Ham N’ Bean Soup.


I was really hungry for ham n’ bean soup after the Christmas ham.  Usually I make a Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup with ham leftovers, but this time I wanted something different.  Plus, I made a sweet glaze for this ham which may not have played well with that soup.  I have made ham n’ bean soup before with the dried beans that I had to soak overnight, but I remember my last batch being way too salty.

This one turned out a lot better.  I used canned beans.  While we generally do most of out shopping at Aldi (& via Instacart), there are some things that Aldi doesn’t sell so I made the trip to Giant Eagle to get all the beans.  I think it turned out well.  This is more of a method than a recipe.  Here’s what I posted on Instagram (edited for terrible typing and a clear blatant lack of proofreading/editing);

AiXeLsyD13's Ham n' Bean Soup

Ham n’ Bean Soup | @AiXeLsyD13

Finally made the ham n’ bean soup.

Started with some carrots cut up, half of a Spanish onion minced, and 3 each red & yellow mini sweet bell peppers chopped very fine, sautéed them in a bit of butter, added spices

Next I added a @yuenglingbeer traditional lager, some vegetable broth, and some water & a bit of ham bullion/paste stuff.from a jar.

Then I added some leftover gravy from the Christmas ham which included ham drippings and my glaze that dropped down (beer, yellow mustard, Herlocher’s, honey, brown sugar, garlic, water, & corn starch). Then I cubed up some leftover ham from Christmas, popped it in the mix, then added some canned great northern beans, pinto beans, cannelloni beans, red beans, white kidney beans, and canned diced new potatoes.

Finally I added some bisquick mix to make some dumplings after the beans cooked a bit.

I have to say it hit the spot. @bcarroll_13 liked it, and Molly did eat a bit, Ian said he liked it but didn’t eat any. Molly REALLY liked the dumplings.

I bought peas to add, but wasn’t feeling then in this mix so I kept them out.

I may try the “bags of gold” cheese-filled dumplings soup that grandma used to make next.

I forgot to mention that one can of great northern beans I mashed before putting it in because I like a thick soup.  The dumplings were my mom’s idea, which is funny if you know her & that she hates biscuits & dumplings.  I also used a few drops of liquid smoke for the first time ever at the advice of a good friend!  I also sometimes like to cook with Straub American Amber instead of Yuengling Traditional Lager.  I thought about adding garbanzo beans, but I didn’t.  I bet they would have gone well in here too.

Do you make your ham n’ bean soup?  This is something I probably make slightly different every time.  Share your secrets, tips, & tricks in the comments!

Ham n’ Bean n’ Tater Stew


This is one of my favorites.  My grandma made it a lot when I was growing up.  I have my own variation.

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup on a Spoon

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup

 

Mine includes beer. Grandma made it every once in a while with cabbage. I suppose you could add carrots and/or onions. Maybe garbanzi beans too?  Becky the awesome cook at camp makes it with noodle-style dumplings (I did try it that way once too), and some people make it wholly and horribly incorrectly with a creamy soup base.  I have no idea why you would do that to this meal.

I don’t know what to call this.  We always just called it “ham, beans, and potatoes” which is somewhat cumbersome… and could be about 4,000,000,000 other soups.  In fact, I don’t even know if this is a soup or a stew.  Both?  Neither?  What is the difference, anyway?

A lot of the time this would be made with leftover ham from Christmas, Easter, or whenever.  When the hankering strikes now, I go to ham steaks with the little bone in.  I don’t have a strict recipe, it’s more of a method.

This time, I put some Ham broth base (which can be a pain in the rear to find in the store sometimes) made slightly weaker than the directions, one cube each of chicken & beef bullion, a bottle of Yuengling Traditional Lager (I have used Straub American Amber for this too), and water in the pot and started it to boil on high.  (Perhaps obviously if I had a leftover ham, I would start by boiling the bone and make the broth from that, add bullion if/as needed.)  I also popped in some minched garlic, onion powder, and season-all, salt, and black pepper.

Then I cubed up 2 ham steaks, added them to the mix,.

Then I washed n’ cut up a not quite a 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes, and added that to the mix.  (I have used Yukon Gold before and they’re delicious, but they seem to break down to starch easier.)

Then, I cheated and popped open 2 bags of microwave/steam ready fresh green beans, rinsed, then snapped/chopped, and added them to the mix.  When i came to a boil, I popped it down to 8 on the burner dial, and let it boil for 20 minutes.

Then, I let it simmer on 2 for another 20 minutes, then I put it on low until dinner time.

