Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Chile or Chili, it's still Green.

May 5th, Cinco de Mayo is today, so a perfect opportunity to talk about chile peppers.  Is it Chile or Chili?  If it is the country in South America, it is Chile.  If it is the singer from the group "TLC", it is Chilli; and when it is very cold outside, well that is Chilly.  However, when it is the vegetable, it is the Green Chile Pepper, but when exactly does it become Chili?  Then there is the plural, is it Chiles or Chilies?  Confusing, and so many sources have so many definitions; so many recipes use the spellings so interchangeably.  Let’s just get to the story of the Chile Pepper itself and the most popular one in the Southwest is the New Mexico Green Chile Pepper, primarily grown in Hatch, New Mexico.  Oh yes, there are numerous types of chile peppers within the United States, and worldwide, but I am just going to focus on this one type for now.

Hatch chiles (ies) are available in a canned version, all roasted, seeded and peeled for you which is advantageous if you cannot find fresh chiles in your area.  This is what I had to do when I lived in Lancaster, PA, and while convenient, there was still that metallic taste from the aluminum cans to contend with.  Nope, there is no better alternative to fresh chiles than fresh chiles.

Roasting vegetables such as the chile pepper is actually not that difficult.  No, you do not need that large barrel type roaster you may have seen on a cooking show or outside of Walmart in Cortez, CO.  Your own barbeque grill, stove top burner (gas only), or oven will do will do that job, and very well.  Do make sure to grease up the rack on your grill or in your oven; otherwise the chiles will stick and tear apart when being removed.

Remember, you can do the roasting technique, not just for chile peppers, but those large bell peppers too.  When jalapenos are roasted, they become known as chipotle, so be careful if you are one of those people who says, "I hate jalapenos, but love chipotles"; they're the same. Anyway, once the peppers are blackened, place them in a brown paper bag, seal it and let the steam from the peppers make your work easier. Once the peppers are warm to the touch, the skins will easily peel off; give the stems a twist and pull the seed pods right out. Give them a rinse, let them dry and they can be frozen for up to six months, or used immediately.

 


Two items you can make with your roasted peppers are Green Chile (or Chili) Sauce and Salsa Verde. With Salsa Verde, it is made using tomatillo instead of actual green tomatoes. The tomatillo, also known as tomato verde (green tomato) or Mexican husk cherry is related to the gooseberry, and in the nightshade family.

 


Basic Green Chile Sauce

Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. canola oil

6 large green chile peppers; roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped

1 tsp. cumin

2 cups water

Salt

Preparation:

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat; sauté' onion until softened; the garlic should be added when you see the onion just beginning to soften. Reduce heat to low, add the peppers, cumin and water; simmer for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally. Puree to desired consistency using a blender or immersion blender; add salt to taste.  Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.

Basic Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

6 tomatillos, removed from husks and washed

Water

1/4 chopped onion

1 clove garlic

3 large green chile peppers; roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped

Salt

Preparation:

Place tomatillos and water into a large saucepan; on medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.Quarter the tomatillos; add tomatillos, onion, garlic and peppers to a blender. Set on puree and slowly add 1/4 cup water until ingredients achieve a smooth texture.  Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.

You now have two sauces, but what to do with them?  While you can enjoy them as dips for a party, they can be used in such Mexican recipes as enchiladas or burritos; used as toppings for a breakfast skillet or even in a main dish.  Here is a simple recipe you can make quickly at home; rice, grilled vegetables or a salad can serve as the side dish.

Green Chile Chicken

 Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

8 skinless chicken tenderloins

1 tsp. Mexican oregano

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

2 Tbsp. white wine (NOT cooking wine, real wine!)

1 cup green chile sauce, warmed

8 tsp. diced red tomatoes

Preparation:

In a large skillet, medium-high heat, heat the oil; place the chicken "skin side up" and evenly sprinkle with the oregano, black pepper and salt.   Brown chicken for 3 minutes.


