Wednesday, April 20, 2022

420 Celebration - High Times & Recipes

  Acapulco Gold, Texas Tea, Panama RedMaui Wowie, Mary Jane, chronic, ganja, pot, weed, grass, dope, herb, joint, blunt, roach, cannabis, reefer, spliff, fatty, jay, doobie, and locoweed, are just some of the euphemisms for marijuana.

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Many pot shops have a green cross or green type somewhere on their building. This comes from when marijuana was first legal in L.A. for medical purposes only - I guess it's a play on the Red Cross?

Click on any photo to see larger.

This month 420 is celebrated and I missed the Smokeout because I was shooting marijuana store customers in line and store facades for this blog post...how ironic is that? 
Patients/customers practicing social distancing with masks during Covid-19.


I'm not the Wake-and-Bake type and I don't blaze up every day, anyway.


If you're out of the loop, 420 or April (4th month) and day 20, is an international celebration of all things marijuana. The term "420" supposedly originated in 1971 here in California by a bunch of high school buddies who would meet at 4:20pm to smoke weed. You can read about it here.


When California introduced medical marijuana legally in 1996 I waited a couple of years before I got a prescription. Like a lot of locals, I was paranoid about putting my name in a database of users. But after a while, I realized that I'm never gonna run for President or head the FBI.

FYI my medical condition was a pain in the...elbow.

Getting a prescription was a farce really, just pick your ailment and the doctor charged $100 bucks back in the day. Now it's legal in California so that song and dance are no longer played.


I've been a contributing citizen to the economy and a creative artist most of my life so all the boogeyman stories of reefer madness don't fly here.

When I was in high school I primarily used it when listening to music, as it was the 1960's and getting high brought a heightened experience and meaning to the lyrical and sonic content of songs by The BeatlesRolling StonesThe KinksJefferson AirplanePink FloydBob Dylan, etc.


And it was just a fun thing to do with friends on the weekend and long summer dazes.


Just watch my Mom's recipe for Tex-Mex Enchiladas to see my high school buddy Marvin and I have a 1960's flashback hanging out and listening to album rock in my bedroom.



These days I like a cannabis-infused edible from time to time. They will last an hour or so, just right for an art show, movie, or musical concert at the Hollywood Bowl.


Check out some of the concerts I've seen there, including a Willie Nelson concert where I've never smelled so much marijuana in my life!


I'll leave you with another recipe should you be in need of some munchies while celebrating 420  - that is, not my recipe but my brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chefplus our nephew Zak! Check out a tasty cheesy Cajun Nachos video!


Sunday, April 17, 2022

National Crawfish Day - Recipes

Today I offer praise to the humble Mudbug, a Crawfish. Also known as Crayfish and Crawdads, there are even more colorful names depending on where you reside. I know Crawfish, and hopefully, you'll learn a few things about this delicious crustacean on National Crawfish Day.

     Click on any photo to see larger.

A Crawfish are like a miniature lobster. You cook them the same way as a lobster, too. Normally they are boiled in a spicy broth of water and a package of Crab Boil. 

And you feed on the Crawfish tail, just like a lobster. You can even get a sliver of claw meat if the Crawfish is large enough.

Peeling a Crawfish Tail

Due to their small size, Crawfish cook quickly like shrimp. They only take 10 minutes of boiling and then you turn off the heat and let them stew in the spicy broth -- the longer they steep in the broth, the spicer the crawfish. 

Now it's time to eat the hot tiny Crawfish tails. Just watch my video below to see how I do the deed. And a warning I do suck the head of a Crawfish just like a real Cajun does - it's loaded with a whole lotta juicy flavor.

How to Eat a Crawfish - Video

I learned to peel a cooked Crawfish early on. When a bag is dumped on the table you better know how to make quick work to get the tail meat or you will be left behind. Like with anything, the more you peel them the speedier you will get.

