By William Board #3
I had to lay low for a couple weeks after my failed attempt at a shared egg economy, I call it an eggonomy. Jimmy was angry at first. He said he thought his hens where sick because he reckoned they weren’t laying. Then he complained that he’s got a fridge full of pickled eggs of questionable origin. I calmed him down with half a finger of shine (which he doesn’t know where I hide). I reproached him for denigrating my picked egg recipe. Then, after he tried a few, he solemnly swore they were in fact the best pickled eggs he’d had. Still, I gotta lay low, they look like hippies but they just don’t get me.
So I figured with my time away in the woods I’d meditate some on what my eggonomy looks like. Jim pointed out (though I disagree) that when you have no eggs to share your eggonomy crumbles. I studied on disproving Jim and his pessimism. And I sat, and I thought, and I experienced some pretty deep stuff. In the end I knew what I had to do; borrow something nice from someone and lend it to Jim. It’s a satisfying thing drawing difficult conclusions, and I was satisfied right down to the ground.
I will now feast tonight. I’ll make my favorite Mr. Sutton medley, shrimp and grits. Like most of my recipes it’s not so much a recipe as a philosophy. You gotta make due with what you have so to speak. And I’ve come up flush with some shrimp, but I imagine you could use scallop or haddock.
Clarify 4 tbsp. of butter. Chop up two medium onions, add a bay leaf or two. Fry up your onion until it is translucent. Add 2-3 tbsp of flour (the more flour you use, the thicker your gravy will be. If it’s too lumpy add some olive oil until the flour dissolves.
Immediately add your spices. This is where I encourage you take a little artistic license. For me, I use ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper, a pinch of marjoram, a pinch of thyme, and a ½ tsp. ground mustard seed. Use a couple of tbsp. of fresh parsley when the gravy is done. If you don’t have fresh parsley add ½ tbsp dried parsley now. Add a tbsp. dried chives, then add 1 tbsp. of BullyGoth Herb and Mushroom Blend (Sacha and Jim like me to plug them so I suppose you could use any herb and mushroom blend, but you may as well get it from them).
After a minute or so, when your spices are activated, add a chopped tomato. You should probably add a mess of mushrooms while your at it. I like to use a cup of dried oyster or shiitake mushrooms, but fresh will work too. Cook that a bit, and then add three cloves of chopped garlic. Cook that one minute more. Things are moving fast at this point, so add 2 cups of chicken broth, 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce, 3 dashes of Tabasco (or another of your favorite hot sauces). Add salt and pepper to taste, you may not need much salt depending on the power of your chicken broth. Cook that down for 10-20 minutes.
Add your shrimp. They don’t need long, 8 minutes or so in your simmering gravy, then at the very end when you are just a few minutes away from serving this master piece add two different colors of thinly sliced (the long way) bell peppers. Serve this with cheesy grits, rice , rice pasta, couscous, or egg noodles. Hope you enjoy that.
I’ll let you know next time how I make out with Jim and Sacha after I borrow something real nice for them. I’m sure everything will be on the up and up. For now this is your bud Bill, over and out.
By William Board #2
Mr. Sutton has a decent wood stove in ’em, but it’s not like I even needed it this winter as it’s been so mild. I enjoy living on the BullyGoth Farm and all is well. I just had to move my school bus though… Sacha ended up catching me… I’d say… “borrowing a jug of jimmy’s wine”. She didn’t buy the “I have to save the lad from himself” routine. Later that day James had to break it to me that he had talked Sacha in to letting me stay, never to take his wine again, and that I had to move Mr. Sutton out of view of the house. You know, it’s a nicer spot where I am now, and I do like my privacy.
So I find myself with a surplus of eggs (until Sacha and Jimmy catch on I’m take’en ’em from their chicken coop). I figure I’ll get ’em while the gettin’s good, then pickle all I can. And if any one can pickle an egg it’s me. I met this old hobo Hwain Oarris one time. He was steeling horses outside of Lone Prairie to take East and try sell to the Mounties. Any way, this guy could pickle a mean egg and I begged him like a dog for the recipe. In the end, I won it from him when I came up flush in a poker game… poor’Ol Hwainy, he never could read my poker face.
