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My Mobile Home Gourmet Blog

Wednesday 2022.8.10

Death Threat

I was amused by my first death threat on YouTube. After calling me a mother fu**er he said he knows where I live and he is going to kill me.

After many months of coping with the threat of Covid, I can understand some people venting their frustration. And now we have Monkey Pox to fear (actually, not*).

YouTube blocked the comment, even from my seeing it, as potentially offensive. I was able to read it after clicking a few links. I was amused. The comment has since been removed.

Maybe this is a good opportunity to explain YouTube's levels of protection. I have a few options for dealing with unwanted comments. First, though, I have all my videos set to "hold all comments for review." Nothing gets published for the public to see unless I approve it. Then there are two steps I can take to remove an unwanted comment.

1. I can simply "remove" the comment. The person who wrote it never knows because s/he can still see the comment, but no one else, including me, ever will.

2. I can "hide" the person from my channel. All their comments — past, present and future — are permanently hidden. They can write as many comments as they like, and they will see them, but no one else ever will.

That second step is one I don't invoke often, but with more than 650 videos on YouTube, I've seen my share of offensive comments. I have a few hundred people permanently hidden on my channel.

*From what I understand, Monkey Pox does not spread like Covid. The Covid virus can be transmitted through the air by being in close proximity with someone who is infected. By breathing in the air they exhale from their lungs we get the virus into our own lungs. Monkey Pox doesn't spread through the air. It is transmitted by physical contact, such as sexual intimacy, or by touching their clothing. I always wear a mask when I go shopping. And at my age, 71, intimacy isn't going to happen.

Someone From the Past

I had a pleasant surprise this week. I heard from someone I thought had passed away about a year ago. I won't go into all the details, other than to say it was something he chose to do. He was a good email friend. He sometimes shared recipes. I knew what he looked like because he sent me a picture. That's something I don't get from people who comment on my videos. In fact, there are a few people I've communicated with many times over the years and I don't know what they look like. They can see me on YouTube.

I am happy he's back. I'm sure I'll get some of the details when he feels ready to share them. Meanwhile, he already sent me a recipe he photographed from an old cookbook. I like those old recipes.

And Some Italian Sausages

As planned, I made Italian sausages, despite the heat here. I added some sun-dried tomatoes and chopped fresh basil to the filling mixture. They came out fairly good. They are a bit too salty for my liking; so I adjusted the seasoning mix down to 4 tablespoons rather than 5 when I use it again.

And Some Pesto

A friend wanted to convert his 1-pound bag of fresh basil to pesto. As mentioned in Sunday's blog, I use my Breville juicer. He brought only the basil to my home — not the almonds, the Parmesan cheese (actually Romano), the garlic, nor the olive oil. I wasn't happy. That was unusual for him; he is usually very generous. I suspect he had been drinking.

The Weather

We are entering our warmest time of year here. So far, I only used the office air conditioner once. The living room air conditioner isn't even hooked up yet. Before the end of October I'm sure I'll need it at least once.

Sunday 2022.8.7

Better

On Wednesday I wrote about my attempt to photograph a bratwurst on a bun with caramelized onion — an attempt at which I failed. The food looked messy, not appetizing. I don't mind admitting my failures. But, undaunted, I tried again.

I decided to arrange the onions on the inside of the top part of the bun. To help hold them in place, I folded two small pieces of cardboard and placed them out of sight beneath that part of the bun, keeping it tilted upward. That kept the sausage clean. The result was a photograph I can live with for this web site and for the thumbnail when I publish the video on YouTube.

More Sausages

I ordered three more packages of LEM Backwoods sausage spice blends — sweet Italian sausage, polish sausage, and chipotle bourbon sausage. The last one is currently not in stock, but it should be sent with free-shipping when, and if, it is back in stock again. However, I checked the LEM web site and they have it in stock; so I don't know what Amazon's issue might be.

The two packages were delivered yesterday. One plan is to make sweet Italian sausages with some chopped fresh basil and some sun dried tomatoes added to the seasoned ground meat before filling sausage casings. Meanwhile, I've been defrosting a package of cut pork meat and pork belly in the refrigerator.

Although I am still not recovered from my prostate surgery, and I'm sure I'll need a third surgery, I am thankful I feel well enough to make cooking videos. I'm trying to push myself to get some videos done before I am back in the hospital again.

Fire on the Mountain

Actually, up in the foothills.

When I went shopping on Thursday I saw quite a large amount of smoke north of here. I asked a few people. No one had heard anything. So I checked with local news when I got home.

There was a fire nearby, called the Glen Annie Fire, a little north of the Glen Annie Golf Course. It was small. As of Thursday evening it had burned 75 acres and was 50 to 60% contained. Weather conditions are favorable for fire fighting — little to no wind, temperatures in the low to mid 70s, and nighttime patchy fog.

The following day I couldn't find anything in the news about it. Evidently is was such a non-issue, the news media folks were ignoring it.

Making Pesto

A friend brought me a one-pound bag of fresh basil. He also bought himself one. What can you do with an entire pound of basil? It will spoil before you can use it all.

