Friday, January 29, 2016

This Week's Menu: 49'r Flapjacks and Barbecued Pork Belly

We were at Costco recently and came across a big package of pork belly in the meat section.  Hmm, never made anything with this precursor to bacon. Why not?  I'll see what I can do.

Today is the results of that experiment, which came out quite well in my opinion.

We're also starting the day off with a very popular dish in pancake houses across the nation.  Love 46'r flapjack, those thin but oh-so-good pancakes you get there. Don't love how much you have to pay for them, though, so I came up with a way to cook them at home where they taste just as good as the cakes you get in the restaurant but made for a fraction of the price.

This week's menu is ready to go! Recipes at the links below.

Breakfast: 49'r Flapjacks

Dinner: Barbecued Pork Belly

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER: Barbecued Pork Belly

Who doesn't like bacon? Well, this isn't bacon but pork belly is the meat that becomes bacon after curing. We're going to cook it as a dinner entree on the barbecue.

As with a lot of dishes, cooking the meat is just a formality. The key to this dish is the sauce.

Let's see what I have in the fridge that I can use for that purpose.

Here we go, an onion, some sherry, and raspberry preserves. That should work well with pork.

1 pound pork belly
kosher salt
worcestershire sauce
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup sherry
2 tablespoons butter (or, as I did today, bacon fat if you have it available)

Put the pork belly in a sealable bowl. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper on each side.  Splash on enough worcestershire sauce to have a fine coating on top. Seal and put in the fridge for later.

I need to find my smallest sauce pan. There it is. Holds about a pint, maybe a little more.

I had made some bacon for breakfast today, so I saved a little of the bacon fat to use in place of the butter for this. Heat up your bacon fat (or butter) in the sauce pan. When hot, put in the onions and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add the sherry and boil for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Pull out any large pieces of onion that might float up and discard.

Add the preserves and stir in. Boil 5-10 minues, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour. Take pan off of heat when done.

On a charcoal barbecue grill with coals only on one side, place the pork belly over the direct heat and cover. Cook about 4 minutes on each side.

Move pork belly over to indirect heat, cover and cook for another 8 minutes per side.  When done, remove and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with sauce ladeled over the meat.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

49'r Flapjacks

They're pancakes but they're thin and light versions of the heavier gut bombs you usually see.  They're also delicious.

You can find these at restaurants sometimes.  Last time we got them, eating out, they were about $9 for four eggs, bacon, or anything else.

No thanks, I think we can do just as well at home for a lot less.


1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter

Put all ingredients except for the ghee into a blender, blend on high for 8-10 seconds.  Put mix in a sealable plastic bottle and store in refrigerator overnight.

About an hour before cooking, remove batter from the fridge and let come up to room temperature.

Use a basting brush to put ghee (clarified butter) on a hot, 10 inch non-stick frying pan.  Pour a layer of batter in the pan.

I like to use two pans. When I flip the first pancake, I'll put batter in the second pan. Since you can only cook one pancake at a time, this let's you finish twice as fast

Put some wax paper on a plate, stack the pancakes on it as they're finished, and cover until done.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Wrath of the Grapes

Now that the backyard roses have been pruned, it's time to move on to the grapevine. The leaves have all fallen off so this makes it a good time to cut.

Basically, I just want to cut all the branches from the level of the bottom of the lower crossbar on the trellis down.

Loppers hit the thicker branches...

...while my clippers hit the old grape clusters that have long turned into raisins.

There, that's better.

A sweep of the patio and this weekend's gardening is done.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

D-Day: The Pasta Predicament

An ongoing look into life with diabetes...

White rice? No problem. Don't really care for what I consider a pretty tasteless filler food anyway. Brown rice does nicely when I absolutely have to have it.

Smaller flour tortillas work well as a substitute for larger ones for me but, so far, the hardest has been pasta.

Like many, I love pasta. Tortellini, ravioli, lasagna,'s all so good and makes an easy meal when you're short on time or ideas.

Unfortunately, everytime I have it, no matter how I balance it out with other fats or proteins, it spikes my blood sugar by about 90 points.

