Food Wednesday…

Posted by RB 4 weeks ago.
Posted in Food

Gonna start posting these…one of our cousins does this blog weekly and it’s usually pretty informative. It might be a little departure from what we are usually up to around TheRut, but just figured some of y’all might dig it.

May 6, 2020 ~ FoodWednesdayBlog ~

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse, National Nurses Week begins today and extends through May 12 and to top it all off, today is National Nurses Day. Obviously, all this adoration for nurses couldn’t be more well-timed.

I did just a little research to try to find out what nurses would really like in commemoration of their contributions and instead found out what they really don’t want. So please don’t give a nurse another cup or writing pen. It does turn out that nurses would accept one of those big circular pens which could be pinned on their medical gear. The two most popular inscriptions to be emblazoned on the pens were “I’m Here to Save Your Fanny, Not Kiss It” and “Docs are Great, But We Know Where Everything Is”.

Here’s a list of businesses known to be stepping up for health care workers: beginning today, health care workers can get a free burrito at Chipotle (eligibility requirements are on their website); Circle K is offering free coffee and tea to first responders and health care workers; The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf will give all healthcare workers a free brewed coffee or tea of any size; free shoes are available every day at 12 P.M. Eastern Time on the Croc’s website; Dunkin’ is providing a free medium hot or iced coffee along with a free donut today; for the entire month of May, medical professionals and first responders can file Federal and State tax returns for free using H & R Block’s Tax Pro Go feature; Hooters is offering a 20% discount on all food takeout orders for health care workers, first responders and military until further notice; Krispy Kreme is offering first responders a free dozen doughnuts through May 11 and all you have to do is go to a Krispy Kreme drive through, show your employer badge and collect your doughnuts; through May 31, Mrs. Fields is offering 25% off “Heroes Collection” of cookie cakes and tins with the code NURSES; through December 31, The North Face is offering 50% discounts to health care workers in the US (visit the “offer page” to verify eligibility); Outback is providing 10% discounts to nurses, doctors, medical staff, first responders and military along with free delivery for a limited time; coupons for free Snickers are available at sendasnickersfromhome.com for essential workers which may be validated at Walmart; Starbucks is offering free coffee to customers who identify as a front line worker to the COVID-19 outbreak and Talkspace is offering a free month of therapy for doctors, nurses, social workers and front line workers. To access this benefit, register with an NPI and/or work badge after downloading the Talkspace app. [All this info came from USA Today. If anything is inaccurate, I apologize.]

It turns out that nurses are celebrated most highly during May because Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 whereupon she famously set out improving healthcare conditions for all of Britain and India. Her most famous exploit began in 1854 when she and 38 volunteer nurses she had trained were dispatched to Crimea during the Crimean War. It was there she became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” as she aided wounded and sick British soldiers who were dying by the thousands due to unsanitary conditions. The lessons she learned there enabled her to establish her nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital in London where she became the pioneer of modern nursing.

From a personal perspective, however, the most incredible thing Florence Nightingale ever did occurred early on in her life. Her daddy, William Nightingale, was one rich son of a gun. The family had a couple of livable homes: Embley Park in Hampshire with eighty (that would be 80) bedrooms and Lea Hurst in Derbyshire. How in the heck could a girl born into such riches give it all up and wind up on the front lines in Crimea and go on to live a life of such selflessness?

If you are looking for some way to help a worthy cause, The Florence Nightingale Museum in London has been forced to close during the current pandemic and is really in dire straits. Without a substantial inflow of donations, the museum may be forced to close permanently. So if you can help, please do. And thanks so much to all you nurses.

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and we hope everyone had a great day even if the parades, dancing, food and music typical of the celebration had to be toned down substantially this year. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of a vastly outmanned Mexican Army over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The date has now become a much more popular celebration in America than in Mexico. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16 to immortalize the “Cry of Dolores” which initiated the Mexican War of Independence from Spain on that date in 1821.

History is an interesting and unquestionably important thing. Any attempt to revise history, however, for personal, political or, for that matter, any reason is unacceptable because history should be history. For example, back on this date in 1863, 60,000 troops of the Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Robert E. Lee defeated 134,000 troops of the Army of the Potomac under the command of Scaredy Cat Joseph Hooker at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. It was, however, a Pyrrhic victory because of the losses the Confederacy sustained, particularly the loss of Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson to friendly fire. Lots of people contend that Confederate loss at the Battle of Gettysburg fought two months later on July 1st, 2nd and 3rd was the turning point of the Civil War. Nope. The turning point in the war was the Battle of Chancellorsville.

On this date back in 1940, the inestimable John Steinbeck was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath which tells the heart rending story of the Joad family driven from their home in Oklahoma during the Great Depression and the torment the family endures on the journey to California to try to start a new life. I think most people would agree that the Pulitzer was well deserved.

