When it comes to the second week of December, no matter how well prepared you are, the month begins to take over. It seems you’re not in charge of your own life. Instead of easy-going fall weekends culminating in Sunday games, there are work parties, family get togethers, school and church performances, and neighborhood potlucks. Somewhere down the road and fairly soon, that stack of bags in the corner of the spare bedroom must be gone through, sorted out, wrapped, and mailed or delivered, if need be. There are travel plans, weather delays or plain old bad weather, holiday attire to attend to, and the forever and constant barrage of holiday ads all with some version of “Sleigh Ride” for the soundtrack.
When one thinks of French food, probably things like wine, cheese, croissants, baguettes, fruit tarts, foie gras, French fries, Coq au Vin, or fill in the blank come to mind. I’m here to tell you that those things are assuredly there and in spades; you’d be right.
One of my favorite food writers has to be Melissa Clark, who isn’t just a writer I follow in the New York Times every Wednesday, but is also a happily prolific cookbook writer. I could look up how many cookbooks Melissa’s written, but suffice it to say….there are plenty and more than plenty. When Melissa’s newest book, DINNER: CHANGING THE GAME, came out recently, I threw a little Facebook party giving it the big HURRAH!
I still have openings in the EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME: 2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @ SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5: 5-7PM. INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1. $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you! (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–1 opening left.)
In the midst of worldwide violence and fear, our daily lives somehow continue albeit with increased anxiety and perhaps prayer. Like many, I’m not sure whether or not to turn the television on and, if so, to which channel? I’m grateful for a daily subscription to the New York Times. If we are able to discuss the state of our fellow people globally, what do we say? Are we even educated enough to talk about it?
I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
I once had the honor of reading a good portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in church on MLK Sunday; I’ll never forget the privilege and the burden of just repeating those famous words within the framework of Sunday worship. Today I’m dreaming of world wide peace and reciprocal acceptance of oppositional beliefs. And the table waits… Continue reading
More Time will be on vacation for a few weeks after this post. If there’s a possibility of a bit of writing and posting while I’m gone, I’ll be in touch! In the meantime, check out my fb page and enjoy the rest of your summer, friends.
When I have a really busy weekend coming up, this is the kind of meal I throw together on Thursday or Friday Night. A lovely, big roasty sort of meat — or maybe a hefty oven-cooked chicken — is just the thing to tide us over without another hour or two in the kitchen. Sandwiches, tacos, salads, frittatas or cold slicing and snacking fill in the meals for the next few days. (I also give instructions for a yummy leftover hot meal –pork and mushrooms over rice with a rich sauce.) You’re free to do whatever it is needs doing. Like cleaning out your kitchen or packing for a trip, going to garage sales, or hiking and biking (or chatting on the porch) if you’re on a vacation or at the cabin.
A couple of weeks ago, I made two crispy pork tenderloins and we ate off them for days. I’m likely to buy these in cryopac at Costco where they’re a great value two to a pack. (You actually get two 2-packs and can freeze half.) I wrapped them up in bacon, browned them on the stove top and threw them in the oven to finish cooking while I sautéed a big bunch of zucchini. Over the following days, we ate barbecued pork sandwiches, tacos, and then threw some in a Cobb-type salad as a last resort. Continue reading
I’m not always in a hurry cooking. Often I take my own sweet time and dust be damned. Lately, with more boxes and mess than I want to own up to (after 16 days in the house), I’m still just throwing meals together in hopes that anything for which I heat the stove up will last a couple of days. Because the larder is not up-to-snuff, I end up running to the grocery over and over; I’m wasting time on this stuff. Bad words.
|The kitchen is functioning though I have cabin knives and only four drinking glasses. #badlylabeledmovingboxes|
The other day I just went and bought everything at once for a one-pan meal that sounded perfect. There was no way I was getting home and finding I didn’t have everything and that was the case. I grabbed a package of two pork tenderloins (fast cooking), some red potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and prayed I had dried rosemary. My fresh rosemary plant is mostly likely dead outside the Saint Paul house back door and I won’t be growing any new herbs here for a few months unless I try the south window approach where my son has placed a big bucket of sage thinking ahead to Thanksgiving. Continue reading
Last Friday night was a use-what’s-on-hand night:
- The first of the Minnesota corn (very tiny kernels, but yummy)
- One of the pork tenderloins I’d gotten on sale at Kowalski’s (froze 4 of them in April)
- Salad makings that wouldn’t be good the next day. I sautéed the greens with garlic and lots of fresh herbs:
|My own garden herbs: marjoram, sage, chives, tarragon, basil, and thyme.|
|I added raisins and chopped cashews to the sautéed greens.|
|The first of our tomatoes went in at the end.|
Despite heat and humidity that all Minnesota is ready to get rid of, we ate outdoors under our big maple tree that reaches toward the house and garage, creating a canopy to cover the patio. That soft, shady spot is often the coolest place anywhere and you can bet I’ve looked. Along with everyone else on Wheeler Street.