Turn the tenderloins over, remove the skillet from the heat and add the white wine; this will keep the wine from accidentally catching on fire.  Remember, you are not making a flambé', just searing the chicken.  Set back on heat and cook 3 minutes before removing from skillet.   

Two tenderloins per serving, a tablespoon of sauce over each plus a teaspoon of diced red tomatoes.  You will get the heat temperature from the seared chicken and warmed sauce; the spicy heat of the green chiles grabs you; but now the cool, sweetness of the tomatoes gives you a full flavor taste explosion in your mouth. Mexican style rice, grilled vegetables or even a simple salad as a side, makes this a complete meal; and there is the key word: simple.

Enjoy and Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Mary Cokenour

 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Such a Sweet Tart.

When I was a child, one dessert, that adorned the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables, was egg custard.  A firm, yet smooth and creamy, confection within its own small bowl; topped with a sprinkling of nutmeg.  No whipped cream, or any other topping, needed; it was pure perfection as is.  Once we moved to Pennsylvania, and began frequenting the farmers markets, custard pies were offered at every bake stall.  The filling was the same wonderful egg custard, but now baked inside a flaky pie crust.  The best part, I could have this all year long!  No more waiting for those two special winter holidays.  What could make it even better?  Learning to make it myself, and not depend on someone else to create it, or hope there was any left at the market to purchase.

So, of course, as with most of my food related articles, a bit of origin/historical want of knowledge nudges my brain into research mode.  While the French and the British debate on which country invented custard first, it was actually developed in Ancient Roman times.  Bakers and cooks understood the binding power of the incredible, edible egg.  Simmering milk, eggs and honey, in a clay pot, within a wood burning oven, the coagulation of egg proteins thickens the milk during baking.  The ingredients formed a firm texture, yet still had a slight wiggle in the center.

With the invasion of Britain, the Romans also brought with them their culture, and that includes food techniques, tools and recipes.  By the Middle Ages, the English were baking, boiling or steaming their custards.  The French though were adding fruit and fresh cream, then baking the mixture in a round, flat crust which became known as a tart.   While tart referred to “a flat open-topped pastry”, it was not until the 1800s that tart began to refer to “a woman of ill repute”.  Which might answer a question regarding the several cookbooks I have on pioneer cooking, “Why did they make puddings and custards, but no tarts with these fillings?”  Of course, later on in the 1900s, pudding and custard pies began making the rounds of the home kitchen.

Now I must warn you, while the recipe calls for the filling to go to the top edge of the pie crust, be prepared for spillage.  Aluminum foil covering the rack, and even a sheet on the oven bottom itself, will prevent a load of burnt on cleanup afterwards.  Maybe others have a better way of getting a very loose filling into a pie crust, but I have tried several techniques, and always manage to spill.  So I admit to being a baking klutz, but my goodies are still quite delicious, if not runway model perfect.

For this recipe, I also substituted Swerve for the sugar; due to my need for lower sugar content.  Allowing the pie to cool completely, for at least two hours, in the refrigerator, will give it a firm texture, but remain smooth and creamy.  Also, use whole milk as a lower fat milk will cause a need to bake the pie up to an hour longer.


Egg Custard Pie

 

Ingredients

1 cup sugar (can substitute with 1 cup Swerve Granular or Truvia Baking Blend)

6 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. nutmeg, divided in half

2 and 1/2 cups whole milk

1 deep dish pie crust, frozen, unbaked

 

Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking rack with aluminum foil, in case of spillage.

 

Beat together sugar, eggs, vanilla and ½ tsp. nutmeg.  Add milk and whisk until smooth; pour mixture into pie shell. Sprinkle remaining ½ tsp. nutmeg lightly on top of the custard.  Carefully place pie into oven, on top of foil.



 

Bake for 45-60 minutes; filling will rise and firm up, with very slight looseness in center.  Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes before placing into refrigerator to completely cool; about two hours.

Makes 1 pie, 8 servings.

 




While delicious as is, adding fresh fruit to the top, or on the side will pretty it up.  Whipped cream, I have found, washes out the flavor of the custard and nutmeg.  Enjoy your sweet tart!

