Farmers Market Strawberries (and Shortcake, and Morels, and Salad)

Like a month ago now (maybe more?) we went to the farmers market here in Overland Park for the first time. We bought strawberries and morels and greens more stuff, and went home and had a most fabulous dinner. We cooked the morels, added them to pasta, had a light greens salad, and made strawberry shortcake (with really whipped real cream). And I took pictures.

Strawberry shortcake, yo

Strawberry shortcake, yo

Introducing the Pringle

Over breakfast this morning, while looking through the newspaper ads, my seven-year-old son asked me what a Pringle was. I explained, and we discussed why they come in a cantube, instead of in a bag like normal chips, but there’s nothing like experiencing something for yourself.

So today, while I was at work, I bought one of those little cans of Pringles.

Their first Pringles

Their first Pringles

We shall see what he (and his little brother) think of this.

The intricacies of Crystal Light

Crystal Light bit

As a result of the South Beach diet we’re not really on, I have been drinking a lot of Crystal Light lately (yay, Aspartame!).  I flirted with Crystal Light a number of years ago, mostly with the “Natural Lemonade” flavor (which is far from natural, but pleasantly sour and cloyingly sweet, btw), but we’re drinking the whole Kool-Aid, as it were, this time.  There are a number of Crystal Light flavors available, as well as the pseudo-healthy vitamins/energy/herbal tropes that seem to be squeezing water off the $2.00-a-bottle shelf.  So we’ve been doing this for about four or five months now, and a thing I noticed right at the beginning has only now crystalized (if you’ll allow me that pun) in my mind.

While each individual Crystal Light package is the same size (a little foilish tube) they are filled with different amounts of powder for different flavors.  That is, I would have expected a fake flavoring change to involve just changing the “flavor crystals,” but it appears that they have to change other stuff, too, enough that the Blueberry White Tea tubes are packed to the gills, and the White Grape seems to have just a puff of dust in it.

There are intricacies to the making of Crystal Light that I had not previously suspected.

To wit, from the boxen:

Flavor oz. per packet
Natural Lemonade Flavor 0.14
Natural Blueberry Flavor White Tea 0.12
Berry Splash Artificial Flavor Hydration 0.09
Peach Iced Tea Artificial Flavor 0.07
White Grape Artificial Flavor 0.05

So, the Natural Lemonade has almost three times the powder of the White Grape.  I leave it to you to ruminate on the implications of this for world peace, party unity, and/or the future of the packaging industry.

Speaking of the packaging industry.

We’re in diet detox

This weekend we went to Borders, here in town, and bought two South Beach Diet books (the Book, and a cookbook).  In reading the Book of them, it became clear to us that we eat too much of some bad stuff, mostly refined sugar and processed carbs.  Or, as I like to think of them, Pop Tarts.

So, on Monday, we began the South Beach Diet.  Here’s the gist.  For two weeks—what they describe as detox—you eat no refined sugar, and no carbs.  All salad, lean meats, eggs, and a wee bit of cheese.  Then, after those two weeks, you start to re-introduce your body to the good stuff, a little bread, a little pasta, maybe a little sugar, here and there.  Everybody online says the first three days are hard.

And I’m here to tell you: hell yeah.  I’m not hungry, mind you.  The fridge full of romaine, boston lettuce, bell peppers, celery, scallions, and tomatoes sees to that.  But I feel… unsatisfied.  Tiffany described it as the feeling she has when she drinks a lot of water, and I know exactly what she means.  Like I’m full of nothing.

Plus, I really miss is the time I used to have to… I don’t know, do anything but cook.  The SBD is full of good green stuff, which means it costs a hell of a lot at the store, and we spend every waking moment preparing food.  Mornings used to be about pouring cereal.  Now we actually have to prep the night before, and cook the morning of.  And while dinner is not much more work, after dinner is the killer.  We used to put the kids down and then do some work (during the semester Tiffany always brought work home), have a snack, maybe watch some TV, pay bills, catch up on email… now we put the kids down and we cook.  In addition to having just cooked a dinner, we now wash the dinner dishes, make lunch for the next day (last night we cooked shrimp, cut up salad, made jello, and would have made a dressing from scratch, but we gave up), prep anything for breakfast (last night we cut up mushrooms), and then wash dishes again.  And by then it is 10 pm or later, which means we go straight to bed or we stay up and get five hours of sleep.

Something is going to have to give.  We’re going to try our best to hold on these first two weeks of detox, but it had better get easier.

