Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Last Call…

When I worked in the largest honky-tonk country western dance club and restaurant in Virginia, we used to have a ‘last call’ for kitchen orders at midnight. Due to state law, another ‘last call’ for alcoholic drinks occurred at 1:30am. Some people did not like it, but most understood and went on to somewhere else.

Here at Exploding Potatoes, it’s five past midnight.

With my writing business becoming more of a business, I have acquired a domain name and a website of my own. It is more for my writing – but then again, all of my writing involves food.

Still want recipes?

No worries. The website (here) has an area where you can sign up for a monthly-ish newsletter (here.) And each newsletter will have a recipe from one of the books. Think of it as a blog, but in a different format.

Of course, these recipes won’t go away. You will still be able to access them for the foreseeable future. I think if I hid the recipe for my cheesy tater tot casserole, there might be an insurrection. I can see the pitchforks and torches coming my way now. No sir. Not for me. The recipes? They are a-stayin’.

But – please check out the new website here. And if you want that special recipe each month? Sign up for the newsletter here.

No salesman will call.

And it goes without saying – thanks for sticking with Exploding Potatoes over the years. You all are a great bunch of folks. Truly.

DJ sends. Out.

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

You ever have a day when you want something good to eat for dinner, but everything you want requires a trip to the store? And you have no desire whatsoever to go to the store?

That was us tonight. Could we go to the store? Sure. Is it far away? No, just about two miles from the house, probably less. And since wine alone does not qualify as a meal we had a random supply of potatoes, I offered to make sweet potato fries. No brown sugar required; no marshmallow was harmed in the making of this dish. This is not sweet – this is my new version of Savory Sweet Potato Fries!

Ingredients

2 medium sized sweet potatoes, washed, dried, but not peeled

Olive oil – enough to drizzle for about five seconds

To taste:

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Thyme

Oregano

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Carefully, cut off the ends of the potatoes such that your fries will have squared-off ends, not tapering.

Cutting lengthwise, slice the potatoes into fries about two inches long and a half inch thick.

Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking sheet; two sheets if you need them. I did.

Place the fries on the baking sheet, in a single layer. Make sure the fries do not touch each other.

Drizzle a little more olive oil on top of the fries.

Season the fries with the salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano.

Bake the seasoned fries in the oven for 20 minutes.

Once done, serve and serve quickly. Your guests will be hungry after smelling the fries baking in the oven.

Happy eating!

Help me find a cure for Crohn’s

Hi everyone,

This is not the normal post for this blog. In fact, I have copied and pasted this post onto all three of my blogs in order to get the word out. I am only doing this once. No worries, the start of The 13th Samurai is on the way, as are new recipes and restaurant reviews for the food blogs.

So what am I asking?

The teenaged daughter of a co-worker has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I won’t scare you with all the details, but suffice to say this was not in her college prep plan. I guess there’s never a good time, is there?

Several of us at work have come together and formed a team to raise money on this girl’s behalf. We will be walking several miles at a fundraiser in late September. Please consider using this link and donating a few dollars. A cure is coming; we want our dollars to help find it sooner rather than later.

Thank you.

D.J.

2014 – the year in review

TARDIS Mk VII

TARDIS Mk VII (Photo credit: Rooners Toy Photography)

(Sans a TARDIS, I have mentally jumped ahead one year to see what has happened to this blog. Kind of like making your New Year’s Resolution after the fact. Hmmm. This may merit further investigation.)

Well, 2014 was a heck of a lot better than 2013. And 2013 wasn’t too bad. This past year, the culinary-themed mystery novel (The Apple Pie Alibi) was completed, as was the sequel (Burger Bytes and Jail Breaks.)  And the newest cookbook is almost on the shelf (“Time to Pray – The Pastor’s Husband is Cooking Again”.)

It took some doing, but there was a new blog post every week. And the blogger himself actually interacted with other bloggers and food professionals, moving beyond the nice interview in the Dallas Morning News in late 2013. Exploding Potatoes has, in 2014, put more social in the social media construct.

And we had healthier recipes, smaller carbon footprints, less to no genetically modified anythings and greater emphasis on locally sourced, renewable fare. And wine. More wine.

Thanks for reading these past few years. WordPress tells me Exploding Potatoes has been read by people in over 90 countries. That tells me we all like to eat. And there’s nothing wrong with talking about that.

I can’t wait until 2015!

43 Types of Garlic? Now we’re cooking!

Garlic 1I don’t care what the people at Taco Bueno say, my Aunt Sue is okay in my book. She sent me a care package the other day, a box with two brown paper lunch bags inside. While I enjoy a decent peanut butter and jelly sandwich as much as the next guy, I was not disappointed when I peeked inside.

