Presenting the: It’s HOT – It’s Africa HOT – Tarzan couldn’t stand this kind of heat – Edition of the Lazy Cook

When you don’t have Air Conditioning and it’s this freakin’ hot, the last thing you want to do is cook. Well, the last thing you want to do is move. But even in the Lazy Cook’s household, food prep can sometimes include movement.

And while we eat a lot of cold salads and watermelon in hotter weather, those foods don’t tend to “last” in the tummy. It’s the cooler version of Chinese food: 20 minutes later and you are hungry again. So, how do we resolve that problem? The Lazy Way of course.

Here is a picture tutorial for a cooked vegetarian curry that doesn’t require heating up the house with… heat.

The dish: a nice Corning Ware casserole with lid. The lid is a necessary part of the endeavor, so keep that in mind when following this recipe.

To fill this casserole you will need the following:

About 2 cups of Vegetable Broth, or about 1/2 of this container (Chicken stock is good if you aren’t going vegetarian on this one). Wolfgang Puck brand isn’t necessary, I’m just showing off that I got this at Big Lots for $1.50

1 cup of coconut milk or about 1/2 the can:

3 or 4 tender summer squash from the garden, cubed.

Sweet pepper, chopped. This is probably about 1/2 a cup.

A medium onion chopped. (Hello Kitty bowl is not required) And since I had some curried okra canned up from last year, I thought “Why not?”.

Red Curry Paste. I get mine at the Asian Market for about .60 cents a can.

You’ll use a tablespoon, more or less, depending on how hot you like it. Add it to the broth and coconut milk in the casserole. Mix well. This will keep you from getting lumps of paste in your curry. ‘Cause stirring it while its cooking  is too…  hot.

You can add salt at any time to your taste. But at least 1/2 teaspoon. You can add in the chopped vegetables at this point, along with cubed extra firm tofu and cubed carrots. Try cutting them into smaller bits than shown here.

Once you’ve got it all in there, it should resemble this:


Pepper is optional, I just added it as an afterthought. Now for the lid.


Let’s look at the time. Okay 11:30 ish… so we’ll get this in well before noon.

Now into the cooker.

And to set the temperature, we simply go over…

and make it so.

Serve with brown rice, white rice or millet, along with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad. Enjoy.

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Mel Gibson has left the building. (heading directly to the chicken coop)

6 weeks ago, give or take couple of days, I picked up a small flock of day old chicks. You couldn’t even call them a flock at that point. They were more of a flick of a flock.

(Possibly) Mel Gibson as a day old chick with consort.

I decided to house them in my studio/basement until they were ready to move to their permanent home in the chicken coop. We had several reasons for using this strategic location:
a) it was out of the way
b) I could control the type and amount of traffic i.e. we have 6 cats and 2.75 dogs (don’t ask)
c) I wouldn’t have to travel too far to get to them if need arose

For the most part, their individual temperaments had shown through from day one. And those traits only grew stronger as the days passed. The skittish ones didn’t get braver, the bossy ones refined their technique and the curious, inquisitive ones kept drawing to mind the Monty Python quote: “…that most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep.”

Their feathers and beak coloring began to come in at about 2 weeks. It was at that point that I began to notice one of the cockerels. Mostly because he was incredibly reckless and stupidly brave. And the pullets, like swooning adolescent fans, seemed to adore him.

I started calling him Mel Gibson right after he did a Brave Heart run across the small pen at me and my American Dingo dog, Sunny Boy Red. He had perceived some threat to his flock. And no matter that we were dozens of times his size and that one of us has a set of rather pointed canines, he charged us like he was going to kick our collective butts.

All of this bluster earned a fair bit of admiration from yours truly. I’m all about the Berserker method as a form of self-defense. Even so, it drew into focus a series of rather pointed political questions on the wisdom of having a charismatic, reckless rooster in charge of the hens you are counting on for eggs.

