Gulp. OK. I’m gonna do better. I promise.
October 20, 2013
Dear Sweet Baby Jesus. Has it really been more than a month since I posted?
Well, yes. It has.
It was September 14, to be exact.
And what has gone on in my world since September 14? Plenty. I’ve babysat, both Amazing Grandchildren and the new business, which is going swimmingly, thank you very much. I’ve spent about three weeks total on the road (including all of last week, and fixin’ to be all of next week). I’ve moved Child A and Granddog 1 in with me, being that she just took a new job up here in Jonesboro. I’ve cheered the Cardinals on to a National League championship, and will commence work this week on boosting ’em to another Series ring.
And I’ve cooked, a little bit. And now that it’s fall, I suspect I’ll be cooking a lot more.
Ironically, my last post was about chicken and dressing — and that’s what I’m contemplating cooking tonight (before I hit the road again tomorrow). I picked up four chickens from my organic bird purveyor in Bismarck, AR, a few weeks ago, and I roasted the second one a few days ago. Needs to be used, and I have leftover cornbread (last night was beans and cornbread, because Child A and I were both in the notion for it), so I figured I’d make up a pan and stash it in the freezer, to bake when I get home next weekend.
Other recent adventures — more pimiento cheese, being that I’ve discovered a gluten-free bread that’s actually good enough to make it worthwhile to have a sandwich. It’s Rudi’s (website here), and it’s worth the five bucks a (small) loaf they get for it in the grocery. I’ve eaten more sandwiches in the past six weeks than in the past three years. So far, I’ve only tried their multi-grain — must try some of the others, as the multi-grain has a faintly sweet taste and doesn’t work so well in a really savory sandwich, like, say, a BLT. And a pot of tomato soup, as I bought tomatoes at a local stand recently and needed to use them up. And waffles, twice, for Child A, including enough to freeze so she can toast them for breakfast if she wants. A pot roast, which encored (eeek, there I go making a verb out of a noun) as vegetable soup, which went into the freezer.
A project that awaits is some pear preserves, as I picked about 10 pounds of pears last weekend and pear preserves look relatively simple to make. The pears are stashed in the extra fridge (when I moved, this place had one and I had one, so there’s one in the storage room), and I had hoped to get to them today until I looked at a recipe and realized I need to peel and cut them up one day, put the sugar on them and then let them sit overnight before cooking and canning the next day. So, that’s put off for a while. They should hold up fairly well in the fridge. I also need to make some bacon jam; I have, somewhere in either my freeze or Child C’s freezer, three pounds of bacon ends and scraps. I foresee a canning weekend in the offing.
Speaking of extra appliances, I’m about to take a big plunge and buy a freezer. Because, you see, I’ve purchased a quarter of a beef, and it’s ready, and I got no place to put it. So I’m going to get a small chest freezer, which will also go nicely in the storage room. I’m already buying chickens, which I can get in bulk; The same place (JV Farms) that provides those, provides pork (and scrumptious sausage) as well; I can buy a quarter pig to go with my quarter cow. Yeah, it’s more expensive than the grocery. It’s also better. And it’s not shot full of hormones and antibiotics and such stuff, and the animals are raised humanely and slaughtered with some regard for basic animal dignity. Call me a cheesy liberal (well, because I AM a cheesy liberal, but I digress), but we didn’t have a bunch of these ailments that seem to be so prevalent now when we were all eating stuff that we raised, with a minimum of outside processing. Can’t hurt.
Some decent meals out of late, including dinner at Kimono, a Japanese restaurant here in Jonesboro; a fine artisan cheese and meat plate with a really tasty beer at Superior in Hot Springs; a fascinating “burger” made from uncased bratwurst, formed into a patty and grilled, then served with sauerkraut and caramelized onions at The Pantry in Little Rock (will be trying that one at home). I’m sure there have been more, but those come to mind.
Oh, and a simply marvelous meal at the new Hospitality and Culinary Arts classroom building at Pulaski Technical College. Students there, in the restaurant and banquets class, have a “lab” session on Thursday nights, where they plan, cook and serve dinner for invited guests, of which I was fortunate enough to be one. They started us out with a little amuse that was some sort of savory paste on a mini-baguette slice, and followed that with a salad topped with a baguette sliced that was spread with pesto aioli and topped with a slab of brie before a quick run under the broiler.
There were two entrees, a red snapper that was over…something, though I can’t recall what, but it was excellent, and I ate every bit of it. Then there was lemon sage chicken with potatos persillade, which was kinda like roughly mashed potatoes with lots of butter and not a lot of milk. It was good, too, but not as good as the snapper.
But the dessert. Oh, dear sweet baby Jesus, the dessert. May I just one time be able to turn out a dessert that good. It was listed on the menu as “vanilla cheesecake,” which is kinda like referring to a perfectly rare, prime, Wellington as a “roast.” It was, in fact, two rounds of cheesecake, tremendously creamy and not too sweet, sandwiched around an astounding blackberry filling. I SO wanted to eat it all…but I couldn’t.
There’s also been way too many meals that consisted of chips and a candy bar and a Diet Coke on the road, but, hey. Bidness is bidness.
I will, at least, get in a meal at the Blue Fig next week, being that part of my week on the road will be in Nashvegas tending to Amazing Grandchildren 1 and 3. Meanwhile, I promise you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em I’ll get back to regular cooking, and telling y’all about it, soon.