Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simple Lives Thursday #28

It's Thursday, and that means these ladies and I

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

want to know what you're doing to keep it simple these days.

grab this badge

and use the linky to show us your posts!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Post for/from my Father, and Notes on Hunting/Fishing

Greetings everybody!

I was inspired to write this post when my father gave me some serious crap about not posting a recipe that he'd sent me back in October.  See, as the food blogger around here, I get pictures and notes about the things my family and friends cook.  I feel like a proud mama when they show off their work.  In my mind, I'm no authority on cooking.  It's something that belongs to all of us, and is an essential part of our culture. I feel privileged to share in cooking and eating with people both near and far.  This community is one of the best parts of food blogging, for me.

When I was a child, I was completely opposed to hunting.  My uncle Chuck solidified my position when he brought home a deer and declared that it was Bambi's mother.  (It was, of course, a buck, but I was too young to know the difference and too horrified to ask any follow-up questions.)  But aside from this traumatic event, hunting wild animals ran directly against my general sense of passivism.  This combined with my typical contrarian attitude, and a too-long lingering delusion that I had a special connection to animals (if they could only understand that I was different than other humans! Fern Gully also convinced me that I could converse with plants.) put me squarely in the anti-hunting camp.

As I grew up, the disgust and opposition faded to apathy, and as I have become a more rational person, I have started to realize that hunting is not only an ethical thing to do, but it's a vital part of midwestern culture.  My passion for local foods has only strengthened my conviction that hunting and fishing are not barbaric rituals, but a source of high-quality sustainable protein.  My father did not hunt in my lifetime, but he has always been an avid fisherman.  It's something that he did with his father, and we did with him.  We camped often, and these trips almost always included a fishing trip.  These sojourns alone were comforting, and I'll always crave the placid fresh water and slow rocking of the row boat.  Though every trip did not end with a large harvest, we almost always got something.  I'm interested in what people do with what little they can get, and small fish from lakes and rivers offer a potential for creativity.

My father (who shares a name with my husband, by the way.) likes to keep his cooking very simple so the quality of the ingredients shines through.  When he sent me his recipe for fish breading and a photo, I knew I had to share it with you guys.  It's dead easy, and the results are mouthwatering.

He began with some small white fillets caught in Palo, Iowa, just north of my hometown of Cedar Rapids.

After patting the fillets dry, he began by dipping the fillets in beaten eggs.  After shaking off the excess egg, Dad rolled the fish in breading.  Here's the ratio:

2 parts Shore Lunch breading mix

1 part Potato Buds dehydrated potatoes

1 part Lemon Pepper Panko breadcrumbs

He checked his canola oil for proper temperature by dropping in some breading.  Once the breading fried he knew the oil was hot enough, so he cooked the fillets for two minutes on each side.

Here's what Papa said:

"Here's a great picture for your blog, but most people would consider the
recipe nothing special, but that's the point, its simple. Love, Master Khan"


Looks good, huh?

So Pa, I'm sorry I took so long to put this up, but I'm ready for any fish you want to cook me.

Readers, what are your thoughts on hunting?  Is it something you've always known?  Or something you care to never see or deal with?  What ethical issues do you think it raises? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I wouldn't want to post just one picture, and this one is too cute not to share, so here' s a picture of my little friend Maggie and some photos from her recent visit to our house.  You can read about her father's discoveries about adopting a real food diet on his new blog, The Selective Omnivore.





This is what we ate:


She liked Timmy.


See you soon, loves.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet, Pantry Reorganization, and SLT #27

Happy Thursday everybody!
I've been keeping my head above water at work (and over at flickr) and have even managed some Rosie's Best work, including my first repeat order. 


We got some gorgeous snowfall in big fat snow flakes earlier this week.  It was so quiet that I could hear the them falling.  We've had so little of the white stuff this winter (I typed that as semester the first time. See where my brain is?) so I've appreciated every snowfall.  It helps that I don't have to get into my car to get to work or the grocery store.


