Monday, February 19, 2018

Not necessarily a food blog

First off all of you know that this is not necessarily a food blog, although we do like food and have been known to talk about it, Cindy and I have been known to sometimes review restaurants that we love, and sometimes even have a Mixed Review on those that only half of us like.

My wife Cindy and I frowning at the camera while dining out
Cindy and Jimmy's sometimes mixed reviews
On my last post Guinea pigs...maybe? I mentioned an egg casserole that Cindy's Uncle Larry thought was fabulous even though his wife had never even made it yet. But to her credit she did possess the recipe.

I have been completely overwhelmed with requests for this recipe since that post, and to not disappoint the both of you who asked, here is my interpretation of Cindy's newly acquired recipe from how I took it, and also the actual recipe in Cindy's words as read from her Aunt Midges newly acquired recipe card.

And since Cindy has never made it yet I have no problem sharing the same recipe that Midge had never made before she cooked it for us. Because I am here to tell you that it was really good, and the recipe looks really simple even for a food taster/not food cooker like myself.

After I had to get down onto my knees and beg for Cindy to share her new recipe before she had tried it out for herself. I was sure that she would gladly give it to me, but at first she said No, there is no way I'm sharing this recipe so soon, but when I said Valerie asked about it and then Patti also wanted to know if we would share, Cindy said "Why didn't you say that in the first place!" And told me where she had the recipe secretly hidden right there in plain view. I hate to admit that I had looked for the recipe earlier when she was gone to town, but I never thought to look right there in plain sight.

Here is my take on what to do with this recipe:

Hearty Breakfast Egg Bake according to Jimmy:

First thing you do is to gather up the fixins, the day before you want to serve this dish.

You will need about a pound and a half of bulk sausage or ground turkey,  3 cups of thawed out frozen hash browns, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, 8 eggs, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and about 3/4 cup of canned milk.

A red flaming skillet sitting upon a white stove
Be careful to not overcook the meat
Now you take the meat and throw it in a skillet, cook it up till it looks good to you and I'd drain off any grease. Now you put the cooked meat in a baking dish. I'm not much on hash browns but they are really good here, so this is where you layer the hash browns and cheese on top of the meat.

Take everything else and whisk it all together, you can get creative here with extra ingredients if you want, but I have been told to follow recipes the first time and adjust the next time, but I like green chilies so I'm tempted to add some into the mixture. Now you pour this mixture into the baking dish and place it into the refrigerator and leave it right there until morning.

The next morning or afternoon you take the dish out of the fridge and set it on the counter for at least half an hour before cooking it. Don't be tempted to cook this dish cold! Cindy has suggested something about an explosion of cold egg if you do this, I don't know if she is kidding or not but I don't think it's worth getting egg on your face to find out, and you have waited since yesterday anyways so you should be able to make it another thirty minutes. Just set it on the counter and walk away.

After the proper wait time you now uncover the dish and place it into the oven. Cook it at 350 for a little less than an hour, or until it looks good, you can check it with knife and when the blade comes out clean and not slimy or wet when you poke it into the dish, this means it's done.

Now let it cool on top of the stove or on the counter for at least ten minutes before cutting it, it should be ready after you place it on the table and gather everyone around, you know just getting everyone sat down at the table will take more than ten minutes.

This is supposed to serve 8, but you know as well as I do this all depends on the portion sizes, and how many helpings everyone takes.

Now for those of you who want the proper version that Cindy provided, this is what Cindy's recipe looks like.

Egg Casserole in a clear baking dish ready to be served
Egg Casserole ready to eat.
Hearty Breakfast Egg Bake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound - Bulk pork sausage / or Ground Turkey

3 cups - frozen shredded Hash brown potatoes (thawed)

2 cups - Shredded cheddar cheese

8 - Eggs

1 can - Cream of mushroom soup (10 3/4 oz)

3/4 cup - Evaporated milk

Directions

Cook Sausage or Ground Turkey, and transfer to a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish.

Sprinkle the meat with the hash browns and cheese.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the top.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day when you are ready to begin the baking process:

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. It is done when a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 8 servings.

Now for the best part, serve it up and enjoy!

Cindy also was the one who suggested adding green chilies, onions, or other similar ingredients to taste as an option.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and if I were you I'd most likely use Cindy's recipe over mine, because as I said earlier I'm more of a food taster than a food cooker.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Guinea pigs...maybe?

Cindy's Uncle Larry (Ray's Brother) invited us over to his house for brunch; his wife evidently has this fabulous recipe for an egg casserole that she wanted to make for us.

We were already supposed to go over to Larry's for this brunch twice before, but Ray had gotten sick and we rescheduled, then Ray ended up in the hospital, and we had to postpone again. Now that he is home and everything is going well we have once again gotten the invitation from Larry.

"Egg Casserole?" Ray asked, "I've never heard of such a thing. Is that kind of like a custard?" Larry just shook his head and laughed before answering.

Cindy's Uncle Larry showing off a stringer of fish while her Dad Ray unknowingly gives him the Bunny Ears from behind with his fingers
Ray giving Larry Bunny Ears in this photo taken a few years ago.
Now just to kind of set the mood a little, the relationship between Larry and Ray is your typical big brother/little brother loud and constant one upping, arrogant, and always poking fun at one another situation. Ray is the oldest brother in the family and about 10 years older than Larry his younger brother.

"Noooo! It's not like custard!" Larry exclaimed, "It's an egg casserole with sausage, cheese, and hell I don't know what's all in it but it's good!" Ray gave him a look and said, "If you don't know what goes into it then why do I want to come over there and eat it?" "I'm not making it!" Larry answered, "Midge is the one who wanted to cook it for you, and I promise it is really good."

Ray smiled at him and said, "Well alrighty then that's different, if Midge is making it, I'll be there." "OK then, we will see you all at the house Monday at 11am" Larry said as he walked towards the door to leave. Ray rubbed his stomach and said in a weak voice, "It all depends on how I'm feeling on Monday."

Larry stopped and turned to look at his brother and said. "Oh come on Ray! You are going to be there! We really need for you all to come over for this brunch, Midge has never made this egg casserole before and she wanted to fix it for you before she makes it for any of our friends..."

Ray told him that we'd be there "If I don't croak first!" Cindy leaned over to me and whispered, "I'm beginning to feel like we are being used as guinea pigs."

Monday came and it was time to load up and go to Larry and Midges, I attached the wheelchair ramp at the back door, and got Ray wheeled out to the car. On the way there Ray said to himself as much as to us, "I sure hope that this stuff they are making is good!" "It's going to be fine Dad." Cindy assured him.

Midge had prepared a brunch consisting of the Egg Casserole, Apple Muffins, and our choice of drinks. This is when the fun began.

Ray said to Larry "How about a Mojito! You know that you have been promising to make me a good Mojito!" "I never promised to make you a Mojito, I don't even know how to make one!" Larry replied.  Ray asked him "Well why were you bragging at the house about how you made Mojitos for your friends and that they loved them, did you use all of your champagne on your friends?" Larry just looked at him blankly for a minute and then said "Champagne? You don't use champagne in Mojitos, you use Rum!"

I never claimed that we know how to mix drinks, so Cindy and I were just smiling and nodding our heads about this time, because Ray rarely drinks a beer much less anything else.

Ray: "You said that they were made with Champagne and Orange Juice and your friends loved them!"

Larry: "That's not a Mojito that's a Mimosa!"

Ray: "I don't care what you call it all I know is that you said you were going to make me one!"

Larry laughing as he was walking out of the room, "Let me see what I have, I'll be right back."

After a few minutes Larry came back into the room carrying a tall glass of what looked like Orange Juice and sat it in front of Ray. Ray smiled and said, "Finally, I got my Mimosa!" Larry laughed and said "I have to confess that I am out of champagne, so I substituted Vodka instead."

The apple muffins were great, and the egg casserole was so good that Cindy had three helpings and asked for the recipe. Ray never finished his Vodka laced Orange Juice aka screwdriver, nor did he ask for anything else either. On our way out the door to go home Larry spoke up loud enough so Ray could hear him "I am so glad that Ray liked the casserole, now we can make it for our real friends!" Ray just smiled and pretended that he never heard a word.

 God you have to love family...Don't you?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Man of many hats

I have always loved hats, not the kind of love where I always have to be wearing one but almost.

