Sunday, August 22, 2010

My sister's surprise visit... dinner.. stock

 So she just happened to be driving by on her way from Las Vegas to Chicago... with my Mom's massive mutts in tow. My Mom has these 2 rather huge black dogs that are rather neurotic quirky. They are moving back to New York and the great shuffle has begun. 

 It took the dogs less than 2 seconds after my sister kidnapped my daughter to go shopping for the dogs to discover and roll in the compost pile. My big fluffy moron dog joined in of course as he is just thrilled to pieces to have buddies over to play. So after securing the pile from re-entry..out came the hose, shampoo, and dog brushes and we set out to destink the critters. As tempted as I was to leave them crusty... much like my sister has done to my child.. I was nice. (My sisters found it hilarious to encourage my daughter, when she was a toddler, to rub applesauce all over herself as I walked in the door.) Our dog wasn't keen on it, but oddly my Mom's dogs thought bath time was the best thing ever. Our dog, not wanting to be left out, also got spiffed up. Our yard now looks like hundreds of black sheep spontaneously combusted into piles of fluff. 

 They ran themselves ragged while drying off and then passed out inside in the air conditioning while I then went to work on the gardens. I *thought* they were napping.. until this morning. The oldest and largest dog, Toby, is actually a wolf hybrid. Found at an animal rescue, Mom my had no idea other than it was a "shepard mix" until the vet pointed out some key features and expressed his concern. Toby is nuttier than a walnut grove a big chicken and a total momma's boy. So when he gets worried.. he hides food. And that would explain the milk bones in my shoes, in the couch, behind the toilet, under the baker's rack, in the closet, in my daughter's room, in my purse, in my husband's backpack... you get the idea. We may be finding these dang dog treats for months yet.

 Meanwhile I weeded, watered and picked a bunch of things for dinner. Aside from the chicken, olive oil, and a few seasonings, the rest was all from the garden. As my sister also has a keen fondness for vegetables, I went overboard. 

Salad of baby beet thinnings, cherry and grape tomatoes, shredded carrot, baby romaine lettuce, basil leaves, roasted red peppers, parsley, zucchini, chive flowers in a mild garlic vinegrette

Roasted chicken with summer savory, garlic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper

Roasted vegetables (beets, turnips, kohlrabi, potatoes, carrots) little olive oil and sea salt.

Spicy ginger garlic green beans with beet stems. (heat olive oil and toss in 2 thai chili peppers.. remove peppers once they are cooked.. then add diced onion, let get translucent, then add green beans and garlic... at the end add a nub of grated ginger, dash of salt and pepper.)

Mixed greens- kale, beet greens, kohlrabi greens, turnip greens. (heat olive oil.. sautee diced onion. Add in greens cut in big ribbons/ really rough chop -stems removed-  once wilted add in minced garlic, salt & pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Taste.. may need a pinch of sugar.)

Yeah... a lot of green going on. It was a very very big meal, and we will be eating leftovers for days, but it is one that you feel full without going into a coma. Well... unless you are my husband and eat 3 massive plates full. After the second plate he fell into food coma... then woke up to get a 3rd plate. I think he liked it. 

 Today my husband and daughter zeroed in on the salad for lunch, tossing in some cut up chicken and grabbed a few pieces of garlic bread with parmesan and mozzarella. My husband's version of a salad bowl is what most retailers would describe as a mixing bowl or potentially a small vat able to submerse a vehicle. 

While you can cook the kohlrabi leaves.. the stems tend to be really bitter and fibrous. Beets, when not too old.. the stems are like swiss chard (swiss chard is a beet family member). The carrot greens are also edible, but I tend to use them when I make stock. 

In actuality.. the drippings from the chicken I reserved. I will put the drippings in a massive stock pot today.. onion, celery will be sauteed.. bones saved in my freezer will be added.. and a lot of water. Then the carrot tops and garlic.. and it will stew for about 2 hours. The stock will be cooled.. and the fat skimmed off. 

 You can't beat homemade stock. Come winter I use it all the time when I make soups, stews, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pies, etc. The ones from the stores all taste.. well.. like not much of anything and they are usually so full of salt and ingredients I don't want.


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