Walk a Mile in his Moccasins – OR Wear her Apron for a Day?

“To understand a man you’ve got to walk a mile in his shoes.”

That common phrase is actually a twist on what Mary T. Lathrap, a Michigan minister and suffragist, wrote in 1895. The last line from Mary’s poem “Just Softly” reads “Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.

We can all agree that’s good advice – whether it’s moccasins or shoes.

But Mary might also have suggested that we “take the time to wear her apron for a day.” She touches on that timely subject in her poem “A Woman’s Answer to a Man’s Question.”

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart to be true as God’s stars,
And as pure as heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef;
I require a far better thing.
A seamstress you’re wanting for socks and shirts;
I look for a man and a king…..

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

It’s hard to be a wife/mother/woman, right? And not always easy to be a husband/father/man either, right? Also, as you’ll find in today’s Andy’s Corner, it’s not easy to be a pet/human companion/dog either (and there’s another great video).

You get the point. We need to be sure that men and women get equal amounts of compassion and empathy. And that’s admittedly hard to do – at least until we’ve “been” him or her.

But there’s a twist to that. Sometimes we want badly to BE some other person…someone whose life seems more fun than ours.

Which brings me to a blog title I’d saved a long time ago: I Wanna’ Be.” I had planned to write about how I wish I could be…Ina Garten.

My least favorite cookbook title: Cooking for Jeffrey

I quit following Ina’s Instagram posts after the 62,500 “likes” she routinely gets became too overwhelming – and slightly depressing – compared to BigLittleMeals 2-3 “likes.” 🙂

A recent post from Ina stated she needed to get back out and work in her garden. Looks like it needs work 🙂
I’ve been out working in my garden too – but it will never measure up to Ina’s.

If Ina isn’t threatening enough, now there’s Tik-Tok’s “senior” cooking star, Barbara Costello. “Babs aka Nona” has 1.9 million followers. Celebrate with Babs, Barbara’s recently published cookbook, has 800+ 5-star reviews on Amazon.

@brunchwithbabs

Wow!! It’s never too late. First time author at age 73. My NEW & first cookbook, Celebrate with Babs ✨ Available everywhere books are sold #nevertoolate

♬ Here Comes the Sun – Relaxing Instrumental Music

So what’s my point? Social media allows us to present a persona that isn’t reaI. I don’t think that either Ina or Babs is probably as happy and in control and carefree as they portray, though if they are – more power to them! And yet we casual observers see these ladies and can’t help but be slightly envious. But I remind myself: we should “wear her apron for a day” before our “I wanna be…” grips and consumes us.

Here is Babs/Nona on TikTok preparing meatloaf. And here’s my variation on her admittedly good and simple and basic recipe.

Babs’ Meatloaf

Bab's Meatloaf

We cut the recipe in half when it’s just the two of us. Then reduce the cooking time to about 1 hour. Recipe adapted from brunchwithbabs on TikTok.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 ground pork or turkey
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped – about 1 cup
2 cloves garlic minced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp salt (I use more salt than Babs does; for 3 lbs of meat, I’d use 1 tablespoon of Diamond kosher salt)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c quick cooking oats (or put your old-fashioned oats into the food processor and do a quick pulse or two)
2 tsp dried parsley (I used about 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley)
1/2 c tomato sauce

Glaze for meatloaf: 1/2 c ketchup, 1/2 tsp brown sugar (I doubled that), 4 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Babs/Nona sautes her onion and garlic in olive oil before adding it to the meatloaf, but I skip that step. I just mix the olive oil, raw onion and garlic, eggs, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce together. Then I dump that into a bowl with the ground meat, add the oats, parsley, and tomato sauce and blend together really well with my (really clean) hands.

Babs bakes her meatloaf in a bread pan, but I prefer using a cast iron skillet and free-forming the loaf. After you’ve formed the loaf, spread the glaze on top.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve warm – or our preferred way – cold, sliced and served on toasted bread slathered with mayonnaise and mustard, for d-lish sandwiches.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum: Let’s Eat Grandpa


[Editor’s Note: Ann and Andy are swapping roles today.  Andy is taking the lead on today’s blog while Ann is doing Andy’s Corner.]

