Archive for the ‘beans’ Tag

08-20-2016 Journal – Another Salsa Day!   Leave a comment

If you follow this blog you already know I love all forms of salsa and make many versions of my own.  One of my favorites has always been Roasted Corn & Black Bean made with varying degrees of heat.  I love getting feedback on what I make especially from my son-in-law who loves salsa.

I made a batch a few months back and for the first time he made a request for the next batch.  He said it was delicious and hot but it needed more corn and more beans.  Many people feel that putting beans in a salsa is just wrong. It may be wrong but I do it anyway because it tastes so damn good. Yesterday was once again salsa day with many more beans and a lot more roasted corn.

I first collect the canning lids and rims and the jars and heat them up in a hot water bath.

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If you decide to try this be sure to wear a thick pair of kitchen gloves to save yourself a lot of pain from the hot peppers. Plain latex gloves are too thin unless you double them up.  Add your ingredients into the pot and cook for approximately 15 minutes and then it’s time to fill the jars and return them to the water bath.

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Looks good and tastes even better.

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After a nice boiling hot bath for fifteen minutes they’re removed from the pot and allowed to cool for a few hours.   I always recommend waiting at  least a week or two before eating. It’s been my experience that over time the salsa gets a little hotter and a little thicker.  Then it’s corn chips (Yellow) all around the table for a sensational Mexican pig-out.  Top it off with everyone’s favorite beer or wine and you’re good to go.

MY MOUTH’S WATERING AND BURNING AT THE SAME TIME

I LOVE IT!

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09-01-2015 Journal–Herbs, Fish, and Gin!   Leave a comment

Goodbye August!  Now begins our downhill slide into Fall and the always unavoidable Winter.  This Summer has sped by faster than any I can even remember.

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The better-half and I spent a couple of hours yesterday canning the remaining cucumbers, jalapenos, and assorted hot peppers from the garden.  With all of the canning competed I can now start dehydrating my collection of our main cooking herbs.  It’s amazing to me just how many herbs we consume each winter.  That’ll be my main job during the coming week because we have a large supply of oregano, tarragon, mints, parsley, and thyme to choose from.

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We still have a few zucchini’s to be used along with a few kohlrabi’s and beans.  The sunflowers are now in bloom and the birds are already circling.  Those little beasts can strip a sunflower in a matter of hours once the seeds are ready to eat.

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We didn’t feel much like cooking yesterday which means an afternoon visit to Applebee’s. For a lot of years we avoided the place because the food was mediocre and over priced.  Going there now is like visiting a brand new restaurant. They’ve changed their menu to something on the order of a TGIF.  The food selection is terrific, the preparation is excellent, and the prices won’t break the bank.  It was Fish & Chips for me and Shrimp for the better-half.  I also washed it all down with a couple of extra tall Gin & Tonics.  Life is good.

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11-19-2014 Journal–Chili Day!   1 comment

This stretch of cold and rainy weather has pretty much kept me in the house for the last few days.  I was starting to climb the walls a bit when I received a call from my better-half from work to discuss arrangements for dinner. I assumed from the call that she wasn’t interested in cooking and needed me to help out a little.  She suggested that maybe just maybe I could make a batch of my chili. 

After agreeing I checked my latest recipe for the necessary ingredients and I was out the door and on my way to get them.  You need to understand something important, when I make a batch of chili I make a huge batch.  My normal recipes result in upwards of ten quarts and sometime even more.  It was a quick shopping trip and I returned home and got to work.

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This was a new recipe I created after tasting the chili pictured below during one of our luncheon forays to Kennebunkport, Maine. That chili contained a lot of cheese and a healthy number of calories due to the ground beef and oils used in preparation. As you can see it looks incredible and tasted even better.

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‘Thanks Federal Jack’

I substituted a mixture of ground chicken and turkey to replace the beef, then eliminated the oil by browning the meat in Smart Balance.  It was then a simple matter of adding the remaining ingredients and spices and cooking it for a few minutes.

