I didn’t think the Seahawks had the slightest chance of winning the Super Bowl. Boy was I wrong! They played as close to a flawless game as I’ve ever seen. Would have been nice for Peyton to get a second ring, but if I’m honest, I’d much prefer Eli to have his brother edged out in that department.
It’s snowing again. Pretty bad too. And it’s the heavy wet kind of snow that’s going to make driving miserable. If I were more self-centered I’d think God was punishing me. Instead I think God is punishing humanity; at least the humanity of New Jersey. Why, Lord, must you cause it to snow on the just and the unjust alike? Why?!! Join me in praying for this nonsense to stop!
I acquired a new 5 shelf bookcase on Saturday and assembled it that night. The directions were wrong and I had initially installed the fix shelves upside down because that’s what the directions called for (I’m serious). I had to take it apart and do it right the second time. Then came the matter of stocking it and rearranging some other stuff. At the moment I have some of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s volumes on the top along with my New Studies in Biblical Theology series and Christopher J. H. Wright’s Knowing… series. Then there’s Biblical Theology, Old Testament Theology, New Testament Theology, and finally NT use of the OT, Exegesis, and Hermeneutics volumes. The thing is that I have nearly the entire bottom shelf to fill and can’t decide what I want to put there. I could just leave it empty and have room to expand, but I’d rather use the space now and worry about expansion later.
I dropped about 14 lbs. on my church’s beginning of the year Daniel Fast and I aim to keep it off. I’ve been consciously eating less and eating better since the fast ended but I cheated last night and had a bunch of pizza, wings, chips, and other stuff. I can definitely feel the difference. Eating better makes me feel better. The junk food brings pleasure, but only for a moment. After that I feel sluggish and don’t want to do anything. It really saps my energy and motivation. So it’s back to clean eating for me. I’ll allow one cheat day a week but even then I’m going to exercise moderation.
The McDonald’s by my job offers a 2 breakfast sandwiches for $3 deal in the morning. The 2 sandwiches in question are Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles. It’s a fantastic sandwich that I enthusiastically recommend to anyone who doesn’t care about their health.
Well, this morning I asked my daughter if she’s ever had one. She said no, so I decided to run to the McDonald’s by my house and get a few. I asked if they did the 2 for $3 deal and they said yes. I was then asked if I wanted Egg McMuffins or Sausage McGriddles. I don’t like Egg McMuffins so I naturally opted for the Sausage McGriddles.
Something told me to ask if they had egg and cheese on them. They didn’t. So I proceeded to say that I didn’t want the 2 for $3 and instead just give me 3 Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles and 3 hash browns.
Do you know how much I spent? More than $13!!! Had it been the Mcdonald’s by the job I would have gotten 4 of the sandwiches I wanted and 3 hasbrowns for $9.63. Instead I get a sandwich less and pay $4 more! Incredible! I know now that I won’t be getting breakfast from McDonald’s around here anymore.
Just made a couple of pizzas for dinner:
- regular pie with mushrooms, garlic, and fresh basil
- white pie with ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, broccoli, and garlic
They tasted even better than they look!
It is a fact that everything tastes better when it’s grilled. I can’t explain the mystical connection between an open flame and superior flavor but it’s demonstrable. Case in point: I just finished eating sausage* pepper & onion sandwiches and the sausage was grilled. So much better than when the sausage is pan fried or baked in the oven (both of which yield a good product). I can’t begin to quantify why that open flame makes the sausage taste better than some indirect heat transferred through a pan or the heated up air that circulates in the oven; I can only testify that it does.
So the moral of this post is: Grill as many things as often as you possibly can!
* by which I mean sweet Italian sausage—but it’s redundant for an Italian to say “Italian sausage” since there is no other kind—at best we distinguish between sweet or hot but sweet is the default.
- 1 lb. farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
- 5 large basil leaves
- 1 medium to large shallot
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ⅛ lb. hard salami cubed
- ⅛ lb. mozzarella cubed
- 1 roasted red pepper diced
- ¾ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Dice salami, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, garlic, and shallots.
- Chop basil.
- Cook farfalle until al dente and then drain.
- Mix ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Dress with oil & vinegar.
- Season with salt & pepper.
