The van is getting ready to leave and leave the damn trailer in my yard.
Mr. Hawthorne is yelling out the back window to our good neighbor Bob who goes running out to stop the offenders.
The van backed up and they reattached the trailer to it.
Dixie is happy. She thinks she's done her job well.
Mr. Hawthorne finally supported me tonight and came outside and told this fellow he COULD NOT leave the trailer in our yard. The trailer was moved.
Mr. Hawthorne found this flank steak on sale at our regular groshery shtore the other day. He brought it to room temperature and added salt and pepper. Then he heated up olive oil in a cast iron pan and cooked it 3 minutes each side, with a top on, cracked, to allow steam to escape. At the end, he took the steak out and let it set, turned off the heat, and added red wine to the pan to deglaze.
Here's the finished dish. It was tender, rare, and delicious.
Kudos to Mr. Hawthorne.
Previously, I had started Amy Finley's (The Gourmet Next Door) cracked potatoes from her first episode.
Now, I've cooked potatoes every which way and I will certainly cook them this way again. And again. And again.
I used 6 or 7 cloves of garlic and cooked the potatoes longer than Amy did to get them nice and crisp, turning them often.
WARNING: When getting ready to smash your potatoes with a rolling pin or whatever you have, be sure to check your potatoes for rotten ones. I smashed one potato and it squished everywhere all over the kitchen. I'm still wiping up taters from an hour ago. And rotten taters don't smell real good.
This is what my parking lot looked like this morning. Again, they're blocking my lot so Ed and his boys can't get in. Notice the placement of the porta-potty. It's sitting right on the property line. At least the door opens on the street side. Thank God for small favors.
Geeze boys. Don't be bashful. Just back right up INto my rose bed.
I really didn't care for those roses that much anyway.
Tomorrow is trash pick up day. The garbage truck won't even be able to come INto the cul-de-sac. I have over a week's worth of trash overflowing from my garbage can. Maybe I'll just take the cans out to the middle of the road and leave them there.
Even Ed said something to Frank (owner/builder) this morning since he was blocked out from his work site. Funny, but Ed wasn't called an effin' bitch nor did he have anybody flip him the bird. But then Ed's over 6 feet tall and it's been my experience that guys actually listen to other guys and generally dismiss whatever women have to say and consider them to be bitches just because they dared to ask them not to block their driveway or park in their yard. I can be so freaking unreasonable at times.
Ed's boys were busy working on the steps today. And dem's erster shells down there. We eat lots of ersters.
I turned to food to comfort me in my distress over the parking situation. Just a little salad on the right with that tomato/onion/cucumber dice I made the other day with some homemade croutons from the leftover breakfast bagel with a homemade vin-e-gar-ette.
On the left is a salad composed of red kidney beans, green beans (hairy coats?), snow peas, black olives, red onions, sliced green onions (I used the oniony part too. I didn't throw it away like Sandy.), crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, and Italian dressing.
See that white truck ? The one on the right with the trailer, not the one in the driveway. Well, guess what? That's MY YARD it's parked in! And it's inside the fence I put up when I found out they were getting ready to build. The truck behind it is blocking any access to my lot where Ed needs to park and where my children all park. Did I mention that I'm not liking my new neighbor at all? Not to mention that this is one of the messiest construction sites I've ever seen. The owner/builder was on site, so I went over there and politely asked him to have the damn truck moved. Do I need to get police tape and tape off my yard? You would think as many times I've had to go over there to ask them to move their freakin' vehicles, that SOMEBODY would GET.A.CLUE. Asshats.
HRRRRMPH! Supposedly, I'm supposed to like this better.
Oh my. This is just precious. They've set up camp right at the end of my drive way. And on MY easement. That's the easement I paid for. Crap. Can't really do anything about that. Doncha jest hate it when that happens?
Oh crap. Why don't you just pull INto my driveway and let me make you all burritos and tacos for lunch! While you loll on my front yard. All of you. FRANK! I'm looking at YOU!
I decided to try and clean out some of the meat in the downstairs freezer. I found pork loins. I put them in my new Microwave/Convection Combo Oven and figured out how to "Custom Defrost." The meat was still slightly frozen when I was done. Perfect for thin slicing. Which I did.
