Barbecue time!

May 28, 2017

Dinner. Yes, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.

It’s pretty much canonical, in this part of the world, that Memorial Day weekend, sometime, you need to consume some meat that’s been up close and personal with a grill or a smoker.

I will wager that not too many folks got as good a taste of that as I did today. Not that I can claim any of the credit for the barbecue — just the sides — but I had what I believe is just about as good a pork barbecue as I’ve ever had in my life.

How it was, was, like this. A month or six weeks ago, when we had all the flooding in Northeast Arkansas, some friends of mine who live an hour or so to the north of me had 5 1/2 feet of water in their home on the Eleven Point River. This is the third time they’ve gotten water in their house, which is built well above the 100-year flood level; the other two times, it was a foot or so, and they’d elevated everything on blocks and moved everything moveable upstairs. A pain in the butt, but manageable.

Oh, and the insurance company cancelled their flood insurance after the second event.

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Blue Q chicken, soaking in its sauce.

I love me some blueberries. I love me some chicken. I never thought about putting them together. At least, not until I purchased Deep Run Roots, the cookbook from Vivian Howard, chef at Chef and the Farmer and star of “A Chef’s Life” on Food TV.

I pause for an unsolicited endorsement. If you have a cookbook-loving cell in your body, buy this book. Not only is it filled with really cool recipes, the recipes are not those which require a pantry-full of exotic ingredients or a spice cabinet with stuff you can’t pronounce and y’mama ‘n ’em never heard of. She relies on a lot of salt, pepper and fresh herbs you can grow in your flower bed. Her recipes let the ingredients, time-honored ingredients any Southern cook knows, like pecans, tomatoes, sweet corn, greens (well, I won’t testify for the greens recipes, as I detest cooked greens in any shape, form or fashion) and grits, and uses them in different settings and combinations to create great new dishes.

Besides which, sista can WRITE. I took the cookbook to bed with me and read it cover to cover in three nights.

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ujbreadpudding

Bread pudding. Yes, it’s as good as it looks.

It had been the Day From Hell.

I’d been going at a dead run since 8:30 a.m. I’d made an unexpected two-hour trip I hadn’t really planned on making, and got started later than I really wanted to start. I was looking at being way late for a dinner engagement with a couple of friends.

I texted them about 5. “I’m going to be late. Not sure how late,” I announced.

One replied, “Do you still want to meet, or just reschedule?”

My reply: “I wouldn’t miss it. Been thinking about ravioli all day.”

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This week’s market haul. And I wasn’t going to buy much.

Hello. My name is Kay, and I’m a veggieholic.

I am not ashamed. And the only 12 steps I may be undertaking are the ones between my couch and the kitchen stove, for what may be a second helping. In a few minutes.

Lord help me, I love spring and summer, for all manner of reasons, not least because of the bounty of fresh vegetables they bring. And farmers’ markets.

I’ve been on the road this week, and I’m still battling the aftermath of a stomach bug, so I haven’t even cooked the veggies I got LAST weekend at the market. I started not to even go today — it was rainy and drizzly — but I remembered the Amish guy saying he’d have ripe tomatoes next week. This was, in fact, next week. So the dawg and I took out in the rain for the market.

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Hello?

May 14, 2017

Market haul. Lots of good stuff this early in the season!

Yes, I am still alive. I’ve just been…busy.

Between Friday, May 5, and this past Friday, May 12, I was home for exactly 12 hours, during which I neither cooked nor ate. Between those dates, I went to a conference, at which I contracted a stomach bug; I went shopping at an outlet mall, saw a bear (not at the outlet mall), and lost only $45 at a casino. Then I came home (after approximately 1,000 miles), slept, unpacked, repacked, and went to Little Rock for the announcement of an 800-job, $410-million project on which I’ve been working for a year and a half. Then I came back on Friday, after spending two days at the factory site with the architect.

Then I slept. A lot.

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A cooking weekend!

May 1, 2017

Strawberries and pound cake. Can I hear a big ol’ YUM?

After a full week or more of not cooking, I made up for it Saturday. I was, in fact, a “cooking fool” much of the weekend.

Felt good.

The final toll:

  • A shrimp boil dinner Saturday night
  • Pickled asparagus
  • A loaf of apple fritter quick bread
  • A butter loaf pound cake, and macerated strawberries to go on top
  • Pre-cooks for Sunday dinner (see previous post) including getting the potatoes and beans ready to bake and the pork roast rubbed down and in the fridge

I meant to make granola, as I’m out, but I forgot. That’s for today.

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Sunday dinner. Could’ve done without out-of-season okra.

Y’all. Go to Sam’s, right now, and get you some Weber Honey Garlic Rub.

You don’t have a Sam’s card? Go get one, you cheapskate. You’ll save the $50 a year on toilet paper, laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. Not to mention whatever other goodies you get in the habit of buying.

I was in Sam’s the other day, picking up some of the basics I get at Sam’s, and sampling the samples as I shopped. If you go to Sams about 11 a.m. on a Friday, you can basically eat lunch off the samples, if you’re not plumb ravenous. And sometimes, you try something you just have to buy, which, of course, is their point.

And they had chunks of chicken breast, sprinkled down with Weber’s Honey Garlic Rub, and sauteed on their little hot plate. And they were pretty decent, albeit REAL garlicky, and I thought to myself, “Self? We could make use of that, couldn’t we?” and Self agreed that we could, albeit we’d need to do something to tone down the garlic just a bit, else our breath would become a corporeal object.

So we bought it.

And promptly forgot about it.

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