Sharp things, shiny things

September 8, 2017

Sharp thing: A new, fancy paring knife.

I didn’t NEED either one of them. But I’ll use them regularly, and they make me smile.

Reason enough to buy new knives, and new wineglasses.

I got to jonesing, for some reason, for a good quality paring knife. I have three or four el cheapo paring knives, but when I need to peel or slice something, I generally reach for my faithful 5-inch Misono utility knife. I love that knife and use it every day.

Decided I wanted something just a bit smaller. I was breezing about Amazon, and found a hammered steel, not carbon, Kaizef, four-inch. I knew I didn’t want carbon, knew I wanted hammered. It was on sale. So I bought it.

It’s a nice, nice knife, that came in a nice sheath and box. Haven’t used it yet. Will try to touch up the edge just a bit before I do.

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Post-game fireworks at the ballpark. Can’t beat ’em.

It started with this.

Solar Eclipse, at 99.something percent totality. Very cool.

It ended with this.

Bringing civilization west of the Mississippi, two sixpacks at a time.

And for good measure, I brought this home with me.

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Muffins and biscuits. More muffins in the oven at that point.

With apologies to Jane and Michael Stern, of “Road Food” fame, and damn, do I miss hearing them every Saturday morning on WKNO in Memphis now that I’m an Arkansas public radio listener, and hey, KUAR/KASU peeps, can y’all do something about putting Splendid Table on the air here so a sista can hear it?

I am headed out on a road trip tomorrow, going to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, where I used to live, and spending a few days in that part of the world with a girlfriend and her niece and adopted niece. (I understand all about those “adopted” kinfolk, having several.) I need a break, albeit I have had a fair amount of road time lately, but this comes at a good time, as I have hit a semi-slack period at work, though it promises to pick up by the latter part of August.

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Hello?

May 14, 2017

Market haul. Lots of good stuff this early in the season!

Yes, I am still alive. I’ve just been…busy.

Between Friday, May 5, and this past Friday, May 12, I was home for exactly 12 hours, during which I neither cooked nor ate. Between those dates, I went to a conference, at which I contracted a stomach bug; I went shopping at an outlet mall, saw a bear (not at the outlet mall), and lost only $45 at a casino. Then I came home (after approximately 1,000 miles), slept, unpacked, repacked, and went to Little Rock for the announcement of an 800-job, $410-million project on which I’ve been working for a year and a half. Then I came back on Friday, after spending two days at the factory site with the architect.

Then I slept. A lot.

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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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Your Intrepid Dining Correspondent takes in Mardi Gras.

Your Intrepid Dining Correspondent takes in Mardi Gras.

Those of you who are my Facebook friends will have to just bear with me, as you’ve seen these photos already. Believe me, they represent meals that were good enough they’re worth revisiting.

Flew to New Orleans on a Wednesday for a Thursday evening event, solely to give myself time to amble about the city and hit some of my favorite restaurants. Which I promptly did for a late lunch on Wednesday, hooking up with some friends to go to Dragos.

Now, there is nothing that will get folks riled up about New Orleans cuisine faster than espousing a specific restaurant as the home of the best oysters in town. I’ve had Felix’s and I’ve had Acme’s, I’ve had Deanie’s. I’ve not had Casamento’s, which I know gets lots of nods. But I am here to tell you, it would be real hard to find any oysters better than those at Drago’s. The big seafood restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton in downtown NOLA has a massive array of seafood choices, and it’s real hard to go wrong with any of them, but my preference is the chargrilled oysters.

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Just one or two things…

October 18, 2016

Who, me? Too much condiment shopping? Nahhhhh....

Who, me? Too much condiment shopping? Nahhhhh….

That was all I was going to get at the international market in Memphis, on my way back from Jackson and delivering two monkey children, aka Amazing Grandchildren 1 and 3, back to their mama, who had been out of town.

Which is why, as a matter of fact, I haven’t been cooking, or, to tell the truth, eating any heckuva lot for the past few days. Since Thursday, I’ve spent 19 hours in the car and the rest of the time doing what I was told by two preschoolers. Well, except for two superb concerts in between. And not a lot of sleep.

But they’re such CUTE little critters!

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