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!



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dan's Rouladen! Delicious!




Dan finally managed to have the time to make Rouladen, a traditional German dish featuring thin sliced round steak, German mustard, onions, and a pickle, all rolled up and tied with butcher's string. The rolls are browned, and then simmered for a few hours until tender. And they turned out great, so delicious, flavorful and spicy.

We also served sweet and sour red cabbage, cucumber salad with dill, potatoes, and leftover squash casserole. A nice dinner for everyone. And no Thanksgiving turkey either!

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Caring For Wildlife

The ladybugs are hatching now for some reason, and we are finding them all through the den and kitchen. So, like we always do when this happens, and it happens several times a year, we take the errant ladybugs outside and put them on the rhododendron at the patio. This is just one of our many family rituals. We hope the ladybugs do well, and find mates, but we really have no idea one way or the other. But they would not survive long indoors, even in mild weather, so out they go into the sometimes cruel and hard world.


Another thing I do to help our wildlife, especially during times of drought, is to add water to the lip of these overturned flower pots. Sounds a bit weird, but I have seen many squirrels, chipmunks, birds and green anoles drinking water from these pots. I started doing this some time ago when I noticed a squirrel drinking there. I began to take note when the water was low or gone altogether, and add more. Strange that wildlife would come so close to the house to get water - and it makes me think that there are few other sources available to them.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Random Kitten Generator!


If you don't have the time or space or money or inclination to have a real kitty, just use this handy Random Kitten Generator!

Here's the link to the Random Kitten Generator:
http://www.randomkittengenerator.com/

Of course, no kitten on the planet even comes close to being as cute or sweet or adorable or wonderful as Basil The Cat!

Here's Basil the Cat:

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

An Enjoyable Lunch with Jerry - Even Though We Only Ate Leftovers!

Yesterday, Jerry came over for lunch, and we had such a good time together, just the two of us. We only ate leftovers, but my leftovers were collard greens, white beans, cornbread, and chicken fajitas, and they were so delicious. I feared that the fajitas would be too spicy for Jerry, because after all, I put at least 1/2 cup of jalapenos into the marinade, but he loved them nonetheless.

We got caught up on a lot of things, and he was able to take the smaller sicklepod home with him to keep through the winter. I had potted it for him before the first serious frost of the season a few nights ago. After we ate, I was able to show him the wonders of itunes and podcasts on my computer, and now he says he must download itunes and start enjoying his music via computer. He has never hesitated to tackle the latest technology, and itunes is something he will really enjoy, given his lifelong love of music.

I also put together a bag of goodies for him including a jar of sourwood honey, some bananas that were too ripe for me, and some dog cookies for Mei-Ling, who is now unfortunately completely deaf. Then there was the large pot with the sicklepod to load in his car as well. Quite a haul!

What a wonderful way to share leftovers and fellowship with Jerry, and I think we will do this more often. Today I think I am the luckiest person in the world. I have my family, friends, dogs, home, health, church, faith, and country - I have it all. What more could a person desire?


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cooking Collard Greens the Southern Way!

Now that we have cooler weather, it's time to cook collard greens, especially with white beans and cornbread to accompany them. We are just starting to get some good-looking collards in our grocery store, so I bought a large bunch the other day and fixed them for our dinner last night. They were delicious!

Here's how to cook collard greens the southern way, or at least this is how I do it:


First separate the leaves, and throw away the wilted, damaged, or unhealthy looking leaves. Then, leaf by leaf, rinse them under cold running water to remove any grit, debris or bugs from the individual leaves. Cut the stems off too. Put them in a large bowl as you go along.



Next, fold the leaf in half, and cut the spine from the center of the leaf. The stems and spines can be challenging for some people to eat, so it makes a better dish if you just work with the collard leaves, sans stems and tough parts.




Then, stack the folded leaves in a stack a couple of inches high, whatever height is easy for you to cut.



With your sharpest knife, cut the stacks of collards into strips, whatever width you prefer. I cut mine into strips about an inch wide, but some people like them thinner, and some people don't cut them at all. Cutting them does make them easier to serve and eat.



Now it's finally time to get them cooking. Put your cut collards in a large pot, add about a cup of water, some salt, and some sort of pork, such as bacon (cooked or uncooked), salt pork, ham hock, side pork, or whatever. Some people just add some bacon grease. Some people also add a bit of sugar, but I never do this, because I like my collards to have a little bit of a bitter taste. Bring to a boil, turn heat down very low, cover, and cook very slowly for a couple of hours. Check your pot occasionally, stir, add more water if needed, and cook your collards until they are tender and dark green. Taste for seasoning and doneness, and place in a serving bowl.



Yum! Don't they look simply delicious? Serve with southern cornbread and some hot pepper sauce if you like to spice them up. And be sure to enjoy the pot liquor (pot likker) that is left in the pot after your greens are done.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Basil The Cat!



While Jason was home for fall break, he mentioned that he and Sara were thinking about getting a kitten from a litter that someone at Sara’s job had rescued.

