Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Cream Biscuits With Magic Buttery Flavor

This recipe is weird.

No, I mean it, this is a recipe with a mystery.

Every recipe evolves over time.  

Three simple ingredients that make a reproduce-ably good "Southern Style" Biscuit, but I can do some intriguing things by just changing conditions.

Like making them taste like butter when NO butter is used.

And no, British folks, these are a savoury shortbread roll usually served soaked in butter and jelly or covered in a Sausage Gravy or Red Eye Gravy.

Proper Southern cooks will look at this recipe and roll their eyes. 

There is ZERO butter in the recipe.  You don't have to fret over little chunks of frozen butter designed to add rise and lift to the result.  You can paint the outsides with melted butter before cooking but I prefer mine without.  You don't have to overheat the kitchen with a blazing oven because that chases the buttery flavor away!

I'm not a Southern Cook.  I am originally from, Gasp!, New Jersey!

(Queue the dramatic fanfare!)


This is simple, mix, chop into portions, bake, serve.  No Fuss!


Ingredients are straightforward.

2 cups or 286g of Self Rising Flour
1 1/2 cups of Whipping Cream.  Mine says 36% on it and there are heavier creams.
1 teaspoon of sugar.

Process:

Mix thoroughly dry ingredients.
Add cream and mix until it makes a sticky dough.
Cut dough into 7 pieces, about 90g or about 3 ounces per.

Baking:

For conventional flavor, bake at 450-500F for 12 minutes and check at 10 minutes for doneness.

OR

If you want that Butter Flavor, bake these at 350F (Moderate Oven) for 25 minutes and check for doneness.  You will probably close the oven for another three.

Here is the mystery.  Regular Biscuits tend to have a strong butter flavor as SERVED because they are painted in salted melted butter.  These biscuits as baked at high temperature without butter painted on them are a somewhat salty shortbread biscuit.

HOWEVER, if you LOWER the temperature in the oven to 350F Magic happens!

Yes, the house will begin to smell markedly of butter.  Fresh butter smell wafts along with the smell of baking bread/biscuits, and you will wonder why?

I still am, but this is the thing.  That butter flavor stays with the biscuits.  If you bake them at 350F, you get a buttery biscuit without all that extra salt and added calories.

Like I said Magic!

You can add butter to this if you like, but I fail to see the reason!

This is what happens when a baker has too much time on their hands and is locked in the house for too long!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

What do you call a fly with no wings? A walk.



A Mexican bandit made a specialty of crossing the Rio Grande from time to time and robbing banks in Texas.

The banks offered a reward for his capture, dead or alive, but offered a much larger award for the recovery of the stolen funds.

An enterprising Texas Ranger decided to track him down. After a long and difficult search, he traced the bandit to his home town.

On a hunch, he checked the town’s cantina, and sure enough, there was the robber.
The only other people in the bar were the bartender and a scrawny, older man at a back table.

The time was right to make a move.

The ranger drew his revolver, charged into the cantina, and announced: “You are under arrest. I get a reward for you, dead or alive. Tell me where the money is, and I’ll let you live.
If you don’t, I’ll shoot you right here, and save myself the trouble of having to take you back to Texas alive.”

But the bandit didn’t speak English, and the Ranger didn’t speak Spanish.

As it turned out, the scrawny man at the back of the bar happened to be a lawyer.
He knew the robber, and was bilingual, and quickly offered to translate for the two of them.

The ranger said: “Tell him that if he doesn’t tell me where the loot is, I’ll shoot him here and now.”

Upon hearing what the Ranger had said, and seeing the cold look in his eye, the bandit knew that the Ranger meant it - if he did not give up his loot, he was a dead man.

Terrified, the bandit blurted out in Spanish that the loot was buried in an old barn at the outskirts of town.

“What did he say?” asked the Ranger.

The lawyer answered: “He said, ‘You don’t have the nerve to shoot me, Yankee swine.’”

Saturday, April 4, 2020

How can you tell the difference between a regular virus and a retrovirus? The 1970s haircut.

The art of humor is all about wordplay.  In this case, all you need is a reference of a letter or two that would lead you to make a different conclusion.  The more of a pun the more of a dad joke I guess, but I'll let you decide.