     30-pound bags of live Crawfish

The meaty Crawfish tail is small like a bay shrimp, but milder in fishy flavor. I lived in Louisiana in my high school daze, where Crawfish culture has risen to edible art. Think of any recipe you would make with shrimp and you can substitute Crawfish tail meat instead. 

Louisiana has swamps where Crawfish thrive. These days you are more likely to get them by way of a Crawfish Farm that is just a shallow pond. 

During Crawfish Season, from about February to May, you can buy them at some supermarkets and even gas stations that have a deli counter. 

You can buy them live or already cooked. They cost anywhere from $3 per pound for live to $5 per pound for cooked whole Crawfish

You can buy precooked and peeled Crawfish Tails in frozen one-pound packages in the $15 dollar range. 

While on the expensive side, they will provide an ample entree, enough to serve your family --especially if you follow Chef Tony's Crawfish Etouffee recipe, below. 

My family usually orders them cooked, but almost every local has attended or thrown a live Crawfish Boil in their backyard at one time or another. 

If you are feeding a party, budget about 3 pounds of the whole Crawfish per person. A basic Crawfish Boil usually has lemon halves, corn, and potatoes that start in the spicy boil, then when done the live Crawfish are added. 

I've yet to meet a local Louisiana adult or child who does not like cooked Crawfish. Now the exception is if Crawfish is extra-spicy of course, so you may want to pull them early from the crab boil broth if you have kids or sensitive palates to contend with.

Cajuns in Louisiana have come up with tasty local Crawfish entree or appetizer recipes, everything from a spin on Fettucini Alfredo with Crawfish to a an Omelet stuffed with Crawfish, and even a flakey Crawfish Pie or Turnover.

My brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chef, has a decadent Cajun Nachos made with, you guessed it, Crawfish. And it's built on a bed of tortilla chips topped with a can of red beans, cheese, Crawfish tails, and more cheese, oh, and don't forget the hot sauce!

 Be sure to hang in there past the wacky video intro with my nephew Zak and the Swamp Chef, followed by the Cajun Nachos recipe.

Cajun Nachos - Video

I'll leave you with a selection from the frozen deli case of Rouses Market in Gonzales, Louisiana - a great local grocer with a fine selection of Crawfish Entrees.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Easter Egg Recipes - Leftovers Series

 For some, it's all about eggs for Easter this Sunday and I have a basketful of recipes for leftover ovums. So read on for using up eggs that are hard-boiled, because there is no way youngsters can put away that many.

In these pandemic days, the Easter Egg Hunt will be kept all in the family or on computer video. Well, you can still have a hardboiled eggy good time.

And be sure to set aside a few raw eggs for some of my recipes listed below (click on any recipe name to see the original blog post.)


Eggs are still a great deal. Lately, I get my eggs from a local Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar for half a dozen medium eggs, and sometimes they even carry a dozen for a dollar.



The easiest leftover use of eggs is a simply delish Egg Salad. It's the quickest and easiest way to use up leftover boiled eggs.


Half a dozen cooked and peeled Easter eggs mixed with a little mayo and some chopped celery will yield a bowlful of creamy deliciousness that can go between 2 toasted slices of bread, as a topping for your favorite salad, or serve spread on your favorite crackers as appetizers.

Egg Salad Recipe - Video
Play it here. The video runs for 1 minute and 45 seconds. 

Ingredients (about 3 sandwiches)
  • 6 eggs - I used small eggs. Boiled, peeled, and chopped. about 2 cups total after chopping.
  • 1/4 cup mayo - I used light mayo. Okay to add more. Add a teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess. Extra-Large eggs will need more mayo.
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped - including leaves on the stalk -- if it comes with them. About 1/2 cup total after chopping.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Water to boil eggs.
*Many recipes call for mustard, I like it without. But you can add it - try a teaspoon of Dijon or regular mustard. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder.


