer for ten minutes, then turn them over for another ten minutes, and wallah, we have tasty tender pork chops. While the chops are grilling, we microwave a couple of small potatoes, and some broccoli.  In twenty minutes, we went from freezer to table and made a meal fit for a king.

Here are some photos of a whole 5.5 pound chicken fully defrosted and the Nu-Wave. The cooking time is 15 minutes per pound. In seventy-five minutes the meat temperature is right on.

My Nu-Wave is now the favored appliance in the kitchen. At Thanksgiving, the turkey is in the roaster oven and a turkey breast is in the Nu-Wave.

We still use the grillerator, but steaks, roasts, and whole chickens are better on the Nu-Wave.

ANALOG Model Nu-Wave Infrared Cooler

 

Fully Defrosted Chicken

Chicken Rubbed in Season Salt and Emiril's Essence

Chicken Rubbed With Season Salt and Emiril's Essence in NuWave

NuWave Cooking Chart

Cook Times for Poultry

Control Panel With the Power Locked on FULL, and the Timer Setting

Fully Roasted Chicken With the Meat Thermometer

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