I’ve never been good at growing plants. Actually, let me rephrase. I’ve never been good at keeping plants alive.
It starts with good intentions. I pick out a hearty looking plant that is the biggest in its pack. I read the instructions and I take it home ready to water it, give it proper sunlight, and nurture it so it can grow. Once in my home things start out well, but quickly disintegrate.
My last parsley plant was dubbed “street parsley” as it was on its own for survival. It sat on the fire escape outside my kitchen window and was left to deal with the severe drought that Charlotte found itself in. My parsley died. It was one of countless, green victims of my ”survival of the fittest” approach to gardening.
Since he is well aware of this particular weakness in me, I was shocked when this year’s Valentine’s Day gift from my husband was seedlings for heirloom tomatoes. Yes, getting heirloom tomatoes is a fabulous gift, but let’s take note of the fact that he gave me seeds. He didn’t want me to keep tomato plants alive, he actually wanted me to grow them. Obviously, he has a weakness for the tragic-comic. This gift had disaster written all over it. Continue reading
This weekend we were traveling again. We returned south, but this time to sunny Orlando where we visited my brother and attended the wedding of a colleague of my husband. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed sharing meals with family and friends over the course of the weekend.
One of the highlights of the weekend was my brother making us breakfast on Saturday morning. Having someone make you a special breakfast has got to be one of the top ten pleasures of life. When I wake up to the smell of meat frying and coffee brewing, I can’t help but smile and feel completely and totally spoiled. I have to admit it’s a feeling that I absolutely love! Continue reading
Crayfish -various freshwater crustaceans that resemble tiny lobsters complete with claws.
(The New Food Lover’s Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst)
Crawfish Boil - Galveston, TX - 2006
I’d never heard of crawfish (also known as crayfish or crawdads) until college when my best friend from Galveston, TX mentioned them. She would smile as she talked about the parties that were held in their honor. Crawfish boils where everyone stood around drinking beer, while the crawfish were boiled with corn and potatoes and then generously sprinkled with Tony Chachere’s seasonings before being devoured by drunk and hungry Texans.
Since life is funny, my best guy friend in college (who would later become my husband) would be from Galveston and would love crawfish as well. He would be with me when I first tried them at Al T’s; a restaurant at a desolate interstate exit in Winnie, Texas. Here I would try my first boudain balls and then enjoy crawfish etouffee for lunch. My husband’s oral history of the crawfish and their home in the muddy rice fields of Southeastern Texas and Louisiana did not deter me from eating every bite. Continue reading
We’ve been pinching pennies recently, but a homework assignment for school allowed us to spoil ourselves this weekend. I had to prepare a classical French entree and my husband’s prayers were answered when I chose to make steak au poivre. It’s one of his favorites and it quickly became one of mine.
Perhaps its because steak isn’t part of our daily fare, but the 12 ounce New York strip was something special. The cracked pepper coating that I pressed into both sides made a dark, black crust. In the pan it caramelized and gave the steak a nice crunch that provided the perfect contrast to the soft, red center that literally melted in your mouth. The fat in the meat and the sauce coated my tongue luxuriously creating a silky mouthfeel. While twelve ounces of steak had seemed like more than enough, we found ourselves dreading the point at which we would have to take our last bite. In typical fashion, I quickly finished mine off and sat hungrily staring at my husband’s while he exhibited great self control. Continue reading
Baby Back Ribs
Hibernation is over. The clues have been numerous. The price of asparagus is starting to drop at my local grocery store. I seem to constantly have a stuffy nose. The temperature, while still erratic, has steadily gotten warmer. However, I didn’t know it was officially spring until Friday when my normally kitchen-phobic husband volunteered to make dinner.
While he is a voracious eater, the actual process of cooking leaves him quivering with anxiety. It ranks right up there with vacuuming in terms of his most hated activities. Yet around this time of year something changes. It almost chemical in nature. Some piece of his genetic “man-code” lights up with the recognition that beer drinking can now occur with large pieces of meat over fire in the great outdoors. Continue reading