31 March 2011 – Comfort Food 101

When I think of comfort food there are a few mainstays that come to mind like tomato soup and crackers, Mom’s home made chicken and dumplings or home made meatloaf.

I could go on but tonight I am going to focus on the first comfort food I learned to cook for myself. It is most definitely in my top 5 comfort foods. I am going to talk about the fried egg sandwich.

A quick search on Google Images will turn up over two million images of what the fried egg sandwich should be. However, I know of only one way to go about it. Continue reading

30 March 2011 – Tacos al carbon – Buffalo Style

I posted recently regarding a quick road trip I took with photographer and friend Bill J Boyd. We spent a few hours shooting Bass Performance Hall and other buildings in Sundance Square over in Fort Worth. Towards the end of the day we caught a great meal at Reata which is on the Square.

I ordered the Buffalo Rib Eye and it was great but I didn’t finish it and the staff neatly packaged it up for the trip home.

Not wanting it to go to waste I decided to put it to good use last night. Not all leftovers are suitable for a total remake but when you have a nice piece of steak your options are pretty broad.

I blogged about Dorm Room Fajitas the other day and had some tortillas, jalapenos, cilantro and salsa left over from the adventure. So I figured I would do what I could with what I had. For Tacos al carbon I would prefer a soft yellow or white corn tortilla but all I have is flour – I will make due. Continue reading

27 March 2011 – Road Trip Ft. Worth, Texas

I was up early on Sunday and decided to contact local freelance photographer Bill Boyd to discuss some recent pictures he took of some circus elephants. After some discussion the subject of Fort Worth, Texas came up and soon after we were on the road to Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth.

It has been around ten years since I was there so I was looking forward to some nice photo opportunities. Cloudy and cool were the weather conditions and that lends itself to more of a black and white type scenario. We arrived around 2:30pm along with a misting rain. No problem as we took shelter in the two story Barnes & Noble that faced the Bass Performance Hall and allowed us to photograph the two wonderful Bass Hall Trumpet Angels that adorn the side of the Hall.

Bass Hall Angel

Trumpet Angel

Bass Performance Hall

Bass Performance Hall

Sundance Square is the Arts and Entertainment district In Ft. Worth. What was not so long ago a ghost town after business hours is now a thriving community with fine dining, night clubs, festivals and tourist attractions.

It was so nice to see some of the early 1900 buildings restored to their original splendor. This is the Burk Burnett building which was the original skyscraper of Ft. Worth and built in 1914 and remodeled in 1980. When I see buildings like this I dislike the glass towers even more.

Burk Burnett Building

Tarrant County Court House – designed and built between 1893-1895 and often featured on the television series Walker Texas Ranger.

Tarrant County Courthouse

Tarrant County Courthouse

Here is a mural that just seems to jump off the side of the building on which it was painted. It is a tribute to the Chisholm Trail 1867-1875

Chisholm Trail - Ft. Worth

Chisholm Trail – Ft. Worth

Some Places you have to search for. This is The Scat Lounge – a Jazz nightclub I found down a narrow alley.

Scat Jazz Club

Scat Jazz Club

This is the only way out of The Scat Jazz Lounge …

Scat Jazz Lounge

Scat Jazz Lounge

We were starting to get hungry and Bill knew of a good Texas eatery on the square – Reata.

Reata

Reata

A nice Texas style decore

Reata Bar

Reata Bar

Lots of hand tooled saddles and other western gear to look at …  Continue reading

23 March 2011 – What Do You Know About Nachos?

Original Nachos

Original Nachos

The first time I heard the term nachos was probably back in the late ’70’s when one the first Taco Bueno fast food locations moved into my neighborhood.

They had something called nachos and it was basically a 1/2 cup of refried beans surrounded by tortilla chips with molten cheese sauce over the top. Jalapenos optional. That was it, nothing else and cheap enough to buy with the money I got paid for mowing the lawn which was about 75 cents at the time. It was good, certainly different than what I was being served at home, but for some reason it was just not quite right. Continue reading

22 March 2011 – Dorm Room Fajitas

Towards the end of the last century when in my first year of college I had no idea how much I would miss my Mom’s cooking or dining out for that matter. Money was tighter than a ducks ass. Don’t ask me how I know that, it is just an observation that ducks do not sink when in water. Anyways, I was on the meal plan at a small university on the Texas Coast and the food was pretty terrible. Salad was about the only thing they didn’t mess up.