As you may recall, Ann recently posted a blog entitled “Let’s Eat Grandma.” I must admit that I was disappointed that it wasn’t really about eating grandma, or anyone else for that matter.  Don’t get me wrong, learning about a young British singing duo called Let’s Eat Grandma while discovering the importance of commas was both entertaining and informative. It’s just that I thought the title had promise that it didn’t live up to, especially when considering that BigLittleMeals is a food blog (I should add that in today’s Andy’s Corner – written by Ann – she uses a title which definitely lives up to its promise – plus some!).

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So, as the head honcho for today’s edition of BigLittleMeals, I’m taking the liberty to revisit the “Let’s Eat Grandma” title by ignoring the recommended addition of a comma and, to be gender sensitive, by changing “grandma” to “grandpa.” 

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To start, “Let’s Eat Grandpa” would have been an appropriate title for one of the Brother’s Grimm Fairy tales.  In a previous Andy’s Corner I wrote that these fairy tales included a pretty sordid list of topics:

  • Premarital sex
  • Graphic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Anti-semitism
  • Incest
  • Wicked mothers

However, I recently figured out that I had failed to include one of the more obvious subjects appearing in fairy tales – cannibalism.  I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to think of this while I was reading these stories to my kids (and then later in life to my grandkids).  For example, how could I not think of the cannibalistic theme underlying “Jack and the Bean Stalk” while bellowing in my best giant-ogre-imitation voice:

Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum. 
I smell the blood of an Englishman, 
Be he living, or be he dead, 
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

And what about “Hansel and Gretel?”  If you recall, that awful witch with the candy house in the middle of the dark forest planned to fatten Hansel up before roasting and eating him.  In the original version of Snow White we find an attempted cannibalistic episode when the evil stepmother orders a huntsman to take Snow into the woods, slay her, and bring back her liver and lungs (which the stepmother cooks and eats, not realizing that the huntsman, who could not bring himself to do in Snow White, instead brought back the organs of a boar).

Such fictionalized accounts of cannibalism were designed to be cautionary tales to shape the minds and moral character of kids by scaring the bejesus out of them.  Although the telling of such stories is an age-old custom found in many cultures, these tales tell us little about cannibalism itself. We must look elsewhere for enlightenment.

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Not unexpectedly, a wealth of information about this topic is out there on the web. While poking around amongst the 28,700,000 or so results from my Google search on human cannibalism, I noticed that there were many references to Bill Schutt’s 2017 book Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History. I bought a copy and quickly discovered why it had so many positive reviews and was mentioned so often.

Schutt, who is a zoologist, devotes the first part of his book to explaining in entertaining detail how the role of cannibalism in the world of animals is, as his title suggests, “perfectly natural.” As the renowned naturalist Sy Montgomery writes in her New York Times review of the book:

“In the natural world strangers eat strangers, parents eat their children, children eat their parents and siblings eat each other — and they do it a lot. Baby black lace-weaver spiderlings cannibalize their mothers. The larvae of the elephant mosquito eat their fellow larvae and pupae. Among invertebrates — and 95 percent of animal life on earth, from insects to octopuses, belong to this group of spineless creatures — cannibalism is often the rule, not the exception.”

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Illustration by Patricia J. Wynne. From Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History

While the antics of cannibalistically-inclined creatures make for fascinating reading, for me the meat of the story (so to speak) has to do with anthropophagy (the eating of human flesh). Although most written accounts about human cannibalism tend to sensationalize the practice and to rely on its shock value to get readers’ interest, Schutt walks us through the theories and practices of cannibalism with a calm scientific objectivity (and dry wit). As Sy Montgomery puts it

“You might think a book on cannibalism would be upsetting, but this one’s not. It’s refreshing. “Cannibalism,” in fact, restores my faith in humanity: It’s good to know that, as regards this particular behavior, at least, people are no more horrifying than, or as splendidly surprising as, any other species out there.”

Schutt explores human cannibalism from the earliest times of human evolution to the current day, trying to sort out possible causes and consequences of the practice. Cannibalism can be driven by extreme hunger, cultural ceremonial requirements, or individual psychotic malfunctions among other things. One of those “other things” that Schutt reveals had to do with the assumed medicinal benefits of consuming various bodily parts and fluids as a cure for everything from fever and headaches to epilepsy and dysentery.

“As it turns out, many Renaissance-enlightened Christians from Spain, England, France, Germany, and elsewhere turned to medicinal cannibalism to treat a long list of problems. From kings to commoners, Europeans routinely consumed human blood, bones, skin, guts, and body parts. They did it without guilt, though it often entailed a healthy dose of gore. They did it for hundreds of years. Then they made believe that it never happened.”