In 1932, Walter Duranty, Moscow Bureau Chief of the New York Times, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a series of reports regarding the Soviet Union which had been published in that newspaper during June of the previous year. In 1929, Duranty was granted an exclusive interview with Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which greatly enhanced Duranty’s reputation. From that time forward, Duranty was really beholden to Stalin.

It seems that under Stalin’s predecessor, a guy who called himself Lenin, there was a group of folks who worked harder than everyone else and, surprise, surprise, began to prosper. Those folks came to be known as “kulaks”.

When Stalin rose to power in 1921, he truly disdained any appearance of a “class” of people. So you have two choices: do you make the slackers work harder and become more prosperous or do you punish the kulaks for being hard workers. Well, if you’re a Communist, it’s a no brainer. You got to do away with the kulaks.

So the kulaks, the hardest working Soviets, maybe as many as 5 million were sent to labor camps in Russia North, Siberia or Kazakhstan. Those impudent kulaks who wouldn’t go willingly were “liquidated”. Duranty helpfully explained that the Soviets were “Asiatic” and couldn’t function under Western democratic rules and Stalin was only doing what was necessary under the circumstances to bring the hoards into line. And for that, Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize. I don’t think most people would agree that Pulitzer was well deserved.

What happened next should come as no surprise. With the loss of 5 million of the best farmers in the Soviet Union, the Soviet famine of 1932-33 set in during which 3.9 million people starved to death with total losses estimated to be as high as 10 million. Duranty was there again to help Stalin out writing that the whole famine thing was way overblown and while people were a little hungry, there sure wasn’t any famine going on. The New York Times again submitted Duranty’s coverage of the Soviet famine for Pulitzer review. In 1990, the Times finally fessed up that Duranty’s articles denying the famine “constituted some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper”. They’re not giving up his Pulitzer though. Heck no. And they proved themselves to be slow learners also.

This year another New York Times “journalist” was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work “The 1619 Project” which is an erroneous rewrite of American history. But not to worry, because lots of folks came to her defense. One guy wrote, and I’m serious, “In all seriousness, the way to judge a work of history is by the productive debate it provokes”. Another mental giant wrote “The pushback to the 1619 project is emblematic of why it’s so necessary. History is not just about facts/dates, it’s the interpretation of events”. No it’s not. History is about facts/dates. From this point forward, every Pulitzer Prize for “journalism” should be referred to more correctly as a “Duranty”.

OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s rejoice in the fact that May is a hugely important food month. It’s true that May is National Artisan Gelato Month which may appeal only to those who know the difference between artisanal and non-artisanal gelato, but things get a lot better from there.

May is National Barbecue Month and National Hamburger Month. If we take the liberty of using “barbecue” and “grilling” interchangeably, you know what to do. By the way, if you have one of those “Instant Pot” things, there is a recipe provided regarding cooking barbecue pork ribs in your Instant Pot. It sounds nuts, but the things are good and you can have some pretty darn good barbecue pork ribs within an hour.

May is National Salsa Month. Chips and Salsa has been designated the Official State Snack of Texas. Of all the things we miss by sheltering in place, nothing comes close to not being able to go out and eat Mexican and Tex-Mex food. May was designated National Salsa Month back in 1997 to recognize the 50th anniversary of the first jar of Pace Picante Sauce.

David Pace was born in Louisiana but, being a really smart guy, got to Texas as soon as he could after WWII. He worked and worked, even created his own specie of jalapeno and in 1947 introduced the world to Pace Picante Sauce. Today the Pace facility up in Paris, Texas uses 25 million pounds of jalapenos every year. As a matter of fact, salsa has been the largest selling condiment in the nation since 1991 when it passed ketchup as the number 1 condiment.

We make something we call salsa and it seems to be pretty popular, so here you go. Get out a medium sized glass bowl; we have one that is designated as the official salsa bowl. Pour the contents of a 10 ounce can of RoTel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles into a colander and let it drain while you prepare the rest of the salsa. Cut the stem ends off 3 or 4 scallions and then thin slice the white and pale green parts and put the slices in your designated salsa bowl. If you don’t have scallions, just dice up some sweet yellow onion. Next cut up a handful of cherry tomatoes. We have found that a “handful” of cherry tomatoes is about 11 or 12 tomatoes. The preferred cherry tomato is Angel Sweet, but any cherry tomato will do. If the tomatoes are small, just cut then in two; if they are pretty big for a cherry tomato, quarter the things. Put the tomatoes in the bowl with the onion. Dice a medium avocado and put the diced avocado in the bowl with the onion and tomato. You want the avocado to be firm but not rock hard. “Squishy” avocados are over the hill. Chop up about a ½ bunch of cilantro and put that in the bowl with everything else. Salt the bowl with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and add some ground black pepper. Add the drained RoTel and the juice of ½ a large lime or a whole small lime. Stir it all together, taste and adjust the seasonings if need be. The salsa is great on tacos or just dip into the salsa with chips and enjoy the Official State Snack of Texas.

