Thursday, July 20, 2017

Okra and Tomatoes with Ground Beef - A One Pot Meal

This is really a fast one, all things considered.  If you want it to go really fast, find yourself some tender baby okra.  You can use any ground meat you like.  Mamaw always used beef.  It was what we had in south east Texas in the 70s.  Also, Mamaw used tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes.  We didn't have them fancy fire roasted things when I was a girl.

1 lb ground beef
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen is best)
1 small jar of your favorite low sugar spaghetti sauce
1 lb okra, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 medium onion
1 large green bell pepper
At least 3 cloves of garlic (or more, go crazy)
Vegetable and/or beef broth (Or, do yourself a favor and buy some Better Than Bullion in Beef and Vegetable varieties. Then mix that up to use instead of broth. If you have nothing, use water with a little soy sauce in it.)
2 tsp paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Brown your ground beef.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Be sure to account for the salt in any broth you will be adding later.  You can always add more, but you can't take it out.  If there is a lot of water in your beef, drain it off or reduce it.  Drain off excess fat as you like.

Once your beef is browned, put in your onions and bell pepper.  Cook those till the onions are translucent and then add your garlic.  Cook for one or two minutes more.

Add the spices and toast them up with the dry-ish mixture in your pan for about a minute or so.

Add the spaghetti sauce and tomatoes.  Stir everything together well.

Add the Okra.  Stir again and if it looks like you need to add more liquid, this is where you add the broth.  You're looking for liquid enough to be at the top of the food in the pan.  A little bit more is fine, you can always reduce the liquid.  The okra will thicken your sauce as well.

Simmer the mixture on medium high heat, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.

The dish is ready when your sauce has married and the okra is soft and tasty.

You can serve it over brown and wild rice or on top of noodles.  We always just ate it plain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

We Went Through a Non-Cooking Spell

Been away for a long, long time.  Why?  Well, we moved and in moving we found that we really weren't cooking that often.  It has continued now that we are in the new home.  One reason for this is quite frankly, we haven't settled in 100%.  Sad, but true.  Boxes are still sitting around and I have no idea what to do with some of my larger furniture.  It will all sort out in time, but until then, I'm not feeling too perky in the kitchen.

The biggest motivator that might help me defeat my funk is my garden.  Todd and I have been putting in planting boxes and planting things right and left.  Potted horticultural plants, yep.  Potted herbs, OH YEAH.  Potted interest plants in the form of Belladonna, Datura, and Foxglove, yep.  I am all primed and ready for some color, interest, and food.  Our first planter box was filled with lettuce and spinach.  I'm still eating off those and have given some to friends.  We have about 14 tomato plants in the ground.  From Husky Red patio type tomatoes to Brandywine and Cherokee Purple.  We also have several varieties of Jalapeno, some Serranos, Anchos, yellow sweet peppers, yellow and red Bell peppers and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.  I have planted yellow squash, two varieties.  I have an Eggplant too.  There is opal basil, sweet basil, globe basil, and Thai basil.  We have Greek, Mexican, and spicy Oregano.  Dill and leaf Celery inhabit another planting bed.  Sweet Marjoram and several varieties of Thyme are spinning up in the beds as well.  Finally, we have planted beet, radish, bush bean and pinto bean seeds.  Oh, and we have cucumbers in the ground as well as a cantaloupe.  I'm pretty sure we've over done it, but we couldn't be happier.

I come from a family of gardeners.  Mamaw was the one who taught me years ago in a little patch that our landlord let us cultivate.  We turned that black lob-lolly soil into a huge harvest of just about every vegetable you could imagine.  For Mamaw, it was about growing what we ate and saving a buck or two through sweat equity and the goodness of growing things.  For me, it was learning and channeling my innate love for living things into a fun and profitable activity.  Profitable in terms of getting to eat juicy tomatoes and sweet, sweet corn.  Sometimes I resented having to hoe the rows and do the weeding.  I really didn't like the maintenance parts as much as I liked the planting and harvesting.  But, I learned and participated every day.  It became a part of me that was dormant for many, many years.

