Wordle you know! Wordle YOU know! Wordle you know?
Besides having an utterly ridiculous name, a wordle is a visual "photograph" of words in a text, like the one I shared to the left. Have you ever thought about what your wordle would like, Dear Reader? Wordles are to word art, what ingredients are to cooking. Food is turned into art when it is cooked up and served. A lot of care and thought must go into a wordle in the same way care and thought must go into cooking.Savvy? I am NOT losing my train of thought, there is a connection! Yay me!
Anyway, I began to think about the words that would make up my wordle and before anything else, "love" came to mind. Before family, food, ingredient, cooking, sharing, heritage, culture, travel, before anything. Now before you go breaking a wooden spoon over my head, I think of love as being synonymous with family so really, family does come to mind first. The key is, without love, I have no reason to cook. Love is my motivation to cook, write, get up each day, clean and travel. or whatever.
What would be the first word in your wordle? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Did you over indulge last night? Are you feeling a little bit queasy and dizzy? Do you have cotton mouth and red eyes? If you do, SHAME ON YOU, Dear Readers! Just kidding! Remember, there is NEVER any judging here are at Mary's Kitchen. What to do? What to do?
It's too late to encourage you to practice moderate drinking so lets work with what we've got...
Simply put, hangovers are caused by dehydration. Dehydration also means your electrolytes are messed up but good. To help resupply your electrolytes, I found a homemade guide at https://www.active.com/. Chia seeds are rich in all manner of goodness so this site suggests adding the following to your reusable water bottle:
1 tablespoon organic chia seeds
1 teaspoon raw honey
a squeeze of lemon or lime
water (dah right)
*Since any type of movement is probably painful, have someone else shake, shake, shake the bottle OR if you are alone, tie it to your dog or cat's tail and poke them with a pin. (Just kidding again! Jeez! No judging here, remember? At least I'm kidding about the dog...)
You see, Dear Readers, most "sports drinks" are loaded with things your body does not need, especially right now. Things like sugar and artificial ingredients. I think you knew this... come on, are there many things that are "naturally" electric blue or green?
Something else you can do to take care of yourself is rest. When you are able to think about food, keep it bland. Things like bananas and potatoes, both rich in potassium, come to mind. Maybe a bit of toast? Lastly, please be careful what you take to soothe the aches and pains. Acetaminophen, for example, can affect the liver and lets face it, your poor liver has been through enough!
I hope these few "Hangover Helper" tips are useful and you feel better soon.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Dear Readers! Well, almost anyway. It seems everywhere I look, go or pick up something to read, I see or hear something about Irish food staples. I apologize but today's post will add to the noise.
Irish soda bread is just a quick bread that uses (dah) baking soda instead of yeast for leavening. There are as many add-ins as there are recipes. I have seen recipes with additions like; raisin, caraway seeds, nuts, seeds, feathers... (The last one was listed to see if you were paying attention.) I have seen recipes that use all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, spelt flour, pastry flour and other types of flour. I read recipes with butter, lard, shortening or even olive oil. Additionally, either milk or buttermilk and eggs or no eggs are used. Have you noticed a pattern? Yep. There is no pattern and apparently, there are no rules either so what to do? What to do? Take a shot of Irish whiskey and just start mixing of course!
Like the throngs of others, I too plan to bake up a little something Irish or do I? I did a bit of digging and it turns out the first to bake up a "soda" bread were the Native Americans but no matter, I have no "plan" for the soda bread no matter who made it first. That said, I (think) will use a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour. I will use butter, eggs and buttermilk and if you have not guessed, I will use baking soda. I am toying with the idea of using a touch of yeast as well since the tangy taste yeast adds might be fabulous BUT yeast and whole wheat don't always play well together so I am still mulling this over. I am also planning to use light brown sugar instead of white sugar because its caramel taste will compliment the earthiness of the whole wheat pastry flour. I will also use 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt. Finally, I will place it on a lined sheet pan (not in a tin) and make an "X" on the top to both ward off evil (as is tradition) and help the loaf to bake evenly and bake the loaf at 375 degrees, most likely 40-60 minutes, depending upon its size..
