Post #408 Random Thoughts and Dinner Plans

August 31, 2015 at 9:18 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Man, what a crazy mixed up weekend.  For whatever reason, the bank put a security hold on our debit card and it took a long phone call while at a store trying to pay for stuff to get it removed.  The oddest part was it held up some transactions but not others.  Unfortunately, one of the transactions it held up was purchasing a new laptop for me, but that wasn’t readily apparent until last night.  Oh, well, heavy sigh.  It’s all fixed now and we’re going to pick it up this afternoon.

But in the midst of everything going on, I managed to accomplish one thing that I liked and planted some Autumn flowers in the yard so there’s some spots of color.  Soon, I’ll be cutting down and digging out the evergreen bushes that look sad and sickly.  Next Spring, we’ll be putting in various colors of azaleas and some jasmine plants in big pots.

In one of my recent posts, I talked about “free food”, resprouting various vegetables in water to harvest them over and over.  The two that I talked about were spring onions and romaine lettuce.  I put two cut spring onion bunches in water over a month ago, and we’re still enjoying the sprouts coming off them.  However, I have notices the roots are starting to look a little funky so this next harvest (tonight as a matter of fact) will be the last and I’ll start with new bunches in a few days.  But it’s a wonderful idea and I’m glad to report it’s much more successful than I first thought it was going to be.  Romaine lettuce, though, was a big disappointment.  The first cut root I put in water rotted quickly and was tossed quickly.  I’m not sure why that happened except possibly the water container was too large.  The second root I put in a small container and this one was successful.  I did note that the water needed to be changed every few days to avoid spoilage.  But the leaves sprouted on time and kept on growing.  The only difficulty was they grew incredibly SLOWLY!  After three weeks, there were a bunch of leave less than an inch high.  You can conceivable regrow lettuce like this, but not if you want salad more than once or twice a year.  We eat a lot of salad so this likely won’t be one of my kitchen projects going forward.

Tomatoes.  There really isn’t a whole lot better than those round red globes of goodness.  I’ve learned a little bit about tomatoes over that last couple of weeks.  Most important, never ever put tomatoes in the fridge.  Cold and tomatoes just don’t work well together.  First, the only way for a tomato to get ripe is leave it at room temp.  If a tomato has been hit by a frost, it will never ripen beyond what it is at that moment no matter how long you wait for it.  To get the most effective ripeness from your tomato don’t start with a fully green tomato.  Leave the green ones on the vine.  When they’ve started to turn red, you can pick them and put them on the counter to finish ripening.  Don’t stack them because bruising causes spoilage.  They are fully ripe when the skin around the blossom end starts to wrinkle just a bit.  A tomato that appears “over ripe” is at its best for making soup or sauces.  Most sauce recipes say to remove the seeds and juice, but that’s the part I like best so I leave them in.  Hasn’t hurt me or any sauce I’ve made.  Tomatoes that are stored in the fridge will degrade quickly into a mealy, slimy mess that is completely unpalatable.  If you want chilled tomatoes, put them in the fridge for an hour or two before using.

Watermelon is one of the best fruits around.  It’s so versatile and you can do an amazing number of things with it.  I ran into a trick last week I’d never heard of.  I was in the grocery store and the woman in front of me had three large watermelons.  I asked her what she was going to do with so much and she said she crushed it down, put it in zip lock bags and froze it.  Then, when she made lemonade, she’d take a baggie out of the freezer, break it up into chunks and put it in the lemonade to chill it and give it extra flavor.  She said she also used ice cube trays for cubes to go into glasses.  I’ve frozen grapes before, but never thought of freezing watermelon.  Sounds like a good idea.

Dinner tonight is going to be a fast and easy meal, but it’s going to be so good!  Weekends are grocery shopping days for us, and typically we go every two weeks.  This past weekend, though, we ran into so many deals that it’s likely we won’t go again for about three weeks.  We found a deal on pork chops that one package is going to feed the two of us for four meals.  So I left on part of it out to grill up today.  However, yesterday, Partner/Spouse wanted to have pasta.  We bought stuff to make a nice pasta and vegetable meal, but then didn’t make it because we ate a large and late lunch.  So today, I’m going to grill the pork chops.  When they’re done, they’re going into a warm oven to stay warm while I fix the pasta.  We got some rigatoni, it’s a kind of large round hollow tube cut into bite sized pieces.

rigati

While the rigatoni is cooking, I am going to warm up some olive oil and infuse it with garlic.  When that’s ready, I’m going to sauté some onion and asparagus tips.  At the end, I’m going to chop a perfectly ripe tomato I’ve got waiting just for this and toss it into the warm oil.  When the pasta is done, I’m going to put it in the oil and mix it around.  Just before I serve it with the pork chops, I’m going to chop the last of the spring onions and toss it in to just barely wilt it.  Parmesan on the side, of course, though I doubt it’ll be necessary.  So grilled pork chops, and a hot pasta salad.  Doesn’t get much better.

Enjoy

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