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The Musings of an Idle Mind

Things that go 'Bump' in my head

Re-reading Books
Some folks are re-readers; others are not. A coworker is not much of a re-reader. He asks why I would want to read any book over again, once I know the ending. Don't I have other things I should be doing?

So I asked him, "Have you made love to your wife more than once? Why? You already know how it ends..."

(This post is from a comment I made on a post from July, 2007. I saw it and thought it deserved its own post.)

This is a tangent to a post I started. What follows would have been a part of that post, but I digressed. Then I digressed from the digression. Never mind.

I have cooked. I broke out the wok and the slow cooker, and continuously cooked for I don't know how long - I lost track.

I cooked French Canadian Pork Dressing a la Gary. I cooked a couple of pounds of onions and a jar of minced garlic with a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some poultry seasoning. When the onions looked "done enough," I added the first package (1.5 Lbs) of ground pork. When Pink got too hard to find, I transferred most of that mix to the crock pot on low. I started browning the second package of ground pork, with another splash of W. Sauce and half of my planned potatoes (frozen hash browns), with more seasoning and a bunch of black pepper. When this was browned, it went into the slow cooker. The wok got the third package of ground pork, the rest of the potatoes, and more seasoning. While the wok's temperature came back up, I blended the contents of the crock. Finally, the remaining pork and spuds joined the rest, and I started on beef Stroganoff in the wok. Altogether, the crock pot contains 7.74 pounds of dressing. Let it blend overnight.

Now the Stroganoff. It got 10 ounces of onions, a jar of minced garlic, 4.5 pounds of 85% lean hamburger, 3 pounds of sour cream, some Worcestershire sauce, half a pound of fresh sliced mushrooms, black pepper, garlic powder, and port wine. Not all at once, of course, but this resulted in 9.1 pounds of Beef Stroganoff. I had enough containers to store four 1-pound servings, 5 12-ounce servings, and eat the rest on a mini-bagel.

After the dressing cooks a bit longer, I'll find out how many half-pound servings I can put up. Should be fifteen, but I know me and licking spoons.

Here's the final thing. I put all the ingredients and measures in a spreadsheet, then called a standard serving 1000 grams. I did that not because I plan to eat 2.2 pounds as a serving, but to make the math simple.
1000g Pork Dressing has 1502 calories, 50g of net carbs, and 484mg of sodium.
1000g of Stroganoff has 1811 calories, 28g of net carbs, and 589mg of sodium.
So, if I eat 12 ounces of dressing, I'll be eating 0.340 servings. No reason for me to break out the calculator. (My diet program will translate .34 to the appropriate number of calories, et cetera.

...Monday, Now.
So, I survived my Sunday misadventure. The bread did not kill me.

And now I have the ingredients for Meme's Pork Dressing. It is fun to note that in browsing the net for variations on this recipe, there were as many variations as there are French Canadians in Quebec. They had many, many names for it as well. Gouton, groton, croton, toutiere, and on and on. Every kind of ground meat can be used. Seasonings vary. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, stale bread, various crackers from Ritz to oyster crackers, all crushed. In the dark recesses of this blog, there is an exchange between me and my late brother, James, about what we remember.

...and I will edit this post, later, with what I find. For now, preparing this post has instigated a nostalgia binge, and I am re-reading all my livejournal posts and crying over absent friends.

...back now. I have posted many times about making pork dressing. Going back to my first LiveJournal post and re-reading them one at a time has been every bit as joyful and tearful as I expected. I was going to include links here, but now I'm just going to click "SHARE."

Sunday, Again
Standard Sunday Outing, and Outback had no waiting. I was not a bad boy, perzactly. Oh, who am I kidding. I ate the bread, the whole loaf of "Bushman's Wheat Bread" they put on the table, and it was delicious! Other than that, I had a 9 ounce sirloin, a house salad (no dressing), and a baked potato. I exceeded my salt limit again, but oh well.

Shopping afterwards, I picked up everything I need for pork dressing and beef Stroganoff except mushrooms, which I will get at the corner grocery store tomorrow. Seven pounds (or more) of pork dressing, seven pounds of beef Stroganoff, and most of it destined for the freezer. Me and Mr. Crock Pot will be very, very busy.

