Welcome to The Dyer Consequences Blog

We are a Christian family in the Deep South, & we love to cook & we love to eat. We are interested in the classics, Latin, ancient history, Byzantine art, technology/geek matters, politics, government, & current events. Mostly we are focused on faith, family, freedom & food. Read our riveting & occasionally amusing posts, admire our outstanding photos, browse timeless archives, leave a comment, & bookmark the site. Come back often!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sara Perfects Her Cheeseburger Technique In Anticipation of Jason's Return from Italy

When Sara talked to Jason the other day, he said that although he was eating fairly well in Italy, what he really was craving was a great big, juicy cheeseburger like they make back home!

Feeling a little shaky on the cheeseburger front, Sara decided to do a practice run so she could make Jason the very best cheeseburger he had ever tasted in his entire life. So here you have it, photos of the cheeseburgers, the french fries, the toppings, the buns, the potato salad! Everything was so delicious, and we had a ball cooking too!

Jason will be back in only 3 or 4 days, so Sara wanted to do her practice run as soon as possible.

The perfectly melted cheese on the perfectly grilled burger!

And french fries too, just like at McDonald's, only way better!

They don't have toppings this fresh at the fast food places, that's for sure!

Just imagine sinking your teeth into something this tasty!

Even Spanky gets into the act, jumping into Dan's lap after everyone is finished, to lick up every crumb from dinner!

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Bluebirds Are Everywhere This Year!

We have had more bluebirds this year than any year I can remember! They are everywhere, in the bluebird house, in the trees, flying around. Many times you can see six at a time, which is phenomenal for our area. They are raising nest after nest in our bluebird house, and in years gone by, we have only had one nest per season, if that.

Some years I don't even want them to nest here, because the cats are so bad that no baby bluebirds stand a chance. The cats just climb the fence, walk along the top to the bluebird house, reach in, grab the babies, and the next day all that is left of the bluebird family is a bunch of feathers in the grass. I hate cats!

But for some reason, the cats have mostly moved away or gotten eaten by the coyotes or who knows what. Maybe they are staying away from our yard because they smell our dogs so intensely.

We are delighted to have this wonderful season of bluebirds!

Look closely at the above photo and you will see a bluebird with a worm or some other food for its baby birds. It is just about to go into the nest where the hungry babies await their feast!


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Italian Dinner Night Is Always Fun!

It's always a fun night when Sara comes over for Italian Dinner Night!

Fresh strawberries are so delicious this time of year, and Sara enjoys them as much as we do, especially with whipped cream on the side!

Matt shares a laugh with us over some hilarity or other!

Here's my plate, loaded up with Italian Salad, Italian Panini and good ol' Southern Corn!

Here's a close-up of our Italian Salad - yummy!

Nothing can beat fresh strawberries and whipped cream!

And to go with the strawberries and whipped cream, I made some Italian cookies. They look like biscotti, and they are called biscotti, but they are softer than the biscotti you buy in the store. (And I have also learned that "biscotti" is Italian for "cookie," so that covers a lot of ground, cookie-wise.)

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer Dinners are Tasty!

It's June and summer is here, so it's time to have some cool dishes for dinner!

An Italian antipasto salad plate is always delicious and refreshing. This one contains ham, cheese, peppers, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and olives.

This is an Italian Pear Salad with a Gorgonzola cheese filling. Perfect!

Mexican Cornbread with lots of jalapeno peppers is good all year round. It's never too hot for hot dishes at our house!

Here's my plate, all ready to eat and enjoy!

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Another Delicious Italian Night with Sara While Jason is in Italy!

Tonight's Italian Night celebration with Sara includes Chicken Cacciatore with Marinara Sauce (from Mama D's Homestyle Italian Cookbook), Crostini, Roasted Vegetables, Decadent Bacon Appetizers, Chex Mix and Baklava!

We love having Sara come over to eat Italian while Jason is away in Italy. We get all caught up with our "Jason News," eat some good food, and have a lot of fun.

Here we go - ready, serve, and eat! Clockswise we have roasted vegetables, crostini, Mama D's Chicken Cacciatore with Marinara Sauce.

This is a delicious bacon appetizer sent to me by my friend Judie in Chelsea, Massachusetts. It's called Billionaire's Decadent Bacon Appetizer and it is absolutely delicious and certainly lives up to its name. So yummy with the brown sugar caramelized onto the bacon!

Here's the recipe:

Billionaire's Decaddent Bacon Appetizer

Separate strips from 1 lb. bacon and blot dry with paper towels.

Put 1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar into a wide dish.

Coat both sides of the bacon with the sugar, firmly pressing sugar onto each strip.

