Breakfast. It’s how we say love

This is an actual photo, of the actual breakfast that was made and delivered to me this very Saturday morning…

Exactly.

It’s like he loves me.

Hearts!

~L

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The calzone, the birthday and the husband

Episode 4 of Boondock Pioneer: Cooking on the Fringe

My husband had a birthday coming up. For about a week and a half before I would periodically ask, “What would you like to do for dinner on your birthday?”

“I don’t know.”

I.Don’t.Know.

These three words are the bane of my existence. I am a person who firmly believes in making decisions. Even if they are wrong. In the time it takes to correct a wrong decision and move to the right one, my husband is still contemplating his first move.  I.Don’t.Know.=paralysis

Needless to say the day of the birthday came and no plans were made. No reservations for a favorite restaurant, no favorite foods were purchased for a special dinner at home. And then it was 5:00PM. Work was done, peeps were home and nothing was quickly becoming the name of the game.

After a last feeble attempt to extract a dinner desire I moved to plan B.

Plan B: Make what ever is out and easy.

In walks Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Calzone!

I did not make the pizza dough as she recommends (because it was Wednesday at 5 and really, what do I have to prove?) and I used only venison sausage and did not add any ground beef. Again, it was 5pm and it takes 20 minutes for me to get to a grocery store. Not. Happening.

So I made do with what I had.

Super easy dish to whip up

Despite how not yummy this looks, once it was baked inside the dough…yum.

The cool thing about her recipe was that it made 8 mini calzones and not just one big one.

So not only was it dinner, it was also a great jump on lunches for us.

While I was making this dinner, some birthday husband was giving me side eye. Not really convinced that this was going to be what he wanted for dinner. However, since he failed to articulate his dinner desires (as they were unknown to even himself up to the moment of it being decided for him) he said nothing.

We sat down. Cut into the calzone and …

SMILES!

Birthday boy was wildly pleased!

Success!

So if you are feeling indecisive and don’t know what you want for dinner, try this tasty dish! It promises to please!

~L

Betsy is my new best friend…

Episode 3 of Boondock Pioneer: Cooking on the Fringe

Searching through the “precious” I found a recipe that grabbed me instantly…

Why?

Because it told you to drink wine while cooking this dish. With direction like that, how could I go wrong?

So this recipe is from the Pioneer Woman’s sister, Betsy.

Betsy and I are now BFF’s. She doesn’t know this yet. I have full confidence she  will accept this new status and continue to give me delicious food plans. Go Betsy!

So the recipe is called, Penne alla Betsy. It is a wonderful little tomato cream sauce number that incorporates shrimp and penne. And wine. Mostly to drink but a little for the sauce.

So here is a visual process…

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Yes. Delightful. Delicious. Delovely (rock on Cole. I heart you foreves)

If you can, make this. Super worth it!

Boondock Pioneer Episode 3 = wild success

~L

Honey Butter. It’s real.

Episode 2 of Boondock Pioneer: Cooking on the Fringe

Buttermilk Biscuits and Fried Chicken.

You may know that I have a slight obsession with all things Southern. People like my sister know this to be true. This is evident by the fact that she bought me this for Xmas:

And then was smothered by endless screams of joy. Ahhh, memories…

My Southern fascination has of course led my decision in choosing Buttermilk Biscuits and Fried Chicken as my first dinner recipe from my Precious, The Pioneer Woman Cookbook. See yesterday’s post for clarification

Here, courtesy of my Nikon 1 J1 is the evidence of my Biscuit and Chicken challenge

1. Make biscuits and bake them. Make HONEY BUTTER!!!! to put on biscuits

2. Make more because they were suppose to be for dinner

3. Fry Chicken with Becca the assistant

4. Revel in the glory of Southern yummness

~L

Going where no L has gone before…

That may be a misleading title.

Technically, yes, I have not gone here before. But I’m not so much really, physically, going anywhere. It’s more of a Jedi mind-trick thing.

For Xmas one of my awesome presents from the husband was something I have coveted for more than a year. I’ve even wrote about it here, appealing to the masses to make my dream come true. Note that none of you did. What’s that say about our friendship? Hmm?

Alas, it was meant to be that the man I married would bestow the greatness upon me…

That would be the wonderful cookbook of one of my favorite bloggers

The Pioneer Woman!

This lady is the shiz nit. I am for serials.

If you know not of her, acquaint yourself. She is amazing and may just be my new American Idol.

Drooling with the precious in my hands I set off on a mission. A mini Julie-Julia project. I call it, Boondock Pioneer: cooking on the fringe. 

Here is the challenge:

Read book cover to cover – check

Make list of must try right now recipes – check

Actually make these recipes – in process…

My first recipe excursion was potato hash and the breakfast burrito. Both were met with smashing success in succession and have gone un-photographed.

Why?

Because I sort of forgot and am still getting used to the idea that I have a camera that makes picture-taking awesome. Plus, I have no real idea of how to use said camera making me slightly nervous. There will be progress.

When?

You know, for internet friends you’re a little judgy. Just sayin’.

Next up Buttermilk Biscuits and Fried Chicken…otherwise known as straight up heaven on the rocks.

That post will be complete with photos. Otherwise known as, not this post.

See ya on the fringe!

~L

Venison. The only meat…

Doe a Deer, a female deer…

There really is a song for everything, eh?

Here in the Boondocks hunting is simply a part of who we are. It is such a part of our life that it seems almost silly to think there are those of you out there who would find this an exotic action.

Of course, Ikea seems exotic to those of us living the woodland life, so I guess Tomato, Tomahto.

My husband is an avid hunter, of all things. That means from September to December I become a hunting widow. He gets up, works, hunts, sleeps. Repeat. Bow, muzzle loader, rifle etc. It doesn’t matter the weather or occasion, a hunting he will go!

There was a time, early on in our relationship, where I was mystified by this behavior. I wouldn’t take him seriously that he couldn’t just go to the movies, or take a day off hunting to attend a party. What could be more important than cocktails and party dresses?

Slowly though, I realized that hunting was more than just recreation. It’s a part of his identity. Hunting provides him with a sense of purpose and connection.

Over time hunting and I have become friends. It has brought me a better understanding and respect for the food that I eat. Going to the grocery store and buying pre-packaged meat lends you to believe that food is just available. Picking up that package and checking out leaves us so far removed from the consequences and realities of how that food came to our plate. And sometimes leads us to so little appreciation for it.

After witnessing many a death and butchering of deer I can no longer feel so removed. I have been a part of the gutting, skinning, and butchering of all the deer my husband shoots. And from those experiences, I truly appreciate and respect both the animal and the hunter. Being involved has made a huge difference in how I feel about preparing and eating meat. I love it, and am damn excited to eat it, but I really can be proud of the fact that I know where that steak came from and what it took to get it there! And sometimes, I think it makes it taste that much better!

This year we went into new meat territory.

We made our own venison sausage!

Usually, my husband butchers the main cuts and sends the leftovers to a guy who makes the sausage for us. This year, he decided , why not try it ourselves?

The result: Delicious homemade sausage!!!!

It was so easy, and it is so delicious, I can’t believe we hadn’t made it ourselves sooner!

So along with the rest of our cuts, the freezers are stocked with over 20 pounds of delicious, spicy, venison sausage! Two weeks ago I made our first dish with it, Cauliflower Venison Sausage Pasta. (I substituted the turkey for venison) So yummy I can hardly wait to make it again!

Good bye beef. Good bye pork! I’ll be seeing you on a menu somewhere!

For the Draus House it is, Venison, Venison and Venison!

~L

 

A canning we will go…

Because of the approaching hurricane my husband’s wonderful grandmother insisted that I remove my potentially ready tomatoes to avoid total loss.