Last night, I had a lovely beef tendon noodle soup at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants. I even left half of the noodles in the bowl. Started dinner at a nice reading of 105. Two hours and ten minutes later, it's at 197. 

That's not good.

Looking up pasta substitutes for diabetics suggests whole wheat or fortified (with protein) pasta. I will need to try that.  Quinoa (can't stand it) and spaghetti squash (it's still not spaghetti) are also mentioned.


I've decided that the next bowl of soup I have, I'll ask them to put in more spinach and leave out the noodles to see if that helps.

For now, pasta has to go on the very rarely list.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Gloomy Days for Gardening

It's cool and gray on the patio today but it's dry. Good time to prune and clean for the upcoming season.

I'll start with the roses here in the backyard, then to the front next time. (my pruning tips are here)

The loppers cut into Angel Face...

...while Moonstone is done.

Next time, the grapevine and sweeping up this mess.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 22, 2016

This Week's Menu: Cajun Egg Scramble and Swedish Meatballs

Your Sunday menu relies on ground and chopped meat this week.  Dinner is an IKEA favorite, done homemade with brown rice instead of pasta. Breakfast is a hearty bayou inspired dish.

Recipes at the links below.

BREAKFAST: Cajun Egg Scramble

DINNER: Swedish Meatballs over Brown Rice

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER: Swedish Meatballs

When I started this blog, I told you I'd tell you success or fail on my recipes. Hmm, I thought these were good, and they're a very good leftover, but my wife has suggested a couple of changes to make them better, which is noted in the recipe below.

I had a big hunk of ground beef sitting in the freezer so why not make some meatballs for a cool, winter Sunday.

2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
4 green onions - 1  well chopped medium onion, instead
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt - 1 teaspoon instead
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups brown rice
3 tablespoons olive oil

Cook the two cups of brown rice in a rice steamer with one can of chicken broth. Fill with water to get enough liquid to cook the rice.

In a large bowl, mix the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice all together.

Put a large sheet of wax paper on the counter and make balls, 1-1.5 inches in diameter, and put them on the wax paper. After making enough meatballs for around three per person, take a gallon size, sealable plastic bag. Line with wax paper, put any extra meatballs in there to store in the freezer for a future meal.

Wash and dry the bowl, transfer enough meatballs for around three per person...separated by wax the bowl and save for later.

When the rice is ready, in a large skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of the oil on medium/high heat. Cook the meatballs until brown on all sides, turning every couple of minutes for an even cook.  Place back in the bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil. Put the onions in and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour slowly and cook until the flour is brown. Add the other can of chicken broth. Boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring. Turn heat down to medium/low.

Stir in the cream. Simmer for 5-6 minutes. 

Stir again and add the meatballs.

Serve over the rice.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

BREAKFAST: Cajun Scramble

This one is super hearty and tasty. Pretty easy, too. Just cut up half a Cajun sausage (or linguica makes a good substitute). Fry it up in a pan, and pour some scrambled egg mixture on it.

1/2 Cajun or linguica sausage
4 eggs
1 teaspoon half and half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 ounce shredded cheese
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Heat up olive oil in pan. Slice up sausage. Cook in oil on pan.

Prepare eggs using our Basic Scramble Egg recipe. Pour over sausage and cook.

Sprinkle cheese over eggs when cooking.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

D-Day: Life After the Diagnosis

God works in mysterious ways. After years of good to very good checkups and starting this food blog, I get the news.

Just before Thanksgiving, my doctor's note comes in the mail. Dianosis: Diabetes Mellitus. In other words, I'm now a Type 2 diabetic.

First order of business is to attend my health plan's "Diabetes 101" class where I receive some basic nutritional information and a blood glucose monitor.  After that, it's another four week advanced class for diabetes management.

Now, I'm officially on the program.

