Let there be spring!

May 3, 2014

I won't attempt to name 'em in order. Or even name 'em. Herbs.

I won’t attempt to name ’em in order. Or even name ’em. Herbs.

And about damn time, too.

In honor of the occasion, I have:

  1. Gone to the first farmers’ market of the season. Strawberries, green onions, asparagus, radishes, some all-natural lotions and creams, and some other stuff that I forgot about already.
  2. Hooked up the gas bottle I bought when I moved here last summer, and grilled some steaks. Too done, but who’s counting? They were good. Also large.
  3. Planted the herb garden. All 10 pots worth of it. And made myself a hefty vodka and tonic with which to recover.

All in all, it’s been a fine day.

Steak, baked potato, corn, asparagus. Hello, spring.

Steak, baked potato, corn, asparagus. Hello, spring.

Had Children A and C, as well as SIL 2 and AGC 2, in the house. Decided it was well and truly time to do some grilling, so I fetched three ribeyes and a T-bone, because that’s what I found, out of the freezer, and set them to slow cooking in a cooler with the sous vide circulator.

I love my SV circulator. It was a start-up company, SideKIC (for a Kitchen Immersion Circulator which hangs over the side of a container, I guess), and I heard about their product on the eGullet food forum. As I’d wanted a sous vide rig for some while, but hadn’t wanted to put forth the cash for one (most of them more than $750, and some well past a grand), the price of $150 looked pretty good. So I ordered it.

Apparently the company went belly-up, as it doesn’t seem to be operating any more. But my circulator is, and I’m grateful. I find it works better for bigger cuts of meat — there’s NOTHING like a pork loin done in one — and I have yet to master the art of doing steaks. I invariably either don’t broil/grill/sear them enough when I finish them, and leave them mooing on the plate, or finish too long and overcook them. But I’ll get ‘er done eventually.

Anyhow, these steaks, which totaled a tad more than 5 pounds of meat, when I weighed them just out of curiosity, I sous vided for a bit more than three hours at 120 degrees, and then seared them for about four minutes on a side on a hot grill. That was too long for me and Child A, if perfect for Child C and SIL 2. (AGC 2 is on strike against all nimal protein which is not chicken nuggets, and did not partake.) But they were still excellent.

The asparagus was pretty exceptional. I got only a middlin’ early start at the market this morning, getting there about 8:15 a.m. (it starts at 7). There were few parking places. And there were only six small bundles of a dozen or so spears each of asparagus left; I pounced upon three of ’em.

This asparagus, y’all. These spears were as big around as my thumb, and were cut less than four inches long, of which a good two inches was tip. And you could still feel the moisture on the cut end. Those folks had cut that asparagus this morning, I expect. I thought about just blanching it and making some Hollandaise, but Child A said, “Why don’t’cha just grill it,” and I thought to myself “Self? That sounds pretty good.” So that’s what we did. Washed it, tossed it in olive oil, sprinkled it lightly with sea salt, laid it out in a grill basket, and we were off to the races.

Because the grill was so hot, the skin of the asparagus blistered up and bits of it browned, almost charred, while the inside remained just a bit crisp. In other words, pretty much perfect. I was going to grate some Parmigiano to go on it, but I forgot. Didn’t need it. Though some fresh lemon juice would not have gone amiss.

Damn, but I love me some asparagus.

Had to be amused at the strawberries. In a plastic clamshell case like you see at the grocery, they were still that deep, deep purplish red that distinguishes the hometown berry from the shipped-from-California berry. And the label on said clamshell allowed they were from Newport (for you non-Arkansans, that’s maybe 30 miles away). And noted that they were “Bill’s Strawberries, picked and packed by Bill.”

Thanks, Bill. Ya done good.

All in all, it’s been a most pleasant Saturday, and I’m most pleasantly tired (with a kitchen and and den still to clean up, the kitchen from cooking, the den from the small tornado that is my grandson). I’m off on the road tomorrow to work down in LA (that’d be Lower Arkansas) for a few days, so there won’t be much cooking, but you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em can pick up the slack while I’m gone. And water my herbs if it looks like they need it, wouldja?

 

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