Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Diary #690

Fried green tomatoes came into being as a way to use tomatoes that had not yet fully ripened by the end of summer.  As you can probably guess, this makes them more common in the Upper South, because in the Deep South the growing season is both very warm and continues into early autumn.  I never even heard of them until my twenties, and since I’ve never grown my own tomatoes before I’ve never had enough tomatoes around to experiment.  So it’s only recently that I perfected my recipe, and I’m happy to share it with y’all if you’d like to try it yourself; this is for about 3-4 average size tomatoes (fewer if they’re huge).  First, you want to pick tomatoes that are just starting to turn yellow; deep-green tomatoes not only have some growing left to do, but are too bitter to eat.  Use a very sharp knife and cut slices about 1/4″ (6-7 mm) thick; a lot of recipes call for two or even three times as thick, which makes them too gooshy on the inside.  The frying works best in a deep fryer; shallow pans do not sear the outside as quickly, resulting in a greasier, soggier product.  While the oil is preheating, dip each slice in flour, then beaten egg, then the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat both sides at each step; I like to coat all the pieces before frying any, so I’m not distracted while frying.  For the breadcrumb mixture, thoroughly combine 1/4 cup (60 ml) of plain breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup (60 ml) cornmeal, 2 tsp (10 ml) sugar, 2 tsp (10 ml) salt, 1 tsp (5 ml) paprika, and 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cayenne.  Don’t be surprised at the amount of salt; it and the sugar are there to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, and the fried tomatoes will not be noticeably salty.  Fry the slices in the preheated oil, about four slices at a time (don’t crowd the fryer), for 3-4 minutes; you want to flip them over with a slotted metal spoon about halfway through.  Remove them with the slotted spoon when they’re golden brown; since tomatoes can be eaten raw all you’re really doing is getting the outside nice and crispy.  Drain on paper towels.  I like to serve them with remoulade sauce for dipping; I’m pretty sure you can get it at most large grocery stores even outside of Louisiana, but if not you can make a reasonable fascimile by combining 8 parts mayonaisse with 1 part each ketchup, Dijon mustard, and pickle relish and seasoning the mixture with salt, pepper, tarragon, granulated garlic, and parsley.  Anyway, that’s it; some people like them so much they use all their tomatoes before they get ripe!  But don’t try this with ripe tomatoes; they are too soft and too moist, and the result will be a mess rather than a tasty side-dish or snack.

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Diary #683

This is one of the images of my childhood. The can looks as it has for well over half a century; the only thing different is the red circle with “NO PRESERVATIVES” written inside (and probably the metric equivalent of the volume).  The product has been made in Abbeville, Louisiana since 1910, and growing up it was a staple in my house; we used to make peanut butter and syrup sandwiches as some people make peanut butter & honey, and it was also used on pancakes & lost bread (AKA French toast).  When I was very young, my dad would cut off the ends of his bread to make po-boys to bring to work for lunch, then he would make a hole in the end and pour some Steen’s into it as a breakfast treat for me.  He also taught me that a sandwich using ordinary sliced bread with Steen’s and cheddar cheese was a delicious snack; don’t knock it ’til you try it, because I’ve had more than one friend go “eeeeeeeew!” until they take a bite and then become converts (don’t use so much syrup it makes the bread soggy; a light coating will do).  But when I started stripping I made a number of sacrifices to keep my weight down and my tummy flat, and cheese & syrup sandwiches were one of them; then when I moved to Oklahoma it wasn’t even available.  But a couple of years ago it somehow came up in conversation with Chekhov, and he found a can in some grocery store around here; it has been in my cupboard for a while, repeatedly calling to me until I finally succumbed to its siren song and made myself a cheese & syrup sandwich for my evening tea one night last week.  The flavor was just as I remember, and I may even enjoy it on my waffles next time I make them (which should be Friday).  And you can bet that even if I have to have it shipped from Louisiana, it’s going to return to its long-ago status as a staple in my larder.