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Most of the state of Texas would string me up by my heels for ever calling my chili, Chili.  Fortunately I cook and flavor foods so they taste good to me.  I like my chili super hot and use a mixture of Cayenne and Habanero peppers that bring it to life in a big way.  I also use a selection of beans with different flavors and textures which apparently is a big NO NO in chili cooking circles. Just to add insult to injury I always, regardless of the ingredients, add diced potatoes.  Strikes two and three as far as Texas is concerned.

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A short time later I had my finished product, a batch of Black Bean & Corn chili, and to hell with all of you chili purists. It tastes exactly the way I wanted, hot as blazes, with no red meat or oil used.  It looks a little like the restaurant version but certainly has more flavor and an increased level of heat.  As is usually the case most restaurants serve a medium heat chili unless it happens to be a Mexican restaurant.  Here it is.

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We had a couple of bowls each for dinner that night and loved it.  We then packaged up the rest for freezing which should supply us with five or six hearty meals this winter.  Life is good.

01-31-2014 Journal Entry – Coffee Trivia III   1 comment

Well we’re in day three of the Coffee Trivia marathon. I’ve explained in detail all of my past addictions, MY history with coffee over the years and finally today I’ll address my current coffee situation.

“I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.” ~Ronald Reagan

I’m in the throes of a weight-loss program which while needed is nonetheless annoying and difficult. The diet I’ve been restricted to is not easy and leaves me very few food items that are fulfilling and satisfying. I kid people when I tell them my diet consists of radishes, pudding, cashews, cereal, water, and above all coffee.  Coffee is and remains my one luxury item and regardless of what any Doctor tells me it will be the last thing I ever give up.

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That being said, I’d like introduce you to my two new best friends. My weight-loss program would never be as successful as it’s been without these devices.

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They allow me the luxury of a large number of options in preparing my coffee and it’s helped me work through this ungodly diet.  As you can also see the variety of coffee’s available is incredible and I’m really enjoying tasting as many different types and styles as I can find.

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So now I’ll continue my seemingly endless list of coffee trivia.  I hope you’ve learned a little about coffee and it’s tremendous effect on the world’s economy as well as the huge number of employees it supports worldwide. It appears I’m not the only coffee addict on this planet.  I’m just one of many millions who loves the bean.  Enjoy.

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“Still One of the Best”

  • 65 countries in the world grow coffee. They are all along the equator, within the tropics.
  • After they are roasted, and when the coffee beans begin to cool, they release about 700 chemical substances that make up the vaporizing aromas.
  • Beethoven who was a coffee lover, was so particular about his coffee that he always counted 60 beans each cup when he prepared his brew.
  • Before roasting, some green coffee beans are stored for years, and experts believe that certain beans improve with age, when stored properly.
  • Before the first French cafe in the late 1700’s, coffee was sold by street vendors in Europe, in the Arab fashion. The Arabs were the forerunners of the sidewalk espresso carts of today.
  • Brazil accounts for almost 1/3 of the world’s coffee production, producing over 3-1/3 billion pounds of coffee each year.
  • In 1675 Charles II, King of England issued a proclamation banning Coffee Houses. He said that they were places where people met to plot against him.
  • 30% of coffee drinkers in US added a sweetener of some kind to their coffee, compared with 57% in UK.
  • October 1st is official “Coffee Day” in Japan.
  • Scientists have discovered more than 800 different aromatic compounds in coffee.

“The more complicated the order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a ‘decaf grandee, half soy, half low-fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n’-Low and one NutraSweet,’ ooooh, you’re a huge asshole.” ~ George Carlin

  • Black coffee with no sugar contains no calories.
  • Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the United States.
  • Coffee sacks are usually made of hemp and weigh approximately 132 pounds when they are full of green coffee beans. It takes over 600,000 beans to fill a coffee sack.
  • Coffee trees are evergreen and grow to heights above 15 feet but are normally pruned to around 8 feet in order to facilitate harvesting.
  • Coffee trees are self-pollinating.
  • Coffee trees produce highly aromatic, short-lived flowers producing a scent between jasmine and orange. These blossoms produce cranberry-sized coffee cherries. It takes four to five years to yield a commercial harvest.
  • 75% of the world’s coffee comes from the Coffea Arabica plant.
  • Drinking a single cup of coffee that has been brewing for 20 minutes provides the body with 300 phytochemicals which act as antioxidants and stay in the body for up to a month.
  • In days gone by, Turkish bridegroom had to promise that they would always provide their new wives with coffee.
  • Worldwide, more 1400 millions cups of coffee are drunk every day.