Ham n' Bean n; Tater Stew

Ham n’ Bean n; Tater Stew

We served it with fresh baked buttered bread form the local grocery store.  The kids seemed to actually eat dinner this evening too, and they’re rather picky lately.  Sometimes I make it the night before, this is the kind of stuff that’s always better the next day.  I’m not sure if it’s Irish, German, American, or all of the above.

Do you make something like this?  Post your variation(s) in the comments below.

 

 

Pittsburgh Chipped Ham BBQ


Pittsburgh Chipped Ham BBQ.

This is how we had chipped ham BBQ when I was growing up…

It was put in a pot on the stove & just heated until it was ready.  It has to be Heinz, it has to be Coke (No Pepsi, RC Cola, or Faygo.)

None of the pre-made sauce either.

It needs to go on a nice roll, like Cellone’s.  I never added cheese as a kid, but I like it with a nice Swiss or Brick cheese these days.

I’ve done a large amount of this in a crock pot… several pounds of meat, then eye the ketchup & Coke.

Chipped Ham BBQ

Pittsburgh Style Chipped Ham BBQ

OMG. WTF? BBQ!


My PCP is going to hate this post.

I love barbecue, or BBQ or Bar-B-Q or whatever you want to call it.  This isn’t going to be a blog about what you think the “real” definition of barbecue is (wet/dry, smoke/no smoke, slow & low/fast & hot, sauce/no sauce, charcoal/gas, grill/pit)… the purists all claim to be right, and the term can be applied to the meat (or veggies I guess), the cooking, the spices, the sauce, or the gathering.  If you want to argue/learn about the differences, check out Wikipedia.

Since I’m just a fan of barbecue, not a professional BBQ cook, and live in Pittsburgh not the south*… I won’t take a stand on the issue.  I like all varieties.  (Although, would chipped ham barbecue be “Pittsburgh Style” BBQ?  I’d support that.)

I was inspired to write about BBQ today because I recently had an excellent dinner form the Pittsburgh Barbecue Company.  It reminded me of my three favorite barbecue joints.  I was just wondering what other people thought of them, and what other awesome local BBQ joints might not be on my radar.

Rowdy BBQ

Rowdy BBQ

Rowdy BBQ
Brentwood Express Rowdy BBQ on UrbanspoonTagline: “We think of you when we pull our pork!” – I swear this place used to be called Brentwood Express or have it in the name somewhere…  but now the site’s commercial strictly says “Rowdy BBQ”, so we’ll go with that.

At any rate, this is my favorite barbecue sauce.  I love this stuff!  It’s a sweet yet spicy sauce.  They have a killer menu with all kinds of fun things like “The Big Pig”, “The Whole Hog”, and the “Knuckle Sandwich”.  I usually get the ribs/chicken combo with some fries and eat just enough to make myself almost sick.  The ribs are always cooked perfectly, sometimes the chicken is dry, but not “ooh I can’t eat this” dry.  The fries are awesome, and this is the only place out of my 3 favorites that even has fries.  (They used to have excellent pierogies, but I don’t think they’re on the menu anymore.)  I’ve had the Big Pig & the brisket sandwiches, they are awesome.  I want to try the cheese steaks, but at pulled to the BBQ offerings every time I’m there.  I want to buy the sauce to bring home, but then I won’t have an excuse to go there. The parking lot is chaos, and you’re eating about 5 feet away from the traffic on Rte. 51 when you’re on the one site… but I can never wait to get home to eat, gotta eat it there!  (And, I’d miss the rowdy rooster!)

Check ’em out on the web: Website | Facebook 1 | Facebook 2 | Urbanspoon

Pittsburgh Barbecue Company

Pittsburgh Barbecue Company

Pittsburgh Barbecue Company
Pittsburgh Barbecue Company on UrbanspoonTagline: “That place on Banksville…” – This place is the closest to home for me, and is pretty damn tasty BBQ.  The sauce is a little more tangy than sweet.  I go for the brisket or pulled pork here more often than the ribs… but the ribs & chicken are damn good.  I like their mac n’ cheese.  It’s got a tasty homemade feel.  They have a pretty minimalist menu, but I really like that.  They know what they do, and they do it well.  My wife Bethany loves their baked apples side.  The cornbread is excellent too.  They seem to be a little expensive here, but again, it’s worth it.  You definitely get what you pay for… the meat portions on the sandwiches are huge.

The sauce is nice & peppery.  I get a spicy tingle every time we dine here.  There’s also a nice outside dining area, and although sparse like Rowdy BBQ, you’re not eating amid exhaust like you are on Rte. 51.  It’s got a nice little log cabin/shack feel inside.  They also tout a bunch of “#1’s” on their site, most recent being Pittsburgh Magazine’s “Best in the ‘Burgh 2010”.  This place is no secret, even if it is hiding back off of the main road.

