Quarantine Things + A Quarter & A Carrot

  1. According to Imperfect Foods a “conventional carrot” is roughly the size of three quarters round, and equally lengthy as a 12 oz squeeze of honey. Bonus size veggies make me happy to help reduce food waste.
  2. When it comes to HBlu’s cuddle customs– one of us is usually more comfortable than the other. However, Sir Harley of Perpetual Surprise has the most gorgeous saucer greens, so I indulge him.
  3. Fu played “Whatev” for 30 points. Words with Friends seriously isn’t Scrabble.
  4. Oddly, COVID-19 spurred the musical creatives of social media to happily offer personal glimpses, unlimited private room shows and surprising collaboratives.
  5. Food folly. My ugly attempt at Bibimbap was tasty. Trying to pronounce the dish left me amusingly Hanson ear-wormed for two days.
  6. Sweet Un-Success. Picture perfect S’mores cups were absolutely faulty and certainly not the recipe’s. Self-rising flour isn’t fab for cookies. Or Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars, either. Texture/Taste: 2 out of 10. Only because you can’t really ruin a marshmallow.
  7. My bulbs bloomed without my help. I did that which I despise: gardened. Over-grown Hostas are split and scattered. Hopefully, they’ll overtake every open space and everything weedy.
  8. There’ve been a plethora of Porch Patrons. A COVID-19 drop and run Wendy’s Frosty from a friend. A new orange suspected stray friend for Blu. I tried to make him stick around by feeding a bit each evening. Then, one Sunday morning around 10:30 AM in broad daylight…. Harley Blu, bless his heart, thought the black and white fellow was another ‘friend.’ For which I am tremendously thankful.
  9. Having a “Let me try and explain this” attitude which other people analogically completely nailed better and with 100% more humor than I would have, since I don’t find the No-Mask morons humorous, at all.
  10. Finally, 16 weekend hours of multiple Acrylic-Pour art fails – last minute salvaged into squared quarter-sized 3/4” mini Rorschach masterpieces with a punch and a skewed eye.

Quote for the Week:

I didn’t have any of that, so… Tzimmes

I made a beautiful tzimmes on Saturday.

Not traditional; although, traditional depends on personal experience.

This is important because the recipe I sort of followed garnered an obnoxious commentary on the blogger’s use of the word ‘traditional.’ “This isn’t a traditional recipe,” the troll wrote, before remarking it wasn’t worth trying.

Consider mine a non-traditional, necessity-adaptive Corona Virus edition influenced by market avoidance.

A generation or two from now, we’ll be able to pass down 20/20 2020 wisdom in the form of a common-sense key: use whatcha got.

Honestly, my love for tzimmes is wholesome. As far as I can remember, my mother only  made it once – for tradition. Somewhere around 45 years ago, I was enamored by this sweet stew of root vegetables, dried fruit and beef.

Used to be a read-the-recipe then throw all in a crock pot gal, but Jeff & Alton Brown.

Since I was using my stock pot to caramelize onions, I decided to meat sear in the same.

Stock pot because my larger non-stick enamel saute pan has taken to consistently sticking. 

Since I was using my stock pot to sear, I decided stovetop instead of oven.

Step-by-Step, soon. This is not that.

It’s just a little ‘Use Whatcha Got’ somethin’ to think about, while you’re staying at home.

2020 04 21 2 tzimmes i didn't have any jakorte

Quote for the Week:2020 04 21 every recipe starts with science and grows with jakorte

 

 

Silver Lining Plating

A few months ago, before pandemic hadn’t been a possibility or pondered, I finally decided to try one of those meal-delivery options.

My buy-in took a bit because I don’t particularly mind eating the same lunch/dinner every day for a week. In the dark months of winter, the program became more appealing than spending every Saturday morning grocery shopping – if the weather allowed.

I endured the targeted pop-up ads  (after I curiously clicked) at least once every other day for a few months. Occasionally, I’d re-click and peruse. I made it as far as commitment a few times, but unsurely closed the browser.

The tipping point was an amazing special offer in the absolutely late hours after midnight: a tempting $2.99 a meal.

It was a good deal. It made sense. I did it. I love it.

The plan I signed up for features 3 entrees per week, each designed to feed 2. The variety is super-exploratory and exacting  portions beat my tendency to overcook into submission.

It’s plenty for at least 6 great dinners or lunches. Most times, I stretch 3 meals from  the presented double serving. Just depends on the cuisine and my stash of supplements.

I’m a somewhat avoider of starchy-stuff like rice and potatoes. So, for those recipes, splitting 2 servings into 3 is a good way to lower the carbs. Add a side salad or a piece of fresh fruit and I’m good.

Trying new recipes has been fun. It’s superbly budget friendly to not have to buy a bottle of Hoisin when a recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons.

Thus, eliminating the annoyance of a half bottle of Hoisin hanging out in the back of your fridge, taunting you to find another valid use for the remainder. That’ll go on for a month or so before it becomes suspect; and maybe even another month after that.

Having fresh herbs and spices in exactly the right amount entirely avoids vegetable-drawer bottom disintegration; see-through storage slime, too.

Like anything else in life, you might run into an interesting issue. You may receive the smallest zucchini you’ve ever seen in your life.  Or, one portion might be slightly smaller than the other. On the lucky-side of single, I don’t have to argue with anyone over who’s gonna get the bigger portion.