Yes, he could protect them; from snakes and probably from the cats, if need be. But if he somehow discovered or devised an escape from his confines, would he lead the girls into an overwhelmingly dangerous situation?

Most likely yes. And so, it looked like Mel Gibson was slated for the chopping block.

We had planned for this eventuality; getting a few more chicks than we actually needed. One has to face the harsh fact that, sometimes, some of them just don’t make it to adulthood. Some of them are deformed, or picked on to the point of needing to be removed, or sometimes you get a rooster that goes “cockeyed”. In other words, he becomes dangerously unmanageable.

I had figured, all along, that one of the 2 cockerels would be more suited to keeping the kind of flock I felt would bring us mutual benefit. And I was pretty sure Mel wasn’t that guy. He didn’t seem unmanageable, just a little…edgy.

But, luckily for Mel, one of my kin decided a couple of chickens would be just the thing. So, happy ending, Mel and 3 of his ardent admirers will be moving house in the next few weeks.

I had planned to put everybody in our chicken run last week. They were 5 weeks old and all feathered in. The weather was quite warm, in the 80’s on a couple of days. But with temperatures dipping to 32 degrees and a late snow coming in, I hesitated in making that drastic a change to their environs.

But the natives were getting restless. Mel had gotten in the habit of perching on top of the watering tray, and pooping in it. It was the highest point in the pen and evidently that’s the cockerel version of “Look, I’m driving an expensive sports car”.

I responded by rigging a cap made of takeout trays that was taller and wider than he could negotiate. No more poo in the water. Issue resolved.

The problem with reckless and clever creatures who are also bored is they soon figure out a way to hack your hack. Soon, I was coming in to find the water tray overturned and a bunch of thirsty, slightly freaked-out chickens.

Mel Gibson in the Chicken Run on the Watering Tray in Question

But I only had to buck up til this weekend and they would be more than old enough to deal with any weather swings. Being in the midst of a pollen-induced sinus attack had me bed-ridden and in no mood for moving house and clearing the basement.

Mel Gibson wasn’t waiting that long.

Here is how I imagine it went down:
Mel got bored. He decided to show off for the girls by perching on the water tray. The tray tipped over, as usual, and somebody completely freaked out. This freaked everybody else out and although this wasn’t  The Station, somebody bum rushed the “door”, tipping the fencing, increasing the panic and setting the fully feathered flock into flight.

So, this morning, I rouse myself, drag my 50 lb head out of the bed and stumble down to the studio. I open the door and find that the pen has been “deconstructed” and there are chickens all over the basement. Subsequently there is poo all over the basement.

I stand stock still doing a head count. I hear hidden peeps from beneath furniture, from behind buckets, but the majority of the flock are in plain sight.

I open the dog crate I’ve been using to house them while I clean the pen. I start calling softly: “Chicker, chicker, chicker…” Then, I pick up Mel Gibson and put him in the crate.

I’ve found the easiest way to get the flock to co-operate is to press the cockerels into service. If the boys are in one place, the girls will shortly follow.

As soon as all were crated, counted and calm, I walked them over to the chicken run. I took Mel Gibson out, set him on the ground and as he walked off there was a rush out the crate door. Silly girls.

I’m acceding to their decision. They are only 2 days away from being 6 weeks old. More than old enough to stand a little evening cold. The coop is snug with lots of hay and leaves to snuggle down in. They should have no problems.

Besides, I can always run a lamp out there if I get too worried.

 

Mel Gibson assessing the threat level.

Sweet Potato Rice Pudding: the Lazy Cook’s Recipe Hacks

Iva Mae Swinford from Lubbock, Texas offered up a perfectly good Pumpkin Rice Pudding recipe for Thanksgiving from The Cooking Club of America.

And I promptly proceeded to change it.

I’ll give you her version – tasty enough. And then my changes, which involved, among other things ….. you guessed it – butter.

