Hip-pocket gourmet

May 8, 2018

These four things, plus butter, are all you need.

We’ve all had them. You learn at 4 p.m. you’re having guests for dinner. You have nothing thawed. You are at work. They will be there at six. Carryout is probably not advisable (it’s your inlaws, or worse yet, your inlaws to be, or your boss, or your spouse’s boss, or….you get my drift).

Whaddya do?

You do this.

You stop by the grocery and pick up the following:

  • A pound of asparagus
  • Four ears of sweet corn
  • A one-pound bag of frozen, cooked, peeled shrimp (salad size is fine)
  • A package of fresh tarragon from the produce counter’s herb selection
  • A nice baguette
  • Salad fixings

I’m going to trust you have butter in the fridge. If you don’t, get that, too.

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That’s egg porn if I’ve ever seen it. Yummmmmmm!

When one has fresh asparagus, one enjoys it in a variety of ways. One of my favorite ways is dressed, very simply, with a couple of over-easy eggs.

This stuff is simplicity in itself. You prep some asparagus; break the woody bottoms off the stalks, peel the bottom two or three inches. Toss them in a medium hot skillet with a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil. Saute them until they start to blister, shaking the skillet periodically to turn them over. Scoop them out when they’re just crisp-tender, and slide them on a plate. Add a bit more butter to the skillet, if you need to, and fry yourself two eggs.

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Easter dinner. All the faves. It was good. Seconds were had.

Another wonderful Easter in the books, or almost so, as it’s nearly sundown.

We’ve gorged ourselves on a traditional Easter repast of ham, mac and cheese (because I have carb-loading children, and they require mac and cheese), corn casserole, asparagus, green peas, deviled eggs, rolls, lemon icebox pie, and strawberries.

We’ve hunted eggs at church, with the cutest kids on the face of the planet, led, of course, by my very own, because, well, he’s about the cutest kid on the planet, except for my other two grandkids, with whom he’s tied. Sorry. I calls ’em like I sees ’em. YMMV.

Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

I mean, seriously. Are there any cuter kids? I submit there are not.

And the other two, who are right cure, in and of themselves!

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Market goodies. I do dearly love the farmers’ market.

With apologies, of course, to Andy Williams. Christmas is wonderful, too, but Lord help me, how I DO love spring. Not least because of all the food-related bonuses it brings. Gardening, strawberries, salad greens, fresh asparagus, grilling out, draft beer and a cheese-and-sausage plate at the ballpark…

…and farmers’ markets!

Which I love as much as I love spring. Or maybe it’s because I love spring.  More likely, it’s because I love to eat. And a trip to the farmers’ market means there’s some good eating to be done, either there, or when you get home, or over the course of the next several days.

I made my first market of the year back last month, when we’d gone to Hot Springs for a weekend. Had some time to kill, and our hotel was just down the street, so I walked down. Saw some old friends, bought herbs, and oh my God, there were the first strawberries of the season! I grabbed some. Back to the hotel, stashed them in the fridge, set the herbs on the desk. One of our traveling companions came in, was checking out the herbs, and wanted to go. So we went back. I bought honey that time.

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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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An old favorite, resurrected and improved.

An old favorite, resurrected and improved.

For my readers in the Northern climes, where the asparagus season is not already just about over (sad face), here’s an old favorite tried-and-true salad that I dearly love, and haven’t thought to make, for some reason, in ages. But I’m sure glad  I remembered it.

It’s the one at nine o’clock in the above photo, which also includes a diced caprese (in the bowl, at 12 o’clock), jail slaw and marinated veggies.

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Road trip goodies

April 26, 2016

Arkansas' best dessert. Definitely worth a road trip.

Arkansas’ best dessert. Definitely worth a road trip.

What do you do to keep a trip from Little Rock whose primary reason, a business meeting, gets cancelled, from being an overall waste of time?

You spend the night with a good friend, who doesn’t mind that you’re drugged out on sinus meds and can’t stay awake (may be a Good Thing the meeting was cancelled!), and you take advantage of the trip to score big in the Road Food category.

Tonight's road-trip dinner -- asparagus, proscuitto, shrimp scampi. Strawberries not shown.

Tonight’s road-trip dinner — asparagus, proscuitto, shrimp scampi. Strawberries not shown.

Still enjoying the bountiful asparagus I’ve been dining on since the weekend, I had planned to take some with me to Kate’s house for our dinner. Just for good measure, I stopped by and picked up proscuitto in which to wrap it to roast. Then, on the way down, I celebrated spring by stopping off at the Bulldog Cafe in Bald Knob to have strawberry shortcake.

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