Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday FunDay - Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

First though, let's start off with this warning from you friendly local bread man in Newark, Delaware:

You really take your chances in Delaware if you are "unauthorized to use" a bread box. I doubt anyone would steal it to use for moving clothes or the such. However, it is obvious that Delaware has strict bread delivery box laws. Even more obvious is that D'Ambrosio's bakery will see that you're prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Let the box thieves beware.

That was Thursday.

Yesterday was a big day in the kitchen here. Lots of good food requiring hours of preparation.

Of all the days for my camera's batteries to die.

Earlier this Summer I volunteered my cooking services as a prize in a "Chinese Auction". The fundraiser was held to raise money for the local public library. My donation was a "Sunday Go To Meetin' Dinner" consisting of the following:

- Two whole chickens cooked either "Southern Fried" or "Savory Roasted"

- Garlic mashed potatoes

- Giblet gravy

- "Southern Style" Green beans with ham

- Peach cobbler made with fresh South Jersey peaches

- Cast iron skillet cornbread

Early last week, the winner sent me an e-mail asking if I could have her prize ready and delivered by 5:30 pm yesterday.

I appreciated the early notice.

Yesterday I spent from 10:30 am until 5:15 pm in this kitchen, mostly on my feet. Since I was making every dish from scratch, I had to reuse every bowl, spatula, mixing spoon, and knife we have.

Everything went smoothly. That's highly unusual since there's always at least one thing where the proverbial "wheels come off". The closest thing to a disaster came when I tasted what was the base of the giblet gravy. I had simmered the giblets in some chicken stock and some pan liquid. At first taste it seemed too salty. I started to get a bit agitated when I realized that the addition of the milk/flour slurry would thin the mixture out.

Turns out I was right. The gravy came out flawless.

I delivered the meal right on schedule. The winner was a nice little old lady. She had invited some family members to join her. I brought the food pans in the house. It made me happy to see she had her table immaculately set for a Sunday family dinner. So many folks these days have abandoned the Sunday family dinner.

It made me even happier to see the smiles on everybody's faces.

As I was leaving, the nice lady tried to tip me five dollars for gas.

I thanked her but refused the money. After all, this was my donation to the cause.

I arrived home, made a nice cool vodka/bitter lemon, and sat down for a spell.

On a humorous note, after six hours and forty five minutes of cooking, Christine and I still didn't have anything ready for dinner.

We had a plan though.

I won a nice six waffle Cuisinart waffle maker Saturday night at a charity event.

There was a nice package of bacon in the fridge.

We're both big fans of having breakfast for dinner.

So that's what we did.

Sort of a reverse Sunday FunDay.

With a good deed thrown in.


Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Air Traffic Mike Versus Green Beans

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Yesterday I drove out to my favorite produce stand.

I was in search of a bushel of fresh Lima beans.

Sadly, it's still just a little too early for local Lima beans.

Disappointed, I walked around to see what else looked good.

At the far end of the stand there was a big pile of Green beans.

They looked fantastic.

A bag of them would not do.

One bushel of fresh South Jersey Green beans later, I was home.

It's a dreary rainy day here this afternoon.

I looked at the bushel then looked at the sink. With hopeless optimism, I attempted to dump the entire bushel in the left side to start the rinsing process.

It was obvious I was going to need a bigger sink.

Seeing as how installing a new sink would take too much time this afternoon, I'm opting to handle these in two very large batches.

I have no idea how many freezer bags this is going to take.

Not that it really matters.

What matters is that when the cold winds of January come, Christine and I will have a nice touch of Summer in every bag.

Now if all y'all will excuse me, I've got some serious blanching and bagging to do.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.