New Tricks

 

 

Sometimes when I’m talking food with folks, people ask why I’m willing to make the trek to Glendale, CA for fresh fish. I tell them “Fish King” is my go-to store for all foods fin. When I’ve taken food dorks with me to the shop, they’ve gotten it. Those folks never again question my loyalty.

 

 

Last Friday I headed to “Fish King” for something new-to-my-kitchen: oysters. I am a big fan of the humble bi-valve, be it raw or cooked. And while I’ve made Oyster Stew many, many times, I had never once shucked an oyster in my own home. So I watched videos and read tutorials. By the time I got to the monger on Friday, I was ready. Except for owning an oyster knife, that is. But I planned to go shopping for that after acquiring the oysters.

 

 

Anyhoo, as I watched the dude pick out a dozen beautiful oysters for my order at “Fish King,” I asked if he had a recommendation as to where I could get myself an oyster knife. He said, “What about here?” He then reached behind the counter and pulled out a knife and I said, “Yes!”

 

 

Then he asked if I’d ever shucked an oyster before. I told him about my prep work and he said that wasn’t good enough. He told me to come around the counter for a live demo. The dude showed me how easy the process can be then offered the freshly shucked oyster to me. “Breakfast of champions,” I said, then slurped the briny goodness down. I headed home with all my treasures and went about my day.

 

 

That night, I pulled out my kevlar glove and an old kitchen towel. Safety, y’all. I got  my cleaned oysters out of the fridge and unpacked my new oyster knife. Mister and I worked together to shuck the beauties and then we got them ready for serving. To ourselves. As you can see, we like our food to be pretty…

 

 

For the record, we used the Use Real Butter chick’s recipe and it was pretty danged yummy. As an oyster fan, I appreciated the change of pace. And the oysters really were beautiful. But I have to say that if given my druthers, I’d prefer to order raw oysters out (versus making them in). The work and the cost simply didn’t make it worth my while. But never say never, as I may very well slurp some oysters in my own home in the near future. So fresh! So yummy! And no designated driver required! Y’all do know cocktails were involved, right? Word.

Dough!

 

 

Yesterday was National Doughnut Day in America. And I admit – I had jaded thoughts about the whole thing. I mean, aren’t most National Fill-in-the-Blank Days all about marketing? Weren’t their origins based in raking in bucks?

 

Well I was wrong, friends. Mister sent me this link, which gives the sweet history of National Doughnut Day. Go ahead. Read it. I’ll wait for you. Just thinking about those Chicago-area women, volunteering their time and efforts to increase the morale of soldiers, well, it makes me smile.

 

So in the spirit of lovely history, yesterday I took myself on a little trip to Krispy Kreme. I thought I’d enjoy an Original Glazed and a coffee. Maybe I’d get a half dozen for home so that Mister wouldn’t miss out. When I arrived at the heavenly store, I saw a traffic cop directing the drive-thru customers around the bend. Then I saw about a hundred people in a line that swerved and snaked to the other side of the building and out of view. A single doughnut costs around $1. That line looked to me like it would take up at least 45 minutes of my life. I may be cheap, y’all, but I ain’t that cheap. So I steered my car away from the Krispy Kreme and toward home.

 

I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts. And I like the idea behind National Doughnut Day. But I’m not too keen on crowds, so going forward I think I’ll have to get my doughnut fix a day or so before (or after) June 5th. That’s okay. I’m content having experienced Doughnut Day in my heart.

Harvest

 

 

Mister and I are beginning to get some fresh tomatoes from the garden, and we couldn’t be happier.

 

The freshies are like crack, I tell ya! And we savor every little orb. There are larger tomatoes, too, but those aren’t yet ready. But we’ve got our eyes on them, and can hardly wait!

 

If you’re a fan of fresh tomatoes and aren’t growing your own, might I suggest a visit to a farmers market. Few pleasures in life equal that of the taste of fresh, home-grown tomatoes. And to think – it isn’t even summer yet! Woo-hoo!

Dear One-Time-Only Dinner Guest…

 

 

Dear One-Time-Only Dinner Guest,

 

I want to thank you for arriving so very early for the dinner party we recently threw. As you saw, we had our hands quite full during the time leading up to when you were expected. It was so good of you to distract us from all that we needed to do before the other guests arrived. Promptly. On time. Without you there, we might have been ready at the appointed hour! What a laugh, huh?

 

And thank you again for bringing your third cousin’s step-sister’s hairdresser’s Frito Pie Casserole to the dinner party. I know you were less than thrilled when I didn’t move the table settings around to make room for your dish. What with all the china and various wine glasses for the multiple courses we’d prepared, I simply failed to figure out how to fit your dish in with our menu. I thank you for understanding when I placed your casserole in the refrigerator. As I told you that night, having your third cousin’s step-sister’s hairdresser’s Frito Pie Casserole the day after the party would be a god-send for us. Especially since there were no leftovers. But I don’t have to tell you about that, as I recall you enjoying seconds of most every dish – wink, wink!

 

Thank you also for the large flower arrangement you brought. Again, I’m so sorry it didn’t fit on the dinner table. Honestly, it’s the grandest flowers we’ve ever received! It must surely be two feet wide and three feet high! Really – you shouldn’t have. And for the life of me, I don’t know how you managed to transport such an enormous arrangement. You get a gold star just for that. Oh! And per your request, the empty, clean vase will be on the front steps Saturday morning, for you to pick up and re-use.

 

I’d like to apologize for not having any of “your brand” of canned beer on hand. When we set the menu with wine pairings, I guess we just weren’t thinking clearly. I now know you don’t drink wine, as you mentioned it several times over the course of the evening. I hope you weren’t too put out, what with having to drink water all night, as we didn’t have anything else suitable.

