Monday, June 24, 2013

Starbucks Coffee at Home

Shop in Washington DC
Image from Wikimedia Commons
I am sitting here enjoying another cup of the Starbucks brand coffee I bought recently. I never buy coffee by the bag in places like that because it's just so darned expensive. I do realize that they promote Fair Trade, so more of the money used to buy that coffee will go to the grower than with most coffee brands, and I can appreciate that. But, I also have a tight budget. But, I was recently at a Starbucks and was enjoying my iced coffee (one of the few regular pleasures I'll indulge in) when I saw this new flavor on display. 3 Region Blend. I asked the barista if they had any made that I could sample. He actually made me a sample of this and, despite my not really liking unsweetened black coffee, I really liked the sample. It was smooth and mild without bitterness and without tasting "weak". I was sold! I actually bought a pound bag and had it ground for my percolator. I paid $12.95 for that pound of coffee. That's about double what I normally pay. But, I have enjoyed each and every cup and have now made my second pot of it. Maybe they'll start selling this flavor in stores where the markup is less. I might consider buying it again. I'm the only one here to drinks the coffee I make, so it will last me a while. At this point, I'm definitely NOT looking forward to opening the container of Maxwell House I have in the pantry! LOL

This post was originally published by me at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Scrapple and Eggs and Whole Grain Toast! Pure Deliciousness!

Whole grain toast, scrambled eggs and pan-fried scrapple
Before I go much further, let me explain scrapple. According to Google, it is a noun. It consists of scraps of pork or other meat stewed with cornmeal and shaped into loaves for slicing and frying. From we find: cornmeal mush mixed with pork scraps, seasoned with onions, spices, herbs, etc., and shaped into loaves and sliced for frying. But, according to me, it is just plain delicious!!

Basically, scrapple originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch as a way to use up all the meat from a slaughtered hog that wasn't being used some other way. It would all be cooked down with spices (mostly sage, thyme and pepper) and cornmeal into a mush. That would be poured into pans and allowed to cool. Once cooled, it would be cut into blocks which were then sliced and pan fried for breakfast (usually). I grew up on it and I love it. 

The eggs are simply eggs. The only way I will eat them is scrambled or some derivative of scrambled (omelets, quiches, etc). I mix mine with milk so that their texture is somewhat custard-y.

The toast is a recent purchase from my first ever visit to a Trader Joe's supermarket. I've heard so much about them, but I am never close to one. So, when my friend decided to stop there to look for a particular item, I went in, too, since I knew I needed bread and milk. I found this wonderful loaf of sliced artisan bread just chock full of whole grains. It has made the most wonderful toast!! I eat it toasted with chunky peanut butter or just buttered as I did with this meal. It is just so good, I want to go back and get more!!

Now, back to scrapple, according to Wikipedia, scrapple bears similarities to white pudding and hog's pudding of England. Now I know I won't eat black pudding (blood pudding) because they do incorporate the blood into it, but if I'm ever in the UK again, I might just try either of those other two just to see how they compare.

Originally published on my Bubblews account.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Peppers, Onions and Eggs for Dinner

Veggies atop the chicken at the restaurant.

Over this past weekend, my friend Tom and I went to a local Mexican restaurant we hadn't been to in a while. I decided to try something I'd never tried before and went with the Pollo Salvadoreno - Grilled Chicken El Salvador style. I had imagined that the veggies would be cooked down more than they were, but they were still mostly crispy. If you've ever had fajitas, you know what they looked like, but they were cooked LESS than that. I was disappointed, but still ate the chicken, which was delicious. The veggies smelled fantastic, so I brought them home along with the leftover rice, beans, chips and salsa. 

I decided on Thursday that I was going to use those peppers and onions. Perfectly good food that deserved being eaten, even if it was in a different way than originally served. But, I didn't want to thaw out any meat. I wanted something fast and easy. 

Peppers and eggs are very popular in our area, especially where there are a lot of Italians. I'm sorry to say that I refused to ever try them until after my mother passed away five years ago. She would have been thrilled to see me eat them. I discovered I liked them quite a bit. Yes, these peppers came with onions, too, but they were sweet onions, which I'll eat cooked. I don't like onions that have a sharp bite to them and I'll never ever eat an onion raw. So, I tossed the
Shortly after pouring the eggs in the pan.
Salvadoreno vegetables in the pan with some olive oil and began to pan grill them to where I like eating them. While that was happening, I got out seven eggs and put them in a bowl with some milk and scrambled them. 

Once the veggies were cooked (some might call these burnt - I prefer "blackened"), I poured the scrambled eggs over them and began cooking everything together. I took two pictures of the eggs - one while they were setting up and one after I'd stirred them and they were done. There is also a photo from the restaurant showing the veggies as they were before I decided to cook them again. 
After stirring with a wooden spoon until they were just set.

