Mr. Hawthorne and I headed out Saturday morning to visit our respective Mommies for Mother's Day-
he to Bassett, Va., and I to Danville, Va.
First, a slight hold-up at Alligator River Bridge. Oh, and here's an interesting little snippet about one captain's experience at this drawbridge. The thing I like about the Lindsay Warren Bridge crossing the Alligator River is watching the compass on my truck. When I'm heading due west, the compass goes to E and SE. When I'm heading due east, the compass goes to W and NW. And to all points in-between.
It's weird. I like to believe the mother ship is at the bottom of the river, messing with everybody's compasses.
on the bridge for several minutes, even though the swingbridge was closed.
So I don't know what was going on with that.
Maybe they were changing shifts or something,
another job that would bore me to tears.
Thankfully there were no sailboats coming through
since it's been my experience that they usually
open the bridge while the boat is still about 1/2 - 1 mile away
and you're stuck on a bridge for 20-30 minutes.
I do NOT like bridges
and I especially don't like being stuck on one.
We were behind this truck of fish carcasses, so naturally, I had to document it.
Mr. Hawthorne dropped me off at Mama Hawthorne's.
I gave her some flowers from my garden,
and Evilshenanigans blogger, Kelly's wonderful brownies, and we had a nice visit. Then I went over to Maxine's where I stay when in town and prepared our dinner. It's always a challenge working in someone else's kitchen. Even though I know my way around Maxine's kitchen, there are still obstacles. And every occasion where I need to get a present for Maxine, I always buy her something I need in her kitchen. I'm crappy that way. But, Dammit, Maxine, I'm getting you a decent sharpener for the knife I bought you for me last Christmas. (Hell, I thought I bought you the sharpener, too.) Scraping a good knife across a cement curb or bricks
to sharpen it is NOT acceptable, Maxine. Another problem I have in other people's kitchens, besides their equipment or lack thereof, is the ingredients. What, apparently, I consider staples, others don't. So, Saturday night, I was feeling a bit of the Iron Chef angst, as I looked into Maxine's rather bare refrigerator/freezer (She cooks for only herself.) and tried to come up with side dishes to accompany the $8.50/pound ocean scallops I brought, which is a pretty good deal for scallops.
Do I hear groans ?
Bitch is fixing scallops AGAIN?????
Yup, she is. Once more, I'll reiterate the difference
between wet and dry scallops. Never, ever, ever, ever buy "wet" scallops. If you live inland, always ask your fishmonger for "dry" scallops. If he doesn't know what you're talking about, turn around and walk away. Immediately. "Wet" scallops have been treated with a chemical to plump them up weight-wise, help them maintain their moisture, and keep a longer shelf life. You can spot them immediately by just looking. Wet scallops will be in a milky type liquid. And you'll be paying for extra water weight. The solution with which they have been treated is STPP, or sodium tripolyphosphate, a preservative. You will never be able to properly sear or brown these scallops, no matter how hot your pan is. Plus, they'll taste like crap. The STPP can also give the scallops a rubbery flavor and mask the delicate, sweet flavor of the mollusk. "Dry" scallops are natural scallops, harvested directly from the ocean. Dry scallops will caramelize naturally during cooking and present an attractive golden brown color. Enough about the scallop lesson. Let's see what's in Maxine's fridge.
Well, by golly, she had an avocado. And she had grape tomatoes (which I prefer to cherry tomatoes). She had parsley in her garden, which I chopped and added, along with some onion
and some lemon zest. I really wanted some fresh lime juice, but Maxine only had lime concentrate. I added about 2 teaspoons of the concentrate and ended up with a very nice, light, avocado salad.
. Next, I was looking for another side dish. I found corn in Maxine's freezer.
And some bacon in her fridge. That's a start. I scissored some bacon and browned that, then added in some chopped onions.
Normally, at home, I would add in some heavy cream. Maxine, ever watching her cholesterol count, had no cream. The closest thing she had was soy milk and I wasn't going there.
I rinsed and dried my DRY scallops and seasoned them with freshly ground pepper, lemon zest, and hot Hungarian Paprika which a real Hungarian had personally prepared for Maxine.
In the meantime, Maxine had prepared a ginger/lemon grass rice. At the end of cooking time, she grated lemon zest over top.
Our dinner: seared scallops, ginger/lemon rice, bacon/corn/sour cream mixture, avocado/tomato salad.
I don't have to tell you how it tasted.
It was all good.
It's quite peaceful.