Category: Swill Food and Grog

Cast Iron Treasure Acquired

I am soooooo tickled. I finally scored me a proper, OLD, cast iron griddle (the stitches where they took out the kidney I sold to pay for it still have to get yanked, and I’m sore as shit, but, HEY! GOT. MUH. GRIDDLE.) It is SO PRET-TEE!!!

PRET-TEE Wagner 11¼” 1110A Griddle
So pret-tee, pret-tee, PRET-TEE!!

You might be wondering what, besides being an addictive sort of personality (it’s inherited, don’t you judge me), would have someone scouring our admittedly sad little thrift and “antique” shops here in Pcola for such a specific thing.

It wasn’t a “what,” it was a “who.”

Her name is Brenda Gantt, and she’s from the state next door, and she is just KILLING me with her old timey cooking.

I dare you to watch this video of her making buttermilk biscuits without your jaw dropping to the floor, and without a sudden, OVERWHELMING urge to find yerself a CAST IRON GRIDDLE popping into your head.

Had to get me one, and it wasn’t easy. OR cheap. I was going to be pretty specific in my search – no Lodge anything – and knew there’d be some skyhigh prices for the older stuff like Wagner or Griswold. I was hoping to luck into a Birmingham Stove and Range (BSR) or other local, not quite as famous, but same quality piece. (I have one of their skillets, and schweet!) But what surprised me was the dearth of griddles, especially the larger sizes. I wound up ordering from a wonderfully talented cast iron restorer in PISCATAWAY, New Jersey. Thank you, Jesus, for the innerwebs. I am very much going to enjoy turning this beauty black with goo again.

Here she is making Potato Patties.

When I get a chance, Ima break into that biscuit thing, and will post failure or success. It’s worked for Brenda. She’s got, like, 2.8 MILLION followers now, does her hair up pretty, clothes are better, real production values, and all in the space of a year! Did you guys know Bingley used to chat with the Pioneer Woman Rhee Drummond way back when we were all blogging away? Really. He did! She was just as nice as I imagine Brenda is.

Old timey cooks seem to be that way. Unfussy and friendly.

We’ll see how friendly I am if I mess these biscuits up.

Sweet Potato Snausage Hash


Rib Tickling

Dinner was, anyway.

Put major dad to work last night. Pecan and hickory smoked Memphis style, dry rub babyback ribs, box macaroni, fennel salad.


Dinner Last Night

For dinner last night, grilled herb pork chops, box stuffing and avocado salad.

major dad has got the pork chop perfection thing NAILED, lemme tell you.

Dessert was a choice of sour orange pie, or toasted sourdough maple walnut bread, LOTS of buddah.?

ROLL me over, Beethoven!

Honestly – it’s the only way I got off the couch last night. #PuercaGorda


No, NOT JOE BIDEN! (C’mon, MAN!)

He’s more of a mushroom, in any event.

These FRICKIN’ KICK ASS brownies I made, that’s what!

Banana Brownies

NOW, THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! And NOW you wanna know how to make them, right?

I gotcha covered.

Go get you some a’ this stuff for the icing and the brownies…

  • 1/3C butter, browned
  • 1C brown sugar, packed
  • 3T milk
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 2C powdered sugar
  • milk for thinning
  • 1 1/2C brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4C white sugar
  • 1/2C melted butter
  • 1/2C canola oil
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/8t cloves
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 2C cake flour
  • 1/4t salt

…and then watch this sweet lady named Donna put it all together.


You are SO gonna owe me for this one…

Birthday Breakfast Done Right

In Her Darkest Hour…

America finds a New Hero

An Idaho Falls man and two others were in hot water after being found with cooking pots and two chickens in a thermal area of Yellowstone National Park.

A ranger received reports on Aug. 7 that a group was hiking toward Shoshone Geyser Basin with cooking pots, a park spokeswoman told Friday. The ranger responded and discovered two whole chickens in a burlap sack sitting in a hot spring with a cooking pot nearby.

It Wasn’t Me. I Swear.

I have an alibi.


And if I don’t, I’ll invent one:

A Florida seafood company is less than happy that someone decided to loot its oysters. So they’re offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
On Tuesday, Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. learned that 17,000 oysters were stolen from its East Bay property, according to a Pensacola Oyster instagram post.

There Be Burgers

Nothing Makes the House Smell Better

…than citrus and spices in a rolling boil on the stove.

That you slap fat, luscious duck breasts into once it cools. 😀

Okay, here’s how we whipped together Citrus Brined Duck Breasts last night.

I used a riff on a recipe I scribbled on a piece of paper in the mid 80’s, while watching one of A&E’s interminable cooking shows (remember when they had programming like that?)
For 2 duck breasts:

Had 2 juicy oranges and a lime left in the fridge, so halved, juiced and flung them into a 3 qt saucepan. Added what was left of the kosher salt in the cellar on the counter, which was about 1/4 C with about 3 T of sugar* and 2 heaping T of FRESH pickling spices. Cover with water to about 1/2 of the pan, bring to a rolling boil and give it a minute or two to really get going. Then turn it off, take it off the heat, let it cool.

We hit the commissary while it cooled down.

Got back from grocery shopping, it was still a tad warm, popped it in the fridge while I got the duck breasts out. Laid them in an oval dish, strained the still-sort-of-warm brine over the top (by “strained” I mean “kept the big pieces out”), covered with plastic wrap and into the fridge for the next 3-4 hours. If they’re not floating in the liquid, get in there and rotate them every once in a while so the brine makes it to every BIT of the breast.

Get your grill cranking.

The original recipe said 4-6 hours, but life isn’t like that. I think we had 3 1/2, tops. OUT they came. Dry them off, LIGHTLY score the skin, then salt and pepper.

Skin side down on the actual fire, hash mark them. (Watch for flame-ups, because once the skin starts to render, DUCK GREASE BURNS!) Meat side down for a few seconds, then move off the direct flame, turn heat down and finish roasting until you read 130° for medium rare (We went to 135° and they were just a hair to close to medium, but still ever so juicy.)(Sincerely, do NOT overcook duck. DO. NOT.). Immediately prior to the very end, paint with the veriest shimmer of a GOOD BarBQ sauce and let it set. You DON’T want it coated. Just a glaze, a HINT of smokey sweet.

Let them rest while you get the rest of your meal organized and then slice across the grain.

We just had a salad, biscuits and roasted cauliflower.

Worked out great. And even with a truncated brine time, the subtle spices in the duck were divine.

That’s a keeper.

*for ALL my cooking/baking, I ONLY use raw cane sugar, organic or otherwise. Its grassy flavor adds an unbelievable nuance to anything you’re doing, especially baking.

Please Don’t Read This Post

…until I’ve had a chance to stock the larder.

Thank you.

Now you can panic.

Nation’s bacon reserves hit 50-year low as prices rise

The country’s bacon reserves are at the lowest levels in half a century.

In other words, pig farmers can’t keep up with the world’s sizzling appetite for those fatty, smoky strips of sheer eating pleasure.

The Ohio Pork Council, a Columbus-based non-profit, reported Tuesday that demand for frozen pork belly, frequently made into bacon, is outpacing supply.

“Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever,” said Rich Deaton, president of the organization. “Yet our reserves are still depleting.”

There are literally not enough little piggies going to market.

When Bingley Indulges His Oyster Addiction and GORGES

…he’s saving the planet.

You never knew he was so conscientiously Gaia-friendly, did you?

How a Billion Oysters Are Set to Change New York’s Harbor
The Billion Oyster Project is restoring the harbor, once oyster at a time

New Yorkers eat up to half a million oysters in local restaurants every week. However, what most people probably don’t know is that after they’ve shucked and guzzled, those empty oyster shells go on to help the city.

Not only did oysters used to be the native keystone species of New York Harbor, but they also act as water filterers, provide habitat for other marine species and attenuate wave energy. Enter the Billion Oyster Project (BOP), the ever-expanding operation that is spearheading the race to reinstate oysters and reefs to the city’s harbor.

Formally established in 2014, BOP is a non-profit ecosystem restoration and education project that endeavors to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor by 2030. By securing would-be discarded oyster shells from top regional restaurants, curing and preparing them for reuse to grow new oysters—up to 20 per saved shell—to build habitat, the aim is to improve the quality of both the Harbor and the city.

Public Service Announcement: Dr. Alice Wants to Know

…what everyone’s cooking for the Fourth.

I’ve got Chilton County peaches with blueberries crumble top pie in the oven right now and major dad is smoking ribs. Pictures shortly.

Hot dogs tomorrow.

What’re YOU guys doing? If you’ve got pictures, email me. I’ll put ’em up.

Chilton County Peaches with Blueberries Pah

Chilton County Peaches with Blueberries Pah

Be Cheerful, Enjoy Your Life

Words to live by.

A 2,400 year-old mosaic featuring a wine-drinking skeleton and the ancient equivalent of a self-help message has been uncovered in Turkey.

Reclining on a cushion, the skeleton holds a wine cup in one hand while bread and an amphora of wine sit close to hand. Above it, in Greek, is written the phrase, “be cheerful, enjoy your life”.

The mosaic was found in the Turkish province of Hatay near the Syrian border and was part of a richly-decorated floor of what was most likely a wealthy family’s dining room.


Because No One Has Given Me A Good Reason Not To 


I Need A Jolt Of Patriotism 

and I’ve found it here


I’m a sucker for new bourbons, and when I saw the above bottle I couldn’t resist (plus, at $22, really what’s the downside?).

I would give you detailed tasting notes but I have to admit this sums it up perfectly:

The 1776 Rye is full of spiciness and flavor due to the high rye content. Because the flavor profile packs such a punch is goes great in mixed drinks. It also strong enough to drink without worrying about the flavor getting watered down.

I would say that drinking full strempf is a a bit iffy. If you are used to drinking it straight and like a good strong bite than its definitely for you. If you struggle with strong whiskies than id stick to it on the rocks or mixed.