Iva Mae’s Pumpkin Rice Pudding

15 oz can of pure pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
12 oz can evaporated milk
2 eggs beaten
2 cups medium grain rice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

(and a whipped topping which we will skip – buy some Cool Whip, food-tards)

Oven at 350 degrees. Whisk pumpkin, sugar, spices in a large bowl. Stir in milk and eggs. Stir in rice, raisins and 1/2 cup pecans.

Pour into 11 x 7 inch glass baking dish: place in shallow roasting pan. Add enough water to come about 1 inch up the sides of the dish.

Bake 15 minutes, stir well. Then bake 30 to 35 minutes until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Rice Pudding

Well, the condensed milk was the first thing off the list. And the whipped topping. I substituted coconut milk. But silken tofu would work too. And I prefer prunes to raisins. And there wasn’t nearly enough fat to make it interesting. Finally, I had just bought some sweet potatoes on sale, so out with the pumpkin. This allowed me to cut the sugar in half. And I added 1/2 stick of butter.

I made it. It was very good. And well received.

But the Lazy Cook took a few bites and said,  “You know what this needs?”

So I made it again; adding in my extras. And I didn’t put it in the double boiler thingy… frankly I forgot. It came out a bit denser (which I liked), so unless you are a stickler for process or your oven burns things, skip it.

Here is my version which is only slightly more involved.

1 large baked sweet potato
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 13 oz can coconut milk: pour off thin milk, keep heavy cream
2 eggs beaten
2 cups cooked medium grain rice
3/4 cup chopped prunes
3/4 cup butter roasted pecans
1/2 stick unsalted butter melted
1 tbsp of cognac (optional)

Oven at 350 degrees. Whisk sweet potato, sweetener, spices in a large bowl. Stir in coconut cream, butter and eggs. Stir in rice, prunes, pecans, cognac.

Pour into 11 x 7 inch glass baking dish. Bake 15 minutes, stir well. Then bake 30 to 35 minutes until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes.

This is a great snuggley warm winter food. Really good hot. Really good for breakfast. Just really, really good.

Enjoy.

The Pea Pickers Dilemma or (handy clickable Gen Y title) The Epic Fail of American Politicians

This morning, I spent the coolest part of the day harvesting green peas off the vine. As an activity, pea picking is incredibly repetitious.

Black-eyed Susans and Green Peas

It is neither physically nor mentally taxing enough to fully engage my interest.  And so, as often happens in these instances where my body is engaged but my mind is free to play, I began to ponder.

What I began to ponder was a charming turn of phrase used when someone expresses utter disbelief at another’s foolhardy actions. “Are you out of your pea picking mind?” I suspect this might have it’s origins as a Southern phrase, much like it’s cousin: “Are you out of your cotton picking mind?” The implication, in both instances, is that pea pickers and cotton pickers are less than, shall we say, astute.

I understand that. By way of contrast, harvesting something wild, like blackberries, requires a broad and overarching attention in order to gather small fruit on unsteady terrain, while avoiding thorns, spiders and snakes (not necessarily in that order). Compared to blackberries, picking peas is simple. You stand in a level row, you see a green pod hanging in front of you, you pick, you drop it in the bucket, you see another pod. You pick. Simple. Unthinking. Repetitive.

Pea Pickers, then, would be the domesticated cousins of the Wild Berry Pickers. Over the years, we’ve bred all the uncertainty, pain and danger from the enterprise of picking peas. As a result, picking peas requires much less mental and physical stamina, much less engagement in the process, than gathering from the wild. Therefore, simpletons are able to do it. And so, the logic suggests, that makes your average pea picker a simpleton.

There is an obvious presumptive flaw in this line of thinking. But as a metaphor for a foolish person doing mindless task, calling someone a pea picker has the potential to be a fair assessment. So hold that thought, we will revisit our pea picker in a few moments.

