When You Are My Crème de la Crème

We are making some sort of frozen lemonade cool whip cream cheese sweet condensed milk fresh strawberry something pie to freeze for tomorrow.

So…

I babysit the grand baby.

You make a grocery run f or the creamed cheese.

Just now I open the fridge and four packs of cream cheese almost fall out.

Me:  Whoa!  What’s this?  Four packs of cream cheese?

You:  Two for the price of one.

Me: (after observing the packs and noticing you’d bought different types of cream cheese)  Perfect.

You:  How many did you say you needed for the pies?

Me: (I needed one)  Oh this will do for sure.

You:  (smile and settle into your easy chair)

What’s not to love about you?

Ellespeth

I Should Have Been A Country Song Writer

I spend a great deal of my time rooted in imaginings of past present moments. When I decide to put my work up on WordPress, I search the web for images that say something – I think anyway 😛 – about the poem/sometimes story.

Sometimes, I do flash fiction here on WordPress. Look at a photograph and write something about it in 100 words or less. I don’t do very well with those. I actually have a love/hate relationship with those.  Like doing a book report.

Then sometimes, like today, I walk by our kitchen table and see these tulips y,ou gave me yesterday, so beautifully wilted.  The present moment.  I take this picture thinking I could and will write a million words about these tulips one day. But they won’t be about tulips.

I’m making a healthy version of smothered round steak with onions and some kind of fancy frozen West Coast mushrooms that are way cheap frozen, and all the lettuce we didn’t use last week  – yum. What can I say? I’m a transplanted Southerner living in Silicon Valley. It’s Easter Sunday. Lent is OVER. Pig out marginally.

I should have been a country song writer. Those are really wonderful stories.

 

Daddy’s Soup – On Father’s Day

Sometimes, when I think about my father, I think about parachutes and wars and all sorts of global and personal battles.

Sometimes, though, I think of his cooking and his phone calls:

Daddy: I’m making meatballs and sketties this Sunday.

Me: We’ll be there.

His meatballs were really mini Italian meat loaves, so who could ever miss such an opportunity?

or

Daddy: I’m making beef barley soup this week-end.

Me: We’ll be there.

The soup was always winter. Nobody simmers a beef barley soup for hours, in New Orleans, during summer. His soup was always so rich and filling. French bread on the side. A salad.  All that pyramid stuff.

I never asked my dad for his soup recipe. So, over the years, I’ve developed my own. Only thing I added was mushrooms – cuz I like them and they are cheaper now than when he was making this soup.

Today,  in honor of my dad,  we made beef/barley/mushroom soup. We listened to Janis Joplin and I smiled at Bobby McGee. My dad loved that song. His nickname – until he died at 80 – was Bobby.

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Homemade Veggie Broth

Save all your veggie scraps. Put them in baggies or other freezer containers.
We even freeze unused lettuces. Put them all in your freezer. When you have time, simmer them for a couple hours with seasonings you like. No salt. Sometimes I add a bag of frozen veggies. I over cover all the veggies with water – in a deep stock pot. I mean really over cover the veggies with water.   Many inches above the veggies. (Hint: if you keep the skins on the onions you freeze for broth, it gives a wonderful color to the broth)

Then just simmer away one day. Drain off the veggies and discard them. Let the broth cool on counter. Freeze half and put half in fridge for the soup. It would be about 10 cups that you’d save for the soup. Other broth, freeze in containers for rice pilaf or other cooking liquid.

The Soup

1.5 pounds  stew meat – take as much fat off as possible and cut the beef pieces to about an inch each

2 small onions – chopped

5 carrots – chopped rough

Some chopped garlic

1 lb sliced/chopped mushrooms or more (for this particular recipe I use 2 10oz bags of frozen mixed mushrooms)

Rosemary, cayenne pepper, sage to taste.

