Thursdays Are For Cooking!

| February 17, 2022

Well, looks as though we’re in for a full frontal confrontation with Mr. Snowman, and I’d like to suggest that, as a family-friendly sport, ice fishing is something everyone in the family – including the kids – can do and learn something about self-sufficiency. And also, since I started cooking when I was 7, like my sister did, your kids should know how to read a recipe and make a stove work safely, even if they have to stand on a wooden crate to see what’s in the frying pan. They’ll never go hungry. I see boys taking sewing classes so that they can do things like make sails for their surfboards and go ice boating, and that can extend into working with leather, too. So don’t snicker at some kid who knows how to sew on a button. All skills are just that: skills. Self-sufficiency is becoming a lost art.

Teach them to cook, make their own “extras” like pouches and shoulder bags, and fix things that need fixing, and they’ll be less dependent on gubmint do-gooders trying to run them. Oh, did that sound cynical? Yeah, well…

Today’s repast does include cooking trout that maybe you or your kids caught. I think I’ve presented this before, but ice-fishing season won’t end for another 5 weeks up here in the Cold Frozen North and when I see those fishing huts on the lake and entire families out doing ice fishing, it makes me happy. Self-sufficiency is desperately needed these days.

This is the pan-fried trout recipe.

Cooking Trout/Fish Recipe


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 skin-on trout fillets (6 to 8 oz. each)

Salt and pepper

  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 small lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 juiced

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Step 1

In a large (10- to 12-inch) cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Season the trout with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Place the trout, skin side down, in the skillet. Scatter with the thyme and lemon slices.

Step 2

Cook the trout, spooning the butter from the bottom of the skillet over the fish often, until just cooked through (do not flip), about 5 minutes. Transfer the fish and lemon slices to a serving plate.

Step 3

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a bit more butter, if you like. Spoon the pan sauce over the fish. Top with the parsley.

Now, my dad used to buy perch at the grocery store, coat it with cornmeal and oven-fry it, but I have to test the temperature on that. It was really good when it was done that way, too. So if any of you have a recipe for oven-fried perch, please feel free to drop it in!

Also, because the weather is cold and we’re expecting a heavy snow load some time this winter, another hearty and quick fix is soup. In this case, it’s plain old bean soup.

Plain Old Bean Soup

This one is easy. If you want it quickly, use canned beans. If you want to start the night before, use dry beans (much cheaper than canned).


One pack of mixed beans – soak overnight, starting at 9PM or 10PM, in a large pot, covered with water. Check them in the morning. They should all be inflated and ready to cook. Remove any floaters. Pour off the water, rinse again, and return the pot to the stove.

Or if you prefer the canned beans because it’s quicker, this works, too:

1 can each of black beans, Great Northerns,  dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans, navy beans, cannellinis, pinto beans – in short, use as many varieties as you can find.

Now here’s what goes with that:

Some ham, diced, chopped or minced in the Cuisinart thingy.

Optional: a small amount of smoked salt pork to go with the ham. If this will overload your salt intake, skip it.

1 large onion of your choice, chopped

Celery – yes, the entire stalk can be used, including the leaves, cut coarse or thin – your choice, and you can use less celery if you want to keep sodium content low.

Carrots – I find that half of a 1-lb bag of baby carrots is just fine for this, but you can certainly use the entire bag.

Oregano – about what will fit in the cupped palm of your hand, or a dessert spoon. Use less if you don’t like oregano.

Chopped garlic or two tablespoons of garlic powder (this is optional)

A very small amount of chili powder or cumin – about 1/4 teaspoon

Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb – this is if you are trying to keep salt usage low. Contains no salt, but dried lemon bumps up the flavor considerably, and this has a lot of coarse black pepper in it

Put all of that into the pot with the beans, then add equal parts chicken broth and beef broth to fill the pot to about 1.5 inches below the pot rim.

Again, with the broth, if you are trying to control your salt intake, use the low sodium versions.

Cover loosely and cook on low. Keep checking on it, and yes, you are allowed to sample it from time to time.

Cornbread goes well with this, as do fresh, cut-up veggies, and a nice dessert – maybe pumpkin pie with whipped cream? Or vanilla bean ice cream with real chocolate syrup?

Bon appetit, and remember, everything that we’re bitching about is temporary. There comes a time when the Conceited Twits achieve their goal, like the engineer: blown up with his own petard.

Category: Cooking, Economy

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Good rule, seafood is best if messed with the least. Like yours.
Thanks, Ex.


“…cast-iron skillet.” The best start to just about anything needing cooking. Lubs me some lemon infused, butter fried fishes. A pot of cheese grits goes real good with this.