Directions
In a pot add eggs and cover with an inch of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Just when eggs start to boil, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot with a lid (or plate.) Let sit for 15 minutes. Eggs will continue to cook in the hot water. (Okay to use any favorite boiled egg recipe you may already have.)


Meanwhile chop one stalk of celery, including leaves. Chop finely.


After 15 minutes, remove eggs and rinse off in cold water, so you can peel them without burning your fingers. You can also let them sit in a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes for about 5 minutes.


Now time to bring it all together. Peel, discard shells, and chop the eggs. You can add them as you chop to a large bowl. I usually chop the eggs in half, then place them yolk side down on the chopping board and finish slicing.


Add all the chopped eggs to a bowl. Mix in the chopped celery. Finally, scoop in 1/4 cup of mayo. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Try out a small spoonful of Egg Salad. At this point you can add more mayo if you like, a teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess.


I find less mayo and mustard (optional) the better, as they easily overpower the mild egg flavor.


A scoop of Egg Salad goes well with your favorite vegetable salad. Egg Salad is a tasty party dip on your favorite chips or crunchy veggie slices. Also, try a spoonful on an avocado half. But I like an Egg Salad Sandwich the best.


This recipe is easy to double using a dozen eggs -- just add another 1/4 cup of mayo and another rib of chopped celery. Keep finished Egg Salad covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Okay, let's take an ovum break -- for kids, there is a lot of chocolate on the scene like this.


Another early recipe of mine is a silly Devilish Deviled Eggs I made one Halloween. Fun and tasty. Of course, leave out the spicy chili peppers for kid-friendly bites. And you can find all the yummy recipe details from my food blog by clicking on any recipe name.


For extra eggs, you haven't boiled yet, there are a lot of my cheap$kate recipes to choose from, like a filling Pasta alla Carbonara with egg yolk and crumbled browned bacon over spaghetti, or a baked omelet-like Frittata with pasilla chili, chorizo, potato, and cheese.




Scrambled eggs come in many variations. Jewish delis have a couple of good ones that I've adapted. I get corned beef on sale during St. Patrick's Day, so it's only natural to have some of it sauteed with eggs (even better is pastrami made from corned beef - my Pastrami with Eggs recipe is here.


Small packages and cans of salmon come cheaply and I like to add it to my Jewish Breakfast Scramble. And add a dollop of cream cheese and you have a lighter substitution for Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel. Try it sometime, I know you will like it, too.


Booze and eggs go together, especially if you're making my Homemade Eggnog. This video recipe is one of my holiday favorites. You won't believe your eyes when you see my intoxicated antics after imbibing on one Eggnog too many. Be sure to watch this recipe video all the way to the end!



One of my earliest published recipes is also one of the quickest and easy to make: Scrambled Eggs and Sundried Tomatoes. I like to keep a jar of pungent dried tomatoes in herbs and oil in the refrigerator, right next to my carton of eggs. For a non-oil, lighter version, use plain dried tomatoes in a plastic pouch, too (this is what my wife uses.)


My Mom has an outrageous Breakfast Tacos with Scrambled Eggs and Curly Fries that will blow your mind and stoke your taste buds -- seeing is believing...below.


Eggs make a great binder for my sister Denise's Veggie Eggplant Burgers. (You should make sure to check out the video we made that features a wacky shopping spree in my local 99c only Store.) And you want to add a scrambled egg or two when you make my cheap$kate version of Chinese Fried Rice.


Ever make Crepes Suzette? There's not much to it really, just eggs, flour, milk and to quote Julia Child's nephew: "lots of butter." And who's the famed chef's nephew anyway?

Well, just watch the video to see this outrageous character shopping in the Hollywood Farmer's Market -- then moving on to the kitchen to show you how to make a tender and delicate pancake-like dessert.



