Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Fun Sunday At Kasa Kecky's...

After spending Saturday recovering from Thanksgiving and having to work on Friday, Sunday was our day to cook. Poppy's project was to smoke bacon that she'd been curing for a week in the fridge. More on that later, though. My project was making turkey stock and then soup.

So I started by roasting the turkey carcasses with the aromatics:

Then simmered it for a couple of hours. Learned a new secret from Poppy too, she adds some of the leftover stuffing to the pot. I think it added an incredible amount of flavor. Best stock I've ever made!

After straining and defatting the stock, time to make the soup. Poppy wanted dumplings with the soup so I got out Mom's old Betty Crocker Cookbook and made the Parsley Dumplings:

And the finished product:

But wait, time for lunch first...Poppy makes, by far, the best turkey sandwiches in the whole-NOMMY-wide world! So simple too: bread, mayo, turkey...then you slice Claussen Pickles and put them on top. Has to be Claussen's though! A little salt-n-pepper and that's it!

Okay, let's check in with Poppy on the Makin' of the bakin'. Poppy started curing the pork belly last weekend. It's a maple-brown sugar cure. The wood she'll use to smoke the bacon is a Jack Daniel's Bourbon-soaked Barrel Wood.

Here's The Bradley Smoker where all the magic happens:

Here's the cured bacon before heading to The Bradley:

And a very happy Poppy-Bakin'-Makin':

The final product:

Living at Kasa Kecky is always fun and exciting!!!

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's all about Thanksgiving...

Today's writing will be devoted to Thanksgiving. We had Seester Kathy, Bro-in-Law-Darryll, Dad, Nephew-Lucas, Niece-Ashely, Bro-in-Law's Brother, Dennis and wife, Sandra. Oh, and Dexter McLovin and the newest addition to the family, Sierra. Sierra is Niece-Ashley and her BF-Adam's new puppy. She is the sweetest thing ever...with really sharp little teeth!

Okay, let's get started...Friday evening was devoted to prep and making a few dishes. Here's how it looked before I started:

Now, we all know I'm no baker but I wanted to make dinner rolls. So after a Food 911 text to Friend and Cooking-Sensei-Jeanette, she gave me the courage needed to go forward. Check this out:

Kneading the dough:

The dough actually rose, which has never happened before:

Here's the table that Poppy set...Yeah, yeah, I'll finish the room sometime soon!

My cheese plate and pickle tray:

If you're wondering what the cocktail napkins says "Opps, I spent the grocery money on shoes." Friend-Drea gave those to me. I guess I have a rep about buying so many shoes-glorious-shoes!

Don't you just love the tray that the pickles are on? When I was a kid, my Mom somehow ended up with a bunch of these trays and we would use them for dinner every once in a while. I'm not sure what happened to those trays so when I saw this in the Goodwill Store, I had to have it!

Nephew-Lucas is very tired...

Depression-Era-Poppy is very happy. We decided to do two turkeys. One spit roasted:

And the other on Poppy's big rig:

They were both fabulous!!

The aftermath:

This is my Thanksgiving Dinner file. It has my menu and recipes inside...and lots of notes on the front. It's a keeper!

This picture is what was left before we went to bed.

I'm starving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pickin's are slim at Kasa Kecky's...

Trying not to buy a bunch of food to keep the fridge pretty empty. Unfortunately, doesn't leave me with many dinner choices. With that leftover pasta sauce I had, I made some quiona elbow pasta to go with. I had planned on taking that for lunch yesterday, but since we didn't have anything for dinner, that's what we had. Served it with some sauteed cabbage, fennel and green onions. Not bad. Poppy didn't care for the veg. liked it. Think we'll have it again tonight! Heh heh heh.

Mr. Oven-Guy came yesterday. He was very Russian. Said the oven burner was obstructed...big job to clean. He cleaned it alright. My oven was at 475 degrees within 17 minutes!

Got an email from Pal-Crin. Here's what she woke up too:

Thanksgiving is almost here. Hope y'all have a very relaxing time with friends and family; I know Roger-The-Escape-Cat will!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Busy Sunday...

Let's start with last night's dinner. I had a bag of pasta sauce in the freezer so decided on spaghetti. Also, had some leftover Ciabatta bread. We had dinner at Friend-Nancy's house last week. She and Girlfriend-Sous-Chef-Teila made stuffed chicken breast, salad and bread that had spinach and cheese on it. It was really good, so I decided that's what I wanted to do with my leftover Ciabatta.

I sauteed some spinach and tomatoes with some garlic, onion powder (I was out of onions/garlic) and salt-n-pepper. I cut the bread in half and put the spinach mixture on both sides. Put a foil tent over it and heated it. Once heated, I put grated mozzarella cheese on top and into the broiler went. NOM!