This will be the final installment of the Coffee Trivia postings.  I have to admit that I’ve collected enough information for a few more but I don’t want to overdue it. Possibly in the near future I’ll put together additional ones but I’ll let enough time pass so as not to bore everyone.

MORE TO COME EVENTUALLY

01-30-2014 Journal Entry – Coffee Trivia II   Leave a comment

“That’s something that annoys the hell out of me- I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Yesterday in Coffee Trivia I I had quite a lot to say about my previous addictions as well as my fondness for coffee. Today you’ll receive more useless coffee information that I’m required to supply because of my addiction.  All addictions have a downside and besides tasting wonderful so does coffee.  It gives me that extra energy burst and ability to talk for long periods of time without taking a breath.  Lucky you, your here for the lecture.

My love affair with coffee didn’t start at an early age like you might think. I wasn’t permitted to drink all that much coffee as a kid because my father felt it might effect my ability to play sports. Once I left for college his control over my beverage intake was finally at an end. I found coffee to be that best friend I’d been missing. The love affair began in earnest at that time and I’ve never looked back, not once. At the time I lived with five other guys in an apartment and there wasn’t a minute of the day that the coffee pot wasn’t full,  steaming hot, and available for drinking. We never kept track but I can almost bet we drank more coffee than alcohol during those years and that’s saying something.

I eventually left school and enlisted in the army since the draft board was hot on my heels.  For the next three years both in the United States and overseas I drank enough coffee to float a battleship. There’s nothing like Army coffee, it can almost eat the enamel right off your teeth. I won’t even begin to try and explain how the Korean’s made their coffee, it was indescribable. I also learned how to make instant coffee from C-ration packets and it sucked so bad I was forced to cut my coffee consumption in the field by 10%. For me that was a major concession.

Skipping ahead a few years and all of a sudden I’m a police officer working in a profession that is known for coffee and donuts. I was never too concerned with the donuts but I thrived on the coffee for seven years. I carried a thermos of hot coffee in the car with me and I’d stop when necessary to refill during my shift. Night shifts were another story altogether. My partner and I were never without a steaming hot coffee in the car or during our lunch stops at restaurants.

So you can see how my addiction to coffee has been the one consistent thing in my life for decades. All of my other addictions were just distractions but my love of coffee remains constant and still does. So let’s get this show on the road. I thought I knew a lot about coffee but I really had no clue. Some of these facts are humorous and some aren’t but they’re all interesting.  I’ve found so much information on coffee I may be forced to increase the number of Coffee Trivia postings to four or five.

  • Flavored coffees are created after the roasting process by applying flavored oils specially created to use on coffee beans.
  • Frederick the great had his coffee made with champagne and a bit of mustard.
  • Hard Bean means the coffee was grown at an altitude above 5000 feet.
  • Hawaii is the only state of the United States in which coffee is commercially grown. Hawaii features an annual Kona Festival, coffee picking contest. Each year the winner becomes a state celebrity. In Hawaii coffee is harvested between November and April.
  • The Nicaraguan Margogpipe is the largest of all coffee beans.
  • It takes 40 coffee beans to make an espresso.
  • One coffee tree yields less than half a kilo of coffee per year.
  • A coffee tree lives for between 60 and 70 years.
  • By 1850, the manual coffee grinder found its way to most upper middle class kitchens of the U.S.
  • Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world (oil is the first.)

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” ― Dave Barry

  • Brazil produces around 40% of the world’s coffee supply.
  • A Belgian named George Washington invented instant coffee in 1906.
  • Coffee has been used as a beverage for over 700 years.
  • Coffee as a medicine reached its highest and lowest point in the 1600’s in England. Wild medical contraptions to administer a mixture of coffee and an assortment of heated butter, honey, and oil, became treatments for the sick. Soon tea replaced coffee as the national beverage.
  • Coffee beans are similar to grapes that produce wine in that they are affected by the temperature, soil conditions, altitude, rainfall, drainage and degree of ripeness when picked.