 

By the time the dinner party was over, and you said you wanted to take your third cousin’s step-sister’s hairdresser’s Frito Pie Casserole home with you – as we hadn’t bothered to put it out – well, I was disappointed. I had hoped to try it the next day. But I understand. I do. I mean, bringing a hostess gift to someone who doesn’t move hell and high water to display / serve / wear / hang it is downright rude on the part of the recipient, right? Right? It was truly our failure – not accommodating you in planning our dinner party for 12 people. For that, I apologize.

 

Yes – I am terribly sorry you had a less-than-stellar evening the one time you were invited into our home. We have heard from all the other guests present that night and they seemed to have had a wonderful time. Unlike you, perhaps they simply aren’t remembering clearly.

 

Until our paths cross again, we send our warmest regards. And if I die having never tasted your third cousin’s step-sister’s hairdresser’s Frito Pie Casserole, well, it will surely be my loss.

 

Sincerely,

Mikki & Mister

 

Note: This is a work of fiction, and not about You. Unless of course it is.

Pizza on the Grill!

 

 

This was last week’s Sunday Supper, and we cooked it on the grill! For reals!

 

I think I’m gonna have to blog this, as it was far easier than I expected and way more delicious than I’d hoped. Until then, you’ll just have to enjoy the photo.

 

I have no idea what tonight’s Sunday Supper will be. We’ll just wing it. Mmm – wings…

The Remains of the Day

 

 

Last week’s Sunday Supper was Osso Buco (recipe link is here). And it was flippin’ awesome. In fact, it was so yummy that Mister and I were sucking the marrow out of those bones like nobody’s business.

 

I don’t remember a time before we instituted Sunday Supper as part of our lives. I know we haven’t always practiced the ritual, and that’s a shame. Because each Sunday when we make dinner, and then sit down to share the meal, it is so special and lovely. We talk together. We slow down together. We enjoy the food and the company. Honestly – I highly recommend it.

 

Tonight will be Duck Breast with a Cherry-Port Sauce. I’m looking forward to the food. More than anything, I’m looking forward to the evening.

Ready to Party?

 

 

It’s Cinco de Mayo, people. And for just about everybody and their cousins in my neck of the country, that means it’s time to party.

 

This particular “holiday” hasn’t grabbed me yet. I’m not terribly surprised, as I have no real history with it. Let’s face it – history alone is enough to push some of us to maintain traditions, even when certain days have no real meaning for us. Easter? For me that means eating ham. St. Patrick’s Day? For me that means eating corned beef and Irish soda bread.

 

Wait a minute. It would seem certain days only warrant circling on my calendar when food is involved. Hmm. So why isn’t Cinco de Mayo more important? I mean, I love Mexican food. Eat it all the time and…

 

Ah. That’s it. I don’t need a particular day to trigger my eating of Mexican food, as it’s consumed pretty regularly. Other foods – like ham and corned beef – are not so common for me. And frankly, I don’t need an excuse to drink beer. So no-thank-you, Corona. I’ll pass.

 

But hey – if you’re partying on this 5th of May, enjoy the heck out of yourself, will ya? And enjoy those chips and salsa. (Do yourself a favor and put out a bowl of sour cream next to that salsa. Great addition!) Maybe have a taco or two. (I’m partial to lingua or carnitas.) And maybe don’t drive drunk, um-kay? Some of us are rather keen on staying alive. I mean, we’ve got Armed Forces Day to celebrate in a couple of weeks, for cry-eye.

What a Way to Start the Day

 

 

The other morning I made breakfast for myself and sat down to eat. I had just gotten a couple of my fave magazines, so those were ready to be perused. I made myself comfortable and dug in.

 

First, I ate a fresh orange. It was so perfect, it was as if I had never eaten an orange before. I could hardly believe it.

 

Next, I took a bite of a fresh toasted torta. I had spread some new-to-me imported Italian butter over the hot bread and when I took a bite, I could taste the fat of the Italian cream and the perfect, La Brea bakery bread. I was smitten.

 

I then took a sip of coffee. I had brewed some New Orleans chicory coffee and swirled in some half and half. The flavor was sublime.

 

As I enjoyed what I had thought would be a run-of-the-mill breakfast, I realized I was experiencing a perfect start to my day. As I went about my duties the rest of the morning, right through the afternoon and into the evening, I held on to that lovely feeling. And it was lovely. I may not have a repeat of that morning’s meal, but I do hope to remember the feeling. And I definitely hope to carry that great vibe through my days, as much as I can.

 

I am still in awe.

Easter Sunday

 

 

Somewhere in the North Georgia Hills, about a jillion relatives are getting together for the annual Easter celebration. Assuming the weather is sweet, there will be a softball game and a gi-normous egg hunt. And no matter what the weather decides to be, there will be more good food than most decent folks can imagine. Mmm…

 

Anyhoo, here in SoCal, Mister and I will be thinking of the fam in Georgia. We won’t be eating nearly as much as if we were in the South. But we will kick back and enjoy the day. Maybe nosh a little too much. Probably enjoy the beautiful Spring weather.

 

Here’s hoping your day is lovely, no matter where you are.

Basil Burglar

 

 

Something’s been eating our basil. Not I. Not Mister. So what?

 

When you grow food, it takes not only time and energy, but also patience. And water. And expectations are set. You start imagining all the pesto you’re gonna make. And eat. And you think of caprese salad. And you get excited! Because, come on! It’s fresh food!

 

When something starts eating away at the food you’re growing, and therefore eating away at your food dreams, it’s annoying. Sometimes even depressing.

 

I told Mister that if the basil plants are keeping the unknown culprits away from our tomato plants, we should at least be grateful for that. And he agreed. To an extent.

 

I think Mister’s plans for that basil are far dreamier than mine.