Next night, a quick look-see in the frig assured me I had enough to throw together some sort of salad as I had a snake squash (can’t find right name) from my victory garden neighbor:
|Tastes like a cross between a mild zucchini and yellow (summer) squash.|
Some asparagus (now out of season, but still my favorite) was sagging in there and a little bit of the pork tenderloin called me. What really appealed was the rest of my fresh cheese (blogged at Dinner Place), which I knew would fry. Could there be anything bad about fried cheese?
|Alyce’s 2-1 cheese|
What about a salad of greens, sautéed squash and asparagus, with avocado, blueberries, and thinly sliced pork tenderloin topped with fried cheese? With a perky, ramped up orange vinaigrette? I was sold. Moral of story: make up your salad as you go along.
|I cooked the squash and asparagus in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, and set that aside.|
|Sliced up my avocado. Creamy and fatty, it would be a good foil for my spicy greens.|
|Blueberries for color, texture, contrast of taste, and sweetness.|
|About 3-4 oz cooked pork tenderloin–or how much of whatever meat you have.|
|My homemade cheese fried in olive oil and black pepper. Dave was so excited.|
Fried Cheese Snake Squash Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
MAKE YOUR VINAIGRETTE FIRST:
Place the following ingredients in a small jam jar, close tightly with lid, and shake well until emulsified. I like to do this to “America” from West Side Story: Shake to this rhythm..123,123, 1—2—3—. (Thanks, Leonard Bernstein.) Set aside while you make the salad.
- 1T fresh orange juice
- 1/4t kosher salt
- 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper
- 1/2 t honey
- 1/2-1 t minced shallot (or garlic)
- 2T extra virgin olive oil.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- 2 T olive oil, divided
- 1 cup each: sliced zucchini (or snake or summer squash) and chopped asparagus (or green beans)
- Kernels from 1 ear of fresh cooked corn (you can cook it in unshucked in the microwave.)
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 6-8 cups baby greens, your choice
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice, optional
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts chopped
- 2-4 ounces sliced, cooked pork tenderloin, steak or chicken
- 2T fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt and Freshly ground pepper
- 6-8 small pieces fresh cheese
- Orange vinaigrette (above)
- In a large skillet, sauté squash and asparagus in oil over medium heat for five minutes. Dust with salt and pepper.
- Remove veggies from pan and place in a large bowl. (Keep pan out; you’ll use it for the cheese)
- To the squash and asparagus, add the corn, chopped avocado, blueberries, walnuts and pork, keeping the ingredients at the center of the bowl.
- Around the pile of veggies and meat, place the salad greens and fresh herbs.
- Set aside or in refrigerator.
- In the skillet, pour another tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat once more. Grind some black pepper into the oil as the pan heats. Place the cheese slices in the pan and cook a few minutes or until nicely browned. Turn carefully with a spatula and let the other side brown.
- Take the salad and drizzle with the lemon juice. Dust the whole thing with some salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with the browned cheese.
- Eat immediately. Won’t keep.
- Take downstairs and watch movies.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
|On the wall ladies’ room in restaurant The Angry Trout|
|In our south garden|
|Heavy, heavy hydrangeas after rain– next to drive|
|As my mom would say, “Morning, Glory.”|
|This incredible flower showed up in my corner garden yesterday.
My pharmacist’s assistant tells me this is a perennial hibiscus.
|I’ve been making blueberry jam, actually blueberry-orange conserve.|
Hot and muggy. Lots of storms and rain. Tomatoes are coming. The first ones weren’t so good. Wonder if it’s like pancakes–throw out the first ones?
Sing a new song; enjoy August,