Todd and I were married for a while before we started playing around with growing our own food.  It started at the old home with a few plants in pots and a couple of very primitive raised beds.  We did get tomatoes and peppers going, but it was never really that good of a return on investment.  Our yard was tiny and didn't get all that much sun in the early and later parts of the year.  It got good sun in the middle of Houston's long, long, hot, hot summers, though.  Now that we have a house with lots room in our back yard, we are ready to really get to production.  We have a new and improved planting bed plan and we are ready for production.

I can't wait until I can pick a good tomato full of that umami flavor that does not exist in those watery hybrids we buy at the grocery.  I may not cook a single one.  My love for fresh tomato knows no bounds.  Todd will turn our chile peppers into sauces, such as Sriracha.  More than anything, we will enjoy literally eating the fruits of our labors.

I know we will find our cooking mojo.  We have to.  It's too much a part of who we are and how we relate to each other and others.  We express our love through cooking, teaching cooking and teaching how to garden.  I believe that these avenues of expression will bring us back to the hearth and help us make this new house our home.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Remembering A Natural Cook, Estelle Byerly

Today would have been my grandmother’s 102nd birthday.  I’ve been without her for only 5 short years.  I can’t believe it has been such a little time.  It feels like I’ve been missing her forever.  Mamaw was more than a grandmother.  She helped raise me.  She was my second mother and the woman I spent the most time with as a child, since my own mother had to work.  She is also my cooking role model.
Mamaw never learned any advanced techniques.  She never did a croquembouche.  She never drank a latte.  What she did was honest southern cooking and she did that so darned well.  I was really lucky.  She made her foods from unprocessed ingredients and hardly ever did anything out of a box.  The only thing I remember her ever doing out of the box was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  That was a rare treat.
Mamaw was born near the Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana meeting point, called Three States.  I think it lists Ravanna, Arkansas as her birthplace on the birth certificate I have for her.  She had 13 brothers and sisters that made it to adulthood.  He mother was a tiny thing who outlived two husbands and taught my grandmother to cook on a wood stove.   Mamaw worked hard as a child.  She took care of the farm animals, helped out around the farm, picked cotton and helped deliver it to Jefferson for sale.  She didn’t stop working until old age finally caught her, at around age 95.  Before that, I seldom saw her sitting still.
Back to her cooking!  I miss her very simple pinto beans.  She only used a few ingredients but somehow it was the best thing I ever ate as a kid.  Her hot water cornbread was AMAZING.  I can’t forget the crispy texture and the goodness of it with her fresh cooked yellow squash.  I will ALWAYS make my fried okra in her style.  The other stuff reminds me too much of the bagged junk that SYSCO churns out and people rave about.  Blech. 
Mamaw always disdained fried food.  I guess she was ahead of her time.  We ate it very seldom.  Generally it was fried chicken, which she had cut up herself.  I remember pulling the wishbone with my Pawpaw.  He always got the breast.  It was his favorite.  I got the drumstick for a long time, till I decided it was yucky.  I don’t remember when that was.  We ate fresh food every day.  For most of my life, that was food that we had grown, unless it was winter time and we had not put up enough for us to have.  In the early years, living in that New Moon trailer, we couldn’t put up much.  Once Mamaw and Pawpaw got their place near Atlanta, Texas, we could do more.  They bought a huge upright freezer and Mamaw filled that thing up with the good food that she and Pawpaw grew.  I worked in that garden more than I wanted to, but now I know that I actually loved it.  I wish I could do it again. 
The way my grandmother cooked was simple.  She didn’t like complex meals.  In general, her dishes featured bell peppers and onions cooked with something else.  Tomatoes mixed with those could be used to make spaghetti sauce or added to ground beef and okra to make a filling “gumbo”.  Mix up the onions and bell peppers with chayote squash and you have a tasty treat, add tomatoes, even better.  That simple combination has carried me to places I never thought it would. 
Mamaw never let me cook with her.  She worried that I would cut a finger or burn myself.  I watched her though.  I watched her skillfully handle a stovetop full of pots and pans.  I watched her mount a huge effort for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She could make cornbread stuffing that would put any chef to shame.  We would fight over it as the supply dwindled.  She made the most amazingly delicious sweet potatoes with just pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and some margarine.  Not sure what her ratios were to this day and I can’t make it the same.  I can’t make any of it the same, no matter how I try.  I have not been able to crack her simple code.   Maybe it was just her love for me and my love for her that seasoned everything so well. 
In spite of the fact that I can’t match her dishes, I still try.  I also have branched out and tried all kinds of cuisines and techniques that she would never thing of attempting to cook, let alone eat.  Be that as it may, the things that I love to make the most and the things that go deepest to my heart are those simple dishes she made so lovingly well with fresh, simple ingredients and years of love for me and the rest of her family.

