Recycling R Us

April 19, 2017

Deviled eggs in the process of being recycled.

What does one do when one has five left-over deviled egg halves from Easter?

One pops one in one’s mouth as a cook’s treat, and one proceeds to smush up the other four, add a few more ingredients, and have tuna salad.

I was thinking, for some reason, of tuna salad. It just sounded good, and I thought, well, I’ll just boil a couple of eggs and make some.

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! I HAD boiled eggs, albeit they’d already been deviled, using essentially the same ingredients I’d be using in tuna salad, anyway. (The eggs had a bit of Dijon mustard and a splash of cider vinegar that wouldn’t normally go in tuna salad, but what the heck.)

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Fish dinner, with a twist, and in a hurry.

If you’re like me, you hit those nights when you’re tired, it’s getting on toward dinnertime, and nothing you have in the refrigerator sounds like what you want to eat.

That’s where I either reach for the phone to order takeout, or for the freezer to get out some fish.

Fish is just a great go-to when you’re in a hurry. It never takes long to cook; it lends itself to all kinds of different preparations, goes with any number of sides. And if you forget to take it out of the freezer, you can soak it in hot water to thaw it.

That’s what I did the other night, and the result was pretty doggoned good.

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Easter dinner. All the faves. It was good. Seconds were had.

Another wonderful Easter in the books, or almost so, as it’s nearly sundown.

We’ve gorged ourselves on a traditional Easter repast of ham, mac and cheese (because I have carb-loading children, and they require mac and cheese), corn casserole, asparagus, green peas, deviled eggs, rolls, lemon icebox pie, and strawberries.

We’ve hunted eggs at church, with the cutest kids on the face of the planet, led, of course, by my very own, because, well, he’s about the cutest kid on the planet, except for my other two grandkids, with whom he’s tied. Sorry. I calls ’em like I sees ’em. YMMV.

Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

I mean, seriously. Are there any cuter kids? I submit there are not.

And the other two, who are right cure, in and of themselves!

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Head start on Easter: Lemon icebox pies.

And why is ham traditional in the South for Easter dinner, anyway?

(Answer: Because it’s about the time of year that traditionally, hams which were from pigs slaughtered in the fall and cured over the winter were ready to eat. And now you know.)

I have commenced Easter dinner cookery. Easter is another one of those “all about tradition” holidays. There is not a lot of room for maneuvering in the Chez Keyboard kitchen when it comes to Easter dinner. One MUST have:

  • Ham. In my case, sliced, pre-cooked but warmed nicely with a glaze, Honey Baked ham, because that’s just damn good ham, and will serve me nicely for ham sandwiches for a good while.
  • Deviled eggs. Because, Easter. Eggs. Et cetera.
  • Green peas. Because they’re springy. I’ve bounced among several preps, and just tend toward the simple: steamed, buttered, tarragon.
  • Asparagus. Because it’s the first local fresh green vegetable you can get. Because it’s wonderful. Because Children A and C, who’ll be partaking of Easter dinner, and I can eat our weight in it. I will either roast it, or wrap it in proscuitto and then roast it. And there will be hollandaise.
  • Corn casserole. Frozen corn from last summer, Jiffy cornbread mix, eggs, sour cream, melted butter. Ain’t nothin’ no better.
  • Mac and cheese. Because the carb-loading children require it.
  • Rolls. Specifically, Ms. Mary Lloyd’s rolls. Because it’s a holiday. Because a leftover roll, split, toasted, and filled with ham, is one of the finest leftovers on the face of the planet.
  • Lemon icebox pie. There is some wiggle room on dessert, but I was in the notion for lemon icebox pie, so that’s what we’re having. Because I made them today.

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Herald of spring

April 4, 2017

Spring in a soup bowl. Because a dessert dish just won’t cut it.

Saturday morning, I got up and betook myself to Memphis to the Farmers’ Market, because their market opens April 1, and ours doesn’t open until May 1, and I wanted asparagus.

Personally, I do not believe a two-hour round trip is excessive to purchase fresh, local asparagus. Particularly not when you can get local strawberries, as well, on April Fools Day, which is early for local berries. But what better way to have a Sunday springtime dinner than with fresh asparagus and strawberry shortcake?

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Pork loin, two ways

March 28, 2017

Standard pork loin dinner with baked beans, slaw, potato salad. Easy. Good.

I love a pork loin.

It’s easy to mess up — if you’re not careful, you’ll overcook it, and it’ll wind up dry and pretty tasteless, no matter how well you sauce it. But once you get past that hurdle, it’s one of the most versatile cuts of meat there is.

You can cut it up into nice, thick boneless chops, which then you can then marinate, or not, and grill or broil or even pan-fry until they’re JUST done, but still nice and juicy. You can butterfly it if you want, and stick some fresh herbs or some seasoned breadcrumbs inside it, then tie it up and roast it, or you can just sprinkle it with some seasoning, roast it (again, JUST until done, and if you don’t have a meat thermometer, get you one, and make use of it), and then make a luscious glaze/sauce.

If you’re cooking for three, you can get four meals out of a grocery-store sized loin. That’s a good bargain in anybody’s book, when you catch one on sale.

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Beautiful dinner for a beautiful spring evening.

We were gifted with just an extraordinarily gorgeous spring day over the weekend.

Brilliant blue sky, a wisp of a cloud here and there, temps in the mid-upper 70s, a light breeze ruffling the air now and again. What a friend used to call “a bluebird day.”

So I did what any good, red-blooded ‘Merican would do on such a day. I cracked open a beer and fired up the grill.

And we had surf and turf for dinner. And it was, if I did cook it myownself, fine.

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