The Sunday Cooking Spree

Happy Sunday, fellow Foodies:

Boy, have I been busy today! I’ve been baking, I’ve been cooking, I’ve been washing. We had some good rain last night, and even had gravel-sized hail for a little while. I thought my neighbor’s lovable pug wanted to come in and get at the cat food again. Hoping for lots of basil so I can pack my freezer with pesto this year. Supposed to rain all week, so I’ll be extra careful on the short drive to and from the park and ride.

The dishwasher is running for the second time today, and while I put out garbage yesterday morning, I also had to put it out again a little while ago. I sewed most of the day yesterday, as well as made a pot of chili. I finished some handmade gifts and a little repair work, and will finish that shirt and suit next weekend. But before I tell you about today’s cooking spree, let me tell you about something fishy I read in the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal. . . .

The European Seafood Exposition was recently held in Belgium, and, if I read it correctly, it is to current trends in seafood is what the Houston Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show is to food and cooking. I think. (I went in 2011 and had a blast; nearly everything I sampled was either chocolate, garlic or olive oil.) Fish wasn’t exactly on the menu at this conference, but other forms of “aquatic cuisine” were available. Craig Harrison of Britain’s Big Prawn Company have been trying to win the Prix d’Elite with all sorts of, um, temptations. Creations like Fresh Seaweed in Sea Water, Black Pudding with Squid Ink and spreadable algae were available to tempt (or test the strength of) the taste buds of judges in Belgium. Oh, and one piece de resistance from last year’s contest was called simply, Jelly Shots, consisting of alcoholic seafood jelly shots with a jumbo shrimp floating in a mojito jelly. Um, what? “Mr Harrison claims that British night-clubbers fell for the drink hook, line and sinker. ‘Unfortunately, it didn’t sway the judges.'”

NOOOOOO. You think????? Maybe it was the alcohol the night clubbers had BEFORE the Jelly Shots, which the judges didn’t have the benefit of?

Then there is the “oceanic greenery” they want to start calling “sea veg.” In other words, seaweed. And now, because “French beaches are strewn with it,” Christine Le Tennier of SAS Globe Export is harvesting and promoting “gourmet algae.”

Algae is what develops in your swimming pool when you forget to put the chlorine in it. “Gourmet algae” is like like “clean dirt.” You can have it.

Now look–I love shrimp, crab, crawfish, regular fish, and the occasional scallop as much as the next seafood fan. But I can sum this article up for you in one word.


Reminded of the songs my brother has frequently written (or re-written) about my cooking, I sent him the column. Let’s see what comes back.

So, my goal is not to have to cook at all this week, except maybe for some breakfast, and I’ll think about that soon, too. My toaster oven has been baking nearly all day, and I have completed, since 8:00 am, the following:

Not included is a pot of chili made yesterday and a small spaghetti squash I roasted yesterday, all for lunch and dinner this week. Glad I finished the last of the Spicy Shrimp Marinara, too.

I’m thinking baked eggs and some kind of meat with it. I’ll think about it some more. Since the yeast-free diet is coming soon, I’ll have to think carefully, since so many things are verboten, like cheese, butter and milk.

Oh, and in order to make that meatloaf, I had to go out and get a few things: one carrot, some celery, and. . .tomato juice, which I have never bought in my life. But I do it, ’cause I don’t mess with the recipes the first time I make them. I didn’t go to my my HEB, or even Kroger. No, I went to our neighborhood Food Town. . .and if you are in Houston, you know what that is–local, and basic, No almond milk, gluten free anything or sugar snap peas, but lots of biscuits, pizza and ice cream. It’s close, so I went. I didn’t take a picture, but they had something called Tastykake Dreamies, which look suspiciously like. . . Twinkies!  No, I didn’t buy any, even though they were not expensive. But with all the hoopla surrounding the end and the new beginning of Twinkies, obviously it wasn’t long before someone got the idea to replicate them while they were away. Let’s see what happens when Twinkies begin to populate grocery and convenience store shelves again. Holy Shish Kebab.

Well, that’s the capitalist free market system, isn’t it? Give the customer what they want, customers vote with their dollars, and the best one will win. If the Dreamies taste as good, or better, than original Twinkies, then they’ll be the favored brand. If not, they will be bought once, and if they are found to be inferior, then, nobody will buy them and wait for the Twinkies. If the new Twinkies are bad, then the market is open for someone else to “build a better Twinkie.” It’s that simple.

Yes, in America, we take our junk food VERY seriously the way the French take their wine and escargot seriously. That’s what makes us a great country!!

Anyway. . . .

I had planned to utilize a crock pot today, but I never got around to it, so that’s one less thing to wash up. That’s OK, I’ve gone through some soap this weekend!

I started doing the weekly cooking/ironing on Sunday back when I was a student at Tulane and worked 40 hours a week. THEN I went to work for Tulane while I was a student, and made a salary, had regular employee health insurance, paid holidays, and eventually, an employee tuition waiver. I had to take Sundays for setting up for the week,  because I didn’t have time to get all that done in the morning, especially if I got home at 10:00 or 11:00 pm at night, which I did frequently. If I went to bed late one night, I didn’t get to catch up until Saturday. (Nobody seemed to understand that for a long time.)

Even though I’d mostly kept it up while I was unemployed, I still did some cooking during the week. Now, this may not work with large families, or even couples–but for me it works like a charm. If you’re thinking about how to make it work for you, a crock pot would work wonders, IMHO–but you gotta do what works for you. Freezer meals may be what you come up with, and a lot of people do it that way–either on the weekend or making “one extra” of something and stashing it in the freezer.

In any case, I highly recommend “cooking ahead,” especially if you are of the busy sort. If it’s just you and a spouse and y’all aren’t picky, well. . .but if you’ve got a schedule of any kind and not much time to cook, carving out a few hours and/or putting out that crock pot is essential.

And let’s face it–how nice is it to come home, take your shoes off, get comfy and heat up a home-cooked dinner?  Yeah, I Know, you can just buy frozen dinners . . .well, if you want to. Me, I’m gonna keep pushing the limits of my kitchen and having home cooked dinners ’til I can’t cook anymore. (Remember that Julia Child cooked after the age of 90, although she wasn’t make Boueof Bourignon anymore.)

Now onto the wardrobe setup for the week with our rainy, somewhat chilly Houston weather this week.

Happy Dining!

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