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A plethora of peaches

July 12, 2016

Hard to get a pic before a serving disappears...

Hard to get a pic before a serving disappears…

If you ever wanted any proof that God has a sweet tooth, the astounding fruit this season ought to convince you.

Strawberries, which were pretty weak last year, made up for it in spades; some of the sweetest, prettiest berries I’ve seen in years. Blueberries, likewise, were plentiful and sweet, although it seemed the season was awfully short. Ditto raspberries. And I have already waxed rhapsodic about the blackberries.

I’m getting some exceptional canteloupe now, and I have a watermelon in my fridge I’ll cut sometime soon.

And for the last month, we’ve had peaches at the farmers market. We’re in peach country here, with sizeable orchards to the north and south of us. The cling peaches were first up, smaller, and something of a pain to separate from their pit, but awfully sweet and good. And last week, I found my first freestone peaches at the market.

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Forgot to take a plate pic, but here's the star of the show.

Forgot to take a plate pic, but here’s the star of the show.

You will recall the birthday eve dinner for the Memphis Guinea Pig, posted over the weekend followed by the birthday blackberry pie. There was, in fact, a birthday dinner the following evening.

Rather simple, but no complaints, and I have to say they were some of the best ribs I’ve ever cooked, no matter I bought ’em at Kroger.

I had, in fact, purchased said ribs on the Friday before July 4, baby backs frozen solid in the big on-sale pre-holiday case. I don’t remember how much they were, but a slab was something under 10 bucks. I brought them home and put them in the outside refrigerator to thaw slowly, with an eye toward cooking them possibly on the Fourth, or later that week.

Didn’t happen, so Thursday afternoon, I got them out and rubbed them down with a packet of Kansas City Masterpiece barbecue sauce mix and dry rub. Now, I am not generally one to be a big fan of prepared barbecue rubs, but let me say a word in favor of this KC Masterpiece. I bought it, along with a bottle of their sauce, because I had a coupon for it. When I opened the packet to sprinkle down the ribs, I was afraid I’d screwed up, because it had a very sweet taste, and while I’m not averse to sugar in my ‘cue rub, it’s real easy to get too much. But I went ahead on, because it was late, and I was tired, and I wanted to get those babies in a bag and in the fridge.

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More summer bounty

July 10, 2016

We are talking significant blackberries, here.

We are talking significant blackberries, here.

This, my friends, is a blackberry. A blackberry that appears to have been on steroids prior to its harvest. A blackberry whose size is exceeded only by its taste and juiciness.

Lord, I love ’em. And this has been a banner year for ’em.

You may remember back a week ago, I’d been to not just one, but two, farmers’ markets, because I was intent on scoring some blackberries, and the local market didn’t have any. So I went to the next town over and bought berries.

I brought home two quarts of these beauties, which reposed in the fridge for close to a week as I worked my way through some of the astonishingly good collection of fruit I’d accumulated. (Have I mentioned how much I love summer?)

And I decided I would make a blackberry pie.

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This just barely missed being a Swee

Doggoned excellent dinner, despite skimpy scallops.

Doggoned excellent dinner, despite skimpy scallops.

t Baby Jesus meal. I mean, it was close enough it was definitely contending for sainthood.

My Memphis Guinea Pig was coming for a visit, and this weekend is his birthday, so I wanted to have at least semi-special meals for him. Balancing against that is the fact I still get tired and get into achy territory when I spend too much time on the bum leg, so I needed semi-special meals that didn’t require a great deal of time in the kitchen.

Working within those parameters, I came up with the above: Scallops, over just about the best grits I ever made, with sides of cucumber and tomato salad.

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Fresh out of the oven. They're not as good warmed back up.

Fresh out of the oven. They’re not as good warmed back up.

…make bread pudding.

One of the dumbest moves I have made lately was to let a loaf pan of banana bread, on its way out of the oven, slip from my hands and land upside down in the floor. Banana bread being a soft, moist quickbread, it is not going to stand a chance of holding its shape like a yeast loaf MIGHT do. No, it’s going to splat into a bare resemblance of its former self.

After some of the more creative cursing I’ve employed of late, I scooped it up with a pair of spatulas onto a plate and left it alone, to figure out what to do with it the next day. Tasted it; it was damn good banana bread, too.

Sometime during the night, inspiration struck.

I would make bread pudding.

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Kraut success!

July 5, 2016

Isn't it PRETTY? It's damn-sho GOOD!

Isn’t it PRETTY? It’s damn-sho GOOD!

We have made kraut, and we have made it successfully.

As I had a kitchen apprentice in the house (daughter of a friend of my daughter’s, who ranks as one of my many “adopted” children, so essentially my “adopted” granddaughter), I figured I’d get plenty of use out of her. She wanted to learn to bake yeast bread, so we did that. And I needed to can kraut, so we did that. Plus we made bread pudding, cut up a bunch of peaches, and she watched while I cooked supper.

And I sent her home with all my “dangerous” shoes, i.e., the ones I broke my ankle in, as well as several other pair. Sigh. So long, cute shoes.

It’s hell to get old.

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Simple, not holiday-ish, but good.

Simple, not holiday-ish, but good.

Well, not really. And while there wasn’t much in the way of prep to it, nor was it traditional Fourth of July fare, it was good.

Even if I finished up the evening’s cooking by dropping a fresh-out-of-the-oven loaf of banana bread upside down on the floor, a practice which does not a damn thing to the benefit of your bread, and will make you cuss.

But I have learned the Best Way Ever to cook new potatoes. And it’s easy, even if it does involve two pans. Line one with foil and roll with it.

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