Thinking he would welcome and heed my advice, I told him every downside to having a cat at this stage in his life, how much trouble and expense, how they scratch everything to shreds, get up on the counters and get in your food, get sick, need to be neutered, get loose and get lost, eventually die and all that heartbreak, etc. Plus I have indoctrinated Jason and Matt their entire lives with the indisputable notion that cats are despicable creatures that stalk, kill, and eat my baby squirrels, my bluebirds, my chipmunks and my birds at every opportunity.

Turns out it was all for naught because Jason and Sara had him already picked out, would get him in a few days, had named him Basil The Cat (double entendre for the Fawlty Towers episode, plus one of the great Byzantine emperors with that name), had his bed, scratching post, disposable litter boxes, toys of every description, food, and everything imaginable to spoil him and make his life comfortable, entertaining and stimulating.

Now I have received the photos of Basil The Cat, and he is adorable! I will post them below for you to enjoy as well. Jason says that Basil The Cat is part Bengal, so that means he is exotic, with beautiful markings and an exemplary disposition. Indeed, he is a beautiful little kitty, and Jason says he is so cute, so easy to live with, so happy, so smart, so interesting, so energetic, so attentive, and so on. Just like a new baby!

Here's the link: http://jasonandsara.us/zenphoto/basil-the-cat/











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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lemon Buttermilk Chess Pie!




Jamie ("pharmwife"), a fellow blogger at Raiders of the Lost Art Room, mentioned the delicious Lemon Buttermilk Chess Pie that she used to enjoy at Two Brothers BBQ in Ball Ground. She said it was "to die for," but unfortunately they no longer offer it on their menu.

That got me thinking about chess pie, and lemon chess pie in particular. What I found interesting was that my recipes for lemon chess pie were made with sweet milk, not buttermilk. So I set about finding a recipe for Lemon Buttermilk Chess Pie, and after I did locate a promising recipe, I wasted no time in baking it for my family.

Above are a few photos of my finished pie, in the pie pan and on the plate. I am happy to report that this was one delicious pie, and everyone here seemed to enjoy it. It was so good, and so rich, and gone so fast!

I used my own reliable recipe for unbaked single pie shell, but the recipe for the pie filling I used comes from the chef at the Horseradish Grill in Atlanta, and I heartily recommend it to you:

For the unbaked single pie shell:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
4-6 Tbsp. cold water

Blend flour and salt gently. Add shortening and blend until the size of peas. Add cold water. Do not overmix. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll out on lightly floured pastry cloth and gently place in pie pan.

For the filling:
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (recipe above)
1 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
whipped cream (to garnish)

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt.

In another bowl, beat eggs thoroughly.

Add sugar mixture; mix well.

Add melted butter, lemon zest and lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla to egg mixture, mixing to blend thoroughly after each addition to prevent lumping.

Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell; bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and custard is set.

Remove pie to rack; cool completely.

Sprinkle top with confectioners' sugar and garnish each serving with whipped cream.

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A Wonderful Surprise from My Friend Judie in Chelsea, Massachusetts!


A few weeks ago, I got my mail from my post office box and there was a card from my friend Judie in Chelsea, Massachusetts! Judie sends me the neatest cards, most of them homemade and personalized just for me, and I always save them with my other treasures. (We also share the exact same first and last names, if you can believe that! What a coincidence!)

This time the cheery card included a plastic baggie filled with vibrant-colored autumn maple leaves from her yard in Massachusetts! What a treat! No one has more beautiful fall color than New England, and I especially appreciated brightly colored leaves since our color here has been rather lackluster due to the ongoing drought conditions.

Here's what Judie wrote to me:

"Every autumn I send my nephews in Florida some 'turning color' leaves and they enjoy them. I thought I'd send you a few too! I like to walk through them and hear them crackle."

What a wonderful gift to share fall leaves with your friends around the country!

You can see from the photo above that the color is still very bright, even after a week or two. I keep them in the baggie right here by my computer to remind me of friendship and the beauty of the fall season.


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Matt Buys His Toyota Prius Hybrid Car!

After a lot of research, saving money, and comparison shopping in person and on the internet, Matt finally has bought his first car, a Toyota Prius Gas/Electric Hybrid, and he loves it! He loves the beautful sapphire blue color, the 2008 design, all the technology involved, the alternative fuel/alternative energy design, the environmentally friendly technology, his Package 2 upgrades, the comfortable, quiet ride, but most of all, he loves the 44 mpg he is getting on the road. It came with a full tank of gas, and after about 3-4 weeks of driving every day, he has only used about 1/4 of a tank. He thinks the Prius has lived up to its name and reputation, and then some. It's that good, folks! Here are a few self-explanatory photos I took of his new car. The ones taken inside our garage are when he first drove it home from the dealership. The ones taken outside were taken a few days later when he had it parked outside in the driveway.

So, here goes:













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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Matt Makes Mu Shu Pork, and It Is Delicious!