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Main ST. Drug & Boutique is Community Proud.

Main ST. Drug & Boutique

140 S Main Street

Monticello, UT, 84535

Phone: 435-587-2302

Fax: 435-587-3441

Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs.: 9:30a.m.-6p.m., Fri: 9:30a.m.-2p.m, Sat-Sun: Closed

Website: https://www.mymainstreetdrug.com/



“I am Grateful, Happy and Blessed, but most of all, I am Thankful, truly Thankful for all the support shown and given by the community.” ~~ Tim Young, Owner and Doctor of Pharmacy


 








Now while the quote would typically be the ending of this article, this beginning will best be understood by beginning at, what else, the beginning.

While the Great Depression wrecked financial havoc, there was one place to go, in Monticello, to help ease the stress for a short while.  This was The Oasis, a confectionery store owned by George “Uncle Mutt” Palmer and, brother-in-law, Claude “Hop” Foy.  It offered up scoops of creamy ice creams, cold soft drinks, sundaes with a multitude of toppings, and a variety of treats to satisfy the sweet tooth.  The back room of The Oasis became a gathering place for the local men to play cards.  George Palmer leased the building to J. Ward Palmer, and off to Provo he went to find a new fortune.  1936, Ward built The Little Theater, in the back half of The Oasis; it could seat 120 people.  What a way to spend a Friday or Saturday afternoon or evening; a movie, a cold drink and ice cream!

However, 1938, George returned to Monticello and wanted his business back; not much Ward could do to stop him.  1939, a building boon began in Monticello, and only one block south three new shops opened up, Palmer’s Confectionery, The Little Theater, and the Bailey and Wood Market.  The Oasis closed its doors, and that is where The Merc resides today.  Of course, the construction of the Monticello Millsite caused the building boon to go Boom!  More shops, and affordable housing, for the workers, who moved to Monticello, were built. 

1940
 
March 2021

This has what to do with the pharmacy?  Now get yourself a cold drink, maybe some ice cream, and keep reading.  Main ST. Drug & Boutique is where Palmer’s Confectionery once conducted business.  The façade of the building has changed little, except the inclusion of a second floor.  To become the business it is today though, tragedy had to befall two residents of Blanding.

Jumping to 1960, the Pay Day Drug Store was purchased by Thomas Wesley Brockmeier, and his wife Emma Mae, originally from Springville, UT.  By 1965, the name had been changed to Leader Drug Store.  November 24, 1965, Thomas, with his son Tommy, was flying a Cessna 210, when it crashed near Payson, AZ; killing both.   In the spring of 1966, the business was sold to a pharmacist in Salt Lake City, Kirk Nielson.  Kirk, and wife Maxine, loaded up their seven children to make their home in Blanding, and become the community’s new pharmacist. In the same year, Kirk purchased the old Palmer’s Confectionery building; he named both businesses San Juan Pharmacy.  Eventually Kirk inspired three of his sons to also become pharmacists.  After the death of the family patriarch, the businesses were run by the sons.  Lee Nielson and his wife were there for 15 years, before selling it to Ken Nielson; who eventually sold the Monticello store to Tim Young, in 2007.

…and now for Tim Young’s story.  Born (1976), and raised, in Monticello, Tim did his undergraduate studies at State University of Utah, Cedar City.  Now Tim had dabbled in various types of work, but what did he truly want to do as a life goal?  He had to make a checklist, and see what industry fit into his plans.  First, it had to be a skill that could be useful anywhere; being useful was a very important factor.  Since Tim wanted to return to Monticello, it also had to be a skill that would fit into, not just a small town scenario, but the region as a whole.  Attending Idaho State University, he found his interest to be geared towards Organic Chemistry, but what field would that lead him to?  Research?  Doctor of some specialty?  After speaking with fellow students, and professionals in medical fields, the business side of a pharmacy peaked his interest.  It was a business, it was useful, and he knew it would be something to build a productive life on. To become a pharmacist, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, also known as a Pharm. D. degree was required, and that is exactly what Tim focused upon.