Here's my mise en place. I have thinly sliced pork in the pink bowl, marinating in minced garlic and ginger root, along with some soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, tamari high octane soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
Then I coarsed chopped onions.
I found the Jasmati Rice yesterday at my irregular groshery shtore.
Let's not forget the shrooms- sliced portabellas.
Then I rolled/cut carrots.
The pepper is from out of my garden.
The green beens are from Food Lion, my regular groshery shtore.
I poured Jasmati Rice, an American Long Grain, INto the salted and buttered water. I cooked it for about 20 minutes, covered, adding water to it, then some more buttah.
Littlest Hawthorne said this was the best rice he'd ever had.
Here's the finished rice.
It was very good. And, like I said, Littlest Hawthorne loved it.
Here's everything ready to go INto my wok.
I started with the Portabello mushrooms. Do not salt them. That will bring out the water and will steam them. Just saute. You can add salt at the end.
Next, I lightly sauted my onions and peppers.
Here, I've already sauted the carrots and green beans together, since they cook basically the same amount of time. Now, I'm actually pouring water into the wok. You can see the cup at the top left. This causes the veggies to steam and finishes cooking them a bit quicker. Just a little trick I learned from watching the cooks in the kitchen at China King.
My pork is nicely browning. I threw in some more sliced garlic and ginger to flavor my oil. It took about 4 separate batches to cook the pork. You never want to dump it all in at once. It lowers the temperature too much and doesn't get the meat nice and brown and seared.
Now, I've added everything back to the wok to heat up.
Here's some cornstarch on the left and beef stock on the right which Imonna mix together. Now, what did Sandy say was the difference between stock and broth again? One just has the bones and the other has the whole cow? Which is which? Clearly, I'm not the smartest thing on the block.
Lastly, I'm pouring the cornstarch/stock mixture INto my wok to make a nice thick, rich, and delishush shauce.
Can't you just see the flavor?
Here are the final plated dishes. This was a lovely meal, enjoyed by all.
Ed was back on the job bright and early this morning. He's finally finishing up the deck. He's gone from the west side to the south side with the decking. Here he is with a saw, cutting off the odd edges on the south side. He would never leave that to his two helpers. Actually, throughout this whole reconstruction, Ed's done everything by himself. He just called in some underlings to help him put in this deck for the past two days. He measured and cut, then had them place and screw.
OK, Spoonie. This one's for you.
Here's Ed with his blower, blowing stuff off my brand new deck.
I found this close up of my "Semi-Indian" dinner from the other night. I just thought the food looked very pretty and appetizing. Now, I told Mr. Hawthorne to remove the condoms from the sausages before he sauted them, but he didn't. And guess what. I finally found my turmeric. It was in the drawer beneath my spice drawer. I knew I had seen it. Just couldn't remember where. I didn't keep it in my spice drawer because I only put stuff in there that I use all the time.
I believe this might be Grandfather Mountain. We were driving through Boone and Mr. Hawthorne wouldn't stop for me to shoot pictures, so all these pictures were taken from a moving car. Boone is farther north of where we were on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so the trees are even prettier here, colorwise.
We were driving through this town and we saw some type of building on top of the mountain. I would love to know what the building is.
I thought I'd show you the menu from the Indian restaurant we went to. Like I said, looking at the food, I had no idea what anything was. Every now and then, I could make out a potato, a cabbage, a pea. But that was it. And I'd go back in a heart beat.
I did recognize the breads. However, I'm confused. I saw Sandra's salute to India and these people must be making their nan wrong. Just saying. Maybe I'll mention that next time I go.
I think I might have had the keema nan and the aloo paratha. One just can't be too sure about these things.
I noticed chick peas in something I ate, so I might have had the aloo channa masala.
I saw green peas and potatoes, so that might have been the aloo mutter.
Something else I had that was really good was a spinach concoction. Looked bad. Tasted good. That may have been the aloo palak.
