Look what I pulled out of the garden today!
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023
The First Day of Fall was all over the place online yesterday. For many people, that seems to mean pumpkin spice, fall decor, and cozy blankets. For me, it means an excess of tomatoes and apples.
Friday, September 22, 2023
Short version: Smoked sausage, rice, green salad with vinaigrette
Long version: I went all the way to the grocery store by myself this day, and while I was there, I took a look at the sausage selection. I can never resist looking for sausage, even though it's usually not very good.
This time I got some smoked pork sausage, which was almost exactly like giant hot dogs. The kids liked it, of course. It wasn't bad. It wasn't really good either, but it was okay.
Short version: Pizza, green salad with ranch dressing
Long version: Making bread, making pizza. And this time I didn't screw up my dough, so the crust was delicious. Yay, me. I also got pepperoni at the grocery store, and I got the fancier Dietz and Watson pepperoni that was near the deli, instead of the Hormel or whatever we typically get. It was a lot better than the cheaper stuff. I don't like pepperoni, but this I could actually eat.
Short version: Leftover pizza, sausage and rice skillet, chocolate ice cream
Long version: I started feeling a cold coming on this day, so I didn't really want to cook. Unfortunately, some children got into the leftover pizza while I was resting during the day, so there wasn't enough for everyone. There was, however, leftover rice and leftover sausage, and those two things, along with the sauteed diced onions I had stashed in the freezer and frozen peas, became a skillet offering to fill out the pizza.
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
I grow basil every year, and always have. It doesn't do as well here as it did in New York, but I always get enough for tomato sauce, tomato salad, pizza, and to make and freeze pesto for the coming winter.
This year, however, was a rough one for the basil. (And everything else.)
There was a point a month or so ago that I thought the basil was done for. I had originally planted out 13 plants. There had been some attrition, but I still had some. Then the hail came. And then the drought. I lost more and more plants, and the few basil plants looked like they were goners.
I counted it out too soon, though. Three of the plants managed to hang on, and they are finally looking like they're going to give me some usable basil.
As a bonus inspirational plant story, allow me to show you my dianthus.
Sunday, September 17, 2023
I truly wish I could share with you all the photos of the eleven adorable little girls that comprise our elementary cheer squad. Alas for the insane Internet and the inadvisability of posting photos of little girls on it. However! I got a sneak shot of one of them and her giant bow.
Friday, September 15, 2023
Short version: Lamb chunks, mashed potatoes, carrot sticks
Long version: Our school has a four-day week (with longer days), so we typically don't have school on Fridays. However, we are required to have the Monday off for Labor Day, so we always have school the Friday after Labor Day to make up for that. That means I was at work.
I wasn't really planning on cooking, but I had the boneless leg of lamb roast I had taken out a few days previously that wasn't getting any younger. To cook that faster, I cut it into chunks, which I fried in bacon grease with salt, garlic powder,and zaatar.
And then one of my children was sick and had a terrible sore throat, so I had to make some mashed potatoes. I peeled six small potatoes before I remembered I had a jar of instant potato flakes in the pantry, so I decided not to bother with more peeling, instead cooking the ones I had already peeled and then adding the potato flakes to bulk them up.
Four out of six family members actually preferred them this way. I am not one of them, but then, I don't usually eat mashed potatoes.
In related news, I ate the first Stupice tomato this day.
Short version: Tuna salad sandwiches, raw cabbage
Long version: This was not my plan for this meal, but then the one child was still sick and A. was in Santa Fe running errands, so I made a very easy meal for the three children eating.
Short version: Pork, American potato salad, steamed carrots and broccoli, chocolate ice cream
Long version: The pork was a giant package of two sirloin roasts I had taken out the day before. It was much too much meat for one meal, so I did some prep work to make my life easier in the future. Some of the pork I cut into chunks and put back in the freezer. Some more I cut into thin pieces for stir-fry and put back in the freezer. The meat that was too awkward to cut off the bones was what I cooked this day.
I stuck them in my Dutch oven with salt and water while we were at church and cooked them in the oven until they were tender. Then I pulled off the meat at dinnertime and spread it on a pan with some of the rendered fat, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and maple syrup and broiled that until it was crispy.
While the pork was in the oven, I also baked several potatoes. Those were for the potato salad. I make American potato salad about once a year, because only about half the family likes mayonnaise-based potato salad. I decided to make it now because I had dill pickles in the refrigerator (thanks, MiL!), and a proper potato salad must have dill pickles in it.
It was very good.
Short version: Leftover pork, starch variety, raw cabbage, peaches and cream
Long version: I thought there was more potato salad than there was. It ended up being only enough for one child. I had two baked potatoes I hadn't used in the potato salad. I quickly microwaved one more and sliced two potatoes to fry in the pan while I re-heated the pork. The fried potatoes covered two more people.
The other baked potato was scooped out and mashed with butter for the still-sick child.
And the last child got the last bit of macaroni and cheese from a weekend lunch.
A. had bought the peaches at a roadside stand on his way home from Santa Fe. They weren't quite ripe enough to use for dessert on Sunday, so we had them this night instead. Peeled, diced, covered in sugar and cream.
These were the first--and likely, the last--good peaches we'd had this year. Covered in sugar and cream is an excellent way to enjoy them.
Short version: Spanish tortilla
Long version: Another nuts Tuesday after school meant a make-ahead meal saves the day. Spanish tortilla--this one had potatoes, eggs, bacon, onions, and cheese-- is a very good option for that.
I did not serve a vegetable. The salsa everyone puts on it will have to count.
Short version: Bull 'n' bean chili
Long version: I made this the day before when I was in the kitchen anyway. I used some of the ground bull meat, which I think is STILL too chewy for burgers or whatever. It's fine in a long-simmered chili like this, though, which also had black and pinto beans in it, as well as frozen calabaza from last year's garden.
The calabaza and tomatoes in the chili were our vegetables for the night. Ahem.
But hey! I did manage to dice onion and grate cheese for toppings! So inspiring, I know.
Short version: Pork stir-fry, rice
Long version: Another nuts day after school. I was at school with Poppy, who was cheering at her first volleyball game. A. took the judo run. Another kid was off doing FFA stuff all day and didn't get home until after 9 p.m.
Since I wasn't there when the judo crew were home for dinner, I made the pork stir-fry and rice ahead of time and left them on the stove for them to eat when they got home.
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
This has been, to state the obvious, a highly unusual year in my garden. According to my previous posts--which is the only way I ever remember anything anymore--this is the time of year I would have quantities of tomatoes, green beans, and calabacitas.
However, thanks to the hail, grasshoppers and other insects, excess rain, and then drought, all of those are quite a bit behind.
I have a couple of green bean plants that are producing a few green beans, but not enough for a side dish.
The remaining tomato plants actually have a lot of flowers on them right now: