planting a mock orange bush

One of the things about yard work is that it is an ongoing process. I generally do yard work on Tuesdays because Wednesday is pickup day when my yard waste (along with our food waste) is whisked off to a stare-of-the-art plant to be turned into natural gas and fertilizer.

mock orange bushMost of my yard work consists of trimming back excess growth and pulling out dead growth. We had a few late freezes this year and lost some plants. In particular we lost a large spread-out mint plant in our front planter. It took me a couple of separate efforts to pull the bulk of it out. When I had done that I was left with a large empty space.

On a recent Saturday I asked Terry if she’d like to find something to fill that spot. I specifically avoided the big box stores and we went to our locally-owned nursery. The staff member there showed us a variety of options, and we settled on a mock orange bush, which should smell really good when it blooms.

It was a lot of work and digging to put it in, but I completed the job and now it’s part of the front yard. I certainly felt that I’d accomplished something.

chicken piccata

I recently made my own take on chicken piccata.

chicken piccataI sliced a boneless skinless chicken breast lengthwise and pounded it. I mixed Harris Ranch lemon garlic seasoning with flour and dredged the chicken in it. I sprayed my stainless steel Calphalon frying pan with olive oil and cooked the chicken. I put it on a plate in the microwave.

I added cooking sherry to the frying pan and then the juice of a large lemon. I rinsed half a jar of capers and threw that in. I nuked the chicken for a minute, put it plates, and covered it with the mixture from the frying pan.

Marvelous, if you’ll allow me to say so. Certainly Terry loved it.

guess I did say that

Last baseball season we didn’t have the Dodgers on TV as we had Frontier Communications. I wrote that we didn’t need the Dodgers on television as we had the MLB at Bat app and could listen to the radio broadcast with Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday.

That was then. This is now. And I have to admit to at least a bit of sour grapes. Because now we have Spectrum and we get the Dodgers on television. I like having the Dodgers on television. Joe Davis is not as bad as I made out. He’s a pretty decent game caller. He’s not Vin Scully, but nobody is except for Vin.

Charlie and Rick are an excellent broadcast team in the finest baseball tradition, and there’s a great baseball tradition in radio broadcasts, but yeah, really, it’s nice to be able to see the Dodgers on TV.

local strawberries

We have a strawberry stand on a busy east-west thoroughfare on the south side of town. They keep decent hours, stay relatively busy, have so-so strawberries, and are expensive.

strawberry standWest and south of town on a country road is a strawberry stand that keeps irregular hours, grows strawberries on site, has the best, sweetest strawberries you can imagine, and charges half the price of the other stand.

You have to time it right, however.

On Friday Terry and I were going to have lunch at Jersey Mike’s. Terry wanted to stop by Lowe’s afterwards. And we were going to get strawberries. We left ten minutes earlier for lunch than the original plan. After lunch Terry said we could do Lowe’s later. We headed for the rural strawberry stand. I was one of the last to get strawberries before they shut down for the day. Had we waited another ten minutes to go to lunch and/or gone to Lowe’s we would have been out of luck. Instead we came home with a three-pack of fresh, sweet strawberries picked literally just minutes before.



Secular Music Friday: Garden Song (Inch by Inch)

Well, sacred for me. I’ve shared this before, but it’s well worth revisiting every so often. I miss Pete a lot.

replacing my Misto

The Misto has been a key kitchen tool for me for a number of years. It allows me to spray olive oil on pans, dishes, or food rather than pouring it from the bottle. I really can’t live without it. The problem is that a Misto only lasts for so long.

MistoOne time I replaced a worn-out Misto with a different brand that had a clear bottle. When I pumped up the pressure so I could spray the olive oil it exploded. All over the kitchen.

Never again. I tried to clean my most recent Misto after it started putting out a flat stream instead of spraying. I soaked it in soapy water and then cleaned it out by spraying clear water through it. It started leaking.

That’s OK. I can only expect a Misto to last a couple of years and that one did.

So I replaced it and have moved on. But I have my Misto, so critical to my cooking.

chicken stir fry with peanut sauce

This recipe for chicken stir fry with peanut sauce violates the basic rules of stir fry in a wok.

stir fryThe instructions say to cook the chicken first, take it out and cut it up, cook the bell pepper and broccoli, make the peanut sauce, and put it in along with the cut-up chicken.

A stir fry guru such as Grace Young will tell you that your wok needs your full attention once it is hot. You can’t go off and do other things once you start cooking in it. So I cut up the chicken and bell pepper first and made the peanut sauce. I used frozen broccoli florets, so that wasn’t an issue. I cooked the chicken, added the bell pepper and then the broccoli. Finally I added the peanut sauce. (I admit that I did turn away to clean the cutting board.)

This turned out really well. The peanut sauce was excellent.