A female class teacher was having a problem with a boy in her 3rd grade class.

The boy said, "Madam, I should be in Grade 4. I am smarter than my sister & she's in Grade 4".

The Madam had heard enough and took the boy to the principal. The principal decided to test the boy with some questions from Grade 4.

Principal: What is 3+3?

Boy: 6.

Principal: 6+6.

Boy: 12.

The boy got all the questions right. The principal told the Madam to send the boy to Grade 4 immediately. The Madam decided to ask her own questions and the principal agreed.

Madam: What does a cow have 4 of that I have only 2?

Boy: Legs.

Madam: What is in your trousers that I don't have?

Boy: Pockets.

Madam: What starts wit a C and ends with T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?

Boy: Coconut.

Madam: What goes in hard & then comes out soft & sticky?

The principal's eyes opened really wide, but before he could stop the answer, the boy was taking charge

Boy: Bubble gum.

Madam: You stick your pole inside me. You tie me down to get me up, I get wet before you do.

Boy: Tent.

The principal was looking restless.

Madam: A finger goes in me. You fiddle with me when you are bored. The best man always has me first?.

Boy: Wedding ring.

Madam: I come in many sizes. When I'm not well, I drip. When you blow me, you feel good?

Boy: Nose.

Madam: I have a stiff shaft. My tip penetrates, I come with a quiver.

Boy: Arrow.

Principal: OH MY GOD.

Madam: What starts with 'F' and ends wit a 'K' and if you don't get it, you have to use your hand?

Boy: Fork.

Madam: What is it that all men have, it's longer in some men than others, the Pope doesn't use his and a man gives it to his wife after marriage?

Boy: Surname.

Principal: Ohooo!

Madam: What part of the man has no bone but has muscles with a lot of veins like pumpkin and is responsible for making love?

Boy: Heart.

Principal: Eeeeeh!

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and said to the Madam, "Send this boy to the university. I myself got all the answers wrong!"

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Instant Pot Refried Beans Are Pretty Darn Good

A recipe so good and so easy that I am writing it before I forget what I did.

The resulting recipe using Olive Oil is Vegan, but don't let that scare you, I served mine with some grated cheese on top in the Mexican Style.  It's a mild dish, and I am estimating that it's about 150 calories per serving cooked with Olive Oil, More if the spices and onion are cooked with animal fats which is more traditional.

Personally I recommend making this recipe with double the spices and onions.  I found it as written bland and not authentic.  Doubling it was much closer to what I expected from my favorite Mexican Restaurant.

Finally, I used a potato masher to get the texture right but these beans were creamy like a good yogurt when I was through. 

Soaking them in Baking Soda really is necessary, if not required!   It also drastically reduces the gas you get when you soak them in Baking Soda. 

So here's what to do with all those beans you impulse bought to help you through any emergencies!

Ingredient list:
  • Dry Pinto Beans - 8 oz/1/2 pound/225 grams
  • Water - 3 cups for soaking plus about 3 cups for the Instant pot.
  • Baking Soda - 1/2 teaspoon once for the soak, once for the Instant pot.  It makes your beans extra silky soft.
  • Oil or Fat for cooking - Bacon Grease, Lard,  or other rendered fats are traditional.  I used a deeply green Olive Oil because I just didn't want that many calories added back to a light side dish.
  • Onion - 1/4 to 1/2 Minced Fine
  • Garlic - 1-2 cloves Minced Fine
  • Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oregano - 1 Sprig or 1 teaspoon dry.

First, soak your beans: Yes, the night before.  Do it, you will be thankful.  This will give you creamy beans that will seem to melt as you prepare them.

  • For 8 ounces/ 1 cup dry/ 225g of pinto beans, add them to a large bowl with 3 cups of water.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda and swirl the water around.
  • Cover the bowl and ignore overnight.  
  • I waited 12 hours.

Second - Cook your beans in the instant pot:

  • Drain the beans - you will notice that the water is brown and somewhat syrupy.
  • Rinse the beans thoroughly.  I gave mine three passes through the water until clear.
  • Drain the beans again.
  • Add beans to the Instant pot.
  • Add enough water to cover the beans plus at least a thumbnail extra over top.
  • Close and seal the Instant Pot.
  • Cook on the Beans Button or 25 minutes plus Natural Release.

Third - Prepare your spice mixture:
  • 1/4 onion diced quite small.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic to taste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry Oregano or 1 sprig fresh.
  • 1 Bay Leaf.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin.
  • Salt to taste.

Fourth - After Natural Release, Cook your Spice Mix
  • Drain the Instant Pot of the water.
  • Remove the Beans and set them aside.
  • Add your oil or fat to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and allow it to warm the oil to cooking temp (shimmering).
  • Add the Spice Mixture and Onions to the pot.
  • Cook the Onions well until they become clear to translucent.
Finally add the beans to the instant pot and stir.  At this point the beans will be very tender.  I did not need a mixer to get the proper silky texture to my Refried Beans.  Authentic Refried Beans do tend to have some unbroken beans in the mix.  If you are unsatisfied with the smoothness, blast it with a stick blender or potato masher until you are.

Made with Olive Oil, this should be well under 200 calories per serving for a quarter of the batch with a healthy portion of cheese on top.  Your Mileage May Vary!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

If you're feeling unattractive, consider buying a wig. It's a look that anyone can pull off.


A Mafia Godfather finds out that his bookkeeper, Guido, has cheated him out of $10,000,000.

His bookkeeper is deaf and mute . When the Godfather goes to confront Guido about his missing $10 million, he takes along his lawyer who knows sign language.

The Godfather tells the lawyer, "Ask him where the money is!"

The lawyer, using sign language, asks Guido, "Where's the money?"

Guido signs back, "I don't know what you are talking about."

The lawyer tells the Godfather, "He says he doesn't know what you're talking about."

The Godfather pulls out a pistol, puts it to Guido's head and says, "Ask him again or I'll kill him!"

The lawyer signs to Guido, "He'll kill you if you don't tell him."

Guido trembles and signs, "OK! You win! The money is in a brown briefcase, buried behind the shed at my cousin Bruno's house."

The Godfather asks the lawyer, "What did he say?"

The lawyer replies, "He says you don't have the guts to pull the trigger!"

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Why can't big cats use tools? Because cheetahs never prosper.

I had the "pleasure" of listening in on a meeting that was populated by Lawyers.  As I sat there listening to these people jockeying for position I realized a few simple things.

One, they are paid by the word, not to be concise.  It lasted way too long.
Two, it could have been solved if everyone just "Whipped It Out And Measured It".
Three, The TV Series Better Call Saul is not fiction, it is a Documentary and Vince Gilligan is an incredible writer.

In that vein, I give you a Lawyer Story:



Lawyer story

The United Way realized that it had never received a donation from the city's most successful lawyer. So a United Way volunteer paid the lawyer a visit in his lavish office.

The volunteer opened the meeting by saying, 'Our research shows that even though your annual income is over two million dollars, you don't give a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give something back to your community through the United Way ?'

The lawyer thinks for a minute and says, 'First, did your research also show you that my mother is dying after a long, painful illness and she has huge medical bill s that are far beyond her ability to pay?'

Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbles, 'Uh . . . no, I didn't know that.'

'Secondly,' says the lawyer, 'did it show that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair and is unable to support his wife and six children?'

The stricken United Way rep begins to stammer an apology, but is cut off again.

'Thirdly, did your research also show you that my sister's husband died in dreadful car accident, leaving her penniless with a mortgage and three children, one of whom is disabled and another that has learning disabilities requiring an array of private tutors?'

The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, says, 'I'm so sorry, I had no idea.'

And the lawyer says, '

So . . . if I didn't give any money to them, what makes you think I'd give any to you ??

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Making a Surgical Mask For COVID-19 Might Be Easier With Sewing Hem Tape

I am going to make a surgical mask to "survive" a doctor's trip tomorrow (as of this writing). 

This is definitely NOT one of those "N95" masks that you hear about.  This is a stopgap measure designed to slow down things, and while it is designed after what hospitals are asking as donations, anything like this is used at your own risk.  "Better than nothing" is all we seem to be getting these days anyway since hording seems to be out of control.

