Friday, June 30, 2023

Friday Food: Desert Travels

We left last Friday for a judo tournament in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Las Cruces is more than halfway on the way to Tucson, so we combined this with our annual visit to Arizona to see family.


Short version: Fast food

Long version: We wanted to go to a recommended Mexican restaurant that happened to be near our hotel in Las Cruces, but by the time we got done with the weigh-in for the tournament, it was after 6 p.m. And it was a very popular restaurant in a very trendy area on a Friday night. There were crowds of people waiting outside. We couldn't even get into the parking lot. 

It was too late and we had too many hungry and tired children to wait around, so we abandoned that plan and got hamburgers and french fries at a Blake's Lotaburger near our hotel. This is a New Mexico chain. It's a step up from McDonald's, at least, and worked for our purposes at the time.


Short version: Pork loin, mashed potatoes, green salad with ranch dressing, pecan cookies

Long version: First, we had a judo tournament in the morning.

The chaos of warm-ups.

We didn't leave the tournament until after noon, so we didn't get to my parents' house in Tucson until just about dinnertime.

My mom made this meal. It was much appreciated after a couple of days of road food.


Short version: Mexican food

Long version: There is an outpost of a famous Tucson Mexican restaurant (El Charro, if you care) near my parents' house, so we got takeout from there this night to make up for our failure in Las Cruces. Tamales and chicken tacos and enchiladas, and flautas . . . something for everyone.

I did the ordering on my cell phone, which was really weird. It's always disorienting when we enter mainstream American life for a short time. So much of it just isn't part of our everyday life that things like cell phones require conscious effort on our part.


Short version: Spaghetti and meatballs, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: My mom made the meatballs the day before and I made the tomato sauce for them in the morning, because we were at my brother's house in Phoenix all day, swimming with cousins. Making most of it ahead made it very quick to get dinner on the table when we got back to my parents' in Tucson around 5 p.m. with some very hungry children.


Short version: Fish feast, leftovers, more salad

Long version: My mother always makes sure to have one day of fish when we're there, for the fish lovers in my family. She had shrimp, mahi mahi, halibut, and salmon. And then there was leftover spaghetti and sauce and mashed potatoes, too.


Short version: Leftover pork loin, rice, green salad with vinaigrette, frozen peas

Long version: We left my parents' house in Tucson at 4:45 a.m. and arrived home at 5:30 p.m. While I unloaded the car, I made some rice. 

The pork loin was the other half of the big one my mom had made. She didn't want it, so she froze it and we brought it home in our cooler. It was mostly thawed, so I just sliced it and heated it in a skillet with bacon grease. I also threw the peas in there to cook. 


Short version: Lamb chops, leftover rice, green salad with honey-mustard vinaigrette

Long version: We had one ewe this year who didn't have any lambs. It sounds harsh, but any ewe that isn't having lambs is just a money dump in the form of hay, so A. decided to, um, cull her. We typically butcher sheep ourselves, but when we butcher, we just bone the meat out, resulting in lots of steaks, roasts, and stew meat.

This time we brought it to the butcher so we could get chops and things we don't have to equipment to make. A. had to pick it up Thursday morning--he really didn't relish another four hours in the car after just returning from our interstate travel--so we tried it out this night. 

I fried eight rib chops in bacon grease, with nothing but salt and pepper on them.

You can tell that this was a seriously fat ewe. Definitely eating more than her fair share of hay. I trimmed a lot of that fat off before cooking, though.

I should have made a couple more, because all the boys wanted seconds and thirds. 

I had salad with some leftover pork in it so everyone else could have the lamb, but I did try a small piece of it, and it was very good. Not strong-tasting at all. A. was delighted.

I made my usual mustard vinaigrette with the addition of some honey to balance out the slight bitterness the lettuce developed during the heat wave we had while we were gone. It wasn't inedibly bitter, but there was a little more bitterness there than is typical, so I thought a sweeter dressing would help. It did.

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Growing Food: Good Riddance to Bad Rodents

I lost an entire bed of lettuce and green beans to what I thought was a nocturnally marauding rabbit. I re-planted some green beans, and they came up nicely

Little bean in the shadow of the big bean.

There seemed little point in planting more, however, if they're just going to get eaten by a rabbit, too.

A. had an idea that it might not be a rabbit, though. He set a rat trap in that bed, and sure enough . . .

Filthy thing.

No more than it deserved. And I hope this is the last rodent incursion for the summer. I have a hard enough time getting my plants to harvest without that.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Snapshots: Summer Livin'

Cora standing patiently in the shade of the giant apricot tree, awaiting her appointment with the hoof clippers.

Speaking of apricot trees, I love how the new growth on them is red, instead of the bright green of th enew growth on most plants.

I took the kids to the playground when I went to the bank in one of nearby villages. They don't play on playgrounds much during the summer when school is out, so this was a nice treat for them.

This playground has lots of nice shade trees and has grass, which makes it quite pleasant.

Dogs in a celestial light, ready for their morning walk.

There you have it! My life, shapshotted.