Meat? We got fresh fruit and veggies. We don’t need no steenkin’ meat.

I attempted, last night, to recreate what I believe was the best pasta salad I ever had. But in typical Keyboard fashion, I attempted to improve on it. I should’ve hung with replicating it.

I went to a lunch/afternoon meeting at Arkansas State University today. When I turned in, I noticed there were cars at the farmer’s market pavilion and I thought to myself, “Self? Don’t you forget to go over there after this thing,” because self and I had forgotten that, now that it’s June, they’ve cranked up the Tuesday afternoon market, which is a smaller version of the big Saturday one, which I had missed because I was out of town, so the veggie count was low at Chez Brockwell.

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Ahhhhh, spring. Tomatoes. Other fresh veggies. Bountiful.

And how did it get to be 10 days since I’ve posted?

Well, I was on the road for four of ’em. And poorly with a stomach bug for two or three more. But I have finally gotten the notion back to be in the kitchen, inspired in large part by this haul from the Farmers’ Market this morning.

There will be BLTs, yes, there will. And can I just tell you, I am contemplating getting in the kitchen Right Now and sauteeing up that yellow squash with some onions? And I may yet do that for dinner. Squash and sliced tomato. Who needs anything else? Yes, it’ll be fresh veggie time for a few days.

There were no exceptional road food meals. Pizza one night. A music festival cheeseburger (cold) one night. An eminently forgettable dinner at a meeting in Memphis one night. I think I had pork tenderloin and something.

I’ve cooked a good deal of asparagus the past two or three weeks. Made a very tasty slaw with blanched, cut spears, raw sugar snaps, sliced up, and slivered carrots; dressing was oil, vinegar and sugar. Plain, simple, good. Added some corn kernels to it the next day and that was pretty good, too. I got what may likely be the last asparagus of the season today at the market, and I’m thinking I may reprise that salad, putting corn kernels in from the get-go this time. It lasts, and it’s always good to have around, and it’d just be primo on some of those sliced ripe tomatoes.

Cucumbers are going to get marinated up as cucumber, onion and tomato salad. I may go with an Asian flavor profile for that dressing — rice vinegar, soy sauce, a splash of sesame oil, a little mirin, some ginger, maybe a little honey (or maybe not).

Next weekend, I am cooking for a pot-luck picnic with my high school graduating class. I’m thinking a smoked pork loin, using some of those new potatoes for a salad with thyme, olive oil and vinegar dressing, and some cut-up boiled eggs. Some of the strawberries are going in a strawberry cheesecake, which will go in the freezer. Also on that menu may be some jail slaw, as I have a head of cabbage lounging around that wants to be used.

Today, I’ve cooked for the soup kitchen — three 10-pound hams, which were decimated. Three gallons of green beans. Two vats (about two gallons each, I’d guess) of mac and cheese. A big bowl of pasta salad. Always wears me out, but doggone, it’s a good tired. Especially when I look at the 40-plus people who got a good meal, many of whom took a carryout home with them so they’ll have another one tomorrow.

If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have big plans for the holiday weekend, let me know about ’em. And be careful on the highways.


This time of year

May 28, 2016

One batch of market goodies -- potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, peas.

One batch of market goodies — potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, peas.

Lord help me, I love summer. I especially love it from the middle of May through the middle of July, when gardens and farmers’ markets are bringing forth some new delight every week. No accident my birthday falls right in the middle of that period, I’ve always thought.

Second installment of market haul: Cinnamon rolls, tomatoes, blueberries, peaches.

Second installment of market haul: Cinnamon rolls, tomatoes, blueberries, peaches.

Witness this morning at the market. I had to make two — TWO!! — trips to the car, because I filled my basket up before I got through. Read the rest of this entry »

Ahh, the joys of summer

June 27, 2009

Fried okra. Fresh corn. Fresh tomatos. Purple hulled peas. Fried green tomatos. Fresh fruit, baked up into a clafouti.

It’s Saturday in a Southern town where they have a farmer’s market. And it’s a Fine Thing.

The photo could be better, but the subject matter defies words.

The photo could be better, but the subject matter defies words.

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To start: I am having issues with this post. I cannot get the photo to upload for the life of me, and as it was the first thing in the post, I am going to try to write the post, publish it, and come back and insert the photo later. We shall see how successful I am.