Let me briefly turn your attention to George F. Will, political columnist for the Washington Post. George Will falls, rather definitively, to the conservative side of the political spectrum. And while I admire him for his occasional ability to admit his most grievous mistakes, George Will and I have only agreed on 2 things in the past 30 years.

The 2nd thing we agreed on was a comment he made during the Inaugural Parade commemorating George W. Bush’s 2nd term in office.

The limousine carrying the President and First Lady was traveling along the parade route with secret service and a uniformed guard detail, on foot, beside the vehicle.

As you may recall, the security for this event was unprecedented. For the first time ever, spectators had 10 foot fencing between them and the parade route. There were “free speech” areas, cordoned off to keep protestors from impinging on the happy occasion.

Mr. Will was a guest commentator on one of the broadcast television networks along with the usual broadcast news anchors. As the events unfolded, the television people nattered on, filling air time as we watched the car progress along the route. At one point, the President’s limousine inexplicably sped up to the point that the security detail had to jog along side the car to keep formation. One of the news anchors made some comment about why they might be moving more quickly when George Will said, apropos of nothing: “It looks like a Banana Republic.”

There was dead silence in the studio, then a quick cut to commercial.

The first thing George Will and I agreed on was in the early 90’s. He had written commenting on a friend of his in northern Virginia, who worked with his hands making custom pajamas for a discerning clientele.

Using his friend as an example, Mr. Will explained that he was of the opinion that those living inside the beltway were entirely disconnected from the daily realities of American life. They didn’t have real jobs. Many of them hadn’t had real jobs in decades. They didn’t make things. Therefore, they didn’t understand the complex and intricate process of seeing an idea through from beginning to end; from thread to cloth to product. Or the ramifications of failing to understand and acknowledge each part as it relates to the whole.

He suggested instead, that a life of signing and pushing around individual pieces of paper, disconnected from a knowable outcome during the day, coupled with a life of political socializing and leisure during the night had created a culture that could not comprehend the realities a majority of Americans face. Obviously, I’m paraphrasing here, but in George Will’s opinion: Making piles of paper, only to send those piles to other people to makes other piles of paper, was no way to understand the needs of your constituents.

Politicians, bureaucrats and their faithful, well-meaning wonks are doing work that is well-defined; bounded by bureaucratic process and laid out in neat rows. There is very little uneven footing. They do not stumble upon tearing thorns. And what snakes and spiders creep there are easily spotted and, unlike their wilder cousins, just as easily negotiated with.

Something happens to those fledgling politicians after they leave the nested security of the small towns that elected them. There is some fundamental shift as they are domesticated by money and power. They forget, or most likely they never knew, what life is like in the midst of briars and mud and need and want.

They also forget who picks their peas; who puts the food on their tables. In their re-negotiated world-view pea pickers, mindless drones of an agrarian age, become part of an indistinguishable mass of humanity that exists out there. They are unknown, and so become unknowable.

To those unknowns outside the security of the beltway, one vote by an ethical politician can keep a multi-national corporation from killing an ecosystem. One vote can save the source of a multi-generational local business or it can allow ruination on an unprecedented scale.

Politicians from the Gulf States who failed to vote against those corporations with no vested interest in the local communities, voted against their own constituents by default. And any politician who chooses without thinking, who mindlessly grasps the low hanging fruits in front of him rather than considering the consequences, has failed those who put him in office.

Deciding the fate of people’s lives was never intended to be easy. It was never intended as a pea picker’s job. But it has become just that; too easy and much too safe. Politicians have become too insulated from the consequences of self-interested choices. They have been allowed the self-indulgent mindlessness of simpletons. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans in the wilds outside the beltway, are forced to scrounge in the briars; competing with coyotes and snakes for what we can gather before the hard rains come.

