Sunday, May 31, 2015

Soggy Sunday

It was still raining hard when I woke up Sunday morning. Plus, it was cold! 46 degrees outside (on the last day of May? Crazy!) I turned the furnace on, made a cup of coffee and filled in the lengthy Blog post.

I watched the morning news shows until 10:00 a.m. and then I shaved, showered and got dressed.

I needed some bacon for dinner, so I made eight strips of it in the oven. It was funny. I made it the same way I always do: Foil on a half sheet try (I scrunch it up first, then straighten it back out – that gives little valleys for the grease to pool); Thick-cut bacon that I pepper (a lot); 400 degrees preheated oven and I plan on from 25 – 30 minutes until its done but still pliable. Except…

This time I used the convection oven. I was not sure what, if any, difference there would be, so I set the timer for 20 minutes, so I could check. When I did, the ends of the bacon were burnt and the rest was crispy! Damn! That sucker really works!!!

The rain lessened around noon, so I did two things. I went out on the patio and checked the rain gauge. There was 2 1/2 inches of water in it!

I knew it was bad, because the weather radio had been going off, warning of flooding on the Rouge River in Inkster.

Next, I drove to the Wine Barrel Plus (Plymouth Road, between Merriman and Middle Belt). A recipe I want to make today calls for 1 1/2 cups of Anchor Steam beer. I never heard of it and they don’t sell it at Kroger. I stopped at a couple of party stores yesterday and they didn’t know it either.

But, beside an extensive selection of wine (this is where I’ve gone in the past when Jake and Carla recommend a wine nobody else ever heard of), they are a big resource for local home brewers, with aisles and aisles of beer-making stuff.

Sure enough, when I asked, one of the brew masters (yes, they have brew masters, or at least that’s what they call them – they could be ex-accountants or garbage men for all I know about beer) said, “Sure, we carry it. It’s right over there.” And he walked me to a cooler. But, there was none there! Just an Anchor IP (whatever the hell that means). So, I said I’d take it. He asked why I wanted specifically Anchor Steam and I explained I didn’t particularly want to drink it, I just needed it for a recipe. He said, “Then you don’t want the Anchor IP. It will be way too “hoppy!” (Whatever the hell that means).

He explained that Anchor Steam beer was first brewed in California during the Gold Rush. German brewers had flocked to the area to take advantage of the thirsty miners (we’re sneaky like that). But, they couldn’t get the yeast cold enough in Cali to make their usual brew. So, they brewed it anyway and just called it “Steam Beer.”

Sidebar: Maybe the guy really is a brew master!

He said he had an alternative German beer that would do the trick. So, I bought a bottle of Kolsch Sunner beer (there are oomlats over the o and the u).

Note: I paid $3.99 for one bottle. Now, granted it was a big bottle. I think a regular beer bottle is, like, 12 ounces. This one was 1 pint, 9 ounces. Still, although it’s been a long time since I was a serious beer drinker, I think I could have bought a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon or Old Milwaukee for that much!

Back home, I put the now-cooled bacon in the fridge. I changed clothes and started cleaning the house.

Sidebar: I like to have the house clean before leaving on trips. That way, other than what the cat messes up, I come home to a nice house. Conversely, if I die on the trip, nobody knows what a slob I really am.

I turned on the movie Jurassic Park and listened to it or watched it as I worked.

When I got the house in order, I packed my suitcase, except for the items I’d need in the morning. I also filled those Aqua Globes and stuck two apiece in each hanging plant on the porch. That will hopefully hold them until I get back.

Finally, I made supper. I was making a bacon and blue cheese burger with onion rings and beet greens. Since it was just me, I cut the onion ring recipe in half, but I’ll list the measurements as they were.

So, I peeled and sliced two large onions crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. I separated them into rings. I saved the small inner rings for later use. I added one cup of flour into a bowl. I tossed the rings in the flour and let them sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I made a pound of ground chuck into three patties. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and let them come up to room temperature.

I made a spread of mayonnaise, a squirt of Dijon mustard and a lot of blue cheese crumbles.

I warmed up 6 cups of vegetable oil in my Dutch oven. I stuck a candy thermometer in the oil. When the oil came up to 350 degrees, I made the batter.

I whisked together 2 cups of flour, 1 ½ cups of cornstarch, 2 ½ teaspoons of garlic powder, 2 ½ teaspoons of onion powder, 2 ½ teaspoons of cayenne pepper, 2 ½ teaspoons of granulated sugar and 1 ½ tablespoons of kosher salt.

Then I mixed the wet ingredients: one egg I scrambled, 1 ½ cups of beer (Anchor Steam was recommended) and 2 cups of sparkling water. I mixed the wet with the dry and whisked that until no lumps remained.

I shook the flour off each ring, dipped it in the batter and dropped it in the hot oil. I did it in batches, drained them on a rack over paper towels and then stuck them into the oven set at 250 degrees to stay warm. I also turned the beet greens on to boil.

When I had the onion rings done, I fried up the hamburgers. While they were cooking, I lightly toasted an onion roll and warmed up two slices of bacon in the microwave.

When the burgers were done, I assembled one of them. I smeared the spread on each half. I put the burger on, topped it with more blue cheese crumbles and then the bacon, cut in half.

I plated my dinner, keeping the beet greens in a small dish so the vinegar wouldn’t seep into the bun or the onion rings.

It was excellent. That makes two dinners in two nights I hit out of the park!!!

I cleaned up the mess and ran the dishwasher. I put the leftovers in the freezer, along with yesterday’s chicken.

I watched The Cowboys (an old Western starring John Wayne and Bruce Dern). When it ended, I went to bed.


  1. Dinner sounds so delicious! Great job...have fun on vacation!

  2. I haven't had burgers in a minute (the long version). Does sound good!