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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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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A happy sort of lunch

January 11, 2017

Brie, bacon, tomato. Yum on a piece of toast.

Brie, bacon, tomato. Yum on a piece of toast.

Wherein we contemplate what we might put together for lunch, try something, and it’s sublime.

I was fiddling around in the kitchen with some this and some that, and it came time for lunch. And neither this nor that constituted what I wanted for lunch, so I set about looking for something else.

Something else wound up being a complete flyer on what I thought ought to be good. And it was.

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Obligatory good-luck dinner for 2017 on Jan. 1.

Obligatory good-luck dinner for 2017 on Jan. 1.

Well, hey there, all y’all! Didja MISS me?

How it was, was, like this. There were enough leftovers I didn’t cook for three or four days after Christmas. Then I left for Nashvegas to babysit AGCs 1 and 3 while their parents, the bums, were off vacationing in Key West. ┬áNow, tending to an energetic kindergartener and an energetic pre-schooler is NOT real conducive to cooking, though we did manage a couple of things.

Like the above obligatory black eyed peas and cabbage for New Year’s Day. The kids were suspicious about it, but finally agreed they liked fried potatoes. One of them liked the cabbage, the other the peas. I’ll call it a win.

I made the peas as if I were cooking red beans and rice, with turkey kielbasa and tomatoes and onions and spices. They were quite excellent. I used Rancho Gordo blackeyed peas, for good measure. My good luck for 2017 should be well assured.

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We had a fine, fine Christmas dinner. There is not a single picture of it, because, well, Christmas and all its attendant chaos. Six adults, three kids, two spastic dogs, small house. You get the idea.

The best part of Christmas! AGCs, from left, 1, 3 and 2.

The best part of Christmas! AGCs, from left, 1, 3 and 2.

There is, however, this picture, the single moment during the day when we got a kindergartener and two preschoolers to stand still. And snapped quick. And they’re what it’s all about, anyway.

Dinner prep kinda got away from me, as I had to take a chunk of time out of the morning to roast the turkey I was taking to a local group home for a Christmas meal. And that wouldn’t have been so bad but for the fact I had to run hot water over the turkey, which had been sitting in the bottom of the fridge for three full days, but had barely thawed the least little bit.

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Cooking Crimmis

December 22, 2016

cherry cheesecake

OK. We have made this.

Lawd have mercy. It’s Crimmis, all up in here!

I have been to Kroger more times than the legally allowable limit this week, I think. Because today, I realized I was Almost Out of foil, and you cannot cook Christmas dinner without foil. It just won’t work. And Child A had bemoaned that I had not made fudge, and “I don’t care if you make all those other kinds, but you know, we’re all gonna eat that peanut butter fudge, and my sister (that would be Child B) will be heartbroken if there is no peanut butter fudge.”

So I got marshmallow cream. And another bag of sugar. And foil. And stuff for a coconut cake, though that won’t be for Christmas, because it takes four days aging, and I don’t have that in the calendar, but we will have coconut cake early in 2017. It’s in the freezer. Have already told friend Kate, who is all about some coconut cake, that I need five days’ notice when she’s coming to visit, so I can make one and get it started aging.

Anyway. Christmas dinner is tomorrow, to accommodate Child B’s schedule, so she and her family can get back home and actually have Christmas morning in their own home for a change, and I think that is a Good Thing, and I’m perfectly happy to change my dinner plans to help it happen. Not to mention that it means Child A and Lucy and I can hang out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, go to church, and eat fun things like waffles and pigs in blankets and all such, and generally be slothful and highly enjoy it.

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