I received the following sympathy card from my friend Lawren today, offering his condolences on the premature end to my Snow Monkeys’ season in Stargate fantasy football league play.

Heartfelt, no?
Heartfelt, no?

I can draw solace from the fact that I ended my season with a win over Robert Cooper’s Landsharks, potentially knocking him out of post-season contention.  On the other hand, the win is even more bitter considering it would have put me in the playoffs had I won last week (aka NOT listened to the pundits and gone ahead and played Carson Palmer at quarterback over Case Keenum).


But what’s done is done and now, focus shifts to my OTHER Snow Monkeys, the ones who have already clinched a playoff spot in my original league and are battling for a first round bye.

My already good day was made even better by the fact that, even though I was hosting football Sunday this weekend, I wasn’t doing any of the cooking.  No, that task fell on my buddy, Ivon Bartok, who served up slow-roasted pork tacos, pineapple salsa, and fresh guacamole.

The Happy Homemaker
The Happy Homemaker
A pot o' porky.
A pot o’ porky.
The spread
The spread

Good times.  And great eating!

So it’s been for the past week as Akemi gets her cook on…

Slow-roasted porchetta
Slow-roasted porchetta
Sweet pea soup
Sweet pea soup
Joel Robuchon's curry and tomato spiced eggplant fondant
Joel Robuchon’s curry and tomato spiced eggplant fondant

So, what have you all been cooking up?  Getting into the holiday spirit?  Bubba sure is!


22 thoughts on “December 1, 2013: Sympathies, Snow Monkeys, and Sustenance!

  1. Wait, you have two sets of snow monkeys? How did I not know that? I do find that whole fantasy football thing very hard to follow, so maybe that’s why. See also – regular football. Ivon looks… different somehow. Kinda younger. Different haircut.

    Anyway, disregarding all that, do you know what I just realized??!! The snowflakes on WordPress actually drift toward wherever your mouse pointer is positioned! I’m probably far too fascinated by this.

  2. I meant “different haircut?” – question mark. Sorry, distracted by the snowflakes…

  3. Joe:

    Getting into the holiday spirit? Bubba sure is!

    We’re trying to, but life is getting in the way. We’re waiting to get the house siding replaced (due to hail damage back in April), but the contractor won’t be able to confirm a date until later this week. This has put the outside light decorating on hold since we can’t be sure when the siding work will be done. Couple that with my knee recovery which has prevented me from picking up our Christmas tree this weekend (the first weekend in December is when we normally have done it), and where just a little short on Christmas spirit.

    Still, Barb and David did manage to get some lights up on the entertainment center, and the Christmas stocking stand, so all is not lost.

    And Bubba looks very festive! Do you hear the bells going through the house as he roams around?

    As for the food, it looks great. We’re on leftovers here; turkey sandwiches yesterday, turkey casserole tonight, and turkey stew tomorrow night…are you seeing a theme here? On the plus side, I’ve had pecan pie every day! 🙂

  4. Should be “we’re just a little short…”. It’s the Vicodin, I swear (even though I haven’t had any since last night 😉 )

  5. I bet Lulu was thrilled to see Ivon. Where are the pictures of them snuggling on the couch together? I bet she also loved the fact that he smelled like pork. 😉

    Can you make your blog have a blizzard? Snowing so hard we can hardly read. That would be cool.

  6. I got hold of a couple turkey carcasses so I’ve tried my hand at 24-hour bone broth. I think I’ll get away with cooling this giant pot-o’-broth overnight in the garage, but I’ll have to figure out how to package it tomorrow.

    I went dairy-free and lost about 15 pounds insanely fast and that was with a huge allotment of pork cracklings. My skinny 8 year old wants to try dairy-free, but I told him I need to figure it out better first.

  7. slow-roasted pork tacos sound interesting.

    BTW the site seems really slow tonight. maybe it’s all of the pictures & snow, or just an issue on my end.

  8. Funny you should ask…

    Today I made pepper hash. Pepper hash is a Philly thing, one that is quickly fading into obscurity, at least in its original form. Today’s pepper hash is sweet – sort of like the sweet vinegar brine made for cucumbers and onions – and heavier on cabbage than on peppers, with other changes as well. Some favor it today as a hotdog topping, but the pepper hash of yore – born in the oyster and fish houses that once flourished in Philadelphia – was a tart condiment designed for fishcakes and oysters. In Victorian times it was used to compliment seafood in place of far more expensive lemons.