Had some of that bread leftover so we had it for breakfast with one of Friend-Scot's fresh eggs. Even more NOM! One of life's little luxuries is a freshly laid egg from a very happy chicken.

I got up at 7:00am this morning to get to the grocery store. Wanted to beat the Thanksgiving crowds. I make my Mom's stuffing recipe every year and that calls for unseasoned bread cubes. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find unseasoned bread cubes? It gets harder every year! It's clear that some folks like an "instant" Thanksgiving! I'm afraid this year, I have to make my own bread cubes!

I'm sure some of you know the story about my Mom's stuffing recipe, but some don't and I love a good story...

My Mom was a pretty good cook and she had this stuffing recipe that makes my mouth water every time I think about it. I like it even better than Kraft-Macaroni-and-Cheese-Family-Style-Deluxe! You all know how much I like my mac-n-cheese; so much so that I can only have it on my birthday.

Okay, so my Mom never really wrote down recipes and it was rare we were allowed in the kitchen when she was cooking. One of the times we were allowed in the kitchen was to test the stuffing. So NOM!!!

The Thanksgiving after my Mom died, Seester Kathy and I wanted to do our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Neither one of us really cooked but we figured we could handle the turkey, the mashed potatoes (gravy from a jar), the jellied cranberry sauce in the shape of the tin can; when it came to the stuffing, we were lost. We knew it was unseasoned bread cubes, onion, celery and Bell's Poultry seasoning. We tried to recreate it, but it wasn't going well, we ended up putting eggs in it, sugar and who knows what else. Should have seen Dad's face when he ate it. Priceless! For years, we kept trying. It wasn't until a few years ago, I went to buy the bread cubes and was looking at the back of the package...there was Mom's stuffing recipe!!! Since you can't find seasoned bread cubes anymore, here is her recipe for you:

Mom’s Stuffing

1 ½ C chopped celery
3 C chopped onion
3C chicken broth
3 sticks melted butter
4 ½ tsp poultry seasoning (start gradually)
4 bags of bread cubes

Preheat oven to 325.

Saute onion and celery in butter until soft. Pour mixture over bread. Gradually add poultry seasoning while mixing. Taste for seasoning.

Can't wait to make it!

Okay, on with the day. The last time the oven guy came out to fix our oven, he told us that if we soaked the burners in hot soapy water for a few hours and dried them off, we probably wouldn't need a match to light the burners. Since another oven guy is coming tomorrow, I decided to give my baby a once over.

Here she is all neked:

Here are the burners getting their first bath:

So after I got the baby all back together, you still need to light a match to get the burner running. Oh well!

Poppy spent the better part of this morning/afternoon getting plane tickets to fly to Wichita for Christmas. Poppy's Aunt-Katie and Uncle-Suresh live there so the family will be heading to their place for the Holiday. Gotta tell you, the airlines are not making it easy for us either. Why is it, that folks on a budget have to suffer to fly? We've got two stops, one in Lost Wages and one in Denver. I'd rather drive...and it would probably take less time!

Here's the best part of the day though, after Poppy made travel arrangements, it was time to start curing the pork belly for the bacon that we'll smoke next weekend. She's going to do a Jimmy Dean bourbon some on the bacon. This is gonna be good!

Time for a slight retraction...turns out that Depression-Era-Poppy is not trying to relive the old days of Grandma Carpenter's house. Evidently, Grandma Carpenter's house didn't have these kinds of light switches; Depression-Era-Poppy just likes old stuff. Never mind...

Have a good week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Lots to report on today. First off, Thomas (not Tomas) was busy at the house the other day. He installed the fixture above the butcher block and all the new switch plates. The house is now almost complete. I've come to the conclusion that Depression-Era-Poppy is reliving her past with Grandma Carpenter's house. So, I've decided that I want the bedroom light fixture we purchase to remind me of my Grandma's house only it'll be one of those icky square glass shades from the late 60's. I'll let you know what we come up with.

While I love he light over the butcher block, the bulb is vintage, circa 1940-1960's and doesn't put out much light. If you put in a regular bulb, you feel like you're in a torture room being interrogated. I ended up putting a bulb from the fridge in. That works, but still gives me the feeling of being interrogated. Sure puts a nice light on the work surface though. We found the solution to the problem; we ordered a different shade. The shade will be the same, but instead of a plate shape it'll be more of a dome shape so it'll cover the bulb but still light my work surface.

Since we're on the subject of housey stuff, I've come to the conclusion over the last few weeks, my second Wedgewood oven, doesn't seem to be coming up to temperature as fast as I'd like. Took me two hours to bake a potato and I still ended up having to finish it in the convection/microwave. I put a call into the home warranty company so someone should be calling me within 24 hours. I love my oven!!

