Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dog Toy

The toy I got Kermit for Christmas went right into the trash twenty minutes after he unwrapped it. The packaging said that it was made for aggressive-playing dogs, made from firehose material, made to hold up under rough play.

Plainly they had never tested the toy on Kermit's jaws. I threw it for him once, and then he systematically sawed it into pieces and gutted it.

So I don't buy him cute doggie toys like I used to with Howie, Babe, or Desi (a border collie/collie mix who took excellent care of all his toys) -- there's no point, I might as well throw a ten dollar bill at him and let him shred it.

However, after I filled the salt shakers in the kitchen, I had a sturdy salt box to put in the recycle bag. Had I been wearing shoes, I'd have stomped on it to flatten it and break it down a little, but I had sandals on.

...Oh, wait, I know who can help me with deconstruction. I showed it to Kermit, who was keeping me company as he always does, and then tossed it into the front room. He leaped after it, scooped it up.

The salt box fit in his jaws perfectly, and he began to gallop from the kitchen back door to the front door in eight-foot leaps, growling around his new toy. He tossed it in the air, chased it across the floor, chomped it, capered while shaking it, ran back and forth over and over again.

When he was done scampering and had settled down to eat the box, I traded him a big dog cookie for the container, and took a picture of it to remind me that there is one dog toy I can get for him on a regular basis.

Makes me feel a lot better about being able to give him a new thing to play with. Next time I'll take the label off before I give it to him -- he'll be able to play with it a few minutes longer.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cucumbers Ahoy!

The other cucumber is not missing, it was transformed. John and I made it into a tzatziki sauce to go with the previously mentioned leg of lamb.

The past two years, I haven't planted cucumbers; I'm pretty much the only one who eats them, and the pot I used to plant them in has been taken over by a dwarf plum tree, and the vines always got buggy anyway. But this year, I had a hankering for fresh cucumber, and the stuff I get in the store tastes like it's crossed with zucchini.

These taste fabulous, and I'm so glad I planted them this year.

So let's talk about the leg of lamb again. I roasted it at 350 degrees in an open pan until the interior temp was 115 (about an hour and a half), then brought it out, wrapped it in foil to let it rest for 15 minutes. The exterior was seasoned with salt, garlic powder and cumin; inside the hole left by the removed bone I had stuffed several split cloves of garlic. It tasted great, and what's more, it was the most tender lamb I have ever cooked.

I was going to use the leftover lamb to make a batch of black bean chili, but with cucumbers like these, forget it. More tzatziki for me!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Trickiest Trick So Far

I lucked into a large leg of lamb the other day, and wanted to take the bone out with as little massacre as possible, so I looked up "how to de-bone a leg of lamb" on Google. I found a video on You Tube from and watched it:

And then I took my leg of lamb and tried it. When I was nearly done, I made John and Bernie come watch. They were so surprised when I pulled that bone out that I had to roar with laughter.

Best magic trick ever.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

More New Tricks

Coincidentally, I was watching a Food Network show last night that had a quick feature involving mushrooms sauteed in butter. The feature showcased a bunch of different kind of mushrooms and made me hungry. Then this morning, when we turned on the TV to keep the dogs calm while we were out shopping, there was another show on -- with mushrooms.

While we were out shopping I bought ... mushrooms.

Go figure.

So I chopped five or six white button mushrooms thinly, and grated a fat clove of garlic. I sauteed them both in a pat of butter, then splashed them with white wine -- a tasty Italian pinot grigio -- and continued to cook the browny mushrooms until the liquid was gone. I added a couple splashes of cream, and got a yummy mushroom sauce thereby.

I also cooked up a bag of Crystal Bay frozen mussels with white wine and seasonings. And although SOME PEOPLE say cheese and seafood don't go together, I grated a little bit of fontina cheese, added a couple shakes of parmesan,  and romano, and a few dabs of goat cheese. When the 3 ounces of angel hair pasta were done, I folded them into the creamy mushrooms, added the cheeses and tossed it all together. Put the mussels on top.

Lil and I ate the whole batch.

Never did that before, but I will be doing it again.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

New Tricks

Alex brought her phone to me one day recently to show me some art someone had posted on some social media site. (Note the use of the word "some" -- that means I didn't bother to remember the names.)

The worthy experimental artist had put a stem of gypsophilia (baby's breath) on a scanner, and scanned it with the lid of the scanner open. DUH!!

There was a faint illumination from the room the scanner was in, but the ethereal image of the tiny flowers was stunning. Naturally I had to give it a try myself, in my garage studio, which is devoid of light.

I put a stem of my white geraniums on the scanner, turned off all the lights, and from my indoor workspace, fired up the scanner remotely and got this delicious result.

I tried the project with snapdragons, nasturtiums, and sweet peas.

Next I think I'll snitch a few of Bernie's dianthus blooms, which should come out looking like mutated stars in a midnight sky.

Also I should do a good job of cleaning those pesky specks off my scanner's bed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Seder 2017

Another Seder done.

This was the centerpiece arrangement for Seder this year, with really lovely flowers from Trader Joe's, white chrysanthemums and yellow alstromeria. The leather ferns came from my north-side garden, where they grow rampant.

I can't ever remember a bad Seder, but this one was especially joyous because -- well, we didn't host one last year, and we all missed the tradition. The singing was great, the laughter of company welcome.

John outdid himself by making lamb kofta, little patties of seasoned ground lamb, with a cucumber-yogurt sauce. Eaten with a dab of spicy goat cheese on a little flatbread -- superb. Bernie made a surprisingly delicious rice dish that included onions, garlic, raisins, and roasted cauliflower, with a corn stock gravy. Amazing food!

Oh, I baked two loaves of French bread as my culinary contribution. Actually I baked four; the weather (cold and rainy) affected the dough and the first two loaves were truly horrible. They FELL, and even tasted bad. The second two were great, go figure.

Yeah, I guess we'll do this again next year.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Baby Kittens, Who Could Resist?

The very first in this season's line of kittens for the Crazy Old Tomato Lady's garden.

The variety is "Gladiator" from Burpee's Seed catalog of Roma-like tomatoes. They're supposed to produce some spectacular fruits, so we'll give them a try. I haven't started my own tomatoes for a few years, so this has been a treat. I've moved the seedlings from the sunny window in the front room to the sunnier, hotter window in the kitchen. After the coming chilly nights the next few days, they'll be transitioning to the outdoors by playing on the front porch during the warm afternoons, and being brought back indoors at night.

I hope they do well. The rest of the tomato areas will be inhabited by the wild and wooly Early Girls and the draft-horse powerhouse Shady Ladies.

In addition to tomatoes, we'll be planting sweet corn, watermelons, canteloupes, and maaaaybe a cucumber. And peppers. And I hear Alex is doing herbs. And who knows what else?

Today's weather included drizzle, sunshine, downpours, hail, sun again, and a cold wind. Good for kittens to stay inside a little while longer.