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Remodeling and The Bean Soup

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Mixed Bean and Lentil Soup with Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: Main dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
This is a very easy recipe that you can leave and get things done. Once you have done the prep all you have to do wait.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of mixed beans and lentils
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 6 cups of stock(your choice)
  • 4 pieces of bacon chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • ½ box of frozen peas
  • 1 lime cut in half and separated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • dry herb mix- oregano, salve dill, medical chive, celery leaf, kale, parsley
  • (you can make your own mix)
  • Splash of red wine or beer or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop up bacon
  2. Chop up onion
  3. Cut celery into ½ inch pieces
  4. Peel and cut carrots into ½ inch rounds
  5. Cut red pepper into ½ in squares
  6. Rough chop parsley and set half to the side
  7. On med to high heat put oil and butter in large soup/stock pot
  8. Add onion and cook till they get soft
  9. Make a ring on the edge of the pot with onions
  10. Add bacon in the center and let cook for a couple minutes
  11. Stir onions and bacon together and cook till bacon starts to get crisp
  12. Add stock, beans and lentils and herb mix
  13. Bring to boil and lower flame to very low
  14. Let simmer for 4-5 hours with lid on
  15. Last hour add celery, carrots and bell peppers
  16. Add beer or wine or water if soup seems too thick
  17. (this is if the soup starts to get to dry)
  18. You want some broth
  19. The last 15 minutes add the peas and half the parsley
  20. Save the other half for garnish
  21. Salt and pepper to taste
Notes
The beans and lentils can be any combo you want. Also I say 6 hours but the soup can be ready between 4- 6 hours. It just depends on how you like your beans. Adjust times accordingly

 

 

We started the remodel because Jason’s friend suggested it.  Not only suggested it, but had developed a plan.  Jason was all ears.  I heard about it second hand.  It sounded vague but promising.  So we headed to this warehouse in Greenpoint to get these colorful brackets that were the basis of this mini make over.  They were bright, but something about them and the ideas that were being talked about made sense.  We walked out with a bunch of them.  The plan was in motion. We stopped at a bar to discuss the rest of the plan as it existed at that time.  As things came together, salvaged wood shelving, the color scheme of the kitchen, things changed and evolved.  Next thing you know we are painting the ceiling terracotta/brick red and the inside of the pantry became canary yellow.

The apartment is in complete disarray.  So cooking is not easy, to say the least.  But the Lab must continue to experiment and make new food.  The latest is a mixed bean, lentil and bacon soup that could sit for hours as we continued to work on the shelving.  It’s a basic soup but with a few extras thrown in on purpose and also just for the fun of it.  We started with a bag of beans and lentils we found at our local Indian market.  You could easily replicate the of mix beans and lentils if you don’t have access to store like this.  From there it was what broth to use?  We chose a combo of beef and vegetable.  One, because it’s what we had available and two because given the chance I will always use broth over water.  For reasons that are obvious.  We also had an herb bag for soup that we found during our excavation of the pantry.  Also from the Indian store.  From there we added onion, bacon, celery, carrot and a red bell pepper. As the soup cooked and as I tasted it, it also changed. From seasoning, to consistency, to the acidity. I added half the juice and pulp of a lime.  I always have citrus around as it’s always good for such occasions.  It took the bite out the soup that I couldn’t help but wonder how it got there.  I thank my friend Regina for this trick.  She is a brilliant cook.

Four hours and a few layers of polyurethane later we were ready to eat.  The soup was amazing and though we aren’t nearly finished with the kitchen and the shelving, at least we finished another food journey that will be part of our cannon for years to come.  Now if we could just get the rest of the kitchen off the living room floor!

Final Beach Camping Weekend!!!

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Summer  beach camping has ended.  Our last big blow out was Labor Day weekend.   We made staples like Spam Musabi’s, doctor hot dogs and macaroni salad, cheapest eggs and bacon.  But what camping weekend would be complete without some new menu items?!  We added Spicy Teriyaki Ribs with mashed potato’s and chicken mole with rice and black beans. Well the beans didn’t quite make it cause the tab on the can broke and we couldn’t open it!  But we did take the left over ribs and add them to our Ramen for lunch on Sunday.  I also juiced some cucumbers and ginger to add to our cocktail’s.  My favorite mixer this season.

We did try to continue the faux sports pictures but I forgot the volleyball so we had to settle for a found tennis ball. Not the same thing.  But the high fashion did return. Complete with runway walk editorial photo shoots.

No beach  day or camping weekend would be complete with out our trusty axe’s.  With our Halloween show coming up in October we figured what better time to practice then sitting on a beach for 4 days?  Granted that is what beach ukulele camp is for!!!! Next is wilderness camping!!!!   Can’t wait!

July the 4th & then some!

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The weekend started with a bang.  It being 4th of July and all.  It was our friend Kirks Birthday and I attended his celebratory bbq bash where he made his Great Grandmas Fire Engine Red Cake and we enjoyed fireworks through a chain link fence. Only in New York can this be enjoyed.  Well not entirely enjoyed but the company was wonderful.  I then went home and took the late morning train to meet up with the beach crew for the rest of the weekend.

As usual we hit the beach bar for a quick arrival drink, abortion then headed for camp.  The weather was amazing and for lunch I brought egg salad sandwiches.  Great for the first day.  The rest was spent soaking in the sun, swimming in the ocean and playing the ukulele.  When dinner came around we were very excited to bust out the newest crazy meal we had thought up.  Meatloaf sliders. Yes that’s what I said.  They were a huge hit!! And really worked out great on the beach.  We accompanied them with coleslaw.  Which didn’t work out as well.  But you can’t win them all.

The next day was the usual breakfast, eggs, bacon and potatoes.   What wasn’t the usual was that our friend Naoum decided to join us.  We were beyond thrilled.  We picked him up a the dock and sang the New Zealand welcome song Haere mai.  He arrived just in time for lunch which was our Spam musubis.   We then constructed a kite made from the mylar balloons we found on the beach.   It took a while but well worth the effort.  For dinner we went for a classic, bacon wrapped hot dogs and macaroni salad.  needless to say there was nothing left.  The night was spent having cocktails and playing our favorite card game.

Our last day was lazy and spent doing what we do best.  Breakfast, swimming, sunning, playing the ukulele and making beach  pizzas for lunch.  Sadly it had to end so we packed up, flew the kite one last time, hit the ferry,  grabbed the train and headed home for Chinese food and a movie.

 

 

Meatloaf Sliders
Author: 
Recipe type: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Pound of ground beef and ground pork combined
  • 1 Small green pepper chopped
  • 1 Small onion chopped(yellow or white)
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ Cup of quick oats or bread crumbs
  • A couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • A little bit of catchup
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
  2. Mix with hands(my favorite part!)
  3. Make slider size loaf patties
  4. Grill till done all the way through
  5. Serve with your favorite burger toppings
  6. Best with potato slider buns

Goodbye City Life! At Least For The Weekend Anyway

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We began our adventure in a car we rented for the weekend, buy information pills driving 14 hours each way. I’m talking about our recent adventure to Tennessee, symptoms where we hoped to soak up nature and live as one with the land.  As much as one can get staying in a cabin.     Of course we were roughing it, so to speak. The shower was outdoors, the stove was of the a camping variety, our water came from large jugs, the bathroom was an out house, the light was kerosene lamps and it was heated by a wood burning stove.  What else do you want from a cabin in the woods?  As it turned out, nothing.  It was perfect, peaceful and quiet.  Mother Nature graced us with wonderful warm weather.  It may have been November but it could easily had been late September.  We walked the land, marveled at streams that when it rains become dangerous rivers, chopped wood, went to bed early and rose with the sunrise, saw old friends and made some new ones, all while preparing and eating some amazing food.  We even drove into town to the local Piggly Wiggly to get supplies.

There’s something amazing about the mountains in Tennessee.  I grew up in a few different environments, one of them was the mountains in California and to this day, I don’t get the same feeling of peace as I do when I’m here.   It’s a place that you want to sit back take it slow do some chores and cook till you have filled your pantry with goodies and your belly with food.  Lucky for us we arrived just in time for a late lunch and a stroll around the property.  Our guide led us around and showed us some old homestead from early settlers and gave us a history lesson on who would have lived there before and what they would have farmed.  To me seeing history is always more fascinating then reading it.  When we were done getting the tour we took in the incredible sunset on top of the tool shed, and then it was back to the cabin to burn some wood and get cracking on dinner.   Grilled corn with sausages and a warm salad with a honey vinegar dressing.

The next day we were left to our own devices.  With our guide driving back to his home in Colorado we started the morning with breakfast  and a leisurely stroll.  We visited friends who lived nearby, catching up on their latest projects, chopped wood and  traveled into town for more supplies.  That night we slow cooked some beans on the wood stove, drank whiskey, listened to the radio and played cards.  Not bad for a Saturday night!!

Our last day we started it off with left over beans and eggs steamed over grilled onions and of course bacon.  After our hearty breakfast we took one last stroll said our goodbyes to the neighbors and headed back to NYC and our city lives.

On a Sunday Afternoon

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What did you do this last Sunday?  Jason went camping and I stayed at home to learn computer stuff.  Sounds boring doesn’t it?  Not really.  I expanded my brain with knowledge and did some, physician (a long time coming) slow cooking.  I made chicken stock and pinto bean soup.  It may not sound like much but both are long, but relatively easy tasks.  I had the makings for stock sitting in the freezer for way too long and finally had the time to make it.  There’s a reason most people buy their stock from a store.   That’s not to say I don’t like homemade stock, quite the opposite.  I love it!  But don’t always have the time to make it.  Another issue is I don’t cook mine as long as some people, or chefs, simply because I’m too impatient.  That’s probably why my stock is very strong and usually cloudy.   I did come across an article on how to make a quick chicken stock and can’t wait to try it.  I will let you know how it turns out.  If it’s as good as it looks then I may never buy chicken stock again!!!  Hahaha, not likely, but maybe I will make more at home.

Now, what did I do with that chicken stock you ask?  I made cauliflower soup!!!  I took six cups of stock, a couple ribs of celery, two carrot’s, a medium onion and a head of cauliflower chopped them up and put them on the stove to simmer for 20 minutes(after bringing it to a boil) and next thing you know lunch was served!

One of the other things I did  was make Pinto Bean Soup.  This is something I had learned from my grandparents.  It was my grandfathers favorite soup and my father’s least favorite.  I first got to taste this hearty goodness when we were living with my grandparents one winter when I was young.  I remember paying attention to how it was made but not really understanding what I was seeing.  It all happened so fast.   My biggest memory is that when it’s done you must add pepper and very finely minced onion.  Something my grandfather took pride in doing.  My father always said it was tasteless soup.  I beg to differ.  The earthiness of the beans and the cloudy stock made smokey from the bacon and the tender cooked onions melt in your mouth, while the fresh onions provide a nice crisp sweet freshness that is to me, pure heaven.  I don’t have the exact recipe just what my father told me as he finally made it one day, after months of begging.   He made it from memory and since he only made it once I had to learn quick.  It’s a very simple soup and there really is no measuring, which is probably where I get my cooking method from.   I’ve asked lots of friends and family about this soup and how they make it.  Everyone seems to make it mostly the same way, soak the beans overnight then rinse them, put back in the slow cooker and cook for several hours.  Some of the other ingredients people added were bacon, onions,  celery, carrots, garlic, a ham hawk or what ever there mother/grandmother use to use to get it just right.  My version is simple with bacon, onion and garlic.   I like to make a couple times so I have  it  on hand all winter for those long cold days and evenings.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.