I'm here to tell you my extended vacation is almost over and I'd be an idiot not to apologize for the amount of time it's taken me to get back on the cookin' track. I'll also confess that over the past few months the kitchens of the Salty Dawg, Carol's, China Restaurant, Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine have had a heck of a lot more action than JBug's has. What can I say except "my bad" - oh that and the fact Big Guy's still working through his notice period in Tucson so the incentive's been missing somewhat.
The move has gone relatively well and the few snafu's incurred along the way are becoming distant memories - except for some very important lessons learned of course but I'll save those to tell you all another time. I will though share with you something utterly profoud...there's a huge difference between the desert and the Oregon coast and please don't roll your eyes and say "ya, well" like Big Guy will when he reads this, OK?
For example, the view from our back yard in Tucson kinda' ended rather abruptly, don't ya' think?
This one - well, it goes on and on to what seems like infinity and also proves one hundred percent that somewhere over the rainbow, skies ARE blue...very, very blue...yup, they really are but let's keep that our little secret OK. I mean, all the people that complain that all it ever does is rain on the Oregon coast can just keep on believing it if they so choose, but it's not really true at least not that I've noticed. Course I could be wearing blinders because I'm just so darned happy to be here. It is amazingly beautiful!
Oh, more about differences - there's also a big difference between a powerful gas range like the one I had before and the electric number I've got now. I mean the oven takes a minumum 30 minutes to heat up and cooking on a smooth top range means I've been chasing my pots around on it with a spoon - not that I can brag about having that much experience mind you. Of course on the other hand, I have a feeling the new electric range will be much easier on said pots since the gas one burned through a few of 'em but I guess I didn't tell you about that now did I.
Oh, another thing just so you know, Big Guy's here for a week so he's enjoying my kitchen antics including but not limited to yesterday's burnt pancakes. Nothing like a little more honesty is there...(sorry there will be no pictures).
Now, I guess I'd best tell you about another big difference and that's the one that occurs when you make a favorite bean/pork country rib braise in a smaller deeper cast iron Dutch oven, a change from the usual large shallower oval Dutch oven. The bigger bottom surface of the oval pot means the liquid evaporates more and the flavor intensifies, although I'm not quite sure what I would have done with "more intense flavor" now that I think of it.
Other than changing the pots I used because my favorite larger shallower oval Dutch oven is still in Tucson and I'm not, I also switched the pepper jelly to a green version from the red one called for in the recipe because red's not a popular version in this neck of the woods. Oh, I also added some chopped jalapeno's to the mix just in case the whole thing was missing a little zing. As you can see, Big Guy's dish on the left included extra red chile peppers for even more added heat while my version on the right required sour cream to cool the assault to my tastebuds.
And the moral of the story is, you ask? Well, sometimes differences aren't such a bad thing after all, because it really matters not what pot you use just as long as you enjoy the results. Right? OK...it's lame I know but I'm outa' practice.
A year ago - Nacho's
Two year's ago - Beer Braised Short Ribs