March 23, 2014

Well, folks, it’s been fun. Almost 800 posts, lots of new adventures in the kitchen, and I’ve learned a ton (and gained about that much weight). But it’s time to take a vacation from the keyboard, or at least that portion of it that’s tied to food.

I’m just not feeling it these days. Work schedule is picking up, social schedule is busier, grandparenting schedule is keeping me busy. I’ve taken on a couple of new clients, a couple of extra writing projects, some more travel. I’m not cooking much, and experimenting on less.

I’ll be back. Probably about the end of June, when the Farmers’ Market swings into full steam ahead. Meanwhile, eat well, and I’ll see all of you soon.


Making things add up

March 6, 2014

Similar to photo earlier this year. Entirely dissimilar in taste.

Similar to photo earlier this year. Entirely dissimilar in taste.

Two wrongs can, in some rare instances, make a right.

You will recall that a while back, I had a dismal failure with an attempt at gluten-free chicken and dumplings. Sad and nasty creatures, they were. Significant waste of time, effort, chicken and chicken broth.

You may recall — and I THINK I posted about it, though it was forgettable enough I may not have done so — I tried a recipe for “poule au pot,” a stewed whole chicken with potaotes and butternut squash — only to find it bland. It did, however, yield a lot of cooked chicken, and I simply bagged the 3/4 of a chicken carcass, with the meat still on it, and stuck it in the fridge.

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Feeling Teutonic

March 5, 2014

GermanFor whatever reason, cold weather always tends to make me feel like German food. I’ll go all summer and make nothing German, except maybe brats poached in beer. But let it hover around freezing or below for any period of time — as it has done all this winter — and I don’t go too many days without a nod to my Prussian heritage.

This time, it was German potato salad, red cabbage and pork chops braised in dark beer with caraway seed. Pretty yummy, if I do say so myownself. Long Strange Trippel ale to braise it in and wash it down.

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Munchy stuff

March 4, 2014

It's Easter. Don't judge.

It’s Easter. Don’t judge.

I’m in sugar overload.

It is, you see, the run-up to Easter. Which means, among the other theological meanings…EASTER CANDY!

I dearly love Easter candy. I love it even more than Valentine’s candy. I may love it more than chocolate covered cherry cordials, but that’s debatable. Besides, you can pretty much get those year-round. Part of Easter candy’s attraction is its limited availability.

Specifically, I love one particular kind of Easter candy — the candy-coated marshmallow cream egg. Those little oblong, not even vaguely egg-shaped, things, with an eighth-inch brightly colored shell (the purple and green are the best) over a dense, sugary marshmallow cream. I think this affection dates to when the kids were little; they’d eat all the chocolate bunnies and peanut butter eggs and malted milk robin-eggs (my second favorite Easter candy), but they weren’t fond of the marshmallow eggs. So I ate them out of their Easter baskets.

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Umm. Well.

March 3, 2014

Yes, I can tie these guys to food. Hang with me, here.

Yes, I can tie these guys to food. Hang with me, here.

How it is, is, like this.

I’ve been cooking. And eating, oh, yes, I have, eating entirely too much, as is my habit. What I have not been doing is putting words together in a row (and photos with them) for the purposes of this blog, because I have been busy putting words together in a row for work.

Plus I have been to Nashvegas for Amazing Grandchild 1′s third birthday extravaganza (which, fortunately, did not involve making Mickey Mouse cookies this year).

And today I am solidly iced in at Chez Brockwell, never mind it is the third of effing MARCH, thank you very much, and spring is allegedly barely more than two weeks away, and Opening Day is no more than four weeks away.

It ain’t right. It just ain’t right, I tell you, and I Do Not Like It. Not one little bit. I am frustrated enough that the FB pic of the snowman stabbed with knives and the caption, “Die, Winter! Die!” sounds pretty good.

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Eating out

February 15, 2014

I eat out a fair amount, being that I spend a good deal of time on the road. Unfortunately, more of those meals are, well, adequate (on the high side) than they are memorable. But I did have three recently that made me sit up and take notice; two that I expected would do so, and one that was a “The hell you say!”

A few weeks back, I called a friend as I was roadtripping across Arkansas, and drafted him into joining me for lunch at South on Main in Little Rock. This is the restaurant started by the Oxford American magazine, a periodical of Southern literature and intelligentsia that started out in Oxford, Miss., home of Ole Miss and generally generally deemed the citadel of literary academia in Dixie. It gradually went broke there, and moved to Conway, Arkansas, where the University of Central Arkansas proposed to prop it up financially while polishing its own academic/cultural rep in the process. It’s now, I think, mostly independent of UCA, and lives in Little Rock in the newly resurgent South Main district, its offices occupying the former home of Juanita’s, much loved Mexican restaurant that was a favorite of then-Gov. Bill Clinton, and where I learned to love white cheese dip.

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I’m celebrating by sitting on the couch in my pajamas in the middle of the afternoon, eating my favorite junk food (Great Value white corn and black bean salsa, with grated cheese stirred in, and corn chips), and watching the Olympics.

Or I WAS watching the Olympics, which I just turned off because they shifted over to hockey, and I? Only halfheartedly understand hockey, and care for it less.  Now I am listening to NPR, and later today, I’ll be watching Season 2 of House of Cards, which was posted today on Netflix and is possibly one of the best Valentine’s Day presents I’ve ever received.

I have cooked, a bit, and had a couple of good meals this past week. Yesterday, in fact, I cooked a pot roast that was quite excellent, which means I will follow up with vegetable soup sometime soon. Thought about that today, but wound up roasting a butternut squash, which will get scooped out and made into butternut squash soup, because I haven’t had that in a while. And I’m going to make pimiento and cheese, because I can and it sounds good. 

But if I get really ambitious? I might make these:

Nothing says love like a chocolate covered strawberry.

Nothing says love like a chocolate covered strawberry.

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