Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dinner on the cheap

So we have no money. But being that I stock up on weird things like pasta sauces, dried herbs, frozen fish, rice, cake mixes that go on clearance for 50 cents. We may whine about not being able to go out an have someone else do the cooking for us, but the truth is, not only are we eating well, but we are eating cheap.

Having a chef for a dad and having gotten to know him and having the worlds greatest home cooker for a Nana raise me gave me a minimalist sense of putting things together. I grew a palette for food that had a taste for Flavors that excited, soothes, sent electricity down your spine or lit up your mouth with a simple medley of flavors that went well together and I also learned to create some of my own culinary pieces that border lined on religious experience.

So eve though we are broke and scraping by I keep my spice shelf stocked by trade. I know which stores to buy fish for cheap.

I go to the farmers market and load up on the fresh fruits and veggies for the week, and know I am going to spend the day cleaning, processing and readying them for the week to make dinner faster.

But its worth it to be able to feed 2 adults for about 200 dollars a month.

We don't drink, I don't buy soda, we rarely eat meat, and when we do its from the farmers market and is usually cheaper than the store.

I trade bakery products for Venison and Duck.

And we eat WELL.

Tonight for dinner we had Agave-Spicy mustard reduction covered Salmon with Panko breading.

* 4 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
* 3 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
* 1 tablespoon raw agave nectar/1 tsp honey
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup Panko dry bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil.
2. Place salmon skin-side down on foil. Spread a thin layer of agave/mustard on the top of each fillet, and season with salt and pepper. Top with bread crumbs, then drizzle with melted butter.
3. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Chris couldn't believe it was low Glycemic index and Loved the taste. He sill gives brown rice the big thumbs down. I even added butter bacon drippings and salt.

It was TASTY. He said It was chewey and crunchy. It was NOT crunchy. I tasted it the whole time I was coking it.

He is just never going to be a fan of anything but mooshy smooshy white rice.

Up next I want to get a grip on the 5 mother saues. I did tomato. So think Holandaise is going to be next.

Happy Cooking


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dad's impromtu eulogy

So I had to get up in front of a room full of baptists and give a short impromptu Eulogy. (one of three)

I was a LITTLE ticked off that 1. They were having a baptist funeral and he was REALLY not even christian. He was very OK in being a sort of Pantheist.

2. A guy who had never met that man spent almost the entire funeral preaching at the people in the chairs who were there trying to mourn.

3. The people who came and spoke the longest about him BARELY KNEW THE MAN, because most of his construction worker, and chef friends WEREN'T INVITED.

4. OPEN CASKET. Cancer emaciated guy on display? so wrong.

So my eulogy was a little I dunno. I Aunt J helped me piece it back together. She and my cousins loved it.

*Shrug* They didn't run me out of town and they told me I had to come and visit, so it must have seemed ok.

SO here is the eulogy:

Wow, I am up here with nothing prepared. I'm JC's daughter Joy Elizabth. I told myself I wasn't going to cry. I am finding that hard to do.

Not for the reason you think though. This whole thing just does not feel right. My dad and I, we didn't have that father daughter thing. I remember for so long being angry about that. Thinking I was missing out on something.

I remember walking into the restaurant “The Egg and I” in Minnesota. I was 12 year old. I stood toe to toe with my father. He looked so happy to see me. Until I started to rip him a new one. Asking him why he couldn't be a normal dad, why he wasn't a real father, telling him he had no right to call himself my father.

And instead of getting mad, instead of turing away, or coming up with exscuses, or promises, he put his hands on my shoulders and said “You're right, I have no right to try to be your father, but maybe I can be a friend”

And whenever I needed someone to talk to day or night, I could call him and he would talk to me, listen to me, and tell me his advice.

I called him when I was failing home-ec in junior high because I couldn't bake. And he walked me through it step by step. I can bake now by the way.

I called him the night I graduated high school, made the joke that I was going to skip college to become a race car driver and was rewarded with a 30 minute lecture of the importance of an education, by the man who didn't graduate high school.

I called him when I got my black belt.

I called him when I moved away from home to another state.

I called him when I got engaged.

Then my fiance started to call him. We called him and would split our time and wrestling the phone away from Chris was like a poodle with a chew toy.

I called him when we got our dog.

I called him when I got sick.

I called him when I lost my job.

I called him when I got sicker.

And always, every Saturday on Chris' cell phone or mine up until the last 3 months of his life he would call us if he hadn't heard from us in a week.

We talked about religion. I talked to my dad, and sent my dad books and I know my dad was right with his god long before anyone else put any label on him. My father never needed a label or a chapel to be a good man.

We talked about the base of a person, how it has no label, but there is a spark, and how a persons actions feed or dim that spark.

My dad had this spark about him that burned small but bright and hot. Anyone who was close to him felt that pull to be near him and listen to him, talk to him, and ask his advice.

Even though he never led on the wealth and breadth of how much he knew if you were near him and asked the right questions to the right friends of his, even ex wives and girlfriends, they would tell you stories about him that would blow your mind.

So while it saddens me to see so few people here today, it doesn't surprise me. Dad was like a VIP club you had to have something to get in, but once you were in, you were in for good.

So his death will probably come to a shock to a lot of people I have to tell, who would have come to pay their last respects.

This doesn't feel right.

People are trying really hard to not mention Cancer, but I am going to say it. Cancer is a killer, it is vicious and leaves people heartbroken.

I know everyday will get easier. My brother died of cancer, and it still hurts, but not as much.

But someday I will wake up and not want to cry.

Today, however. The world is a dimmer place without my father in it.

Rest in peace dad, you never needed anyone to tell you how to live or die a man.