Thanksgiving Update

Sorry to be away so long, but the allergic reaction set me up for catching the upper respiratory bug that is going around. Better, but still fighting it. That said, I did manage some decent food for Thanksgiving. Smoked a turkey breast that I had injected and coated in chipotle butter. Enjoyed it that day, along with cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and a keto-friendly chocolate mousse made with coconut cream. After freezing some packages of sliced turkey, chopped up the rest and mixed with mushrooms, goat cheese, broccoli, cheddar cheese and fresh mozzarella (and other delights) and put up four helpings of turkey hash. Then, I made stock out of what was left of the smoked turkey breast, and boy howdy did it turn out great — smokey flavor, flavor from the turkey, plus some of the spice came through as well. Put up one container of it, then used the remaining (after a bit of reduction) to make soup out of the leftover broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach — after adding a mix of mushrooms as well. Blended it, added some cream and sharp cheddar cheese and got some amazing soup. Other than that, have been trying to do as little as possible and focusing on getting well. Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

One smoked turkey breast
Lunch!
Turkey hash
Stock after simmering all night…
Cooling the stock outside in the mix of sleet and snow…
Some very delicious soup!

Mrs. Broughton’s Asparagus Supreme

Another that needs to get back up for the holidays. It was a favorite of mine, need to look at how to make it keto…

Equipment:
Knife
Egg slicer (optional)
Casserole dish
Boiler
Grater
Oven

Ingredients:
3 large cans white or green asparagus
2-5 hardboiled eggs
1/2 -1 cup grated cheese
1.5 cup cream sauce
1/2 cup blanched almonds (sliced or slivered)
1.5 T butter
3 T flour
pepper
salt
1.5 cups hot milk

Directions:
Cream Sauce for Asparagus Supreme
Melt butter and add seasoned flour and stir until well blended. Gradually add hot milk while stirring constantly.  Bring to boiling point and boil for 2 minutes.  Add cheese just before pouring over the asparagus.

Slice eggs.  Add grated cheese to the cream sauce.  Place alternating layers of asparagus, sauce, eg, and almonds in casserole and bake 20 minutes at 350-375 degrees, or until golden brown.

Options/Extras:
First, I always double the cream sauce, and more than double the cheese.  What is above is NOT doubled. 

Use good cheese in the sauce, and I had great luck using real smoked cheese as a part of the mix.  I used some good sharp cheddar, a real smoked cheese, and one other type (can’t remember, used what was in at the cheese store) to add flavor. 

Also, I prefer to use the sliced almonds, and to toast them a bit beforehand.  Adds to the flavor and the crunch

You Try To Be Proactive

My nature is to be proactive in terms of preparedness. This applies to healthcare as well, and my current insurance even encourages you to do preventative steps via a small rewards program.

Well, it came up recently that I had never gotten the shingles vaccine. In fact, according to the system, I was about eight years overdue to get it. So, I got it Saturday.

Now, I’ve gotten 2-3 dozen vaccinations of various types over the years. My yellow card is full and I need to get a new one. I’ve never had a problem or a real reaction to any of them. The shingles vaccine shot was the first one that truly hurt, and the site is still tender.

Saturday afternoon/evening, I was not feeling good. I put it down to the plunging barometric pressure triggering arthritis and/or a pain flare. Sunday was hell. Monday morning, upon seeing something off near the site of the injection, it finally hit me that I was having a reaction to the vaccination.

I got in touch with my doctor’s office and asked to come in. When the nurse heard my symptoms, I was ordered to the ER. IV steroid and antihistamine were administered, and I’m on steroids the rest of this week. It’s one of the first times in my life where trying to be prepared didn’t pay.

Things may be a little off here this week as I recover. Carry on.

Some Unpalatable Food For Thought On Our Military Leadership

I’ve written a small bit about the purge of the military that occurred under Obama. If you were a warfighter (especially a proven warfighter/leader), didn’t embrace making the military a social experiment, or otherwise didn’t toe a very progressive line, you were gone. While most focus on the officer corps, the NCO ranks also were thinned out.

There is far less data on the enlisted loss, but the purge — and there is no better word — of the officer corps was unprecedented. There is some bitter fruit to come from that purge, as I am very concerned that despite a lot of effort on the part of Chaos and others, the rot could cost us dearly on many levels.

Bookworm has two excellent pieces you need to read. The first one is here, and the second one is here. Read them. Also, read Jim Hanson’s take here.

The uniform matters. It matters on many levels. On that note, I leave you with some extremely unpalatable food for thought. I would also add my thoughts that with the purge and the rise of those like Vindman, that our troops face peril because they will not be up to the task of leading in real conflict.

Powers Pepper Jelly

Realized that this is one of several recipes I need to get re-posted.

Pepper Jelly has been an important part of Christmas for as long as I can remember. In the summer, Dad raised bell pepper and hot peppers in our garden, and come the fall he (and later we) would make pepper jelly — usually two or three cases of it — to give at Christmas. To say that family and friends looked forward to it is an understatement, and so did we. It was not unusual for Dad and myself to polish off a jar (along with a block of cream cheese and most of a box of Ritz crackers) “testing” it to be sure it was good.

Dad’s recipe has been semi-guarded for some time, but I have decided that now is the time to share it with the world lest it be lost. One of the things that has helped make this year a good Christmas for me is that I grew hot peppers (the drought was not kind to the bell peppers) and made a batch and have shared it with family and friends. It is good to continue some traditions, and so I share this one with you.

Hardware:
Large pot
Cutting Board
Knife
Food gloves
Large pourable container
Strainers (I use at least two, one medium one fine)
Jelly Jars
Measuring cup
additional container
Jar funnel
Canner

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped hot peppers
1 cup finely chopped bell peppers
13 cups white sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar (use only real!)
Green food colouring
1 box Certo

Dad used, and I use, a mix of hot peppers. Usually about half a cup are home-grown jalapenos and the other half are home-grown small Thai peppers. This year, I used home-grown Thai, jalapeno, habanero, and one home-smoked jalapeno. It is not necessarily the heat, but the flavors that count. That is also why you need to be sure to use real apple cider vinegar and not the artificially flavored stuff that so many places try to pawn off. Always read the label…

Trust me: use food gloves while handling and chopping the hot peppers…

Prepare jelly jars and lids per directions. I run my jars through the dishwasher with heat-dry on, and it is an excellent sterilizer.

Put all ingredients except Certo into a large saucepan/stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil, cut off the stove, and let cool for 10 minutes. Strain into pourable container, add about three drops of food colouring and the packets of Certo. Stir well without adding a lot of air, then pour into the jelly jars. A uniform green colour lets you know that everything is well mixed. There is usually a bit left over, so pour into spare container to let set and serve as your “proof” batch for taste-testing. Seal. Dad could always get them to seal as is, but I never have so I bring a canner to the boil and can for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy.