Hmm, Things that make you go

So this book crossed my desk at work yesterday and joins the legions of books about the “Paleo” diet. Now there are many, many things to mock about the “Paleo” diet idea (in short, eat like people did before the invention of agriculture) and especially a lot to mock about the dumbed down version that tries to equate paleo with the Atkins death diet, but the hilarious thing about this book to me is that it tries to cash in on two fads at once — the juicing/smoothie fad and the Paleodiet fad. Because in the stone age, we all had masticating blenders in our caves, right? And made smoothies from the kinds of stuff on the cover here: collards, broccoli,  kale … you know … highly cultured variations of plants that only exist because agriculture. Yeesh. That said, vegetable smoothies are really healthy, so my mockery is tempered by that. It’s just a hell of a lot of trouble to go, and a little sad that people need all this fussing around to get them to eat their damn veggies.

Published in: on March 12, 2016 at 7:55 am  Comments (5)  

Return of the son of the bride of rats-on-a-stick!



Yes, ’tis the weekend before Samhain (/sa-ween/)  or Halloween again and there is a party and rats on a stick. This year I varied the recipe again, using a can each of cannelloni, navy beans, and red kidney beans with about 1 1/2 cups of plain bread crumbs, four chicken eggs, and maybe a quarter cup of teriyaki sauce, with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste (i.e. tons) for the outer cores and 1/3 or 1/4 of a string cheese stick for the core of each rat. The tails are bucatini, a spaghetti-like tubular pasta. They will be served with teriyaki sauce to dip (rats on a stick can get pretty dry when reheated). Bon appatite!


Published in: on October 24, 2015 at 9:34 am  Comments (1)  
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Viking bread!

From The History Blog, in a post on some Viking artifacts at a museum:

They even have bread loaves that appear to have survived thanks to carbonization, like the bread from Herculaneum. The Viking bread found in Birka, Sweden, was analyzed and the likely recipe recreated. It’s ridiculously healthy, made primarily from barley flour and including flax seeds. If you’d like to try your hand at making it yourself, here’s the recipe:

Viking Bread

About 150 g barley flour
About 50 g wholemeal flour
2 tsp crushed flax seeds
About 100 ml water
2 tsp lard or butter
A pinch of salt

Work all the ingredients together into a dough and knead. If the dough is too wet or hard, add flour or water. Let the dough rest cold for at least one hour, preferably longer.

Shape the dough into flat cakes (about 1/2cm thick). Bake them in a dry cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat, a few minutes on each side, or in the oven at 150 degrees, for 10–13 minutes.


I’d replace the lard or butter with vegetable oil or margarine for Vegan Viking bread.  The flax seeds are kind of surprising.  I’ve been adding crushed flax seeds to my bread and pizza dough for a couple of years now, although I understand that baking them at high temperature I’d normally use probably ruins some of the omega-3 goodness.  I assume the above recipe calls for 150 degrees Celsius, or about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  150 grams of flour is a little under 1 1/4 cups (1.2 actually) and the 50 grams is 2/5 of a cup, but a half cup should not spoil the recipe, just add a little more water. 100 ml is a hair over 3 1/3 ounces.  So if we were to Americanize the recipe, it should look something like:

Viking Bread

1 1/4 cup barley flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp crushed flax seeds
About 1/2 cup water
2 tsp vegetable oil
A pinch of salt

Work all the ingredients together into a dough and knead. If the dough is too wet or hard, add flour or water. Let the dough rest cold for at least one hour, preferably longer.

Shape the dough into flat cakes (about 1/4 inch thick). Bake them in a dry cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat, a few minutes on each side, or in the oven at 300 degrees, for 10–13 minutes.

I’ll try to test this out this weekend!

I understand the British version of the recipe would be: “combine ingredients and boil until uniformly grey,” in fact any recipe can be converted to British style that way, or so I’ve heard.

Published in: on July 24, 2013 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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Late post: This year’s Halloween food

Wow, it’s been a few weeks now– I actually made these the weekend of October 20th.  Been too bust to post much.

Anyway I made the usual rats on a stick for my Mom’s Halloween party, although this year I made the rats from just crushed cannellini beans (aka white beans) and Gimme Lean  — no bread crumbs, no egg. In this case 2 packages of Gimme Lean ‘sausage’ and one can of beans, with some spices added.  But first I reserved a couple dozen beans for rat eyes.  Otherwise just follow the usual recipe.  The white eyes worked OK.