In between obtaining his degree, and the building, Tim married Sydney.  Married 23 years, this May of 2021 (and Tim was very careful to remember the exact number of years), children were born and raised, a house made into a home, and establishing himself within the community.  Being born and raised, himself, was not enough, he wanted a stronger foothold based upon giving to the community, and developing a good reputation as a businessman.  For two years, Tim served as a City councilman, but he knew Monticello needed more guidance into the future.  Running for mayor was the next step, and he easily won the peoples’ vote.  He is serving his seventh year, but once his eighth year is up (2022), so will be his mayoral tenure. 

Tim’s time is currently spent 80% with family and business, and 20% devoted to the government sector.  “The City staff has done a great job taking care of things, and I think I have been fair at looking at both sides, and finding the best solutions.  Sometimes someone will not come in due to a decision the City Council has made, but I cannot control that.”  So, after ten years in City government, Tim will be 100% all about family and business.

Before getting into future plans, let me tell you all about Main ST. Drug & Boutique.  Originally San Juan Pharmacy, it was felt that a name change was necessary, due to the same named pharmacy down in Blanding.  No, it was not a competition issue, as the two stores would often run sales together, and definitely promote each other.  It was due to suppliers, pharmaceutical and sundry, that kept confusing the two shops.  Orders were often sent to the wrong address, and with medications needed in a timely manner, that simply could not continue.  2009 became the year of change, not just for the name, but for what the shop would sell.

Of course the main focus was the pharmacy, OTC healthcare and self-care.  There is a daily delivery of medical supplies, so ordering a specific item is no problem.  Tim listens to his customers, and works diligently to make sure their wants and needs are satisfied.  I can attest to the fact that he is knowledgeable about what he sells; and will do whatever he can to get the best pricing on prescriptions.  This is no huge chain store that tells you an item is in stock, makes you travel to their location, only to tell you, “Sorry, not in stock yet”.  You will receive a call from Tim, if there are any issues, and a specific time of delivery to the store.  Heck, I have even had Tim visit my home, after closing, delivering a late received item, to make sure I would not do without.  Would a chain store do that!?!

 

How has Covid-19 affected business?  “It was hard not allowing people to come into the store at first.  We tried to make things go smoothly by offering home deliveries, back door pickups, and mailings.  In fact, we’re still doing it even though we’re allowed to open, and keep open, our doors, to customers.  People need their medications, and we have to make sure they get them when they need them.”~~Tim Young

 There is one more benefit to the pharmacy, and that is compounding.  Drug compounding is often regarded as the process of combining, mixing, or altering ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Compounding includes the combining of two or more drugs, as prescribed by a doctor.  Besides another pharmacy in Durango, CO; Tim’s shop is the only other that will do compounding, in the 4 Corners area.  Otherwise, the nearest pharmacy is in Spanish Fork, so unless you enjoy the journey there, Main ST. is for this special need.


 

Best selling items for personal wellness are probiotics, vitamins/supplements, and allergy medications.  There are many other standard brand products, but special requests and doctor ordered are, once again, no problem.  Personal care also includes hair salon products, foot care, braces, bedding, baby care and first aid. 

 



There is more to personal wellbeing than medications though; with offerings of toys, silly pillows, cards for any occasion, home décor, jewelry, and clothing.  




Originally, under the San Juan Pharmacy name, the majority of items sold was home décor, but that has drastically changed.  This is where I now introduce Sydney, Tim’s wife, the greater woman behind the great man, and the person in charge of ordering.  It would be so easy to buy in bulk, offering a few nondescript sundries that so many people could buy; but how boring would that be?  The store is meant to be useful to the community, and that also encompasses being unique, and offering unique goods.  Sydney goes to many showcases, researching what is being pushed; making sure not to follow a current fad or trend that will be out of style too soon. 

 

She also has an eye for style, so is it any wonder she has a clothing line, with friend, and coworker, Monique?  The name of the line is Moxsi Apparel which sells at the store, as well as online (https://moxsiapparel.com/).  While Sydney and Monique are not designers themselves, they search out artisans and designers, picking out the best goods, and rebranding under the Moxsi label.  The clothing is geared for the woman, of any age, to look fabulous in any situation; and feel good while looking good.