(This commentary was published in the Grant City Times Tribune during the week of July 7th)

Curry: Food of the Gods

Curries

A variety of curries available at penzeys.com

Turmeric is a 3 foot tall perennial herb. It is related to the ginger plant and grows in similar regions: India, China, Indonesia, Jamaica, Haiti and other tropical countries. In order to be used, the rhizome is boiled, cleaned and sundried. Tumeric is the component that gives mustard its sunny yellow color and is used in a wide variety of foods including delicious curries.

Now, this amazing spice gives everybody something else to feel sunny about. It turns out a compound in turmeric is helpful in preventing the plaques implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Montefin.com Curcumin and Alzheimer’s

Mid-Day.com Professors Doraiswamy Alzheimer’s Cure

In the history of turmeric’s use, each country that cultivates turmeric uses it for similar complaints. Skin problems including: skin ulcers, pimples, eczema, psoriasis, herpes sores, pox are treated with added ingredients such as coconut oil or lime juice to make a smooth paste. The same pastes are used for snakebites, insect stings and ringworm.

For diaper rashes, the powder is sprinkled directly on to the skin

The Philippine Journal of Nursing (50:95) recommends a turmeric decoction followed by 48 oz. of water to alleviate any bleeding during pregnancy. Bleeding early in a pregnancy can indicate the potential for miscarriage. The turmeric decoction is used as a preventative. Combining this with eggplant makes for an even more effective remedy.

Curcumins I, II and III demonstrate in studies (Int J Immunopharmacol 21 [11]: 745-757, 1999) to have anti-cancer and antioxidant actions, central nervous system disorders, renal cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma.

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology (7:95-109 1983) noted curcumol and curdione active compounds from turmeric proved very effective against cervical cancer, but only in the early stages. Likewise the same compounds showed strong cytotoxic effects against Dalton’s Lymphoma cells in the beginning stages of development. Cancer Letters (29:197-202, 1985)

Another compound, diferuloylmethane, shows significant effect in inhibiting tissue necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha (link)  (Phytomedicine 7 [4]: 303-308, 2000)

Cell mutations, such as cancer, are not the only ones affected by turmeric. Nutrition and Cancer Institute in Bombay, India discovered that turmeric helps to offset the mutagenicity of hot chili peppers and other food that can cause cell mutations.

And turmeric may also exert a number of other effects in the body: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hepatoprotective (protects the liver) and hypolipidemic  (lowers blood lipids)

Turmeric inhibited edema (induced) and subacute arthritis in studies with rats and mice, comparable to treatments like hydrocortisone acetate and phenylbutazone. ½ teaspoon taken morning and evening in juice is suggested from those conducting the studies.

For contusions, sprains and fractures a mixture of 2 tbsps of turmeric mixed with 1 tbsp lime and just enough boiling water to make a smooth paste with a nut butter consistency. This paste can be applied to painful, swollen areas, covered with something that will help maintain the heat and moisture.

Rats fed on a diet containing 10% fat colored with turmeric, showed virtually no fat buildup around the liver, unlike control rats fed with the same diet sans turmeric. The addition of eggplant increased the turmeric’s effectiveness.

As with most spices, turmeric has long been used as a preservative. In olive, soybean and sesame oil, it increases shelf life as well as in fats by its significant anti-oxidant activity. There are studies that show a doubling of shelf life in seafood with the use of a turmeric dip.

As a note of caution for people with gall bladder problems, as curcumin stimulates bile secretions.

Now for the delicious part: Make Your Own Curry Powder

1 tbsp. ground coriander seeds

½ tsp. ground cumin seeds

½ tsp. ground turmeric

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Combine and mix thoroughly. Seal in an airtight jar, store in a cool place.

Use with lamb, fish, poultry, lentil soups, stews and other Far Eastern dishes.

Curries in Asia often contain onion, garlic and salt. The will often contain sour flavors as well; including tamarind, lime, unripe mango. And mustard, coconut and lemongrass are used as well. Enjoy and be healthy.

