Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday Food: Rhubarb! Asparagus! Hooray!


Short version: T-bone steaks, rooster rice, raw cabbage, cottage cheese chocolate cookies

Long version: Definitely not Lent anymore! And that means we can have steak, and rice cooked in rooster stock, for dinner on a Friday. So we did.

I had a very large container of cottage cheese the school cook had sent home with me because it was past the time she could serve it, even though it was still fine to eat. Unfortunately, it was the reduced-fat kind, which is not universally beloved in my household. Fate stepped in, however, in the person of mbmom11, who commented here this very day that she had made cottage cheese cookies that week.


I was due to make some cookies, so I looked up recipes online. I used this one, except I tripled it, used slightly less sugar, added chopped almonds, and didn't dust them with powdered sugar. They were very good. Very soft, cakey cookies. My children approved.


Short version: Pizza, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: One cheese pizza, one with bacon and onions. I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen in the morning cooking down a couple dozen onions from excess commodities that were starting to go bad.

I'd never tried it before, but the slicing disc on the food processor is absolutely the way to go when there are many onions to be sliced. So fast, so much less teary. 

It's always fun to see how much onions cook down.

Before . . .

And after.

I actually filled that pan three times and cooked down all three batches, which leaves me with a LOT of onions in the freezer. Yay.

Some of the onions went on one pizza with bacon, and that was very good. Oh, and both pizzas had the last of the ricotta from the week before on them. Also very good.


Short version: Brisket, cornbread, sauerkraut, raw broccoli, rice pudding

Long version: This chunk of brisket was actually from the cow we got before this last one, so I figured I should cook it now, before it's hot enough that I don't want to be running the oven all day. I cooked the meat with just a sliced onion, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper. When it was done cooking, though, the juices needed some more flavor to sauce the meat.

I had fortuitously made some rhubarb-peach jam earlier in the day by simply cooking down some rhubarb and combining it with some of the very overly sweet peach jam that resulted from following the recipe on a pectin box last fall. Holy cow, does that call for a lot of sugar.

The rhubarb tones down the excess sugar nicely, though, and it was just what the meat juices needed for the right flavor.

A very bad photo of the rhubarb.


Short version: Spanish tortilla, asparagus, leftover corn bread

Long version: I had actually made the Spanish tortilla over the weekend for the one child who likes to eat it as a snack, but there was a lot left, so we had it for a fast after-work dinner.

I made myself a salad and was thinking that I wished I had more vegetables to put in it. Then I looked out the window and remembered . . .

It's asparagus season! Hooray!

Three of my children will eat asparagus, but only raw. So that's what they had.


Short version: Bull enchilada casserole

Long version: Chipping away at the bull, forever and ever. I like using it in this because I can make casseroles in my biggest 15"x9" Pyrex and then have leftovers.


Short version: Scrambled eggs, leftover rooster rice, raw broccoli

Long version: I really should make scrambled eggs for dinner more frequently. It uses up a lot of eggs quickly, and I'm still getting 5-7 eggs a day, so we have a good supply at all times.

Also, please be impressed that I turned on the stove and cooked something on a work day. I was saving my leftover casserole for the next day . . .


Short version: Leftover enchilada casserole, rhubarb/peach pudding

Long version: I was at the school for a late-afternoon celebratory assembly for our state-winning FFA team. I was there until the end of the school day, which is why I saved the casserole for this night, so we could eat quickly in between the end of school and judo. 

And then there were cupcakes, cookies, cake, AND doughnuts at the assembly, which all of the children were more than happy to sample. That meant that A. was the only one who really ate the pudding, but he enjoyed it.

The pudding is a recipe for rhubarb pudding in an old encyclopedia of cooking the MiL has. I tried to find something similar online and couldn't really find anything, so I actually called her for the recipe. I might have to post it sometime.

The recipe is for just rhubarb, but I used the peach jam and rhubarb. It was very good. 