The other thing I made was a load of bread, with eyes.  I meant for it to look like a mummy, but it looks just as much like a ghost or even a snake, according to my daughter.  Fresh baked bread is too tempting though and it didn’t make it to the party.

Here is is ready for the oven — I twisted the dough and smushed the shoulders and head into shape.

Baked, it hardly looked any different., although he must have been uncomfortable as he settled on his side.

Published in: on November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Toad on Toast and Peppers & Cheese

I almost never cook any more except on weekends because I don’t get home until 6 pm on weeknights, and we can’t wait that late to start dinner.  But once in a while we have a weekend at home like this one and I cooked up a storm — pancakes for breakfast (big deal), tomato salad for lunch (gotta enjoy the last really good tomatoes of the season … the rest are looking more and more sickly in the garden), and heuvos rancheros for dinner.

This was the first time I actually made heuvos rancheros, and while they were not bad you can find lots of recipes for that online … hell, everyone seems to have their own version. I just heated up some “fresh” chipotle salsa from the grocery store, and fried some eggs, warmed some tortillas in the pan afterwards, and garnished with black beans.

The two interesting things I made were broiled peppers & cheese and Toad on Toast (the kiddie alternative to heuvos since my daughter is not a fan of Mexican).

The broiled peppers are pretty easy and for a cheese-based dish, could be worse… at least they aren’t fried or breaded, right?  My garden has been really struggling under the pre-apocalyptic weather we’ve been having, except for the peppers, which I have had a hard time keeping up with.  This year I had two mini-bell pepper plants and two anaheims and they are still flowering!  I’ve made these a bunch of times this summer.   Anyway the recipe is easy enough to give in a series of pictures.







And done.  Put ’em on a plate.  Use the stalks to pick them up.  The trickiest part is figuring out the best way to cut them so that you get stalk on each half and they will lay flat.  This recipe probably accounts for why I never lose weight in the summer despite all the gardening and yard work.

The Toad on Toast I saw this week at work in a children’s book. (It’s a really cute book! Borrow it from your library!)  I can’t think of the real name of this dish but it is probably some kind of traditional English thing.  Basically you cut a hole in a piece of bread and cook an egg inside the hole.  I got my kid interested in trying it by telling her the story from the book and she really bought into the idea, especially since she can crack an egg.  So Riley helped out with this one.





Oops. Flipped it to soon I guess. We’ll cook this side longer after the other side cooks.


Maybe the pan is too hot.

Granted the Toad on Toast doesn’t look all that great but Riley was so excited to be able to help make it that she ate two!

Published in: on September 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm  Comments (6)  
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Fat Tuesday!

Why did no one tell me there was a holiday where you eat pancakes?

I am very angry about this. 39 years of no pancakes on Fat Tuesday.

It ends TODAY!

Unbelievable. I was raised a Catholic and did the ashes thing on Ash Wednesday and gave stuff up for Lent and did not do anything too fun on Good Friday and all that. But pancakes the night before Ash Wednesday? Never. Maybe Fat Tuesday just isn’t an Italian-American tradition or something. I dunno.

But since I’ve reached the age of reason and don’t have to pretend I believe in the fairy stories* and can pick my own holidays, Fat Tuesday is in.

Image found on multiple sites in a Google Image Search. Not sure who deserves credit for this.

So anyway my preferred pancake recipe is to use about 2: parts prefab pancake mix : 1 part rolled (“quick” but not “instant”) oats, and water as needed for the batter.

I am sure that making your own batter is better than the boxed stuff but I can’t stand using fresh eggs for this because if there are fresh eggs in the batter, I worry unduly about salmonella when I eat uncooked batter. Uncooked pancake batter is pretty good!

The oats add a little roughage and nutrition and kind of stretch out the number of pancakes you can eat without totally blowing your daily calorie allotment. Also they make the ‘cakes taste pretty good. Optionally I add chopped pecans, berries, or even those tiny chocolate chips, but most of the time it’s plain old pancakes on any given Saturday morning.

I also use “lite” syrup so I can use twice as much. I don’t usually use butter or margarine although my wife swears by peanut butter on pancakes. Nutella when I’m feeling really decadent. So maybe Nutella on Fat Tuesday!

