Weird Breakfast

I am of mixed ethnicity. My father was Filipino and my mother was Irish. Both loved to cook. Both loved foods from all over the world.  My father grew up eating Filipino food, rice, lots of fish and traditional Filipino cuisine. When he came to the US at the age of 14, he settled in Oakland and became a short order cook before he went into the Army. My mother grew up in the state of Washington, redneck Irish as my Aunt Ardelia used to say. She knew how to make traditional Irish food like corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. Since her mother’s family had come from Ireland and settled in West Virginia, my mom also grew up making southern food, biscuits, country gravy, fried chicken, collard greens with bacon, pork chops with red eye gravy. She grew her own veggies, canned them and made all kinds of other canned items like stewed tomatoes. She also made her own jams and jellies. But my mom had also been married before and my brother and sisters’ father had owned a Chinese restaurant in Seattle. My mom got the chef to teach her classic Chinese dishes like pineapple chicken, chow mein, and barbeque pork. Yum.

breakfastingredientsSo I grew up learning how to make all kinds of foods, breads and desserts. I make my version of some of the things I learned, but I also make things exactly as my parents did. And since my brother Tom had worked as a sous chef for years for Hyatt, I learned a few things from him too. Today, for breakfast, I made something that has influences from both my parents and my brother.

Raiding the fridge, I had some rice, eggs, and linguica. Linguica is a Portuguese sausage made with wine vinegar. It’s just my favorite sausage in the world. When I was a kid, the sausage came raw and my father would steam it in the cast iron skillet then fry it once the water had boiled away. My dad loved this sausage. He’d become a fan during his years living in Oakland. I don’t know how he discovered it, but I’m so glad he did because it’s so yummy!

I decided to make Filipino fried rice with linguica and eggs with curry, something my brother made for me when I was a kid. It sounds weird, but it tastes great! I think all my nieces and nephews grew up eating Uncle Tom’s curried eggs. I know my daughter certainly did. Curried eggs and fried rice is one of Annicka’s favorite foods. My brother made it for her all the time when she was small.

So I start out by checking out the rice. Rott bought it the day before at Flame Broiler. It’s cheaper to make it myself, but alas, in the motel I have no pot or rice cooker. Unfortunately, the idiots at Flame Broiler didn’t seal the lid on the bowl so the rice is hard and dried a little. I leave the lid cracked and stick the bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes. If the rice is still a little hard, I’ll add a tablespoon of water and nuke it again. Steamed rice isn’t difficult to bring back from a dried state, especially if you’re making fried rice out of it.

linguicasizzleI slice the linguica and fry it up in a pan. Sizzle, sizzle! I take it out of the pan when it’s crispy on the outside and dump in the steamed rice. I add salt (like potatoes, rice needs salt!) and garlic powder. My dad used to say that Filipino fried rice was never the same twice, which isn’t exactly true. See, Filipino fried rice is made with whatever you have on hand. My dad would make it with bacon, sausage, linguica, pork steak…whatever meat he had on hand. He loved making it with linguica which turns the rice orange from the linguica grease. He would always cook the meat first and then make the rice in the meat drippings. He felt that to not use the drippings was a waste. Now, my dad, unlike other Filipinos, was not a fan of dumping veggies in the rice, especially those stupid canned or frozen peas and carrots. He hated those. He would put fresh veggies in scrambled eggs or omeletes, but never fried rice. He did say it wasn’t Fililpino rice without fresh garlic or garlic powder though.

riceinpanOnce the rice is all saturated in the drippings and fried up, it’s time for eggs. Oooh…eggie weggs. To answer your question about whether I can handle eggs, the answer is YES. Hey, my dad was a short order cook! I can flip eggs with the best of them!

eggiewegNow, I’m not a fan of sunny side up eggs. I like em over easy. Before I flip them though, I gotta hit em with yellow curry powder. This is my brother Tom’s trick and it is a yummy one.

eggcurryYou can try it the first time with just a light sprinkle. If you like it, season it to taste the next time. I like a good, heavy sprinkle as you can see above.