In addition to Schutt’s book, the increasing number of recent archeological discoveries has increased scientific interest in cannibalism. Evidence of cannibalism among humans (and pre-humans) dating back as far as 800,000 years has been unearthed at archaeological sites around the globe. These findings are raising the thorny question as to whether these early humans turned to cannibalism out of necessity due to a scarcity of food or if human flesh was just another entrée on their dining room table (or dining room rock as the case may have been). As reported in National Geographic, evidence from bone fragments found in an Upper Palaeolithic cave site in England

“…suggests that people there practiced cannibalism and perhaps used human skulls for ritual purposes. …The remains were also mixed with those of other animals and had been prepared the same way, leading some anthropologists to suggest that cannibalism at the site might not have been done in a food-stress emergency or as ritual behavior” (that is, just another entrée!)

If I had to select one of the scientific studies I came across regarding cannibalism that would be most relevant for a food blog (such as ours) it would have to be James Cole’s Assessing the calorific significance of episodes of human cannibalism in the Palaeolithic. Essentially he calculated the nutritional value of the human body as compared to the nutritional value other Paleolithic prey animals and concluded that humans weren’t especially packed with calories for their size. As one reviewer stated:

“One dead mammoth can feed 25 hungry Neanderthals for a month, but cannibalizing a human would provide the crowd with only a third of a day’s calories… Essentially, you’re a walking lunch.”

[Editor’s note: These finding make me wonder about the nutritional value of the currently trendy paleo diet which, according to the Mayo Clinic web site, aims to “return to a way of eating that’s more like what early humans ate.” ]

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Paleo Dieters in action? Source: The U. of Minnesota Duluth web page

But what really blew me away was the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Anthropology of Food web page devoted to cannibalism (entitled “Anthropophagy). Not only can you find a massive bibliography of research studies about cannibalism you are invited to take a stab at such trivia questions as “If you had to eat a human to survive, which body part should you pick first?” or “Which body parts would taste the best?” Although not to my taste, the site even offers recipes for human parts (that I assume are tongue in cheek – so to speak).

Let me make one last observation from Schutt’s book. He tells us about the Caribs, a tribal group that migrated to the Caribbean Islands around 800 BC. Historical accounts of these folk suggest that they

“consumed their enemies—those killed in battle, taken prisoner, or captured during raids. The belief was that this form of ritual cannibalism was a way to transfer desired traits, like strength or courage, from the deceased enemy to themselves”.

I guess you might say that rather than the dictum “You are what you eat,” the Caribs preferred “You are who you eat.”

Typical Carib family? Source: Florida Museum Web Site web site. Detail from a painting by John Gabriel Stedman. Public Domain Image.

So that’s about it for today’s blog. For obvious reasons I am not offering any recipes here but Ann has a couple of great recipes over in Ann/Andy’s Corner.

The Color Purple

Purple Kohlrabi. Healthline.com states that
“kohlrabi packs nutrients and antioxidants that may support immune health and lower your risk of chronic disease. Also, its fiber content supports a healthy gut microbiome.”

While today’s Andy’s Corner is a laugh-out-loud discussion of the color BLUE, the color purple has been on my mind lately. And the reason is not what you’d guess. It’s not that I’m thinking of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Certainly, given today’s news, it would not be surprising to be thinking about this both sad and joyful novel. Rather I’m looking up info on purple vegetables and fruits – which I’ve learned are particularly good for you because they are high in anthocyanin, which has a positive effect on brain health, inflammation, and heart disease.  And I’m also thinking about politics and how red and blue blended together makes purple.

Back in 2009 professors from Cal State, Syracuse, and the U of Michigan published results of their research the gist of which was that “Colored maps depicting electoral results may exacerbate perceptions of polarization, rather than merely reflecting them.” Or to put it another way – red and blue maps make us believe that the country is more polarized than it actually is. The map above is a 2020 map showing what happens if you use shades of purple to indicate political preferences, rather than the starker red and blue. Does it make things seem a slight bit more optimistic?

from Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat, July 4, 2022

On a cheerier note, I am happy to report that these anthocyanin-rich purple foods are good for you.

You know I’m always looking for ways to keep my (our) brain healthy – and purple may be the direction to go! The Cleveland Clinic states:

Research shows that anthocyanins can help protect and improve your brain function: one study reported anthocyanins increased blood flow to and activated brain areas that control memory, language and attention.