Throw the bone from the Sunday Dinner Ham in that pot of beans. Your taste buds will thank you.

Pro tip…Jiffy Mix is NOT cornbread. Jes’ sayin’!

Mama taught all of her young’uns how to do what used to be considered “woman’s work”…AND how to treat women. Her boys became better men for it.

Tanks Mi’Lady…Let’s eat!


Mom taught me how to sew…and knit.
Still have the sewing kit she made up for me.
Wished I had paid more attention on the cooking though.


For those who like to cook under pressure….

Fish Stew

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 medium red onion quartered and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • 8 oz. bottled clam juice  (see notes)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 lb. red or gold potatoes diced
  • 15 oz. canned diced tomatoes  or 1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, with their juices
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • pinch crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 2 lbs. sea bass cut into roughly 2″ pieces (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice  from about 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped



  • Use the “sauté” function on your instant pot or pressure cooker to cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until browned and softened (about 3 minutes).
  • Add the chopped garlic (4 cloves). Sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  • Add the white wine (1/2 cup) to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until about half the wine has evaporated (about 1 minute).
  • Add the clam juice, water (2.5 cups), potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, plenty of salt and pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
  • Turn the “sauté” function off, cover and seal your Instant pot, and set manual pressure to “high” for 5 minutes.
  • Once your pressure cooker is done, quick release the pressure until the float valve is depressed.
  • Open the instant pot and turn the “sauté” function back on. Once soup is simmering (which shouldn’t take long since it’s piping hot already), add the fish pieces and simmer for about 5 minutes, until fish is just cooked and flakes apart easily.

Instructions (cont.)

  • Turn off “sauté” function and stir in the lemon juice (2 tablespoons) and fresh dill (2 tablespoons), along with the remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve immediately, with a good crusty bread if desired.
  • Notes: Feel free to use another firm, white fish, such as cod, monkfish, or halibut, instead of sea bass.
  • Slow Cooker Instructions: To make this in your slow cooker, add all ingredients except for fish, lemon juice, dill, and 2 tablespoons oil. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours, until potatoes are tender. Add fish in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Turn off heat and stir in dill, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil just before serving, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Clam Juice Substitution: If you have a shellfish allergy, you can replace the clam juice with shellfish free fish stock, or just add another cup of water to the recipe as a replacement.

Lastly, I am leaving my home here and moving to another city. I expect to be off the grid for a few weeks so ya’ll are just going to have to do without the pressure cooking recipes for awhile.



Thanks. I will try.

Stay warm and remember that summer is coming!


I was always proud of the fact that my Mom took the time to teach me how to sew, use a sewing machine(Grandma’s Elna), cook etc. When one of my cousins asked my Dad why I was doing ‘women’s work’ – washing dishes – , my Dad responded ‘So he can be a better Bachelor someday’. My twice-divorced cousin is still lost in a fog of self-involved confusion. Knew the Missus was coming back home today(isolation after trip) so I’ve spent the last two days making Corn Soup – one our fav’s. And yes, Fry Bread will be served with that.

“Corn soup. When you put these two words together most people might imagine a pretty lacklustre expression of food. But when these words are mentioned to anyone from the Confederacy of Six Nations, or any other Haudenosaunee communities, they will smile, they will get excited, and tell you about the last time they had a good bowl of Corn Soup.”

~ CBC Host Ryan McMahon

Stories from the Land – Corn Soup: A guide to this traditional recipe, by a chef and a knowl

Let's Go Brenda.jpg

No, it’s not but *sigh* can’t tell how many times I’ve heard Corn Soup actually is odd to some folk.. Guess ‘simple’ and ‘old fashioned’ and ‘self-reliant’ are all odd or weird to some folk. *shrug* Whatever.
Tell ya what, Ex – that picture of the fifteen bean soup bag, sure did bring back some happy kid-in-the-kitchen memories – my Grandma making her ‘Three Sacred Sister’s’ soup – corn, beans and squash. Always took her three days to make.. And although she didn’t use any Hambeens 15 Bean soup in her Three Sacred Sister soup – remember very clearly she always had at least three or four bags of Hambeens in her walk-in larder for what else? Good ‘ol fashioned Bean Soup. As she said, it was simple foods like stews and soups that fed us through the Depression and the War. Part of the joy, was having just enough of..anything to put into your casserole, soup or stew – the other part was making it and then the joy of eating it!! Miss Grandma but grateful she was in my life.


Dip me up a gourd full of that corn soup, Hatchet. And pass me a coupla slabs of that fry bread. Oh, and hug the Mrs. 😋


Done and done, auld son.

She just got back today, says she’s well fed and happy to be back and returns the hug 🤗


Almost forgot – here’s your Fry Bread, Bro