Monthly Archives: July 2012

Peaches and Tomatoes and Corn, Oh My! Buckle Up!

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Peaches and Tomatoes and Corn, Oh My! Buckle Up!

Peaches!

Writers are told repeatedly to chill on using exclamation points. But this topic warrants them. My three fave summer foods are almost here!!!

Peaches might be #1. My local orchard, Branstool Orchards has posted its Peach Schedule. I’m in heaven. I make a mean Peach & Raspberry Crisp (not Cobbler, people!) from a Barefoot Contessa recipe. I put them in salads, eat them out of hand and even grill the suckers.

Tomatoes!

My other favorite season is upon us. I eat tomatoes sometimes throughout the year, but there is nothing like fresh, local summer tomatoes. I must arise early enough to get my butt up to the Farmer’s Market on Sat a.m. and see how fine they are this year. Hey, I get up, I just don’t leave the house on Sat. usually before 10-ish.

Nothing beats a tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil salad. Seriously. Well maybe a sandwich of nothing but a big fat sliced tomato, salt and a little mayo…

Corn!

Although I grew up in a little college town, we were in the midst of farm country. My Dad had done a favor for a guy who “gave” us three rows of his sweet corn field to enjoy in the summer. If you’ve never picked your own corn, popped it in boiling water the minute you get home, you really haven’t had sweet corn. If I’m desperate, I’ll buy the grocery store version, but it’s so far from fresh, it might as well be “previously frozen.”  Trust me. At least get to your local farmer’s market and buy a dozen ears.

Hey, are you listening, Veggie Fairy? My pal Ali brought me goodies from her parent’s farm last summer – tomatoes, their own corn hybrid, peppers, etc. Nice!!

I Forgot Ice Cream!

I make homemade ice cream all year ’round, but especially in the summer. This weekend, for my pal’s birthday, I’m going to make Key Lime Ice Cream. I even throw in chunks of frozen graham cracker crust. It’s nom-nom, if I say so myself. But not as good as my butter pecan w/ artisan salt….!!!!

Kid Foodies’ Grocery Lists…and Gross Stuff

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I recently learned that a writer pal’s kids are total foodies and have some definitive opinions when it comes to eating. Instead of just being bored or trying to pop wheelies w/ a grocery cart when accompanying Mom to the store, these boys are into the experience. They agreed to be interviewed for SPGL. Dylan is 9 and Liam is 6 and 10/12.

Dylan and Liam raid the pantry

SPGL: Which one of you is most willing to experiment with new foods? What have you tried recently that was cool and you liked?

Dylan: “I am. New stuff that I like would be hard boiled eggs, asparagus, abalone.”

Liam: “Dylan is the experimenter. I tried Ostrich and it was pretty good.”

SPGL: When my brother was little, he would combine things kids don’t usually like – blue cheese and olives, for example. (BTW – he became a professional chef when he grew up!) Tell me about interesting combos of food you’ve tried.

 Dylan: “Vanilla wafers in milk until soggy; blue cheese on steak; blue cheese dressing on french bread instead of butter; my pie of mashed potatoes, ketchup, steak sauce, peas and meat. Oh, and dipping Skittles candy and jelly beans in milk.”

Liam: “I don’t know.”

SPGL: If you could manage a grocery-store trip by yourselves, you had your parent’s wallet and you could spend as much as you wanted, what stuff would you buy?

Liam: “Grocery store would be – cookies of all types, tortillas, beans (refried – clarification from mom), cheese, milk, strawberries, orange and green melon, raspberries, bacon, laffy taffy, and sour cream and onion pringles.”

Dylan: “Grocery list would be – candy like red vines, ice cream, horseradish, donuts, blue cheese (like 10 packs), other cheeses, tomatoes, tackys, hot cheetos, soda, hamburger buns and meat for mom to grind up and make yummy burgers, and beer for dad but they may not let me buy that I’m not sure.”

SPGL: As kids, my friends and I would mix up things like eggs, mud, bird poop, etc. just to see what it looked like. What totally disgusting stuff have you mixed together just to see how gross it is?

