In all its glory. A very good "something new" for the night.

In all its glory. A very good “something new” for the night.

Tonight’s post brought to you by Robert Burns.

You know, Robert Burns. Scottish poet. “Tyger, tyger, burning bright.” Or, more to the point, “The best laid plans of Mice and Men, Gang aft agley.”

My dinner plans went all agley tonight, first when the chicken I’d planned to chop up and put in Creole sauce and serve over rice, turned out not to be chicken, but some unidentifiable substance I could not identify.

I chunked it.

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Road trip goodies

April 26, 2016

Arkansas' best dessert. Definitely worth a road trip.

Arkansas’ best dessert. Definitely worth a road trip.

What do you do to keep a trip from Little Rock whose primary reason, a business meeting, gets cancelled, from being an overall waste of time?

You spend the night with a good friend, who doesn’t mind that you’re drugged out on sinus meds and can’t stay awake (may be a Good Thing the meeting was cancelled!), and you take advantage of the trip to score big in the Road Food category.

Tonight's road-trip dinner -- asparagus, proscuitto, shrimp scampi. Strawberries not shown.

Tonight’s road-trip dinner — asparagus, proscuitto, shrimp scampi. Strawberries not shown.

Still enjoying the bountiful asparagus I’ve been dining on since the weekend, I had planned to take some with me to Kate’s house for our dinner. Just for good measure, I stopped by and picked up proscuitto in which to wrap it to roast. Then, on the way down, I celebrated spring by stopping off at the Bulldog Cafe in Bald Knob to have strawberry shortcake.

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Springtime heaven

April 23, 2016

Gorgeous stuff. Gorgeous, fresh, local asparagus.

Gorgeous stuff. Gorgeous, fresh, local asparagus.

What’s better than a crisp spring day with a sky so blue it just sings to you?

One of the two finest fruits of spring (the other being strawberries). I speak, of course, of asparagus.

One of my 87 favorite ways to eat asparagus.

One of my 87 favorite ways to eat asparagus.

Now, you understand, I never ate asparagus growing up, for the simple reason we didn’t grow it, and I didn’t know anyone who did. So I was grown before I tasted asparagus. And that was the canned variety, and I thought THAT was pretty wonderful. I used to make a salad of cut asparagus, English peas and mushrooms, all the canned variety, with an oil and vinegar dressing and parmesan cheese from the green can, all served over sliced tomatoes.

Thought I was hot stuff, I did.

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Tomato patch. Not a thing of beauty...yet.

Tomato patch. Not a thing of beauty…yet.

Y’all. Don’t laugh at my little tomato garden patch.

Daddy would be horrified. His freshly planted garden was always immaculately tilled, without a sprig of grass anywhere, plants in geometrically precise rows.

My garden was a bermuda sodded yard this time last week.

Breaking up sod is essentially what Daddy used to refer to as ” breaking new ground.” He would do it with a turning plow on the tractor, and then would follow that up with a disk. Finally, he’d take the tiller to it. Then he’d go back over it with the tractor with the thingy, I disremember its name, that made the rows. And that was in a garden that had been a garden for probably 30 or 40 years. By the time he got through, the soil was the texture of cornmeal.

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Recycled leftovers. But you have to read to the end to get to it.

Recycled leftovers. But you have to read to the end to get to it.

In the category of all manner of odds and ends:

  • The garden plots have progressed. Today I finally found some manure-based compost, and added three bags of each to the new plots in the back yard. The flower bed, I decided, could go as it is. Used the hoe and worked the compost in a bit. Then ran out of time because I had a doctor’s appointment, so will hopefully get the tomatoes planted and all the seeds except the pole beans in. May go ahead and plant the pole beans for good measure.
  • Unsuccessful in finding tarragon, so I planted lavender in the remaining herb pot. I didn’t use tarragon all that much anyway, and I have some dried. And lavender smells pretty. So the herb garden is done.

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Gardening season!

April 17, 2016

The promise of veggies tocome. Flower bed to be home of squash and cucumbers.

The promise of veggies to come. Flower bed to be home of squash and cucumbers.

Today, I bought a hoe.

This is significant.

You see, back in the Dark Ages when I was a kid, my parents had a massive garden. About an acre and a half. Plus fruit trees, plus a pasture with cows, plus, for a while, a hog pen. And a truck patch. One must never forget the truck patch. I’m not sure why one calls it a truck patch, but it was basically a late garden, planted in a low-lying, damp spot in midsummer so it could yield in the late summer and early fall when everything else had, sensibly, quit.

We didn’t eat much we didn’t grow.

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Steaks. Pretty things, they are.

Steaks. Pretty things, they are.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus.

I have been cooking all freaking day. I mean, seriously. All. Day.

I have made:

  • Three quiches. It was supposed to be two, but I had too much stuff to go in one of the crusts, so I grabbed another crust out of the refrigerator (thank you, Pillsbury) and stuck it in a pie plate. Boom.
  • Two and a half dozen muffins. A dozen and a half bran muffins, with dates and pecans, and a dozen almond poppy seed muffins, a variation on the Peabody Vanilla Muffin recipe.
  • Steaks, hasselback potatoes, and Mushrooms Berkeley.
  • And a batch of country style pork ribs with onions, braising away in the Instant Pot in hard cider as we speak, flavored with caraway, juniper berries and allspice. Tomorrow morning, I’ll shred up the meat, stir in some spicy mustard and brown sugar, and let it go another two or three hours before we serve it up over egg noodles with sauerkraut on the side.

Y’all think I’ve been busy, much?

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