Friday, August 09, 2013

Cooking from scratch and Sparkpeople catch-up

Thanks to the garden produce right outside the door, we have been enjoying our meals tremendously.  So much so that I've had two opportunities this week while we were out and about to coerce Cliff into taking me out to eat, and what we had waiting at home was so good, I didn't want to eat anything else.  One day I mentioned Olive Garden to him, and he was willing to go.  Then I realized I had all the makings of Eggplant Parmesan at hand, and lost all interest in a twenty-five-mile trip to Blue Springs.  Another day I fixed stuffed peppers, and the day after that, fried green tomatoes.  
Here's the downside:  TONS of dirty dishes.  This cooking-from-the-garden really messes up the kitchen.  Making fried green tomatoes requires five separate dishes/pans:  one dish for milk, the next for flour, another for beaten eggs, and the final one for crushed cracker crumbs.  All that in order to get a nice coating that is still crispy an hour after the tomato slices are cooked.  Then they go into the cast iron skillet to fry.  Of course, in the process of moving the slices from one bowl to the next and so on, I splash milk and beaten egg on the counter and powder everything with random bits of flour and crumbs.   
Another mess maker:  Pickled beets.  I pull the beets from the garden, take them to an outside hydrant and wash them off after cutting the tops off (leaving two inches on the beets so all the color doesn't bleed out).  I get them as clean as possible, then put them in a large pan and boil for an hour or so (no matter how well you wash them, at this stage they smell like dirt cooking).  After letting the beets cool enough for me to handle them, I slip the skins off and place them in a container, dump the water I cooked them in, get a smaller, clean pan, and make the pickling liquid consisting of vinegar, water, sugar, and some spices.  Once it's boiling I slice the beets into that liquid, turning it red and splashing beet juice everywhere.    
Yeah, this old-fashioned cooking is messy, but it's worth it.

Somehow I forgot to enter two days' worth of meals on  It wouldn't be a big deal, but if I let that go on for long, I would soon be paying too little attention to what I eat and the lost pounds would reappear.  So with Cliff's help, I went over the meals for the past two days and entered all that stuff.  I found out my husband has a remarkable memory when it comes to the food he has eaten recently.  


Average Jane said...

I've been cooking a lot at home lately as well and it forces me to work a lot harder to keep the kitchen clean! I wish I had gotten a garden in, but I'm keeping stocked up at the farmer's market and with garden contributions from friends. Now you've reminded me that I need to make another mini batch of pickled beets.

Margaret said...

Pickled beets--YUM!! I wouldn't be a fan of the eggplant though. Fresh food is SO delicious. I need to eat more of it.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I know what you mean about the mess that home cooking makes. Sometimes I think it would be nicer to go out and eat, but I rarely ever do. Truth is I like what I make much better, except when it comes to some seafood and then I like a meal out. But that has to be a special occasion. I'm sure Cliff remembers what you fix so well because he enjoys your cooking. I've never really had eggplant, but I do love stuffed peppers. I think that sounds really good. I'm going to have to make some soon!

Lori said...

I agree -- fried green tomatoes, done right, can make for a messy kitchen, but so worth it. I love pickled beets. Haven't pickled any for a very long time though.