Sunday, April 15, 2018

A bonus day, reluctant gardens, and adequate meals

A bonus day because I had two book reviews and a guest blog up today. Felt like a real celebrity. The reviews of Murder at the Bus Depot are at Dru’s Book Musings and The Musings of a Book Addict  The guest post, on why I’m an indie author, was on Bookbrowsing I hope you read and enjoy these postings.

Otherwise, it’s been a nonentity kind of a weekend. The weather turned cold Saturday, as it did last weekend—I guess Mother Nature has something against weekends. Saturday morning, I woke up to discover a large branch had fallen in the night—I think we had unexpected wind, though I sure didn’t hear it. Jordan dragged it into a corner, with me cautioning her (yelling, she said—do you believe that?) not to crush the turk’s cap which has grown tall and sturdy.

The uncertain weather has confused my small vegetable garden. The lettuce is doing nicely, and I’m about to make my first wilted lettuce salad. The onions are meh, and the basil seeds remain tiny greens specks. Every day I ask Jordan if she’s watered them, and she says she has. I think they’re reluctant to poke their heads up much for fear of a chill.

My weekend cooking was not the great success I would wish. I had ordered organic, fresh-caught seafood from a new site and decided I’d make salmon cakes with the one can of salmon I got. Then I had an inspiration—instead of cracker crumbs, I’d use the salt-and-vinegar potato chips that were getting stale. Sort of okay but not great. I couldn’t tell for sure if I didn’t like the salmon itself or if it was the potato chips. I could definitely taste the potato flavor. The next day I mixed a pattie with a whole lot of mayonnaise and liked it better. But I think the potato chip experiment was a dud.

Never being one to do things halfway, I also made squash casserole using those chip crumbs. In that case, I think they made the casserole too dry. So the next night I tried to fix it by adding a good hunk of butter and some white wine. Much moister, but mostly I tasted wine.

Tonight’s Sunday dinner wasn’t a lot better. Jordan and Christian are following that Whole 30 diet, which really hampers my cooking experiments. I decided to make round steak cooked in beer—as I wrote a few days ago, butchers no longer cut round steak. And I looked on a Whole 30 website and found that you can’t even cook with alcohol. So I decided to wing it. We bought a cut of meat the butcher suggested—I think it said Tri Rump—and I seared it and cooked all afternoon in onion soup, then slid potatoes into the pot about an hour and a half before we ate. Couldn’t thicken the gravy because none of the thickeners are on the Whole 30 approved list—so I took some out for them and thickened the rest with cornstarch. A medium success. The meat was not as tough as I feared, though by no means tender. The gravy was flavorful—sort of. Certainly not one of my best meals. A whole lot of the gravy went into the freezer to make the base for soup next time there’s a cold spell.

As Christian left the cottage, he said “Thanks for a wonderful meal.” I told him I didn’t think it was wonderful—only adequate.

I think this is a weekend I’m glad to put behind me and head into a workweek. My new manuscript is off to the editor, and I’m going to focus on my cookbook. Hope this weekend’s cooking wasn’t an omen. Instead, I’ll take my heavy web presence as a good omen.

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