The latter half of this week has brought some seriously chilling temperatures, so we've taken to staying indoors and cleaning up.  I don't know about you, but winter cleaning has proven to be more real in my life than spring cleaning.  In spring, all I want is to be outside to soak up the sunshine.  When the cold hits and we're forced to stay indoors and stare at all the unorganized nooks and crannies of the house I'm much more motivated to clean up.  I completed my yearly ritual of reorganizing the pantry, and I'm even more satisfied this year with the final result.  A tidy pantry is indispensable.  I rely on mine to be there when I have a few fresh ingredients on hand and need to make them really sing with the perfect spices, oils, and vinegars.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rosie's Best on the Etsy Blog! Plus some 365 pix & SLT #26

Hey everybody!
It's Thursday and that means a quick post from me.
I wanted to share a little love my Etsy shop got recently. 
Etsy has a great blog and yesterday there was a  post about granola.  You can read it here. While the post included a recipe for granola, it also included a few listings from Etsy for various types granola and granola-related products.  Rosie's Best got some nice traffic from the post, and it reminded me what a great community Etsy is.

If you've never used Etsy you might not know how many tools there are for people to find new handmade products and sellers.
When you make an account, you can try out one of my favorite features: making a treasury.  A treasury is a collection of listings around a central theme.  The theme can be anything from color to medium to location.  Rosie's Best has been lucky enough to be included in a few of these, including this manly treasury of ideas for Valentine's Day gifts for her husband.  You can see some Rosie's Best seed crackers on the bottom row.

Tools like these make Etsy so unique and useful to people who value things made by hand.  I love exploring and learning more about other sellers, and I love when I can connect with my customers in a such a deep way.
I'm still amazed at how well my customers seem to understand me and my point of view.  I was discussing my product with a great customer today and she asked me, as I mentioned on Culinary Bliss' facebook page, "Are your cookies made with eggs from happy chickens?"
I was excited that she even asked the question, and elated that I could answer confidently that not only were the chickens happy, they were just 20 miles from my home, cared for Amish and Mennonite farmers.  (Farmer's Henhouse is great!)

Along with Etsy, I've been browsing the food blogger stream on Flickr 365 for 2011.  I've been adding my photos to some great company.  Head on over there and check it out if you're interested.  I've been posting some food-related photos

and some personal ones, like Razi's chicken legs

It has been fun so far and I've managed to upload every day, though I don't expect that to continue.  I will take pictures every day and upload as often as I can without going crazy or continuing to neglect this blog too much.

Finally, it's Thursday, and that means it's time to link up your posts for Simple Lives Thursday!
I host with these bloggers:

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

A buddy of mine in Portland just started his real food journey at The Selective Omnivore.  If there are any Northwestern bloggers out there, give him a hello!
That makes it your turn.  What are you doing to keep it simple these days?  I'm so ready to break ground on the garden this year.  We've got a little seed shopping planned for Saturday, so I'll have details soon.  Until then, link up those posts!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Simple Lives Thursday #25

Wowza, 25 weeks of Simple Lives Thursday!  Amazing.  It has been such a pleasure to discover new ideas and bloggers through this hop.  Won't you join us?

We four host

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

Grab this badge, use that linky, and share your posts!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

365, Danish Cookies, and New Year's Day Brunch featuring Perfect Fried Eggs

Greetings everybody!
How is 2011 treating you? It's been busy and fun around here, as usual.
I decided to try doing the 365 Project on Flickr, where we upload one photo every day.  I did 120 days of 2010, and I'm hoping I can do much better this year.  I'm not going to upload every day, but I'm already taking photos every day so I think it will go well.  I plan to try to do some more editing than before, but we'll see.  You can watch my page here.  I'm in a small group of food bloggers who are doing 365, and you can watch that group here.
This year has brought the most excellent group of old friends into town in recent memory.  I've seen friends that I hadn't been in the same room with in years, and we felt privileged to host many gatherings throughout the season.  As often happens, the distance in time and space disappeared the instant they walked in the door, and we all felt as if we hadn't missed a beat.
I never know who exactly reads my blog, which frankly I prefer, so I'm always surprised when friends walk in the door and say "hey, I've seen this on the internet!". After writing here for all these years, I still feel surprised when people tell me they know my work.  It's been gratifying for me to have forums like this blog, facebook, and twitter to share my life with other people, and to keep up with their lives.  I've been spending less time in front of the computer, but as a result I've been valuing my computer time even more.
One of the wonderful people who came along this year was my friend John, who brought cookies all the way from Denmark, where he was studying last semester.  He said, "you might recognize these cookies from the big blue tins of your childhood."  Unlike those, these are the real thing, and they were delicious.
He explained that these little guys, pfeffernusse, were ubiquitous and that he was offered them wherever he went.  I told him that you can keep them in a sealed container with half an apple and they'll stay good for months.  I suspect this is why they're so ubiquitous.

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