Recycled leftovers. But you have to read to the end to get to it.

Recycled leftovers. But you have to read to the end to get to it.

In the category of all manner of odds and ends:

  • The garden plots have progressed. Today I finally found some manure-based compost, and added three bags of each to the new plots in the back yard. The flower bed, I decided, could go as it is. Used the hoe and worked the compost in a bit. Then ran out of time because I had a doctor’s appointment, so will hopefully get the tomatoes planted and all the seeds except the pole beans in. May go ahead and plant the pole beans for good measure.
  • Unsuccessful in finding tarragon, so I planted lavender in the remaining herb pot. I didn’t use tarragon all that much anyway, and I have some dried. And lavender smells pretty. So the herb garden is done.

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Gardening season!

April 17, 2016

The promise of veggies tocome. Flower bed to be home of squash and cucumbers.

The promise of veggies to come. Flower bed to be home of squash and cucumbers.

Today, I bought a hoe.

This is significant.

You see, back in the Dark Ages when I was a kid, my parents had a massive garden. About an acre and a half. Plus fruit trees, plus a pasture with cows, plus, for a while, a hog pen. And a truck patch. One must never forget the truck patch. I’m not sure why one calls it a truck patch, but it was basically a late garden, planted in a low-lying, damp spot in midsummer so it could yield in the late summer and early fall when everything else had, sensibly, quit.

We didn’t eat much we didn’t grow.

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Steaks. Pretty things, they are.

Steaks. Pretty things, they are.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus.

I have been cooking all freaking day. I mean, seriously. All. Day.

I have made:

  • Three quiches. It was supposed to be two, but I had too much stuff to go in one of the crusts, so I grabbed another crust out of the refrigerator (thank you, Pillsbury) and stuck it in a pie plate. Boom.
  • Two and a half dozen muffins. A dozen and a half bran muffins, with dates and pecans, and a dozen almond poppy seed muffins, a variation on the Peabody Vanilla Muffin recipe.
  • Steaks, hasselback potatoes, and Mushrooms Berkeley.
  • And a batch of country style pork ribs with onions, braising away in the Instant Pot in hard cider as we speak, flavored with caraway, juniper berries and allspice. Tomorrow morning, I’ll shred up the meat, stir in some spicy mustard and brown sugar, and let it go another two or three hours before we serve it up over egg noodles with sauerkraut on the side.

Y’all think I’ve been busy, much?

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Chicken challenge, Day 3

April 12, 2016

Lemon chicken pasta and veggies. A light taste of spring.

Lemon chicken pasta and veggies. A light taste of spring.

Tonight was my pick of the recycled chicken so far.

I ran across a recipe in the Memphis newspaper this week for a lemon shrimp pasta with green peas. Given that I know you can sub chicken for shrimp in most any recipe you want to, I decided to adapt it.

I pulled the chicken out of the fridge and went ahead and picked the rest of the meat off the bones. The carcass and skin is now in the freezer, and will go into stock at some point. Of the meat, I separated the remaining breast and rib meat from the thigh, two drumsticks and a wing, and chopped it fine, then set it aside. The dark meat got chopped as well; we’ll get to it later.

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Chicken and asparagus risotto. Should've put some carrots in it for color.

Chicken and asparagus risotto. Should’ve put some carrots in it for color.

Wherein we take the rest of the breast that I’d eaten sliced chicken off of, and the thigh meat from same, and make a chicken and asparagus risotto.

Because I haven’t made risotto in at least five years, and it was about time. Plus, chicken challenge.

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Y’all who have followed this blog for any length of time know that cooking is just something I love. I don’t want to pursue it as a career, but I do love cooking for others in different settings — my house, their house, you name it.

Today, the volunteer team I head and I cooked for about 40 hungry folks at Two Saints Kitchen, the joint ministry operated by my church, St. Paul United Methodist, and St. Mark’s Episcopal in the St. Mark’s fellowship hall. Long story short, we provide a free meal every Saturday at noon for anyone who shows up. And I just have to tell you what happened.

The default meal for Two Saints is spaghetti in meat sauce, with corn and green beans and French bread. It’s cheap. You can feed a lot of folks for relatively little money. But I suspect these folks, many of whom are weekly regulars, get tired of spaghetti every Saturday, so my team generally tries to do something different. Today, we were serving white bean and sausage soup.

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Chicken challenge

April 8, 2016

Winner, winner, chicken dinner No. 1

Winner, winner, chicken dinner No. 1

Wanna play chicken?

No, not the kind when you barrel down the highway at high speed, headed straight for another vehicle, waiting to see who flinches first. I may or may not have partaken in that foolishness when I was a kid, but not since I (a) began paying my own auto and health insurance, and (b) got over the notion I was immortal.

For the record, I started the first when I was 19, and the second when I was about, oh, 40. Arrested development (at least in some regards), that’s me.

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