Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weddings, Kitchen Tools, Canning, and Corn

Followed by an actual dinner report.

Planning a wedding takes a little more time and mental energy than I originally anticipated with my "Let's just get these details out of the way and don't worry about things we don't like" plan. But there are lists to make and things to cross off and people to talk to and more lists to make and dreams about too many people coming to the wedding that wake you up at 4 in the morning. Plus, it is really, really hot here. This time last year we were flooded (just parts); today it's supposed to be 100 degrees and not a cloud in sight. I'm not worried about the wedding going through or not; I know that whatever the temperature, we'll still be married at the end of the day. I'm worried about heat stroke and just walking from a car to the building.

We have been cooking at home and making use of fun new kitchen toys: the mixer, grill, and immersion blender have been joined by an awesome Vitamix, Which I have not actually used yet but I did watch the DVD. I do plan to make smoothies today after a hot walk home from the bus. Rich started us off with Carrot Top smoothies last week. The first batch tasted a little too much like dirt and carrots. I think this was because he used the stems and greens. Other ingredients included aloe vera, flax seed oil, protein powder, milk, and frozen fruit. The second batch was an electric green color and tasted better. But you still know there are carrot tops in there.

Yesterday we received a trifle bowl -- over winter break, I made two trifles but used regular pans because I didn't have a trifle bowl. This is one of those desserts where I think you really need the right dishes. A lot of the trifle is about the layers, although it does taste delicious, too. I'm looking forward to making one soon (maybe September) in the new bowl.

The CSA is still coming in every Thursday. Starting next week we'll get a rotating loaf of bread, too.

Much of the cooking at home has been canning as wedding favors. At least three weekends were spent canning three different items: green tomato chutney, apple-tomato relish, and hot pepper jam. Two of those weekends, we had help from two friends. Some of the produce came from the CSA but we also got some from farmers markets, ordered directly from a farmer, and at the local grocery store's weekly produce sale.

Last night's dinner made use of 4 ears of corn from the CSA and of the Oxo Corn Stripper my mom sent me last summer. As soon as I received it, I stopped getting corn in the CSA, so last night was my first opportunity to use it. It was a lot easier to use than a knife to scrape the corn off. However, I did still manage to cut myself -- right on the top of my left thumb. This affects my texting skills more than anything else. The idea had been to make this Pan-Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad from the New York Times. I think we've made it before. Except we did not have cilantro or red onion or Thai chilies or avocado. Rich worked late and neither of us wanted to drive to the store in the heat. The market near his office did not have any of these ingredients. Plus, we had fresh produce at home, just not that specifically. So this is what it became: bacon, 1 small yellow onion, corn, green and red tomatoes, salt and pepper, basil, and goat cheese. Yum, so delicious! I immediately put some in a container to take to work before we ate it all last night. To go with it we finished up the gazpacho Rich made this weekend using the Awesome Vitamix.

[Pictures to follow]

Tonight I'm considering something with brussel sprouts and pasta. Because tomorrow we pick up more produce.

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