overeasyThere they are, flipped and unbroken. Told you I could do it. 😉  Next, the eggs are dropped onto that rice fried in linguica drippings.

breakfastAnd last, but not least, I mess up that pretty picture by mixing the egg with the rice. Chop, chop, mix, mix, yolk all over the rice…My kid can tell you, it might look like a mashed up mess, but those curried fried eggs mixed with fried rice are sooooo good!

eggsandriceAnd there you have it, my weird breakfast. It’s not a one person meal so since Annicka isn’t here, about half or a little more than half goes into a bowl for dinner or breakfast tomorrow.  The babies don’t really like to eat the linguica, but they love the drippings, which I let them have to help with their fur balls.

I doubt you’ll get another post from me for at least a week. I don’t do breakfast during the work week. Actually, I often don’t do dinner during the work week. I just get too tired and a $1 taco from Del Taco sounds like heaven when I’m exhausted. So I don’t think I can do one of these posts, fun as they are, when I do make dinner, but you never know. Maybe I’ll be back in a day or two with some photos from dinner, just to prove I can do it.

SAK_Fb2On the writing front, I’m working on a novella for MLR Press and I hope to have it finished soon. VJ Summers and I are in talks with our editor at Loose Id regarding the possibility of them contracting Partners and us finishing the sequel, Masks. I have asked for my rights back to Scrambling, which is currently at Loose Id. I’m hoping to self-pub it for a lower price when I get it back in the fall. So anyone who wanted to read it, but didn’t care for the high price will have a chance to read it now. In fact, I’m considering going Kindle Unlimited with it. A lot of MM books do very well on KU and I think I may want Scrambling to have that chance.

Hope you’re having a wonderful, safe Independence Day!

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Homeless Brats and Beans for the Fourth

When you’re homeless and without your gas grill or an oven or even a crock pot, you find ways to make do.  We have a 2 electric (ugh) burner stove and a microwave in the motel. I don’t even have my cast iron pan. I do have a couple of decent Farberware pans though. But without a grill, I can’t make grilled brats. Without an oven, I can’t make baked beans. So what can I do this Fourth of July weekend? I can make Homeless Brats and Beans!

I sent Rott (aka my old man) to the grocery store. He brought me back the wrong brats. It was so noisy in the store that when I told him to get me a package of Johnsonville RAW brats, he didn’t even hear me. Well, he heard Johnsonville and brats so this is what he brought me.

bratsNow, if you know me, I’m not the type who sends the poor guy back to the store. I don’t get mad at him either. He’s trying. He’s just not a cook so he is clueless when I send him on a grocery mission. And our mission communication was a bit off since he couldn’t hear me in his earpiece due to the noise of the crowds in the store. Besides, sending him to take something back is always the wrong thing to do. He curses more than you’ve ever heard someone curse and he gets way more angry and frustrated than a normal person would. After eighteen years, I know better than to ask him to do things that I know will end up with him coming home pissed off.

chiliesnbeansBefore I start with the cooking, let me tell you about how I cook…some of this, a pinch of that, a squirt or a dash of this or the other, a handful of this…You get the picture. I don’t exactly measure anything. Being exact is what you do when you’re baking something that requires precision in measuring. Most cooking I do doesn’t require that kind of precision so don’t expect exact measurements from me on what I’m doing here.

Okay, so instead of cooking raw brats in a can of Boddingtons swiped from the fridge (ale he hasn’t been drinking anyway cause he really doesn’t drink unless he’s so pissed off he’s ready to stab someone) now I have to deal with smoked brats that are already cooked. What do I do with them? I slice them! Thick slices, cut on the diagonal. I set them aside.

brats_slicedNext, I chop up a bit of onion I had in the fridge. And I add to that some chopped green chilies. I almost had Rott get me a can of jalapenos. But I didn’t want to deal with a fresh jalapeno because you know, seeds and such. I’m lazy, especially when I don’t have a real kitchen.  I don’t even have my chef’s knife, although the small knife I have here is super sharp! I tend to keep my knives, all the knives, that way. A little something I learned from my Dad…a kitchen without a sharp knife is no kitchen.