    The recipe I used, based on one from the 1800s, is quite simple:

    12 small peppers (or 6 large)
    1 small head of cabbage (about 2 lbs.)
    Salt to taste (I used about 3 tbsp of kosher salt)
    3 tbsp mustard seed
    1 tsp whole clove
    1 tsp whole allspice
    1/2 tsp ground clove
    1/2 tsp ground allspice
    About 1 quart vinegar
    5 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
    1/2 c. sugar (optional)

    Finely chop the peppers and cabbage, mix well with salt and spices (and garlic, if used), add boiling vinegar (and sugar if used), and that’s it! It can be canned, of course, or eaten within two weeks if kept in the fridge. I did add the garlic (which supposedly was in the original recipe), and the sugar (not in the original recipe, but it did take some of the edge off the vinegar without making it sweet). I did not put the whole spices in a bag – I rather enjoy them mixed right in with the hash. I plan on eating this as is (not a huge fan of seafood), but plan to give some to my folks who are big fish eaters. I’m curious if this marries as well with seafood as it supposedly did back in Victorian days, especially since I did add a touch of sugar. If used with fish it is supposed to be served at room temp, and not chilled.

    Anyway…if you don’t like vinegary foods, this isn’t for you, but if you do, it’s quite tasty!! 🙂


  9. Yesterday I cooked slow roasted pork belly, butter roasted apples and cider gravy. It was all good although the gravy was a little “dry.” I’d probably use a sweeter cider next time or maybe chuck in a little sugar.

    I wanted to do some baking or make some chocolates this weekend but didn’t have time. I have several stollen to make before Christmas and probably a batch of truffles if I can decide which flavour ganache to make.

    This week we will hopefully have our leaky metal oil tank replaced with a shiny new plastic one. That means two days at least without heating or hot water. Perfect time of year for it . . . NOT! Anyway, it’ll be kettle boiled sponge baths and huddling next to the wood stove for a couple of days.

  10. @das – that recipe sounds very interesting and something I might like to try. However, “peppers” – what kind? Bell peppers? In this part of the world, we like to ask as jalepeno, habaneros, chili, poblano, etc. are all used frequently,

  11. With my husband on the road, I don’t cook much for Thanksgiving. I’ve been to two different Thanksgiving dinners, I made cranberry sauce for both. A touch of orange, a touch of Chambord, very tasty. Also made some pedestrian sweet potato pie for one dinner, stuffing for the other. My stuffing is actually dressing as it doesn’t go into a bird, I use chicken stock and ghee to give it a deep, luscious flavor.

    Next year I am doing proper sweet potatoes. My neighbor didn’t make them at all, my friends potluck turned up two types of mashed sweet potatoes, which is blasphemy. One obviously had no butter or salt, the other bowl was covered in marshmallows. Ugh. I like them in good sized chunks, candied, either with pineapple or a bourbon-pecan glaze.

  12. Our neighbor gave us some pecan squares, and they were delicious, what is it with people not wanting to share recipes, any way when I figure it out I will certainly share. So I will start making goodies, peanut butter fudge, chocolate chip cookies(always extra and differerent chips)saw a new recipe for choc covered p-nut butter balls, looks promising. and the list is not complete. Really trying to get into the holiday spirit here… maybe the cookies will help.. can’t hurt ,,right?!? Hope all the projects are smooooothly sailing for you. Thanks for sharing with us. Have a great day!!

  13. Ivon’s food sounds fabulous! Like Ponytail asked, “No Lulu/Ivon Pictures?”

    I’ve been doing basic cooking. Mashed potatoes (loaded with cream cheese/butter), roasted brussel sprouts and I made the boys a ham. I tried a different cookie recipe that was pretty yummy. They are chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. I added bittersweet chocolate chips (instead of semi-sweet) to the batter to balance the white chocolate’s sweetness. They turned out great: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/chocolate-chocolate-white-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe/index.html

    Line Noise: Your meal sounds pretty great too! I’ve never heard of cider gravy but it sounds good.

  14. Joe,

    What was your take on Hershel meeting his end on last nights TWD? I had a feeling it was coming after the Hershel-centric episode “Internment” three episodes ago.

    That and my feeling that The Governor just had to do one more despicable thing before he died.

    Hershel was the new “moral center” after Dale passed. In a show that’s about the worst humanity has to offer, I’m guessing that position will be repeatedly re-filled.

  15. I’m not much into non-fiction for my reading enjoyment, but I just might have to get this book: https://www.rodneyfox.com.au/shop/index.php/page/shop/flypage/product_id/464

    I first learned about Rodney Fox in a book called Shark Attack that I got soon after seeing Jaws (in a theater in Wildwood, NJ – sound familiar, Joey? 😉 ). I became fascinated not only with his ordeal, but with sharks in general, especially Great Whites. Like Fox, instead of hating the creatures I pretty much fell in love with them.

    Whenever we’d get to talking about shark attack stories, two would always be top of my list – Fox’s attack and survival, and the Jersey shore attack back in 1916 (which was the inspiration for the book Jaws). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Shore_shark_attacks_of_1916

    Now, it’s true that because of those stories I always make sure there’s plenty of bait people between me and the open water whenever I go to the beach, but it doesn’t stop me from being fascinated by these marvelous creatures that rule the sea.

