Four Meats and a Smile

Sorry for the odd title. I was trying to think of something to call the dish I made today, and “Meat, rice, and more” didn’t really do it for me. So I ended up with Four Meats and a Smile. I used the meats that I got from Bullock’s yesterday, and the smile came after I ate my food.

I started by cooking up the bacon. Six strips for the meal, one extra one for me. I had to resist the urge to continue eating them all. It was tough, but I was able to do it. I drained most of the grease from the pan, leaving just enough to coat the bottom.

I added in the ham ends (just under 2 pounds) that I cut into chunks, as well as one medium sized onion. I trimmed off the skin and most of the fat from the ham, but that was just my preference.

Once the onions were translucent, I turned off the heat and set them aside. I did not add any seasonings. The onions would be able to pick up the flavors of the bacon drippings and ham, and that would be more than enough flavor. I have a rice cooker, so I put in 4 cups of rice, 8 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of butter and pushed start. Next, I started to cook 1/2 pound of loose sausage, just until the bottom started to brown, and then added in 2 pounds of ground chuck. Since the ground chuck was 90/10, the extra fat that came from the loose sausage would add a more potent boost of flavor.

Once the ground meats were completely cooked, I added in the ham and onions. I then broke apart the bacon and added that as well. I cooked the meats separately because I wanted to reduce the risk of any cross-contamination between the raw meat and the already cooked meat.

I turned the burner to medium low, and then added in one 15.5 ounce can of kidney beans that was drained, as well as one 15 ounce can of baby peas that was drained. I continued to mix these all together until the rice was ready. It was only a couple of minutes, since my timing worked out really well. At this point, I had the option of combining everything together in one pot, or only combining them on the plate. I went with combining them on the plate. I didn’t want the rice to absorb too much of the flavor after the first meal, which would happen if it got combined and then refrigerated when cooled.

When all of these things were put together, it had a really great flavor. I was pleased with the rice. It had a nice quality that helped to tone down the saltiness of the ham and bacon. The peas were a bit lost in it all, but the kidney beans provided a bit of a deeper flavor that helped to round out the dish. This didn’t need any seasonings or sauces, but I might need some on day 2 or 3 or 4. I was very happy with how this dish turned out, and I am looking forward to the next few days of leftovers.

My weekend started and ended with good food, which always makes me happy. I know I’ll be indoors most of the next few days, but at least I’ll be eating well. Stay safe. Stay positive!

Old Mill Cafe – Ellicott City, MD – 03/29/20

I had a plan throughout the week to make my way back down to Ellicott City and to go to Old Mill Cafe. They are still open for carry out, and I was able to stop in.

I started with a frozen coffee drink. I opted for a frozen espresso this morning, just to switch things up. This had the right consistency, and the flavor was mildly sweet. Not bitter, not overly sweet, but a nice balance of the espresso flavor and sugar. They did a really nice job with this drink.

For breakfast, I decided to go for sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin. It was made fresh, which is always a plus. The muffin was slightly toasted, and there were some bites where I was able to get that nice, familiar English muffin flavor. The eggs were fried perfectly, the sausage had great flavor, and the cheese was melty and flavorful. The combination of all the components together made this a truly delicious breakfast experience. This is definitely one I could see myself going back for again and again. This was a wonderful way to start my morning and a great way for me to stay positive!

Bon Appetit Cafe & Bakery – Ellicott CIty, MD – 03/28/20

After picking up some lunch at Beef Brothers, I decided to pick up dessert at Bon Appetit Cafe & Bakery, which is about three stores down. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would end up getting, but they did have quite a few good options.

These are just some of the more traditional dessert treats that they had. They also had plenty of breads and Asian specialty foods, so there was no shortage of options. When all was said and done, I went with my usual option – chocolate.

I ordered the chocolate cake. The frosting on this was delicious, especially the parts where it was a little bit thicker. The cake itself was really good. I just forgot that it wouldn’t be as sweet as I’m used to. It had good flavor, and it worked really well with the bites that included frosting. There were some other desserts I would want to try the next time I visit, but I would still want to get this one again in the future as well. Overall, another great food eating experience for me.

Beef Brothers Deli – Ellicott City, MD – 03/28/20

Yesterday morning, I kept myself busy in Westminster and was able to go to a few places. When it came time for lunch, I knew that I wanted to branch out and grab a bite to eat, I just wasn’t sure exactly where I would end up. I went out and started going with where the wind would take me. It was after about five minutes that I pinpointed where I wanted to eat. And that place was Beef Brothers Deli. When I lived in Ellicott City, I visited every couple of months, but since I moved to Sykesville, it’s been more of a once or twice a year stop.

It took me about a minute to decide. I’ve had a few different sandwiches and I was going to pick the Cloak & Dagger, but as soon as I saw the description of “The Beef Brother”, I knew I had to get that one. I haven’t tried it before, but it definitely was calling out to me. Hot smoked BBQ brisket with horseradish sauce, BBQ sauce, and onions on a Kaiser roll. They have a 1/4 pound option and a 1/2 pound option. I went with the 1/4 pound, which was huge, so I’m glad I had some self control.

The brisket was cooked nice and tender, and it had a juicy, smoky flavor to it. I didn’t have to struggle to bite through the meat, it was the perfect texture. The barbecue sauce was smoky and sweet, which was a nice contrast to the horseradish sauce, which was outstanding. I had those moments where it hit my sinuses in just the right way, and it was perfect. The onions were very thinly sliced and they picked up the flavors of both the barbecue sauce and the horseradish sauce, and they added a really nice finishing touch to the sandwich. The bread had good flavor and held itself together very well.

This was a great food experience. I’ll be going back there again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait another six months to experience the quality (and quantity) of food eating here. It was an easy way for me to stay positive on an already great Saturday.

Bullock’s Country Meats & Farm Market – Westminster, MD – 03/28/20

The final stop during my morning up in Westminster was to go to Bullock’s. The grocery stores have very limited meat availability later in the day, and I thought that going to a fresh meat market would provide me with better opportunities to find some meat.

I was right! There were plenty of options, and as a result I was just walking back and forth in the store for about 10 minutes before I decided on what I was going to get. I ended up getting some ham ends, ground chuck (90/10), bacon, and loose sausage. I’m not sure exactly what I will be cooking with the different meats, but I have some ideas, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share that tomorrow.

This store has even more to choose from than the pictures I shared. I almost got some chicken, but didn’t want to go overboard with everything that I was already buying.

This ended my morning excursion in Westminster, and it was a great finish to the morning. I am looking forward to doing some cooking tomorrow and maybe creating something really flavorful, which will hopefully bring out some of the unique characteristics of each meat that I purchased.