"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Cooking and Eating

Tulips, Pysanky and the Food’s On

Traditional Lithuanian Easter Spread from Guest blogger -

Marianne M wrote :

Happy Easter Ruth. Been following your travel blog this week. Cooking ham and kohlbasi and prepping other stuff for 4pm dinner. Made haluska too. Love to the kids and grandkids

And the Easter bread Pasca

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What a feast

Thanks Mar!!
Xxoo
Ruth


Swedish Pancakes at the Stockholm Inn

Blogging from a smartphone tonight-

My cousin Chris ordered them “dark and dry”.

He recommended the fresh orange juice, too. Delicious.

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Welcomed by a Rockford sock monkey

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Mary found something fishy in the gift shop

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Night Diner

9th Street       South Phillynight diner


It’s a Meat Week- blogging from Jim’s Steaks Philly

Steve and I drove out 290 miles after school. He’s going to a conference and Mary and I are making it a mini vacation. She’s back at the hotel but we hoofed it .6 miles to South Street to Jim’s Steaks

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Here is a cheesesteak with

Yea, we ate organic cheddar from Mercer County on the drive out bit tonight it is Cheez Whiz , baby. No provolone.
Plenty of grilled onions

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And here it is. We shared one.

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More for Philadelphia tomorrow

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DJ’s Butcher Block in Bloomfield

Since we’re talking about meat…..

on the way home from school I stopped at DJ’s Butcher Block (Butcher Shop) on Penn Avenue.

What a selection of-

antibiotic free, local, grass fed, custom cut and ground meat.

There is also Amish Butter and Organic Cheese, one item I bought today was from Mercer County.

Local farms provide fresh eggs and rich milk that separates in a glass  1/2 gallon bottle   (to be returned)

DJ the proprietor is a also a chef,  trained at the Culinary Institute of America (I read in this Pgh CityPaper Article)butcher dj

Butcher Block and CleaverSteak thickness

He knows what he is doing

Bacon Soap

for the vegetarian?    A couple of vegetarians were in front of me buying sausage today.

Someone else was picking up a custom order of braciole.

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You can get a Savory Meat Pie to take home and bake.

pound of ground steak

I bought a pound of the grass fed ground beef and made burgers which were delicious, fried up in a cast iron skillet.

During Little Italy Days I had photographed DJ at night.  Thanks for allowing me to tour your butcher shop and photograph you again.

dj- butcher-block for blog


Where the Wild Boar Roam

Erika and I went to order lunch at Hill’s Market in downtown Columbus on Sunday.

We were at the Deli Counter and I saw the Wild Boar Salami packages.

Printed on the labels it  said Made From Free Roaming Wild Boar

so I asked the man making the sandwiches where the Wild Boar roamed free before they were made into salami.

He had no idea.                 I figured it wasn’t Columbus, local.

I picked up the package and read the fine print but no location mentioned.

It’s mentioned on the Creminelli website though-    TEXAS!

Then I looked it up on the internet and it says there are “wild pigs in FORTY FIVE states” (USA)

I remembered hearing Wild Boar in the Grafenwoehr trash in Germany, scraping a jar or a can along the concrete walk in the middle of the night.  And going to the Wild Boar Park in Germany, seeing baby wild boar.  Ate a plate of Wild Boar meat at a Boar Fest, remember his snarly face on the spit. Ugh.

Anyway the packages in the deli case got me wondering about Wild Boar and where they roamed free in America.

Have you seen any wild boar lately?

wild boar salami


Yellow + Blue = Green

Ready to whisk eggs  before scrambling,

adding some grated cheese, freshly ground pepper

It was the colors in the light that caught my attention.

 
eggs


Share Your Cookbook Shelf

What’s on your cookbook shelf?  These days, many people are cooking from recipes on the internet instead of cookbooks.

Did you ever discard or pass on a cookbook and then later regret your having gotten rid of it?

Diets, tastes and trends change over time.  I have a wooden box of my grandmother’s recipes but I’m  not making them.

I always enjoy reading a cookbook in bed, planning meals or dishes to try. Thinking about entertaining.  What I usually end up doing is making the same things over and over again for the most part, not using a recipe.

Comfort foods as of late, with the ongoing winter temps I feel motivated to cook hearty meals-  and eat them!

Here’s my sister’s cookbook shelf in NYC.  You might remember seeing her kitchen.  I love the Coldweather Cooking book and have a copy myself. I love to bake the Brown Mountain Cake out of the Farm Journal Country Cookbook.  The Fannie Farmer makes me think of my mother’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook,  tied with a ribbon.

I open old cookbooks, find a handwritten note or  a yellowed recipe between the pages, see my mother’s hand- memories of my childhood or my children’s childhood, recipes past, present and the ones I’ve clipped for the future (always heavy on the desserts!)

