Muffins Worth Stealing

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DSCF1681Being Mr Popular is difficult.  Because you’ll be asked to make this recipe again and again and again . . .

Well , ya take two thawed sticks of unsalted butter.  Place them in a two-cup Pyrex® measuring cup, nuke ≤ two minutes or until wet.  Set aside to cool.

Take a big bowl.  Throw it on the scale and zero it out.

Add 13.125 ounces of flour.  If no scale, 3 carefully measured cup.  Two cups sugar.  I usually use a cup and a half instead of two cups.  Two teaspoons baking powder, one tsp baking soda, and a half tsp salt.  Use a straight edge on your spoons for precise measurements.

DSCF1667Sift this stuff into your KitchenAid mixing bowl. Set it on the stand with a batter mixer and mix this dry stuff at lowest setting. Add the cooled liquid butter and let that mix. Again, lowest setting. Stop periodically to turn over the edges, bottom, and mixer attachment. Wash the big bowl and put it away.

In yer buttery Pyrex® add ¾ cup milk, two x-large eggs (or three little ones), two
teaspoons vanilla, and a couple mashed bananas. Too much vanilla is a problem. Take care.

Dump this in the mixing bowl. Mix on low just enough to combine. About ten seconds.

DSCF1671DSCF1669Preheat the oven with one rack in the middle. 350˚ Fahrenheit

Add a cup each chopped walnuts, granola, and shredded coconut (sweetened is fine). Quick mix. Add one or two chopped bananas. Short mix.

Always mix on low. You can’t really over-mix the dry and the butter as long as DSCF1672you stay on low. Take care to barely mix the 2nd wet, the milk/egg/vanilla. Because there is more mixing to come.

You’ll be left with a pretty stiff batter. A tablespoon heaped will fill a cupcake liner. I use the paper ones, Reynolds 2.5″ baking cups. The paper pastel ones are cheapest. Not quite filling the cups should give you 24 muffins.

DSCF1665Bake 12 at a time. Turn the tray after ten minutes. At 18 minutes total, take them out if the top looks browned and check them with a toothpick. Any stuff on the pick, put them back another 90 to 180 seconds.

The first batch will have more of the chunks in it and the second batch will have more wet in it. I’ve found that a wet batch takes almost 22 minutes to bake, while a really dry batch might take 16.5 or 17 minutes.

The tray comes out, rests on a cooling sheet, and you dump the muffins to cool, like, at least five minutes. Fifteen if better.

They freeze really well. If you like this, try my slaw <—dinky linky



Sumptious Smoky Tacos

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Ahh! That’s the spice mixture I was looking for !!!


This is a lovely, cheerful recipe to ease us back into the week after a fun-filled long weekend. Tacos can’t help but make people happy – there’s something about compiling your own (like fajitas) which makes everyone smile.

I’m making one of my favourite combinations – pork and black bean. If you wanted to make it vegetarian, you could easily swap the pork for a substantial vegetable (e.g. aubergine) and keep the same mix of spices.

This will make enough for 8 tacos – perfect for a group of friends, or two very worn out and hungry people, like us 🙂

Pork and Black Bean Tacos

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 red onion

500g lean pork mince

1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

500g passata

380g tin of black beans in water

1 tbsp worcester sauce

Small bunch chopped coriander

To serve:


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TEA TIME !!!!!

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The blizzard is raging.  No one wants to cook.  What to eat?  Back to basics!

012415 tea time

Apple cheese bread tea.  Plus olives pickles peppers.

Casa Denogean • Superior, AZ

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Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 11.44.17 AMAFTER A SUPER LOVELY STROLL through Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, Ace Muncher and Magnet Muncher were on the prowl for vittles.  Only three miles to the east lies the historic town of Superior.  A quick drive drive along Rt-60, we roll into Superior.  Halfway between here and there, the restaurant seems to cater to the mid-week worker lunch crowd.

oService was just fast enough to indicate a busy restaurant where everyone pitches in with the cooking and serving.  A simple menu, no foo-foo “creations”.  Instead, we got what we would have made at home, but it was a little better.  Sort of like my friend’s mom’s cooking.

Three people can come out of there filled and ready for action (or a nap!) for under twenty bucks, soft drinks and tip included!  A definite stop-over the next time I’m visiting the area!

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 11.47.00 AM

Casa Reynoso *revisited* Tempe AZ

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Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 8.50.59 PMBACK IN TEMPE for a couple of weeks, I got to eat my favorite kind of food every meal.  Tacos, enchiladas, and burritos.  Smothered in red enchilada sauce.  Made it to Mill and Southern twice, home of Tempe’s Casa Reynoso, and tried a half dozen other places as well.