 


Now is the time to write about my very favorite part of Main ST. Drug & Boutique; the snacks, treats, and sweets.  Brandy is the front end manager and basically runs what is not pharmacy based.  She sets up the displays to catch the eye, and helps bringing in sale items that are unique as well. With her vast experience in the food industry, she does this unique purchasing very well.

 



Two new items are The Crispery and Candy Club.  What is The Crispery?  It was founded by a stay at home mom, Judy Soldinger, in 1995.  Brandy knew of her, as she lived in a nearby town, in Virginia, and wanted to promote the business.  Personally, I am hooked on these, and mint chocolate and coconut are my faves.   Let the website explain what they are, “The gooey sweetness of the marshmallow and the delectable crunch of the crispies come together in a treat that is handmade to perfection. One bite and you’ll enter the Crispery Zone where treats are always soft and gooey, never hard and sticky.”  Basically, this is the ultimate rice crispy treat!  The price charged, for each, is only $4.99 which is much cheaper than ordering directly from the website, and no shipping charge either.  So many flavors, candy additions, and often there is a specialty treat geared to a holiday.

 

Candy Club are six ounce or 13 ounce, reusable glass jars, full of a variety of candies…sweets, sours, hard, chewy, gummy, chocolate covered, etc.  There are also gift sets available.  All I really know is that I posted a photo on Facebook, and there were so many comments of, “I love those!”

 








Also available are Now Real Food organic nuts, seeds and dried fruits, Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, brand name candies, and Abdallah Chocolates and Sweets.  Abdallah has been making gourmet chocolates, using the finest ingredients, for four generations.  They also offer a selection of sugar free chocolates for those who crave chocolate, but have to avoid real sugar.  When it comes to most items sold, Tim admits that his customers have made consumables popular, and desired items.




Now I asked Tim, “What is your favorite area of the store?” and he answered with, “The Jelly Belly display, and especially the Jordan Almonds, I can’t stop eating those!  I tell Brandy not to order them, but they’re popular, so she has to.”  “Now Tim”, I said, “just go to a lot of Italian weddings, and they’re a must to have.”  He admitted that is exactly why they are such a huge seller, for weddings.

Of course, the jelly beans are what make the Jelly Belly brand so popular in itself.  I personally enjoy mixing up lemon, lime, orange, pineapple and cherry flavors; it’s like a fruit salad!  Of course my husband has to burst my delusional bubble by informing me that they are not a real serving of fruit.  Hey, I can dream!

 



Speaking of weddings, Main ST. does have a gift registry, and for any other occasion, order up gift bags or baskets.  Brandy, herself, will pick specific items to please, pamper and satisfy for birthdays, holidays, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, or any other special day.

For the future, the idea of expansion has come to mind several times.  With San Juan Credit Union moving out of next door, “There is only a wall between us and the other section.”  However, what would expansion mean?  Main ST. keeps its integrity by, once again, being unique, not following fleeting fads, listening to customers and bringing in what they want and need.  Main ST. does not want to be just “every other store”.

Main ST. Drug & Boutique has a motto, “Trusted Care from People We Know”.   All employees are treated as friends and family; and Tim feels blessed that his employees treat all customers the same way.  Whatever the future may hold, the overall goal is to create a good experience for every person who comes in.  No question will be too ridiculous to answer.

So, here is the end, and a good place to repeat the end, that was the beginning…

“I am Grateful, Happy and Blessed, but most of all, I am Thankful, truly Thankful for all the support shown and given by the community.” ~~ Tim Young, Owner and Doctor of Pharmacy

Mary Cokenour

 

 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Happy Little Trees

Now, as much as I enjoyed watching Bob Ross, on PBS, Saturday afternoons, my talent in painting went as far as that.  I tried, many a time, with several paint mediums, but my eyes and hand simply did not agree on the images.  I did not give up on finding my artistic talents though, and outdoor photography became one.  Photography of the landscapes, wildlife and plant life became a natural talent within me.  One just has to peruse my travel blog (http://www.southwestbrowneyes.com/), or visit the Hideout Community Center in Monticello, UT, to view my photos.

