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 Sparkpeople.com. 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.