Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lazy Lady

We all have to take shortcuts sometimes.  That wall of hermitically sealed packages gave me my veggies and salad for the weekend.

I brought three spare kids home from swim practice yesterday morning, and had several more orbiting in and out of my house all day so I didn't get ot the Wednesday farmer's market.  Tomorrow begins a 3-day Very Big Swim Meet so I have to trek to nearly Louisiana and back three times, so no Saturday farmer's market for me either.

Forgive me, Mother Earth, for I have sinned, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


It almost always starts like this.  Even before my plan is fully formed, the onion gets chopped.  Still thinking, "OK, I've got chicken.... some veggies in the fridge.... what else have I got, and who am I feeding tonight?"

Picky kids, best to concoct a sauce with a few hidden things like grated carrots and finely chopped squash.

How to prep the chicken?  Grill, sautee?  Cut or whole?

What do I have for a side?  Bread?  Salad?  Pasta?

But while I am chopping the onions, the possibilities are only limited by my pantry and my imagination.

What are YOU having for dinner?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cucumbers are better than.....

This week at the farmer's market, I bought every cucumber they had.  I love cucumbers.  After all, they stay hard in the crisper for weeks, you know.  I got all sizes, because you know, size doesn't matter - and a cucumber will never try to convince you otherwise.  And even thought I bought a LOT of cucumbers, none of them seemed to have a problem with the fact that I could handle ALL those cucumbers.

OK.  I'll stop now.  My intentions for the cucumbers are purely culinary.  Seriously.

Ray even got interested in the cucumbers.  Culinarily speaking of course.  Seriously.

We both wanted pickles.  Dill for Ray, bread-n-butter for me.  Ray even got green tomatoes to pickle as well.  Hmmm....  are green tomatoes better than women and I missed the joke?

Back to the cucumbers.  Seriously.

And this is VERY serious, because I even broke out the French mandolin to slice 'em purty and didn't even lose any of my parts in the process.  Tricky things, them mandolins.  I also sliced onions and salted the whole mess of 'em and let them drain.  A little finely minced sweet red pepper went in there too.

As usual, no particular recipe was followed, but I just tossed in various ingredients that I'd seen listed in the recipes I perused on canning websites.  Tumeric, mustard seed, clove, garlic...  All simmered in a pot with equal parts cider vinegar and brown sugar.

In go the cucumber slices to heat through, and then fill and process the jars.  The hardest part of the whole ordeal is waiting the 3 weeks until they're ready.  I hope they're good, because I've already given a few jars away.

Ray is using a fermentation process for his dill pickles, which won't require water bath processing.  Being a beer maker, he's more comfortable with that whole fermentation thang than I am.  I should have helped him and maybe I'd learn a thing or two about how to properly treat a cucumber.  But Bunko the night before, followed by 5:30 wakeup for swim practice and a 9am meeting, and well, I confess I was sleeping in the middle of the day while my husband was in the kitchen having his way with several dozen cucumbers.  I know.  I missed out.

We'll let you know in a few weeks how good those cucumbers actually are!  Or maybe we won't.  We're shy that way.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Admonishing the Tooth Fairy

Bridget lost two teeth yesterday.  And one a few days before that.  And another a couple of weeks ago.

Besides our Tooth Fairy's gender confusion issues, we also have a certain amount of laziness forgetfulness on the part of the Tooth Fairy.  The Fairy still hadn't made it to our house for the tooth lost way back in May sometime.

Three teeth lost in 4 days could not be ignored.  This note was left with Bridget's teeth:

The Tooth Fairy is sufficently guilty for its lack of attention to Bridget.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Grainy Back of the Auditorium Video....

... or How to Get Over Stage Fright, Part Deux

Last Friday was Bridget's elementary school talent show.  She's too shy to sing for us, but for some reason being on a stage with a crowd is a whole 'nother ball game.

First of all, I just have to say a few things about the show in general....  The kids are amazing.  While some of them truly do have talent, the amazing fact is whether they are talented or not, they have the desire to get up on stage and share their stuff.  Each and every one got up there and believed they were a superstar and it was awesome.  I had a big silly grin on my face the whole evening, I was so proud of every kid.

Secondly, but most importantly, Mrs. Anderson rocks!  This dedicated lady is the music teacher at the school and she produces a quality show.  There are no sound system mess-ups, no amateurish mistakes.  She treats these kids like superstars.  There are spotlights, follow-spots, a sound board w/ a great technician, and a stage crew that works like a well-oiled machine.

Bridget sang a song called "Hip to My Heart" by The Band Perry.  Kind of a pop-ish country song.  She agonized over every bit of her outfit, we argued over make up.  She rehearsed in the privacy of her room for hours on end.

So, without further ado.....   enjoy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

When Life Gives You Radishes.....

....make radish sandwiches!

Between my own garden, and "my" farm in Roanoke, it's still mostly spring onions and radishes lately.  The tomatoes and green beans are teasing us, as are the cucumbers.

We had another party to go to last night and I had picked up a bunch of produce from my farm share in the morning.  The hostess had asked me to bring an hors d'oeuvre.  Once again, the challenge was to find a way to use what is local and in season, rather than resorting to the soulless yet abundant produce at the grocery store.

One of my favorite cooking websites is epicurious.  I typed "radish" and "scallion" into their recipe search, and voila!  Several recipes for radish finger sandwiches.  As usual, I scanned the various recipes, as well as the comments sections, and came up with a plan of my own.

First, I made a compound butter using finely chopped spring onions, parsley, anchovy paste and some really nice French sea salt.

Then I sliced the radishes very thinly using a mandolin.  These radishes are very spicy, so they got a quick soak in some lime juice.

Finally, assembly!  Very thin whole wheat bread, butter both slices, layer the radishes, trim the crusts and cut into little pieces.  I thought they were delicious and the sea salt really brought out the flavors.

Sadly, I think my garden is done giving me radishes.  Between the heat and the fact that one of the dogs tried to hide a dead bird in the radish section, well, maybe I'll replant in the fall when it's cooler.  They only take about 4 weeks from planting to crunchy yumminess!