I miss you, Mamaw.  Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Thawing of the Hearth-fires and Chana Masala for Diwali

We have been a long time away.  Since our last post, we have experienced loss in the family, some gains and moved to a new home.  During the away time, we found ourselves in a deep and abiding funk.  Depression often comes with loss and I must say that we have experienced our share of it.  Personally, I have only recently felt like I was really coming out of the depression, like a great spring thaw.  I am starting to enjoy my new home and starting to enjoy cooking in it.  A house cannot be "home" without an active hearth.  We now have that beginning.

Diwali celebrations are in full swing in the Hindu cultures of the world.  Being a festival of lights, it is similar in tradition to ancient Solstice celebrations in northern Europe and even the more recent Christmas celebrations are a nod in that direction with our fascination with lights at this time of year.  I am lucky enough to work for a wonderful company that helps us thrive in our appreciation of the diversity of our workforce.  Recently, we have added many great folks from the wonderful country of India.  We are enjoying a great deal of cultural exchange.  One point where we can all come together is the table.  Folks at my workplace love food.  Who doesn't.  We also use food as a way to share our cultures and to tell our coworkers that we care about their traditions and cultures.  Every year, since I've joined, we have had a Diwali feast.  This year's was the best yet.

We had lovely decorations that were hand made by our staff and many of us brought food to share for the occasion.  Most of it was made by Indian cooks, so we had some of the tastiest and most authentic food you can get.  Some of us European rooted folks made things that belonged on a traditional American table.  Others, such as myself, thought that we should try to get into the spirit and make some food from India.  I was nervous about serving a food to folks who grew up with it, but it all turned out just fine.  I'm pleased to say that my Chana Masala (Chickpeas in a masala curry) turned out pretty good.  I now have some refinements that I would make for my table, but overall, it was a good attempt at a basic dish.

I used the recipe from   It is for a drier version of the dish, which I thought would be nice. I tripled the recipe, since I knew I needed a bigger batch.  That basically meant I was winging it through the multiplication of the spices.  Tripling the peas to 3 cans was easy.  The spice list was pretty standard, so I felt like I was up to the task.

I made some changes in that I added more of the spices than the recipe called for.  I especially added more of the pepper flakes and used a few varieties.  I used our standard American red pepper flakes along with some Paprika for a sweetness.  I then added in a couple heaping teaspoons of Korean chili powder for good measure.  I like the way the Korean pepper doesn't hit you in the face but comes as a slow building burn in the back of your mouth and blooms like some fiery flower in your mouth.  I also used ground cumin instead of cumin seeds.  Although the seeds are much more traditional, I think that the powder gives you a better mouth feel so you don't wind up with little seeds sticking in your teeth and gums.  Finally, I upped the ante on the onion.  I added one and a half onions but instead of chopping them, I pureed them.  Making the onion paste is a bit more like the methods used in a lot of Indian kitchens and it magnifies the onion flavor while not adding a lot to the volume of the food.  I liked doing the paste and it is called for in the recipe.  Don't skip the puree.  It is what really makes the sauce cook quickly and come together well.  

Best of all, this is a one pot meal and cleanup was a breeze.  I liked that I wasn't in the kitchen for hours cooking and cleaning for this one.  I was done in about an hour.  Nice.

Finally, I did get some compliments from the folks at the party.  I sincerely hope they were not "just being nice".  I don't think that was the case, as I liked the dish pretty well myself and it was all gone by the end of the lunch.

I wish I had some pictures to share with you, but I don't.  I do have some Diwali wishes to share.  May the light of love and family shine every brightly on you and your family.

