Herald of spring

April 4, 2017

Spring in a soup bowl. Because a dessert dish just won’t cut it.

Saturday morning, I got up and betook myself to Memphis to the Farmers’ Market, because their market opens April 1, and ours doesn’t open until May 1, and I wanted asparagus.

Personally, I do not believe a two-hour round trip is excessive to purchase fresh, local asparagus. Particularly not when you can get local strawberries, as well, on April Fools Day, which is early for local berries. But what better way to have a Sunday springtime dinner than with fresh asparagus and strawberry shortcake?

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Pork loin, two ways

March 28, 2017

Standard pork loin dinner with baked beans, slaw, potato salad. Easy. Good.

I love a pork loin.

It’s easy to mess up — if you’re not careful, you’ll overcook it, and it’ll wind up dry and pretty tasteless, no matter how well you sauce it. But once you get past that hurdle, it’s one of the most versatile cuts of meat there is.

You can cut it up into nice, thick boneless chops, which then you can then marinate, or not, and grill or broil or even pan-fry until they’re JUST done, but still nice and juicy. You can butterfly it if you want, and stick some fresh herbs or some seasoned breadcrumbs inside it, then tie it up and roast it, or you can just sprinkle it with some seasoning, roast it (again, JUST until done, and if you don’t have a meat thermometer, get you one, and make use of it), and then make a luscious glaze/sauce.

If you’re cooking for three, you can get four meals out of a grocery-store sized loin. That’s a good bargain in anybody’s book, when you catch one on sale.

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Plantin’ time!

March 27, 2017

Future salads! Keyboard Farms is en route for 2017.

I have a crop!

Or at least the startings of a crop. And I have a garden spot prepared in which to transplant it. If it would ever quit raining and dry out enough for me to get out there in it.

The little seed starter trays above, have in them lettuce, carrots, radishes, cabbages, sweet peas and cucumbers. Don’t ask me which ones are which yet; I don’t remember. I’ll have to wait until they grow enough to see how the leaves shape. They are basking in front of the window in my office that gets a nice degree of sun each afternoon, and it just amuses me to see the little seedlings reaching out of their little homes toward the light. I turned the trays around this afternoon, and I swear within 30 minutes they were shifting direction.

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Beautiful dinner for a beautiful spring evening.

We were gifted with just an extraordinarily gorgeous spring day over the weekend.

Brilliant blue sky, a wisp of a cloud here and there, temps in the mid-upper 70s, a light breeze ruffling the air now and again. What a friend used to call “a bluebird day.”

So I did what any good, red-blooded ‘Merican would do on such a day. I cracked open a beer and fired up the grill.

And we had surf and turf for dinner. And it was, if I did cook it myownself, fine.

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Yay! It’s spring!

March 20, 2017

Don’t laugh. It stands up on its own.

And my computer is in the shop. You can get a lot done when you are not working for a living, which I could not because I have not been diligent in backing my stuff up to the cloud, else I could use, after a fashion, this little tablet convertible critter that’s my travel machine.

It would be cool but for this truncated keyboard, which makes typing painfully slow.

But today, while I could not work, I played in the dirt. I built a compost bin out of pallets. I pulled up last year’s tomato vines and the cages. Threw the tomato vines in the compost bin. Dumped in my existing barrel of compost that’s been working all winter.

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It has been a weekend full of cookery.

And basketball. And my Razorbacks, God bless ’em, made a valiant effort against North Carolina, but a couple of bad calls late turned it. Now, as long as Kentucky loses, I don’t care who wins.

Calls for a glass of wine.

I’ll save last night’s dinner, which was a fine, fine thing, for a separate post, but I’ll give you a couple of examples of the best of St. Patrick’s Day and the day after.

There was this:

Classic corned beef dinner. Except it was bottom round roast, and not brisket.

And then there was this:

Even better: corned beef hash the next morning.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, help me now. These were GOOD. REAL Good.

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Along for the ride

March 15, 2017

Ready to go for their swim: Corned beef, left, and pork loin.

One of the fine things about cooking sous vide is that you can cook completely unrelated things together-but-separately, encased in their own little plastic vacuum sealed pouches (or zip-lock freezer bags), burbling along in the water.

I did that earlier this week with corned beef and a pork loin, being that they needed to get about the same temp. The corned beef went for a good while longer, but I cooked the pork loin for about 8 hours and then filched it out of the bath. The corned beef went for another 36 hours, roughly. They’re both reposing in the fridge as we speak.

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