Friday, March 31, 2017

Big Meat Order

You all know how I love smoking and grilling meat.  Tonight I brought home a large order I had placed with my farmer that includes beef, poultry, and pork.  There is a cost savings in a bulk order.  But more important, it is nice to have a particular cut of meat when I want it rather than, "Oh, I really wanted baby back ribs tonight, guess I'll have to wait till my farmer makes another run to Rochester."

It was a lot of work getting all that meat down the basement stairs and into the freezer.  I may not be able to move tomorrow morning!  But as I put it away, I was thinking of all the wonderful recipes I use - briskets in the smoker, baby back ribs, whole chickens to put in the smoker, oh, and those great tasting tenderloins that I have so many recipes for.  The stew meat that makes delicious crockpot stews. . . roasts to cook with baby red potatoes and carrots (an easy and delicious meal).  Then there are the breakfast meats that I can't live without - cottage bacon and breakfast sausage.

Last summer I smoked a large rack of baby back ribs.  I cut off a part of it and gave it to my neighbors across the street.  Their oldest child, as she was eating it, said, "I feel sorry for vegetarians!"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Adzuke Bean Casserole

Someone on facebook asked for the recipe of my adzuke bean casserole.  I could not figure out how to post it as an attachment.  It never worked.  So here it is!

Adzuki Bean Casserole

1 cup dried adzuki beans
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (or more) soy sauce

Soak dried adzuki beans in 3 cups water overnight, or early in the day.
Drain beans completely and boil for 45 minutes.
Saute onion in 1 tsp olive oil for one minute.  Add bell pepper, saute one minute.  Add apple and saute until onion is translucent.  Drain beans and mix into vegetables.  Season with basil, salt and soy sauce.  Oil an oblong casserole dish and pour in mixture.  Embed bay leaf into top of beans and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
Serve with rice and a salad.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Our Ninth Cousins' Reunion Was Loads of Fun!

People often ask me, "Why do you insist on driving two full days both going and returning when you can fly?"  At the end of an 11 hour day of driving, I have asked myself that question.  I really don't like to fly in this day of terrorism and increased security at airports.  Allow someone to "pat me down" or search my baggage?  NO THANKS.

I truly enjoy the drive through a varying landscape and cultural diversity.  I pass through 8 large cities - Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, Columbus, OH, Cincinatti, OH, Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, Birmingham, AL and Montgomery, AL and arrive at the small town and rural area where we hold our reunion.  At the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, I look out over Lake Erie, sometimes filled with large sheets of ice.  Driving through Central Ohio, I see huge farm lands and feel a sense of a slower pace to life than I live.  Into Kentucky and Tennessee, there is rolling terrain.  In Alabama, along the way there are both ramshackle rusted tin roof homes that have no doubt been there many decades as well as upper middle class large homes on large tracks of land. You see old, old wooden barns that are gradually falling apart through neglect.  Oh, the stories those barns could tell!

We hold our reunion on land "out in the middle of no where," many acres of land that have been in my family for generations, back into the 1800's.  No, we don't care to rent a convention room and have a formal dinner.  Not our style.  Rather, we enjoy target shooting, walking the land, catching up on everyone from the previous year.  And yes, the tales get bigger each year!

Any regular reader knows I am really into guns.  We set up all kinds of target shooting scenarios.  If the breeze is just right, we throw different sizes of beach ball into the water and take aim at them.  If you hit in just the right place, the ball goes flying into the air!  Another fun thing to do is shoot a plastic milk jug filled with water with a hollow point bullet.  The water splashes all over!  Then there are the regular peel off bullseye targets where many an ego has been crushed when your shooting partner beats you.

Eating is a big part of the day.  This year we kept it simple.


And there is Aunt Ilene!  She is 95 years old this year, Pam and Kenny's mom.  She's going through a phase where she doesn't want to eat or drink.  On the day before the "official" reunion, a few of us had gathered at the old homeplace.  I made a sandwich for her and said, "Here, I made this especially for you and I want you to eat it."  I then gave her a bottle of water.  I watched her out of the corner of my eye.  She ate a little over half the sandwich and gave the rest to the dog when she thought I wasn't watching.  She drank all the water, eventually.

It was really a fun time.  I look forward to this time every March or April.  It is important to stay connected to your roots.  It's good for your soul.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Haven't changed in 50 years!

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting up with an old friend from "way back."  Elizabeth and I were friends since junior high and high school days.  We had lost touch for decades but through facebook, we reconnected again.  It was great catching up. . . lots of laughs.  Another friend, who saw this picture on facebook, is trying to adjust her schedule and hopefully catch up with me - in person - before I leave where I am right now.  Hope you can make it happen, Sue.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Holy Moly!

Yesterday and into last night the Rochester area had severe winds, clocked at 80+ mph at the airport.  On my street, there was a huge tree knocked into the street, many homes all around me lost siding, my neighbor lost a beautiful glass top picnic table.  The roof was ripped off a high school.  In short, very extensive damage.  Through all this, the worst that happened to me is a few small branches fell in my yard. . . the type that Morgan and Bailey like to run with and fight over in the backyard. 

One street over from me, no one has had electricity since 2:30 yesterday afternoon.

Now I'm learning all the schools are closed because so many people do not have electricity and many schools were damaged.  The Jewish Community Center has opened their facility for people - with proper ID - to take showers and numerous other buildings are allowing people who have no electricity to come and stay warm.  The temperature is COLD!

Needless to say, I am very thankful that I escaped this disaster unharmed.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It's March!

Forgive me for sounding excited about a new month. . . but in the Northeast, you learn to appreciate even the smallest sign that winter is almost over.  Even though we had a mild winter by Western New York standards, still the grey, dreary days of winter can take a toll on even the most positive minded person.

In Rochester, we had one snowfall of almost a foot.  The rest were a few inches here and there.   Definitely not a brutal winter.

I have become a strong warm weather type over the years.  The things I like to do involve being outside enjoying the sunshine and warmth.  My Weber smoker has been gathering dust over the winter.  So has my bike!  And maybe I should think about getting my lawn mower tuned up this year.

March, of course, can go from one extreme to another here.  We could have another heavy snow or we could have sunshine and blue skies!  I'm still waiting for the first crocuses to pop through the ground.

I am looking forward to my annual trek South this Spring for our Cousins' Reunion.  That's coming up soon and this year will be our ninth year.  You'll see pictures and posts on my blog.  It really is a fun time.