“There are three intolerable things in life – cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women…” ― Orson Welles

  • Brewed espresso has 2.5% fat, while filtered coffee contains 0.6% fat.
  • Johan Sebastian Bach wrote an opera about a woman who was addicted to coffee.
  • There is a way to brew coffee with marijuana in it and it is described as producing a “dreamy” kind of coffee buzz.
  • More than 20 million people worldwide, work in the coffee industry.
  • There are two species of coffee plant: Arabica and Robusta.

MORE TO COME

01-29-2014 Journal Entry – Coffee Trivia I   Leave a comment

“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love.”       Turkish Proverb

Let’s talk about coffee. It’s the only major addiction I have left and I cherish it. When I stopped smoking twenty-eight years ago it was coffee that helped me through all those terrible days without nicotine.  That and Tootsie Pops of course. I don’t know for sure how many Tootsie Pops are in a pound but I gained thirty-five pounds eating them over the course of five months.  Coffee helped to keep me going until I was free of the damn nicotine and then the Tootsie Pops.  Unfortunately by the time that was all over I was also addicted to the coffee as well.  I replaced one killer addiction with a much milder version and was happy as hell about it.

My second major addiction was alcohol.  I never drank enough to join that infamous club of alcoholics but I drank my share.  Now at this stage of my life I’ve given up up drinking almost completely.  Coffee again has been there to help replace the stimulation I received from alcohol with a much milder version.

My third big addiction was eating.  Not the food itself but the eating of the food.  I’ve been a nervous eater for most of my life and once my metabolism slowed it became a problem.  With each passing year it became more of an issue but I waged a good battle to maintain my weight. My good buddy “Coffee” again came to my rescue and for that I’m grateful.

I decided to take a closer look at coffee and to learn as much as I could in the context of this blog..  Today will be Coffee Trivia Day.  I’m celebrating my last great addiction that has made it possible for me to defeat three others.  Here is a list of twenty trivia tidbits, the first of three Coffee Trivia  planned postings.

“A 41-inch bust and a lot of perseverance will get you more than a cup of coffee – a lot more.” ~Jayne Mansfield

  •  Until the 18th century coffee was almost always boiled.
  • Until the late 1800’s, people roasted their coffee at home. Popcorn poppers and stove-top frying pans were favored.
  • When a coffee seed is planted, it takes five years to yield consumable fruit.
  • William Penn purchased a pound of coffee in New York in 1683 for $4.68.
  • Hawaii is the only state that commercially grows coffee.
  • In the ancient Arab culture there was only one way a woman could legally divorce: If her husband didn’t provide enough coffee.
  • 52% of Americans drink coffee.
  • A acre of coffee trees can produce up to 10,000 pounds of coffee cherries. That amounts to approximately 2000 pounds of beans after hulling or milling.
  • A scientific report form the University of California found that the steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges. The antioxidants are heterocyclic compounds which prevents cancer and heart disease.
  • Adding sugar to coffee is believed to have started in 1715, in the court of King Louis XIV, the French monarch.
  • Advertisements for coffee in London in 1657 claimed that the beverage was a cure for scurvy, gout and other ills.

“Decaffeinated coffee is the devil’s blend.”  ~Author Unknown

  • Espresso Coffee has just one third of the caffeine content of ordinary coffee.
  • Coffee beans are really berries. Each berry contains two beans (pips).
  • An expert in preparing Turkish coffee is known as a “kahveci”.
  • Irish coffee was actually invented to warm up cold American plane passengers leaving from Ireland.
  • And lastly, Teddy Roosevelt is and was the greatest American coffee drinker, consuming a gallon a day. But you probably shouldn’t attempt to do that.
  • An Arabica coffee tree can produce up to 12 pounds of coffee a year, depending on soil and climate.
  • Australians consume 60% more coffee than tea, a six-fold increase since 1940.
  • Caffeine is on the International Olympic Committee list of prohibited substances. Athletes who test positive for more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine may be banned from the Olympic Games. This level may be reached after drinking about 5 cups of coffee.
  • Citrus has been added to coffee for several hundred years.

“Coffee, the finest organic suspension ever devised.”  ~Star Trek: Voyager

MORE TO COME