Category Archives: Family

Tapas experiment

tapas shopping

My family and I suspect most Americans don’t spend enough time eating. Oh my we get enough FOOD to eat, but seem to spend very little time enjoying the experience.  We’ve been working at adding more variety to our diet in the form of organ meats, sea food and vegetables, to my dear husbands meat-and-potato-loving horror.  I noticed a while back that in order to get my family to eat a wider variety of food, we needed to do it more like a restaurant would, in courses. First a salad, then maybe a nice cup of soup, and finally the main course (don’t forget dessert!)

So last night I was watching a Tony Bourdain marathon (I know! W00t!) and his Spain and Venice episodes really brought the eating more slowly and with great gusto idea home for me. Even Tony was waxing poteic at sitting at the table with a family eating and conversing, drinking wine and enjoying the company. I want that! No more TV on the news while we eat from TV trays! No more throwing together a plate of food and horching it down so  can get back to whatever busywork task or internet BS I am currently involved in (doom-watching takes a lotta time, ya know?!?) At least we eat together, in the same room. But we can do better.

The clips I am referring to are embedded above.The meat of the matter starts at about the 7 minute mark in the first clip.

[youtube id=WpEmxIrprik] [youtube id=yYyJbcGawjE]

So, the new phase in our expansion of food choices: tapas. From our good friend Wikipedia (bold is mine):

Tapas (IPA: [ˈtaˌpas]) is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as puntillitas, which are battered, fried baby squid).

In North America and the United Kingdom, as well as in select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In these countries, patrons of tapas restaurants can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal.

The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them.[citation needed] Also, in some countries it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas.

Conversation? During a hillbilly meal? Impossible you say. The hard part will be in getting the Old Man to turn off the news. Fortunately the local news recycles their BS at the top of every hour so if we eat promptly at 5 pm, the preferred time in these here hills, we can catch the news at 6 and not miss a darned thing. I have a nifty table that can be raised and lowered and has leaves, so we can drag it out and set it up quickly to eat then put it away.

The tapas recipes I am going to try are already loaded into the recipe section of the site, and I will get up pictures as I go along.

The highlights:

Bacon wrapped shrimp, stuffed artichoke croquettes, ham or shrimp croquettes, Russian Salad, garlic mushrooms, meatballs in tomato sauce, roasted spicy almonds, skewered chorizo and shrimp, and Mediterranean eggs. These are all items made with familiar items but put together in ways that my family might not have tried previously. As you can see, I did not get terribly adventurous for the first week. As they get used to it, however: whammo! out comes the fried octopus or liver bits. Blam. I modified all these recipes from the originals to make them WAPF friendly.

We might put together a video if I am feeling ambitious. The pic up top? It’s from my grocery shopping today. I’ve noticed a lot of my favorite food bloggers are following the lead of that article that showed a pictorial of what people eat for a week. The items in the pic are all I needed to round out what I already have in the hillbilly larder. I think it looks nice 😉

Making deep fried tacos

Ok, Homesick Texan, I am going to have to start paying you royalties or something. So, a while back the menfolk hereabouts made deep fried tacos whiel I took pics. I posted them on Twitpic but did not blog about it. Here it goes:
I used Homesick Texan’s recipe, only with flour that was soaked and lard rather than veg oil:

Two cups of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of lard
3/4 cups of warm milk

I combined the warm milk and the lard to melt the lard into submission and used flour that I had started soaking the previous evening (half white, half white whole wheat that was freshly ground).
I mixed it all together into a sticky mass then wrapped it into a ball of plastic-wrapped stickiness and let it rest in the fridge for around 1/2 hour. I then divided the dough into 8 balls, and let them rest for a while while I wandered around, chasing dogs and flies. I get distracted easily, what can I say?

deep fried tacos


I rolled the suckers out got ready to fry!

deep fried tacos

We stuffed the tortillas with canned meat from last year that had been shredded and cooked a bit in our canned salsa, onion, cumin, chili powder and garlic, then folded them over, deep fried them and stuffed them when they came out of the fryer with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and more salsa. Very satisfying!

Here is where the men came in.

Max actually frying tacos:

deep fried tacos and Max

Here he is again working hard, looking serious. He is a perfesshunal, you know. An actual chef.

Max making deep fried tacos

Here is Steven “helping”.

steven and tacos


Here is Daniel “helping”.

daniel and the guys

Now I’ve been overrun by men:

overrun by men

Can you see in that pic I was trying to pressure can green beans that day?

Weekend Round Up

I am planning a project to renovate my kitchen and spend virtually NO money, just paint, cleaning supplies and some kitchen reorganizing. Our house is 159 years old but the kitchen had a crummy update in the 80’s, rendering it useless to food storage and traditional cooking. All the goodies like veg and flour bins and nifty small cabinets were removed and standard cupboards that don’t fit anything were installed. Sigh. So, I am hunting for plans for farmhouse designs that will allow my ongoing biological experiment in fermentation to have space, along with my gajillions of jars of spices and herbs for cooking real food, and root veg, fruits and and assorted sundries while still being able to hold both my electric and non-electric equipment. The kitchen is really dirty with a deep down funk in the corners but once we get done scrubbing the whole thing, painting, then reorganizing it will once again serve as the heart of the household, (well, the house-heart: the people in the house really are the heart, lol.)