We have lots of fun purple food choices. In our house we always have a head of red (which looks purple) cabbage in the fridge and use it regularly for quick and easy salads, so I’m happy to see that high on the list. Blueberries are ripening along our back fence (they’re beautiful bushes to have in your yard – in addition to their berry’s nutritional value). And I recently planted more elderberry bushes, which have yet to produce much for us but are wonderful for attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators – and sambucus caerulea, also known as blueberry elder or Mexican elderberry, is even drought-tolerant.

There have been no major studies showing exactly how many anthocyanins we should have per day – so just eat lots of these.
This reminds me of the almost weed-like elderberry bush we had growing at my Colorado home.

If you look through our BigLittleMeals recipes for purple eggplant, you’ll find slim pickings. Even though one of my favorite-cookbook-writers of all time, Yotam Ottolenghi, seems almost obsessed with aubergines, as he calls them, I don’t share his enthusiasm. But after seeing that eggplant – with its purple skin left on – is so high in anthocyanin, I decided to give it another try.

I definitely recommend that you search for varieties other than the common “Globe” eggplant which we see most often at the grocery store.
If you’re into vegetable gardening, consider planting the eggplant variety Orient Express next summer. It’s long, slender, tender – and doesn’t need peeling, so you keep that beautiful, nutritious skin on it

After searching for an eggplant recipe which might satisfy even those who swear they hate eggplant (it appears I’m not the only one who has some negative feelings about this veggie), here’s what I’ve come up with. Give it a try. And when you pull those hot, roasted, crispy, purplish, well-salted eggplant bits from the oven, nibble on a few of them. Even I found them d-lish!

Continue reading

Weaning Ourselves from Wheat

It’s kind of nice to divert your attention from stress-producing to smile-producing events, and our family has been doing a good job of this recently. From watching basketball finals (way to go, Dubs! You’re amazing, Steph! Be sure to try our Lamb Kheema in a Hurry Curry recipe!) to an amazing taco tour in Mexico City (let us know if you want to go on it and our daughter, Sara, will send you the info) to playing soccer in support of charitable causes (way to go, Travis!), the kids and grandkids have been having fun. Andy has been having fun too, studying – and talking a lot about – nutria and other “weird” species. Read all about that in today’s Andy’s Corner. It’s hysterical…definitely a contender for Best Blog of the Year! 🙂 My “fun” has been a little less exciting. I’ve been obsessing over wheat.

Playing soccer at the gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge Park – in support of PlaySoccer2Give and the Homeless World Cup Foundation

More about my kind of fun: it’s reading and researching about food – and then trying out recipes – at least when I’m not out in the garden having fun by using my pickaxe and lopper to dig up and cut back everything – often in the most brutal manner. Just getting my aggressions out so I can smile more 🙂 🙂 :). I’ve found that pounding on a piece of chicken for our chicken-fried-chicken (recipe to come) also releases pent-up frustration and brings a relaxed smile.

And now more about wheat. I’m always on the look-out for tasty and easy recipes, but I have to admit that when I see a recipe that begins “GLUTEN FREE,” I quickly pass on it. But a few recent news articles that caught my attention made me realize that gluten-free foods might be what’s up and coming! And not just for the gluten intolerant.

Wheat being harvested in Colorado. According to our Weld County farmer, this year the wind and drought caused him to lose his dry land wheat crop.

Though Kansas produces the most wheat in the U.S., Colorado (aka “the Homeland”) is among the top 10 wheat-producing states. On a global scale, China is the largest wheat-producer, with India a distant second. Even more relevant to today’s news, Russia and Ukraine provide 30% of the world’s wheat. Check out this WaPo article.

But it’s not only the supply issue. It’s also that wheat and corn and rice crops could be severely impacted by climate change. Even if you’re not worried about the supply issue and the resultant rapidly-rising costs, you might worry about how your health is impacted by a wheat-loaded diet. And you should.

We know that wheat (except for buckwheat) contains gluten. And, yes, some of us have gluten intolerance (here’s an enlightening article from Harvard about the “ifs, ands or buts” about gluten and gluten intolerance). It’s the gluten that’s needed for those moderate to highly-processed foods which the experts are screaming “BAD FOR YOU!!!!!” Are you ready to give up your morning croissant? Your BLT toasted white-bread sandwich for lunch? Your beef and bean burrito for dinner? What about that bourbon-filled flour-heavy 86-Proof Chocolate Cake? And – geeeeeez OMG NOOOOO! – maybe even your noodles and pasta?

