The last couple of weekends were a lot more fun than this one is going to be. Two weeks ago, we started with Chef JJ's fabulous Local Local dinner where he has six chefs and six brewers present the courses. We went with a colleague of mine and his wife and had a totally delightful time. Then, of course, last weekend was the trip to Columbus to see my stepson and his wife and our grandkids. This weekend our plans consist of work and more work. Our one break will be dinner with some wonderful friends on Saturday evening. They're trying out Traders Point Creamery for Paul's son's rehearsal dinner. We've never been there and have heard wonderful things about it so are very anxious to go.
It's been so hot here that we've about melted. There have been a few mornings that I wanted to get some weeding done before the heat of the day set in. It was still plenty hot but I got a lot done. When I got hot, I'd go in and work on email. Then, back to the weeding. Then, back to email... I'd get a couple of hours of good work in before Connie got up and got ready for the day. But, the weeds are still winning. As much as I hate to resort to chemicals, I think some Preen is in order!
One of the things that Chuck and Karen and Connie and I talked about at the Local Local dinner was how things go in cycles. Our grandparents ate locally and shopped regularly. Our parents thought it was wonderful to be able to go to the mega-mart and get the week's worth of groceries - including frozen and canned goods. Now, we're all about eating locally and buying fresh. That's one of the reasons that we typically start our Saturday mornings at the local farmers markets.
We make up a list of what needs to be used up at home. Cucumbers, zucchini, beets, peaches, peppers. Then, I start in on the menu. Connie requested Duck Ragu again a couple of weeks ago. Last week, I blogged about making duck confit for it. Truth be told, we were talking to Chris Eley from Goose the Market at Local Local about using his duck confit in the Duck Ragu so I'm equally hungry for it!! Goose is a wonderful butcher shop and so much more. Chris always has locally grown produce, wonderful cheeses, sandwiches, wine, beer, gourmet grocery items.
Our first stop is to pick up the CSA basket. What gorgeous goodies we been getting. Pattypan squash, eggplants, cucumbers, heirloom cherry tomatoes, mint and kale. Then, on to the Broad Ripple Farmers Market. Recently, I've been on a hunt for corn on the cob, heirloom tomatoes, wax beans, blueberries, shagbark hickory syrup and maple syrup.
A couple of weeks ago we stopped at one of my favorite breakfast spots so I could get a cup of iced decaf and so we could say hello to a dear friend. She told us a story that still has us chortling. She lives on the third floor of a complex and her unit faces the river. So, she has pretty much complete privacy. She was sleeping in the buff and woke up to a gorgeous sunny day. She bounded out of bed and turned to the window and said, "Good Morning WORLD!" and found herself looking at a very startled man who was up on an extension ladder painting the railing on her balcony... One of life's embarassing moments!
This past week, we were supposed to be in Cape Cod to see Connie's two youngest sons and get some business taken care of. Unfortunately, the other folks weren't terribly prepared and our trip has been delayed. I'm most bummed that I don't get to see the kids - and Greg's girlfriend Mary. Since I'd cleared my calendar for the trip, I decided not to pack it and to actually take a day off to work on the house. Gads but working at my office is a LOT easier than the heavy lifting here. My ankle is up to climbing a ladder again. Not to using a shovel, though as I found out this morning when I thought a shovel would make weeding so much quicker. So, last Tuesday, I finally finished painting the living room. It's spectacular. The carpets, though, are just gone. The problem with buying a home that's been neutralized is that they use the cheapest stuff possible. Ergo, carpets that are ready to head out of here in a mere six years. Argh! I'm hopeful that I can do that next year since the carpet cleaner just doesn't even make a dent any more.
One sad commentary on our society today happened on Tuesday. We went up to Menards to get some of the stuff we needed for our Tuesday chores. The cart was full. In the bottom were two rolls of duct insulation. Our bedroom is about 10-20 degrees hotter than the downstairs so Connie figured that if we insulated the ductwork it more of the cool air might get upstairs. We got out to the car and unloaded and there UNDER the insulation were two packages of insulation for outlets. A grand total of $2.74. But, we'd not paid for them so they weren't ours. I walked back in and walked up to the young man who checked us out and told him I needed to pay for these. He said, "WOW, nobody ever does that!" In my mind that would've been stealing if I'd not walked back in. Yet, I was told that's not the norm. How sad.
Over the last couple of weeks, we've had some fun dishes that don't warrant a post of their own. One of my favorites was the pimento cheese, bacon and tomato grilled cheese sandwiches. I saw the idea on Chef Dennis' blog - More than a Mountful. Connie's still enjoying the leftover pimento cheese. That's one of those things that sounds so easy yet there are so many different ways to make the stuff. I've always used just Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar. This time, I added about four ounces of cream cheese since I had it in the fridge. Next time, I'm back to the CrackerBarrel only. That's the photo up top.
A couple old friends were revisited this week. Chief among them: Friday Night Sandwiches. Yes, they do taste as incredible as they look!
And, I made stuffed lamb chops. The stuffing has made it to the blog but the lamb chops haven't. Unfortunately this time they won't again. Someone ( I won't say who, but her initials are Kate) forgot to take a photo of the finished dish...