French Canadian Pork Dressing
Recently I made something that I called "French Stroganoff," because it was pretty much a blend of an old family recipe for Pork Dressing and a common recipe for Poor Man's Beef Stroganoff. Now, I just decided to make the real things, and I can't ask the previous generation of Canucks in my family for their recipes, because they are all gone. My nephew and his wife have recipes that they've adjusted to their tastes. My late brother Jim said he started adding a little oil (EVOO) because modern pork is too lean. His kid doesn't add oil, he adds beef stock.

So, I fired up Google and entered "Pork Dressing." Forty recipes later, I had lots and lots of That Ain't It. If I wanted something full of bread or cornbread, I'd buy Stovetop, dag nabit! Then I wised up. I entered "French Canadian Pork Dressing." Much better. I emailed myself two (memere’s pork stuffing and Memere’s Meat Stuffing) of the first five for being fairly close to what I remember. I'll be making that stuff, with minor modifications of my own. The best one might have been TOUTIERE (FRENCH CANADIAN MEAT PIE) FILLING/TURKEY STUFFING. I never thought of it as pie filling, but why not? In any case, I ordered an ounce of "Bell's All Natural Seasoning," an unsalted poultry seasoning mentioned in one of the recipes. It may not be any different from McCormick's; we'll see.

Then there is the other choice; beef Stroganoff. I Googled "beef stroganoff recipe" for this one, and got the usual four pages of 100 entries. I read a few, and agreed with myself that I could make it from memory, again, with some mods of my own, and it would pass muster. There were the usual "add cream of soup" recipes, mostly found on or originating from Campbell's Soup website. I won't be adding beef broth or stock or soup. I'll just use extra sour cream. I'm gonna love it.

I need to make enough pork dressing to be able to freeze a bunch of meals for Thanksgiving. I need to hook the grandchildren. MWA-HA-HA-ha-heh-heh.

November 2, a Day That Will Live in Infamy...
Thursday weigh-in was 258. So what did I do to correct this too-high trend on Friday?

I ate chicken. Fried chicken. Two breasts, a thigh, three legs and two wings, 24 ounces of crispy, crunchy deep fat fried chicken. And over a pound of seasoned potato wedges on the side. With, naturally, a Breyers Carb Smart Vanilla Bar for dessert. I drank about three liters of beverages, mostly hot tea.

My weight this morning (Saturday)? 261 pounds.

I have given myself a Gibbs-slap, for whatever good that may do.

Game Over
It's another Thursday weigh-in day. 258 pounds, once again going the wrong way - up.
I keep reminding myself that weight loss is not the primary goal of the current diet. It's a pleasant side effect of keeping my blood sugar out of the diabetic or pre-diabetic ranges and congestive heart failure at bay. No sodium! No carbs! (Well, some of both, just not uncontrolled gluttony of either.)

Why "Game Over?" Well, see, the previous post was Almost over, so it just follows. Never mind.

Almost Over
Today is chock-full of almost. Looking at the clock, Tuesday is almost over. At the calendar, October is almost over. In the refrigerator, my French Stroganoff1 is almost over. Back at the calendar, 2018 is almost over. Looking in my medicine chest, well, that's over. All over. I accidentally pulled it off the wall. The mirror didn't break, but the sides, top, bottom, shelves and back are all individual component pieces-parts. I kept the active prescriptions in a Rubbermaid® container, anyway - what was in it was empty prescription bottles and alcohol wipes and lancets for my glucose test kit. They are now in my other medicine cabinet, and I hung a mirror on the wall.

Mid-term elections are almost over. That's all ah got t'say 'bout that.

This post? It's almost over :)

1 - see yesterday's post.

French Stroganoff
I just made what may be my final Slow Cooker meal of the month (which doesn't mean I won't make more of them in November, of course.) I have leftovers for four days. This wasn't anybody's recipe. I mashed two recipe's together and tinkered from there.

