Frog-Leg-Free Zone

I would have missed this little fellow, but Buck’s sharp eyes spotted him. No frog legs for dinner around here. I sent Buck for take-out lasagna from a little neighborhood bistro called Petrellas. The tomato sauce was a little raw, the filling heavy, with an unpleasant congealed texture, and the seasonings more north Florida than south Italy, but the folks are nice, and I didn’t have to lift a finger, only a fork. It’s just one supper, and I was glad to get it.

Menus for a Tropical Storm

Even if we lose power, which I doubt, we have a generator the size of a small truck which keeps the important things, like the bar ice maker, the air-conditioning, the refrigerator/freezer and the pool pump running.  The cook-top is gas, so we’re good to go in a power outage.  We’re too far in the boonies to be on the public gas line, but we have a 620 gallon propane tank buried out in the back yard. It feeds gas to the kitchen cook-top, a swimming pool heater and a couple of fireplaces. In this sweltering weather, we’re not bloody likely to need a whole lot of propane.

Looking over what I bought, it looks more like cold weather food, certainly not the summer staples of shellfish and grilled fish that I usually gravitate toward. Here’s what we’re going to eat this week:

1. Slow Cooked Italian Pot Roast (done in a Dutch oven with at least 16 garlic cloves — more if my fingers don’t give out with peeling them), red wine and fresh basil. Accompaniments include oven-roasted carrots, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.  This dinner is for a birthday celebration for a 13-year old granddaughter and the bunch of kids coming likes green beans, but the only ones I saw in the store were sad-looking mushy bundles covered in age spots. Yech. The pot roast is a house favorite. I am hoping for some leftovers.

2. Smoked pork chops, collard greens (cooked with a smoked turkey leg), squash casserole, turnip roots, corn bread and sliced tomatoes.

3.  Salmon patties, butter and egg corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, plus leftover squash casserole if there is any.

4. Basic spaghetti sauce (Publix had a BOGO on Newman’s pasta sauces, so I got one of Tomato and Basil and one of Sockarooni). I’ll brown a small package of ground sirloin to mix in with the sauce and add some snipped herbs. We’ll eat it with a big salad of Spring greens, feta cheese, scallions, Kalamata olives, Pepperoccini peppers and tomato chunks tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano.

5.  Lunch stuff — I restocked the pantry with black and garbanzo beans, small cans of white shoe-peg corn and Edamame beans for the fridge. Mixed together with some red onion and herbs, they make a great have-on-hand lunch. Also, there’s a few more Cuban sandwiches to enjoy.

That’ll get us over the hump ’til the flood waters recede, the rainbow comes out, and we can make it into town for some fresh shrimp and crab claws.

Now that I know we’re not going to starve, maybe I can whittle away a few chapters of Another Shoe to Drop.

Wednesday Supper: Meatballs from the Freezer

Remember those meatballs I rescued from Christmas Eve and put into the freezer? They came in handy this evening. We had a nice lunch out with a good friend at Hall’s Seafood (great fried oysters) and wanted something simple and easy for supper.

Meatballs 002-1


Sliced English cucumber with Ranch dressing dip
Garlic Parsley Meatballs in Marinara Sauce on Linguini
Slice of garlic bread
Glass of house red

This has been an uninspired week from a culinary perspective. “Everyday Suppers” kind of implies that, and it’s certain lived up to the billing.

Tomorrow afternoon I am making a “field trip” to T & C Trading, an Asian market which I understand has terrific ingredients. So maybe I’ll have something with a little more dash to it on the table tomorrow night.


No Turkeys Thanksgiving

Our adult kids have a problem. All their parents, in-laws and ex-laws live in the same town and expect them to show up to eat turkey sometime on Thanksgiving Day. Except us! We figured out some years ago that (a) piling little kids in and out of a car all day to go visit various relatives is no fun (b) most of them don’t like turkey (c) cooks get annoyed when their hard work is greeted lukewarmly or worse and (d) the last house visted by these circuit riders gets tired children throwing fits and adults already aggravated by heartwarming family visits with the other relatives.

Our solution? Invite everyone to come over the weekend after Thanksgiving (or the one before), in the evening, when we can sit outside by candlelight, drink a little wine, and let the little kids watch videos while the adults share a few moments of genuine conversation. Smooth our fur from the Holiday.

Last year, we sent out an Evite invitation that said “We hope you can join us for a celebration to honor the Italian pilgrims. No turkeys, just some antipasti and something hot with red sauce and garlic bread.”  We called it our “maybe we were Italian in a past life” Thanksgiving.

It was so much fun, we’re going to repeat the same thing this year.