Odds & ends and an update on the lettuce experiment

Good evening, Dear Readers:

First, please say a prayer for the city of Boston. They’ve suffered a horrible tragedy, and while I make snarky remarks from time to time, this is not one of them. Not when it comes to what happened yesterday–using an ordinary kitchen pot, no less. Please, keep them in your prayers, they need it right now. Thank you.

I’m a little late updating you, since the sink backed up in the HeatCageKitchen last weekend, and I’ve been trying to catch up ever since. Today, I headed to The Woodlands (suburb just north of Houston) for a doctor’s appointment, and am going back again tomorrow for a different reason–they couldn’t do two things in one day. A late lunch at the beloved Sweet Tomatoes, studiously avoiding anything like croutons, baked goods or anything with wheat in it, with an extra helping of that delicious Joan’s Broccoli Madness, (raw broccoli, raisins, chopped walnuts, bacon, sunflower seeds and a creamy garlic dressing, also gluten free) and it was a pretty good day!

Also in The Woodlands Mall is a wonderful little place called Oil & Vinegar. As you might imagine, they sell. . .oil and vinegar. However, this is NOT the stuff you get in the grocery store. No, this is extra virgin olive oil infused with things like rosemary, black and white truffles and blood oranges, as well as and a selection of vinegars with things like pomegranate, cranberry, strawberry and fig; the newest is cranberry. My favorites from here: lemon oil and raspberry balsamic vinegar; blended together, they taste amazing.

There are only 15 O&V stores in the USA, two in Texas (and one in New Orleans, surprisingly.)  The Woodlands Mall store is run by a very nice couple, Karla & Anton Kharoufeh, who have been open for 3 or 4 years to my knowledge (likely longer, I’m slow to catch these things.) They have a number of other small food items, herbs & spices, chocolate and other desserts as well as gourmet gifts supplementing the oils and vinegars in large containers lining the walls. O&V is a great place for a foodie to visit, and Miss Karla is always welcoming.

So I get to go back tomorrow, and will try to make it to Trader Joe’s, a grocery store well loved in the northwest. I’ve never been, and didn’t have time to go when I was in Seattle two years ago. Also want to see about visiting Frost Cupcakes for a gluten free chocolate cupcake. Or two. Dunno if I’m going back to Sweet Tomatoes; I’ll decide that tomorrow.

Also passed through a bookstore and flipped through Nigella Lawson’s new Italian-inspired book, Nigellissima. I’ll get it eventually, but today, I just looked through it. What did I find? Something gluten free! (There is actually a gluten free cake in her last book, Nigella Kitchen, Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake with Margarita Cream, on page 281, so it’s not her first.) Specifically, something called Olive Oil Chocolate Cake. Oh, I’m not waiting for my birthday for this one. Whenever I do acquire this book, that will be the *first* thing I make! Yes, there is the requisite chapter on pasta (Giada de Laurentiis wrote a whole book just on pasta) but there are other delicious looking recipes as well. Like that cake. Beautiful book in the classic Nigella style with an Italian flair. I’ll keep you posted.

OK, back to the original topic. Lettuce in a jar. This is a serious subject.

So I have one jar of lettuce left in the fridge now, and it is still sealed from last Thursday night. As I write this, it’s Tuesday, and so far, so good, for six days out. I had some twice this week using two of the jars of lettuce I sealed up. I am happy to report that the lettuce was perfectly crisp and tasty as it was when I sealed it up last week.  The remaining jar in the fridge looks to be the same, and I will likely finish it off this week, maybe wait until Thursday or even Friday. I don’t see any browning or limpness from outside the jar, and I anticipate that it will stay that way until I open it.

If by Thursday the lettuce is still as tasty and good as it was, I’ll soon be making lots more salads in jars for a week at a time.

Now, if you’re a bit skittish about putting the dressing in the bottom, especially if you’re going to be transporting it somewhere, there’s also a solution: Dressing To Go, a little silicone bottle with a tight-sealing lid that holds 2 ounces of salad dressing. I got one last summer, thinking I would need it for work. . .well, I still have it, anyway. Haven’t used it yet, but it’s a solution. I actually saw someone buying little bitty one-serving containers of bottled salad dressing in Target, and suggested the Dressing To Go bottle. Buy a regular or larger size bottle of your favorite, and use the little bottle to take it with you. MUCH cheaper than single-serving sizes! (Dunno if they actually did it or not.)

Sorry to be so short, but I’m tired, and have a long day tomorrow. Just wanted to give an update on the lettuce, and brag a bit about my adventure.

Next time I’ll tell you about the Zombie Outreach Response Team I saw today. . .later!

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