I’ll share my cookbook shelf another post.  Hope you will share your cookbook shelf photo.

Cookbook Shelf

It was hard to get it all in one shot, it’s a tight space!


Leftovers – Love ‘em or Heave ‘em?

-or save them first and then heave them after they get a bit furry in the fridge.

Or eat them cause you feel it a duty, but not enjoy them wholeheartedly?

How do you feel about leftovers?  Does it depend on the type of food saved?

Today as I drove home after school, I thought about the spaghetti sauce in the fridge and although freshly made pasta is preferable, warming up a bowl of leftovers with hot sauce poured over top was incredibly satisfying.

A little fresh grated cheese.  Mmmm.  Eating my way through winter…………..

Didn’t have to start a meal from scratch and it was a relief to know it was there waiting on a shelf in the refrigerator. I looked forward to eating it again.

I thought the spaghetti sauce tasted even better today.

Some people don’t enjoy leftovers or being served leftovers for supper.

And true, certain dishes are better than others in the leftover department. Chili seems to improve, the flavors marry as they say.

I know I have wrapped things up and put them away or I have saved food in a little plastic container and forgotten all about it and then when I unearth it, it’s inedible and needs to be pitched.  Storing in clear glass is key to seeing what is there to eat.

Does gender make a difference in leftover preference?  Do you have a limit as to how long you will keep a dish?

When I did some research on leftovers I found an article about how Americans waste about twenty pounds of food each month. Yikes, that seems like a lot and is a disgusting statistic. So wasteful.

Growing up you were encouraged to consume everything and clean your plate. My mother had a book as a child The Sunny/ Sulky Book and one of the  naughty kids (the book could be turned upside down to read about the good children)  always took more on his plate than he could eat.  One night he was visited by a Fairy-Eat-It-All in a dream and given a spoon to consume the mountain of food he had wasted.  Eyes bigger than his stomach situation I guess.

A moral tale.

spaghetti sauce

One time I posted how to revive a piece of leftover cake 

 


Coney Island Counter at Nathan’s

nathanThought a warmer photograph of five people ordering hot dogs (or something similar) would help ignore the winter chill. Wind chill. Every chill.  We’re burrowing in.

Hope the dripping faucets keep the pipe flowing, too.

Rob, good to hear it’s 81 in Florida today.

Check out the flip flops in the photo above.  A few more months. Unless you are Rob!

 

 


Cashew, Cream, Walnut or Pistachio Baklava at Little Lebanon Bistro and Bakery

We ended up at the Little Lebanon Bistro and Bakery for two reasons. Michael’s winter coat had a broken zipper and we went to Alteration Station to get it repaired/ replaced and then Maura had to use a rest room.
Lucky us. I got some lentil soup to take home and then I ordered up the pastries after the owner had given everyone of us samples. Delicious! Also got a slice of the gluten free carrot cake for Mark-
Little Lebanon Bistro and Bakery
What a find. The menu is online if you click the link. Reasonably priced. Clean and fresh food.

Of course if you aren’t in the Polaris Area of Columbus Ohio it will be harder to sample the food.

The owner said if you bring the kids you can call ahead and they will prep their orders so there is less wait time.

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A quick iphone photo
I thought the pistachio baklava was about the best I have tasted! (Maybe I can order mail order)


Making Good Use of the Grapefruit Knife

The last of the Christmas gifts of fruit.

Starting the day off with refreshing citrus-  Ruby Red Grapefruit from Texas.

I don’t use it often, but dug out the old grapefruit knife to loosen the sections. The best part is squeezing all the juice into the spoon at the end.

Slurp!

 

Red grapefruit


Modern Art Baking

A surprise in the mail from my friend

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Won’t this be fun?

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Lebkuchen Recipe from Aunt Rhea, (Well actually from her Mother’s Father)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe is from Aunt Rhea’s mother’s (Marie) father, Julius Rickel(, who died in 1933.) That’s all the info I have on the handwritten recipe.  Not much more.

How to bake a Family Favorite recipe that hails from Germany. I copied it down from Aunt Rhea. Sunday before I left Ohio I dropped into the Kroger and bought what I needed

Aunt Rhea married my mother’s brother Robert.

She’s 98 years old today and celebrating, too.

   I plan to call her up and ask if there’s anything else to know about this particular recipe.

Love to you.

pecans and citronChopped pecans and citron. The recipe didn’t say how much.