The best we could do in the dorm room after 7pm was those dry pouches of ramen noodles and hoping that the hot water from the tap was hot enough to soften the noodles. On rare occasions we would chip in for a Domino’s pizza. Back then Domino’s did the delivery in 30 minutes or it was free. We had a small chance that they would be late if we timed our order precisely. You see, my campus was on a small island connected Galveston via a drawbridge over the ship channel.

We knew that on most nights that the bridge went up around 9pm to let one of the local ships pass. Usually took no more than 15 minutes to complete the pass through. How successful were we in getting a free pizza? Not very, maybe 20% of the ordered pizzas were late. But it was fun to try.

There were a lot fewer microwave food options then but you could reheat stuff if you were lucky enough to have one and that was better than nothing – which is what I had. You could gain friends with microwave popcorn as long as you didn’t burn it which would likely result in a beat down from an annoyed neighbor or two.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. I was in the mood for poultry tonight. Specifically a smoked turkey sandwich from the local BBQ joint. I don’t know why but they closed early so I decided to see what I could get at the grocery store without resorting to something from the frozen food isle. This is when I discovered a package of refrigerated pre-cooked chicken fajita meat near the butcher counter. I decided to give it a go. I had cheese, salsa and jalapenos at home so I just had to pick up a packet of flour tortillas, guacamole, cilantro and sour cream in addition to the chicken and I was good to go.

If only I had the microwave and this type of convenient food available while I was in the college dorm room.

So – how was it? Pretty darned good in fact. Quite satisfying and for the small amount I spent I will still be able to get another couple meals out of it.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

And, to make it more appealing the chicken and tortillas spent less than 2.5 minutes in the microwave warming up. Very little clean up is also a bonus. If you have ever made fajitas from scratch you will appreciate this.

It was good enough that I am going to give you another look.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

So, where does this delicious chicken fajita product come from? It comes from John Soules Foods located in Tyler, Texas. They supply many restaurants and grocers in Texas. That’s good for me but for those out of state you might just have to call/email them to see if they have a presence in your neighborhood.

Very long story short ….. if I was a college student today or had a kid in college I would make sure there was a small microwave, small fridge and plenty of products like this on hand.

 

21 March 2011 – Not Grand Ma’s Bacon

I do love bacon. What we call bacon in the State’s will be different than what folks in Europe and other places call bacon.

It is basically a cured pork based breakfast meat. In the State’s it is generally from the pork belly and streaked with fat. Other places it is cut from the pork back and is much more lean.

Recently (in the State’s) I ran across a bacon product that is precooked and in a box and on a non-refrigerated shelf in the grocery store. I am a foodie by some standards but curious as well so I picked up a package to give it a go.

You place the strips on a microwave safe plate and cover with a paper towel. Six strips come to temperature in about 35 seconds in the microwave.

My observations – well it does not beat traditional bacon but it is “baconesc” and better than facon like the baco’s type bacon flavored vegetable protein bits. Good in a pinch and very little cleanup. One complaint would be that it is paper thin – I love thick cut bacon, additionally reserved bacon grease is the best medium in which to fry an egg.

What type of bacon do you have where you come from, and how do incorporate it into breakfast, lunch and dinner?

bacon

Lots more information on the history of bacon here.

lupo

20 March 2011 – What You See is What You Get

Just a quick post tonight.

How often is it you go to the drive thru or fast food joint and use the picture menu to decide on what to eat? The photos look great – the food looks great, but by the time I usually get to it it looks like something else altogether.

Recently I stopped by McDonald’s and ordered the Big ‘n Tasty which is no longer on the menu, but they still made it for me and when I got home and opened the container I was surprised that it was in pristine condition and didn’t look as if it had been stepped on.

So surprised was I that I decided to document it.

Big 'n Tasty