The good news is that they are super customer-service friendly and always willing to make it right. Even better news, they’re still delivering. Once in 10 weeks, my box was delayed by one day due to business adjustments for Michigan’s COVID-19 stay-home order.  *

I’ve made 33 different recipes, so far. And, have only really messed up one. Well, actually I really messed up two, because…

Quote for the Week;2020 04 14 in Cooking or in Life jakorte

* I’m now at week 11. Every Plate has regretfully stopped accepting new subscribers, in order to continue to serve existing customers. As disappointing as that seems, it was a rather logical decision. Overpromising/under-delivering is not good business practice.  I do appreciate that I continue to receive my subscription.

I’ve not been in a grocery store since March 7th. I’ve not seen the ravaging first hand, nor do I want to. As soon as notice is given, they will reinstate the free boxes of 6 meals I will be able to gift. But, just in case, my referral code is: vuodlbm 

 

Syrup vs. Social Distance

 

Thud.

Not a sound I usually expect on Saturdays. Most of my front step thuds occur Thursday or Friday based on anti-social internet shopping. Tongue in cheek, of course.

Mostly for the sake of limited nighttime long winter lack of light, I signed up for conveniences. Groceries, cat needs, and art supplies are my top three delivery staples.

The unexpected arrival succeeded in shrinking a mileage gap of real social distance.

Ranked in order of cousin-closeness, distances in hours:

8.5 hours to PA.

10.25 hours to MN.

11 hours, 7 minutes to GA.

11 hours, 15 minutes to CT.

“Refrigerate after opening! Hope you enjoy the syrup. Made on my property.”

Adorned with an adorable dog, the enclosed card noted charitable support of Guiding Eyes for the Blind guide dog schools.

This sweetness came from Canadensis, Pennsylvania, courtesy of the closest of my all far-away cousins.

Bubble-wrapped and sealed to perfection, it took me less than a minute to excitedly break that bottle open.

Didn’t see the point of wasting time retrieving a spoon; sampled the first dollop from right from my left pointer finger.

My right pointer light-bulb searched Johnny Cakes. Hm.

Never had much luck with pancakes – always suspected the cause might be lack of a proper griddle. Probably more my impatient and usually irreverent cooking technique.

Considered time consuming, high effort waffles. I’d need to drag up the step-ladder from the basement to reach that high cabinet over the fridge where I keep this treasure hidden.

I followed a few of those endless links within links deep enough to discover fried corn meal mush, eventually arriving at old-school. Old-fashioned cornbread. Fell asleep that night anticipating the morning.

My night-before flagged recipe called for pre-heating the cast iron pan in the oven. The closest I could come without running out to World Market (where I habitually eye the irons) was my non-stick bundt pan.

Don’t laugh, y’all. It worked.

The syrup crawled into cuddling crevices, pooled and was pretty as well as being mighty tasty.

The gift smoothed over miles of distance with warm fuzzies and a fine example of turning the tables on social distance and social distancing.

(PS with MI on “Stay home, Stay safe” 3-week executive order, I’m not going to be driving out to the post office anytime soon. March birthday and monthly greetings cards for April are going to be late.)

Quote for the Week:2020 03 25 sweet surprises can so easily lessen true jakorte

Home, to You

We chose our first dance song because we loved how it represented us.

The first verse was Jeff. The fourth verse was me. Everything in the middle, was us.

The song was a reflection of our daily mutual amazement that we found each other. It was true every day, especially for me.

When we were dating, Jeff was the light at the end of my week.

When we commuted together, Jeff was the light at the end of my workday.

When he was on disability, Jeff was the light at the end of my commute. He was my home, in every sense.

I’ll be honest with you. Every evening, driving (or being driven) home from Ann Arbor to Adrian, the same thought would cross my mind. I terrified myself wondering; will today be the day that I get home and find him dead?

I would pull into the driveway frightened. I would walk into our home frightened, only to be soothed by Jeff’s voice ringing out or reassured by sonic-size snoring.

Coming home, though, meant more to me than that. Spending evenings with Jeff were what I lived for. We didn’t do that much exciting stuff, anymore, but we never lacked for conversation.

We’d talk about the news, recipes, sports, tv shows. We’d talk about the store, about the book or magazine Jeff was reading, my job or some random fascinating fact that he had just discovered.

Jeff loved the ‘who-done-it’s. Shows like Dr G Medical Examiner, the First 48 and 24. He was loyal to mystery books and tv series, such as Stephen King and House. He loved some reality and ‘reveal’ shows. American Idol, Extreme Makeover, This Old House; but had no taste for Big Brother or The Bachelor. Oh, and cooking shows!

There wasn’t a cooking show Jeff hadn’t seen at least once. Iron Chef, Alton Brown, Paula Deen, and reruns of Two Fat Ladies were a few favorites. Almost fitting into the foodie category, competitive eating and shows about farming, ranked up there, too.

It was impossible not to learn something new every day. It also wasn’t premeditated, meaning that he didn’t set out to find an interesting topic to share. All topics were interesting.

It was fun to listen to Jeff while he was on the phone with my brother, Greg. Their conversation always seemed to turn into a fact-fest in a “one thing leads to another” way, which they both enjoyed. It was also amusing that Jeff could out-talk my brother, as Greg would initiate the conversation’s end with, “Ok, well, it was nice talking to you… I’m gonna go now.”

Jeff was my home and my haven, my teacher and my mentor, my everything for such a short while. For a bit, I’d been envious of those who had him for longer; the ones with longer lists of memories than I.

I’ve come to understand time in a different way, though. It isn’t the amount of time we have, or the memories we have to hold on to.  It isn’t about how many. It’s about the important ones; it’s about the memories that hold on to us.

Quote for the Week: 2019 03 12 It isn’t the amount of time we have jakorte

Listen to:  Home To You