Nobody does authentic Mexican food as well as Casa Reynoso.  Nobody.  The plate comes out at about 400˚.  The food stays hot enough to burn your mouth nearly to the end.  The flavor is perfectly balanced.  Clearly, it’s not their first rodeo.  Did we mention the “balanced” part of it?  The secret is . . . wait for it . . . still a secret.Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 9.14.50 AM

I finally got a family member to go on the record and tell me why the food is so good.  “Recipes handed down through the family”. . . . Humm . . . Guess the only way to get the secret is to apply as a dishwasher and keep my eyes open.  With family members all pitching in to make the restaurant a success, I probably wouldn’t be admitted to the kitchen!

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop • Tempe AZ

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logoPROWLING THE PAVEMENT, on the hunt for decent Mexican, one does not have to go far in this excellent party town.  Plenty of signage to lure a cash-strapped college student.  Vidi, odoratus sum venundatus.  I saw the sign, smelled the food, and was sold.

Even before entering, clearly, I had found a popular hangout.  Raucous laughter, a patron or two nearly in tears with hilarity, this was the party joint.  Copious margaritas flowed amid plates of steaming chow.  But the question, is it quantity over quality?

fuzzy'sWe went with a standard.  Burrito smothered in enchilada sauce.  Used to the red, it came with the green.  No matter, as I picked up the tray,  this was the Matterhorn of burritos.  And stuffed it was.  Spiced pork, slow-roasted, and shredded.  Crisp veggies and a garlic-lime-mayo dressing rolled up in a fresh tortilla.  Heaven!  Filling!  Cheap!  Excellent decor!  Triple thumbs and toes up! 

Bread & butter

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Man does not live by beer alone!



Bánh mì • Vietnamese Hoagie

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A NEW SHOP OPENED ACROSS the street.  Windows boarded up, a Grand Opening sign none-the-less said, “Come on in!”.  After several weeks of derelict appearance, with flashing sign still proclaiming “OPEN”, I finally relented to curiosity.

Half the shelves were empty.  The floor, cracked.  The prepared food selection?  Sold out today, sorry.  Nothing?  They can still make sandwiches.  Recognizing the Vietnamese Hoagie from Chinatown shops, I pointed to a #3.  Spicy, please.

800px-Bánh_mì_xíu_mại-meatball-sandwichEven thought this was a Sunday, the baguette had just-from-the-oven crusty flakes.  The green stuff, garden fresh.  Meat flavorful and satisfying.  Mine was pork, sliced.  Along with a heaping of fresh cucumber slices, cilantro, pickled carrots, spicy chili sauce, and stuff I couldn’t identify.  No use asking the owner.  Her English?  Practically non-existent.  But her shop nails it perfectly with an authentic Vietnamese sandwich.

Be adventurous.  Small shops like these are now all over America.  Pictures of the sandwiches, accompanied with the name of the meat and a number, adorn their walls.  Four bucks or maybe $4.50 in the bigger cities, will get you an excellent Bánh mì • Vietnamese Hoagie.

SPAM (canned meat product)

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Gentlemen-rankers out on a spree, Damned from here to Eternity, God ha’ mercy on such as we, Baa! Yah! Bah! –  Rudyard Kipling

124Hormel-spam-12oz-500x500The can of Spam sat awaiting release into the world of gastronomic excellence.  Waiting . . . and waiting . . . awaiting the pan . . . Two years passed before the urge to buy and the urge to fry.  But when finally opened, it was, as expected, factory fresh.  Ready to eat cold or hot.  I like mine grilled, served between white bread.

What was different?  The goo that used to slide out of the can with the Spam was absent.  Maybe it is a money thing?  Hormel realized that goo costs money?  Spam will fry up perfectly fine without the extra fat?  Unknown, Houston.  Do not care enough to call the manufacturer?  Maybe Hormel will comment on this blog entry . . .   And our interest is ???

JamesJones_FromHereToEternity1Reading the novel From Here To Eternity, I became impressed by Sergeant Maylon Stark’s order that all men be given a hot meal upon request at any hour.  This meal would be fried Spam and toasted cheese on bread with hot coffee.  A meal I’ve recreated a few times; it certainly does “hit the spot”.

Tell you what.  Get the book.  Buy a can of Spam (low salt, maybe?).  Read.  Eat.  Experience what James Jones was feeling when, after WW II, he penned one of his most famous works. 

McCormick & Company

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img-logo-mccormick.ashxTHE UBIQUITOUS RED-LID containers.  Consistent of size, a design shared by no other company.  From humble beginnings selling extracts door to door in 1889, Willoughby M. dscf0938McCormick’s efforts became a global presence with 8,000 employees.  McCormick even acquired their own plastic bottles producer.

For as long as I can remember, McCormick seasonings have been around the dscf0955kitchen.  Sure, there are cheaper seasonings.  But there is always a difference.  A sacrifice in freshness.  A discernible lack of pop.

Never has the investment of a couple of dollars, the difference between the cheap stuff and the good stuff, been such a value.  If you want friends to crave your chili and savor your slaw, turn to the leader. McCormick.