8 oz barley

quarter cup wild rice or brown rice

10 cups or so of veggie broth  (homemade or from the store – low sodium)

Method:

take as much fat off the meat as you can and cut into inch/half inch or so pieces. put that aside.

chop up your onions and carrots.

put some olive oil or whatever oil in a large pot. heat it up.

add your chopped onions and carrots. cook that down a few minutes – until soft and the onions are sorta clear.

add your meat and seasonings and cook that down until still red but sorta brown on the outside.

then add your broth – about 10 cups – and the mushrooms. Lots of mushrooms. Bring to a boil for 2 mins or so. Bring it way down to a slow simmer for 2 hours or longer if you can.  Stir now and then.  Taste for your preferred seasonings.  Not much salt yet.

Add your barley and rice. Cook 45 mins or so.  Stir often.  It may need more salt at this point but not much.  Add more broth if necessary.

Serve with a little bit of parm cheese sprinkled atop it.

Yum-yum Daddy-o 🙂  We made it tonite in your honor  

Ellespeth

The Missing Instructions – Diary Entry

 

We both have colds and sore throats and are otherwise not feeling well.  So we decided to have a frozen pizza tonight – one of those frozen things we keep on hand just in case.

It’s our first experience, either of us, with frozen pizza.  The instructions call for a  400 degree oven,  but it doesn’t say if we are to remove that piece of cardboard.  Himself left it on.  Oh geez 😦  We’ll see.

Hahaha!  I read my post to him before posting.  He re-read the instructions.  We still don’t know.

Ellespeth

Surely A Pregnant Sweet Potato

Happy Thanksgiving!

One benefit of my fall, and injury, and ever-ongoing recovery is sometimes having the grocery delivered. Since we are having a very small number of people over for a belated Saturday Thanksgiving meal, grocery delivery seemed the best option. I just couldn’t see walking through the grocery store this week and I couldn’t imagine asking you to go without me so, we ordered grocery.

I’m just a tad concerned about the sweet potatoes…the size of them. I have never seen a sweet potato this huge! If I may show you…

That’s a penny on top of one and a nickel in the front. These are mini odd-shaped pumpkins, right? We think one will feed the four of us. My concern is: I wonder if such a large size makes them tough in some way?

Ah well…if need be, I can just boil the hell out of them and mash them up because where I come from, of course, one must have sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ellespeth  

Rosebuds & Vases

davids-celadon-rosebud-vase

your rosebud vase

We have just had a week of condo improvement.  In other words,  a week from hell.  Junk man. (we purged our storage closet and junked a clunky desk) Vent cleaning man.  Carpet and floor tile/grout  cleaning/sealing man.  Good lordy!  We’ve sanded kitchen cabinets and bought/put up an antique mantle and wooden fire screen thing in our living room.  We have  these LED flickering candles atop the mantle.  Ambiance, right?

You brought home some lovely pieces you made at the pottery studio.  An unusually glazed one rosebud vase (see photo, brag, brag)and two medium planters.  The rule is that I get first dibs on your pottery pieces.  I chose the single rosebud vase.

We cooked a delicious chicken breast dinner with roasted sweet potato wedges and a salad.  Then we –  quite literally – collapsed.

Me:  I’m absolutely not doing anything tomorrow.

You:  Are you going to be writing?

Me:  No!  I’m going to be fucking my boyfriend.  (insert smirk and a giggle  here)

You:  (insert priceless expression here)

Me:   Can we have French Toast for breakfast?

Now Winter can come,  sometimes  shining through our spotless windows  🙂

Ellespeth

Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies & All – Journal Prose and Poem

breakfast-356148_640You’re a much more serious person than I am. I think you’d laugh if you knew I think this way because I seem so serious.

For instance, we decided to make chocolate chip cookies today. A first for us. We almost died to discover that we’d need 2 sticks of butter and so we converted the butter amount to canola oil…healthier fats… 😛

And we debated each batch – like we were aiming for a blue ribbon.

Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies & All

Sometimes
the cookie’s edge is crisp
and brittle
and breaks
when lightly touched
other times
it’s soft
and oozing chocolate
and nuts
melting together
like that summer day
when it seemed so cold
to us
outside.