But enough about my artwork, and let’s get back to those happy little trees.  No, I am not referring to maples, oaks, pines or the many varieties of flowering trees.  I am writing about…Broccoli!  Mother Nature’s edible trees, growing in a bunch, up from a fertile ground; to be chopped, steamed, sautéed, baked, or any number of ways to cook it.

Eaten cooked or raw, broccoli contains a truckload of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; ready for the list?  One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli packs:

Carbs: 6 grams

Protein: 2.6 gram

Fat: 0.3 grams

Fiber: 2.4 grams

Vitamin C: 135% of the RDI

Vitamin A: 11% of the RDI

Vitamin K: 116% of the RDI

Vitamin B9 (Folate): 14% of the RDI

Potassium: 8% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 6% of the RDI

Selenium: 3% of the RDI

Broccoli also contains measurable amounts of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eyes.

...and that is just the short list!  To get the full impact, I recommend reading Top 14 Health Benefits of Broccoli (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-broccoli).

When purchasing broccoli, I tend to buy more than I actually need for a recipe.  Why?  Food storage of course!  Remember all that hoarding that started up March of 2020, and fresh, frozen, even canned, vegetables were difficult to find?  That is why food prep and storage is an important aspect for any home.  Whether family related, friends sharing, running a B&B, even on your own…prep and store!

While there are many sites online teaching about this, I would like to recommend a book, just for some historical, yet pretty interesting reading, Plain but Wholesome, Food Ways of the Mormon Pioneers by Brock Cheney.  While it mainly deals with the history of the Mormons trek to Utah, and life in developing the state; it gives details, and recipes, of many food items they either brought with them, or grew later on.







Back to my prep and food storage of broccoli.  I use steaming and freezing; chop up the broccoli, steam for 5 minutes, let slightly cool, place in freezer bags, label with name and date, and into the freezer for future use. Steaming helps retain the nutritional qualities of the broccoli, and the green of the happy little trees pops!   

 


I have seen it recommended that the broccoli be immersed into cold water, to stop the cooking process.  I have found that this method allows too much water to cling to the broccoli, and with freezing, that means too much ice development.  That is just my experience though.  

Why not just chop up the broccoli and freeze, without steaming?  Carbon dioxide gas will cause the broccoli to develop a grayish tint; and bright green is so much prettier to eat.

Now for a delicious soup recipe that is easy and comforting; so nice for cold, windy and snowy winter days.  Even after four hours of cooking, the broccoli will have a slight crunch, yet still be tender.  It might seem light on seasoning, in the recipe, yet the flavors are fully absorbed throughout.

 


Crock Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli florets, cut into small bite sized pieces

1/2 cup diced onion

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp. coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 and ½ cups half and half

4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese or 2 cups Monterey jack + 2 cups Cheddar

 

Preparation:

Combine the broccoli, onion, stock, salt and pepper into a 4-quart crock pot; cook on low for four hours.






 

After four hours, set crock pot to high.  Take out one cup of liquid.  





Create a roux by melting the butter, medium-high heat, in a large sauce pan; whisk in the flour.  Slowly add in the liquid, continuing to whisk, and then slowly whisk in the half and half.

Add the shredded cheese to the roux mixture, on cup at a time, until it is fully melted and combined. 

 





Add the cheese sauce to the crock pot and stir it in to combine.  Let it continue to cook in the crock pot an additional 15 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

 



Note: For a creamier soup, before adding the cheese sauce, pulverize the broccoli and onion with an immersion blender.  Then continue with cheese sauce and added cooking time.

Picture it, sitting in a cozy chair, bowl of soup cradled in the lap, and reading a good book; maybe on food prep and storage!  Enjoy and keep positive.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Done Up in a Bun.

