I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Guitar Hero

Quick update from the road: damngoodfood now officially endorses the game Guitar Hero. That is all.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Horehound Candy

You may remember my earlier post on the subject of growing horehound. I have been successful! Today I decided to make up a batch of horehound candy. What does it taste like? It is hard to explain having never tasted a candy quite like it. First it is a hard candy. Second, it tastes a lot like caramel with a hint of licorice.

Horehound Candy

Source: Herbal Treasures by Phyllis V. Shaudys

2 cups fresh horehound, leaves, stems and flowers (or 1 cup dried)
2 1/2 quarts water
3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. lemon juice (or 1 sprig lemon balm)

In large saucepan, cover horehound with water. Bring to boil, simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 1 hour. Strain thru cheesecloth and allow tea to settle. Ladle 2 cups horehound tea into large kettle. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar. Boil, stirring often, until mixture reaches 240 F.

Add butter. Continue to boil until candy reaches 300F (hard crack). Remove from heat, add lemon juice. Pour at once into buttered 8" square pan. As candy cools, score into squares. Remove from pan as soon as it is cool. Store in aluminum foil or ziplock plastic bags.

I coated mine in powdered sugar and packed them into a plastic container separated by paper.

Barbacoa Chimney Changas

Well I'm hosed. My apartment complex recently banned the use of my grill and smoker. It looks like I'll have to spend the remainder of the year either using the communal grill out by the pond or finding other ways to prepare my favorites.

I posted earlier about barbacoa. I used pork for that recipe. I decided to try some barbacoa using beef. I also decided to try roasting the beef in my George Foreman Rotisserie. I was looking more for the spice combination than the actual process of making barbacoa. I'm still stuck in a place and time where I can't dig a pit in my yard. The details of the cooking process have been detailed ad nauseum in this post so I won't bore you with them today.

I decided to eat my barbacoa in a slightly unusual fashion today. I decided to make chimichangas. For this wonderful culinary treat we can thank Monica Flin. In 1922 at the El Charro restaurant in Tuscon Arizona she was making a burrito and accidentally dropped it into the fryer. The rest is history. Chimney Changas were featured in the movie Napoleon Dynamite.

Chimney Changas

You can fill your chimichangas with whatever you want. Chicken, beef and pork are 3 popular options. Usually one will contain some sort of bean product but not always. Also cheese is a popular addition. Place the fillings in the center of a tortilla.
See the paste on the right side?
Fold two ends over and glue together with a mixture of flour and water made into a paste.

Fold the other two ends over and glue again. Fry in oil. You can either do this in a deep fat fryer or in an inch of oil in the bottom of a skillet.

Serve with plenty of garnishes and sauces.
My wife says that those are the best chimney changas ever but she is biased. I thought they were fairly tasty.

If I am remembering correctly, Easy E, a good friend of the blog, is a devotee of chimney changas. If I remember correctly I have seen him order chicken chimney changes on several occasions. I'll have to quiz him to see if my memory serves me correctly.


Readers may recall in an earlier post my writing about the joys fried egg sandwiches with picklelilly. I saw a bunch of green tomatoes on my tomato plant and it brought the subject to mind. I looked in my cupboard and I still have about a half a dozen pints of it left. Thankfully I won't have to make any more this year. A friend has recently requested the recipe so here it is in all its glory.


24 green tomatoes
6 green peppers
8 large onions
5 c. vinegar
4 c. sugar
2 T. salt
2 T. mustard seed
2 T. celery seed

Rinse vegetables. Drain thoroughly. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Heat and add vegetables. Boil for 15 minutes. Put into jars and seal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hot Bulgar Dish

I am a huge fan of all things bulgur. Needless to say I was excited to taste a dish new to me on our trip to South Dakota. My naughty cousin made a hot bulgur dish which was amazingly tasty.
She sent us the recipe a while ago and we are just now getting around to making it. I think this recipe came from Gourmet magazine.

1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coarse (#3) bulgur
1 teaspoon dried Aleppo (crushed red pepper)
1 large ripe tomato, grated (see cooks' note, below)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups water or chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup crumbled feta (5 oz)

Garnish: chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cook onion in oil in a 2-quart saucepan over moderate heat until softened. Stir in bulgur and chile flakes until coated. Add tomato, sugar, and water and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until bulgur is tender and creamy (like risotto), about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup feta and season with salt. Top with remaining cup feta.

Cooks note:
• In Greece, instead of skinning and chopping tomatoes, cooks cut them in half and grate them on the large holes of a four-sided grater. The tomato skins are left behind.

Louisiana Swiss Steak

Swiss steak is not from Switzerland. The art of "swissing" a steak refers to tenderizing it and slow cooking it with a modified braising technique to turn a cheap cut of meat into something tasty. Everyone has a family recipe for this floating around somewhere. I have a lot of different recipes for this but I decided to try something a little spicier. I was shopping today and I found some smoked paprika in the spice aisle.