Actually, I’m more concerned about the lack of fiber in the heavily-refined white flour. Returning once more to the Homeland and the HomeCity university, Colorado State University, researchers there note that dietary fiber has a number of health benefits — it prevents constipation, lowers blood cholesterol and might help you lose weight. Woohoo! I’m INTO fiber.

So I got to thinking about what sounds sweet and yummy that doesn’t have flour in it – and maybe even has some fiber benefits.

We’ve already posted some d-lish wheat-free desserts: Sweet Potato Pone, Halvah, Huguenot Torte, Almond Crackle Cookies, and Brown Butter Mochiko Muffins. If you want wheat-free AND high fiber, look for desserts like the pone with its sweet potatoes, and the halvah with its tahini, and the cookies with their almonds.

There’s a cute little deli in downtown Sonoma run by a creative Italian chef, Andrea Marino. It’s called Salumeria Ovello. We were lucky enough to taste – or should I say inhale – his Brutti ma Buoni cookies when a friend served them recently. If you don’t know Italian – that names means “ugly but good.” And, yes, they’re wheatless (or that obligatory description: gluten-free). The hazelnuts add fiber. Replicating them was not easy, but I finally found a simple recipe for these yummy-but-ugly cookies to share. And the real plus? They don’t even have butter, so you’ve saved the planet that way too. A little less greenhouse gas production!

Another sweet choice for a wheat-less, dairy-free, fiber-filled dessert is Chocolate Coconut Macaroons, and I’ve included a recipe for them too. You can up the ante with the chocolate by adding chocolate chips in addition to the cocoa powder, but I prefer the cookies sans chips.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, fiber-filled Brutti ma Buoni cookies
Gluten-free, dairy-free, fiber-filled Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Brutti ma Buoni - Ugly But Good Cookies

Adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1 1/2 c hazelnuts (8 oz)
  • 1 1/2 c confectioners sugar (aka powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt (less if using any other kind)
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten (better yet – 2 small egg whites, lightly beaten; 1 just barely adds enough liquid)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the hazelnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 12 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant and the skins blister. Transfer the hazelnuts to a kitchen towel and let cool, then rub them together to remove their skins.

In a food processor, blend the hazelnuts with the confectioners sugar and salt until finely chopped (don’t over blend; you don’t want hazelnut flour!). Mix in the beaten egg white and vanilla.

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon tablespoon-size mounds of the hazelnut dough onto the prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for about 13 minutes. They will be very lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet before serving.

Cookies will keep for several days in an airtight container – or can be frozen.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

  • Servings: about 24 small cookies
  • Print

If chocolate is your thing, you can stir in 1/2 c of semisweet chocolate chips before baking, but we think the cookies are plenty chocolatey as is.

  • 2 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut (take note: unsweetened!)
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted through a wire strainer
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Stir together the coconut, sugar, sifted cocoa power and salt; mix the vanilla into the egg whites and then stir that into the coconut mixture.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out and form round cookie balls (if your hands are ever-so-slightly damp, the dough won’t stick).  Place the balls about 1″ apart on the cookie sheets.  The cookies will not spread, so don’t worry about that.  

Bake for 20 minutes.  Don’t be concerned if the cookies seem a little soft when you take them out of the oven; they will set up as they cool.  After cooling on the pan for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

The macaroons will keep in an air-tight container for several days and will freeze well.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Let’s Eat Grandma

Fortunately, my two grandsons, Silas and Moss, have not rallied behind “Let’s Eat Grandma.” In fact, when I texted them about their reaction, their responses were quick – and negative. Thank goodness!

HA! Bet you didn’t know that Let’s Eat Grandma is a (very) young recording duo from Britain, who just recently released their third – and acclaimed – album, Two Ribbons.

FYI – They’ll be in NYC at Webster Hall Nov, 4, Denver at The Bluebird on Nov. 14, and SF at The Independent Nov. 22.

Obviously, other than relief at Silas’s and Moss’s reaction to Let’s Eat Grandma, I was curious why on earth those British kids chose that name for their recording group. Turns out everyone – except me, perhaps – knows it’s a little bit of punctuation humor:

Ahhhhhh, yes, the importance of commas. I’ll bet you remember hearing this story…

An English professor wrote the words, “Woman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and directed his (or her!) students to punctuate it correctly.