Check ’em out on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter | UrbanSpoon

Clem's Cafe

Clem's Cafe

Clem’s Cafe
Clem's Cafe (Hardwood Barbecue) on UrbanspoonTagline: “Home of the nice racks, big breasts, juicy thighs, and warm buns! ” – This one is way out there, but really worth the drive.  They have an excellent tangy sauce… I can taste the vinegar in it, but it blends well with the overall flavor.  The best part about Clem’s is that hands down the meat is always falling off the bone on the ribs… and always always juicy with the chicken.  I like the mac & cheese here, and the ability to get the Boylan’s root beer or birch beer.

The dining facilities are great, it’s always a nice place to sit & eat.  They have a concise menu, again not too much, you know exactly why you’re there… for the BBQ!

[I need a YouTube video for these guys!]

Check ’em out on the web: Website | Facebook | UrbanSpoon

Which Pittsburgh (or SWPA) BBQ place is your favorite?  I’d love to do a blind taste-test of all their sauces some time.

There are other places I have in mind that I’d like to try, like The Flame BBQ, Two Brothers Bar-B-Q, & No Bull Bar-B-Q. Anyone been to any of those? Thoughts?

So, where else should I try?  My #1 criteria in finding a cool new BBQ place is that they don’t have shrimp (or any other shellfish) on the menu… like Rib Cage BBQ.  I like the BBQ places because of the limited menu & no chance of cross-contamination.  It’s nice to be able to completely relax at an eating establishment.

I would love to be able to get some turkey at a BBQ place though… either deep-fried & topped with some sauce… or in a pulled-pork style or brisket-style sandwich… or turkey legs.  Man, I love turkey legs.

So, flood me with commentary!

*There are a number of people around here that do indeed think we are a southern state… “Pennsyltucky” and all…

Apparently Market District is OK with your insolence.


For some reason, I found this highly amusing.

If you read my recent rant about people not returning shopping carts and found yourself thinking that I was completely out of line…  Enjoy some reinforcement from Market District themselves:

I wrote:

@MarketDistrict Does this – http://wp.me/pwqzc-ai – make you angry?

They wrote back:

@AiXeLsyD13 We would b grateful if ppl put the carts back in the designated areas but we also have staff 2 round up the carts as well. Thx!

So please continue your rude behavior while we all look the other way.  KTHXBYE.

This is why you can’t have nice things…


The other night, the wife & I were on a grocery gathering trip to the new Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson, which has an awesomely clean & new interior, helpful friendly employees, and really nice prices.  (I got a Giant Eagle brand ham for just 99¢/lb.!) That’s the inside of the store.

On the outside of the store… the crosswalks are clearly marked (although wholly ignored by the Yinzers), there are nice sidewalks in between rows of the parked cars so you don’t have to walk down the driving lane (but people do anyway), and there are many many places to return your shopping carts.  This is the one that prompted me to write.  I took the following photo with my cell phone…

BUGGY GRAVEYARD

ABANDON THY BUGGIES, ALL YE WHO EXIT!

What is wrong with you, people?  Is it that hard to walk the cart back up the the front of the store, or to the nearest cart return?  Is this driven by arrogance or laziness?  Are you too good to take the cart back up?  Too important?  Your time to valuable?  Are you too lazy?

I get that the Market District employees should also be trolling the lot looking for these things to clean up… but if the Yinzers had any common decency, this wouldn’t happen in the first place.  Shame on you, this is how the pace will start its eventual slide donwhill until it’s just another crappy grocery store with employees who don’t care and customers that look like they rolled in some dirt before getting up & going inside.  Take some pride in your city and the businesses in it, you dumb Yinzers.

This is why you can’t have nice things.

☘ Éireann go Brách ☘


Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

I’m told that means “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” or more accurately “Blessings of St. Patrick’s Day upon ye!”.  I hope that’s right.  Today, we celebrate Irish heritage.   How the holiday’s become that, I have no idea.  I’d like to share with you some Irish toasts, blessing, song, & food.  If you’re not of Irish descent, well… we’ll forgive for just one day.  As long as you forgive me for skipping the Guinness and sticking to the Smithwick’s.

Irish toasts & blessings…

A family of Irish birth will argue and fight,
But let a shout come from without and see them all unite.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

An Irishman is never drunk
as long as he can hold on to
one blade of grass and not
fall off the face of the earth.

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction!

Bless your little Irish heart — and every other Irish part.

From the great Gales of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad.

Grant me a sense of humor, Lord,
the saving grace to see a joke,
To win some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folks.

Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

Here’s to a sweetheart, a bottle, and a friend.
The first beautiful, the second full, the last ever faithful.

Here’s to you and yours,
And to mine and ours,
And if mine and ours ever come
Across you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do
As much for mine and ours,
As mine and ours have done
For you and yours!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint– and another one!

Here’s to the land of the shamrock so green,
Here’s to each lad and his darlin colleen,
Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most.
May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!

Here’s to women’s kisses,
and to whiskey, amber clear;
Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss,
but a darn sight more sincere!

Here’s to women’s kisses,
and to whiskey, amber clear;
Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss,
but a darn sight more sincere!

I drink to your health when I’m with you,
I drink to your health when I’m alone,
I drink to your health so often,
I’m starting to worry about my own!

I have known many,
and liked not a few,
but loved only one
and this toast is to you.

May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.

May good luck be your friend
In whatever you do
And may trouble be always
A stranger to you.

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now
And bless you evermore.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.

May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.

May the good saints protect you
And bless you today
And may troubles ignore you
Each step of the way

May the grass grow long on the road to hell for want of use.

May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.

May the leprechauns be near you,
To spread luck along your way.
And may all the Irish angels,
Smile upon you on St. Patrick’s Day.

May the lilt of Irish laughter Lighten every load,
May the mist of Irish magic Shorten every road,
May you taste the sweetest pleasures That fortune ere bestowed,
And may all your friends remember all the favors you are owed.

May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.

May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic Shorten every road…
And may all your friends remember
All the favours you are owed!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

May the rocks in your field turn to gold.

May the roof above you never fall in,
And those gathered beneath it never fall out.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
who says, “this drink’s on me.”

May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings,
slow to make enemies and quick to make friends.
And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for!

May you have food and raiment,
a soft pillow for your head.
May you be forty years in heaven
before the devil knows you’re dead.

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
the foresight to know where you’re going,
and the insight to know when you’ve gone too far.

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent.

May you never find trouble
All crowdin’ and shovin’
But always good fortune
All smilin’ and lovin’

May you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune ere bestowed,
And may all your friends remember all the favors you are owed.

May your heart be light and happy,
May your smile be big and wide,
And may your pockets always have
a coin or two inside!

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

May your home be filled with laughter
May your pockets be filled with gold
And may you have all the happiness
Your Irish heart can hold.

May your mornings bring joy
and your evenings bring peace…
May your troubles grow less
as your blessings increase!

May your pockets be heavy—
Your heart be light,
And may good luck pursue you
Each morning and night.

May your pockets be heavy—
Your heart be light,
And may good luck pursue you
Each morning and night.

May your right hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in want.

May your troubles be less
And your blessing be more
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door

My friends are the best friends
Loyal, willing and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
All glasses off the table!

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,

That the tap may be open when it rusts!

There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.

We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let’s all get drunk, and go to heaven!

Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking!
If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me. … Slainte!

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies, quick to make friends. But rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

May the strength of three be in your journey.

May the sound of happy music, And the lilt of Irish laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after.

Here’s to me, and here’s to you,
And here’s to love and laughter-
I’ll be true as long as you,
And not one moment after.

There are many good reasons for drinking,
One has just entered my head-
If a man doesn’t drink when he’s living,
How the hell can he drink when he’s dead?

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

May you have love that never ends,
lots of money, and lots of friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do,
and may God send many blessings to you!

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!

May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and the road downhill all the way to your door.

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

May the embers from the open hearth warm your hands,
May the sun’s rays from the Irish sky warm your face,
May the children’s bright smiles warm your heart,
May the everlasting love I give you warm your soul.

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks,
May your heart be as light as a song,
May each day bring you bright, happy hours,
That stay with you all the year long.

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.

May the saint protect ye-
An’ sorrow neglect ye,
An’ bad luck to the one
That doesn’t respect ye
t’ all that belong to ye,
An long life t’ yer honor-
That’s the end of my song t’ ye!

May good luck be your friend
In whatever you do.
And may trouble be always
A stranger to you.

May your blessings outnumber
The Shamrocks that grow.
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

May your troubles be less,
And your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.

And some Irish song…

This one’s from Seamus Kennedy, you need to check him out if he’s ever on tour in a pub or a festival near you!


And, of course, here’s some Flogging Molly

Terry Griffith is another good one to catch at a renaissance festival or pub near you…


Porter & Stout are always amusing… although maybe more Pirtaes than Irish…

Of course, we have the Dropkick Murphys


And Johnny Cash with Jimmie Rodgers

Some additional links themed for the day…

Please share any more toasts, blessings, songs, or recipes that you may have in the comments below!


Also, I can’t resist…  “Where the Gold At?

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.