onionsI had the stupidity to have forgotten to have Rott get me a few slices of Applewood smoked bacon. Eff. Me. What are beans without bacon? If I could get pork belly in the store I would, but I have yet to see it in Stater Bros market and I’m not sending Rott into Whole Foods Market after it. For one, it’s probably hideously expensive in Whole Foods and for another that place drives him completely bonkers. And at the motel, I don’t have a way to deep fry it anyway. If you have bacon, go ahead, dice it, cook it crisp, and then remove the bacon from the grease. Setting it on a paper towel to drain is best.Applewood-Smoked-Center-Cut-BaconWithout bacon, I have to make do. I have a bit of bacon grease stored in the fridge. I use this to cook my onions and chilies. Now, if I didn’t have a sensitive gut, I would really have made this with chopped red bell pepper and half a fresh chopped jalapeno. Feel free to make yours with those ingredients and as much jalapeno as you want. Canned jalapenos work too, but they aren’t as flavorful or hot as the fresh jalapeno. I used to be able to eat those things, but alas, no longer. So onion and mild green chilies it is. Saute them in the bacon grease until the onions are translucent and the red pepper (if you use it) is soft.  Remove the veggies. You can put them on the same paper towel as the bacon if you want.veggiesauteNow, I drop those nice chunks of bratwurst in the hot pan. Sizzle, sizzle. I cook them until they have a nice carmelization on them. (This smells especially delish if you’re using the brats cooked in beer.) Then, I dump in the bacon bits and veggies. Stir em up, just a minute will work. And into the pan goes a can of beans. Choose your favorite or make your own from scratch. There’s the old fashioned Campbell’s Pork and Beans or if you’re like me, one of the gazillion flavors of Bush’s Beans works really well.

sizzleSeason these however works best for you. Me, I dump in some sea salt, a couple twists from the pepper grinder, garlic powder or I use fresh garlic when cooking the veggies if I have it. You can also add a splash of Worcestershire Sauce, a heaping teaspoon of golden brown sugar (Bush’s Honey Baked Beans are already sweet so sugar not really needed), a squirt of mustard or a teaspoon of powered Coleman’s mustard, a squirt of ketchup, and a squirt of soy sauce. When I use raw brats, cooked in beer, I also add a dash of liquid smoke. I’ve also been known to add a dash of yellow curry once in a while, although usually, I reserve the curry for when I make over easy eggs, but that’s a recipe for another day.

bratsnbeansNow, normally, I’d do this in a cast iron skillet. I’d put some raw bacon on the top and I’d pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes, until the bacon on top is crisp. Here in the motel, I have to make the Homeless version of everything. So I stir everything together, bring to a boil, turn the temp down to simmer (a hard thing to do on an electric stove, ugh) and cover with a lid or foil. I want all the flavors to marry while I slow cook this for about 30-45 minutes.

bowlofbeansWhile it’s cooking, I slice up part of a Portuguese Linguica sausage. I fry it up and set it aside. When the beans and brats are done, I put the linguica on top, like an edible garnish, since I don’t have an oven to bake bacon on top. You can also use a mix of linguica and brats in the dish itself. Linguica is amazing sausage! It’s not traditional in the least and neither are these beans. It’s just one way to still have your baked beans when you are homeless and without the resources and things you normally have. It’s a little spicier than normal baked beans especially if you use the red pepper and jalapeno (which also makes it very colorful and pretty!), but it’s still good stuff.linguicaBefore I sign off, don’t forget, Winterheart Design has buy a book cover, get a free book trailer this 4th of July weekend. Your purchase helps keep us from living in our car and sending our cats to the pound. Also, keep a lookout for a blog post from me on what’s happening with my publishing career and what books you can expect to see from me soon.

Happy Fourth of July!

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