I have a method for making Pesto. The trick for getting really good pesto is to release the juice from the leaves. Chopping the whole leaves in a food processor isn't good enough. Yes, you get some of the flavor, but mostly it's chopped basil, not pesto.

Pesto was originally made my crushing the leaves with a mortar and pestle. That broke up the leaf structure, releasing the juice. In the past I used my Whacker Spoon, which is sort of like a heavy spoon-shaped thing, made of aluminum, which is used for pounding rather than cooking or serving. Think of pounding a piece of chicken flat for a cutlet. For small amounts of basil, the Whacker Spoon (available on Amazon) is still the preferred method.

Now I use my Breville juicer. It does the best job of releasing the juice from the leaves, and it does all the work. I even crush the garlic cloves along with the basil. After capturing the juice in one container and the basil pulp in another, I combine the two and then add the remaining ingredients — ground almonds, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.

There was one little problem though. I couldn't get the juicer pieces apart for cleaning. I tried soaking. I tried using muscle. Eventually, I jammed the lower portion in a steel drawer and used both hands to untwist the upper part. It worked. Why it was so stuck I do not know, but I suspect it was because I tried juicing the stems after the leaves were done. The stems are too woody. They jammed the juicer.

After thoroughly cleaning the juicer, I chose not to fully assemble all the pieces. I can store it with the pieces disconnected.

Making Lyonnaise Potatoes

It has been on my To-Do List for quite some time, and I've written about it before. I saw America's Test Kitchen prepare it in one of their TV shows. It looked good, but I thought I could do a little better.

The challenge was finding Yukon Gold potatoes. I've looked, but no such luck. Finally, I bought a bag of yellow-ish looking potatoes that I hoped would suffice.

On Friday I prepared my home — covering the windows with blackout fabric to control the studio lighting, printing my ingredients cue card and my step-by-step instruction guide. Yesterday morning I shot the video.

There are dozens, probably hundreds (I didn't see them all) of recipes for "potatoes and onions" on YouTube and the internet. I suppose what makes these "Lyonnaise" (besides the preparation originating in Lyon, France) is that the potatoes are sliced rather than cubed and they are cooked in an oiled skillet, not boiled.

Another Happy Birthday

A friend sent me a LEGO kit — James's Bond's Aston Martin DB5 (#76911). It's only 298 pieces and therefore it will be easy to build. The friend is really into LEGO. He even has an online LEGO store. So I'll send him the kit after I'm done playing with it, and maybe include a kit I buy for him. I've sent him five kits already.

Wednesday 2022.8.3

Bratwurst

In Wednesday's blog I wrote about my plans to make my own bratwurst. I did that and I am pleased with the results. I cooked another one yesterday, arranging it on a toasted bun with some lightly caramelized onion so that I could get the photographs I wanted. I didn't get what I wanted.

It looks messy, not appetizing. Today I'll spend some time looking at images on the internet to see if I might find a better way to photograph this sausage. There are still some in the refrigerator.

As for the sausage, it is delicious. Adding the pork belly to increase the fat content was the right thing to do. The sausages are tender and juicy. I served one to a friend on Monday and he approved.

The video turned out well. I finished editing it yesterday. Most of the audio consists of voice-overs. I've done that in the past and I always like the result because I can be more concise, leading to a shorter video. My Chorizo Sausages video is more than 12 minutes long, with only a few voice-overs. The Bratwurst video, which I plan to publish on Sunday, is only 8 minutes. Meanwhile, I continue to work on the written recipe for this web site.

What's Next?

On my To-Do list I still have Potatoes Lyonnaise, which is a simple side dish that I think might be popular for the holidays later this year. My Scalloped Potatoes video always does well as people search for recipes around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I need to find some Yukon Gold potatoes. I've looked, but the store was out of them. And during this time of a resurgence of Covid infections, I don't feel like I want to spend much time in the grocery stores.

When I do find those potatoes, preparing them will be easy. I saw the side dish cooked in an America's Test Kitchen video, but I thought they made a little too much work for themselves. There is an easier way and I think my method assures a better result.

Hopefully, I'll get to this recipe either this week or next.

More Sausages?

Yes, very likely. There are more of those prepared spice blends I'd like to try. One in particular is Chipotle Bourbon; however, Amazon has been out of stock and there is no expected date when it might be available again.

Covid

As mentioned above, there is another increase in infections lately, mostly the BA.5 variant. I've been vaccinated and boostered — four shots total. I saw in the news an article about cancelling plans for another booster shot this summer in favor of a more improved vaccine this fall. That one will supposedly be designed to target the latest variations of the virus. Maybe that one will include a vaccine for the monkeypox infections I am reading about in the news. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of monkeypox in Santa Barbara county where I live.

As mentioned in a previous blog, my urologist tested positive for Covid the morning I was supposed to see him for the next step in my prostate surgery. I'm still doing the self-catheterization thing. There has been no change in my condition and it has been six weeks since my TURP surgery. What else can I conclude but that another surgery will be necessary to remove scar tissue before I can get back to normal?

Meanwhile, I ordered another 30-day supply of catheters. Those arrived on Monday.