Odds and ends and kitchen stuff

November 2, 2016

Yes, well, I do still exist, and I do have a kitchen. Here are a few odds and ends that have been traipsing through it.

I picked tomatoes Monday. On Halloween. I still have green tomatoes, and may perhaps get a few more ripe ones before it gets cold the end of this week. (So the weatherpeople say. I’m not real sure I believe them.)

But there's no global warming...oh, no!

But there’s no global warming…oh, no!

As I had them, and needed to use them, I figured I’d convert them into tomato sauce or soup or something. I cut them up, along with the last few of the Farmers Market tomatoes I had on the counter, tossed them all into a pot with some diced onion and some garlic, and set them to cooking. When the tomatoes started to break down, I added some sherry; at that point, I was heading in the direction of soup.

I decided soup wasn’t really what I wanted, so after that simmered a while, I added some basil and a little oregano and went looking for my immersion blender, having forgotten that it seems to have taken feet and walked away. (How in the name of God do you lose an immersion blender?). So I wound up transferring it all to the big blender and pureeing it. It needed the addition of some tomato juice to thin it down, so I did that.

It’s a quite lovely sauce. It’s in the fridge. I’ll get in a pasta mood eventually, or I’ll freeze it.

Jarred hot stuff, right here.

Jarred hot stuff, right here.

And while I was in the kitchen, I needed to do something with the bag of jalapenos a friend had given me. Now, I’m not a huge jalapeno fan, though I do use them in some recipes. So I decided to pickle these, as I had no plans on the horizon to make salsa or any such.

I washed them diced them up, and packed them in half-pint jars. Made up a brine similar to what I’d use on bread and butter pickles — vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaf, peppercorns. Boiled that and poured it over the peppers, then processed the jars in a water bath for 5 minutes.

Pretty little things, as some of the peppers had turned red. They look plumb Christmas-y. If I’d had a bunch of them, I’d use them in Christmas gift baskets on that very basis. They are also, if the way my hands burned was any indication, hotter than the hinges of hell.

On second thought, it may not be a bad thing there weren’t a bunch of them. I might have nothing but smoking nubs at the ends of my wrists. It’d be harder’n hell to type, let alone manage a wineglass.

And then there was this pumpkin.

We had gotten the pumpkin last weekend with an eye toward carving it for Halloween, but, y’know, we didn’t. And as it seemed pointless to put it out on the front porch AFTER Halloween, I decided I might as well cook the thing. Now, I am not a huge pumpkin fan; I might eat one piece of pumpkin pie, and I’m ok with pumpkin bread, but that’s about it.  Truth be told, I have never cooked a pumpkin, but I have cooked a butternut squash, and it ought not to be much different, right?

So self and I set about dismembering the pumpkin. Sumbitch was TOUGH, too. I could drive a knife through it, but as far as splitting it in half? That was a challenge. I resorted to the cleaver, and as I have next to NO hand strength, I paired it with the mallet to put some oomph behind it.

DIE, Pumpkin!

DIE, Pumpkin!

Don’t laugh. You’ll get old some day.

Anyway, I split it open, cleaned out the pith and seeds, saving and rinsing the seeds so’s to roast them (that may happen tomorrow). I put the two pumpkin halves on a cookie sheet, stuck them in a 350 degree oven, and went away. It took them two hours to roast up soft, and I left them on the stove overnight to cool, figuring I’d scoop out the pulp and puree it, then freeze it, today.

However, Child A was squicked at the notion the pumpkin had set out all night, and I don’t like pumpkin anyway, so what’s the use of me going to the trouble of scooping out the pulp and pureeing it and packaging it and freezing it so it’ll sit in the freezer for five years and then I’ll throw it away?

It’s reposing on my compost heap.

And that’s what’s been going on in the kitchen at my house. Tomorrow will be chicken of some description, as I have a chicken brining in the fridge as we speak. From there, we’ll figure it out.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em see how well you can keep from going nuts before the election, and we’ll see what we can cook between now and then.




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