Had an email from my pal, Crin this morning. She lives in Tahoe. Her email was titled "It's heeeeeeerrrr."

And last, but not least, let's check in with A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DAD...Thanksgiving is just around the corner and through the years of holidays, one of the things we all enjoyed as a family was to play a rousing game of Tripoly. So much so that Dad even made a Tripoly table, complete with cocktail glass holders and a place to store all your winnings.

Well, we don't have the table anymore, but Seester Kathy has a travel Tripoly pad and a set of Marlborough poker chips. Yeah, these are the poker chips that come complete with a nice wooden box with the Marlborough brand burned into the lid. She got it for free for smoking so many cigarettes. She has since quit smoking, by the way. Yay Seester Kathy!!!

Seester Kathy asked if she should bring the Tripoly and the poker chips. What a great idea only Dad can't see the cards anymore. You know me, for every problem, there is a can get playing card for folks with low vision. I bought them and they definitely are large. This is gonna be fun!!!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday's Failed Attempt At Chinese Delivery...

We found this really good Chinese restaurant in the hood called Hong's Szechuan Chinese. According to Yelp folks, Hong's is very highly rated, but the service is akin to the Soup Nazi.

Knowing that the owner-lady isn't very pleasant, we were ready for her. I must have said "thank you" no less than 20 times. But, Yelp, was right, she wasn't very pleasant. When we ordered the Hot-n-Sour soup, Poppy asked how hot on the spice the soup was. Owner-lady got this look on her face and said "It's hot. It' hot sour soup." (read between the lines... You f__king idiot!)

The problem is, the food is NOMMY! The salt-n-pepper pork chops are out of this world. The veggie deluxe is the best I've ever had.

We know they are closed on Thursday because we tried to order on a Thursday and found out the hard way. Since last night was Wednesday, this was not a problem. We got out the to-go menu and started highlighting all the tasty treats we were going to order. When we order, we get enough for two meals so we get a lot of food. We were all ready to order; Poppy dialed rang and rang and rang. They must be busy so we'll try again in a few rang and rang and rang. Hmmm, starting to get a little worried.

A little disappointed, we went to Plan B, which is Thai from Vandine. Good, but not Hong's, not to mention, a totally different ethnic food. So we picked out a bunch of items from Vandine's to-go menu. But I had to give Hong's one more rang and rang and rang. More than a little disappointed, Poppy called in the order to Vandine's. Everything kind of tastes the same. Looks good though:

Normally, I'd be all over boycotting Hong's, but it's just too good. We will not give up!

Some of you will remember that I was working on THE PROJECT FROM H.E.L.L. Well, I'm still working on it. Yesterday, Boss-Karen, Attorney-Andrea and Attorney-Tim had a conference call with the Assistant United States Attorney-Guy about a settlement conference. After they came out of the call, I could hear Boss-Karen calling my name. At first I was excited; she wanted something, but then I realized where she came from and I knew it couldn't be good.

Turns out the US Attorney-Guy's office happens to be very short staffed and they want to detail Laurie and me to their office to help them assemble some exhibits to a response to summary judgment. This is also an 11th hour request, as most requests seem to be when you're dealing with government agencies. The document is due to the court either by 5:00pm, Friday evening or midnight, Friday evening.

Some of you may know that I'm a very, very routined person and don't exactly deal to well with surprises. So when Boss-Karen approached me with this, my first response was NOOOOOOOOO! I said things like "Why can't they get a temp? I'm still working on this stupid project! I've got my own job to do!!" Since Boss-Karen and I have been working together for many, many years, she knew I would have this response so she pretty much just stood there until I was done with my hissy fit.

It was decided that Laurie and I would go down to the US Attorney-Guy's office after lunch. We arrive at the Federal Building and finally get through all the security. We had been instructed to go to the 9th floor, only the 9th floor reception area is empty and there is a sign that says "There is no receptionist here. Please go to the 11th floor." Well, we're not about to go to the 11th floor only to have to come back down to the 9th floor.

We decide we'll go use the restroom instead and then deal with how we were to get in. So after we do that, we see a gal headed into the secured door of the 9th floor office, right where we need to be. I get her attention and tell her we are to report to the Legal-Assistant-Gal. She tries to find the Legal-Assistant-Gal, but no luck.

After about 10 minutes, a woman comes into the reception area with her lunch and looks at us; says "Are you from the Trust." We way "Yep." She takes us into the office.

I'm not going to go into much detail here...or I'd have to kill all of you. Let's just say that Laurie and I were basically left there with little to no instruction and a piece of paper with names and numbers all over it, a bunch of binders and some computer disks. Laurie was to copy all the junk out of the binder and I was to print out selected pages from the disks.