There was chicken on the menu, but it wasn't boneless. I may have had some lamb. I think I would have known if I had eaten any goat. Goat is rather ... pungent ... shall we say. I'm still airing out the 2 goat hides that youngest Hawthornes brought home from one of their hunting trips 2 years ago. They're in my car port and my car port has a very distinctive odor.
I did have rice. I recognized rice. And it was good. I tried to find Basmati rice at Food Lion, but noooo. Will try out Harris Teeter. They should have it.
They did offer the mint chutney, the mango chutney, and raita. Again, their raita was nothing like Sandy's, so I might bring that to their attention also.
Like I said, I've never eaten Indian before, but I will be trying some of these recipes at home. I need to find where I hid my turmeric (during the kitchen move) and I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and buy the cardamom pods. Hopefully, Harris Teeter will have them. Else, I'll have to find them online.
I know, Lane, that you like pictures of Dixie, so ... HERE SHE IS:
Dixie has found the sheep skin Mr. H. and I bought near Bat Cave, NC. She loves it. Mr. H. doesn't want her sleeping on it. He can be such a bitch. She knows she can be on it when Mama's here.
Hee. Dixie thinks nobody can see her.
There was an apple cider place in Bat Cave, NC, where we stopped on our little jaunt. A country store, if you will. They sold all sorts of stuff. Jellies, jams, preserves, honeys. I found a sourwood honey. AND IT WASN'T ANYTHING CLOSE TO SOURWOOD. Mr. H. and I brought one of his jars of sourwood honey along with us to take to our daughter. We saw this jar in the store and had to buy it to check it out. We did a taste test with new jar and Mr. H.'s jar. No comparison. No way this new stuff was sourwood. Buyer Beware! Caveat emptor.
On our trip back to the Outer Banks, Mr. H and I stopped to visit our daughter in Raleigh, NC. We decided to try an Indian restaurant for lunch. Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne had never eaten true Indian before (or even FAUX Indian). We found an Indian restaurant, not far from our daughter's apartment, thanks to the GPS Garmin Street Pilot thingie that's come in so handy for us over the past week.
When we walked into the restaurant, there was a very strong smell ... of spices, I hope. We asked for tea to drink. I always ask for extra lemon. I squeezed my lemons and took a big gulp ... and it was CLOVE TEA. OK. I'll get used to it. Actually, not that bad. Just different.
Lo and behold, the place is a buffet. We talked to the proprietor and he told us everyday was different food. Now, as I've said before, I generally hate buffets and cafeterias, although I've had really, really good food at both a cafeteria and a buffet (China) on this trip. My problem with these eateries is Mr. Hawthorne. He's been known to knock over small children and old women with walkers to get to the buffet. Did you ever see the Seinfeld episode when George Costanza was at a birthday party and the fire alarm went off and all HELL broke loose? If so, then you know what I'm talking about.
Anyways, we went up to the buffet, looked at it, and had NO FREAKING IDEA what anything was. Mr. H. turned to the guy behind us and asked him about it. He told us he ate here all the time and that "Sure, it looks bad, but it tastes really good." Which reminds me of a joke I won't even go to.
Anyhoo, the three of us went back for seconds and thirds. Delicious.
So, tonight, in honor of India Mahal Restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, whose menu boasts at the top of the first page, front and center: "WE TRUST IN GOD," I offer you my Semi-Ho'd, bastardized version of my Indian meal.
Here's what I did:
I found one of my Auntie Beth's Time/Life books of Foods of the World - The Cooking of India.
I found a recipe for Alu Mattar, which is curried potatoes and peas. And I noticed something: a lot of recipes are called "curried" but don't have any curry in them at all, so I think "curried" refers to a combination of spices.
This particular recipe called to heat ghee, which is clarified butter, but I didn't do that. I just used regular butter. Time frame, here. Then I stirred in finely chopped ginger root and finely chopped garlic. Then I added 1/2 cup finely chopped onions. And sauted the whole kaboodle.
In another pan, I sauted slices of hot Italian sausage. The recipe didn't actually call for Italian sausages, but I wanted to clean some stuff out of my freezer.
