Hey Flies. You hear that? It’s the sound of inevitability.

I have now officially declared war on the burgeoning fly population in my home.  I had all I could take when a flock of fruit flies and whatever-you-call-normal-house-flies (can fruit flies flock?)  decided to repeatedly dive-bomb my slice of cheesecake that I snuck out of the freezer.  Oh NO you DON'T mess with this lady's cheesecake!   I ran into town (not literally- because I am morally opposed to actually running.  I'm more into meandering and the odd brisk walk) and bought 2 packages of 4 fly strips.  I'm going to open a can of whup-*ss and put a world of hurt on those nasty little beasties.   (Insert Braveheart-esque battle cry and claymore waving here.)   ...And since I'm drawing indiscriminitely from violent movies I'll end this post with a bit of Pacino for you.   "Say goodbye to the bad guy!"  Buh-bye bad fly.     … {Read on...}

Tub-stoppers (English Muffins with fried eggs and Canadian Bacon)

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Without straining the gray matter too much, you might've guessed that I don't haul five kids out to eat breakfast in restaurants very often.  Leaving aside the expense of the endeavour, can you even imagine me getting them all ready to go BEFORE I've been sufficiently caffeinated?  Or before they've actually eaten?  Because my kids don't budge out that door until they've consumed a few dozen eggs, half a pig and the amount of juice it takes an entire orchard to produce.  And I've mentioned here before that cold cereal just doesn't cut it around here.  When we have it, we tear through an entire box at breakfast.  On my continuing quest to provide home-cooked breakfasts for my kids we entered homemade English muffin territory a week or so ago.  They were so delicious and so stinkin' easy to make that we've been playing variations on the English muffin theme most days since.    The current favorite variation is one that bears a striking resemblance to a breakfast sandwich available at a restaurant chain that employs a clown to hawk its wares.  My kids love these sandwiches; English muffin topped with fried eggs, Canadian bacon or smoked bacon, and sliced cheese.  I eat mine with a superhuman quantity of hot sauce:  My husband eats his plain.  **This is extreme roll reversal and I can only explain it by saying that eggs belong with hot sauce.  That is how it is and always shall be.  He is missing out.    Not only do my kids love this breakfast, it seems to make them … {Read on...}

A couple words of recently accrued wisdom regarding the bread recipe from the last post.

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So.  Apparently when the authors of 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes' caution you against putting the lid on your dough bucket tightly they mean it.  I kind of ignored that because I'm having a current battle royale against the fruit flies that are threatening my sanity.  Those nasty little buggies fly around all my food at all stages of preparation and I figured if I packed that lid on tight it would keep the creepies out.  It would appear now that it was a less than well thought out idea.   I would take a picture of what happened, but the only concrete result was temporary ringing in the ears and mild hearing loss when the lid EXPLODED off the top of the bucket.  When I say it exploded, I mean it.  Kind of like this...   BANG went the lid.  Rattle went my eyeballs.  Crash went the glass.  And the dough?  It just stayed put.   My kids came flying into the kitchen from outdoors yelling, "MOM!  WHAT was THAT?"   The percussive power of that bang was enough to knock over a glass sitting near it.  This glass, mercifully, did not break.  I am hoping that means there will be no more glass breakage around here for a while.  It was really funny, because no one was hurt and nothing was broken, but it was clear that it actually could've done damage to someone or something if the circumstances had been different.  So PLEASE do not put the lid tightly on your dough buckets, people!   ...Now, aside from the sheer excitement of things literally exploding in my … {Read on...}

Homemade English Muffins

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In last Monday's column for the Record-Eagle, I ran a recipe for Speed of Light English Muffins.  Due to the constraints of space, I was unable to go on and on and on about what I do with those English muffins.  Mercifully for my family, the unusal 'beneficiaries' of conversations about my culinary obsessions, I have this blog as an outlet.      English muffins have been one of my favorite bread forms since I can remember.  I like them pure- split with a little butter-, toasted, as a sandwich base, loaded with marmalade or jam, holding a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce, and just about anything else you can think of to do with it.  I've tried making English muffins many times over the years.  They were all decent, but they lacked that je ne sais quois that the perfect English muffin has;  the chewiness, the crust, the holes and 'nooks and crannies' to trap the melting butter and running warm jam.      A couple weeks ago, while gnoshing on bread from yet another successful experiment with the 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes' dough, my husband tossed out an idea.      "Hey!  You should make English muffins with this dough.  I bet it'd be perfect," quoth he.  I have said before that my hubby is an Evil Genius, but it bears repeating.  His mind works unlike others and he has had brilliant ideas before, but this one was BRILLIANT!  (So brilliant that it requires all-caps and italics.)     I pulled out the muffin rings and the griddle and went to town … {Read on...}

Golden Cornbread Rounds

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I'd like us all to observe a moment of silence for the baking ignitor in my oven.  (Silence from me, but not the children.) Yes, that means my oven isn't working.  We've had the most glorious stretch of fall-like summer weather in my memory and I can't bake a loaf of bread in the oven.  But I'm not bitter. Well, alright, maybe I am a little bitter.  But I'm also creative and stubborn.  I wanted fresh bread, dang it, and I was going to make it happen.  My husband, the Evil Genius, recently added a toaster oven and a large electric griddle to our kitchen.  I've not yet 'connected' with the toaster oven.  I have some sort of bias against it.  Maybe some day I'll grow to love it.  But the griddle?  Where has it been all my life?  I can cook enough pancakes for everyone, a full pound of bacon, make French toast for a crowd, or make sausage and eggs for the whole family at the same time!  I decided, after a suggestion from the Evil Genius, that I could make English Muffins on the griddle.  (**This will be the subject of tomorrow's post!  Please come back for the skinny.) The English muffins were so good, so great, that I thought I just might give griddle cornbread- NOT griddle johnnycakes- a whirl. **I now interrupt my already rambling programme with a couple brief observations on cornbread.  It should be moist, and not at all sweet.  It should only be fit for stuffing after one day.  If there is any left after one day.  And most importantly?  My Grandma's cornbread is the … {Read on...}