Add two slices of some fantastic artisan whole grain bread from Trader Joe's, toasted and buttered, and I can't deny that I had a pleasurable meal. 

Have you ever brought leftovers home and turned them into something else?

Originally published to my Bubblews account.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Paula Deen fired by Food Network over use of N-word

Well, my first post in a while is about a very current event. If you're a fellow foodie, you'll have an opinion on this one, too. I first posted this on

I haven't been able to watch Food Network for a while since we no longer have cable, but it saddens me that this controversy has cost her her job. The use of that word is always wrong, but the events in question, the times when she admits to having used it, took place years ago. If you watch Paula on any of her shows - or on any other show, for that matter - you will see a woman who just loves everyone.

I do not believe for one moment that Paula Deen is a bigot. However, I do believe that the culture in which she grew up WAS - segregation, Jim Crow, whites-only everything. That she has come out of all that as accepting as she is says a lot about her. She's raised her sons to accept everyone. But, that doesn't change the fact that there was a time in her life when the use of that particularly ill-suited word was commonplace. Whether the user meant it in a hateful way or a benign way, it was part of the common vernacular.

Paula Deen brought herself up from poverty to be who she is today. There is no one who can not respect that. So what if she developed Type-II Diabetes because her diet wasn't the best. She's sure as hell not the only Southerner this is happening to. And, who better to represent to those same people how all those sweets and carb-laden foods can affect your health than the queen of butter cooking herself?? I'm not speaking tongue-in-cheek, either. She is an icon, an idol to many and a peer to an entire section of this country. She is a good example for them to observe and learn from.

Now, with regard to her firing....I remember when Food Network also fired Chef Robert Irvine for lying on his resume. It turned out that he had exaggerated the roles he'd played in the jobs he'd listed. However, the man is a brilliant chef AND he has a large following. Although he did deserve to be fired, Food Network brought him back a year later. He'd had his punishment and now he could again do what he did best - accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Therefore, it is my hope that the same will hold true for Paula. I hope that her followers are strong and vocal enough that they convince Food Network to bring Paula back. She is an asset to the network, even if this situation is less than optimal. She knows she screwed up. You can see it in her face in the video she posted to YouTube about this. In fact, she looks so downtrodden, I wouldn't be surprised to hear of new health concerns brought on by this stressful situation. I know that some will say "she deserves it" and they may be right. Whether she deserved to be fired, I'm not sure, since her actions were done long ago and were not done against her employer as Chef Irvine's were. Regardless, a punishment has been meted and she will deal with it. But, I still think that they should consider bringing her back after everything cools off. She's good at what she does, as was Chef Irvine. She makes clear that she is NOT a chef, but is a cook. All of her coworkers love her. I would love to see this all work out for her.

How do you all feel about this?

First video - deleted by Paula. Can be seen here:
Second video -;v=nu6Us7fpr00
Third video -;v=9L9LOfVlNxc

Check out Paula's Facebook Page and see what her supporters, many of them black women, are saying about and to her. 

Originally published on my Bubblews account.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Alyan's Restaurant - Big Middle Eastern Tastes in a Small Affordable Package

Tonight I was treated to dinner at Alyan's Middle Eastern Restaurant located at 603 South 6th St. (literally just off the famous South Street in Philadelphia). They are a very small venue, but the flavors they offer are HUGE! I have been there before and have always chosen the mixed grill, whether it be the sandwich or the platter. The sandwich is a good buy since it offers as much meat as the platter, but for $5 less. Perhaps I should say it DID offer as much since that may have changed. The one thing I noticed tonight was that there wasn't as much meat on the platter as there had been the last time. Admittedly, they had run out of beef and I opted out of the Kefta, but they said they'd give me more chicken and lamb to make up for it. Maybe they didn't. I just don't know. Despite that, what I had was spectacularly delicious, as it always is. 

Now, I'm no fan of hummus and that was a full 1/3 of my platter. But, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it. I broke my pita in half and put the salad, some hummus and pieces of the meat into my pita and ate it as a sandwich. I've had hummus in the past and it was so heavy with garlic that I simply couldn't enjoy it. Garlic lovers may not have issue with it, but it just doesn't please my palate one bit. Tonight, though, the hummus was delicious. Yes, I could taste the garlic, but it was far more low key than I've seen previously. I do like chickpeas, so the hummus and I got along just fine with a sprinkling of salt on top.

For the first time, we ordered a pitcher of mint iced tea. It was superb! Not too minty, yet the mint was there. We had a choice of sweeteners - simple syrup with vanilla bean pods soaking it it, In The Raw sugar packets or Sweet-n-Low. My dining companion chose the former and I chose the latter. I'd never seen a simple syrup offered as an option before. I was impressed.

We ordered extra pitas so that we could finish what was on our plates and then we were done. The entire meal for the two of us was $32 and change. It's a great way for someone unfamiliar with the cuisine to begin. Who doesn't like grilled meat??