A shot of this stuff is going to be rough on almost anyone, its has a real harsh bite. But hey, unless you want the Sons of Liberty to think you’re a huge puss you should at least take one.


Put a bottle of this in front of the candidates and require them to slam ’em down.

I Tried 

I really tried to wait.

Sort of.

Time To Update The Cookware

We do like to eat here at Chateau Bingley, and that means we really need to like to cook as well. Oh sure, it’s a great excuse to empty several bottles of wine over the course of a few hours I grant you, but, still, even if we didn’t have the wine component I’m sure we’d still cook a lot. I’m not willing to test that hypothesis obviously.

Anyhoo, a rather key element in the cooking is the cookware, and I’ve reached (well, honestly, past) the point where I need to replace what I’ve been using for the past, gosh, 11 years or so at least, an Ameriware set I picked up at Costco. It’s served us exceedingly well but the non-stick coating is worn off in lots of spots and it doesn’t really do all that I want. I have a bunch of cast iron as well, which I love for certain things but ain’t no way I’d go completely cast iron.

At first of course I was looking at replacing it with another set of something, but as I thought about it it made more sense to look at the way we cook and live and choose some specific pieces based on that. The first question was non-stick or not? My current set was all non-stick, and that turned out to be less than satisfactory in some situations. What do I mainly use the non-stick for? Frying eggs, sautéing veggies, pancakes, that sort of stuff. So the first purchase was this 2-pack of 10″ Tramontina Proline frying pans for $30 (i.e. 15 each!) at my local Costco.

They have very good reviews, are made here in the US of A, and honestly for $15 each they are, in effect, almost disposable if they don’t work out. Having used them now a few times I am very pleased as the non-stick surface is amazingly slick; in fact, it’s almost too slick: this morning I was frying 4 eggs in one and I was having trouble getting the spatula under the eggs to flip them. The damn things kept sliding all around. So I’m pleased with these so far, as they are very easy to clean with just some warm soapy water.

The second part of this breakfast focus is a griddle. I’ve tried making eggs in a frame in a big skillet but it just was too crowded, and we had an old old griddle pan that my Bride had from before we got hitched that really properly belongs in a SuperFund site, so I decided to give this Nordic Ware 12″ griddle a try


cast aluminum, non-stick, made in the USA, slightly angled so the sausage grease/egg butter can ooze into the channel in the front…it looks like it should do the trick, and I’ll try it out tomorrow. And again, for $22 not a huge investment.

We don’t eat anywhere near the amount of rice and other such carbs that we used to, but I will keep my 2 qt non-stick pot for awhile, as that is a perfect use for non-stick (having burnt rice into many a cheap pan in college).

If you have been unfortunate enough to see my cooking posts, you’ll note that almost everything is done in one main pan, the 12″ sauté pan. It has been a tremendous workhorse and I knew this was the one that needed the most thought before replacing for it did have some things I didn’t like. It couldn’t go in the oven. It had a straight lip so it made a mess when you tried to pour out of it. And it was impossible to pour out of anyway because it didn’t have a long handle, only two short ones on either side. But the non-stick made cooking very easy (risotto was never ever a problem in that puppy) and it made the cleaning very easy (just warm soapy water as always). I was very tempted to get a newer non-stick version that claims you can put it in the oven, but then i thought about the fact that I am rough on pans, I have a cabinet that they get tossed and stacked in and many a non stick surface gets scratched by the base of the pan above it when they get stacked in the cabinet. Also, my current set was made of titanium and damn near every single one was dented and no longer perfectly round due to the rough and tumble life, so I decided to go back to my roots on this workhouse: stainless steel. This Cuisinart 5-1/2 Qt stainless sauté pan pretty much checked off every box I was looking for


mirror smooth finish, nice handle, rolled rim so it pours drip-free, steel lid (good god I would break those “tempered glass” lids in an instant!), oven-safe to 500º, and it goes in the dishwasher. I haven’t cooked on it yet, and I do anticipate a little bit of a learning curve to remind myself how to limit food from sticking when using stainless, but I look forward to it.

The one pot I’m still working on replacing is my sauce workhorse, which is a 6 qt stock pot.

All in due time.

Well It’s After Noon 

I’ve waited long enough.


A Night To Celebrate 

or maybe cry; you see, we just sent off the last tuition check for Daughter’s college.
So I pulled out an old Australian Shiraz to celebrate 

At 15.7 alcohol it has held up pretty well, but has gotten even more syrupy;it’s almost port-like. 
I hope I can stay awake long enough to finish making dinner…

Dinner Was Alright For A Wednesday 

Lemon pepper green beans, mashed yukon golds with neufchatel, parmesan and pecorino, and filets cooked in the cast iron skillet topped with blue cheese, fresh chive, and lemon juice butter.
Oh and wine.


Double decker eggs in a frame with pork roll and cheese 


Oh And The Pahs Are Cooling Down 


Starting The Broccoli Rabe

Daughter’s home and has demanded it.

What I’m Drinking This Moment 

But now it’s empty.

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