Essential Services

The firefighter I used to be laughed at automotive services being declared essential services. Yes, we are the contracted vehicle maintenance shop for the University and some local police, fire and rescue units, but then yesterday, two doctors thanked us for being open because they too need to remain mobile.

This is not a time for judgment. I’d argue it’s never wise to judge, but that’s another story for another time. There are plenty of folks talking about what you should and shouldn’t do, and I’m not an expert, so…

What is essential? Good food. Exercise. Fresh air. Staying connected. I’m grateful my tribe filled my voids; I now have rice, broccoli and ground beef. I also found a silly, wonderful peanut butter whiskey (see my Facebook or Instagram) and crafted what I’m calling Eggs Benny-ish.

I love eggs Benedict. I bought The Pampered Chef stoneware egg pan just to do poached eggs. This morning, I felt the urge to break it in, but alas, no English Muffins, no Canadian Bacon. I rarely follow a recipe as written, so…

Eggs cooked per instructions ( 80 seconds on high in microwave). Biscuits split, covered with cheddar and deli ham, then put back in the warm (but turned off) oven whilst whipping up the hollandaise sauce. Eggs added on top, sauce slopped on and… yum.

How goes it where you are? What can we do to help?

Gretchen wants it known she had her teeth brushed today. She didn’t fight me nearly as much as I anticipated. We will be doing it at least once weekly from here on out, more often if I can figure out the routine.

Ides of March

Beware the ides of March.

There’s lots to beware of right now, but the original use of that phrase meant it was the deadline for settling debts, not a foreshadowed death day. Shakespeare made the phrase famous, along with lots of others. I love quotes and etymology, and I’m still surprised at all the phrases credited to Shakespeare. (All that glitters is not gold, for instance…)

I also love comfort food. I made chicken and dumplings in the Instant Pot last night (note: Italian seasoning isn’t a great substitute for poultry seasoning), and I’m making tuna noodle casserole tonight, but what you need to know about is Southern Living’s Pecan Pie Brownies.

Basically blogless Susan found it first. Right now, I think she and I are passing more recipes back and forth than books or dog photos, and that’s saying something. The only change is if you actually like the taste of bourbon, more than double the amount in the pecan topping. She followed the recipe, I doubled it, and neither of us feels there’s anywhere close to enough bourbon flavor.

Regardless, it’s amazingly rich, delicious and while it won’t cure what ails you (I’m still more concerned about the local gastric bug than the pandemic, but appreciate the buffer social distancing will add), it will allow you to get lost in your taste buds for a little while. Last night I had it with a glass of milk, but it would love a cup of coffee too.

(I haven’t worked on my food photography skills, so just follow the link if you need a visual, but really what you need is a scent-o-matic screen. I couldn’t wait for them to completely cool before serving, and while it looked like… potting soil and sugared pecan bits, it still tasted great. It’s all set up and firm now, so if tonight’s slice comes out and I am not too eager to get it in my mouth, maybe I’ll try a photo.)

Sweet Potato Pie

Just a quick follow-up here…

Cottage pie is a staple now. Potatoes are arguably my favorite starch, and sweet potatoes are even better. There’s now a debate on whether they really are good for dogs, but my dogs have always loved them, and Gg still gets a bit of dehydrated sweet potato twice daily, to stave off the early morning hunger pangs and to give her stomach acid something to work on while we sleep at night.

This is a great recipe. (photo credit to healthyfitnessmeals.com) I was skeptical about the potato topper with no extra moisture (read: butter), but don’t mess with it, except to add cumin and cayenne pepper to taste. We’ve found those two spices LOVE sweet potato and ground turkey, so after trying the recipe unaltered, I will now add a dash of cumin and a healthy shake of cayenne to both the potatoes and the turkey. No, I’m not giving you a suggestion of how much, because we like heat and I’m pretty sure our teaspoon each is too much for some. On the cumin… literally, a dusting on the potatoes and the turkey.

If you too like sweet potato and ground turkey, you have to try what we call “Sarah’s sweet potato chili.” (No, Sarah isn’t the blogger/cook, but she shared the recipe with me, and so…) The only personalized touch to that one is we DO add beans, whatever white beans happen to be in the pantry. Drain and rinse the beans, but don’t get hung up on the turkey amount; I have stressed because my favorite grocery store tends to only have ground turkey in 16 oz. packs, and especially with the can of beans in there, you don’t miss it. Sure, use the 20 oz. pack if it’s available, but both recipes work with 16 oz. of turkey too.

Back to housework and taxes. What’s on your weekend agenda?