The male students wrote: “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”

The women wrote: “Woman: Without her, man is nothing.”

And then there’s this…

Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, aka Let’s Eat Grandma, are in their early 20’s. Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Tom Paxton, and Willie Nelson, who are 72, 76, 84, and 89 respectively, also have albums which have been or will be released this year. Tony Bennett, who is 95, released an album with Lady Gaga last year.

If you want to see Bob Dylan, who just turned 81, he’ll be performing in Oakland at the Fox Theater June 9th and 10th.

Andy – in today’s Andy’s Corner – isn’t interested in Tom Paxton, but he is interested in something else “born” in 1937. And it’s even food related – but do we really want to revisit a food dish popular 85 years ago?

It seems that “out with the old and in with the new” has been replaced with “in with both the new AND the pretty-damn old” (could this relate to politics too? I won’t go there).

I may not be a fan of either the very young or the pretty-damn old when it comes to entertainment – or politics – but I do try to be open-minded. I listened to some of Let’s Eat Grandma’s songs and, since I couldn’t understand their words, I looked up the lyrics. If you read some of the poetry from my new favorite poet, Ada Limón, in our last blog, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the comparison. Admittedly, song lyrics don’t claim to be poetry – but you must recall that Bob Dylan received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature for his lyrics.

Lyrics from “Chocolate Sludge Cake,” released in 2016 by Let’s Eat Grandma:

It’s time to bake a cake
I’m gonna make a carrot cake
No, I’m gonna make an apple cake
No, I’m gonna make a coffee cake (eugh!)
No, I’m gonna make a chocolate cake, a chocolate ca-a-a-a-a-ake
Ca-chocolate ca-a-a-a-a-ake
Ca-chocolate ca-a-a-a-a-ake

Lyrics from “Eat Shiitake Mushrooms,” released 2016 by Let’s Eat Grandma

Shiitake mushroom, how do you grow?
Enchant me with your glow
You were covered in stone, but you made it now

With those lines in mind, recipes for today’s blog are a gimme. We already have a super-favorite recipe which features shiitake mushrooms (Grace Young’s Longevity Noodles) and we’ve already done a number of chocolate cake recipes (Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake is extra-special for everyday snacking and as a simple dessert for a casual dinner party). But you can’t have too many recipes for either shiitakes or chocolate cake, so we’ve got another one of both to tempt your taste buds. Yum.

Shiitake Pancetta Pasta

Shiitake Pancetta Pasta

  • 2 T butter – divided
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3-5 oz pancetta, chopped  (I used Columbus Diced Pancetta in a 5 oz pkg, which is easy to find)
  • 3/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 T sage chopped leaves (about 6 leaves will do it)
  • 3 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, minced
  • 1/2 c cream
  • salt (about 1/4 tsp)
  • pepper (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 c parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 oz (or more) fettuccine, cooked according to package directions, drained, and mixed with 1 T butter

Heat 1 T butter and the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the mushrooms, sage leaves, garlic, and carrot.  Saute 4-6 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Add the cream and salt and pepper and saute another 2 minutes of so, stirring.

Gently combine the warm fettuccine with the mushroom sauce; sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Pepitas and Chocolate Cake/Torte

Pepitas and Chocolate Cake/Torte

Rick Bayless calls this a cake, but we call it a torte.  Whatever…it’s addictively delicious. Adapted from Rick Bayless

  • 8 T butter (4 oz – 1 stick), softened – plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 3/4 c pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted and salted – divided into 1 1/4 c and 1/2 c
  • 1 c plus 2 T sugar – divided like that
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking power
  • 1 T tequila
  • 1/2 c (3 oz) Mexican chocolate (Taza is the brand we use)
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom and slather it with more butter (about a tablespoon). Sprinkle 1/2 c of the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle with 2 T of the sugar. Set aside.

Measure the remaining 1 1/4 c of the pumpkin seeds and 1 c sugar into a food processor. Pulse the machine until the seeds are ground. Add the eggs and the butter and pulse until everything is incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and tequila and pulse again, just until everything is combined.

Chop the chocolate into pea-sized pieces and add it to the batter. Pulse until the chocolate is mixed in. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool for ten minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack and remove the parchment paper.  To be fancy – sprinkle the cake with a little powdered sugar before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

 
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