These ingredients can be swapped out for whatever you like and the ratios are just approximations. Nothing was actually measured in the making of this pasta salad.
I made some bruschetta a little while ago that I plan to eat later. Technically, it’s a bit of a misnomer to call what I made bruschetta, since bruschetta generally has reference to the grilled/toasted bread that the topping I made is served on. That’s why bruschetta is such a versatile dish; you can top grilled/toasted bread with an endless array of combinations.
Mine consists simply of tomato; basil; red onion; garlic; extra virgin olive oil; and fresh ground black pepper. I won’t add salt until I’ve put it on the bread. Here’s the recipe for what you see pictured above:
- 1½ large tomatoes
- 12 large leaves of basil
- ½ small red onion (diced)
- 3 large cloves of garlic (minced)
- ¾ to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper to taste.
I don’t add salt at this point because it will break down the tomatoes and I want them to retain their integrity. Sometimes I add freshly grated pecorino romano cheese but not today. I didn’t feel like opening a new brick. I can still add it when I’m ready to eat.
And now the conclusion to yesterday’s post on my spareribs dinner.
Above you see the ribs after they’ve baked in a 290° (f) oven for about 3½ hours. Sorry, no smoker here; I live in Jersey, not Kansas City or Texas. But this is pre-sauce. All you see is the rub cooked in.
Here they are after the sauce has been applied. I generally do two applications. I add the sauce (a light coating; I wanna taste the meat) and spread it evenly. Then it’s back into the oven until it’s cooked in. Then I do another thin (even thinner this time) coating with sauce and put it under the broiler. The above pictured ribs are the fruit of that labor.
And on the side a nice and simple pasta salad. This is my absolute favorite pasta salad and it’s easy to make. Boil a pound of corkscrew pasta until al dente and then drain. To that add one can of drained black olives that have been halved and roughly 10 oz. of chopped broccoli. You can use fresh or frozen; whatever you have on hand. Mix this with one carafe of Good Seasons Italian salad dressing and then mix until everything is incorporated. Add salt & pepper to taste.
And here’s the finished meal. Spareribs with pasta salad; (store bought) roasted potato wedges; and a Grands buttermilk biscuit. I can assure you that it was delicious!
For dinner tonight I made baked chicken (one of my favorites!) and pan roasted potatoes.
Above you see 4 ordinary chicken thighs that have been washed.
After washing I seasoned them with (kosher) salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Then it’s into a 350° (f) preheated oven for 1 hour. No need to cover the dish (I use CorningWare but any baking vessel should do) since the skin will protect the flesh and keep the meat moist.
And this is what comes out after an hour. The quality of the picture doesn’t do this chicken justice. The skin is nice and crispy and the meat is still moist (dark meat is hard to screw up).
As for the potatoes; I start out by par-cooking them whole and then slicing them into ¼ to ½ inch slices. Place them in a large skillet that has had some oil (I used vegetable but corn, canola, or olive oil would work just as well) heating.
I let the potatoes saute for a few minutes before flipping. After a few more minutes I add diced red onion and a couple of sprigs of thyme. Above is what it looks like when it’s done.
And here’s the composed plate. Why all the white space? Because I had to save room for the corn. Why didn’t I take a pic of the corn? Because if you’ve seen corn once you’ve seen it a million times. Plus this just looks nicer.
So there you have it. Baked chicken with pan roasted potatoes. If you decide to try your own version let me know how it turned out. Mine turned out delicious!
I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s dinner, which will be spareribs!
Above you see three racks of ribs and my homemade dry rub. The rub consists of brown sugar, seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and a just a touch of chili powder. Only one of these racks is getting cooked tomorrow.
This is the rack that got chosen to be rubbed and cooked. Just bask in all of that fatty pork goodness. All that fat is why I prefer spareribs to baby back ribs.
Here’s the rack with the rub sprinkled on it. I haven’t massaged all of that flavor in yet.
And here it is after the rub down. Those larger bits you see are hunks of brown sugar. They’ll melt right in as it’s cooking tomorrow.
I’ll try to remember to take pictures of the finished product if I can hold off long enough from eating it.
This handcrafted planter box, built this past Saturday morning, contains thyme, basil, chives, oregano, and parsley. Can’t wait to start cooking with them!