Thursday, July 28, 2016

Living the Cliche

I have a particular dislike for cliched phrases in food writing. One that immediately comes to mind is "brown bits on the bottom of the pan." I realize this is accurately descriptive, but I see it so frequently that it has become an irritant. Another is the instruction to serve certain foods with "a good crusty loaf for mopping up the juices."

I know. This is an irrational dislike. I can't help it.

I was thinking about it this morning, though, as I was transferring some random roasted vegetables from a sheet pan to a storage container to await dinner*. There was still a bit of olive oil on the pan, along with those tasty brown bits.

Cliche number one!

I thought it would be a shame to just give that pan to Mia to lick for me. Such a waste of deliciously flavored olive oil. Luckily for me, the MiL bakes artisan sourdough bread every week or so**, meaning we always have a good crusty loaf on hand.

Cliche number two!

So I wiped up the oil and brown bits with a slice of my good crusty loaf. Cliches never tasted so good.

 * It's really hot here and I had the oven on anyway to bake something this morning in an attempt to use up some failing bananas, so I decided to roast the vegetables in the morning so it wouldn't be too hot in the un-air-conditioned kitchen right before dinner. What, you weren't burning with curiosity about the weather, my odd roasting timing, or the state of my bananas? Huh. Weird.

** This is obviously a great drawback to moving away. I'm going to have to take some of the sourdough starter up north with us and get my own bakery in operation. Dammit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Can You Spot the Pot?

My Crock-Pot* has become an eccentric. It seemed normal enough when I bought it twelve years ago at a Goodwill thrift store in Albany. In fact, it seemed to be a brand-new, in-the-box Crock-Pot. For ten dollars. It didn't occur to me that perhaps it was at a thrift store in the first place because it had a defect.

But I think it does. And I think the defect is that it has no insulation on the outside, so it gives off a lot of heat. Slow cookers aren't supposed to generate a lot of heat, are they? I'm always hearing about how great they are to use in the summer because they don't heat up your kitchen. Mine does. Which is why I put it out in the shop in the summer when I use it.

When the meat is done, perhaps I could shred it with A.'s industrial grinder. I mean, it is right there on the same table.

I use the Crock-Pot so seldom, however, that I've never thought it worthwhile to get a new one.

When the plastic handle on the lid came off, A. carved me a new one out of wood. Then that broke off and I used twisted-up aluminum foil for awhile before he made me another new one. He decided to be funny with that one and made it out of a ram lamb's tiny horn. 

Ha ha. That A. Such a card.

Now that one has gotten brittle with the heat and is disintegrating. Also, one of the plastic handles on the side of the main body of the Crock-Pot has snapped off, so lifting it has gotten a little tricky.

But it still cooks. So I'm still using it, despite its, uh, quirks. 

At least I could never be accused of disposable consumerism.

* Yes, it is an actual name-brand Crock-Pot, so I don't have to call it the generic "slow cooker." Not that I would worry overly much about that, anyway, even if it was a generic slow cooker.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lucky Thirteen

Today marks thirteen years of marriage for A. and me. So that's . . . let's see, either lace or textile furs.

Textile furs? What the hell is that?

Maybe I should have gotten him a fur pillow edged in lace, just to cover all the bases.

Actually, I didn't get him anything. He got me a cabin in the north woods. We really pull out all the stops for anniversaries, obviously.

We aren't going to do anything particular to celebrate. Maybe we'll take the kids to get ice cream after dinner. I'll be happy if the day doesn't involve disintegrating rodents in our drinking water.

Happy anniversary to A. I bet this thirteenth year is going to be the luckiest of all.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Hero of the Day

Yesterday when Cubby and Charlie went to church with the MiL for what will probably be the last time before we move, one of their favorite church buddies--Miss Debi--surprised them with going-away presents. She gave them each a (really nasty-looking) rubber creature just like the ones that she keeps in her purse to amuse her grandchildren.

You can see why Miss Debi was a favorite.

Charlie chose the tree frog, and Cubby got the lizard. They were very excited to have rubber creatures of their very own and kept them in their hands all day.

Until Charlie lost his frog.


This caused so many problems. Because of course, Cubby still had his lizard, so Charlie spent the rest of the day alternating between whining and crying that he wanted a turn with the lizard, and stealing the lizard and hiding somewhere with it to play where Cubby couldn't find him.

It was not fun.

I looked everywhere I could think of for that damned frog, inside and out. The MiL looked. Cubby looked. A. looked. No one had any luck, and I was resigned to the fact that I would be hearing fights about the lizard for days.

And then, this morning, Jack climbed up on the lawn tractor to play and found the frog.


We all cheered and clapped. Of course, I had to take the frog away from him to give to Charlie, but there was so much applause that he didn't seem to mind the loss of his newly-discovered friend.

And so frog and lizard have been reunited.

It just warms my heart to see these two freaky-looking friends together again.

Thanks to this guy.

Just doin' my job, ma'am.

Crisis resolved. Thank God.