Friday, August 18, 2017

Dirty dirty rice

When I was in first-through-third grade, the school principal was Sr Lucas who had a pet parakeet. I don't recall its name but it used to say, "dirty dirty" if you put your finger up to it. I have no idea why though I imagine that Sr Lucas thought we were all filthy horrid things which, I also imagine, we were. (In fourth grade, just for the one year, the principal was the ironically named, mentally ill, shrieking-witch-from-hell Sr Theophilius. She did not have a parkeet.)

Dirty Rice is a completely transcendent dish I made recently. I swiped this ages ago from Paul Prudhomme's New Orleans cookbook although I have modified it. I am really careless with spice and herb measuring, I use more than twice what the recipe calls for which is why it's dirty dirty, rather than just plain dirty.

Recipe follows

Dirty Rice

Makes 6 side-dish servings
(or 2, if you eat like me)


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ pound ground pork or beef or whatever
2 bay leaves
1 TB Chili powder
2 tsp each, sage, oregano, thyme
1 tsp each dry mustard, cumin, paprika
1 cup finely chopped diced onions
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced green bell peppers
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup uncooked rice
2 cups chicken stock
2 ground chicken livers 
(I process them in a food processor, it looks so very gross)


In a heavy casserole sauté pork and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, 
until the meat is thoroughly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. 
Stir in all spices and herbs then add the onions, celery, bell peppers, Worcestershire sauce and garlic.  
Stir thoroughly, scraping the skillet bottom well, and add the butter and stir until melted. 
 (You can make it up to this point the day before, cool, cover and refrigerate)

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the skillet 
bottom well, for a few minutes.  Add the rice and cook,
constantly stirring and scraping the skillet bottom, for a few more minutes, 
the rice should start to crackle and pop.

Add the stock and stir to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, 
then cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil.
Stir in the chicken livers, cover the skillet, and reduce the heat to very low. 

Cook for 15 minutes, remove from the heat, and leave covered until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
It will stay hot for a long time and it's perfectly fine to serve nearly room temperature. 
Remove the bay leaves though.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The second tomato

Was slightly better than the first, at this rate I can expect the 4th possibly the 5th one to be perfect. I remain hopeful, considerably more hopeful about a decent tomato than I am about the current situation in Washington. Christ.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The first tomato

As with many things, the first one is often not perfect, pancakes, marriages, waffles, restaurants. I've been waiting for this tomato for 15 years and while not a dismal failure, much like that first pancake, it was not perfect. Not sublime. A little mealy but nice flavor. It was edible. But of course, I'll eat anything. 

There are many more where this came from and once they ripen I will have more chances at that perfect tomato. 

I have already had some perfect summer tomatoes. I got a bowl of them as a house warming present (this despite a no gifts request, OK, fine, they were tomatoes and not a cloissonne floor lamp with a marabou shade) and the tomatoes were pretty perfect. Still, I did not grow them myself. Working on that.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The chard is ready

One of the problems with growing your own food, aside from, well, the growing of it, is that you have to eat it when it's ready, not when you want to eat it. In this case, Swiss chard. So instead of this scenario: Me: Hmm, I think I'll get some chard at the Pick N Save and have that for dinner tonight—the scenario is: Chard: Hey buddy!! I'm ready eat me now before I get too big and woody!!! Hey!! You! Eat me!! NOW!!!

I'm not sure if I ever really want to eat it, it seems pretty, and I like spinach, and beets (but not kale). In fact, Swiss chard tastes very much like a cross between beets and dirt. OK, it tastes like dirt entirely. Who eats this stuff except for worms? (I have a number of those too).

I made myself whole mess o' dirt flavored veg and choked it down. I'll eat anything, except possibly anchovies.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The wild life

One thing that did not figure much into the vision I had of my garden is wildlife. I mean, sure, an occasional bird, possibly a rabbit. Since I put up a bird feeder there are a lot of birds, although mostly just sparrows who, while they have happy chirpy voices, are pretty drab, I was anticipating indigo buntings, pelicans, emus and maybe cormorants. So for variety I put out finch food and got a few goldfinches, and sunflower seeds to attract cardinals and I got a lovely couple, The Cardashians I believe they are called. But this also attracts squirrels (in droves), and there are about 50 sunflowers growing in my yard now. There is a rabbit, possibly more, they all look the same to me. On a smaller scale there are probably mice and voles. And moving down the physical scale there are worms, of course, caterpillars and butterflies, flies and, fer chrissake, fruit flies. And then there are tiny worms. In my radishes. The mind reels.

Wildlife indeed. Something ate my grapes, eats the unripe strawberries, the cucumber leaves and broke off the raspberry bush. This does not happen at Pick N Save.