The first recipe was something my French Canadian forebears called Pork Dressing. The ingredients were ground pork and ground beef and fork-mashed potatoes and onions, seasoned with large amounts of poultry seasoning, pepper and salt. Its purpose was to be a go-with for turkey, something very moist to make up for the turkey's dryness. Modern turkey is infused with butter and isn't nearly as dry, so it isn't as necessary. Also, modern ground pork is considerably leaner, and less beef (to make up for the shrinkage) is required.

The second recipe is called Poor Man's Stroganoff. It uses ground beef instead of strips of steak, cream of whatever soup to make up for using less Sour Cream. It has onions and garlic, and the beef and onions is browned with some Worcestershire sauce and garlic before the soup and sour cream are added. We typically used cream of celery and cream of mushroom soups.

The compromise I call French Stroganoff. Ground pork1, ground beef2, fresh mushrooms3, Worcestershire sauce4, minced garlic5, hash brown potatoes6, sour cream7, chopped onions8, black pepper and powdered jalapeno pepper, just because. I got the crock pot ready, but used my wok to brown the beef, pork, onions and potatoes, half at a time. I added the other stuff as the spirit moved, and it all went into the pot. It doesn't taste like pork dressing (I had no poultry seasoning) and it isn't stroganoff. It is, however, delicious.The leftovers divided evenly into four containers of 540 grams (about 1.2 pounds) each. I ate the rest (over two pounds) over elbow macaroni and a mini-bagel, two separate meals. I finished off my gluttony with a slice of carrot cake9.

1. 1.5 pounds, 85% lean
2. 2.5 pounds, 85% lean
3. 1/2 pound, white, sliced
4. Generic, 1/4 cup
5. 57 grams, all that was left in the jar
6. Oreida Hash Browns, about 10 ounces and I should have used more
7. A whole pound, and I could have used more. Daisy brand, if it matters.
8. fourteen ounces or so, three onions, yellow, sweet
9. Ukrops Deli. Also delicious.

Foul Soup
I mentioned my "Stews" on Jenny Crusie's blog, allowing as I hadn't added sufficient thickeners to make it really "stewy." The ladies there gave me various tips, one of which concurred with my question, "Should I just call it vegetable beef soup?" Others said, "If you can add potatoes..." which I had, grate them and add them to the broth to cook for a while. I see their plan - thicken by using mashed potatoes! Another added hash browns. All good ideas, and I recall a former Alaskanfriend suggesting Panko bread crumbs and a reasonable amount of corn starch.

None of that matters. I've eaten all the beef stoup* and it was a) delicious and b) gone. I cleaned up the crock pot and got it ready for my next slow cooked adventure. What was the next adventure? The meeting of chicken soup and chicken stew. It started with two pounds (about a quart) of beef broth (no salt added). Swanson. Back in the gods**, I used to enjoy a cup of hot chicken broth. Without added salt? Not so much. But it makes a good base for chicken soup, given other spices to take up the slack. The cooker goes to slow even with just the broth. I had a package of chicken tenders, .79 pounds, so I baked them, then ripped them to shreds and tossed them and their juices in the pot. Next was all the canned veggies (no salt added); corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms, and RoTel diced tomatoes with green chilis. A bag of matchstick carrots, of course, and around 10 ounces of diced red potatoes. Neither shredded nor hashed, but nuked with copious garlic pepper and a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic to boot. I threw in a double handful of grape tomatoes. A tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for that extra sodiumy salt flavor, and oh yes - three ounces of port wine.

All right, I admit it sounds pretty identical to the not-stews I made before, with fowl instead of red meat, but whadyawant? Originality? Hah!

What I ended up with was some of the best chicken vegetable soup I've ever tasted - three days worth, today (Saturday) being the final day. Probably served over chow mein noodles again, or maybe with a pouch of Unka Ben's brown rice mixed in. Oh, and no doubt here - this is soup, not stew. No beef, just fowl. Foul Soup.

There's still enough October to make one more slow cooker... thing.

* the cross between stew and soup
** Good Old Days, i.e. before sodium restricted dieting