Jimmy as a toddler placing a hat on his own head, app 1962
Jimmy with a hat at 2 years old.
One of the earliest pictures I have found of myself putting a hat onto my head is just before my second birthday, I shared this with you back in a post called Just turn around.

I have always owned a cowboy hat of one sort or another, you have seen several pictures of me wearing a straw hat. A straw cowboy hat is a must have for me, they not only looks good any time, they also keep the sun off of your face and neck when the sun is blaring down upon you.

Another must have is a waterproof leather or better yet an oilskin "Aussie" style hat that keeps your head dry when it rains. This hat also blocks the sun, works as a water bowl for your favorite four legged friend, and even looks good as a hat. I love this style of hat that has many names, Australian outback, pinch front, tear drop, and some even say that Indiana Jones wears this hat.

A brown pinch front straw hat hanging on a computer monitor.
My old pinch front straw hat.
 Whatever you call it this is the crease I prefer, even on my straw hats.

I have worn many hats over the years. I bought myself a purple and gold ball cap from my high school sometime around the beginning of my junior year, this was our school colors and it went really well with my matching purple windbreaker. I looked good and blended in at school very well, but stuck out like a sore thumb everywhere else I went.

When I first moved to New Mexico at age 18, all the guys around town were wearing "Worley Mills" ball caps. They were good looking hats and to look like everyone else I acquired myself a bright yellow and blue cap with the Worley Mills logo on the front, just like everyone else, I looked good in that cap for a short time.

I needed to find myself a job, because helping my dad out at a gas station just wasn't a good source for spending money. So I got up early one morning, showered and shaved, put on the nicest shirt and the best jeans that I owned and of course my good boots, on the way out the door I grabbed my new Worley Mills cap because it was the only clean cap that I had at the time.

In those days when looking for a job you didn't get on the internet to look for work, as I have been told is the proper way now, besides Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet. There was no filling out applications online and waiting to be contacted, instead you actually went places and filled out job applications in person, by hand, and hoped for an immediate interview. If you didn't get an immediate interview then you went back another day to check on your application and to show interest in the job, a lot of times you were hired on the spot...

One place that I applied for a job was Farmers Co-op Elevators, this is a silo/elevator grain storage facility that also sells animal feed. After filling out an application and waiting for the manager to go over it, I was called into his office for an interview. I got the job! I was hired right then and there, I was to start immediately! The Manager liked me, I had done good! The manager handed me a brand spanking new Farmers Co-op ball cap, and then gave me my first task as a new employee, I had to dispose of my Worley Mills hat immediately, like right now before I left the office, because they were the direct competition, located right across the tracks.

This is the only time in my life that I have been hired by a company while displaying their competitors advertising, and also the last time that I applied for a job at a place I knew absolutely nothing about.

Jimmy holding Grandson with both wearing a straw hat looking at one another.
Jimmy holding Grandson wearing a straw hat.
I introduced my grandson to his first straw hat when he was just a little guy, and he wore that hat until it was too small for him, so next time we are together  I have a date to take him hat shopping, just because I can.

Why do people wear hats? A good ball cap is designed to keep the sun out of your eyes, seriously folks the proper way to wear a ball cap is with the bill straight out in the front over your eyes, this the only way that the bill will do it's proper job of shading your face.

I have seen a lot of people now who wear their ball caps backwards, or sideways, or even cocked to the side just a bit with the bill over one eye, I guess this is either a choice for style or they woke up early and just didn't get their hats on straight that day.

Brown dog wearing a Santa Claus hat.
Photo by Duffy Brook on Unsplash
Hats are also worn to help keep you warm in the wintertime, they help to hold the heat in your body by keeping your head warm, and as I've mentioned they also block the hot sun during the summertime to help keep you from overheating.

Hats are worn for fashion, style, as protection from the elements, and as personal protective equipment at work, and sometimes completely wrong just because you like it that way.

Over the years I have worn many hats, from hard hats on the job, ball caps to advertise my favorite school or racing driver, to straw hats for no reason at all. I just simply like a nice looking hat, and like my old jeans sometimes a cap that is old and broken in.

Jimmy looking sideways at camera wearing a denim blue ball cap
Do you wear a hat and what is your favorite style?