Tofu Cheesefake

The problem with gluten and casein intolerance is cheesecake. Well, okay, not directly. But once in a while, you miss little things like a billion calories in a vehicle of rich, thick flavored cream cheese.

So what’s a girl to do?

Cheesefake.

I’ll leave the choice of crust to you. This is an amazing dessert even if you tolerate gluten well.  So a premade graham cracker crust would work fine. The original recipe called for a 9 inch spring-form pan. To that I say “Fie!” Whatever you use, it needs to be cool and ready to go when you finish mixing the filling.

The filling is often tricky. Mine will sometimes form cracks which call for creative decorating like strawberry slices or pecans. It’s probably because I use egg yolks in the recipe which shockingly had no fat in the original. What were they thinking?

Leave the yolks out if you want to trim the fat. It won’t hurt the outcome. But in my case, nixing the fat would definitely hurt my sense of Yum.

This is a time intensive process, but it can be made ahead and it keeps well in the fridge for about a week.

Preheat your oven to 350.

1.5 pounds of tofu crème cheese (Tofutti makes a good one)

10.5 oz of silken tofu. In a pinch, soft or medium will do; but it might crack.

¾ cup sugar. You might know of a way to make stevia work, I have not figured that one out yet. Sugar is necessary for the body.

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend well in a food processor until smooth. In batches if you have a small processor.

Pour mix into cooled crust. Bake for 50 minutes. Turn off oven and leave the cheesecake in the warm oven for another hour. Remove and cool completely before putting it in the fridge with a tight wrap to prevent uneven cooling (and probably cracks). Cool at least four hours until well chilled.

When you are ready to serve it, hide any cracks with fruit, dabs of whole fruit jelly, whipped cream or any other gilding of the lily you think is necessary. Trust me, this is so good and so light, you might just be tempted to eat it all in one sitting, so to heck with how it looks.

I was so impressed by the nutritional information on this one I actually kept it on hand:

3670 calories in the entire cake. So divide total calories by number of servings. 1 serving = 3670 calories, 2 = 1835, etc. Stop dividing when the guilt goes away.

But they list it as 10 servings, so:

5 g. protein

26 g. fat

28 g carbohydrates

1 g. fiber

450 mg sodium

Less heart clogging than a traditional cheesecake and it makes a great breakfast food too.

 

Wild Rice Stuffing with Nuts and Cherries

This needs to be cooled before stuffing the turkey, so prep this at least an hour before the turkey is ready to go in the oven. Or to cook separately, put it in a covered baking dish at 350 for 20 minutes.

Obviously you can cook your rices at the same time, they just cook at different speeds, so different pots (natch).

2 cups of white rice

Cook the rice in 4.5 cups water (or broth for the best taste) for about 25 minutes.

1 cup of wild rice

Cook the rice in 4.5 cups water (or broth for the best taste) for about 45 minutes. Mix with white rice.

While the rice is cooking, dice:

1 cup of onion

1 cup celery

To which you will add:

1 cup of dried cherries

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup of pitted prunes, quartered

And you can also add:

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried marjoram

In a heated pan: 2 tablespoons of fat (your choice), toss in the vegetables and fruit. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the vegetables are wilted.

Mix together, add salt and pepper. Stuff and bake.

“Butterball” Turkey

Here is a sinful addition to a plain old turkey that will make your guests reach for their nitroglycerine.

You know it’s good when a recipe suggestion starts with: Take a pound of butter. Sweet unsalted is best.

You can mix one or all of the following into the softened butter:

Fresh or rubbed sage

Crushed rosemary leaves

Crushed Russian sage leaves

Black pepper

Or Curry Powder

On the turkey you will want to take a fillet knife (or a thin butcher knife) and lifting the skin near the neck opening above the breast, cut the membrane holding the skin to the breast (and legs, moving in toward the drumstick from the lower leg. Cut slits as needed to reach all areas). Detach as much of the skin as possible while leaving it intact on the turkey.

