God help me, I don’t like hot cereal.

Image from hotralston.com

I know, I know, it’s good for me. Yeahyeah, suresure, whateves. I can choke oatmeal down if I must. And Cream of Wheat makes me gag. If you remember “library paste,” that’s what it reminds me of.

But this stuff, Ralston, is great. I’ve always liked it.

It’s hard to find. But I just discovered a place to buy some.


Image from findagrave.com

Black Bean, Chicken, and Mango Stew.

Image from poorgirleatswell.comThis is Kimberly's pic. Mine didn't look this good, but man, did it ever taste good.

Image from poorgirleatswell.com This is Kimberly’s pic. Mine didn’t look this good, but man, did it ever taste good.

More synchronicity in action. Yesterday I tumbled onto an awesome blog called Poor Girl Eats Well, hosted by Kimberly Morales. She describes herself as having champagne tastes on a Two-Buck Chuck budget. Well, substitute craft-brew tastes on a PBR budget and we’re pretty much on the same wavelength.

Today I followed one of Kimberly’s recipes and made Black Bean, Chicken, and Mango Stew. Man o man, this is good. The sweetness of the mango melds astonishingly well with the cumin and cayenne. Believe me when I tell you that finding a mango in East Central Minnesota was no mean feat. Worth it, though.

I even got some questions answered via email from Kimberly herownself, which is quite awesome.

I seriously can’t believe I made this myself. Highest possible rating. Go to Kimberly’s website. NOM NOM NOM.

I looked back a year ago to last Thanksgiving weekend. I was cooking food then too.

Image from theviewfromgreatisland.blogspot.com

Last time it was Maple, Citrus, and Ginger Cranberry Sauce. I was jammin’ to the ‘Mats and Teenage Fanclub and Great Big Sea that day too, IIRC. What the hell is it about this particular weekend that morphs me into Guy Fieri? Idoan geddit.

Anyway, throwin’ down some Pumpkin Cornbread today.A recipe that came my way in a fundraising email from Franni Franken. This stuff is awesome. There may not be any left to bring for dinner tomorrow. NOM NOM NOM.

Franni’s chill, she wouldn’t mind if I pass it along.

2 cups cornmeal
2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. On the first speed of a hand or standing mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, pumpkin, and milk.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry in three batches with a rubber spatula. The batter will be smooth, and is more fluffy than liquid-y.
5. Pour the batter into a 9 by 13 baking pan (or two loaf pans), and place in the middle rack of the oven. I used the baking pan.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick stuck in the middle of the cornbread comes out dry. (In my oven, 25 minutes didn’t do the trick. 40 minutes was the ticket.)
7. Let the cornbread cool for ten minutes, and then cut into pieces and serve.

– –

I googled another recipe while this one was in the oven. That one suggested to add ginger and nutmeg. Next time.

Just made these, part II

Lemon-Lavender Shortbreads.

Extra butter, that’s the ticket. Plus chillaxin’ the dough. Man, these are addictive.


(And “Lemon Lavender Shortbread” is Salty Rosemary’s hippie-chick sister.)

Just made these.

Salted Rosemary Shortbreads.

Will use more butter next time, but … NOM NOM NOM.

(Actually, “Salty Rosemary Shortbread” would be a great name for a barmaid in a seaport town.)

Rockin’ the 902: Sussex Golden Ginger Ale. NOM NOM NOM

Image from julessearchforvirtue.blogspot.com

You know I dig the ginger ale and ginger beer. This stuff here is fantastic. Regional brew, not seen much west of the Maritimes. Gonna bring home as much as I can fit in my suitcase.


(Update: I packed twelve cans of Sussex Golden Ginger Ale in my suitcase for the return home. Several cans either burst from flight pressure or were otherwise mauled by airline crew, resulting in a sticky gingery saturation of everything else I packed. Still, I got nine cans home.)

Honeycrisp apples are in the stores now.

Image from umn.edu

Developed at the University of Minnesota.

Best. Apples. Ever.


Rosemary shortbread.

Image from slowtrav.com


Review: Duke’s Québec-style Poutine at the Minnesota State Fair

Image from cbsminnesota.wordpress.com

First mentioned here.

Today is the last day of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, and if you are planning to go today you owe it to yourself to try Duke’s Québec-style Poutine. Their stand is kitty-corner from the Coliseum, right next to All The Milk You Can Drink For $1. (Last time I was at the fair it was All The Milk You Can Drink For 25¢. I gotta get out more.)

My review:

Served quickly by a friendly smiling young’un, despite the noon-hour rush of customers. The fries are perfectly-sized: bigger than McDonalds’ skinny little fries, but not quite as thick as steak fries. The gravy seems to be beef-based, lightly salty, and flavorful. The cheese curds are fresh, and squeaked like they were supposed to between my teeth.

Image from CBS Minnesota. wordpress

The top of the bowl was good, but as I worked my way down it became AWESOME. The gravy and fries perfectly melted the cheese curds, and about halfway through the bowl became an absolutely flawless blend of ingredients. I tucked into the bowl, and seriously contemplated getting a second helping, but we had to move along.

Grade: A+. Well done, Duke; well done.

Again, if you’re heading off to the State Fair for its final day today, do yourself a favor and save room for something NOT served on a stick: Duke’s Québec-style Poutine.

You’re welcome.

Home-brewed ketchup. NOM NOM NOM


Image from thehungrymouse.com

Man, I seriously cannot believe I made this myself.

Next time: vine-ripened tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, maybe a little bit of lime zest. And a splatter screen for my trusty cast-iron dutch oven. And a bigger blender.

After that: home-brewed mustard.