May is National Egg Month. For those interested in trivia, a hen will lay an egg ever 24 to 26 hours, but they do have enough off days to reduce the annual production to an average of 266 eggs. To illustrate how in tune humans are to chickens, the average per capita consumption of eggs in the US is 254. If you use lots of eggs, consider buying an emu as emu eggs weigh in at about ¾ pound.

May is National Vinegar Month. A long time ago, somebody in Babylonia discovered that if grapes were squeezed and the resulting liquid left undisturbed, it would turn into something which would come to be known as “wine”. If the wine was subsequently left undisturbed it would turn into something which would come to be known as vinegar. Today, there are so many varieties of vinegar it is really difficult to keep track of them. Nevertheless, to the best of my knowledge and belief, we have every variety of vinegar known to exist. Either that or we are wasting lots cabinet space. We even have a (small) bottle of Aceto Balsamico Tradizinole di Modena which was a gift. We keep waiting for something worthy to come along so we can use just a little of it.

Today is National Beverage Day and having been sheltering in place now for over a month, we are all probably more than ready to celebrate National Beverage Day.

The older we get, I guess the lazier we get. One indication is a new found fondness for both self rising flour and self rising corn meal. The leavening agents are already in there. You can make great biscuits with self rising flour and great cornbread with self rising corn meal. If you don’t have any self rising flour, for each cup of all purpose flour, mix 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon sea salt. If you don’t have any self rising corn meal, for every cup of corn meal, mix 1 teaspoon of baking powder and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Store any leftover flour or corn meal in an airtight container.

To make you some good Southern biscuits, here’s a recipe from purewow.com that requires only 3 ingredients:

4 cups self rising flour

1 ½ cups buttermilk

½ cup shortening, melted

Preheat the oven to 500°. While the oven warms, sift the flour into a large bowl.

Make a well in the center of the flour with your fist. Pour the buttermilk and melted shortening into the middle of the well.

Combine the ingredients thoroughly with a fork.

Sprinkle some extra flour onto the counter, then set the dough on top of the flour. Pat (don’t roll) the dough until it is spread about ½” thick.

Use a cookie cutter to punch out the biscuits and place them on a lined baking sheet.

Bake the biscuits until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

To make some really simple and really good cornbread, here you go:

This recipe will make an 8” round of cornbread. Double the recipe for a 10” round:

1 cup self rising corn meal

1 cup milk (we use half and half because it has such a long shelf life)

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

We add about a ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese and a diced jalapeno to the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, mix the egg and the dry ingredients with a fork. Pour in most of the milk and mix it up good. You want the consistency of the batter to be just a little more liquid and a little less like dough if that makes any sense. You may need just a little more than a cup of milk.

Spray an 8” cast iron skillet with cooking spray. Your cast iron will be so much easier to clean if you spray it with cooking spray prior to cooking anything. Heat the skillet in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes, take it out and pour in the batter. Bake the cornbread until it is golden brown and set in the center, about 20 minutes.

Tonight and tomorrow night will be the third and final supermoon of the year, when the moon’s orbit is closest to the earth while the moon is still full. This is the second supermoon of the spring and Native Americans up in the northeast called the May supermoon the “Flower Moon” because the flowers were in bloom and it was time to plant corn.

Don’t you dare forget that Sunday is Mothers’ Day. Thanks to all you Moms out there. As guys, we promise to never forget that if men had to give birth, humans would be extinct in one generation.

Randalls did again provide a flyer this week and there are some darned good deals:

USDA choice boneless ribeyes are $6.97/pound in the “value pack”, limit 2.

Fresh sweet corn is 4 ears/$1.00, limit 8 ears.

Fresh whole Atlantic salmon fillets are $5.99/pound.

Fresh half or seasoned Atlantic salmon fillets are $6.99/pound.

16-20 count shrimp are $5.99/pound sold in 2 pound bags for $11.98, limit 4 bags.

Haas avocados are $.49/each sold in 6 count bags for $2.94.

USDA choice filet mignon is $7.97/pound, sold in the bag, limit 1. The butchers will cut and wrap your filet for free.

Half gallons of Blue Bell are $4.99/each, limit 2.

Spiral cut half hams are $.97/pound, limit 2.

3-4 ounce lobster tails are $4.99/each, previously frozen, limit 6.

Fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.49/pound.

Lots of deals on Mothers’ Day floral arrangements, cakes and cookies. 6 count packages of hand dipped Belgian chocolate covered strawberries are $8.99/each.

That is all I can recall at this time. See you next week.