I added some of that along with a little hot sauce and my favorite Greek seasoning.
I also decided to use a little of my homemade butter to brown the meat and saute the onion. In Louisiana, where they grow a lot of rice, I am told they serve Swiss steak over rice and thicken the sauce to make a gravy. I am told that they call it smothered steak down there. I decided to try it the Louisiana way for something a little different.

Louisiana Swiss Steak

Browning the Steak
1 pound round steak - very cheap
some flour
Cavender's Seasoning
1/2 onion, diced

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat until nice and hot. Meanwhile sprinkle your steaks with Cavender's and then dredge in flour. After you have dredged in flour pound the meat with a tenderizing hammer until nice and thin. Dredge the steaks again in some flour. By now your pot should be hot. Drop some butter into the pan and let it melt. Sear the steaks on each side in the butter. Remove the steaks from the pot and set aside. Saute the onion in the drippings from the steak and butter. Return steaks to the pan after onions have softened.
The rest of the dish
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 T tomato paste
A few whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand either fresh or canned
1 1/2 cups beef broth, more if needed
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T soy sauce
2 t hot sauce
1 t smoked paprika
1 t ground oregano
1 t salt or more to taste
1 t black pepper

Add above ingredients to the Dutch oven, cover and bake at 325 for about 2 hours. Meat should be tender and falling apart.

Finishing touch
Stir 1 T corn starch into 1 T water. Add to pot and stir. Remove pot from oven and heat on the stove until sauce thickens. Serve over steamed rice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Spicy Egg Strata

You can only eat so many fried eggs, scrambled eggs and omelets. At some point you have to branch out. Tonight I made a dish that I first had at a corner deli in Chicago. I spiced it up considerably from what I was served.

Spicy Egg Strata

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 green pepper, sliced into rings
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 small hot peppers like a cayenne or serrano, diced
about 1/4 cup Jimmy Dean sausage, crumbled and cooked
2 Italian sausages, fully cooked and sliced
1/2 t powdered mustard seed
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 tomato sliced thin
grated pepper jack cheese

Put the Jimmy Dean in the bottom of a baking dish. Add the diced hot peppers and garlic and stir up real well. Saute the green pepper slices and shallot until getting soft. Add the peppers and shallots on top of the sausage. Add the Italian sausage slices next.

Beat the eggs, milk and spices. Pour over the sausage/peppers etc. Top with grated cheese. Finally lay on the tomato slices.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is browning.

Devil's Tower!

You may recall that on our way to Devil's Tower we stopped by a little restaurant in Sundance Wyoming called Higbee's. They served a specialty dish called the Devil's tower. It was a biscuit with a piece of sausage and a fried egg, doused in sausage gravy. I have been hungry for one lately and it just so happens that I have some homemade buttermilk on hand for the biscuits. There are probably 18 recipes for buttermilk biscuits on this site and everyone knows how to fry an egg and sausage. I'll just list my recipe for sausage gravy
Sausage Gravy

a little bit of sausage
4T flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan brown your sausage. Remove the sausage leaving the grease behind. If there isn't any grease then drop in a tablespoon of butter. Add the flour and stir real well to create a lumpy mess on the bottom of the pan. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Return the sausage to the pan along with some salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens up a bit.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Thicker Bean Soup

I am probably the world's biggest fan of bean soup, except, of course, for the baby. Both of us really like Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup.
She is really crazy about it but I like a little bit more complex flavor in my bean soup. I have tried regular bean soup with her before but she wasn't too crazy about it. I think the texture is what is appealing about Campbell's Bean with Bacon. I decided to give it a try. The secret is taking 2 cups of the soup and pureeing it in the blender at the end of cooking. It thickens the soup up a bit and gives it the Campbell's texture

Thicker Bean Soup

8 oz dried Navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
ham chunks
1 onion, diced
1 quart chicken broth

Boil the above ingredients in a covered Dutch oven for a couple hours, until the beans are soft.

Then Add:
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 small can of tomato paste
3 whole peeled tomatoes, either fresh or canned
2 bay leaves
1 t thyme leaves
1 t pepper
salt to taste

Cook for about 20 more minutes until the vegies are just softening. Remove 2 cups of the soup from the pot, trying to get mostly the solid stuff. Puree the 2 cups and return to the pot. Cook for a couple more minutes and the soup will thicken up.

Friday, July 13, 2007

San Marzano Update

Check out Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run. Especially check out Jungleland. My current favorite 2 minutes of music is Clarence Clemons' saxophone solo.

Your Own Butter

I saw an article in the New York Times recently about making your own butter. Of course I went nuts about the idea. If you don't get it you're not there yet and that's OK. I dove right in to make some. Start with a quart of heavy whipping cream and a Kitchen-Aid mixer.
Cover the bowl with a little plastic wrap if you ever want to be able to do this again. Here is an excerpt from an actual conversation about the process:

Me: I'm going to make my own butter.
Wife: NO! You're going to make a mess.
Me: No I won't, seriously, and it will be totally worth it.
Wife: After the whole root beer fiasco I am skeptical.
Me: That was some bomb-assed root beer, it was the best ever. It just exploded.

Beat over medium speed. It will first turn into soft peaked whipped-cream.
Soon hard peaks will form and it will look like what you think of as whipped cream.