Yep. It was gonna be a BLT, but it "just growed."

Yep. It was gonna be a BLT, but it "just growed."

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Once I finally got up and going, after a solid 10 hours’ sleep, I got out and got busy today, fortunately getting home from all but the final errand — getting my nails done and picking up laundry detergent I’d forgotten at WalMart — before the rain started. Don’t have to leave the house tomorrow.

Memphis Farmers’ Market opened today. It’s early to have a whole lot, but I bought some potted herbs and some goat feta cheese. I never had goat feta cheese before; figured it was worth a shot. I was hoping the folks would be there with the artisan bread, but if they were, they sold out before I got there.

I bought curry, thyme, oregano, marjoram, purple basil, lemon verbena and parsley, in 4-inch pots, $4 apiece. Green tea with lemon verbena leaves is pretty wonderful, and they add a lot to salads and anything Vietnamese. Chiffonade the leaves and go. The herb chick said I could use them in anything that called for lemongrass, though they’re slightly sweeter, but that they’d have lemongrass in a month or two. I won’t be here in a month or two, but I can have someone go get it and bring it to me.

Then out to Bronte Bistro at Davis-Kidd Bookstore, where I met some friends for lunch and had some extremely wonderful tomato-basil soup and a Monte Cristo that was just average, and not what I would call a Monte Cristo at all. It was much more a Croque Monseuir, except it was served with bread that had been made into French toast. And it had TURKEY on it, ferchrissakes. I mean, that’s just wrong. It tasted good, but I had my mouth set for a Monte Cristo, and that bore no resemblance to one, because I knew Monte Cristo, Monte Cristo was a friend of mine, and you, Bronte Bistro, make no Monte Cristo.

Points to anyone who can ID that reference.

I will give them credit for a very good raspberry sauce for the not-Monte; it had a fair helping of horseradish in it, although it billed itself as Raspberry Dijon sauce. Good kettle chips, and a crispy-crunchy-cold dill pickle spear.

I was a good girl — I refrained from going to Lucchesi’s, because I would have spent $50 or more on cheese, and I didn’t need to do that today. I did go to Easy Way, got tomatos, asparagus, baby spinach, white corn, okra, strawberries. Dinner tomorrow will be creamed corn, spinach caprese salad, asparagus in some preparation I have not yet decided (last time I did sauteed and finished with a dash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sugar), old fashioned fried okra, and Vietnamese spiced pork chops. And my standby dessert — strawberries, creme fraiche and brown sugar. Why try to improve on perfection?

Finished up at WalMart, buying household necessities (mousse, shaving cream since Sara refuses to use regular soap to shave her legs, moisturizer, all that crud) and some basic groceries (corn oil, cereal, tomorrow’s pork chops, some ground pork because I want to make gyoza and I have those won-ton wrappers; these may be square gyoza that look a lot like ravioli, but that’s OK). Came home and put the perishables away, and went back and got my nails done, which they badly needed.

All in all, a worthwhile Saturday. I was going to go by the liquor store and get boxes, but I forgot. Ain’t gonna pack this weekend, anyway. Will pack next weekend before I leave (SUNDAY!) for four days on the beach. Can’t WAIT.

And I’m about to go make myself some fried rice, because I got some shelled green peas at Easy Way as well and it happens I have leftover rice in the rice cooker and it seems to be the right thing to do tonight. If I get ambitious I’ll make the gyoza to go with it. Now, if I could make sushi, and if I had some good fresh fish to put in it, and would learn to make miso soup, I could save myself some $20 lunches at Sekisui.

Will report in tomorrow on the veggie feast. Tell y’mama ‘n ’em to plant those gardens REAL BIG for this summer.


I love Mark Bittman more every time I make fried rice. If you do not own a copy of his How To Cook Everything, go get it. Soon.

Tonight’s fried rice has water chestnuts, onion, shallot, carrots, wonderful fresh English peas, and two cans of tiny salad shrimp. I used the gluten-free soy sauce, which is much milder than regular, in the event Child B wants to take some home tomorrow, so I doubled up on the sesame oil. Lunch for a week.

See the earlier post on fried rice for Mark’s recipe.