Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yam Casserole for Everyone!

When db` came on the scene, DB~ suggested that we make his baby food ourselves.  It's healthy, cheaper than buying the jars, and we know what's in it.  We'll make a batch of whatever pureed vegetable we buy for him (avocado, carrot, squash) and then freeze it in ice cube trays.  After the cubes have frozen, we put them in a Ziploc bag and take 1 or 2 cubes out for him for his meals.

My local Giant Eagle had a Manager's Special on yams, as they apparently WAY overbought for the holiday season.  At first, I thought the sign said 4 yams for $1.  Man, 25 cents a yam?  Great deal.  When I got closer, it actually said 4 LBS for $1.  I still got just four yams, but it cost me a whopping 54 cents.  That's only 13 cents a yam!

After I peeled the yam, I cut it into four chunks and put into boiling water for 15 minutes until fork tender.  I put them in the food processor and added a little of the starchy water from the boiling process to help blend them smoothly.  In one minute of steady processing, it was a perfectly smooth blend.  We got seven cubes out of yam for db`.  In essence, each db' cube only cost 2 cents.  He's basically eating for free.

DB~ looked at the db' yam mix and said that it looked pretty good, so tonight for dinner I peeled and boiled the remaining three yams.  I processed one yam for db` and got another seven cubes for him.  But for us, I processed the other two yams, then put the puree in a casserole dish.  I added approximately 1/4 cup of brown sugar, two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice mix, and mixed it together.  Finally, I topped with some tiny marshmallows.  I baked this at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  The marshmallows melted in to the mix and the brown sugar/spice mix gave it a deep, rich tone.  The mix was so smooth and inviting to eat.

So, yes, essentially we're eating augmented baby food.  Tonight, it was pretty good.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Having a tiny widget like db` has caused us to re-evaluate our social agenda.  Specifically, the fact that our time is no longer our time, but rather it's a byproduct of what db` allows us to have.  Rather than become homebound hermits, DB~ came up with an interesting idea -- go to interesting places for lunch, rather than dinner.  This allows us to feel "normal" while still preserving the all-important nighttime routine for db`.

Our choice this Saturday was Franktuary in Lawrenceville.  With the unfortunate closing of Station Street Hot Dogs, Franktuary is the premier place for gourmet, creative hot dogs.  We had not been to the "new" place in Lawrenceville, so we were thinking it would just be a small place with a counter.

Instead, it's a full sit-down place with a decor that is old-timey with some church elements, such as pews for booth seating.  It also features a full bar with a barman mixing up Prohibition-era cocktails.  Ten years ago, you couldn't find a place in Pittsburgh making such cocktails.  Now you can have one with a hot dog.

Franktuary's menu is robust.  Your hot dog can be a "standard" hot dog or different types of sausages or tofu, if you're a weirdo.  After that, there are different condiments you can get (some free, others for a charge) and up to 13 styles of hot dogs.

DB~ selected the PA Dutch Dog, with a side order of Garbanzo Fries, purely out of curiosity.  Her hot dog was topped with apple jam, cheddar cheese sauce, and scallions.  Of the three hot dogs between us, hers was my favorite.  The Garbanzo Fries were plainish, but excellent.  The garbanzo beans were pureed together, formed into rectangles, then (presumably) fried.  They were light and served with a delightful ranch sauce infused with dill.

My two selections were the Bangkok and the Memphis.  The Bangkok was a Thai-inspired hot dog with peanut sauce, carrot shreds, and cilantro.  I'm not typically a fan of peanut sauces -- maybe a teriyaki sauce? -- but this worked well here, as peanut sauce are a key Thai cornerstone.  The Memphis had barbeque sauce, cole slaw, and potato straws.  It was good, not great, but certainly didn't detract from our overall love of Franktuary.

We'll definitely be back, with db` in tow.  Long live the infant-infused lunch.