 Do you have a package of frozen veggies in the freezer accumulating frost, and a crisper drawer full of veggies that are close to being thrown out? Well, just rinse off the frozen veggies and slice off the brown spots from the bell pepper and onion to make my colorful Veggie Frittata. For this photo story recipe I ran out of eggs, but my neighbor Nuno was kind enough to lend me a few. (How's that for a cheap$kate move, free eggs!)

Also, if you have a small patio garden then I have a couple of nutritious recipes to use the freshly picked bounty. An easy veggie to grow is bright green Swiss Chard. Just saute it for a couple of minutes and add it to your favorite omelet recipe, my recipe is here.


Every time I change out the dirt from my teeny garden, seeds sprout willy-nilly. Often it's some kind of squash, that never bears fruit. Oh well, that's okay because the flowers make a great Squash Blossom Omelet.


I grew up in the South and was raised on Mexican food for a while. Almost everyone in Texas has tried Migas, which are tortilla pieces scrambled in eggs. And, you can't get simpler than having Refried Beans and Eggs. I didn't think I would like this meal at first, but learned that scrambled eggs elevate any humble ingredient!


Refried Pinto Beans & Scrambled Eggs

I get all types of Mexican chorizo at my local 99c only Store, including beef, pork, and soy (vegetarian.) Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo, mainly in its texture. Spanish chorizo is hard like salami and Mexican chorizo is soft like ground meat. It's a pungent and flavorful protein that mixes well for Chorizo and Scrambled Eggs. And use it to stuff a Breakfast Taco or Breakfast Burrito.

Click to magnify.

Huevos Rancheros are the Eggs Benedict of Mexican cuisine. A corn tortilla with refried beans and a fried egg that's topped with crumbled queso fresco (cheese,) and your favorite salsa, is a decadent and filling way to start the day. Make a batch of this with your family sometime, it's quite easy to do when you follow this cheap$kate's recipe.


You can top any of my Mexican breakfast entrees with a favorite jarred salsa or go here to see my list of Homemade Salsa Recipes, with links, that include:  Roasted Salsa Verde (tomatillo,) Red Chili (2 dried types - but the same recipe,) Pico de Gallo and Mango.


Click on any photo to see larger.

Looking to impress an overnight guest, then serve them my recipe for Eggs Florentine for breakfast. This creamy spinach and egg dish will keep any afterglow going. And if that doesn't work then I have a sensuous Fried Egg on Breadcrumbs with Asparagus.



I like a challenge. A favorite breakfast fast food is the classic Egg McMuffin. It's not as cheap as it used to be, so I figured out how to make my own cheaper version. And I share it with you in this homemade video recipe.


And for an extra hardy breakfast be sure to add my Old School Hash Browns to the menu.


If you are flush with cash and your ship has come in, then make like a bonus bloated Wall Street con artist and serve up my Billionaire's Crab Omelet. (I even give you a cheap$kate shortcut, just in case the stock market crashes, your government bailout  is rejected, and all your chips have been cashed in.)



And for my latest egg recipe video, I made a classic French-style Cheese Omelette. What's the difference between it and the ones you get at a typical American diner? Well, it is all about technique, mainly you just soft scramble the eggs in butter, add the cheese and gently roll the egg to close up the omelette. Most American-style omelets are cooked dry, while a French omelette is slightly moist in the middle. It's a different way to cook an omelette, but I've grown to like it.



Eggs for dinner? Heck yeah, especially when pizza is on the menu. Break an egg on your favorite homemade or store-bought pizza during the last 10 minutes of oven baking. A mix of creamy yolk is a sumptuous topping, so be sure to try my Pizza with Egg recipe.


And finally, if you're looking for a bit of levity, well, I have an early morning fried egg comedy video to brighten your day, here.



Whew, that's a lot of ovum riffing, I'm exhausted. You've just scrolled through over 10 years of recipes from my food blog.

And if you want even more egg pictorial poetics then click here to view a fun video.

Cooking with eggs is cheap. While not as inexpensive as they used to be, it's still affordable, especially when you use any of my creative and tasty recipes listed above.
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