Barbecue time!

May 28, 2017

Dinner. Yes, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.

It’s pretty much canonical, in this part of the world, that Memorial Day weekend, sometime, you need to consume some meat that’s been up close and personal with a grill or a smoker.

I will wager that not too many folks got as good a taste of that as I did today. Not that I can claim any of the credit for the barbecue — just the sides — but I had what I believe is just about as good a pork barbecue as I’ve ever had in my life.

How it was, was, like this. A month or six weeks ago, when we had all the flooding in Northeast Arkansas, some friends of mine who live an hour or so to the north of me had 5 1/2 feet of water in their home on the Eleven Point River. This is the third time they’ve gotten water in their house, which is built well above the 100-year flood level; the other two times, it was a foot or so, and they’d elevated everything on blocks and moved everything moveable upstairs. A pain in the butt, but manageable.

Oh, and the insurance company cancelled their flood insurance after the second event.

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Blue Q chicken, soaking in its sauce.

I love me some blueberries. I love me some chicken. I never thought about putting them together. At least, not until I purchased Deep Run Roots, the cookbook from Vivian Howard, chef at Chef and the Farmer and star of “A Chef’s Life” on Food TV.

I pause for an unsolicited endorsement. If you have a cookbook-loving cell in your body, buy this book. Not only is it filled with really cool recipes, the recipes are not those which require a pantry-full of exotic ingredients or a spice cabinet with stuff you can’t pronounce and y’mama ‘n ’em never heard of. She relies on a lot of salt, pepper and fresh herbs you can grow in your flower bed. Her recipes let the ingredients, time-honored ingredients any Southern cook knows, like pecans, tomatoes, sweet corn, greens (well, I won’t testify for the greens recipes, as I detest cooked greens in any shape, form or fashion) and grits, and uses them in different settings and combinations to create great new dishes.

Besides which, sista can WRITE. I took the cookbook to bed with me and read it cover to cover in three nights.

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This week’s market haul. And I wasn’t going to buy much.

Hello. My name is Kay, and I’m a veggieholic.

I am not ashamed. And the only 12 steps I may be undertaking are the ones between my couch and the kitchen stove, for what may be a second helping. In a few minutes.

Lord help me, I love spring and summer, for all manner of reasons, not least because of the bounty of fresh vegetables they bring. And farmers’ markets.

I’ve been on the road this week, and I’m still battling the aftermath of a stomach bug, so I haven’t even cooked the veggies I got LAST weekend at the market. I started not to even go today — it was rainy and drizzly — but I remembered the Amish guy saying he’d have ripe tomatoes next week. This was, in fact, next week. So the dawg and I took out in the rain for the market.

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A cooking weekend!

May 1, 2017

Strawberries and pound cake. Can I hear a big ol’ YUM?

After a full week or more of not cooking, I made up for it Saturday. I was, in fact, a “cooking fool” much of the weekend.

Felt good.

The final toll:

  • A shrimp boil dinner Saturday night
  • Pickled asparagus
  • A loaf of apple fritter quick bread
  • A butter loaf pound cake, and macerated strawberries to go on top
  • Pre-cooks for Sunday dinner (see previous post) including getting the potatoes and beans ready to bake and the pork roast rubbed down and in the fridge

I meant to make granola, as I’m out, but I forgot. That’s for today.

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Sunday dinner. Could’ve done without out-of-season okra.

Y’all. Go to Sam’s, right now, and get you some Weber Honey Garlic Rub.

You don’t have a Sam’s card? Go get one, you cheapskate. You’ll save the $50 a year on toilet paper, laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. Not to mention whatever other goodies you get in the habit of buying.

I was in Sam’s the other day, picking up some of the basics I get at Sam’s, and sampling the samples as I shopped. If you go to Sams about 11 a.m. on a Friday, you can basically eat lunch off the samples, if you’re not plumb ravenous. And sometimes, you try something you just have to buy, which, of course, is their point.

And they had chunks of chicken breast, sprinkled down with Weber’s Honey Garlic Rub, and sauteed on their little hot plate. And they were pretty decent, albeit REAL garlicky, and I thought to myself, “Self? We could make use of that, couldn’t we?” and Self agreed that we could, albeit we’d need to do something to tone down the garlic just a bit, else our breath would become a corporeal object.

So we bought it.

And promptly forgot about it.

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A plain ol’ country dinner; beans and sweet potato.

There has not been much in the way of cooking going on at Chez Brockwell of late, in large part because I have been working. This is a Good Thing, as it means I get paid, and given that I had to drop $1,400 on my car last week, getting paid is a doubly Good Thing.

But cooking has just not been a big priority, it seems.

Above is one dinner I’ve cooked. Doesn’t get much more basic, much more country, or much easier than this. Beans and a baked sweet potato; I had leftover ham, which I could not be troubled to get out of the refrigerator.

The beans are Rancho Gordo mayacoba beans; I threw a half-pound of them into the Instant Pot, along with some sauteed onion and a little garlic and a bay leaf, hit the “bean” button (no presoaking), and walked away. Came back to beans that were cooked tender, some 40 minutes later; I took a potato masher to them, because I like a creamy bowl of beans, added salt and pepper, and let them simmer along on low for another two or three hours.

No fat at all in these beans. I intended to put a spoonful of bacon grease in them to start out with, and just forgot it. They didn’t miss it. I do love the intense “beany” taste of Rancho Gordo beans. You’ll pay more than what you will in the store. You’ll get it back in taste. I recommend ’em.

The sweet potato went in the CSO for an hour at 400 on the steam bake setting. Perfect.

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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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