Holy crap, has it really been a month? Sorry about that! No cooking posts or anything, and that isn’t right. I’ve been busy working and also obsessively keeping an eye on how Below is being received. And so far so good; the reviews are all overwhelmingly positive, and lately starting to pick up a little steam. Family drama (my wife’s side) somewhat dominated last month, throwing a lot of things off, and the weekends got busy with returning shows. How I’ve missed those.
This month brings us the typical end-of-summer runaround, with last-minute weekend things and of course preparing for the Great New York State Fair. Last year’s Fair was a mixed bag, with the half-finished renovations throwing everything out of whack and the Fair managing to tick quite a few vendors off, but hopefully everything will be settled this year. My mouth is already watering for steak tips and mushrooms, fried mac and cheese, fried mashed potatoes, and other favorite goodies.
I owe you guys an interesting cooking post, so here’s a quickie. Last weekend for Game of Thrones night, I decided I wanted to make loaded fries again, with cheese and crumbled bacon. I did that a couple of times before and it’s always worked out nicely, but I make the cheese sauce myself with sodium citrate and that takes a little time. This time I took the easy route, and bought a box of Velveeta cheese sauce packages—the kind you get with shells and cheese—at Walmart. (I can’t buy it at Wegmans for some reason. It always saddens me when Wegmans doesn’t carry something they should.) This saved me some time, which was nice, and I’ll probably do that more in the future. One packet of sauce was just right for a bowl of loaded fries.
Not too long ago, I also discovered that you can use bacon grease to cook French fries, and holy crap is that amazing. I take a couple tablespoons and melt them in the microwave, then put my portion of frozen fries in a plastic bag and pour on the bacon grease, and mix it all around to coat every fry. Finally I dump the fries onto a baking sheet, and once the oven is preheated I throw them in. They still need salt at the end, but the extra flavor from the bacon grease is totally worth it. If you’ve never tried this, and like me you keep leftover bacon grease around to cook with, you have to give this a shot.
This time I also nuked up my bacon crumbles a tad to improve their texture (and temperature) a little bit. When you buy them they’re more chewy than anything else, and while I didn’t want crunchy I wanted them to head somewhere in that direction.
This is totally going to be one of my go-tos for football season. That and teriyaki chicken wings and chicken Parmesan meatballs, of course.
Sometime soonish I’m also going to have to buy a new Christmas tree. I bought one last year to replace the old one that dropped plastic needles everywhere, but I was wildly unhappy with the new tree. I’m used to a hook design for the branches, and the new tree was hinged. The thing about hinged trees is, fluffing them sucks and de-fluffing them to put them away sucks harder, and all this is a hundred times worse in a small space. I need to go back to a hook tree, no exceptions. Preferably another Douglas fir.