Garden update, leftovers recycled, and notes on past meals

April 18, 2016

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.

I really have been cooking lately; I just haven’t been writing about it. Notably, I cooked red beans and rice for Child B on Friday, and an exceptionally good lunch for the girls in my office the day before.  I had stopped off by Kroger, and while grabbing a couple of pork loins because they were on a good sale, I noticed some nice-looking country style ribs. I love any kind of braise you can do with those things, and knew I wanted to take something braised for lunch because it’d be easy for it to travel in the Instant Pot, so I grabbed a package.

Got home with them and commenced thinking about what I could do to them that would make lunch. I could do Mexican, but that would mean I’d really need to have rice, too, and I didn’t feel like lugging two appliances. I pulled out a bottle of hard cider, and grabbed the caraway, juniper berries and allspice while a couple of sliced onions sauteed in the IP. Browned the ribs, threw the onions back in, added the cider and spices, and set it to slow cook overnight. Next morning, I added a couple of spoons of spicy mustard and a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, and used tongs to shred up the meat and pull out the bones. Stopped on the way to the office and grabbed a bag of egg noodles and a jar of Claussen kraut.

We put it all together and it was proclaimed good. Sort of a carbonnades a la flamande with pork and a German twist to it. I’ll definitely do it again.

Sunday, with all the children here, I did an Italian roast chicken. As (almost) always, folks ate the chicken and didn’t touch the stuffing, except for what I’d made into meatballs and put in amongst the veggies. This stuffing version was just ground beef and cheese, no spinach, since I didn’t have any. So Sunday night, when I was breaking down the chicken, I pulled out the stuffing in a single, chicken-cavity-sized-and-shaped chunk, and put it in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge.

As we’d had a surfeit of chicken last week during the Chicken Challenge, not to mention I still have chicken and dressing in the freezer and chicken pasta in the fridge, I didn’t want another iteration of chicken for dinner tonight. But for whatever reason, spaghetti sounded good. So I grabbed a pint of tomato sauce and a small jar of tomato paste out of the pantry, and set about making meat sauce for pasta.

I sauteed the tomato paste in a little olive oil until it darkened and commenced to smell sweet. This step concentrates the tomato flavor and brings out the natural sugars. Then I added in a cup of wine, as I had poured myself a glass last night and forgot to drink it, and to throw it away would be alcohol abuse, right? Right.  Let that cook down to a bit more than half its volume. Added a pint of my onion-garlic sauce canned last summer, a half cup or so of water, because it felt like it needed it, and the chopped-up meat.

And then said, “well, damn,” because I’d neglected to hit the sauce with the immersion blender and thus there were sizeable chunks of garlic in it. I usually like to puree that stuff, something I will remedy when I make it this year. So I shrugged my shoulders and went ahead and pureed it anyway, meat and all. I mean, it’s not like texture is a big thing with ground beef, y’know?

Made the sauce a bit of an odd color, but I couldn’t tell that it hurt the flavor any. With whole wheat spaghetti, it was quite an adequate dinner.

Tomorrow, I think it will be chicken fried rice, as I have leftover rice from where we ordered Chinese Saturday night.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on over tomorrow and help me plant tomatoes before it rains, how ’bout it?

 

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