There I was, perched upon the edge of the sofa, eyes glued to the television screen, adrenaline pumping…Yes!  Tombstone tears into MadCatter, metallic armor flying to all corners of the arena, and it’s a KO!  That’s correct folks, we are fans of Battlebots, featured on the Discovery Channel.  Hearing, “It’s robot fighting time!” means the sofa will only be vacated during commercials, so not one bit of action is missed.

Thankfully, my buns in the oven were set to a timer which just happened to chime at commercial time.  Otherwise, well they would have been more on the mature side, then planned upon.

“Bun in the oven”, a phrase meaning to be pregnant or expecting a baby.  Originating in the novel, Cruel Sea, by Nicholas Monserrate, published in 1951, a character named Bennett says, “I bet you left a bun in the oven, both of you”, to a couple that just spent an intimate night together.  But why the reference of a baking bun to a baby?   According to the Oxford Online Dictionary, the phrase is a pun, “As a bun grows in size when baked in the oven, similarly, an unborn child grows in the womb of the mother.”

Typically a baked bun is small, sometimes sweet, bread-based, comes in many shapes and sizes, with a rounded top and flat bottom. Well, babies are considered to be sweet, come in different weights (sizes), have a round head and flat feet; sure I can see it.

Buns are usually made from flour, sugar, milk, yeast and butter.  Common sweet varieties can contain chopped fruits or nuts, may be topped with icing, or a sweet drizzle like caramel; or filled with jam or cream.  Other types of buns are used to fill with various meats, cheeses and vegetables; perfect examples are hotdog, hamburger or sandwich buns.

Depending on the culture a "bun" may also refer to particular types of filled dumplings, such as Chinese baozi, or bao, a type of yeast-leavened filled bun.  There are many variations in fillings (meat, vegetables or combination of both), and preparation is either steamed or baked.  You have seen me mention “Roast Pork Buns”, and these are delectable, hand held buns usually found in Chinese bakeries.  Personally, I could eat six in one seating, and still be craving more; that’s how spectacular in flavor, taste and texture they are.  No plans to get to Chinatown in New York City or Philadelphia anytime soon?  Head into Moab and Bangkok House Too; they offer up steamed pork buns as an appetizer.

While the recipe I will be giving you is not the Chinese version, it can be easily made in the home kitchen, using beef, pork or chicken.  Normally, I would make this recipe, shred the meat and spoon it atop sandwich buns; a salad on the side of macaroni or potato, or maybe macaroni and cheese.

However, when watching an exciting show, like Battlebots, you most certainly do not want to be balancing any sort of plate on your lap.  The excitement will be so much, well that plate will go flying, like the shell off Captain Shrederator!  Better to take your chances with a bun in one hand, and make sure not to slap it with the other hand.

 


BBQ Beef Buns

 Ingredients:

2 lbs. lean beef roast or London broil; cut into 4 lengthwise pieces

1 and ½ cups diced red bell pepper

1 and ½ cups diced red onion

1 (18 oz.) bottle hickory smoked barbeque sauce

4 (8 count) cans refrigerated biscuits

Water

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. milk




Preparation:

Spray interior of 2-quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.  Place beef, upright on sides, against crock pot walls, and in center.  Top with bell peppers, then red onions; cover all with barbeque sauce.  Set on low and cook for six hours.

 







After six hours, turn off crock pot; preheat oven to 350F, and line baking trays with parchment paper.

 





On floured board, roll out biscuit dough rounds, half to 5 inches in diameter (bottoms), half to 3 inches in diameter (tops).  Remove beef from crock pot and shred onto a plate.  Spoon out sauce into bowl, use slotted spoon to get peppers and onions, not just liquid.

 


Onto 5-inch rounds, place beef up to one-inch from edges; spoon chunky sauce over top.  Take 3-inch rounds and place onto center, over beef and sauce.  With water, wet edges of 5-inch rounds and seal over 3-inch rounds.  Place onto parchment lined trays.







 

In a small bowl, whisk eggs with milk; brush liquid over tops and edges of buns on trays.  When all buns are complete, place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 16 buns.

Mary Cokenour