Garlic!

A sampler pack of 10 varieties, sequestered in their own little individual-sized brown paper sacks and accompanied by a small slip of paper identifying the type of bulb. The notes also had a few lines about the taste, cooking suggestions and other nifty tidbits.  Where did my aunt acquire such bags of goodness?

Why, she’s a member of a “Garlic CSA,” of course.

Now stand down, ye Johnny Rebs, I am not referring to the Confederate States of America. No, this CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” A very cool agri-business model where people, regular people like you, buy a portion of a small farm’s crop in advance. In other words, you pay the farmer $100 up front and at the end of the growing season, you get at least $100 worth of crop. Some farms offer a number of different products, others specialize, for example Garlic!

No huge agriculture / industrial corporations needed. Just plain old, organically grown food – hold the pesticide.

My aunt belongs to the Dyer Family Organic Farm’s garlic CSA, a family owned and operated Michigan farm that is planting 43 varieties garlic this year (yes, 43.) You can learn more about Dyer’s by checking out their website here. All sorts of info and tips about garlic on this site: storage, planting, recipes, everything but the vampire stories. I am thinking garlic tomatillo salsa. Christmas is coming, people at work. Guess what you’re getting!

The really best part? One of the variety is called “Transylvania.”

Oh, the stories I will write…

photo 2

Celebrate Våffeldagen Every Day!

For most of my readers, today is not March 25th, the traditional day to celebrate Våffeldagen, or Waffle Day, in Sweden.

What? You have not heard of this feast? Perhaps you are not Swedish. Regardless, the Swedes are on to something tasty because few foods are so versatile as the waffle. Many people simply drizzle some melted butter on top, then pour maple syrup across the toasty little squares. You can’t go wrong with this combination. Others, typically considered a Southern US tradition, take it one step further by adding fried chicken on top of the butter and syrup. A savory version of the waffle might include bacon and cheese. For a real treat, an ice cream sandwich made with fresh baked waffles can’t be beat.

Cholesterol be damned. Full speed ahead!

Another popular variation found in America is the Belgian waffle, which ironically is not found anywhere in Belgium.  The Brusselois have their own unique style of waffles and in the next few weeks, I will try my hand at making them. Stay tuned; stay hungry. However, that said, the “Belgian Waffle” that is king here in the States is found at the Texas State Fair.

My wife and I were recently in the city of Dallas, Texas (home of the Fair) and whilst relaxing at the La Quinta Hotel, a reporter for the local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, somehow found me and asked about a post I had written a few years ago concerning the State Fair waffles. Published yesterday, Dallas friends have sent me a link to the article. Some great history here. The bottom line is that the State Fair waffles traditionally have a layer of fresh strawberries on top, and the entire waffle, circular in shape, is ringed with whipped cream. Yes!

You can’t go the Texas State Fair without trying them.  You just can’t.  I think it’s a law, actually.

Now that we are back in Virginia, I must settle for pleasant memories. And I must defer my Våffeldagen-fest for a week or two due to other cooking projects. But – to show you how the waffle and Texas have been so intertwined, here is a picture of the waffle iron at my hotel.

 (For those not familiar, the waffle is shaped like the state of Texas)?????????????

Had I found the coffee first, perhaps the “Texas Panhandle” at the top would have had more batter. I should have made another, but one was enough that day.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Come back soon for more food trivia, recipes, news about Våffeldagen-fest and the dribs and drabs that describe my culinary travels through life.

 

 

Need a little zip?

Add a little zip to your pasta!

I imagine if you asked them, the highly skilled, five star restaurant owning, department store housewares hawking celebrity chefs you see on television would admit that quite often they need to resort to quick, processed foods for meals.  Aside from the notoriety, high pay and on-call makeup artists and hair stylists, they’re regular people just like you and me.  And their job is a lot tougher than mine, maybe yours, too.  If you think about it, these folks and their careers ride the winds of public popularity. That, my friends, can be fleeting.

So tonight I was looking at my stacks and stacks of cookbooks, pondering whether or not quinoa  might be a good diversion from couscous, when a thought occurred.

I can be a celebrity chef, too!

So I looked in the fridge and found the package of pre-made ravioli.  But alas, the nice bottle of spaghetti sauce had gone bad. What to do? Could I go off the beaten path and have ravioli, straight with no chaser? Thankfully, tucked away in the fridge door rack, next to the old bottle of chocolate sauce (and partially hidden by the almost empty bottle of bread and butter pickles, you know – your fridge has the same stuff!) was a bottle of Sriracha Sauce!

I added just a few drops , stirred it in, added some grated Parmesan, then a few more dashes of the red rooster.

Perfect! Just the right amount of zip.

Now to see what’s on the Food Network.