Oooh, whats that yellow color that is starting to appear?
Hark! Soon the whipped cream is really thickening and starting to turn very yellow.
Its just 2 shakes of a monkey's tail and the butter separates from the butter milk.
Now you have to strain the buttermilk from the butter. You do this with a strainer and a bowl.

Now the butter must be washed. There will still be a bunch of buttermilk trapped in the butter that most sources say you must separate. To do this return the butter to the mixer. Add in some icewater, yes icewater. Stir for a little bit. The icewater will turn cloudy. Drain the icewater. Repeat with the icewater until it runs clear. Separate the butter into a fridge proof bowl. There will still be some water left in the butter and that will rise to the top and be drainable as the butter sits in the fridge.

Left: Butter Right: Buttermilk

At this point the butter can be used as is, or you can whip some salt in the butter for salted butter. Alternatively you can whip in some garlic for garlic butter, or cinnamon, or herbs or whatever suits your fancy.

I am going to make a point of not describing homemade butter to you. You need to discover it for yourself. Suffice it to say that it is worth it, otherwise I wouldn't spend my limited time making butter.

Here is something you can make with your homemade butter. The recipe is in another post on this site.
As you contemplate the majesty of homemade butter, I have an album to recommend for you. Check out Bruce Springsteen's The wild, the innocent & The E Street Shuffle.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another 3 photos

A reader was curious about another notable who rode a Triumph. Here are a few photos.

While I of course concur with the notables' choice of motorcycle, I have to respectfully point out that none of them have a helmet or any other serious protective gear. Bad idea! Just ask Dylan, who shortly after those photos broke his neck. Here is how one should look on a motorcycle:
Notice the gloves, full face helmet, specially made riding jacket, heavy jeans and specially made leather motorcycle boots.
Also notice the headlight is on, it is in the middle of the day, there is no rain, the rider has not consumed a drop of alcohol within 24 hours of riding, there is no traffic and he is not speeding. Also of note, the featured rider has completed a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course and actually paid attention. Be safe! There is nothing cool about a feeding tube, a colostomy and a sacral pressure sore.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Holy Upgrades Batman

I just spent the day upgrading my vehicle. It took me about 4 hours to do everything.

Triumph still uses carburetors on the Bonneville - no fuel injection, no computer, nothing. So to meet all these emisions standards they have to restrict the amount of air that gets to the engine and restrict the exhaust so much that you can't hear the muffler. What you hear instead is the pistons. It sounds like a sewing machine. All that is fine for people who are accustomed to living in a nanny state, but I wasn't having it. All that restriction drastically reduces the horsepower of the bike and makes it more dangerous to ride. Cars can't see you coming. If they can't hear you either you are totally hosed.I found a company that makes a new airbox with no restriction and ridiculously free flowing air filters. I also found a company that makes a copy of the original exhaust that was on the bike back in the 60's.
I ordered that exhaust but there is something wrong at the company that makes them so it is on backorder indefinitely. I decided to switch over to some pipes that are styled after some that ended up on Cafe Racers and on some of Steve McQueen's bikes.

I'm still waiting on those pipes but I had some time today so I decided to remove the stock airbox and put on the better one.

I ran into a real hitch trying to get the stock airbox off of the bike. I disconnected the shocks and jacked up the bike to lower the wheel. It lowered an impressive amount but the swing arm ran into this round device which still baffles me. It would finally fit through the frame side to side, but it was too tall to clear the wheel. I considered letting all the air out of the rear tire but decided against it, figuring that it might not work anyway, and then I would have a flat tire. I thought about taking the rear wheel off but decided against it, having never done that. I ended up taking a dremel tool to the airbox and cutting it out.
To get everything off you have to remove the gas tank, the seat, the rear fender and a bunch of other nonsense. Here is a photo right before I put everything back on.

Everything went back together really well, although it is very disconcerting to see all of the extra screws.

When you have a drastic amount of air moving in and out of the engine, you have to bring more fuel in to make things work right. To do this you have to take apart the carburetor and switch out some jets. You also have to adjust the lean rich mixture. It isn't as hard as it sounds.
Here is a photo of the new air filter in place, right before I put the side cover back on.

My new pipes haven't come yet so I just have the headers right now. I put everything back together, put gas back in the tank and then crossed my fingers. The results were astonishing.

Story time! It started right up. I choked it for about 15 seconds. Immediately the lady who was on the balcony across the way from my carport went inside. I turned the choke off and reved it a bit. ZOH MAH GAWD!!!! It was unbelievably loud and the engine sounded incredible. To hell with the Harley sound - British Iron forever baby!

At this point I was trembling with anticipation and I couldn't resist. I took it for a ride around the complex. The exhaust note was echoing off the buildings. A kid on the sidewalk thought about running out in front of me, and reconsidered.

I took it out on the street in front of the complex and let it loose. The sound was deafening. It runs great. I took it back and parked it. Now all I have to do is resist the urge to run out and start it up while I wait for my pipes.

Here are a couple other notables on Triumphs.