H’mm. This is back home, right?

April 29, 2013

I don’t remember the last time I was gone from home for two full weeks. But I got back Thursday from an adventure of that very length, comprising three states, three job interviews, all three grandchildren, and several quite acceptable meals.

I won’t try to detail them all. I cooked a few things, including a rather respectable curried salmon over rice with snow peas, of which I have no record, neither verbal/written nor photographic. In any event, it involved pan-browning the salmon and then dumping a jar of Thai red curry sauce over it in the skillet. It wasn’t half bad, and it was about as creative as I thought I could get.

Differs from the above in that it had shrimp, not sausage; and sugar snaps, not green beans.

Differs from the above in that it had shrimp, not sausage; and sugar snaps, not green beans.

Saturday night, I did somewhat better — paella, similar to above illustration except it had shrimps ‘sted of sausages. And a touch on the bland side, as I forgot half the paprika and all the garlic. Oh, well. It was still good. And I did Bananas Martinique for dessert, which always wows guests having it for the first time. Both those recipes are in my index, if you care to trouble yourself to retrieve them.

We ate from Blue Fig (I love that place), and from Burger Republic (good stuff!). Came back to Arkansas by way of Missouri, stopping off at Mr. T’s. If you are not a resident of NE Arkansas, you are not familiar with the trek out Highway 412, “across the Kahlua-colored waters of the St. Francis River,” to get to the home of cheap cigarettes, booze on Sunday, and lottery tickets, though that’s not as big a deal now that you can get ’em in Arkansas. Ran out of wine over the weekend? No matter. Mr. T’s can fix you right up.

Rather than cook in Child C’s ill-appointed kitchen (she doesn’t cook), I treated the youngsters to dinner at Couch’s Barbecue in Jonesboro, one of the temples of pork in the Delta, and nearly had a fit when I determined it was no longer Couch’s. However, I’m pleased to report that the cooks must’ve stayed, as the goodies are as good as I remember them being. Not to mention four of us — well, three and a half of us, being that Amazing Grandchild 2 contented himself with a grilled cheese sammich and fries — ate a full-fledged dinner for under $40. Can’t hardly beat that. I was ready for good barbecue.

Bestirred myself enough to get to the Farmers’ Market just before it closed Saturday, where I scored some eggs and some sweet potatos. Barbecue put me in mind of breakfast hash; I’m thinking I will pick up a pound of pulled pork from the Rib Cage sometime this week, to make hash with sweet potatos. But tonight, I’m gonna grill me some shrimps, and make me some Cuban black beans and rice (Moros y Cristianos), and fry some plantains. Because I have all of that, and I can. I have a two-pound clamshell of tiny tomatos to half and roast for winter capreses. I have a pork roast I can cook whenever. I have a pound of picked-out crawfish tail meat, courtesy of Big Bayou Market, wonderful place that it is, and I’m thinking some crawfish pies would not go amiss. I am craving a big bowl of potato salad.

Yes, I think I will cook exactly what I want the rest of this week, which may result in some really odd combinations. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em stand by for reports.

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