Dylan: “My friend put hot cheetos in strawberry chunk yogurt at school and it was so gross.”

Liam: “Anything mixed together is gross!”

SPGL: What are your favorite foods?

Liam: “Favorite foods are bacon, beans (refried), vanilla oreo ice cream, and that turkey lasagna from costco.”

Dylan: “My favorite foods are spaghetti with butter, blue cheese, tomatoes, coffee ice cream, any candy, ostrich, duck, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple and cantaloupe.”

SPGL: At the risk of creating “Kitchen Ninjas,” if you could bring any toys and/or tools into the kitchen to fix food or make interesting “sculptures,” what would you use? No chainsaws, please. 😉 (Although both boys checked first w/ mom to see if it was cool to answer this one, they did come up w/ some ideas.)

Liam: “Oh, I would love to use my Legos to make Lego cookies and Lego cake! I don’t know how that would work as they are kind of small.”

Dylan: “I would like to bring markers and paint but those probably won’t make anything taste very good.” (Mom told him you can buy markers and food paints. His eyes lit up and then he said, “Can you buy some, Mom?”) I also would like to use a hammer but I’m not sure for what, but Mom beats up the chicken sometimes.” (Mom says it’s a mallet to pound chicken and steak thin.)

SPGL thanks Liam and Dylan for playing along w/ me and thanks to Mom for facilitating. It’s great that you guys like to try new things and appreciate new tastes. Here’s to filling those grocery carts w/ even more new stuff!

The Heat…Burgers…Beer

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Now I know why people in the South and hellish desert climates like AZ get annoyed w/ those of us in milder climes when we complain about the heat after a couple days in the 90s. But after days of 100-ish temps, I can say w/o fear of offending my Louisiana and Phoenix pals that it’s f@#%&* HOT!

Tonight, though, I actually sat on my front porch and didn’t feel like my brain was bubbling. I’d still be out there if the biting flies would leave me alone. These are different from the other country varieties I have – the dive-bombing, giant horseflies or the irritating fly-into-your face or land-in-your-wine flies. But at least I’d be outside if it was fly-less territory. I have AC/doors and windows shut cabin fever.

Post Power Outage Grocery Trip

After being powerless for a couple days and then regaining power, I thought it might be safe to buy a few food items. Although I worked over the holiday, I bought some fun stuff to eat.

  • Angus ground chuck to cook out – I’ve mentioned my brilliant charcoal grilling techniques before, but these were the best ever. Topped w/ NY cheddar and sweet onion.
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter – I like porters and stouts if I’m going to drink beer. This one is not bad.
  • Shallots – For a pasta salad recipe I’ll tell you about next time.
  • Maple frosted cookies – From the faux Amish place. They’re getting stingy w/ the frosting, so for $4.59, I may have to pass next time. It’s not worth the fat/calorie binge-let.
  • Hebrew National hot dogs – I didn’t buy these to do the typical 4th thing. I always buy them when I’m in the mood for hot dogs. I think they’re the best and maybe the snout/tail quotient is lower since they’re Kosher. I hope.
  • Strawberries, raspberries and arugula – For the other parts of the food pyramid.

As I read over that list, it’s pretty pedestrian. I’m going to try harder for it to be ironic, snarky, weird or more single-like. There,Single People's Grocery Lists people, I have a goal!

50 lbs. of Dog Food, Beer and Soda – The Essentials

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I think we need to mix it up a bit here at SPGL. After all, how many times do you want to read the words “cookie butter” and “wine” on my blog? Today, I have a guest blog from pal and fellow writer Thelma Michael. She obviously understands the intricacies of single-hood shopping and shares her astute observations below.

I am purposefully single.  That’s right boys and girls – it is a choice.  No, I’m not Hunchback of Notre Dame’s twin sister making this statement because I haven’t been asked out on a date in the last decade – I’m single because I refuse to be with an idiot.

There are a lot of idiots out there.  Which makes me wonder when we can pass an ordinance that there must be a stupidity test before one can procreate – but that is a whole different line of thought.