My loaf is not for "purists" because I am adding sugar, butter and probably eggs. My aim is to produce a tender and yummy loaf; besides, there is no judging here at Mary's Kitchen. If you like to add a little grated orange zest, raisins, seeds or nuts you are not a purist either and are baking what is called a "spotted dog" loaf and that's okay by me. No matter what you bake, I hope you share what you are doing/did for St. Patrick's Day in the comments section and also your favorite Soda Bread guide.
When it comes to cooking, timing is everything! The ability to bring all the components of a meal to fruition takes practice and most of your fingers and toes. The easiest way to explain "how" to time a meal is as follows:
1. Add and count backwards
That's it! That is my brilliant tip for timing a meal! Simply add and count backwards. I bet you're thinking, 'What the What Mary? You have finally gone off the deep end!' Nope, Dear Readers, I have not, at least not about this.
Here is how:
Add up how long each component takes to cook and then, count backwards from least amount of time required to the greatest amount of time. *Be sure to include resting time because that may also be used as cooking time. So, lets say a basic chicken dinner takes two hours total, counting setting the table, prep, clean up, etc. So that's 90 minutes for the chicken, 30 minutes for the rice and 10-15 minutes for the vegetables. (The chicken will also rest for 10 minutes, which is when you begin to cook the vegetables.) The rice will hold heat so it can be started when the chicken does if that's easiest for you or halfway through the cooking time. See? All the components of the meal will be served together and you will seem like a creative, culinary genius! It really is that simple! You're welcome! (This tip is from my upcoming cookbook, "Cooking Up Life.")
Yesterday I prepared my Coffee Chicken recipe on WFMZ Channel 69 during the Easy Eats cooking segments. I created this recipe about 15 years ago (or more) because I am a thrifty Greek who loves to experiment in the kitchen. The recipe has three main ingredients, chicken, buttermilk and yep, coffee. You can use chicken thighs (as I show here) or breasts; either way however, you want to use bone in, skin on chicken and adjust the time in the oven accordingly. On average the recipe takes 10 minutes to prepare, an hour or so to marinade and about that much time to cook. If you are pressed for time, give each piece of chicken a good poke with a fork and before placing it in the resealable bag with the marinade and this will speed things up a bit. Easy Breezy!
What makes Coffee Chicken fun and different is the fact coffee imparts a smoky flavor while the buttermilk tenderizes. The chicken comes out juicy and tender. I hope you try it!
I share the recipe on my Recipes page.
Stir. Whisk. Tamp. Or, as I like to say, " Swish and flick!" You "swish" the sauce about the pot with a whisk and then flick off the what is clinging to the wires and then carefully tamp the whisk on the side of the pot to release yet more of the sauce back into the pot. See? "swish and flick."
This morning, we in the East got another light dusting of powdered sugar, I mean snow. I couldn't help but notice how lovely a touch of powdered sugar, I mean snow can make everything look. Then I couldn't help but notice how life can sometimes imitate art. The way snow clings to branches and even dragon flies. How a blood orange can be the perfect shade of rosy-red and flaming orange all at the same time. The way the wind, thunder and lightening combine into a percussion section. You know, when the breeze becomes a whistling wind and thunder sounds like drums and lightening like the crash of symbols.
Have you ever noticed the artistry of stirring a pot of sauce? No? Try next time to notice the pattern in the sauce and the bottom of the pot. Try noticing how the subtle change when a pat of butter is added and stirred until the sauce becomes rich and glistens with love and attention? Well, Dear Readers, I have.
It's such a satisfying feeling too, knowing the food you just poured yourself into will be scrumptious and appreciated. You Stir, whisk and tamp your sauce into perfection and then, in the ultimate act of love and kindness, share it with your family. Today, when you are cooking, notice the loveliness of what you are creating, even if what you are creating is toast. Take the time to spread butter over all the surface, including the edges. Take the time to slice it into even pieces and present it on a pretty plate. Add a dollop of jam or jelly or nut butter to a little bowl and serve it along side the toast. Why not create a little magic for yourself or someone you love.