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Diary #661

I decided to cook gumbo on Mardi Gras, so I invited Chekhov and Yellowbird over (because my sister’s recipe makes a lot of gumbo).  When I did, Chekhov reminded me that Yellowbird’s birthday is the same week, so I decided to make it a small birthday celebration as well.  That of course means cake, in this case devil’s food; I probably should’ve put a thicker coat of frosting between the two layers, but though it may not have been the prettiest cake in the world everyone still enjoyed it.  See, though all of my sisters are good cooks. we are all different, and I’m not the one who actually had a side-gig decorating wedding cakes (that sister is also not the one who perfected the gumbo recipe).  The other three specialize in one area each, but it probably won’t surprise you to hear that I’m the generalist.  And though that’s convenient because I like a lot of variety in my diet, presentation is not exactly my strong point.

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What’s Cooking?

I’ve been meaning for some time now to share the recipes I developed to work around Lorelei’s allergies; she’s allergic to both wheat and rice, so the normal gluten-free flour won’t work for her because most of them contain rice flour.  Substitutions are difficult, because gluten gives baked goods their texture; without it, most recipes are unappealing or even nasty.  But with research and experimentation, I was able to come up with some pretty good workarounds, and Lorelei said she doesn’t mind if I share them, so those who need them can have them for the holidays.

One thing these recipes have in common is the use of xanthan gum, which acts as a partial substitute for gluten; I also generally add a little baking soda and use buttermilk instead of milk, to give it extra rising power.  I don’t keep buttermilk around, and you probably don’t either, but that’s OK; you can make it by putting one tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then adding milk to the one-cup line, stirring well and waiting about 5 or 10 minutes.  The first one I tried was cornbread; since I make it nearly every week, I know it well enough that it was pretty easy to figure out the neccesary changes, plus of course only half of the flour used is wheat flour.


Preheat oven to 425o.  Grease the bottom & sides of a 9×9 pan.  Then in a medium mixing bowl, combine:

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs; add 1 cup buttermilk and 1/4 cup cooking oil.  Mix together, then add liquid mixture to dry mixture and stir just until fully combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in 425o oven for 20 minutes.  If unsure, test for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center.

Next, I tried pie crust, which doesn’t even need to rise; I based it on “Never Fail Pie Crust” from Ceil Dyer’s venerable Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars (an unpretentious treasure which everyone more interested in being a cook than a poseur should own).  I know the recipe by heart, and found its title is not a lie; I have substituted like crazy in this one and as long as the basic form is maintained, it works every time.  Here, the most important factor was flakiness; I found this combination of flours gave me a pretty good simulation of conventional crust:

Pie crust

2 cups millet flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, sift all these dry ingredients together; you may want to sift the mixture again to be sure they’re well-mixed.  Then in a separate small bowl, combine

1 beaten egg
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup water

Mix together and set aside.  Then, using a pastry knife (if you don’t have one, get a good metal one; the plastic ones are shit) cut

13/4 cups shortening

into the dry mixture, until it resembles coarse crumbs; I find all-vegetable shortening works best.  Tear off a sheet of waxed paper and put it on your countertop, then add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and knead the mass together with your CLEAN hands; once it’s well-combined gather it into a ball, put it on the waxed paper, wrap it up and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.  If it’s still too sticky to work after that time, knead in another 1/4 cup constarch and put it back in the fridge for at least 15 more minutes.  This recipe makes 4 crusts (top or bottom), so enough for two full-crust pies like fruit pies, or four custard-type pies or quiches.  When you roll the crust out, sprinkle the pie board or counter with cornstarch instead of flour.  The dough freezes well, but if I’m going to freeze it I prefer to roll out the crust on waxed paper, then roll it up into a cigar shape (paper side out) and put it in a ziplock freezer bag. Let it thaw in the fridge, and roll it out again with a fresh sheet of waxed paper between crust and rolling pin.

The trickiest one I’ve perfected so far is biscuits (by which I mean the scone-like things we call “biscuits” in the US, not the sweet things we call “cookies”).  They’re already difficult to master even when using conventional flour, so it took me several attempts and some additional internet research to get it right.


1 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, then using a pastry knife (see the recipe above for comments on this) cut in

1/3 cup shortening

until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Then add

3/4 cup buttermilk

and mix together with a fork.  Turn the dough onto a clean surface dusted with cornstarch and knead the dough for 10 or 12 strokes, then use a biscuit cutter to cut the biscuits to the desired size.  Put them into a biscuit pan (if you don’t have one, any small metal baking pan with sides will do) with sides touching; the biscuits should not be spaced out.  Now, here’s the sneaky part: FREEZE the biscuits before using them.  I suggest doing them the day before, but if you need them the same day, I reckon 2 hours or so in the freezer should be good.  When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 450o and put the pan directly into the oven from the freezer (do not thaw them first).  Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown, then immediately remove them from the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.  Here’s the science behind the unusual instructions: since non-wheat flour lacks gluten, without the extra steps the biscuits will turn out packy and dense rather than light and flaky.  Freezing them helps them hold their structure in the first stage of baking, and crowding them together forces them to rise upward rather than bloating outward.  The buttermilk & soda combo creates extra carbon dioxide for more lift.  If you don’t want to use them right away, once they’re frozen transfer them from the pan into a ziplock freezer bag or other airtight container, and remember to put them in the pan with sides touching when you go to bake them.


I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!



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It’s like a Swiss Army knife of excretory openings.  –  Jakob Vinther

Since I like to memorialize musicians with one of their songs, I try not to feature two musicians’ obits in the same column.  But since most of Jules Bass’s best lyrics were from the Christmas specials he and his partner Arthur Rankin are best remembered for, and it’s a bit too early for that, I gave this week’s video to Jerry Lee Lewis.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Walter Olson, Franklin Harris, Clarissa, Ally Fogg, and Aaron Ross Powell, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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What is it with government agencies & the media teaming up to Streisand some dumb thing…almost no one has ever…heard about…into a thing…everyone knows about?  –  Mike Masnick

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

It’s too bad most arrests aren’t of other cops:

Deputies in South Dakota have arrested a Louisiana state [cop], accusing him of hiring a prostitute while in town for a…conference…Kirk Thibodeaux…has been [rewarded with a paid vacation]…pending the criminal and administrative investigations…

So What Else Is New? (#504)

I’ve never understood why some men are so attached to this notion:

…a[t] orgasm…a “milky fluid” is excreted from the urethra…[but] about 5 percent of women release a clear liquid…studies have determined the milky fluid comes from the Skene glands…[and] scientists in Japan have just published research that [demonstrates] the [clear] fluid comes from the bladder, stating only the “milky fluid”…can be classed as the female ejaculation…Miyabi Inoue…and her colleagues injected blue dye mixed with water into the bladders of five female volunteers w[ith a history of “squirting”]…after a subject was stimulated to the point of climax, a researcher collected the ejected liquid in a sterile cup, and in all five women it was blue…[true] female ejaculation…contains prostate-specific antigen…[and the squirted] liquid from four of the women…was found to contain PSA, suggesting they produced female ejaculate around the same time as they squirted urine, and the two fluids mixed together in the urethra.  Despite the fact previous studies have [produced similar findings]…the[y were] met with skepticism from hordes of men online…Women were quick to mock some of the shocked men and their responses, explaining it was something “women knew all along…Men need scientific study to admit they are being peed on and not actually gods in bed,” one scoffed…

Gullible’s Travels (#977)

Americans will believe basically any scaremongering about teenagers:

…the number of videos…of teens calling people idiots for even daring to think of putting a Tide pod in their mouth far, far outnumbered the extraordinarily few videos of people actually putting a Tide pod in their mouth.  As some people have noted, it’s way more dangerous to talk about teenagers as if they’re all too stupid to know not to put a Tide pod in their mouth.  But the media absolutely can’t resist.  Last…week…the FDA (for whatever reason) released a consumer alert saying that people shouldn’t cook their chicken in NyQuil, calling it “a recent social media challenge”…of course, like all the earlier examples, this…turned out to be a whole lot of…adults freaking out over things that kids weren’t actually doing…the whole thing started as a shitpost on 4chan where someone made a joke about cooking chicken in NyQuil…and some people [making videos] reacting to the joke.  And, then, of course, the FDA Streisanded the whole idea into becoming a thing.  According to…TikTok…there were only five searches for NyQuil chicken…on Sept. 14, one day before the FDA posted its statement.  By Sept. 21, searches on the topic had increased by more than 1,400 times

A Broker in Pillage (#985)

The South Carolina Supreme Court declares itself illegitimate:

In a major blow against government accountability, the South Carolina Supreme Court…upheld the state’s civil forfeiture laws, which let police [openly steal] cash, cars, and even ho[us]es, without ever filing criminal charges.  By overturning a lower court ruling that declared civil forfeiture unconstitutional, the decision jeopardizes property rights for [every citizen]…in…nearly 40% of all forfeiture cases…the owner was never convicted of a crime.  And under state law, if an owner doesn’t formally file a claim for their seized property, [cops] win a “default judgment” and keep [the stolen property]…Worse, state law provides a powerfully perverse incentive to police for profit.  [When any] property [is stolen by cops], the [robbers’ gang] keeps the first $1,000 and then 75% of the remainder.  Prosecutors receive 20%, while a mere 5% is sent to the general fund. Since 2009, [cops have robbed citizens of]…nearly $97 million

Disaster (#1234)

An amicus curiae brief was recently filed in the FOSTA challenge by a group of organizations including Decriminalize Sex Work, The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, Freedom Network, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Erotic Laborers Alliance of New England, Old Pros, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, New York Transgender Advocacy Group, Free Speech Coalition,  SWOP Brooklyn, GLITS, and the St. James Infirmary.  Elizabeth Nolan Brown has an in-depth look at the arguments in the suit and brief, and you can see a PDF of the brief here.  In related news, the Woodhull Foundation (one of the parties to the FOSTA challenge) has recently launched a petition seeking to block the so-called EARN IT Act; I’m not sure if petitions have any effect in such cases, but I suppose they can’t hurt.

Dangerous Speech (#1270)

The government’s evil clown show has been renewed for another season:

The prosecution of Backpage founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin…can continue to drag on, per a new ruling from the…9th Circuit.  The court [is pretending] that trying them again after a mistrial…would not count as double jeopardy.  “No one is the least surprised”…Lacey tells Reason…”We have always believed we must rely upon jurors, not judges, for a fair shake. And so to trial.”  Lacey, Larkin, and the other defendants are likely to face trial again in 2023, though no date has been set.  That would mean a sixth calendar year in which their lives are upended by this…seemingly eternal attempt to put people in prison for running a website where sex workers advertised.

Permanent Record (#1274)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A [teacher] who set up an OnlyFans account to supplement her income was fired from her…job…after her employer found out about the account…[thanks to a self-appointed morality cop who also] posted photos from the OnlyFans account without her consent…Sarah Juree worked full-time as a teacher in South Bend, Indiana…but…was unable to support her family on the modest salary of $55,000 per year…her rent alone cost nearly half of her income and her employer didn’t offer health insurance…Around the time Juree set up her OnlyFans account, she…had a casual conversation with a colleague and their boss about side gigs that fall under the sex work umbrella, including OnlyFans pages.  “My boss got really excited and said, ‘Yeah, you can start a page.  You can make a lot of money’…I was like, ‘Great, I’m not going to have any issues with work because my boss literally told me to sell my panties on OnlyFans”…

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Diary #606

I usually like to do feasts (or at least mini-feasts) around the sabbats, and for Imbolc I nearly always make gumbo.  Last time I ordered andouille from Louisiana I had the foresight to get six pounds, and froze most of it, so I just pulled out some of that and a package of frozen chicken thighs a few days before and I was all set.  This time I decided to make a king cake as well, so Tuesday was spent making the potato salad and pre-cooking the chicken, then Wednesday all I had to do was make the king cake in the early afternoon and the gumbo later.  Grace is diabetic, so I left one section of the cake without the traditional glaze and colored sugar so she could have a treat, because the “cake” itself is just a sweet brioche, with probably less sugar than most commercial cinnamon rolls (I mean without glaze).  We had some friends over, so everything disappeared before I remembered to take a picture of any of it.  The only thing left as of this writing is some potato salad and one mug of gumbo, so a picture of that will have to do.  However, if you want the recipes for any of the things I made, just follow the embedded links!