The copy machine is the biggest thing I've ever seen! It even has a light on the top of it that looks like a siren light. Laurie is in her heyday cause she loves this kind of stuff. Come to find out from the Legal-Assistant-Gal who gives no instruction, The Machine is also the printer. She pressed about 20 different buttons to show us where the pages that I had qued up were, but said "We'll print those later, all at once."

So I finish my part. Laurie was still copying but she was at a place where she had to assemble some stuff and since we were using the same Machine, I had time to print out my stuff.

I tried to remember the sequence of 20 buttons that Legal-Assistant-Gal had pressed. I was where I think I needed to be and then I hit the button that said "Select All" since I wanted to print all that I had qued up. What I didn't realize is The Machine has a memory and there was stuff still stored in there from a few days the tune of over 2,000 pages. Okay, all this stuff that is printing is highly confidential and not for my eyes so I'm starting to freak out. Laurie is on the floor basically laughing and about to twiddle in her pants. I'm pressing every button in every sequence trying to stop The Machine. The light on the top of the machine is spinning red and I'm afraid it's going to make a noise!

Luckily, I was able to cancel the job, but just as I cancelled it, a new one would start printing and there were 44 qued up to print. Do you remember that seen with Jane Fonda in 9-5 when she was in the copy room? Well, that's what it looked like!

Now I'm sweating. Laurie is still laughing. I finally figure it out and basically delete all of the old stuff from the printer que. Now I have to shred everything I've just printed before Legal-Assistant-Gal catches me. Probably won't happen since we've only seen her once since we arrived there.

Okay, I get it all shredded and Laurie is now calling me Fraulein Shredder. We finish everything we were given to do. We were supposed to be there all day, but it was only 2:30. We went to Legal-Assistant-Gal and told her we were done. She sent us back to our office cause they're not ready for us. We work too fast.

We'll be going back either this afternoon or tomorrow for more fun.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oceans White With Foam...

Such a beautiful morning at the beach; I thought I'd share it with you...

Ocean, white with foam:

Tennis ball, white with foam:

Dead Jellyfish, white with foam:

And my favorite...

Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer's Footprints in the Sand.

One night Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer had a dream.
Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer dreamed
she was walking along the beach with THE MAMA.

Across the sky flashed scenes from Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer life.
For each scene Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to her, and the other to THE MAMA.

When the last scene of Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer’s life flashed before her,
she looked back at the footprints in the sand.

Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer noticed that many times along the path of
her life there was only one set of footprints.

Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in her life.

This really bothered Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer and she
questioned THE MAMA about it:

"MAMA, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

THE MAMA replied:

"My daughter, my precious little dog
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

Enjoy your day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday's Dinner...

Can't remember if I told you or not that Poppy has herself a new smoker. She bought this with the gift card that the Donner-Mae's gave her. Last night, she smoked pork chops! INFINITY NOM!!!

First I made a brine of in 2 cups of chicken stock, 1/4c salt, 1/4c brown sugar, a big splash of cider vinegar, two bay leaves and a hand full of peppercorns. Heated that until the salt and sugar dissolved, then added two cups of ice water; then added the pork chops. Those brined for about 3 hours.

Poppy put them to the smoker. I believe she used cherry wood. I made a sauce of plum preserves made by friend, Jeanette. The plums were from her Mom's tree. To that I added some red wine vinegar, a little balsamic, a little salt and some crushed red pepper flakes.

For the veg, I made some Euro greens. I sauteed an onion in pig fat, added a cup of chicken stock flavored w/Kecky's Southwest Seasoning and some vinegar; added the greens and cooked them down.

I also sliced two russet potatoes into thick chips, coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little of the Kecky's Southwest Seasoning and cooked them at 425 until they were crispy and brown. NOM!

I also made some chicken stock yesterday. I cracked and roasted the bones first before making the stock.

Of course, Sunday wouldn't be complete without a house project. This project was very exciting too. First, the fence along neighbor-Chan's yard has that bamboo stuff stapled to it. I suppose this is to give some privacy from Neighbor-Chan's backyard which is filled to the brim with all kinds of construction stuff...yep, even a kitchen sink. So I took that off the fence. No easy task since the stairs that Neighbor-Chan built hug that fence pretty tight.

Once I got the fence off, Poppy took over. Her part of the project was to seal the bottom wood parts of the stairs to keep the water off. Dad told Poppy about this caulking product that can be used as a water proofer and sealer. Same stuff you put in driveway cracks. Anyway, Poppy went to town and spend the next 4 hours sealing the wood. It's very neat and pretty:

Happy Monday!