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  1. Bitser

    Chef Convicted: 1 Dead, 31 sickened by shepherd's pie!

    "A church harvest supper at a village pub ended in tragedy when one of the congregation was killed and 31 others suffered food poisoning after eating a shepherd’s pie filled with mince that had been incorrectly prepared by a rushing chef. Elizabeth Neuman, 92, repeatedly vomited after...
  2. Bitser

    Sourdough Starter Problem

    We've had the same starter for 20-odd years and recently it's gone off. Does anyone recognize this blight?
  3. Bitser


    Just cut some oregano and marjoram in the greenhouse, which along with the sage, has filled the downstairs wine cellar with a gorgeous perfume.
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    Space Tacos!

    Astronauts on the International Space Station have grown chile peppers in orbit and used them to jazz up their tacos.
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    Roasting Green Chile

    The market had a box of big, thick-fleshed, mild Anaheim chiles, so I bought a bag to roast on the grill. Once they're well-scorched, they go into a plastic bag to steam, then cool off in the fridge. Today, I stemmed, cored, seeded, and peeled them, not my favorite job. Once both...
  6. Bitser

    Tactical Chef's Apron

    Saw this on FaceBook and hoped it was a joke.
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    Non-petroleum Charcoal Starter Fluid

    Just noticed this at WalMart: a non-petroleum starter fluid for charcoal. Made from alcohol and vegetable oil. We have a couple charcoal starter chimneys, but I usually put in a squirt of starter fluid to get things going, rather than trying to stuff more wads of paper underneath when it...
  8. Bitser

    Wood-fired Micro Grill

    Writing gear reviews used to be my business, and I scored quite a few test samples. I've had a Bio Lite camp stove for years. It has a battery-powered fan that's charged by the heat of the fire, and can also charge a mobile phone from a USB port. I wasn't keen on the shape of the combustion...
  9. Bitser

    What's Good– Monday August 2

    Did a second cutting of the greenhouse basil. I plant thickly and cut the tallest stems, at the peak. Roasted a couple heads of garlic (trick– slice off the root end, roast at 275° for about 25 minutes, and squeeze the cloves out without having to peel them, which I hate). Got good parmesan...
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    Antique or Unusual Cookware

    Here are photos of a Griswold #8 waffle iron found in a old log chicken house, built around 1880. The iron was first sold around 1900. Pieces separated, top: Bottom:
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    Cubanos & Panini

    Saw a movie—Chef—about a guy who loses his restaurant and gets a food truck that sells Cuban sandwiches. It does really well and helps him get his life back on track. A Cubano is a crusty roll split and spread with mayo and mustard, and filled with sliced ham, sliced roast pork, swiss...
  12. Bitser

    ANZAC Biscuits

    These originated during WW I when cooks in Australia and New Zealand wanted to send baked goods to the troops that would keep and also be somewhat healthy. I learned to make them when we lived in New Zealand, where everyone bakes them and hands them out on ANZAC Day, 25 April. It commemorates...
  13. Bitser

    How to Cook a Dragon?

    Just got back from a hunting trip to Middle Earth. Bagged a nice, fat yearling dragon, in prime flesh. Lanced him in the throat, so I didn't tear up any meat. But here's the rub— searching high and low, I can't find a recipe for dragon, let alone a draconian cookbook. There is a diagram...
  14. Bitser

    Veggie Lasagna

    Started with olive oil, minced garlic, and puree from our greenhouse roma tomatoes. Added red wine and an Italian herb mix. Simmered forever. Made veggie ricotta from firm tofu, lemon juice, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper, with an immersion blender. The food co-op sells veggie...
  15. Bitser

    She's going vegetarian. . .

    And I'm the cook. We have quite a stash of meat in the freezer, including sausages and such that I cured at home. Once the meat is used up, I'll confront my own moral panic. But 'til then, I've been cooking a dual menu. Tonight, we had a half-and-half pizza: my part had homemade Italian...
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    Best reasonably-priced wine/food matches?

    We love wine and have a decent cellar, with some upmarket bottles. But I'm thinking more of a resource for weeknight cooking on a budget. No hideously expensive wines, nor ultra-cheap plonk, either. A range of $8-20 per bottle seems reasonable. I'll open with a wine we love. We buy it by...
  17. Bitser

    Dry Curing Sausage and Bacon

    Our basement is dry and cold, so I built a box out of scrap from a greenhouse for curing meat. Added a 150W panel heater that wasn't warm enough for my wife and a little humidifier made for a cigar humidor. (There are garden potatoes stored below the box.) It works really well...
  18. Bitser

    Solar Cookers

    Built the first one 40 years ago, for my mother who didn't want to use the oven on hot days. When she died, I got it back and still have it. The reflective stuff is from a discarded wildfire shelter. Here's a similar one built for a recycling contest (it won). The top is polycarbonate...
  19. Bitser

    Divided Frypans

    My wife is attempting a plant-based diet, which I share in part. But there are times when I prefer my accustomed meat, eggs, etc. Rather than using several pans and all the burners on the stove, I bought a couple divided frypans. A two-sided one by Anolon– And a triple skillet by...
  20. Bitser

    Sourdough Ciabatta

    Lately, I've been making bread by combining sourdough starter with instant yeast, which gives a fast rise and wonderful texture. Here's a batch of ciabattamade with King Arthur white whole wheat flour and cooked on a stone. Tried the combination for a seed loaf, similar to the...
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    Big Sky High

    I live about 35 miles from where I was born, in southeast Wyoming, in a river valley in the Medicine Bow Range at 7800 ft. Before coming back, I spent time in in Utah, California, and New Zealand. I started cooking a long time ago, as a campjack for a ranch, spending a few months in the...
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