May 21, 2013
Had a wonderful, wonderful trip back home over the weekend, and a couple of fine meals, as well.
The above would be a view which covers maybe half the people who were eating dinner following the Homecoming service at Liberty United Methodist Church in Camden, TN, on Sunday. The fellowship hall, maybe a 40 x 80 room, did not have an empty seat; some folks scattered out to the Sunday School classrooms.
Back in the center back of this photo, you can see two of my kids’ heads. But you can see us all better in this one, taken after dinner.
Amazing Grandchild 3, who was somewhat underwhelmed with the whole thing, was snoozin’. AGC 1 was her general whirlwind self, and managed at one time to color on a pew and the sanctuary door with a marker before we snagged her. AGC 2 ate. A lot. And smiled. A lot.
And I had a marvelous time, and got to see a lot of old friends and kinfolk.
The food was as plentiful as I remember. There’s a counter separating the kitchen from the seating area, about four feet wide, and every square inch of it was packed with food. Fried chicken. Baked ham. Meat loaf. Barbecue. Casseroles of every description. Green beans. Creamed corn. Sweet potatoes. Potato salad. Cole slaw. Salads, both fruit and green. Cornbread. Rolls. Biscuits. I touch only a tiny portion of the abundance that was there.
Desserts and drinks took up four 10-foot folding tables of their own, elsewhere around the room.
It certainly did not matter to be the last in line. They were NOT going to run out of food. Except for deviled eggs. I hated that. Guess I’ll have to make me some this afternoon, being I have a gracious plenty of eggs. Oh, and they ran out of the cherry cream cheese pie, which was always one of my favorites (cream cheese, condensed milk, cherry pie filling, among other things), so I contented myself with two kinds of fruit salad.
May 17, 2013
Everything on this plate came from the Farmers’ Market.
I love spring.
I took a notion I wanted to roast the carrots and beets I’d picked up almost two weeks ago at the market, and when I grabbed them from the fridge to prep, there were the radishes.
H’mmm. I never cooked a radish before. Why not?
So I promptly prepared this pan of veggies for the oven. The beets and carrots got tossed in olive oil first; the radishes, in truffle oil. The beets got a sprinkle of coriander and cardamon because, well, I just thought coriander and cardamon would go well on them. The carrots got a sprinkle of cumin, because I KNOW carrots go well with cumin. The radishes went nekkid into the oven but for the truffle oil, on the basis I thought the peppery taste of the truffle oil would go nicely with the peppery taste of the radishes.
May 11, 2013
Yes, it is officially spring. I have planted the basil.
Normally, I would not have waited until mid-May to plant basil, but this spring weather has been so screwy — the heater on? in MAY? — that I was afraid to do so. Everyone else out there can handle a chilly night or two, long as it’s not a hard frost, but basil — it gets much below 50, and that stuff is gone.
Surely it will not get below 50 now that it is May 11.
She said, hopefully.
May 10, 2013
I don’t have photos of last night’s dinner. It was one of those that had a lot of prep work but the dishes mostly came together at the last minute, and then it was time to eat, not take pictures. Sorry. It was good, and it was relatively attractive, too.
I’d invited a couple of friends, one of whom is engaged in a huge renovation/construction/business opening project at the same time as the other is preparing to stage a 10-day music festival (Oh! to be young again and have that kind of energy!) over for dinner. I’d thought about German food, as they’re both beer connoisseurs, but it had gotten warm, and, well, I hadn’t had any good Asian food in a while. So I hit three countries with a dinner that featured okonomiyaki, fried rice and bahn mi lettuce wraps, and added a side of steamed snow peas in sesame sauce, for good measure, before finishing up by a return to the South with strawberry shortcake.
May 9, 2013
One of the culinary marvels of Arkansas is the Arkansas strawberry (there are two quarts of them, macerating in sugar and balsamic vinegar, in my fridge right now. Whether you eat it with creme fraiche (my preferred treatment), with whipped cream, in a strawberry pie, in a fruit bowl, covered with chocolate, whatever — for these few brief weeks in the spring, there is just not much that’s any better.
And every Arkansan, indeed every Southerner, grew up with a version of strawberry shortcake, the dessert so ubiquitous it spawned its own, very cheesy, doll. The shortcakes differ from region to region, cook to cook.
May 6, 2013
Worked my way through some of the bounty of green things from the farmer’s market and the co-op on Sunday. After all, processed green things take up less space than fresh green things, right?
First, there was garlic chive aioli. An aioli, if you don’t know, is a mayonnaise you made yourself, and put stuff in. In this instance, garlic chives, which look like nothing so much as young Johnson grass (if any of you are Southern country folk, you know from Johnson grass). But they have a lovely slightly garlicky, slightly chive-y flavor.
You take an egg and crack it in a blender. You add about a tablespoon of lemon juice, a turn or two or three of your pepper mill, a bit of salt, and about an ounce of chopped up garlic chives. And you pulse that smooth. Then you take the little center thingy out of the blender lid, and slowly, with the blender running, pour in a half-cup of olive oil. It’ll emulsify up into a rather thin sauce that’ll set up a bit when you chill it in the fridge, though it won’t be as firm as regular mayo.
It will go wonderfully on some of the Mennonite tomatoes, with some bacon and avocado, on a lettuce leaf or two. Damn the bread, anyway.