Favorite foods and drinks (including pubs restaurants etc.)



Didn’t plant much outdoors because I had a holiday booked that had to be cancelled at a day’s notice, when we evacuated for a forest fire. So I planted the golden beets late and they didn’t get very big. But they are pretty:

Forgot about them, but when I remembered I found them at the bottom of the veg bin and they were still good.

Not sure whether to roast, boil, or slice thin and pickle.


My mother puts hers in jelly.


Growing up on the shores of Belfast Lough, you did not eat the local shellfish precisely because of the effluent. The decent beds were much further out, well away from the pollution - both human and industrial. That didn’t get cleaned up until the 1990s.


Decided to slice the larger ones and boil them a bit, just tender.

With blackcurrent balsamic vinegar, it made a colourful dish.

Saved the smaller ones. A neighbour grew parsnips and decided she doesn’t like them, so she’s dropping some off. Think I’ll slice the beets and parsnips really thin, with some sliced ginger and kombu, and make more Japanese-style pickles.


Been reading up on okonomiyaki. For starters, I need to make dashi. I’ve got kombu, but found two very different recipes. One uses kombu and bonito flakes (don’t have). The other uses kombu, shitake mushrooms, and soy sauce. Don’t have dried shitake, but I do have some fairy ring mushrooms that I gathered and dried, that have a similar skunky odour.

Not going to town 'til Tuesday. If I can find bonito flakes, I’ll make both kinds for a test.


Let me know how it goes.




No bonito flakes in Laramie, Wyoming. I can order some through Amazon, but I loathe Amazon for destroying the business of writing.


So, mushrooms instead?


Haven’t made the dashi yet. Let alone okonomiyaki. Mum will be in town Wednesday for appointments, so I’ll do a test batch then.

I did make latkes, a traditional Hanukkah dish, and roasted a wee game hen in the charcoal oven outdoors.

The trad recipe is a bit involved: you grate potatoes, soak them, drain most of the water (reserving the starch on the bottom of the bowl) and then put them in a tea towel and wring them out. Then add grated onion and eggs, and fry them in a mix of schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and oil (I used peanut, which doesn’t smoke).


Hmm. I wonder if they have any of the schmaltz in the local supermarket. Most of the ‘ethnic’ foods here are Indian and Polish. If I was back in Liverpool, Imknow exactly where I’d find that sort of thing.


Didn’t buy the schmaltz. Periodically, I’ll boil a pot of chicken thighs to use on the grill or freeze for enchiladas, soup, etc. After the chicken’s done, I set the pot outside so the fat floats and solidifies, then skim it off and pack it in a jar.

Grew the potatoes, too. Cookin’ in de back-time, me.


It’s been a long time since I boiled chicken. I tend to grill or stir fry these days. Although I do have a lot of dripping left over from Sunday.


I use parboiled chicken for grilling, especially for parties– it’s hard to make sure raw chicken is done on the grill. Give it 45-minute simmer and then grill it with whatever sort of sauce you choose to slosh on. Which yields great chicken broth. When I do adobo, the broth makes good hot and sour soup.

Anyhow, I made dashi by the book:


The okonomiyaki are not as attractive as the photos online, but they did taste good. Shame about the canned bean sprouts: in Wyoming, back of beyond, one makes do.


With tempura shrimp and a pickled cucumber salad.


Gin & tonic to drink; every type of seafood to eat. Except salmon.


Gin and tonic is my summer favourite. Winters are so cold here that I gravitate towards scotch, Irish whiskey, or dark rum.

With food, I enjoy wine, and try to find good matches.

Making panzanella tonight (Italian bread salad, with shaved parmesan in a bed of young spinach). Probably open a bottle of primitivo/zinfandel red.


Nice! I prefer stouts and ale’s and other dark beers in winter.

Left over roast for me tonight.


What sort of roast?

We have friends who hunt, and give us elk, antelope, and deer for the freezer. Being extremely lean, it’s tricky to roast without making it tough. I brown the roast in butter, then pop it in a 200°F oven 'til the internal temp is about 115° or so: medium-rare clear through.


Only a store bought beef roast I’m afraid.
That sounds great though, I’m going to have to find a venison connection one of these days.


Any favourite holiday drinks?

Wine? Spiced cider? Egg nog?

I found a sparkling wine from New Mexico in the 'States that I really love–

Not expensive, and so-o-o-o good.