    A bit more on Fox here:


  16. I’m stressing. Patrick is going to be 18 in 2 weeks and 1 day. We still haven’t gotten the court summons so now I’m panicking that if we don’t get a court date Dec 18 or 19 (they only do guardianship on Wed and Thurs), we will have to wait until the first week in January which stresses me. What if something happens to him? He can’t make informed decisions for himself. I hate to send a note to the school district to let them know they are 60 days past due having evaluated him and been back at IEP meeting for home/parent training (due on Oct 1) because if they do it and want a meeting and schedule it after he turns 18, I legally cannot “agree” with anything. He would have to be present. Can you just picture it? “Patrick, do you want to continue going to your school?” Shakes his head “no.”

    Christmas is very scaled down this year. In fact, we are going to delay our presents until next year. These are the times I am grateful Patrick does not understand the concept of presents. He usually gets only 1 present on his birthday and 1 present on Christmas, but what usually happens is that what we buy him he doesn’t like. His favorite present was a $5 jingle bell once. But on the bright side the tree is up, ornaments, too (last year we did not even get ornaments on the tree), and Patrick has not tried to play with the lights yet (and destroying the tree in the process).

    As far as cooking, I made some peanut butter cups last night. Tried out a new recipe. The chocolate came out great, but the peanut butter gushes out when you bite into it. Not sure what I did wrong. Will have to try again.

    This Saturday is the day we get to meet some potential goldens. We want to meet Jason (known as JJ), Skipper and Ranger. Based on descriptions, we like Ranger, Skipper and then JJ, but we’ll see how they do when they meet Patrick. http://www.grrh.org/available_goldens1

  17. @ Nola Shingledecker – The traditional recipe calls for bell peppers. If they’re small (tennis ball-sized) I’d use 12, if larger use less accordingly.

    This morning when I tasted it I actually thought that a hot pepper or two would be very good in it, so if you like spicy I see nothing wrong with popping a couple hots in it if you want to. Now that I’ve made it my advice would be to cut this recipe in half – or even in quarters – and experiment with each batch.

    (When I made it I did so without the sugar, tasted it to see what it was like, decided to try a bit of sugar so dissolved a quarter cup in vinegar, added it, tasted it, and decided to dissolve and add another quarter cup of sugar. If you do it that way remember to use less vinegar the first time so the hash doesn’t end up swimming in liquid by the time you’re done.)

    Next time I’m going to experiment a bit with smaller batches, adding hot peppers in one, carrots in another (carrots are popular in the modern pepper hash), multi-colored bell peppers (yellow, orange, red), and maybe subbing cider vinegar for white. However, I am sticking with the basic formula – bell peppers as the main ingredient (instead of cabbage as in many modern recipes), the spice mixture (mustard, clove, allspice – no celery seed that’s common in the modern recipes), garlic, and the appropriate measures of salt and sugar for batch size.

    If I add more sugar than it’ll be too much like the sweet pepper hash people make today, and I want something different. This is different, and quite tasty!

    For more info, I got the recipe from here: http://books.google.com/books?id=xq_UAcfQP5wC&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=philadelphia+pepper+hash&source=bl&ots=CcnchcwU2H&sig=u7l__j1-s55YZtQursPgTRPUvqc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EMmcUuH9HK-3sATshIC4CA&ved=0CFcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=philadelphia%20pepper%20hash&f=false

    Though I borrowed some measurements and ingredients from the modern recipe, I made it like the old recipe – no steeping spices overnight or anything like that. It’s so simple the old timey way, with chopping the veggies the most bothersome part, but I managed to make the whole thing in about a half hour, with some time afterwards adjusting the sugar content.


  18. We all know Tyreese was meant to be the one dying in that scene but as he is still alive in the back half of season 4, it had to be someone who would provoke the same kind of reaction.

    Besides Abraham and his group will be appearing soon. And as you read the comics you’ll know that Episode 9 will be a Carl focused episode(Him looking after Rick etc).

    They’ve done a good job mixing things up anyway in the TV series, like killing Andrea before her time, and giving Tyreese a break from dying for now lol

  19. @ Nola Shingledecker – I forgot to stress that the pepper hash is a condiment, not a salad. A little goes a very long way!


  20. 🙁 Randomness… I haven’t read the comics, can I ask you to put spoilers. I don’t want to read them, and I don’t want possible spoilers. Thanks. The fall finale made me very very sad… I know, no one is expendable but dang.

    @PBMom, can you get an emergency hearing or find someone to push it up fast for you? ((hugs))

    LOL Joe, tell Akemi I found you a gift she can grow:

  21. @Debra From The South

    Oh I’m sorry, absolutely you’re right. I was mostly just speaking about the similarities between the comic and show as Joe follows the comic. Ironically enough not long after I wrote that I had a feeling I goofed a bit talking about spoilers, I promise you won’t hear anymore from me beyond me speaking about stuff that has aired.

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