Here's where I went Friday -- the Patterson House.

Here’s where I went Friday — the Patterson House.

Have you MISSED me?

I’ve been out of pocket — in fact, out of town, in Nashville, celebrating my birthday with Child B, Son-in-law 1, and Amazing Grandchildren 1 and 3. Now I’m home for a week before hitting the road again next week, and then there’ll be a fair amount of here-and-gone for the remainder of the summer.

But the Nashville trip was particularly pleasant because it involved celebrating my birthday — my 60th birthday — and hearing some great music. And because it involved visiting a bar I’ve wanted to go to ever since it opened six years ago.

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Who’d’a thunk it?

June 24, 2015

A radish sandwich. Trust me on this.

A radish sandwich. Trust me on this.

In the realm of food, there are things that are just tremendously simple, but that just never occurred to me to put together and call it a meal or a snack.

Radishes and butter are one of those.

I mean, radishes go in salads. Or get eaten out of hand, the satisfying crunch and the peppery taste a peculiarly pleasant sensation. Slice them up and put them on a cracker smeared with butter? How…odd.

How good.

I’d seen posts about mentioning radishes and butter as a particularly delightful treat since the little jewels started coming in a few weeks ago. On my own for dinner last night, in the midst of the first real heat wave of the summer, I decided to see what the shouting was about.

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Pork loin. Standard size double kitchen sink. Several entrees. $30.

Pork loin. Standard size double kitchen sink. Several entrees. $30.

For years, I never knew vegetables came in anything but the 10-gallon buckets we filled up with them in the garden. Same for fruit out of the orchard. And beef and pork? Those came in pickup truck loads, back from the slaughterhouse, wrapped tightly in white butcher paper with the contents stencilled on the outside.

But when I got out on my own and commenced my own grocery shopping, I bought in manageable quantities, meal-sized batches of veggies and meat, maybe stocking up occasionally when something was on sale.

And now, kids grown and mostly gone, I’m back to buying in bulk again. Go figger.

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Birthday bounty

June 20, 2015

This morning's haul. I love summer.

This morning’s haul. I love summer.

It is, I believe, no accident that my birthday falls a few days past the summer solstice. That way, I can feel like the peak of summer vegetable and fruit goodness, which hits in this part of the world between the solstice and the Fourth of July, is all in honor of me.

And even if it’s not, that’s OK. Because the bounty of veggies and fruit that are flooding the farmers markets and roadside stands and you-pick-it places are about the best birthday present I could have.

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Poetry from the oven

June 19, 2015

Lives there a man with soul so dead,

Who never to himself has said,

“Oh, Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, it’s a blackberry cobbler!”

(With apologies to Sir Walter Scott….)

Heaven.  Fresh from the oven, still bubbling, heaven.

Heaven. Fresh from the oven, still bubbling, heaven.

I know you’ve read this on these posts before, but….

It just don’t get no better’n this!

“This” is a blackberry cobbler. It is the be-all and end-all of desserts. It is a small piece of heaven come down to earth to rest in your dessert dish, topped, if you are fortunate, with a scoop of Yarnell’s French Vanilla ice cream.

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Summer pizza

June 18, 2015

It's all about the tomatoes. Well, and the cheese.

It’s all about the tomatoes. Well, and the cheese.

Back several years ago, and I think I blogged about it, I went with a couple of friends to the allegedly second-oldest same-family-run pizza joint in the country, Papa’s Tomato Pies in Trenton, NJ. Dinner the other night kinda reminded me of it.

No, I couldn’t get my crust that impossibly crispy. My oven doesn’t go to 800 degrees, after all. I didn’t even put any herbs on it, as I was focusing on the ripe tomato goodness. But pair the lusciousness of an early summer tomato with the salty richness of parmigiano, the bite and bloom of some garlic confit and its oil, and a smooth bite here and there of fresh mozzarella, and put that all on top of a thin, chewy crust, and it ain’t no half bad pizza.

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Just kill me now

June 17, 2015

Awwwww, yeah. This.

Awwwww, yeah. This.

Seriously.

Kill. Me. Now.

Because if it gets much better’n this, I don’t know that I can stand it.

Actually, I can. Because there is one thing in this meal that can stand improving in this meal, and it will take me about one or two more tries at it to get it absolutely perfect, and when I do that, watch out. Because this was Sweet Baby Jesus good as it was, and if I can get it any better, well, we may all be in trouble.

Unless the rest of you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have more self-control than I do.

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