<update: In hindsight I think my sudden interest in Fat Tuesday celebrations probably has a lot to do with my recent decision to get back on track with my diet and exercise.  2:1 Pancake mix:wheat bran is an even more reasonable approach to making the ‘cakes healthy.  Pancakes is pancakes.>


* Just kidding! A dude who was born to a virgin and is his own father and can turn water to wine like Dionysus and got crucified like Zoroaster and rose from the dead like Osiris and sacrificed himself to spare his creation from his own wrath because someone ate fruit distributed by a talking snake … that is totally real!

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Would you believe, Mouse on a stick?

So last night I whipped up a batch of veggie rats on a stick, using ingredients closer to the original Judges Guild recipe — the “not ground beef” Gimme Lean, cheese cracker crumbs, colby cheese, and BBQ sauce rather than my Italian-American version — and it occurred to me that these are really not rat-sized at all, but mouse-sized.   Huh.   Anyway since I was tired and unaccountably had no spaghetti on hand, I skipped the tails and whiskers and just did eyes, this time out of whole cloves. Pics below:

The BBQ sauce is pretty dark and looks a bit more disgusting than the pizza sauce, I think.

Anyway I realized the Gimme Lean is so sticky there is no need for eggs, so I didn’t bother adding the egg.  I think eggs are pretty gross anyway.  Liquid chicken.

So these will be a nice snack for the C&C game tonight and a good test run for the winning recipe in the mask contest.

That’s right, a winner was chosen from among the entries and it will be the Severed Hand (reworked to be vegetarian, of course).

After conferring with my wife as I said I would in the original contest rules, we agreed this was the best idea, although each entry had its merits.  So congratulations to Nik Olah for the winning entry!  I’ll be sending you the mask this weekend.  Thanks again Michael at Specter Studios for the fabulous prize!  And thanks to everyone who entered!

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm  Comments (4)  
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The deadline for the contest is Sept 15!

Just in case you were considering entering a recipe for the contest, you can still enter something to put you in the running today or tomorrow.  Contest ends 6 pm  EST on Sept. 15!

Details here.  Leave your recipe at any post tagged “Contests”; I’ll see it!

So far the contenders are

  • (lentil loaf) Severed hand
  • Goblin droppings
  • Quasimodo pasta
  • Jim from Old School Heretic listed some names but still needs to contribute something approximating a recipe to be in the running for the mask

Just leave a comment if you have another one!

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

About that contest…

It’s still on.  I don’t think I mentioned a deadline in the first post (which also outlines the rules) but the deadline is September 15th.

The grand prize, a really nice mask from Specter Studios, came in the mail today so I’m definitely going to have to give it to someone.  So far there is one entry, and in all fairness it more of a suggestion (“You could try using this concept with veggie ingredients”).  But if I don’t get any actual recipes, I guess N’k will be the winner.

So what I’m saying is the contest is still very much anyone’s game!  Come on, people, recipes!  Here’s Riley modeling the mask.

OMG that’s scary!

If I don’t have at least two legitimate recipes entered by Friday, I’ll be modeling it next. Shirtless. You don’t want to see that.  You’ve been warned.

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 10:00 am  Comments (9)  
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Contest update … we have a prize!

OK, no entries yet, but Michael over at Specter Studios has confirmed he will send a red dragon half-mask for a prize.  They look like this:

They are made in the USA. (Pittsburgh, actually, which I have confirmed is technically part of the USA! Who knew?) The web site says you can drink and eat while wearing the mask too, which is obviously a plus.  What are you waiting for?  Give me some ideas, dammit!  Here’s some examples of the kinds of thing I’m talking about (although it could be a LOT less complicated, like cutting bat wings from fruit roll-ups!)  That “Gimme Lean” stuff is like modeling clay when it’s raw too… Surely you can come up with something?!?  The mask is on its way to me as we speak, and I will be embarrassed, even humiliated, if there are no good entries!  Comment on this post with your recipe.  If you are having trouble leaving a comment there, email me at mike period monaco at symbol yahoo littledot com. If you are unable to figure out what that email address is or why I didn’t put my email in the correct format for harvesting by spambots, it may be best not to enter 🙂

<update: And a deadline! (Doh!)  Deadline for submissions is September 15th.>


Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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