Matt found a recipe for Mu Shu Pork on the Food Network website, and since this is one of our favorite Chinese dishes, he set about preparing it for us to enjoy. And did we ever enjoy it! It was not only good, but actually better than at a Chinese restaurant.

Below are the photos showing the steps involved in making the Mu Shu Pork. I missed taking photos to show Matt making the thin pancakes to put the Mu Shu filling into. He made them from scratch and they were so tasty just by themselves, very thin and flavorful.


Getting all the ingredients together and then chopped, sliced and diced




Marinating the pork slices for 2-4 hours


Spreading a little hoisin sauce on each pancake




Stir-frying the filling in a wok


Adding the filling to the pancakes


The finished Mu Shu Pork!


Here is the recipe Matt used from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network:

Mu Shu Pork in Pancakes
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001

Marinade:
8 ounces pork loin or pork butt, trimmed, and cut into thin match-stick strips
2 tablespoons rice wine or dry vermouth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup bamboo shoots (rinsed and well drained if canned)
4 ounces wood ear or baby chanterelle mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Hoisin Sauce
Mandarin Pancakes, recipe follows

In a bowl toss the pork with the rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, garlic, and ginger. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for 2 to 4 hours.
In a large wok or saute pan heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and quickly scramble. Remove the set eggs from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the work and add the drained pork strips. Stir fry over high heat until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients except the hoisin sauce and pancakes to the wok and stir-fry until wilted and well combined, about 2 minutes. Return the pork to the pan and stir to mix well and heat through. Add the eggs and mix well. Remove from the heat and place in a decorative bowl.

To serve, place 1 pancake on a plate and coat with 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce. Top with the Mu Shu Pork filling, roll into a cylinder, and serve immediately.

Mandarin Pancakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
About 3 tablespoons sesame oil

In a mixing bowl put the flour, and gradually stir in the water, mixing to make a thin batter. When cool enough to handle, work the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Place the sesame oil in a small bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 3-inch cutter. With your fingers, daub a small amount of oil on top of 1 round. Place another round on top and press together. Roll the 2 rounds together to form a circle about 6 or 7-inches in diameter. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth until ready to cook, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook 1 pancake at a time until barely golden and dry on both sides, turning once, about 1 minute. Remove from the pan, and when cool enough to handle, carefully separate the 2 pancakes. Wrap in foil until ready to use, or refrigerate. (To reheat, place in a steamer insert and steam, covered, for 5 minutes.)

Yield: Makes about 20 to 24 pancakes

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Looked Forward to Dogwood JRT's Play Day - But, Dang, We Don't Get to Go!

We had planned for a couple of months to take Sadie Belle and Spanky to the JRT Play Day in Jasper, sponsored by Dogwood JRT Club. We were really looking forward to this day of fun and games for the dogs, where they could learn how to race, jump over hurdles, do lure coursing, go-to-ground in pursuit of their quarry, and probably some other fun games too. What a great way for the dogs to do what they love to do instinctively, while running off all that energy, learning new games, and perfecting the skills many of them will use in JRT trials all over the southeast! We had been to another of Dogwood JRTs events, actual JRT trials, not play days, and it was a lot of fun, so well organized, with very nice people everywhere.

Since all dogs have to wear muzzles for the races, I bought Sadie Belle a soft muzzle so she could get used to it before her first race at Play Day. You can tell from the expression on her face (in the photo below) that she does not think this is a fun thing. I think it might be a tad too small for her, although the package said it was the correct size for Jack Russells, and she is a very small Jack Russell.

Our plan was to go to Play Day, then go over to Ball Ground for lunch and to look around the town and assess the new development that will be coming there one of these days, then come on back home in time for dinner.
Judi Lovell was also planning on being there too, with Sadie's sister Mandy, so it was going to be a wonderful day for dogs and people alike. Jason was home for fall break and he wanted to go too. Then we got word from Judi that she was not going to make it that weekend, but we were still planning on going.

The weather was beautful that day, all day, but we didn't get to go to Play Day or Ball Ground. Here's the reason: unfortunately, Sadie Belle went into heat a few days before, so we couldn't take her any place that would have male dogs around. Dang!
Dogwood JRT will have another Play Day in March, but that's six months from now, and Sadie could be in heat again in March too.

Here are two photos of Big Belle, one with her new muzzle on and another with her new fancy pants on!


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Fun Photos of Our Sadie Belle!

Sadie Belle is bamfoozled by a wasp nest she finds on our patio. No idea how it got there, probably dropped by a bird, and surprisingly, it was gone the next day! None of the other dogs noticed the wasp nest, but Big Belle certainly did, and at first she was very afraid of it, but then got up the courage to get a closer look.


Favorite place for dogs to watch the world go by - at the front door in the warm sunshine.


Dogs in the sunshine again, but look at Belle's toy beaver in the photo too!


Three photos of Belle in the woods








An adorable photo of Sadie Belle boxing!

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