Monday, July 1, 2013

Sunday's Novel, er, Post

Up at 5:30 AM again on Sunday I had some coffee and wrote the Blog entry. Then I put a half sheet pan full of thick bacon in the cold oven.  I put on some fresh cracked black pepper (I like pepper bacon, myself), turned the oven to 400 degrees F. and walked away. 25 minutes later, the bacon was done.

I made two eggs over easy and some toast to go along with three strips of the bacon for my Sunday morning breakfast. I switched it around a bit by eating orange marmalade (my Mother’s favorite) on the last half of toast instead of my usual blackberry jam. I don’t want to get into a rut!

Then I went through the myriad of Sunday morning chores, including stripping the bed and throwing it in the washer. I also finally laminated the fishing license I bought online about three weeks ago and stuck it in my tackle box.

It was still overcast, but was supposed to clear up later in the afternoon.

I shaved and showered and then got started on my Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice dish. I thought I better make this before I got caught up in the outside work today. Now, if you remember, this is not the “official” dish, but my personal variation. So, we’ll see.

First I made my Achiote Oil. You can make a lot and keep it in the fridge for a week, but since I only need it for this one dish, here’s what I did. I put a teaspoon of achiote seeds and a tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauté pan. I did not use a black, non-stick one, as you need to watch for the color change. I heated it on medium-low, swirling the pan occasionally, until the oil turned a bright red-orange color. If you keep it too high for too long, you can wreck it. So, I immediately turned it to simmer and let it cook for another two minutes. Then I strained it through a cheese cloth-lined sieve and let it cool.

Next, I made my Adobo sauce. I removed the stems and seeds from two of the dried Acho peppers. I brought them to a boil and then let them cool. You could also let them soak for 10 minutes in hot water, BTW, but I was following my Westborn friend’s recipe. Then I removed them and discarded most of the liquid. I put them in my blender and added a small garlic clove, a teaspoon of vinegar, three cloves and two black peppercorns. She said salt was optional, but I opted for it.

Then you mix it all together in the blender, adding some of the cooking liquid if needed. That was a problem because the mixture was below the blender blades after the first few pulses. So, I kept dragging up back up the sides and pulsing again. I put the sauce in a baggie and added some chicken chunks (half boneless skinless chicken breast and half boneless skinless chicken thighs). I squished it all around and then stuck it in the fridge for 20 minutes.

While I was waiting, I prepped a green pepper, a carrot and half a red onion. I also used my egg slicer to slice up a half cup of green olives with pimentos.

I used my Achiote oil to sauté the onions and carrots. Then, when the 20 minutes were up, I added the chicken cubes, carefully wiping off the Adobo sauce chunks (since Evy doesn’t use it). This was a pain and I wished several times I would have just bought that  Adobo seasoning at the Mexican market.

When the chicken was lightly browned (it finishes cooking with the rice), I added the olives and the green peppers. I drained and added a can of pigeon peas (also from the Mexican market). Then I added three cups of chicken stock and brought it to a boil. Three cups of long grain rice went in next. I stirred it well as it came back up to a boil. I covered it and turned the heat to simmer. I set the timer for 20 minutes.

I cleaned up the kitchen, loading the dishwasher with most of the stuff and hand washing the knives, blender and wooden spoons. Please note: I now have a permanently orange-stained wooden spoon!

When the timer went off, I fluffed it up and got a bowl. Hmmm… it didn’t exactly taste like anything Evy has sent me in the past, but it does have yellow rice and that mysterious Puerto Rican seasoning taste. It was pretty good, I decided!

The only thing left to do is to take some in and have Vicky or her Mom try it and tell me if I succeeded or not. That is, if I have the guts to do that… I’ll have to think about that…

It was a little after 1:00 PM and the sun had been out for about two hours, so I went out and cut the front lawn (and the parts of the back lawn the tractor can’t reach) with the push mower. When I finished that, I put the mower in the garage, got out the anvil pruning shears, and walked the fence line. I cut down all of the small maples that had been growing up and there were a lot. Some of them were 1/2 inch thick!

I locked up the shed and went back in the house. I backed the car out of the garage (for better light under the hood) and took out the right turn signal housing. I switched out the bulb, put it all back together and checked it. It worked! While I had it out, I checked all the fluids and only had to add the windshield washer fluid. I pulled it back in and went into the house to wash up. It was 3:30 PM. I put away the chicken and rice and soaked the Dutch oven.

I went back in the garage and got back to work. I took a break at 5:00 and drank a cup of coffee to revive my flagging energy. Then it was back to work…

I stopped at 6:30 PM and started the charcoal. It was a little windy and it took three pieces of newspaper to get it going. While it heated up, I prepped the food. I turned 2 pounds of ground chuck into six patties, seasoned with salt and pepper. These will be for lunches and/or dinners next week. I also seasoned the two T-bone steaks I picked up at Kroger’s. I used a fork to mash together about four ounces of the blue cheese with two tablespoons of softened butter. I peeled a Vidalia onion and cut it in half. I brushed that with canola oil.

Finally, I prepped dessert. I cut three peaches in half and removed the pits (not as easy as it sounds and I did manage to cut myself digging them out). I brushed those with canola oil as well.

When the coals were ready and the grate cleaned and oiled, I put the onion halves in the coolest spots and grilled the burgers. I took off the burgers, covered them with foil and let them rest in the kitchen. I turned the onions (they had great grill marks, BTW) and threw on the steaks. When the steaks were medium rare, I pulled them and took them in the house. I slathered on the blue cheese and butter mixture and covered it all with foil to rest.

I cleaned the grate again, raised it up one notch and washed the tongs. Then I grilled the peaches. I turned them occasionally, waiting for the cut side to get grill marks. When they did, I pulled them and went inside for the night.

I ate one steak and half the onion for my dinner. Both were fantastic! Then I ate my dessert. I added just a pinch of salt to each half to bring out even more sweetness. This was the first time I ever grilled peaches and I must admit I ate them all! They were excellent.

I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen and fired up the dishwasher. It was almost 9:00 PM, so I moseyed in to watch Mountain Men.

After that, I watched the new show on Channel 4, “Crossing Lines” I caught part of it last week and it seemed interesting. It was, but there were a lot of references to things past I didn’t get, of course. Then I went to bed.


  1. The food sounds yummy dad! I hope you are enjoying Mountain Men...for some reason it reminds me of you :)

  2. The steak, onion and peaches all were excellent.

    I wish sometimes I was a mountain man... But, I think I'm too old and too fucked up for that now. :(