Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Baked Beans

The basis for this recipe appears on p. 392 of our 1981 edition of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. Since SWMBO can not digest muscle protein, we do not put actual bacon in it, and we start with vegetarian pork & beans. Also, our proportions are a bit different. Here is what we did for Sunday brunch last weekend:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Put a heavy skillet on the stove to warm up.
  • Quarter & slice one medium red onion.
  • Sauté the onion in about 3 Tbsp. bacon lard at least until translucent if not until caramelized.
  • Stir together:
    • the onions,
    • 2 28 oz cans of Bush’s vegetarian baked beans,
    • ¼ c. ketchup,
    • ¼ c. brown sugar,
    • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, and
    • 2 Tbsp. prepared mustard.
  • Bake in a 9 x 13 pan for 90-105 minutes at 350°F.
  • If everyone can eat meat, this would be the time to cover with about ¾ lb. of crisped & crumbled bacon.
  • Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
This looks like a lot when you start, but I think that for seven adults and five kids we could have made even more.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Egg & Cheese Casserole

This recipe appeared in a Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church cookbook under the name “Jean Corey’s Egg Casserole” and with the recommendation that “this casserole has become a tradition and a favorite for the Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study spring brunch.”

Here at the House of Chez Casa, for a large brunch we sometimes make two: one with breakfast meat (sausage, small ham cubes, vel sim.) and one vegetarian. Conveniently, a recipe and a half makes two 9 x 9 pans’ worth. Just stir up everything else, pour half into one buttered 9 x 9 casserole dish, add meat to the stuff still in the bowl, mix that up, and pour into the other buttered dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Beat 10 eggs in a large bowl & set aside.
  • Melt 1 stick (8 Tbsp, ½ c.) butter in a saucepan.
  • Stir in
    ½ c. flour
    1 tsp baking powder, and
    ½ tsp salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the eggs & mix well.
  • Add
    1 lb. shredded cheese (Jean’s recipe calls for Monterrey Jack; I prefer a very sharp cheddar),
    1 pt. small curd cottage cheese (I often have to make do with a 12 oz. container), and
    8 oz. large green chiles, drained, diced, seeded (Jean also rinses for a milder flavor; I often just open diced chiles, strain them & dump them in; sometimes I don’t even strain them).
    • Optional breakfast meats (often a tube of breakfast sausage, scrambled up ahead of time) should also be added at this stage.
  • Pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes. (Jean’s recipe calls for baking 30 minutes and no rest. I think her oven may run a bit on the hot side. We have made this in three different ovens, and all of them needed 40 minutes to set and then a rest.)
  • Serve with salsa.
That’s it. It’s always a crowd pleaser. And it’s even better with the sausage!

Michelle’s Meatloaf

This started as a simple recipe cut from a box of Quaker Oats. The Doctor has made a couple of changes, all for the better.
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine well in a large bowl:
    • 1 lb. ground beef (preferably ground chuck)
    • ½ lb. ground pork
    • ¾ c. uncooked oats
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • ¼ c. chopped onion
    • 1 c. salsa (look for something gluten free to make your friends happy)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  3. Press into a standard 8x4x2 loaf pan (ungreased)
  4. Top with the rest of the salsa (½ - 1 cup by measure (be careful; some salsas are jarred by weight instead of by volume))
    If you want a more BBQesque topping, mix the remainder of your salsa with ¼-½ c. brown sugar before spreading on top of the loaf.
  5. Bake at 350ºF for about one hour.
  6. Let stand/rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Curried Chicken

(This family-favorite recipe clipped from a magazine by Margaret Hamilton and passed on to my m-i-l Bobbie Thomas Boone Craig was Dr. SWMBO’s favorite chicken back when she could still digest muscle protein; the proportions are those Bobbie used to feed 8 rather than those from the online version. Total cooking time: 1 hour)


6 Tbsp. flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger (I used fresh, peeled & sliced thin, then processed into the dry)
2 fryers, quartered or 8 breasts (I used a mix of thighs & breasts)
6 Tbsp butter
Combine flour, salt and ginger in a paper bag. Melt butter and roll chicken in butter one piece at a time in paper bag and shake to coat well. Then arrange chicken, skin side up. Bake uncovered in hot oven (400 degrees) 20 minutes or until beginning to turn golden.
1 medium red onion, chopped 
6 slices cooked bacon, finely diced (I used 1/3 lb raw, chopped and spent a long while caramelizing it & the onions together before adding the rest) 
2 Tbsp. flour (I added the flour to the browning onion & bacon & let it convert before adding the broth)
1 can condensed beef broth 
2 Tbsp. curry powder 
2 Tbsp. sugar 
2 Tbsp. coconut flakes 
2 Tbsp. applesauce 
2 Tbsp. catsup 
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Then simmer uncovered, stirring often, about 15 minutes or until thickened. Spoon about half of glaze on top of chicken to make a thick coating. Bake 20 minutes. Spoon on remaining glaze and bake 20 minutes longer or until chicken is tender and has turned brown. Arrange on a bed of parsley rice to serve.

Lady & Pups' Magic 15-Second Creamy Scrambled Eggs

(Original recipe & procedure below.)