Take the butter and spice mix, stuffing it under the skin so that it is evenly distributed across the meaty areas.

You will need to massage and pat the butter mix into place. Don’t worry it if it’s a little lumpy. It just needs to be somewhat evenly distributed.

Even though basting seems moot at this point, do it anyway. It makes the skin nice and brown.

This is not a good recipe to serve your friends who are watching the amount of fat they eat. Or who have wives who are in any way concerned about the intake of dietary fat of anybody within speaking distance. This recipe has caused divorce proceedings on those grounds alone.

 

Raw Cranberry Relish

The Mister likes to relate a story of his youth when his parents could not get him to eat cranberry jelly. Then along comes the botulism scare in which people were warned not to eat any canned cranberries. Naturally, after the announcement, all he wanted was cranberry jelly.

Well, there is too much sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup hiding in that delicious treat. I make a much more mouth-puckering raw version (because I’m sweet enough).

Here you will complain that the amounts given are too vague. But every year, no matter how precise I am, the mixture needs a little more X. So, I will give you a general outline and you can discover the balance of ingredients that suits your taste. It is helpful to have a taster who is not working with you in the kitchen. Their noses are clear and they haven’t been sneaking eats that pollute their palette.

2 (+/-) cups of whole frozen cranberries

1 (+) can of drained crushed pineapple

1 (+) cup of shelled pecans

Put a mix of each ingredient in a food processor and grind until you have a very coarse relish. If you have half cranberries remaining, you’ll want to keep grinding.

You’ll end up processing several batches and putting the mixture in a bowl. After it’s all processed, stir well and call in your taster. You may need to add pineapple or nuts, but rarely more cranberries.

For those who aren’t fans of incredibly “whangy” (i.e. super tart/slightly bitter) foods, you might want to add a little frozen condensed apple juice. I find additional pineapple works for me.

This is a great addition to any meal with heavy fats or rich, savory spices. And it reaches it’s best flavor when you make it a day or two ahead.

Tummy Rubbing Good Ham

This is going to take 25 hours. Half hour of prep. 24 hours to cook. Half hour out of the oven to “rest”. So schedule accordingly.

Preheat the oven to 325.

Take a picnic shoulder or butt and put it in a roasting pan.

Mix the following ingredients in a separate bowl:

1 can of crushed unsweetened pineapple

8 ounces of yellow mustard

1 cup of brown sugar

Pour the mixture over the ham, put the lid on the roaster and put it in the oven.

(if you only have the pan, no worries, I’ve cooked this many times sans lid, it cooks and tastes fine, but looks questionable)

Cook at 325 for 2 hours.

Turn the oven to 200 degrees then, cook over night. Be sure to baste the ham in the hours before bed and after rising, especially if you don’t have a lid. (no lid: toward the end, it will turn black. Trust me, after that first bite it’s hard to think about what it looks like with your eyes rolling back in your head.)

And to the temperature wussi (plural of wussy) who will write and fuss about the low temperature cook for 22 hours creating bacteria, pathogens, blah, blah, blah….don’t cook it then. The (literally dozens) of people I’ve served this to are still alive and with no ill effects. And to those who haven’t tried it, a non-pork butt covering disclaimer:

Some people think this cooking method might allow bad things to develop in the meat. Eat it at your own risk or I can give your email address to some of the (still living) people who have eaten this over the years and have them write you. Then you can make a marginally informed decision. While safe is good, deliciously tender ham is better.

To those with a lid for your roaster, remove it about 4 hours before serving, so the remaining liquids can evaporate.

The main problems with this particular dish: the smell overnight, which is maddeningly delicious, then cloying. And the fact that the meat tends to fall apart when you try to move it from pan to serving plate.

The first year I made this, it was black as a cinder, yet there was none left at the end of the night. The remaining turkey (which was most of it) became soup. And the 2 dozen guests are happily still alive and well.

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