Friday, July 15, 2016

#Pray For The Human Race - Desperation Franks, Bacon and Beans

Warning: Childish name-calling below:

If I was smart - and I'm not, not really - I would have accomplished yesterday's "no news" day by shoving my iPad and iPhone into a closed drawer. Apparently it wasn't enough to steer clear of Facebook and all my usual news outlets while I used the devices to display my knitting patterns. Instead I got bombarded, as did we all, with pop-up news alerts regarding the Tangerine Puffgut's choice of VP candidate (thankfully not Newt Gingivitis), and far more earth shattering, the terrorist attack in France.  Who needs military grade automatic weapons when you can drive a tractor-trailer into a huge crowd of people gathered to celebrate a national holiday?

For once, the old reliable 23rd Psalm is not giving me the comfort I seek: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." I do fear evil; the days when we could keep war from American soil are long over. The terrorists attacked the city of my birth in 2001 and they attacked my adopted home city just one month ago. The whole world has gone to hell; all the wrong people have or are close to having nuclear capability. When I'm not hyperventilating from the very real threat that some radicalized crazy is going to come charging past my house on his way to the courthouse, shooting, bombing, exploding and taking the whole street with him, I am paralyzed at the thought of what additional damage could be done to this country and the world if the wrong person lands in the White House. It doesn't help that both Houses of Congress are paralyzed as well, except when it comes to calling for yet another useless investigation of Hillary Clinton.    

(It also doesn't help when the presumptive Republican nominee says that My Very Favorite Supreme Court Justice is feeble-minded and should resign. That makes me angry, and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Perhaps I need to check the status of that lawsuit against DJT filed by a woman who claims he raped her when she was 14, or perhaps wonder out loud why he is so quick to defend his misogynist pal Roger Ailes, or remind everyone that a vote for The Donald is a vote for the first First Lady to pose for nude pictures.)

Knitting for Serenity:

Still testing patterns, yarns, and gauge. While I was trying to avoid the news yesterday, I created a swatch using a pattern I have been wanting to try for a while with a yarn I am crazy about. The results were not what I was expecting, so I tried another yarn colorway that I like quite a bit, although not crazy about it. I blocked the swatch and sought my husband's opinion. Blue Moon won out over Icy Pond.

Knitting For Sanity:

Following up on a previous test swatch, I am slowly turning Grey Heather into something soft, square, and pleasing to the eye. This kind of knitting, accompanied by a handful of prescription medication and some tai chi, can, in fact, bring a modicum of long-sought sanity to my otherwise effed-up world.

Yes, This Is Still A Cooking Blog:

Provisions in Casa Rothfeld are running low, and I had to cook something. Something, anything - anything, that is, not involving a trip to the supermarket, as there was no way I was up to that. So I dove into my freezer and fridge and pantry and came up with the ingredients for some heretofore unimagined version of franks and beans. I had barely gotten into the cooking when I realized this was a terrible mistake; my back, hips, and legs set up an angry protest. I cried through a good part of this project, having nothing to do with the onions I was chopping. I sat down a lot, and mourned for the days I could whip up a feast for forty on a work night. These days I'm lucky if I can feed my family. It took me three freaking hours to prepare all of the ingredients for the crockpot. Fuck fibromyalgia and the horse it rode in on.

Desperation Franks, Bacon and Beans

2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into pieces
3 large onions (or all the leftover onions you can gather, which in my case was a nice large Vidalia, 3 sad-looking shallots, and a half-dozen nice big scallions)
1/3 cup garlic cloves
2 bell peppers, or the equivalent, any combination of colors
2 - 12 oz. packages Hebrew National Beef Franks, cut up
3 - 15.5 oz. cans small red beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 24 oz. can Hunt's Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Crystal Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup bourbon

On medium-high, heat the oil in a large deep skillet.  Add the bacon, and cook just until lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a dish lined with paper towels. When the pan is cool, pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Chop up all the vegetables. Reheat the fat to medium-high and add the vegetables. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook until crisp tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the cut up franks to the pan and cook until some brown char appears. Do not overcook the franks.

Line a 6 quart oval crockpot with a slow cooker bag or spray with Pam. Add the drained beans, vegetables, bacon, and franks. Combine the Sloppy Joe sauce with the water, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and bourbon, and pour over the contents of the crockpot.

Cover and cook on High for 1 hour. Stir and taste the sauce. Adjust the seasonings and bourbon if needed. At the 1 hour mark, I added salt, pepper, and some granulated garlic.  I also added 2 packed tablespoons of dark brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the bourbon. Cover and cook for 2 more hours.

Very, very good.

Really delicious. Definitely worth the tears, the 3 hours, the hurting hips. I am loving it. Now excuse me while I limp back to bed.

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