I am also a big people-watcher and the grocery store is chock full of entertainment for me.  Not just the people, but their carts!  Holy mother of god can you learn a lot from someone by their shopping cart.

But those observations can also bite me in the butt.  To come clean I have no butt because too many things have come back and bit me in the butt.  I really hope karma doesn’t start coming after the boobs next because I don’t have that much and if it takes those I will be left with the body of a pre-pubescent 12-year-old boy.   But that’s another story.

So I am a cart observer – I like to look in other people’s grocery carts.  I can pick out the single dad, the husband who was sent with a specific list and fellow single people. Like the angry gal who just broke up with her boyfriend. She’s easy to spot – two dozen cartons of Ben and Jerry’s, five bottles of wine and the super saver pack of Kleenex are dead give aways. Then there’s the frat boy living in a grown man’s body single-handedly keeping Frito-Lay in business, as well as the local brewery.

I recently went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, enjoyed my people/cart watching then ran a couple more errands before I went home. It was after one of these errands that I stunned my fellow patrons in the parking lot by literally laughing out loud once I reached my car.

I glanced in the backseat and all I saw was a fifty pound bag of dog food, a case of beer and two cases of soda pop! If it had been someone else I would have designated them the lonely dog person.  I swear I could hear my grandmother in my ear, “See what happens when you make assumptions about others…” Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I am a dog person.  After years of singleness on and off,  I much prefer the company of my dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, I love men – they are such simple creatures.  But my tolerance for them and their crap is pretty low whereas my dogs at least crap in my yard, not in my psyche.

Dogs don’t have to figure out who they are – they are a dog.  They don’t have a pendulum that swings from wanting to be in a monogamous relationship to wanting to hump everything in the neighborhood.   They don’t play hot and cold, they don’t care if you get fat or put green goop on your face to get rid of age spots.

And you normally only have to train a dog once, as with a man it is a continual process.  So yes, I am the crazy dog lady with the big bag of dog food so I make sure my dogs are always taken care of. And me? I get the soda pop to get me through the day and the beer for a toast to me at the end of the day.

Don’t judge me.

Thanks, Thelma. As soon as she stows that bag of dog food away, she’ll have time to launch her new blog and we’ll do linkies. It’s what cool, single chicks do.

Power Outage Food: Warm Yogurt Anyone?

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I’m very lucky that I only experienced about a 43-hour power outage after last Friday’s storms. So, I tried not to be too cranky or stressed – at least there was no damage to my home. Since I’m in the country and there were frequent outages when we moved here, I have the “kit” – Coleman lantern, weather radio, assorted flashlights (which work much better WITH batteries), candles, etc. What I don’t have in a power outage is water. For you city folks – a well pump is the only way to get water throughout the house. No electricity, no water. Oh, you do get one flush per toilet.

Food Challenges

Luckily, my neighbors have a gas generator so I stored some frozen stuff in their freezer. I was optimistic that power would be restored so I kept the fridge door shut. I didn’t have much food anyway, at least not anything terribly interesting. When I had no power on Day 2, I went to my pal’s to stay. I took some of my food and three bottles of wine. Basic survival stuff.

TJ Run

We made a Trader Joe’s run for rations. Here’s some stuff we got:

  • Cookie Butter – she was perilously close to being out of it!
  • Assorted cheeses – I had brought blue and NY cheddar. She bought a truffle cheese.
  • Normal people food – My friend bought actual stuff to eat for the next week, like vegetables, salmon, etc.
  • More wine – What can I say? They had Green Fin which I haven’t been able to get, so we stocked up. It’s an organic white table wine that’s $4.99
  • Sea salt brownie bites – Okay, these are a big winner. Moist, dense little guys w/ a hint of salt.
  • Low calorie organic lemonade – This is good stuff – not too sweet. I got tired of the artificial taste of other lemonades.
  • Pita crackers – These are perfect bite-size crackers w/ light sea salt

We Forgot to Cook

We had intended to make this prosciutto fresh pasta I’d brought and these all natural chicken sausages. But no cooking ensued. We ate grapes, cheese, crackers and brownie bites. And wine – remember it’s fruit on that nutrition pyramid.