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Diary #604

I only got to be home for a few days before I had to run back to Seattle for a few appointments, but fortunately the tolerance break worked to restore the ability of fairly small edibles to kick my butt, so I slept like a rock each of those nights.  Usually, once in a trip to Seattle, I take a higher dose one night so I can really trip while alone in conditions conducive to visions.  Well, the same dose that gave me a nice, if quiet trip a few weeks ago absolutely incapacitated me this time.  I knew it would have a stronger effect because of my experiences with regular doses over the few previous nights, but I was unprepared for such an irresistible state of paralysis. Unfortunately, it was too intense to enjoy; I had to focus to keep the experience under control, and therefore couldn’t properly relax. Ah well, next time I’ll reduce the dose by about 33%; that should roughly put me back in the zone.  By the by, when I got back to Sunset Jae had finished staining my shelves, so this is the tentative setup; it may change with time, but this will work for now.

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Diary #592

Chekhov told me a few weeks ago that he and his lady friend Yellowbird wanted to provide dinner for my birthday, but I had no idea they were planning to go all out with a fun Halloween-themed spread!   You can probably tell what the things at front left are; behind them are deviled eggs with a little avocado in the filling, and the pumpkin puke is guacamole.  Between the two pumpkins are mushroom eyeballs and a multi-layer dip topped with spiders made from black olives; to the left of those is a carrot cake, and the cemetery is a cheeseburger casserole.  The upside-down devilled eggs are poked with holes to resemble a hockey mask (as worn by Undead Serial Killer from Popular Slasher Movie Franchise Guy™), and the plate at front right contains tooth-rows made from apple slices, peanut butter & miniature marshmallows; Frankenstein’s monster heads made from kiwi fruit; banana ghosts; cucumber skulls; and teensy mandarins dressed as pumpkins.  And at the back are 50 roses, sent by Dr. Quest!  Jae got me some cool snakeskin print clothes, Yellowbird got me a horror-movie-watching blanket, and Grace got me some titanium chopsticks; we celebrated with three Vincent Price movies, and I got completely stoned and blew my diet.  So all in all, it was a very lovely birthday, and when I arrived at my city flat yesterday I had several presents from readers!

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Diary #585

It’s harvest time again, and that means processing fruit!  The heat wave stunted our blackberries and plums, so I only got enough of the former for a few bowls of berries with cream, and enough of the latter to make a plum cobbler and two jars of jam.  But the fruit we did get of both was wonderfully juicy and sweet.  The apples, on the other hand, appear to have done quite well; last week Chekhov gathered a whole cart full of them, and after I culled out the bad ones I still had enough that, after coring, filled the three big bowls you see here plus one of my extra-large stock pots.  After pulping it all fit into the three bowls, and I was able to press about 6 liters of juice from all that.  So I’ve got a carboy fermenting into cider in the dark, cool, under-stair cupboard, and two mason jars of fresh juice in the fridge (well, one now, because the fresh stuff is so much better than store-bought apple juice it’s almost like a different thing).  There are still plenty of apples on the trees, so I plan to keep gathering and pressing until there aren’t, and I hope to get at least two more carboys of cider plus enough to make four to six jars of apple butter; I hadn’t made it before last year, and it came out so well I kicked myself for only doing two jars.  After pressing, we mix the resulting pomace into the feed for Shiloh and Jonathan, but as you can see, Cicero prefers his fresh (and seems quite happy with cores).

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