Oh, and wash this after one outing.  That's true with any mask.  I'll be throwing mine into the washer on Hot when I get back.  You may want to soak yours in Alcohol as an alternative. 

It is all up to you.

If this sounds vague, I am not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice other than Be Careful Out There.

This will not be fancy, and it will be easily made because I will be using Hem Tape instead of sewing things together.  If you don't have a sewing machine, this will work. 

Mine did work for me.  If you get nothing more from this article - use Hem Tape if you can't or won't use needle and thread.

If you don't know what it is, it's a 1/2 inch wide (or so) strip of synthetic fabric that has a "low" melting point.  You place this within a seam, use a hot iron to press the fabric.  The Hem Tape melts and bonds with the fabric.  It is not permanent, but I have had tape hold in a seam for more than a decade.

After looking at a number of videos and reading plans, I realized that you can simply heat the iron and press in some hem tape. 

The result will look like something out of the TV Show MASH with ties instead of elastic.

Since this is done for ease, it may be a bit crooked.  It's ok, Crooked can save your life too.

The basics are a 9x6 inch rectangle that is an envelope open at top..
The open area at top is so you can slide in a filter material if you have access to any.

It is made with a tightly woven fabric and is two ply - a top and a bottom layer.
Mine will be made from an old bandana I got at a street fair given to me for my dog.
The two ends have ties or strings on them to tie behind the head. 
There is one pleat on it to help shape it to the face, but typically there are three of them.
I only put one in mine because it seemed enough.

Any raw edges that have been cut will have to be hemmed or taped closed so you don't have it unraveling in use.

This assumes Hem Tape is 1/2 inch Wide.
  • Cut your fabric to 10 inch by 12.
  • Iron your fabric flat.
  • Fold fabric in half, pattern outside.
  • It will be 10 inches by 6 when done.
  • Iron the fold to ensure it lays flat then turn it inside-out again to work on the seams.
  • Pin or lay some hem tape on the very top of the cut long side(s) opposite of the fold and hem that side closed. 
  • Do this so that the fold faces you.
  • Flip and repeat for the other top side.
  • Hem the shorter sides together.  
  • This will create an envelope that is inside out, and open at the top.

Turn the mask inside out.  Now you are looking at what will be the "outside" of the mask.

Pleats. 
  • Pleats seem to be optional but to add them, pinch the edges together along the short sides.
  • This can be repeated up to three times but I only did one.
  • Use a 1/2-1 inch long piece of Hem Tape to close your Pleat.
  • Cut the piece of hem tape to fit.
  • Slide it inside of the mask against the side and add your pleat.
  • Heat the pleat until it sets.
  • Repeat the pleats on each side of the mask.

Ties to hold the mask in place can be made from rubber bands or by sewing laces to each corner to be tied behind the head.
I will make my own ties with the extra fabric from construction.

In testing the mask, the ties held well fastened behind my head, the mask seemed that it will work for the short work that will be required of it.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I bought a dog off a blacksmith today.... As soon as I got it home it made a bolt for the door.

With what's going on these days, half of us will end up being great bakers and cooks, the rest of us will need to start AA soon.


People always ask where I got my incredibly detailed tattoo done, but they never believe me when I tell them Spain.

Nobody expects the Spanish ink precision.



Today I was wearing a shirt with the family crest of my favorite painter Frida Kahlo. After a few hours I started to get hungry and ordered takeout. When my delivery person arrived he handed over my food without taking any money for bringing it to me. I asked him “How come there’s no charge?”

He replied: I was going to charge you, but I noticed you had Frida Livery”



2 hockey players were fighting on the rink.

Both were swinging at each other full strength. Until one lands a nice right hander to the jaw and the hockey player lands face first onto the ice. A player on the bench says "at least he got ice on it right away."



My neighbor sells home security systems door to door. He's pretty good at it too.

If nobody's home he just leaves a brochure on the kitchen table.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

What do you get if you eat onions with beans? Teargas.

Saturdays are for cooking.  Much to the chagrin of those around me, my plans are to make some Refried Beans.  Mexican spices, of course.  

I have a small amount of beans soaking since 1030 last night, so that's 11 hours by my watch. 

I'll let you know how it goes with the recipe.  Seems like Abuelita has some tricks up her sleeves, and I do enjoy a good Plato de Refritos on the side of my Taco Casserole.

But meanwhile...



Jim and Mary were both patients in a Mental Hospital.

One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end.

He sunk to the bottom and stayed there.

Mary promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out.

When the medical director became aware of Mary's heroic act he immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as he now considered her to be mentally stable.

When he went to tell Mary the news he said, "Mary, I have good news & bad news. The good news is you're being discharged because, since you were able to jump in and save the life of another patient, I think you've regained your senses. The bad news is, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself with his bathrobe belt in the bathroom. I am so sorry, but he's dead."

Mary replied "He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry."



A senior citizen was driving down the freeway

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280. Please be careful!"

"Hell," said Herman, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"



Please dad, with cranberries

Dad, can we have a dog for Christmas? Please, please, please!

Sorry children, I think we'll go with turkey as usual

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Killed My Outdoor Workout And It Killed Yours Too

Hey!  You!  Listen to The Coach, stay the hell home!  You don't want COVID-19.

Great, now that we have gotten that out of the way, if I'm a little grumpy I'm trying to remove 500 calories a day out of my daily diet because I am home and can't workout.  I will be dusting off the Bowflex home gym today.

It's all because I got a lesson in Social Distancing.

I workout at Pompano Beach Airpark.  It is a 4.5 mile outdoor loop around an airport and a golf course here in South Florida.  It has benches and three water stops.  Flat as a pancake even if they did put speed bumps on the trail itself for the blind.

Whoever made that decision, needs to have a talking to.  The speed bumps at the .6 mile marker (1 KM West of the southern start of the loop) are enough to make an elite inline skater fall down. 

Can you file them down a bit, they're excessive!

Never the less, I have a complicated set of maneuvers that give me a 14 mile workout
without ever hitting a street or that particular speed bump.  There are people Skating, as well as Bikers, Runners, Walkers, and people out strolling to enjoy the setting.

I have been going there for a year and a half and it shows.  I'm in markedly better physical
condition than the average person in the US at my age group.  A workout is 1700 to 2200 calories, generally twice a week.

The last time I went there, I went specifically to ask the question "Is it safe to continue skating". 

The answer is a resounding NO.  Emphatically.

First, about half of the people normally working out are staying away.  I have a few people I know well and all of them were gone.  The Canadians are heading back North, and the locals are skipping it too.

Second, that Golf Course?  Easily half of the old duffers were missing.  The line for a Golf Cart was gone, there was nobody sitting on the bench that I use at mid workout.  Even the Pro Shop was idle.

Finally, the parking lot was down by about 2/3.

While we all make decisions that effect ourselves, the decision to employ Social Distancing effects others as well.  If you have COVID-19, it does not pass it to someone if you aren't there to do that deed.   Also you can't pick it up if you aren't drinking from a contaminated water fountain or sitting on a contaminated park bench.

I'm done for the duration.  The skates will all be "refurbished" for the next workout, hopefully sooner than later. 

But, Stay Home

Walk your dogs longer.  Go out before dawn and get some exercise when nobody else is awake.   There were a few people still out but this morning's one mile walk was completely alone and I live in the middle of a populated area.

Your health will thank you.

If you are an outdoor workout person, I did think that you can do it safely if you do a few things.

  • Bring what you need to keep yourself safe.  Sanitizer and a mask are helpful if you have enough.
  • Obviously - Social Distancing - Stay away from others.  If someone coughs and you run through it, you're exposed.
  • Don't touch anything or anyone.
  • Don't use the facilities.
  • Don't drink the water, bring your own and bring extra.  
  • Don't use the benches unless they are in full sun and consider wiping them down with full strength rubbing alcohol or other sanitizers.

Don't fall.  That's just good for any other normal day.  Falling hurts.

Maybe this autumn I will see you all again but for now, I'm looking for my skate box.  I have bearings to tear down and re-lube.