Lay coated strips on sheet pans and cook in a 425 degree oven, turning once, until brown and lacquered, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled sheet pan to cool.

Break into thirds. Serves 8-10.

Here are assorted roasted vegetables: onions, peppers, zucchinis, and potatoes, roasted in the oven, Italian style.

The roasted peppers look like this, and taste wonderful.

I don't know why I served Chex Mix at this meal, I guess I just had it on hand, and everyone seems to like it. I use my mother's recipe, and she made it spicy with extra garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce.

My all-time favorite Italian cookbook is Mama D's Homestyle Italian Cookbook. This is the cookbook from Sammy D's Italian Restaurant, our favorite restaurant when we lived in Minneapolis.
A picture of the owner, Giovanna D'Agostino, is on the cover of this wonderful Italian cookbook. It is available on amazon.com if you would like to purchase it for yourself, your friends or family members.

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Let's Make Baklava! Here's Our Authentic Greek Recipe!

Have you ever enjoyed Baklava at a restaurant, coffee shop or Greek festival, and wished you could make it at home? Well, now you can! Here is the best recipe we have ever found for Baklava, and it is surprising easy to make. Just a little time-consuming, but so worth the effort when you serve it to your friends and family. They will stand in awe of your superb culinary skills!

Add cinnamon and ground cloves to the ground nut mixture.
Stir it.
Butter the bottom of your pan, and have the phyllo strudel leaves ready to go.

Start layering the strudel leaves in groups of 4 or 5, brushing with the melted butter.
Next add a layer of chopped nuts. Then a layer of 4-5 strudel leaves, melted butter, then another layer of nuts, followed by strudel leaves, butter and so on.
Keep alternating layers of 4 or 5 strudel leaves with a layer of ground nuts, with butter in between, until you reach the top of your pan. Use your remaining strudel leaves and the rest of the melted butter to finish the top layer.
Now, using your sharpest knife and your steadiest hand, carefully cut the baklava diagonally. Do the entire pan in one direction, then cut it in the opposite direction to make the traditional diamond shapes.
Here's how it will look after you have cut the diamond-shaped pieces. Now bake it in a 300 degree oven until golden brown. Let it cool a little before pouring on the honey sauce.
While the baklava is baking, make your honey sauce. Boil the honey, lemon extract, sugar and the juice of one lemon until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Pour the sauce slowly over the baklava in the pan, letting it seep slowly between the pieces. And now you are done! Let cool, serve and enjoy this delicious classic Greek pastry.

Here's the recipe we use:

Classic Greek Pastry - Outstanding!

1 lb. finely chopped walnuts, pecans or pistacios
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 lb. butter, melted
1 lb. phyllo strudel sheets

Combine nuts, cinnamon, and cloves. Brush the bottom of a large Pyrex baking dish with melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with 4 phyllo sheets. Brush with melted butter. Layer with 4 more phyllo sheets, alternating with the nut mixture. Continue layering with phyllo sheets, butter, and nut mixture, until pan is almost full. end with 4-8 phyllo sheets, and brush with the remaining melted butter. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into the traditional diamond shapes. Bake at 300 degrees until golden brown, about 45 minutes, but can vary depending on your oven. Cool and pour Honey-Lemon Syrup (recipe below) over the baklava in the pan.

Honey-Lemon Syrup
1/2 pt. honey
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
1 c. sugar
juice of one lemon

Boil all ingredients together until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour slowly over baklava in the pan.

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Great Summer Dishes - Strawberries, Corn and Veggie Pasta Salad!

We have had a wonderful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables this season, and here are just a few of them: fresh corn (cut off the cob for easy eating), pasta salad made with tons of fresh veggies, and sweet strawberries! Hope you are enjoying a wide selection of fresh foods too.

What is better or easier to prepare than a big bowl of fresh strawberries! Just trim the caps off, and rinse well in cold, running water, and enjoy!

Pasta Salad is so tasty when it is full of fresh veggies, like red onion, broccoli, green and red peppers, celery, tomatoes, anything that is in season.

Here's how we do fresh corn: peel the husks off, simmer until tender, slice off the kernels, add a little salt and butter, and serve hot!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Memorial Day BBQ with Jerry!

We had a very enjoyable Memorial Day BBQ Dinner with Jerry this year. The menu included burgers, chicken, baked beans, french fries, asparagus, grilled peppers, and pasta salad.

Here are a few photos of the food we cooked, photos of the family and of course photos of our dogs. Enjoy!

Matt demonstrates the finest grilled pepper techniques:

And the dogs were in fine form this day, and so glad to see Jerry!

Jerry succumbed to having Spanky on his lap, and of course Spanky had to have a go at whatever was left on Jerry's plate:

Here we are after dinner, just lounging about and talking:

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