So this is what my window sill looked like as a result….imageKinda cute. Kinda green. Kinda interesting as I played the wait game for them to ripen.

Then finally, as if a super hero had been whizzing through, they were ready!

So the ‘Maters and I went to Gramma D’s for a 101 in canning.

As you can see from the following photos it was a success! Truly, beyond success. I am now in love with canning and just did it again with my next batch. I cannot be stopped! Bring on the apocalypse, I’m ready!image

I just recently used a jar of my tomatoes for sauce and I have to say, there is nothing as tasty as your own canned tomatoes! Plus there are really cute on the vintage table in my kitchen. Just saying 😉

I’ll talk with y’all soon, as long as I am not canning!
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~L

Blueberries and Irene, a true story of wind, rain and two pints of blueberries

Irene made me do it. Forced indoors all day by the inland path of Hurricane Irene, I was bound by the pj, snuggle, rainy day rules to make some sort of baked treat. In walked Paula Deen’s Blueberry Skillet Cake. image

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Yes, it was delicious. We are now the biggest friends because:

1. It tastes sweet and carby and yummy

2. It requires almost no work

3. It can be reheated and paired with vanilla ice cream for a late night snack. I speak from experience.

imageI still had a slew of blueberries left over so I went on to make streudel topped batch of homemade blueberry muffins.

Not to be outdone by my emerging culinary talents, B made a terrific pot of spicy venison stew with garlic bread. Damn him and his effortless cooking skills! It was fantastic and perfect for a rainy day at home.

So that was the Boondock Irene day. Filled down limbs, wind gusts, blueberry baked goods and venison stew. If only all storms were so tasty!

~L

I doubted Louisiana, and I was wrong

I admit it. I was wrong.

For years I have watched many a Southern movie set in the lovely state of Louisiana. In almost all of those movies somehow they bring out big, honking plates of crawfish. And in everyone of those movie moments I have thought, “yeah, right, I’m sure those disgusting little wannabe lobsters are awesome.”

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I think it was mostly due to the fact that I really can’t get a hold of eating something that still has eyeballs. I realize this is very hypocritical of me since most things I eat had eyes at some point. Ewe. That thought just completely washed over me. Excuse me.image

Do you see what I am saying about the eyeballs? How can you go through with the consumption process while looking into the eyes of your victim. It seems really Hannibal Lector and there is no amount of chianti that will make it ok.

imageThat said, B and I decided on a whim at the fish market that maybe it was time we gave these Louisiana cajun flavored wannabes a try. So we bought 4. Not too many that if we hated them we wasted but enough to give it an honest try.

I could not deal with the actual handling of the crawfish and the removing of the shell. I ate my tail meat sans crawfish exoskeleton visibility. And it was awesome. I mean truly fantastic. As in way better than shrimp. Exactly.

Not only did I survive, we went on to actually craft a crawfish meal the next night.

This is where things got a little murky. The recipe called for cooked, peeled and de-veined  crawfish tails. Apparently in the South this is not a problem. Grocery stores commonly carry frozen bags of crawfish tail meat.

I am here to tell you that in the North this is not so. There are frozen bags of cooked crawfish but none that are peeled and de-veined.

Enticed by husband’s crawfish excitement I decided to go ahead and purchase the frozen bag of crawfish to make the great dish we had just seen on the new Food Network app I downloaded that morning. (the app is totally worth it by the way)

What I hadn’t fully thought through was that I may be enlisted to help with the peeling and de-veining of our evening cuisine. That was a mistake. It put me face to face with my prey.

“I’ll give you the less icky task of de-veining,” my husband said.

“Less icky? I think you might be confused on just who it is you are married to. Less icky is just icky with a lie in front of it. Let’s just call it what it is, vile and beneath me. How far I have fallen…”

And so I de-veined the crawfish tails.

And while I may have lived, I shall never be the same.

Despite all this horror it was wildly worth it. I am hooked and give my greatest apologies to the great state of Louisiana. You were right, they are the best!

~L