I digress… for every dozen eggs, take 2 ½ cups of vinegar (apple cider or white), 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp. pickling spice mix, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tbsp. brown sugar. That is the brine.
Then for each jar, you put in some nice raw onion, a clove of garlic, and a bay leaf.
Hard boil then peel all the eggs. Pack them into glass jars with the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Bring the brine to a boil and stir to make sure every thing is dissolved. Let the brine cool then pour it over the eggs. Put the cap on them, stick them in the fridge for two weeks and enjoy. I like four or six of them for breakfast, and as a hang over prevention I eat one with every beer. It doesn’t work with whiskey.
Now, poor old Mr. Sutton doesn’t have a refrigerator so I’ll have to gear something up pretty soon. Maybe Jim will have some room in his fridge, it’s not like he has any eggs…
By William Board #1
Most 76 year old’s who live in their friends backyard in an old school bus, don’t start off thinking things will go that way. Really, life couldn’t be better. The fishing is good on Mink Lake; the wild greens (and what I can steal from Sacha’s garden) are plentiful, and the mushroom hunting is amazing (not to mention the shiitake logs I poach from the BullyGoth)… And what kind of name is BullyGoth? This tenuous explanation involving an old cat just doesn’t make sense to me. Any way, I digress. I should make it quick, the wifi’s touchy out here in this School bus I’ve affectionately named Mr. Sutton.
Although it is winter now, I still cook most of my food on the camp fire out side and on the wood stove in Mr. Sutton. Sacha doesn’t like me in the house but once a week or so; due to my culinary skills she lets me come in and cook dinner for her and Jim from time to time. Jimmy Seeks me out more often. I’m like an oracle of some sort to him. We drink home-brew wine, play a few tunes and carry on. He’s fine company and keeps me from becoming a complete hermit.
I love cooking, especially in the open air. Though my means may look primitive, you’ll find the poof is in the pudding. All you really need is a good knife, cutting board, and a couple of cast-iron fry pans. In the spring I start off with a wild sorrel and chick weed salad and follow that up with some deer meat (venison) whatever you what to call it; maybe some lake fish, I’m not fussy on what kind. I always make a gravy with whatever kind of herbs I can poach from Sacha’s garden. Follow that up with some chapati or railway biscuit, and really boys and girls you got yourself something. The Queen of England herself or Mrs. Obama could dine at my table and leave feeling like their very own mothers had just fed them. That is basically the long and short of my cooking abilities.
So, let’s take the BullyGoth Cream of Mushroom Soup Blend. Well I can boast that I sat and drank Jimmy’s wine while he and Sacha honed the recipe. I just kept saying “no, no” until they got it right. Without me, it just wouldn’t be so delicious. A lavish amount of dried shitake, portobello, button, and oyster mushrooms combined with BullyGoth herb blend (a perfect mix of sage, lemon balm, parsley, thyme, and chives) all in a nifty pack.
All you have to do is pour the pack of mushrooms and herbs in 2 cups of hot beef, chicken, or vegetable broth. Put that aside for 20 minutes while you start the rue.
Take 1/4 cup butter or oil, 4tbsp flour, and one medium onion. You may want to fry the onion a while before you add the flour, it depends how you like it. Don’t over-cook the rue, it’s cream of mushroom soup, not jambalaya.
Once the rue is cooked (about 3 minutes on medium heat), add 4 cups of milk, 1 tsp. salt (or more if that’s how you like it and the doctors haven’t gotten to you yet). Add the bouillon, herbs and mushrooms you had set aside, then simmer that on low heat just under a boil for 15 minutes. You don’t want to boil it hard, it might scald the milk.
Voila! Eat it up with biscuit, corn bread, or serve it as an opener to a big dinner. I like it for lunch with crackers.
Any way, I’ll keep this blog going until I get kicked out. But it’s hard kicking some poor old hippie out of a school bus in mid-winter.