Unicorns have NOTHING on our dog Lollipop. Why? For one, Lollipop is cute and fluffy (not sleek) and for another, she is real. Today, our suspicious canine refused to follow me down the basement stairs. I coaxed in my most high-pitched, sing-songy "Momma" voice to no avail. Lolly was not having it. I had to trudge back up the stairs and heft her chubby, matted bum down the stairs and then hoist her up to the washer where I got to work. I brushed, she sat. I cajoled and threatened, she sat. I talked nicely and made my voice drip with sweetness, still, she sat. Lolly did not enjoy what I had hoped would be a bonding experience. What was I doing? Brushing her of course! The above picture is the result. I brushed and trimmed out the matted chunks. I began on her right side and then spun her about to do the left. I did her back and then her tail, paws, face and tummy. Then, I spun her about to start over. As she sat and stood and sat and stood, I was determined not to be deterred in my mission to brush her to achieve maximum fluffiness. I think I succeeded.
We are expecting yet another nor'easter storm later today so a hair cut, which is what Lolly desperately needs, is out of the question. Lolly sat on the washer, sliding about and utterly miserable. I grabbed and brushed, grabbed and brushed. Lolly dodged and sat, dodged and sat. When the brushing ordeal was over and a yummy treat safely between her teeth, she pranced about so proud and complacent, just the way any unicorn worth its salt would do. I will take my cute, fluffy little turd of a dog any day, even if she doesn't poop rainbows.
God said, 'Let there be light.' God saw this was good. Man thought, 'Let there be more light.' Man saw this was better.
Today marks the the one hundredth year of "Fast Time" as it was known in the United States in 1918. Can you believe it, Dear Readers? Lets begin at the beginning.
In 1916, the Germans became the first country to adopt DST (Daylight Savings Time) during WWI. Thanks to Robert Garland of Pittsburg (or not) we followed suite two years later; but, it did not take. President Roosevelt tried again during WWII, in 1942 and this is how time zones (Eastern, Central and Pacific) came about until Japan surrendered in 1945 and then all zones were known as "Peace Time" zones. (I really think we need to remember this more often!) Anyway, between then and 1966, there were no "rules" and people were a little dazed and confused. So, in 1966, the Uniform Time Act (of 1966) was established. There have been some tweaks here and there because of embargoes or energy issues but lets just go with what I outlined. Did you know that all states observe DST save one? Yep. It's true. All states observe DST except Arizona (the Navajo Nation is the exception). Arizonans said look, 'We have dry, hot heat. We have nothing but red dust everywhere. Nothing grows here but cactus, snakes and toads and on top of all this, we have scorpions! ENOUGH!' (We lived there nine years, Arizonans really say this!)
What to do? What to do? Well, since you have an extra hour of daylight, make the most of it of course! Birdwatch, garden (if your ground is not frozen), clean house (stop laughing), bake bread (really stop laughing), take a walk... There are endless options. Me? I think I will pour another cup of coffee, do some silent, but deadly, cursing and go put something on the stove to simmer. Speaking of silent but deadly, maybe I'll go make chili!
My husband Russell's birthday is approaching and if you know me, I am terrible at waiting to give a gift. Yep. You might have guessed, Dear Readers, I already gave him his present. (No, not THAT!) I gave Russell a pair of binoculars. You see, inspired by our friends across the pond, Russell is a want-to-be bird watcher. I am also interested in learning more about birds and our local area which is the best thing about bird watching. Bird watching is done outside! You can be a peeping Tom from the window too but bird watching is best outside. Since Spring is fast approaching, I figure give him the binoculars now so he can enjoy them and the pressure of keeping a secret is lifted from my mind.
Anyway, Russell has been asking for binoculars since summer and I have (pretended) to be adamantly opposed to purchasing them, just so I could surprise him near his birthday. The other reasons I gave Russell the binoculars for his birthday are 1. someone lost a pair in a field and 2. it gets Russell exercising. I did not rush to purchase binoculars when he first asked for them because I wanted to make sure they would get used and not become a cloths hanger like a rowing machine or an elliptical. (No judging, just saying...) This gift will allow Russell to get up close and personal to the many of rock star birds that flit in and out of our yard and maybe even learn who he is seeing and hearing. We joined our local bird society and hope to join in on some birding walks this spring and summer. Our younger daughter, Mia, and I plan to explore our local area as much as possible this summer so we will also get to enjoy the binoculars.
Binoculars are an "outside" the box sort of gift that could motivate someone you love to get up, get out and get exploring. Other "outside" the box gift ideas? Cooking lessons, dance lessons, drawing lessons, or even a homemade coupon for one day out to a local park. Share your "outside" the box gift ideas in the comments section.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor