Monday, November 9, 2009

The joy of regifting

As you recall, I recently gave my Sis Pat my reamaining copy of "A man, a can, and a plan" cookbook. All accounts on her blog Subjective Soup have been very positive. I'm thrilled and delighted that she and Milt have gotten so much joy from the publication.

My own approach to gastronomy is slightly different. I have about 3 feet of bookshelf space devoted to cookbooks. Everything from The Great Book of French Cuisine to Cast Iron Skillet. I am single, so I only seriously cook when the mood strikes. This is fairly often. Most of my fare is simple. I make chili, spaghetti sauce, and the like twice a year in an 8 quart stock pot. That solves what to eat tonight easily.

I lived in Germany for 3 years, and have also visited Europe several times, so I have had the opportunity to dine in some serious shrines. In France, the thing to do is to order the Menu Degusation , which is 7 or 8 courses. You don't ask what is in them. You just eat em. Count on 2 to 3 hours of pleasure.

Sunday, my friend and sous chef Margaret was bound and determined to take a shot at spaghetti Carbonara, a wonderful Northern Italian pasta dish. I gathered the ingredients and turned her loose. The recipe called for 8 strips of bacon, but she used the whole half pound. Bravo! It also said to drain the bacon fat, which she didn't. DOUBLE BRAVO!! If you're going to pound down the calories,carbs, and fat, go for the gusto! I also grilled a couple fillets on the Weber.

The recipe is fairly standard, the this one is from called sphagetti carbonara II. I am still debating the next episode, but I am leaning towards chicken with leeks and cream, because is takes little prep and you eat it right away. Coq au vin has to sit in the oven for a couple hours.

Bon Appetit.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Paen to Max

Max (Maxine) is my 4 year old boxer. I got Max from an animal shelter. My guess is that Max made it to the shelter because she was too much for the original owners. My vet proclaimed Max the bipolar boxer.

Be aware that MAx's name was carefully chosen before I got her. My previous dog was a very loving Doberman, Steffi. Steffi was at first declared to be Boris, named after Boris Becker, the famous German tennis player. Subsequent examination proved him to be her, so Steffi she became. Kind of like Walter/Wendy Carlos.

When people come to visit, I always have Max outside. If they misguidedly say they want to meet her, I acquiesce. Then they are gleefully attacked, with love.

Max is a perfect lady in the house with me, and I wouldn't trade her for anything.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Olfactory Nostalgia

Serendipity has forcefully struck again!

I belong to a group of rabid Nebraska Cornhusker fans who meet at a local sports bar to watch football, quaff our favorite beverages, and nosh a bit.

Our fearless leader, Chuck Elles, asked if anyone could think of Nebraska food tastes that could be incorporated into the bar's fare. My mind drifted back youthward for inspiration. Eureka! Runzas! Runzas are soft, filled baked sandwiches that originated in Lincoln during the late 40's. I remember getting them from the original stand. This kind of dates me. Runzas are stuffed with ground beef, onions, cabbage, and of course, double secret spices. Whenever I return to Nebraska, an immediate Runza Hut stop is mandatory. The menu has expanded considerably over time, but I am a purist and always get the genuine article.

There is a Runza web site ( but unfortunately they are legally prohibited from shipping the sandwiches. Rats!! In spite of this gloomy bit of information, I continued to browse the site. Heavens to murgatroid, they bake and CAN and DO ship Miller and Paine recipe cinnamon rolls. M&P was a department store with a cafeteria and bake shop. As an aside, the cafeteria served the all time greatest chicken pot pie. Might be a toughie to ship. Anyways and which, the rolls are a dietician's worst nightmare. Have to be 1000 calories or more each, and they aren't all that big. Lots of butter and sugar. But delicious.

I ordered 4 dozen (minimum allotment), and they arrived per advertisement within 3 days. As a scientific experiment, I presented samples to my 2 sisters who both were able to identify their precise identity with no problem, even though it's been a few years (decades?) since any of us had tasted them. My younger sister recalled that she and I usually had the rolls at Grandma's after I abducted sis following Sunday school so we (mainly me) could escape going to Church. Grandma Harriet was easy.

My last gustatory memory is the kolache. There are middle European enclaves throughout the US that thankfully have preserved the art of kolache baking. Kolaches are flatish pastries that can be either savory or sweet, although my experience with them was always the sweet variety. I found a recipe for cream cheese kolache cookies, which satisfy the urge. Mine are apricot or prune filled, the flavors I remember. You need a stand mixer or the arms of a blacksmith to crank out the dough. I've got the mixer. No doubt my golf game would improve if I opted for manual preparation.

I'm sure everyone has fond childhood memories of food. Feel free to share!




Miller and Paine rolls

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The ART of the ACE (it's a big DEAL)

Kenabeck has golfed for over 34 years with nary a hole in one to show for it. This sad state of affairs has recently been rectified.

On Aug 31, 2009, at approximately 11:07:23 CST, he aced the 8th hole at Saddleback Ridge Golf Course, Solon, Ia.

Mr Becker utilized a Callaway Diablo 7 wood from 185 yards distant to accomplish the feat. Witnesses to this momentous event were Mr. Dave Ochs and Mr Jim Varcho.

Mr. Becker deferred the time honored purchase of drinks until Wednesday, in order to facilitate participation by a throng of well wishers at Sports Fans in Bettendorf, Ia.

After consultation with the Professional Golfers of America, Mr. Becker has graciously declined to increase his instructional fees. Given that the previous rate was zero, students may expect to receive substantially improved guidance for a very modest tuition.

At no cost whatsoever to the golfing public, Mr. Becker has provided the following advice for holing out:

1. Misread the yardage
2. Select the wrong club
3. Strike the ball poorly, albeit with proper aim
4. Retrieve the ball from the hole.

Bonus Tip: Utilize a Titleist DT Roll ball, to compensate for striking the ball such that it never reaches an apex greater than 3 metres above terra firma.

The following plaque was crafted by Save the Moment to commemorate the deed:

Mr. Becker sympathizes with those of you golfers unfortunate enough never to have experienced the pleasure of an ace, and wishes all of you the best fortune in your future endeavors.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Q: What do Julia Child, Meryl Streep, the QC Huskers and Charles Manson have in common?

A: They receive "electronic ink" in this post.

I recently went to see Julie and Julia. I am a foodie and have always been a big fan of Julia Child. Although I don't own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I do have The Way to Cook and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (with Jacques Pepin). Meryl Streep captures Julia's personality and style very well. I was inspired to order a DVD from Julia's PBS series. I wondered how long it would take for Mastering the Art of French Cooking to rise to the top of the New York Times best seller list in its category. Only two weeks.

In a related note, my small garden has provided an abundance of tomatoes, green peppers, chives, and basil this year, probably due in most part to the frequent rains we have had. I have made tomato basil sauce, salsa, pesto sauce, and swiss steak sauce so far. It's wonderful how good dishes taste when prepared from fresh ingredients.

The QC Huskers are a group of displaced University of Nebraska fans who meet to root the alma mater on to gridiron glory. We will start of festivities on Sept 5 at Overtime Sports Bar to watch the game and enjoy our loyal compatriots company. We are of course hopeful for a good season

Chuck Elles, president of QC Huskers

I promised to mention Charles Manson


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bix 7 2009: Margaret meets Elvis, the Wiener, Michael Jackson lookalike

This year marked the 35th Anniversary of the Bix7 run/walk. It's named after Bix Beiderbecke, a famous jazz trumpet player from the early 20th Century. The Bix7 is run during the same week as the Bix Memorial Jazz Festival and numerous other summer activities in Davenport, Ia.

My personal bartender Margaret had never done the Bix and asked if I would walk the 7 mile course with her. I agreed with trepidation. When you think of Iowa, you don't think of hills, but the beginning of the course is 1/2 mile at a very steep incline. It tends to intimidate the uninitiated. I convinced Margaret to begin walking 2 miles every day and to try the hill on for size a couple times. Mission accomplished, and we were as race ready as we could be. I had already walked the Bix 4 times before, so I knew what to expect.

With about 18000 participants, we were grouped by estimated 1 mile pace, or, in the case of us walkers, back with the Elvis impersonators, Oscar Meyer Wiener, Michael Jackson lookalikes, and the Palmer Chiropractic College spine, 1 person per vertabra, decked out in molded styrofoam.

Race day broke party cloudy, in the 60's with low humidity. Perfect. Margaret and I assumed our position, and the gun went off. 10 min later, we reached the starting line.

2:50 later we reached the finish, but we were so far behind that the electronic timing apparatus had already been disassembled. Nothing but our memories and a few photos to mark our passing. Here they are. Margaret the gregarious one couldn't resist being caught for posterity with the attending celebrities.


Part of the Palmer Chiropractic Spine

Margaret and an Army unit from Clinton, IA

Margaret with a select group of Elvis impersonators

Margaret with the Oscar Meyer Wiener

Margaret with the Michael Jackson Dance-A-Like winner

Friday, July 10, 2009

Performers flying under the radar: Angela Hewitt and Tish Hinojosa

I love music, and am always eager to put in a plug for those artists whose work I enjoy, but who are not likely to be on the Tonight Show in the near future (hee hee).

These two women are wonderful talents with widely different sounds and subject material.

Angela Hewitt is a Canadian pianist, most of whose work I know is Baroque. I'm awating 2 CDs of Bach concertos, and if they are anything like the unaccompained pieces, they will be super. So far, I have JS Bach, Couperin, Rameau, and Chabrier. Yes, Chabrier is not Baroque. I ordered it without checking, but serendipity struck. It's beautiful.
Update: The Bach Concertos have arrived, and are as wonderful as I hoped they would be.

Tish Hinojosa (he-no-HO-suh) sings Tex-Mex music with themes of homeland, home life,and the Southwest. I'm sure the first time I heard her was on Austin City Limits. She sings just about evenly between Spanish and English, with a crystalline voice. My two favorite CDs are Homeland and A Heart Wide Open. I have on order Our Little Planet, and will let you know about it soon. I have seen Tish in concert, and afterwards she came out into the lobby and talked and signed autographs. Of course, the full house was about 200 of us.

Update: I have listened to Our Little Planet. It is more countryish (steel guitar, etc) and to me not as personal as the previous CDs. It will be very good for my morning walks.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dreaded Thursday

Thursday is one of my regularly scheduled golf days. This year, out of 9 possible days, 3 have been rainouts. Last Thursday, we ATTEMPTED to play 18 holes to make up for one of the previous rainouts.

Group 1 teed off at noon as anticipated, with radar indicating only minor showers, which were supposed to breeze through quickly. At first, that is just what happened. HOWEVER, 15 minutes later we got about 2 inches of rain in 20 minutes. The first fairway looked like the Mississippi had suddenly altered its channel. In 20 + years of play on the course, it is by far the most water I have ever seen.

There is a small creek just forward of the first tee. Our intrepid pioneers had to wait about 30 minutes before the torrent had subsided sufficiently so they could cross the bridge and return to the clubhouse. Some of the others went down to cheer them across. The rest of us remained in the clubhouse and improved our lies. Business at the Circle Tap picked up early.

Next week, we are renaming Thursday Xyzday in hopes that the weather gods will give us a break.

Two weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday at the Tap. Since it was # 59, I believe next year I'll just try to sneak past it, but I doubt if my loving sisters will go for that.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bonnie Raitt and other stuff

Bonnie Bonnie Bonnie

On May 4th I had the great pleasure of hearing Bonnie Raitt in concert for the second time. She is my favorite performer and I listen to her every day. She is both an incredible guitarist and singer, and her songs reflect a wide range of styles and moods.

The first time was in St. Louis. Not only was the concert fabulous, but I was able to dine at Riddle's Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar, just a few blocks away. It's decor can only be described as early bowling alley. I don't think any of the furniture matches. However, the cuisine is what I would describe as contemporary American, and it's excellent.

This time was in Peoria, a town in which I don't know the restaurant scene, so nothing to report in that vein. Again, the concert was wonderful. Whenever the first few bars of "I can't make you love me" are played, the crowd goes wild. What a great ballad.

I've planted my veggies (tomatoes,peppers, chives,basil) and will also have to mow the grass for the eighth time. It's looking the best I can ever remember, thick and bright green.

Just starting to flog the golfing pill around, so I'll have many lies to tell about that sport. My buddies are playing today, but the course they selected is for masochists, if not suicidal types, so I declined the opportunity.

I'll be writing about my varied musical interests soon (4000 in itunes) , so be ready and "Rock Steady (duet by Bonnie with Brian Adams from Road Tested).


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hi, I'm kenabeck, and new to blogging, so be patient. My interests are music (I'm listening to Angela Hewitt playing Rameau at the moment), food, travel, sports, and the social sciences. My lilac is just about ready to bloom, which will provide some wonderful color and fragrance. Here in the midwest we have had a gloomly winter, so a fresh day like today is very invigorating. I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes and golf lies with you in the near future.