It's good to be back.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Quick Cocktail - Orange Bourbon Soother

So, I'm not a big drinker.  When I was growing up, there was hardly ever any booze in the house.  Mamaw frowned upon it.  That's not to say she didn't imbibe as a younger woman, she did.  As she got older, however, she reverted back to her Baptist upbringing.  So, I really didn't understand booze until I was much older.

Now, as an even older gal, I'm coming into my own with the boozahol. I've infused my own vodka with hatch chili peppers, done black pepper vodka with the hub, and made my own limoncello. I've also experimented with making my own cocktails. Tonight, I made a keeper.

I regret not getting some pictures together, and I will, but I wanted to share this with you right away. I made a simple bourbon and coke, really, but with a delicious twist. I found a beautiful orange peel preserve while at Phoenicia Market the other day. They're Granny's Secret Homemade Whole Fruit Preserve Orange Peel. They come in a really beautiful jar too. That's the addition that I found I loved. Here's what I did.

In a highball glass, I put in 1 tbsp. of the orange peel syrup. I added a pony jigger of bourbon and topped it off with Mexican Coke. Please use Mexican Coke. It tastes better. I added a few ice cubes to keep it cold. I garnished with a rolled orange peel and a Maker's Mark bourbon infused cherry. Delicious and soothing. Bourbon just says "relax" to me. The orange flavor just blends so well with the bourbon and the Coke. It was blissful sipping, let me tell you.  I can't wait to play with this beautiful condiment some more.  I am percolating on the idea of using the orange preserves with limoncello.  I just need to devise the vehicle for it.

So, dear friends, I'll follow up with pictures tomorrow.  I wish you happy dreams and happy drinks.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Afterglow, or Adventures in Leftovers

Mamaw was nothing, if not frugal.  She could stretch out a dish like no body's business.  Now, that's not to say that she could convert a pot of beans into a classical cassoulet.  No, but she could transform something like meatloaf into a sandwich or little cubes to put in some spaghetti sauce and serve over pasta.  Her leftover action was more practical. 

Me, being a major food snob, I'm not a huge leftover fan, but with cooking for two not exactly our long suit, we need to do something fun with leftovers so we don't have any more mammoth food wasteage than necessary.  I'm working on getting my leftover mojo going, and so far, I've been doing OK.  Here is a story about a couple of things I did just this weekend, while my Mom was here for a visit.

When Mom is here, we go out to eat a lot. Mainly, this is because she doesn't get much of any food variety where she lives.  Secondly, this is because my Mom is the woman who taught me to be a food snob.  I thank her for that every day.  So, first thing we did when she arrived for her holiday visit was head over to Chimichurri's in Kingwood for some delicious meat action.  This lead to us coming home with about 6 large Frenched lamb chops.  Also, my husband made a rib sticking breakfast for us on Friday morning.  This included some nice bacon and some really good home made venison and pork country sausage.  Those ingredients lurked around the fridge a little while and my brain percolated on them.  Then, when the inspirations hit me, I pounced to make the best use of them I could think of.

Use #1: Yellow squash, bacon, sausage frittata
So, the father-in-law owns some land and a nice flock of Rhode Island Red hens.  This means we can get our paws on some fresh, delicious eggs that are actually laid by free range birds.  They peck bugs and plants as they run around his land, living the good life.  We ended up with a whole lot of them recently.  So while watching Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel and seeing their frittata, I had a brainwave.  I knew I had some yellow summer squash and the left over breakfast meats.  I also had beautiful red peppers and herbs from our garden and onion.  It was time to make my own frittata.

3 small yellow summer squash, washed thoroughly and sliced thinly
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium heat pepper of your choice or a red jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp. fresh chives, minced up finely
2 fresh sage leaves very thinly cut into chiffonade 
2-3 oz of a nice hard cheese like aged pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, or Parmesan
5-6 eggs