Actually, it's not a bad thing. Probably one of the better things to happen for my health because now I have an almost instant read (2 hours later) on how my last meal affected me.  I'm getting to know what I can eat (a carne asada sope with a chile relleno works real good for my glucose level) and what I can't (white rice is a sugar bomb for my blood but that's ok, I don't really care for it anyway).

What's that mean for the blog? Well, I'll now do occasional D-Day posts spotlighting foods that work, those that don't, and other highs and lows of living with Type 2 Diabetes.

For me, so far, I've been able to keep within the range of 100-150 on the reading of my monitor, which is exactly where my doctor wants me to be. I've had two big spikes...once when I had a beef bowl from a local teriyaki place (B-Man's), where I learned that white rice is not my friend...and when I had a burrito wrapped in a huge, flour tortilla that spiked me up to over 200.

That was a bit harder to take than the rice but smaller flour tortillas don't affect me so badly. Corn are even better and I still need to try the wheat variety to see how that will be.

I'm not much for candy or sweets, though I do occasionally like to have them, so it's been pretty easy to cut back on them.  I am a fan of butter, which doesn't pump up the sugar but does contribute to other things that don't go well with diabetes, so that will be a little harder to put down.

My goal is to stave off having to take medication for as long as possible. So long as I'm range and pay attention, I should be good for awhile. 

We'll next blood work appointment is next month.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 15, 2016

This Week's Sunday Menu: Chilaquiles and Pizza

Time for another Sunday of food. Today's recipes are a little more involved than our usual ones but they're still pretty easy.

Breakfast is one of my favorite Mexican dishes while dinner is something everyone loves. 

Recipes at the links below...

BREAKFAST: Chilaquiles con Huevos y Salsa Verde


Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved


Originally, I was going to do this on my gas barbecue but my pizza pan wouldn't fit with the lid closed so it was off to the kitchen oven to cook.

There are two time consuming steps to this but this is another one you can do a few hours ahead of time and stick in the fridge until it's time to cook.  The first step is the sauce and the next is rolling out the dough, which not only takes time but is pretty labor intensive, too.

Except for the sauce, I bought all the other ingredients premade at a local Italian deli, Capri in Covina, California. That makes things a bit easier.

16 ounces of pizza dough (you can make this yourself but I just buy it premade at a local Italian deli. You can also find it at Trader Joe's and other stores)

6 medium Roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 links Italian sausage
1/4 pound prosciutto
1/2 pound mozarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded quattro formagio (four cheeses, available at most supermarkets - substitute with a high quality shredded parmesan if you can't find it)

Take 5 tomatoes (you may want to cut them in half first) and puree in a blender with 1 cup of water.

Cut the 6th tomato up into cubes.

Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan. Pour your pureed tomatoes on top of that and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then set to low to simmer. Put your tomato chunks, garlic, oregano, salt, and sugar into the mix and stir. Simmer for 2 hours or until reduced by two thirds. Stir occasionally during this time (maybe every 10 or 20 minutes). Taste a spoonful occasionally to see if the taste would be good on a pizza. Add ingredients to adjust, sparingly, until you get your perfect tast.

When sauce is thick, a little thicker than you'd want to serve on pasta, take it off of the heat.

Preheat oven to 450 -500 degrees...very hot!

On a large, wooden cutting board, sprinkle about a quarter cup of flour and spread out over the board. Place dough on it and roll out flat. This will take quite some time as the dough will keep wanting to snap back to its original shape. Keep at it and, eventually, the dough will lose its elasticity and you'll have a flat dough. be very careful not to tear your dough.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil and coat it with a paper towel over a round pizza pan. Transfer your dough into the pan and, carefully, spread it to the edges.

Using a ladel, spread your sauce over the dough, leaving about a half inch clear around the rim to be able to hold your pizza slice later.  Put a think layer of mozzarella over the sauce. Put on your toppings (we're using Italian sausage and prosciutto but the sky's the limit on what you'd like to put on it). Sprinkle quattro formagio on it. 

Cover with another layer of mozzarella (I'm using a mozzarella ball for this and laying slices of it around the pie).

Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Put parchment paper on your cutting board and transfer finished pizza pie to it once done. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved