Monthly Archives: January 2012

Pork Pasty Part 1

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There is no way to say “I’m making pork pasties” without it looking like I mean nipple coverings made of pork. I assure you this is not the case. What you do with this recipe in the privacy of your own home is your own business. Just remember stuff off the stove is HOT and will burn you.

A pasty (pronounced with short a, like ACK!) is what hot pockets were before Hot Pocket started making them. Its dough, filled with goodness of a meat variety. Every culture has them: Pasty is English, or Irish, empanada is Spanish, calzone is Italian, samosa is Arabic. I’m going with Pasty because the filling that I’m using is more towards that flavor profile. Later, I’m going to make strawberry turnovers, which are just sweet pasties.

This is a labor intensive project. The payoff is a freezer full of grab and go meals that you made yourself. YAAAY!

So lets start with the filling.

1Onion

2 Celery stalks

1 Leek (just the rough greens, save the whites for another meal)

2 Parsnips

2 Carrots

4 cloves of Garlic

Sage, Basil, Salt, Pepper, Chicken Broth

Make sure you have a GIANT pan on your TEENY tiny stove.

Okay, maybe you have a regular stove. Still, use your big pan. Saute your onions and leeks first, getting some color on them so that you start to release a little of the sugars. Caramelization is delicious and easy. Add your celery and parsnips. Notice that I didn’t really concern myself with a dice for the parsnips and carrots.

That’s cause I’m going to puree a good portion of it. YEAH. You heard me. Puree.

Add your bundle of sage after you let it all cook down a bit. I’ve added dried basil, salt and pepper, and coarsely chopped garlic. Tell your food how pretty it is, cause that right there? That’s sexy.

Bathe it in broth. I used chicken. You can use veggie or beef or pork or German children that ate candy off the side of your house in the woods. We’re adding liquid because we’re braising the meat. That means “to cook slowly in liquid so meat gets all fall aparty and makes people salivate.” The dictionary says that, I promise. Shut up. That’s what my dictionary says about it.

Now that its all cooked, set it to the side. I poured it into my crock pot cause I have to do dishes by hand, so lets use as few as possible!

We are dredging the pork. Sounds mean, but its not. Its code for “make tasty.”

This is Dredge. Say “Hi,” Dredge.

No? Well okay.

Dredge is made with a 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons of my sage brown sugar rub, and a little seasoned salt. I don’t have exact measurements, so my sage brown sugar rub is equal parts salt and brown sugar, with sage and black pepper mixed in…-ish. You want sweet, but that pepper needs to kick you a little. Not a lot, but like a shin kick. You know it happened. Its okay that there’s a good amount of salt in the dredge. Not all of it is being used and you’re slow cooking the crap out of it. Salt is good.

Get your pan ready with a good coating of oil, and make sure its hot. If you’re not sure, flick a drop of water and it will be all “SSSSSSSSSSS” like its complimenting you for being so hot. Because you are. Hey, good lookin’. Whatchu got cookin’?

Ahem. Right. We’re dredging… Dredge the pork.

Cover all of its sides and nooks and crannies. Oooooh yeah.

Now, brown those suckers. You’re not trying to cook them, just seal in all the juicy goodness.

While you’re letting that brown, lets go puree our veggies.

Scoop about a cup of your sexy veggies into your blender and add a cup of water. Blend until smooth. Add that back to your veggies and stir. Puree another cup of veggies with another cup of water and you have something that looks like this.

DO NOT PUREE YOUR SAGE BUNDLE. Leave it alone. It just wants to hang out and make everything delicious. Let it do what it wants.

Let’s check on our pork.

Oh gods, yes. Thank you. Now, because they’re so beautiful, NESTLE them into the veggies. Gently, with love. Because they deserve it.

See how happy they look?

Now, cover and set on high for two hours. Or Low for 4. I’m nosy, so I’m gonna check on them before all that. It may take longer. Thats okay. Let it cook at it’s own pace. It should fall apart when it looks at a fork.

I’ll see you for Pork Pasty Part 2!

Free Therapy

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I get asked about my blog a lot by people I know. “Is writing your blog therapeutic?” It’s the most common question, but I think what they’re really asking is “Why do you write such personal stuff in such a public forum?”  So, I’ll answer both for those who are curious.

Is writing this therapeutic?  Hell yes it is. When isn’t releasing your feelings therapeutic? I get to talk about whatever I like for however long I like. I get to argue with the voices in my head. Its like journaling, but better, because sometimes you get comments. Comments are therapeutic as well, because its validation.

I write personal details because its MY blog. Its life as I see it, so it will always be personal. If I’m going through something, I’ve learned to write it out. I figure things out through writing. It makes me feel better, soothed. I like being able to own up to my own crazy. Maybe in putting it in a public forum, other people can read and feel less alone. Less crazy, better about themselves.

I’m not in this to hurt others, but sometimes honesty can hurt. Reading about how I feel, if you’re one of the people I mention, can be grating. That’s understandable. I try to put in as much honesty about myself as I do others. I rarely lash out online and I’ve never ever written something with the specific intent to hurt them.

My blog about abuse was equal, I abused and was abused.  Part of writing this is so that I can look back and know myself. To know where I was in life and to know how much I’ve grown. We all have this to some extent. Looking back and shaking your head, a wry smile at who you used to be.

Part of all of us who write is selfishness. We like talking about ourselves. I am the same. I like talking about myself because it gives me a clearer sense of myself. I like me. Maybe you like me too. Maybe you hate me. Either way, you read my words because they do something to you. They make you feel in some way. I hope to find that somehow I make the world a little smaller, a little cozier and that maybe you find that you’re not the only one out there with this craziness running rampant inside them.

Being an adult.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I hate being an adult. Hate it.

Why? The same reason you do. Bills, tough decisions, pain, frustration and all the other things.

Yesterday, I had to make a choice between continuing chiropractic treatment and paying bills. The chiro made it so that I was actually not in pain anymore. I was able to sleep through the night without waking up because my lower back was screaming at me, or my legs had gone numb again. The lack of tension headaches was damn near miraculous. My upper back was amazing too. I didn’t have to roll my shoulders and hear the popping sounds. That was only a month into my treatment. Not even halfway.

But, because paying for health insurance and the treatment was adding up to almost half of what I make, I had to make the choice between pain and responsibility. It sucks.

Today, I applied for food benefits, because with hours dwindling at work, I’ve turned into a most frugal shopper. I was already this before, but now it’s “do I want fresh fruit or fresh veggies?” “Can I buy toilet paper and kitty litter? No? Better put some food back so I can.” Granted, it’s not nearly as bad as some people have it. I am only feeding me and my two cats.

I am DAMNED lucky to have a friend like Dixie as my landlord. She understands if I can’t make rent, or if its late. She’s more than generous, but it makes me feel like a slacker to not be able to pay. It makes me feel like I’m taking advantage of her. I’ve learned that in having friends generous enough to help, they are usually willing to give more than I’m comfortable receiving.

Dropping my chiro will free up quite a bit, and I will again have savings and start to build back up. The goal is to not spend EVERY cent that comes in. I have medical bills that have to be paid, I have credit to repair. Sometimes that can be more important than one’s health. I’m scared of having no fall back. I had a little savings two months ago and something went wrong, and luckily I was able to use my savings to fix it. I’ve been limping since.

Part of writing this is feeling silly. I am not as bad off as some people. I have a home and the ability to work and I do make money. What I’m really complaining about here is the inability to spend it on what I want. Namely, my back. Because I am a whiner.

Ah well. Here’s to not limping.

 

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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Hello there!

I was bored, so I decided to make a cake.

A sour cream coffee cake. I have loved coffee cake since I was a little girl using the Bisquick mix (to be honest, sometimes I crave that coffee cake in particular). Anyway, this is a really simple recipe. Easy-peasy. Watch!

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 Cup Sugar

2 teaspoons Baking POWDER

1/2 teaspoon Baking SODA

(I capitalize the difference because you’re a busy person, with better things to do than pay attention to second words in two word ingredients. I understand. I’ve been there. Its all about ME helping YOU.)

1/4 teaspoon salt (I always add a pinch more. I think more salt makes sweet better.)

2 eggs

1 cup Sour Cream

1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350. I picked a souffle pan, cause I wanted a taller round cake. See! Ooooh fancy.

Mix your dry ingredients, then mix in your wet ingredients. Compliment your measuring cups for being adorable.

Tada. You have a cake batter. Pour it into the pan you picked. Tell it how pretty it is. So pretty.

Whats a coffee cake without a crumble? Oooh. Look at that crumble on top. Sexy.

That particular crumble is my mom’s snickerdoodle recipe, cookies made by my sister in law, crumbled, mixed with an instant mulling spice  and sprinkled on top of the batter.

Oh. You just know that is going to be tasty.

If you don’t have my mom’s snickerdoodle recipe, my sister in law to make cookies for you or instant mulling spice, you can always do a basic butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon crumble. That’s good too.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until your tester comes out clean. DON’T USE YOUR FINGER. The cake is hot and hot things burn. I promise. Use a toothpick or something similar.

Now, if you want to be some kind of fancy, you can add fruit, like apples, blueberries, lemon curd, chocolate chips, etc. Just fold them into your pretty batter before you pour it into the pan. Make your crumble suit you. Some of you might like cocoa more than cinnamon. Some of you might just dig nutmeg. The nice thing about this recipe is that its super basic. You can make it special. Just like you.

If you’re like me, you don’t bother with silly little things like timers. Feh. Who needs timers? That’s what a twitter feed is for.

This is one sexy cake after 40 minutes.

Cakes should never be jiggly. They should make you jiggly. Its a bit jiggly, so it needs to go back in. With a taller pan, this will take longer. Back into the oven for this beauty.

Oh, you want this cake. You neeeeed this cake. This cake was made for you. Well, not this cake, per se, because I made this for me, but its gorgeous.

Lets open this baby up.

Look at how fluffy and pretty that is. The flavor is nice and smooth, crumbly topping adding just a nice crunch. Its amazing. As you’re eating this cake, you tell that cake how wonderful it is.

Enjoy yourself!

Savagery

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A comedian I watched recently said something to the effect that the only thing she really misses about living with someone is the ability to be completely mental with someone. Just walk in the room and say TWO lights on? You need TWO BLOODY LIGHTS ON? and then leave the room.

I haven’t had a fight in months. Its weird. I’m starting to feel itchy, like I need to bloody my hands.

One thing about my ex and I… we savaged each other in our fights. We were bared teeth with screaming and spitting. It was like watching part of myself consumed with fire and relishing it. I was angry at him, myself and the world and sometimes that big roar that came from inside me, this well of primal rage was tapped and a little pressure released.  It wasn’t healthy, but sometimes it felt SO FUCKING GOOD to just rage at another person.

I don’t believe that anger is productive. I love disagreement, because it’s an opportunity to learn. I firmly believe that if two people are rational they can calm the fuck down and solve an issue. That being said, we’ve all had fights over laundry, or using the wrong spoon, or not turning the radio to the right station or any other of a hundred thousand stupid fucking reasons that have turned into these epic all out fights with the person we love. Because as we accept their crazy, they accept ours.

It’s a physical thing, really. If I can’t roar at someone, I need to beat myself into submission. I need to join a kickboxing class or something to get out the aggression that is building. It’s silly that after being so relieved that I don’t have to fight anymore, I miss it. I need that release. It feels as if I’ve fought through my whole life.

My brother was known as the Brain and I was the Brawn. When we were kids, my mom put us in Tae Kwon Do. We reached black belt, my brother 2nd degree. We only ever fought one summer. Other than that, my brother and I got along well. This one summer though, it was knock out drag out fights. I’m not proud to say that I made sure he always hit first. I’d push him to the point that he couldn’t control himself and he’d attack. I remember a slap fight. We must have slapped each other’s faces like 8 times in a row. I remember him shoving me into the front door so hard, I slid to the ground, he stood over me his hands in fists, breathing heavy. I kicked him and then tackled him and we punched it out. It was cathartic. Our mother was dying. Our father had left us. We didn’t know what to do with the rage that was building, so we took it out on each other.

The only physical abuse that I endured that I never hit back was from my parents. Oh, I fought with non physical means. I still remember the last time my dad hit me and the look on his face when he saw the look on mine.

My ex and I pushed each other to terrible points. I was more physically abusive to him than him to me, meaning that I punched him solidly about 3 times, and instead of hitting me, he pushed me, or locked me in rooms. We fought to the point that he held my neck against the wall, choking me. I punched him and wrapped my hands around his neck. We caught the look in each other’s eyes and let go at the same time. We walked away, not wanting to go down that path. He is 6’3″, a rugby player and was in the Army for a short time. He could hurt me if he wanted. I found out he was cheating on me. I asked him about it, directly. He lied to my face. I told him to do it again. He did, so I punched him. Another time, I was driving him home once from the bar, and he called me a Stupid Bitch, spitting it out at me with disdain and contempt. Now, there are few things that hit my anger button so solidly that I can hear nothing but the rage and blood in my ears. Stupid Bitch is one of those things. I punched him in the side of the head, because I was driving and I couldn’t tackle him and beat the ever-loving shit out of him. I kicked him out of my car.

The rage that I felt in that relationship was so uncontrollable . I would smile in front of others and rage at home. I’d pretend that I was okay, letting only a few people know a small fraction of what was happening. I don’t want to be an abusive partner. This frightens me for the future, but I think it was just that relationship. I hope.

So knowing that, why do I feel the need to rage again? Why do I want to roar and fight and prove myself strong? I watch fights and action movies and I get that warrior mentality. I just want someone to step in the ring with me and let me fight through the pain.

After my mom died, I cut myself for a while. I realized that I was just giving a physical manifestation to the pain. I gave my tools to my counselor on my own. She took them and I never saw them again. It was then that I really understood the need to have a balance to my emotions. I began over analyzing and trying to make sure I knew what I was feeling and why. I started intramural wrestling, I broke up fights between guys, fought one girl briefly. I never lost that need to feel physical pain when I hurt inside though. The rasp in my chest when I’ve screamed my voice raw, the strain of the muscles in my arms and back, the breeze that floats through my mind when my anger is spent, the feeling that tears are okay now.

There is a savage, raw part of me. Sometimes it scares me, sometimes it soothes me. Right now, I feel the need to let it out, but I have no outlet. I want my pain to be soothed by physical exhaustion. I want to feel every nerve ending screaming at me, overwhelming me. I want to give in to the animal instinct for just a little while.