To keep your frittata from being waaay too moist, you need to get the moisture out of the veggies, especially those squash.  To do this, you should sautee them.  I put my squash on a lightly oiled griddle and got them going first.  When I saw that they were shrinking and there was browning on the one side, I stirred them up and redistributed them on the griddle to sear and brown on that side.  I then added my onion spicy pepper, and bell pepper.  While this was going on, my Mother and Hub were doing the prep work on the herbs and the eggs.  Hub cracked the eggs into my big bowl, added the thyme, sage, oregano, salt, pepper, 2/3 of the cheese and half the chives and whipped em up to a frothy goodness. 
Once the veggies were nearly ready, I threw the garlic on the griddle with them and briefly sautéed that, probably about 30 seconds more.  Then, I took all those ingredients and put them into the pan I planned on cooking the frittata in.  Why did I use two pans?  Well, I wanted to be sure that the veggies went into a moisture free pan.  May not make a real difference, but that's what I did.

Once the veggies were in the new pan, I took the left over bacon and sausage and crumbled those in the pan with them.  I turned on the heat and got the pan hot.  When the pan was hot enough that I heard the bacon and sausage sizzle, I poured in my egg mixture.  I made sure that the eggs and other ingredients were distributed evenly, then I put the lid on the pan, reduced the heat to medium low and walked away for a few minutes.  The pan must be lidded to allow for the accumulation of steam to cook the top of your frittata, especially if you're using a stove top method, as I was.  After a few minutes, I checked the frittata and sprinkled on the rest of the cheese and a few more chives.  I reserved a few chives for plating. 

I kept checking the frittata every few minutes till I saw that the top was set.  When the top is set to a slight jiggle, the dish is done.  You will know when it's done enough for you.  The egg jiggle factor is something all cooks start to recognize and know when it's done enough for them.

To serve the frittata, you just turn it out on a large platter and then slice it like a pizza.  It is a great breakfast, or any time meal.  Dinner comes to mind as delicious with a nice salad done with a zippy vinegar dressing. 
A slice of delicious fresh frittata and  some iced tea
So, that's the first of my adventures with the delicious leavings from a wonderful meal. My next installment will be the report on what we did with those cold lamb chops.
Cold, left over lamb chops, transformation to come
in the next installment of Afterglow, Adventures in Leftovers!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Beans, no rice, please!

As I mentioned before, my Mamaw made delicious beans.  A humble food, beans are often overlooked as being a satisfying and sustaining main dish.  As a society, I think we've turned away from our more traditional beans to patronize the more "interesting" and exotic beans from other cultures.  I am personally guilty of this, but have recently come back home to good ole beans like my Mamaw used to make.

Mamaw always cooked pinto beans.  They were her favorite and I can't blame her.  When cooked using her method, the beans are soft and creamy and the pot liquor is rich, silky, and flavorful.  With or without a few fixin's, this is really a treat in a bowl.

The key to this recipe is time.  Don't get all discouraged.  I don't mean attention hogging obsessive stirry and labor intensive time.  I mean letting time do the work for you.  In our culture of instant gratification and heat and eat foods, we are losing the concept of letting time do the work for you.  This type of cooking was a godsend before the advent of near instant microwave cooking and the prepared food boom.  My grandmother and people before her used this type of cooking to free them up to do their other chores or take that seldom but hard earned break.  So, you will need to remind yourself to get this recipe started on the day BEFORE you want to eat it.  You'll also need to leave a few hours to cook the beans on the day you want to eat them.  Don't be daunted.  Good things come to those who wait.  I promise.

The Ingredients List Is:
  • Dried Pinto Beans (a small bag or at LEAST 1 cup of beans)
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Ham hock or jowls
Your kitchen tools are:
  • Heavy pot with a lid for cooking the beans in.  I like my enameled iron pot.  You probably have a favorite.  Just be sure it's heavy.  Long cooking is a heavy subject.
  • A colander in which to wash and drain your beans
  • Electric kettle or a pan of boiling water (use this during the cooking phase)
Ingredients, simple
Yep, that's it.  Mamaw was never a fancy cook.  She prepared simple, homely food that nourished and satisfied.  That's what food is really for.  Although I am a food fan and love examining and experiencing other cultures through cuisine, the fact of the matter is that food, at it's most basic level is there to give your body fuel to burn and make you feel satisfied.  Anything beyond that is gravy.  (har har har).  All the culinary contortions of haute cuisine are there to make people feel other things such as superiority or excitement in the exotic.  They elevate food beyond the most basic level and that's nice.  However, when you look at a humble food, like Mamaw's pot of beans, you see the roots of cooking and of your home life, if you were lucky enough to have a mother or father, sibling, or grandparent who could cook.  The simple flavors of this homely style of cooking allow you to taste the ingredients.  They rely on good quality ingredients to make the meal something enjoyable.  This "taste the ingredients" approach is something that the culinary world is coming back to.  Some say it's an Asian influence, but I say it's a return to home and real home style cooking.