Food list: baaad. Shameful. **ducks head and blushes** WE ate out the whole weekend and my gut distress continues. We ate store bought pizza today as well and it made the whole thing worse. I KNOW better than this! If I keep journalling this eventually my behavior will reform. I’ve noticed in the past that when I track my food I tend to eat better. I am just waiting for that magic to happen and suddenly start channelling Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Cheeseslave, whizzing effortlessly though my clean and organized kitchen, eating traditional foods left and right, and brimming with the good health I used to take for granted

Exercise: cleaning is exercise, right?

Thoughts: thinking Really Deep Thoughts about what works in a farmhouse kitchen.  I need an outdoor washing station! Another weird thought: in honor of Belle, if I ever had another child (unlikely as I am 42) I would name her Lyddabelle or Lucibelle. Cruel, eh? Mwhahahha. Perhaps I will work on the Girl to get her to name one of her first born that

Sabbath Comes ‘Round

We are making bread today, and assorted delicious cook-ahead food to have over the weekend to beat the heat and to avoid cooking on Sabbath proper

Exercise: still T-Tapping, up to 6 minutes now. I am going to try to add a solitary walk to this; iId like to take the Big Dog but there neighbor’s badly behaved dogs make this difficult if not impossible!


b: incredible edible eggs!

L : soup and salad; today tortilla soup. I am soaking beans in the crock pot for tomorrow and the soups next week will more than likely have beans in them! I need some good salad dressings, different from ranch.

d: we are going out!

July 4th

I love spending time with my adult daughter.  She is a ton of fun, endlessly cheerful and thinks her mom is the greatest thing since sliced bread!  She and I are working on low carbing together and trying to dump our tons of excess weight. We had a very successful low-carb 4th yesterday, with lots of great food, a couple of movies, and loads of laundry 😉

Many thanks to Jamie Van Eaton, otherwise known as “Cleochatra” for her fabulous 4th recipes that were nuggets of low-carb gold.  The Kiddo and I had grilled chicken wings, hot dogs with low-carb oopsie rolls spiced up with garlic, onions and cheese in them (see Cleochatra’s site “The Lighter Side of Low-Carb” for recipes) with Cleo’s low carb relish made sweet instead of dill, low carb strawberry shortcake with sweetened vanilla oopsies, strawberries, whipped cream and pudding 😉

We held our annual viewing of 1776, our favorite 4th of July movie, and brooded over the bravery of the Founding Fathers in forming a new nation against the full might of the British Empire.  What a thing to do, to actually ESTABLISH a nation, based on the principle of personal freedom.  What a sad thing to behold when people turn their back on history and the Constitution and allow their freedoms to be eroded in exchange for temporary safety (yes, I know that it was not a real Franklin quote, but still appropriate).  We reviewed the 17 the amendment yesterday  in our ongoing quest to know the Constitution better.  Eventually I will get to where I can pass that 8th grade test that was kicked around on the net! Note: I checked out the Snope’s page on this test and although they gave it a “false” rating; the false was directed at whether or not this was proof of declining educational standards, not about the authenticity of the test itself. Snopes blames the failure rate for modern test takers on changing standards and specialized information and states that modern tests are much broader in terms on science, world knowledge, foreign language etc.  This is true, but I believe it still shows a decline in educational standards, especially in the area of civics and government: we need to hammer down on these issues as well as science and foreign language.  It is a  travesty that children are exposed more heavily to “social studies”,  world cultures, sports and social activities  than on their rights and responsibilities as a US Citizen, let alone a world citizen.  You can learn both.  One strengthens the awareness of how our nation is intended to function, the other stretches our minds to move beyond our own bubble and increases critical reasoning skills so that we view our nation and the world with healthy skepticism/criticism and keeps us on our toes!

Oh, and Note 2: I despise rampant nationalism and think it is akin to mental illness; don’t take this post as an endorsement of flag-waving nuttery.  I think there is much to be proud of in the ideals founding our nation (in spite of some things that were not so “nice” regarding our founder’s motivations), and much to despise in how we have squandered whatever goodness there was in our origins.

Here: have a beer after that soapbox…it will wash the taste of the soap outta your mouth;)

Good times

Had a marvelous time last night with good friends… drank wine and ate a great NT dinner… sprouted wheat pizza with raw cheese, organic sauce, organic mushrooms, olives, onions and Niman ranch bacon, buckwheat pasta with grilled veggies and homemade pesto, casaba melon straight from the garden, coconut cream corn, green salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and loads of good local wine, Ironstone Vineyards Merlot. It was rich with fruit, blackberries and cherries, and had a very smooth finish. We sat in their un-airconditioned straw bale house (when I got there, outside temp was 102 degrees F. Inside, it was 76 F. (that’s right, NO airconditioning, just a couple of open windows.) When it cooled off, we jumped into their wood-fired redwood hot tub, drinking cool well water and telling tall tales. We talked about everything, from death to taxes to spirit possession to Rudolph Steiner. Whatta night, to talk to people that speak the same language! I was there til 1 AM, and had to get up and go to work today. Boy am I bushed but happy. They are beautiful people, and a grand time was had by all.