Ellespeth

image via pixabay

Tuesday Night at Dinner – Fiction

Here is my submission for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  Thanks to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge.  Click the lil froggy for more stories.

This week’s photo prompt is provided by pixabay.com (free to use photos)

forest

Tuesday Night at Dinner

I’d spent an hour out in the woods picking mushrooms to smother down with the evening’s chicken and onions. The supper looked marvelous – all laid out on the table with Wally’s knives. The knives had old cracked ivory handles. The taters were mashed to perfection. I was drinking cheap Spanish champagne. Wally was drinking Two Buck Chuck wine.

“Hazel! Look out there!” Wally exclaimed.

“Look at what, Sweetie Pie?” I asked.

“Who’s gone and decorated our god danged palm trees with lights the color of Mardi Gras?” Wally rushed to the window and pulled back a delicate lace panel. “Look at that Hazel!”

I still don’t know what got into Wally that night. I’d cleaned off the mushrooms.

Ellespeth 😛

A Cajun Cooks Italian – Bolognese Sauce With Noodles

Happy Sunday! Let’s not do anything important. Let’s simmer supper six hours and relax.

I’m always searching for recipes I can alter to suit our tastes and budget. The other day I ran across a Bolognese recipe that sounded delicious. I’ve never had Bolognese sauce. I read a bunch of recipes and concocted this one.  And you took a photograph 🙂

We use salt sparingly so I had to accommodate that. I also tried to lower the fat content. One sauce was supposed to be pureed. Hahaha. No way … soooo…this is what I’ve come up with. We just did a taste test – added just a pinch of salt – and it’s luscious! This will make tonight’s meal plus – looks like – 2 or 3 frozen meals (for two people). Writer’s love their freezers!

Bolognese Sauce With Noodles

Spices – Phase 1

3 or 4 shakes of ground cloves (one recipe called for whole cloves)
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1½ tsp. cayenne (one recipe called for red pepper flakes)
a shake of black pepper

Sauce – Phase 2

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 oz. chicken livers, rinsed, finely chopped
½ large onion, finely chopped
½ small bunch thyme (rinse and squeeze this dry – don’t chop it and remove it when cooking is done
1 habanero pepper chopped extremely fine (these are way hot and very tiny teeny orange peppers to be used and chopped carefully – the recipe called for ¼ cup sweet Peppadew peppers which I’ve never heard of) I guess any nice pepper your family likes would do – or none)
about 10 button mushrooms chopped (this I added to other recipes I read – good source of potassium)
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes – no salt added
1 small can tomato paste – no salt added (I added this midway through to thicken the sauce)
½ cup red wine – use some to rinse out the tomato paste can
1¼ lb. very lean ground beef – we used 93% fat-free (recipe called for ground chuck 20% fat)
1 lb. ground pork – we used 95% fat-free
1½ cups no fat half and half – recipe called for whole milk
About a tablespoon of Italian seasonings

Makes lots of sauce.

I’m serving this over wide egg noodles – Parmesan cheese on the side. Also a mixed green salad tossed with no-fat feta cheese, olive oil and vinegar.

Process:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees

Put the spices in a small pan. Stir, on the stove over a low heat, until you can smell it’s wonderfulness. Take the pan off the stove and set aside.

In a 5 quart oven proof pan heat the olive and add your chicken livers and brown those until browned. (you won’t taste the liver in the sauce because it’s such a tiny bit, I just tasted it) Turn down your fire. Then, add onion and mushrooms and the habanero pepper. Cook all that down until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes.

Add the spice mixture.  Add the tomato ingredients, the red wine, beef, and pork. Mix all that until well blended. Add the half and half or milk. Mix again. Add Italian seasonings and mix gently. Cover your pot – loosely – with some foil and bake for 5-6 hours.

Serve over wide noodles with a salad.

Oh! I love Sunday cooking. Enjoy!

Ellespeth