Getting off the soapbox now.  Back to the regularly scheduled program, the Prep Phase.  De-clutter an area on your counter.  It needs to be big enough to spill your beans onto.  (ha!)  Clean it up and then spill your beans.  Pat them out so that they are a one bean thick layer.  Look for any beans that look bug eaten, off color, or just yucky.  You have plenty, so pick out the ones you don't like.  Don't get obsessive, though.  You don't want to be here all day.  Also look for any stray pebbles or clumps of dirt that may have slipped in disguised as a bean.  It still happens, despite our modern processes.  Now, put your beans into a colander and put them under cold running water.  Swish them around a good bit to wash them thoroughly.  The last thing you want in your beans is gritty dirt.  3 minutes of washing is more than sufficient, if you are semi-vigorous.  You can put the beans in pot you're going to cook them in.
In their bath, ready to soak overnight
Cover the beans in the pot with cold water.  I generally use a whole lot of water with 2-3" over the top of the beans.  The beans are going to suck up a lot of this water.  You want them to have more than they can drink.  Now, sit the pot in a quiet spot on the counter or your stove top; walk away, and stay away.  Here we come to the first instance of letting time do the work for you.  These beans need to take a good long drink of water.  They need at least 8 hours of drinking, in my humble opinion.  That's why I like to get the beans ready and in their bath the night before I cook them.  I put them in and wish them a good night.  When I get up in the morning, I can make my tea and get them wound up for the Cooking Phase.

So, after your beans have enjoyed their bath, they're ready to experience the jacuzzi.  Drain off 2/3 of the bath water that your beans were in.  There should be clear water on the top and a brown color on the bottom.  I leave that brownish bit in as I feel there is flavor in there.  Some people don't ascribe to that and drain off all the water.  There is even a school of thought that this helps decrease gas production in the gut.  I'm not sure about that, speaking from personal experience.  Add back enough cold water to cover your beans by 1".  Add in your ham hock or jowl.  Now, put the beans on the burner and crank it up.  You want the beans to boil and there is no need to be shy here.  Once the beans are boiling, reduce the heat to low and put on the lid.  Go ahead and get ready with a pot or pan of hot water.  Keep it hot and ready. You only want to add hot water to your beans as they cook.  I do think that adding cold water to the pot is detrimental to the cooking process.  Let your beans simmer slowly (blurp, burp, blurp) for a while.  Check your beans every once in a while to see if they need some water added.  When you add water, remember to only add the HOT water.  You are going to cook those beans low and slow for about 3 hours, maybe 4.  The longer the better.  You're going to make those beans start unwinding themselves into that pot.  Their proteins are going to come out and the starches cook apart.  Your broth is going to get thick and, well, bean colored.  After about 2 to 3 hours, add salt and your cayenne pepper.  Salt to taste, so add a little, taste and then add a little more.  You will put in more than you expect, but like potatoes and other starchy foods, beans can take a lot of salt before some think they're tasty.  As for the cayenne, add at least 1/8 teaspoon to a full bag of beans.  I use more, but we like things spicy.
These beans cooked low and slow for 8 hours today with home made bacon
The Eating Phase: The beans are ready when they very easily smoosh between your fingers.  Yes, that is a technical term.  I serve them plain in a bowl with some chopped white onion on top.  Eat them hot with some cornbread for a heart warming treat.  Plus corn and beans give you all the amino acids you need, so it's a complete meal.  Another great thing about  beans is that they're better the next day.  When you get them out of the fridge, you know you've gotten it right when the beans are thick and almost gelled. Flap those bad boys in a bowl, nuke and eat some more.  NOM!
Notice the thick, rich "broth", so silky