Oh, and two results to report so far: In about 58 hours so far on the diet, I’ve lost 1.5 pounds, and pooped zero times.  I’m sure you needed to know that.

Making dulce de leche

I come from Argentina, where dulce de leche is a sweetener, an ice cream topping, a pancake spread, and oftentimes a snack by the spoonful.  There are many reasons I am not going to make my own dulce de leche this way, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t!

Honest Ade Reviewlet

So, I finally had some Honest Ade, by the Honest Tea people.  I wrote about it a while ago, but had not found it locally.  Now I have, and I was a bit underwhelmed.  Fruity water.  If I’m paying that much for a drink, I need it to be extra flavorful, so I don’t think I should have just had water.  Next time I’ll stick to the Nantucket Nectars in the same display.

Just the fish

I approach the deli counter at our local grocery store (which is, admittedly, in Nebraska), after having hunted in vain through their display cases.

Me: “Excuse me, do you have any lox?”

Guy: “Uh.”

Me: “You know, lox, like for bagels.”

Guy: “Do you mean, um, like padlocks?”

Me: “Whu?”

Guy: “Um.”

Me: “No, like smoked salmon.”

Guy: “Huh, well, um,” he looks at his displays hopelessly, “Maybe you should try the meat counter,” he gestures over to the land of pork, beef, and chicken (and pale, undernourished seafood).”

Me: “Okay, thanks.”

Mmm-mandoline

We bought a mandoline yesterday. I was planning on going to Williams-Sonoma, since we have a gift certificate, but I got a wild hair while I was at the grocery store, and I bought one (next door, at Linens-n-Things). It’s the Oxo one.

We used it last night to thinly slice a cucumber and an onion. It was heaven. Plus, the whole thing is dishwasher safe! But watch those blades, they just might be the sharpest thing we have in the house, and we just got our knives sharpened.

I hope to make crinkle-cut potato chips just as soon as I am able.

Wine Day Celebration

The wine box haul Every year for a while now, my father has sent a case of wine to Tiffany at the end of the year/for Christmas. He picks the twelve bottles himself, though sometimes some of them are multiples (if he really likes the wine, I suppose). This year’s case arrived today, and here is the haul:

Year | Wine | Grape | Region, Country

1996 Château Labégorce Lédé – Bordeaux – Margaux, France 1997 La Bastide Dauzac – Bordeaux – Margaux, France 1997 Chateau Langoa Barton – Bordeaux – St. Julien, France 1998 Les Bruliéres de Beychevelle – Bordeaux – Haut-Médoc, France (2 bottles) 2000 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Bartavelles – Rhône – Châteuneuf du Pape, France 2000 Château Gloria St. Julien – Bordeaux – St. Julien, France 2001 Castello Banfi Cum Laude – blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Syrah – Montalcino, Italia 2002 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo – Cabernet Sauvignon – Chile 2002 Navarro Correas Colección Privada – Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina 2003 Trapiche – Cabernet Sauvignon – Mendoza, Argentina 2004 Crios de Susana Balbo – Rose of Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina

I think Tiffany would be happier if I drank wine, because then we could enjoy it together. As it is, she has to take it to parties, or wait until someone visits. I shall have to consider it.

The family that eats strange meat together…

I was born an Argentine, and somewhere on my passport (the expired Argentine one) it says in fine print that I must eat meat, or I’ll lose my citizenship. Argentines eat a lot of meat, and when it comes to the cow, they eat most of that, too. Empanadas (roughly translate as meat turnovers), blood sausage, beef kidneys, sweetbreads, stew, matambre (stuffed beef roll), and bone marrow on a cracker. Among others.

Tiffany, bless her, is a Midwestern girl when it comes to beef. She grew up with steak, usually on the grill, with some kind of sauce. On one of her first trips to meet my parents, she was offered the aforementioned bone marrow on a cracker. To her credit, she tried very hard to like it.

This all came to mind when, yesterday, I got her to try a little of the chicken liver that came with the whole chicken we were roasting. She knew she wouldn’t like it, and I knew she wouldn’t like it, but I like liver so much that I thought maybe she should try this particular bit of liver, and I can only imagine that she likes me so much that she thought maybe she would try this particular piece of liver. She bit it off and chewed and smiled and I came back inside. And a few seconds later she rushed in and spat it out into the sink.

I do love her so. She doesn’t need to eat all the strange meat I do.

I can always eat liver with her mother (or my family, but that’s a given).