just for fun

Monday, August 25, 2008

what's better than chocolate?

i am a big fan of biscuits and sausage gravy.

not everybody is...

...and i get that. not everyone likes meat and therefore would not enjoy meat byproducts. other people are health conscious and prefer not to eat things that are just pure bad for you.

while i am a big fan of sausage gravy, i'm also a very particular fan of it. years ago just after college, it was practically a weekend tradition to cook up a big pan of sausage, then fix a big pan of gravy and finally pile it all together with some heart stopping buttery biscuits.

as it turns out, there are many things in life that are not at all like riding a bike.

if you aren't in the habit of making meat gravies, they just don't turn out well. you've got to practice to get it just right. ten years later, the last couple of times i've tried, its been a flop. but my attempts are not nearly as bad as anything i've purchased here in this southwestern town. las vegas isn't exactly known for its homey fatty southern cooking so naturally no one here is going to do sausage gravy well.

but then i remembered a recipe a coworker shared with me a few years ago. it is not at all for sausage gravy, but its that sort of kentucky recipe that makes you feel at home on a saturday morning. it seems strange, i know, but it is for chocolate gravy and you really do put it on biscuits. the buttery the better! it's perfectly bad for you and delightfully warm and comforting in that way carby things usually are. my coworker explained that his mother, aunts, and grandmother, from the hills of eastern kentucky, had been making this his whole life. i was given a stern warning to not burn the milk and i'll pass that on to you, in all caps even . and while this is not sausage gravy, it will do very well for now until i can move back east and visit a bob evans restaurant.

chocolate gravy
by hannah newsome

4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
3-4 heaping tablespoons flour
3-4 heaping tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

pour milk into medium saucepan. cook milk on medium to med-high. DO NOT USE HIGH. DO NOT BURN THE MILK. while milk is warming, mix dry ingredients well, pour 1/3 of your milk into dry ingredients to make a paste. return paste to saucepan with remaining milk. stir continuously until it thickens. pour over biscuits, breads, anything really. enjoy!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

fairground food

i've tried fried twinkies. i've tried fried oreos. i've tried many of the odd things they sell on sticks. that's what going to the fair is all about, right? paying way to much for a corn dog, cotton candy and some random deep fried thing, then riding the tilterwhurl until it all nearly comes back up.

this week the today show featured a really odd new fairground food:

yeah. it's chocolate covered bacon. i just keep staring at it. the online poll (not scientific in any way) shows 34% would try it since they enjoy other salty/sweet combos, 45% would not try it since it sounds gross, and 21% don't know if they would try it because they are still sitting on their couches staring dumbfounded (possibly with an eye twitch even).

for complete article and info:

bacon makes everything taste better...even chocolate?

**post script: this is my 300th post! my how time flies.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

this is not a derby pie

officially, derby pie was created in 1950 by the melrose inn in prospect, kentucky. the restaurant's owners were a couple named kern, and they were helped in creating this pie by a pack of children. derby pie is more or less just a pecan pie with chocolate chips and maybe a little bourbon. the name "Derby Pie" was apparently chosen because, like a variety of other quarrelsome kentucky families, they all wanted to name it something different. i guess there were too many options to flip a coin or play rock/paper/scissors, so they put all names into a hat. i have no idea what the other name options were but derby pie was the winner. since then, they've gotten a little over protective of their stuff.

this is what wiki had to say about it all:

The name "Derby Pie" is a registered trademark of Kern's Kitchen, which registered the name in 1968. The company uses the name in the form "DERBY-PIE®" in official literature and advertisements. Kern's Kitchen diligently guards the trademark and secret recipe, which is known only to a small group of Kern family members and a single Kern's Kitchen employee (who actually mixes the recipe today). The company has filed several lawsuits over the years to protect its commercial rights. Because of this, others who make similar pies have had to alter their recipes slightly and/or use a different name (such as "Pegasus Pie", a reference to the Pegasus Parade at the Kentucky Derby Festival and May Day Pie, in reference to the First Saturday in May, the day of the Kentucky Derby).

on the one hand, i get it, whether its pirating movies or making your own derby pie. you've got a business and you want to sell your whatevers and you don't want everyone else to just be able to get that whatever without having bought it from you. on the other hand, i'm stuck out here forever far away from a derby pie store. so obviously, i don't know the official derby pie recipe and if i did know it, i wouldn't share it from fear of the kern family. what i'm going to share with you is a recipe for pecan pie with chocolate chips, and maybe a little bourbon.

pecan pie with chocolate chips, and maybe a little bourbon


do what you want. make your own from scratch or buy a premade one from the store.


1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 tablespoons bourbon

beat eggs with cooled butter. add flour & sugar. beat until mixed well. stir in pecans, chocolate & bourbon. pour mixture into pie shell. bake at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until set. serve with whipped cream (i'm sure fresh whipped cream is great but i don't recall the last time i tried it. that canned stuff is right up my alley) or vanilla ice cream, or both!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

finding my place

i think over this past year and a half, i've done everything i could subconsciencely do to make sure i didn't like it here and did not fit in. i haven't met anyone or done anything or gone anywhere. we moved out here thinking it would probably be for about three years. however, when we made that decision, i didn't know how little i would like it here. and now that we are about half way through this tour, maybe i'm ready to branch out a little. last month i joined a book club, and i went to a pampered chef party. this month i took a cooking class and learned how to make a spanish dish called paella. i went to the mall with some of the girls at work, and we got free makeovers at the makeup counters. i've joined a five week study that covers various christian disciplines (fasting, meditation, various types of prayer dating back all the way to the 2nd century church). and last night we invited another couple over for dinner and cards.

there is a guy in national guard with andrew who also happens to work at tsa with andrew (though not at the same shift) so we invited him and his wife over. i think it went really well. nothing disasterous happened with the food. conversation was really interesting, or at least never dragged. we never got around to playing any cards, so i guess we'll have to get together again, which i think works out well, since i'm really new at this whole having a life thing.

you know how embassies are technically property of their own government? inside the land and building of the u.s. embassy in wherever is technically u.s. land. if you are inside the embassy, you are inside the united states, even though if you step outside the door you are in mexico or south africa. i think i've felt that way about my apartment. not that the inside of my apartment is in kentucky, but that it is not in nevada. i step through the door and my apartment is my little safe haven that is just simply territory somewhere else, which allows me to live here without really living here. its a little odd that the time is halfway over and i'm finally starting to try to live here in nevada.

Friday, August 01, 2008

would you believe that this memory stick still works??

zoecat was underfoot. i got all tangled up in the laptop cord and her tail and the three of us took a tumble. the laptop landed squarely on the memory stick, whose outside casing is bent out on both sides. i think the usb port it was in is no longer functional but the naked memory stick is still stickin.