But not very photogenic.

Good thing we don't eat with our eyes in this house.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Thursday, April 20, 2023

A Gelatin Mistake and a Surprise

Awhile ago, I bought a fairly large bag of gelatin. It was the non-GMO grass-fed whatever beef gelatin, and my whole idea was that I could use it to make rhubarb jello when we had lots of rhubarb.

Now we have lots of rhubarb! It's time to make jello!

Except . . . I couldn't find the gelatin.

Poppy and I spent at least twenty minutes looking for it. I remembered when I used it the first time, I decanted the contents of the bag into a jar, because the bag wouldn't really re-seal and I didn't want gelatin powder all over my pantry.

I knew I had labeled it, though. And I could not find it. 

Then I had a thought.

That gelatin looked an awful lot like the cream of wheat I also keep in a jar in the pantry. And the last time I made chicken food because we ran out of store-bought food, I poured cream of wheat and hot water into the chicken scrap container, but remembered thinking it didn't get very thick.

Perhaps because I poured the ENTIRE JAR of gelatin powder in there instead of cream of wheat?

Yes. I'm pretty sure I did.

So! I hope the chickens enjoyed their gelatin treatment! They're sure to have lovely strong toenails now.


On a happier note, look what we have now!


You can't really tell in the photo, but there are two. One girl, one boy, and both doing very well.

Boo gelatin, but yay spring lambing. 

That's all.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Growing Food: Hilling Tomatoes

Hilling tomatoes? Surely that's a typo. Everyone knows you hill potatoes, not tomatoes!

Except I do actually kind of hill my tomatoes. The seedlings, anyway.

Lemme 'splain.

I plant my tomato seeds all together in big containers, preferably the big plastic containers that salad greens come in. When they come up in the big containers, they will get somewhat floppy as they grow above the level of the soil.

This is when most people would re-pot them into separate containers. I, however, avoid extra steps whenever possible. I prefer to plant them outside when they're still quite small, using the milk jugs to get them going strong even at that smaller stage.

But before they're big enough to put outside, there are still those somewhat floppy tomato seedlings in the bathroom.

My solution to this is to leave some room at the top of the container for adding extra potting soil as needed. 

Tomato plants, you see, have these little hair-looking things all along their stems that will grow into new roots if they are covered. So when I cover the tiny plants right up to the first leaves, I'm actually giving the plant a more-numerous network of roots. 

Adding soil, in-progress. You can see all the extra room above those seedlings I haven't covered yet on the left. After all the soil is on, I'll water it and press it down around the plants a little.

And of course, I don't have to find individual pots. Or the space for individual pots inside under the lights.

I'll probably add at least two layers of soil before the plants are big enough to put out in their milk jugs. But I won't re-pot them, because I will have hilled them instead.

Some might call this lazy gardening. I prefer to use the word efficient. It's so much more positive.

Whatever you call it, it works for me.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Snapshots: Delayed Easter Photos

I took quite a few photos on Easter Sunday. 

I had to leave for Church Lady duties at 7 a.m., so there were no egg hunts or Easter baskets before church. I did set a little treat at each child's place at the table, though.

A floral napkin, a card from my parents, and a packet of M&Ms. Because it's not really Easter unless you have chocolate for breakfast, right?

Very festive.

Hunting for eggs.

And the obligatory deviled eggs made with the results of the hunt.

Rhubarb for the chiffon cake topping.

The funnest part of chiffon cake (or angel food cake) is cooling the cake upside down. It's supposed to be inverted over a wine bottle, which I do not have. This old Courvoisier bottle worked just as well, though. And amused me, because I always think of an old rap song called "Pass the Courvoisier" when I see this bottle*. 

There you have it! My Easter, snapshotted.

* I'm not going to link to the song because it is profane. The video, while similarly inappropriate, is also pretty funny. Mr. T. is in it. Pouring Courvoisier, naturally.