To the onion mixture, I added cumin seeds, chopped hot red peppers, chopped tomatoes, and coriander. The recipe called for turmeric also, and I know it's here somewhere , but I just couldn't find it.
The recipe did not call for chopped cabbage either, but I like cabbage with sausage, so I added the cabbage in. And added the Italian sausage slices from the other pan. Like I said, I'm Sandy-Slumming and Semi-Ho-ing. Sauted a bit more, then added peeled, chopped potatoes, and two cups of water to simmer. At the very end, I added in about a cup of FROZEN PEAS. DO NOT USE CANNED PEAS! Then pinches of cinnamon, ground cloves, salt and pepper.
I know the recipe calls for Garam Masala which is a combination of cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, whole cloves, whole cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds and whole black peppercorns, roasted, then ground up. But I can't rustle up Garam Masala.
Alas, I had no cardamom. Went to Food Lion today, and can I tell you cardamom is $12 for one little bottle? And it's ground. Not whole. No pod there. I'll ask for cardamom for Christmas.
Anyhoways, my Semi-Ho'd version was DEE-lish!!
Here's the picture:
At the very end, I added some de-veined and de-seeded red jalopenos and some cilantro from my garden. This was delicious.
In the meantime, Mr. Hawthorne was cooking a Cornish Hen in the Convection/Microwave oven, which we've never used for convection before since we don't know how.
I seasoned the bird, then we put it in the convection oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The oven immediately adjusted the temp and time to 325 degrees for 25 minutes.
Well, after numerous re-adjustments, here's the final bird:
I forgot to tell you I stuffed the hen with garlic and onions, then oiled it with smoked peanut oil, then seasoned it with curry powder, ginger, coriander, and cumin.
I also made this dish to cleanse the palate:
This is a lovely light combination of diced Roma tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Didn't I do a neat chop? I learned my mad chopping skilz from Aunt Sandy. NOT! I added chopped parsley, scallions, and basil, salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, some rice wine vinegar, and some lime juice.
You could add this as an extra little something to a regular lettuce salad and it would be very tasty. Some homemade croutons? Some homemade vin-e-gar-ette? Heaven. Just Heaven.
Back in March, 1993, I went downstairs to the log pile to get some more logs to log ONto the fireplace. The pile shifted and downloaded Onto my left foot. The next morning, my foot looked like a plum dropped from 2 stories. I went to the ER. I was hurting. They x-rayed my foot. And behold. I have a sewing needle in my toe. A broken needle. I impressed the doctors and nurses with that. It even sets off my son's metal detector. Check it out folks.
(Note to Ticky: You inspired me to go find my own x-ray. Hope pinkie is mending properly.)
I forgot to do a "before" picture of the deck, but you can see it here. Mr. H. put my butcher block outside so he could sand it down and put polyurethane on the sides.
The deck is 20 years old, warped, weathered, splintering, and ugly.
First, Ed pulled up all the old decking.
Here, Ed's started on the decking.
If you notice, you can see that Ed's put reinforcement joists in between the old ones for extra support and to get rid of any "bounce."
He's almost finished with the west side of the house.
Anybody want to take a guess as to what kind of tree that is straight ahead?
Ed has removed the decking from the south side. If you look to the left, you can see what's left of my steps. Ed said when he removed the railings, the steps just collapsed.
South side of the house. I'm liking this because I'm getting more deck - about 2 more feet worth. Ed's put in new joists that extend past the old pilings.
My Mister Lincoln rose is blooming below the joists.
This is the south side. Ed will probably finish up by tomorrow. It's sloooow work. He says the boards weigh at least 50 pounds each. Then he has to angle and cut them, then drill a hole for the screw, then drill the screw in.
Aren't my roses pretty?
Ewwwwwww. This is what happens when you leave town and don't take care of your pool. It's a pretty color though.
Here's a closer-up of the tree. Any guesses?
I bought it when it was about 3 inches tall and quite spindley, maybe 21 years ago. I actually thought, at the time, that it was a bush. I was wrong. It's about 35-40 feet tall now.
And it's a bay tree. As in bay leaves ... for cooking ... that is, if you subscribe to that sort of monkey business.