Oh yes, prepare two 8 inch pans to bake.  Fire up the over to 35o degrees

I used disposables and cut out some parchment paper

 

Pans

 

 

 

cinnamonMix the cinnamon into the flour

 

 

 

cinnamon mixed inAdd the finely chopped citron and nuts to the flour mixture to coat evenly

Beat 4 eggs and 2 cups of brown sugar together until light. I used a heavy duty mixture.Lebkuchen recipe

 

 

add the flour mixturepouring the flour in

 

 

lebkuchen batter

 

 

 

 

 

cooling lebkuchen

 

Baked  between 25 and 30 minutes

 

 

 

 

glazed lebkuhen

A light glaze on top.  The whole kitchen smella so good.

 

 


This is Kryptonite to My Son

I really wanted to grate some fresh nutmeg again.

As I left Ohio for home, I stopped off at Kroger and saw this in the dairy case. Thought I’d give it a try when I got home to Pittsburgh.  My mother used to make homemade eggnog before anyone talked about salmonella and the risks of consuming raw egg.  Mark feels the same way about mayonnaise.   It just disgusts him.

Goes down easy for me. Comfort. Silky smooth.

I grated the wonderful little nutmeg that has the most intricate design inside.  Maybe the eggnog needs some more fat in it.

Lowfat eggnog?  One good thing about this particular brand is it did not have that fake-o rum flavor.

And now I’m settling down for the winter’s nap to rest for the last week of school before the break.

 

eggnog pouring into glass

The little hand painted glass is from that fun gift shop I blogged about , the shop in Lawrenceville  named  Divertido

 

freshly grated nutmegYes, the nutmeg kept just fine on the shelf in a bag.  I love looking at the interior design  of it.  And the smell of it when you are graing it is so inviting.  The eggnog  intoxicating without a drop of spirits.


Health Conscious Eaters Don’t Look Today

Second of a series.  Beanie Weenies  was (were?) the first.

Comfort food as the days get shorter and the temp outside dipped down to 12.

Our systems are still adjusting to the cold and urge to crawl into a cave and hibernate.

My kitchen back door window looked like this after I made a cup of tea.

steamy window

so I boiled some noodles

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Buttered a retro baking dish I bought at a thrift shop in Wisconsin one summer

Magic Bars Dish

I crumbled some saltines and cut in some butter and put the mixture to the side

crackers and butter

and then I opened some cans

cream of mushroom and tuna

Yes, a new low point in the culinary department around here.

Tuna Noodle Casserole coming up!  Comfort food series part two.

Freshly ground pepper will give it some zip!

freshly ground pepper

BTW, you just mix the drained noodles into the soup  mixture combined with an almost- can of milk oh and add the tuna.

Here it is baking in the oven.

Tuna Noodle Casserole in oven

Thanks to Steve there was a head of ICEBERG lettuce.  Oil and vinegar just didn’t fit

Found an almost empty jar of mayo and added some ketchup and chopped up bread and butter pickles and served  a slug of lettuce on a glass plate, topped with dressing.

Fake Russian Dressing

Iceberg and 100o Island

The casserole browned nicely.

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I miss you Mom.


What’s Your Guilty Pleasure Comfort Food? One of a series…..

Okay, it’s not good for you.  I know it!   Beanie Weenies.  

Here’s the recipe. Cut a package of hot dogs like coins.

Throw in pan and turn up the gas flame.

Open can of beans

and pour over sizzling “meat”.

Simmer and serve.

Buttered toast on the side optional.

Yep, it’s dark outside, every day getting shorter and shorter and  the winter looms.  (actually today felt like Spring so let me think of a different excuse)

It’s easy. You have it in the house and don’t have to go to the store.

And you have a taste for something simple that isn’t good for you.  It’s on your mind.

My friend said you can go through a lot, getting to what you wanted in the first place.

 

Make it, eat it, be aware it isn’t a healthy choice.

My vegan, veg, Paleo, Primal, non-processed food, gourmet bloggers, and real- food conscious friends and family will have to avert their eyes today.

 

Weenies sliced like coins

 

I think it is the lighting from the range hood that gives it the unreal color cast.   I hope.

 

Simmer Baked BeansAlmost ready.  Don’t read any labels.  Enjoy.

Beanie Weenie SupperPut  your knitting aside.                           Try to not spill supper onto fleece robe and plaid pajamas.


A Quart of Vegetable Soup

A good friend brought a quart of vegetable soup and some homemade bread for tonight’s supper.

Especially welcome as I just got home after being in Ohio for the Thanksgiving break and no chance to go to the store yet.

Simmered the soup and sliced the bread and enjoyed the delicious meal.  Thought of how fortunate I am to have good friends.

My friend J in Omaha trades a quart of homemade soup each week with her friend A.

I won’t return the mason jar empty!

vegetable soup

 


Main Dish Preference- Fresh, Frozen or Veg?

For those followers who celebrate traditional Thanksgiving this Thursday……which is your preference?

Fresh,       Frozen     or  Veg?

turkey featherHardy Virginia Turkey Feather from Neighboring Farm, November 2012


Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

We’re holing up.

Waiting for the predicted snow.

Not quite a burrow but definitely staying close to home.

It’s probably going to impact Thanksgiving travel plans for many in this neck of the woods.

I’m avoiding all stores with crowds- as everyone rushes to get milk and the last roll of T.P.

There’s urgent hype on the car radio as I drove home from school and I hear from a friend that reports on TV are insistent.

So I went to the Bryant Street Market to get a pound of coffee beans and spied Donatelli’s Mushroom Ravioli in the freezer.

Came home and baked the dozen in some vodka sauce from the pantry (don’t ask)  for 45 minutes and pretty soon there was a meal worthy of a winter night that feels like February instead of November.

In the dining room.  What made the meal though?

The grater was in service again tonight. This time  for the Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese.  Steve added the beer and we had spinach salad.   The candles made it seem warmer.

Mushroom Ravioli


Chili Weather Inspires Dinner

Low thirties temperature makes me want to make soup or chili, some sort of stew.  And devour it, too.

A pot of something simmering on a low flame, creating a welcoming aroma when you enter the house.

Dinner was chili and beans with a side of brown rice on the adjacent burner.  It’s time to pull out that Cold-Weather Cooking  cookbook that my sister uses (author Sarah Leah Chase).

Tonight I used grass fed beef,  sauteéd with organic onion and garlic from my brother in Okanogan Washington. Last weekend , I’d replaced my chili powder with a new glass jar of organic chili powder.

Earlier today a friend had posted an article about the 8 Foods Experts Won’t Eat and I remembered the article and got worried about the canned tomatoes (I used the Fire Roasted Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes) and wondered if  the acidity of the tomatoes had leached the can lining into them but ate the chili anyway.  Not sure if they use liner with BPA in it or not.  I read they have a non GMO commitment  so surely they don’t line their cans with the bad stuff.

You could lose your appetite if you think about things deeply.

What is safe to eat these days?  Is there any way to totally avoid the pesticides, preservatives, additives and  harmful chemicals and the genetic modification nightmare?

I’m trying.

Chili and beans on stove


Half Apples Baked in Balsamic with a Dot of Butter

baked apples in balsamicMade these for a breakfast a couple of weeks ago. 350 for an hour.

A perfect dish for the fall.

(and Bill McC, enjoy your day!)


Horse Piss Beer Near Lexington KY- Guest Blog

There- I put it right in the title – Horse Piss Beer-  so there are no surprises about the photo of the day.  I try to keep things family friendly on the blog but this is about family.

My son Mark is on business in Kentucky and sent me this on the phone tonight.  He’s near Lexington.  I love when my family sends me a photo and says “for the blog” and the other reason I’m posting-

My dad always told us that beer tasted like horse piss.  I think that was to make us not want to drink it.  Now he was born in 1912 in Farmersville Illinois and grew up on a farm that included horses but I doubt he actually tasted the urine from any horse. My parents didn’t drink but my father’s father surely did and that is why my dad did not.  So maybe he knew what he was talking about, the taste was like the scent?  One of the reviews of the beer said it smells like tomatoes.

This is not an endorsement for drinking this golden colored brew ( I went and read a few reviews and am not seeking a sample!) but their website states

“Horse Piss Beer is dedicated to helping others.  A percentage of the sales of the beer and merchandise will be donated to help disabled jockeys and adoption programs for our equine friends.”

My father and his warnings about the taste of beer made me feel my dad was sending me a message with Mark’s photo. Seriously.  And so I share it with you.

Horse Piss Beer

 

and a photo I took in a backyard at a birthday party almost two weeks ago (thanks BJ and T)

Horsehoes

 


Fresh Eggs Make the Best Omelet

My colleague brought me a dozen fresh eggs from her chickens. Thanks S.

I loved how each egg had a date written on the end.  I made an omelet this Saturday morning with some Cabot Creamery Extra Sharp White Cheddar.  Maybe a tad too much butter.  Couldn’t cook and photograph with the cell phone simultaneously.  I was told you want “sound” when the eggs hit the pan.

I know the chickens are well cared for and eat organic feed.  Fresh eggs make the best omelet.  It was delicious.  If I were a true photographer I would have made a neater looking one and photographed it again but no one else around to eat the wrinkled one. I went on Google images to see how my omelet fares by comparison and I think it is fine. These eggs are too precious to waste.

 

Eggs

beating eggs

butter in the pan

making omelet

Yes, a little too much butter.  Eat the toast with jam no butter due to excess amount on the eggs!

Hiding the imperfect folds with the farm grain bread toast. Now to polish the French PepperMill that was a wedding gift in 1974.

omelet


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