This is a great recipe, y’all, this adding starch and butter to the eggs. One brunch, we scrambled about 20 eggs, had about 3 eggs’ worth left over, put them into a container and refrigerated them. When we reheated them three days later, they were still fluffy.
  • Choose a heavy-bottomed pan/skillet whose diameter will let your beaten eggs stand 1/8-1/4” deep when they start to cook.
  • Place the pan on low heat.
  • Set aside 1 Tbsp butter per egg.
  • Put 1/2 Tbsp milk per egg into a mixing bowl.
If I’m preparing a dozen or more eggs, I use a stand mixer. Otherwise it’s a regular mixing bowl and a whisk.
  • Into the milk put a mounded 1/2 tsp of cornstarch per egg and
  • whisk/mix until smooth.
  • Beat the eggs (yes, 1 egg per egg) into the milk/starch mixture.
  • Toss the butter into the pan. It should start sizzling immediately. If it doesn’t, turn up the heat. Either way, your going be standing here stirring constantly for the next little while.
  • Pour in the egg mixture and start stirring. At first, it’s going to look like there’s way too much butter in there. Don’t worry; it’s going to get absorbed.
  • When the eggs are almost set, cut the heat (gas) or move the pan to a cooler surface (electric), quickly stir in S&P to taste, and plate. The eggs should still be slightly wet looking when they hit the plate. They will continue to cook in their own heat for a couple of minutes.

Proportion chart:

# of eggs
Butter (Tbsp)
Butter (other)
Milk (Tbsp)
Milk (other)


rounded 1/2 tsp
1/4 stick

1 heaping tsp


scant 2 tsp
1/2 stick
1/8 c.
2 1/2 tsp


1 Tbsp
3/4 stick

3 1/2 tsp


4 rounded tsp.
1 stick
1/4 c.
1 1/2 rounded Tbsp


scant 2 Tbsp
1 1/4 sticks
scant 1/3 c.
1/8 c. / 2 Tbsp

1/3 c. +
rounded 1/8 c.
1 1/2 sticks
3/8 c.
1/8 c. & 1 tsp


scant 3 Tbsp
1 3/4 sticks

3 Tbsp -pinch


3 Tbsp
2 sticks
1/2 c.
3 rounded Tbsp


3 1/2 Tbsp
2 1/4 sticks
1/2 c. + 1 Tbsp
3 1/2 rounded Tbsp


scant 1/4 c.
2 1/2 sticks
5/8 c.
1/4 c.

scant 2/3 c.
rounded 1/4 c.
2 3/4 sticks
2/3 c. +
1/4 c. + 1 tsp


1/4 c. + 2 tsp
3 sticks
3/4 cup
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp

In Lady & Pups’recipe (below) you might notice that there is a fudge factor built in for the amount of starch one uses. 1 3/4 teaspoons starch for 3 eggs is NOT three times the 1/2 + 1/8 tsp per egg. The first measure comes to 14/8 tsp for three eggs; trebling the second gets one 15/8 tsp for three eggs. It works out to a rounded 1/2 tsp per egg.

Also, the recipe assumes that there are three eggs per serving. I prefer 2 eggs per serving, while Dr. SWMBO’s preferences average out to ~1.5 eggs per serving (depending on what else she’s having). When we’re entertaining, I start with an estimate of 2 eggs per adult, 3 per teen, and 1 per toddler. Thus the chart above.

Lady & Pups’ Magic 15-Second Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Author Notes: “A thickening agent is the answer to the previously-thought-impossible scrambled eggs fantasy,” Mandy @ Lady and pups writes. “Speed, and creaminess, all together.” You'll notice that this calls for a lot of butter, so just to be safe I tried the recipe both with and without the cornstarch, to see how much was really just the goodness of the butter. Without cornstarch, the eggs were good but tougher, the butter more free-floating. And I've found that even if you skimp on the butter, the cornstarch has dramatic effects. Adapted slightly from Lady and Pups. (less)Genius Recipes
Serves 1

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk (1/2 tablespoon for each egg)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons potato starch or cornstarch (1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon for each egg)
  • Salt to season
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon for each egg)
  1. First, crack 3 eggs into a medium bowl.
  2. Then, in a separate cup or bowl, evenly whisk together the milk and cornstarch until it's lump-free (don’t mix them directly with the eggs or you’ll get lumps).
  3. Add the milk and cornstarch mixture to your eggs, and beat until smooth. Season with salt.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat until hot, then add the butter (should sizzle right away). Wait until the butter’s melted and bubbly, but before it browns…
  5. Add the beaten eggs. Wait for 3 seconds without stirring anything, until the edges of the eggs start to bubble up…
  6. Then remove the skillet from the heat (yes, remove!), and start stirring the eggs, making 1 full circle per second… 1, 2, 3….
  7. 4, 5, 6, 7…8, 9, 10, 11…(If you use a mini skillet instead of a large one, it may need a few more seconds)...
  8. For about 11 to 12 seconds. The eggs will have absorbed all the butter, but remain partially undercooked (add about 5 seconds more to every 3 extra eggs you’re scrambling, but I wouldn’t do more than 6 at once).
  9. This is when you transfer them onto a plate. Do not wait until they look fully cooked!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Prayer from Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,

and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

— from Thoughts in Solitude