Tag Archives: Garden & Gun

John Knox: Shaken, Not Stirred

Image“I meant to make a Presbyterian last night,” Michael announced one Saturday morning, “but then I fell asleep and I forgot.” Since I have positive feelings towards Presbyterians in general and am extremely fond of several Presbyterians in particular, I was quite unsettled by this Frankensteinish statement. Michael saw my shocked face and gestured to the coffee table. “It’s a drink.” Aha! A “Presbyterian” is the name of a cocktail in a recent alcohol-soaked issue of Garden & Gun featuring a chilled silver cup of Mint Julep on the cover. According to G&G, Presbyterians are made of bourbon or rye with ginger ale. Sure they are. Other offerings include a Dark & Stormy, with dark rum, ginger, and other secret ingredients, and a Spicy Shrub Paloma, with tequila, lime, and expensive-sounding things. This one looks cool and refreshing, and is topped with a big bunch of sage. Check ‘em out here. No lightning bolts required.

ImageWill Spring Ever Get Here?

I don’t think I’ve seen this much snow in one winter since we lived in Kentucky. Every year, I say that I won’t be ready to dig a garden until we have at least one snowfall. Well, I have been so ready for so long! We’ve had several snowfalls or ice storms that were significant enough to keep us housebound for a couple of days, although we have been fortunate to avoid power outages, unlike some of our co-workers.

Now that it is officially, legally spring, the Bradford pears are desperately trying to bloom, but the gray skies and cool temperatures were making it tough. We finally had an almost sunny morning yesterday, so I stopped to take a picture of these Bradfords, standing all in a row, valiantly trying to push those blossoms out. Since it is forecast to be in the seventies this weekend, I was starting to feel hopeful about that gardening.

Then I got to work and someone said: “Did you hear that we’re supposed to have ice and snow again Monday night?” It makes me want to push the blossoms back in for another week.

You Promised: No Island

ImageYes, David and I are the last people on the planet to watch the series Lost. So many people talk about it without explanations that I started to feel as if I were missing a chunk of cultural literacy. Happily, it is available everywhere, so we ordered up the first season from Netflix, but before we started watching, I asked Michael, “This isn’t one of those shows where they land on a deserted island, and people get voted off the island each week, is it?” He replied, “You’re thinking of Survivor.” So I felt better.

First episode: A plane crashes on a deserted island. Hey, wait! Michael said, “Give it three episodes.” So we did, and we really like it. No one gets voted off the island, although a few people have died, and there are surprises all the time. Each episode highlights one character’s back story, so we’ve gotten completely tangled up in everyone’s lives. We’re at the end of season one, and we look forward to season two, right after…

House of Cards! Since everyone is talking about this now, I thought we’d get our cultural literacy in a few years earlier this time. Michael assures me that I will not like it, because it has too much profanity. He’s usually right about these things, but don’t tell him I said that. I’ll let you know. For those of you who, like me, wondered if it was only on Netflix streaming, I can tell you that season one is available on disc, too. Queue up, as they say in Britain.

Turns out that our new knowledge was gained not a moment too soon. Now that there is another jet—I mean, a real jet—that has gone missing in the Pacific, everybody is talking about Lost again! This time, I can just nod sagaciously and make cool remarks. Of course, it’s like being on the other side of the television show, as if we’re the people looking for Jack and Kate and the gang. Since I don’t know how the show ends, I won’t compare too closely, but I do hope we can find the real plane.

ImageEven Boomers Are Geeks

My husband called me on my office phone this afternoon: “I’m in the Wal-Mart parking lot, and I can’t find an email or text with the grocery list on it.”

“I didn’t send you an email or text with the list.”

Silent confusion on the other end.

“I said it to you. “ Pause. “This morning. At breakfast.”

“Oh!” Pause.

Me: “Do you want to hang up and I’ll text it to you?”

“No, I guess you can say it and I’ll write it down.”

Remember notepaper tacked on to the fridge with magnets? Not any more.

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Filed under Family, Life's Travails- Big and Small, Men and Women

OPR: Other People’s Recipes

I had an extra day off last weekend, so I did a bit of successful cooking and thought I’d share. One of these recipes is just in time for your Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. But first, let’s start off with a Southern classic.

ImageMy husband, David, is a big fan of pimento cheese. Now I’m assuming, first of all, that you already know that the only acceptable brand of pimento cheese to buy is Palmetto Cheese. Using anything else would be like using some other mayonnaise besides Duke’s: insane. So, now that we have your store-bought items straightened out, we’ll move on to homemade. Every once in a while, David gets a hankerin’ for homemade pimento cheese, and the best all-around recipe we’ve found is, of course, from Garden & Gun magazine. You can access the recipe here.

ImageDoesn’t it look colorful and fresh? Be sure to grate your own cheese, rather than using a bag of pre-shredded cheddar. Companies put additives in shredded cheese in order to keep it from sticking together, and you don’t want your beautiful pimento cheese spread to be full of cellulose or potato starch.  Do use the spring onions instead of substituting chopped yellow onions. The flavor is slightly different, and the green bits are so much more appealing. There are two different heat-producing ingredients, but don’t skip either one! Just moderate the quantities to taste.

ImageNot that I would ever admit to tasting it, but when David put this pimento cheese on one of Melissa McGhee’s (“Satisfying Eats,” left) cheesy biscuits with a slice or two of bacon—Oh, my! Don’t tell your cardiologist.

Melissa McGhee posted a new recipe for Irish Soda Bread—grain-free, of course!—last week, so I tried that, too. Her recipe can be found on her website here, and be sure to “like” Satisfying Eats on Facebook for new low-carb, healthy recipes all the time.

ImageSince Irish Soda Bread is traditionally a quick bread, you will not miss any yeastiness in this loaf. I am used to a plain soda bread, but this one has a couple of special touches. Melissa has added caraway seeds and raisins, although I have to admit that I did not have raisins on hand, so I used dried cranberries, which I “chopped” by placing them on a cutting board and running my chef’s knife through them a few times. Next time, raisins! I also smashed the caraway seeds around in a mortar and pestle for extra aroma and flavor. They really added a lot to the bread.

ImageHere is the finished loaf, which I baked for 26 minutes, and it was nicely browned. It was smaller than I expected, as you can see here on the cooling rack, so if you have a large family, be sure to bake two. They are very simple to make. The texture is very much like traditional soda bread, and with the raisins, it was almost scone-like. We had the leftovers with breakfast the next morning, as a matter of fact. This bread will definitely be an addition to our St. Patrick’s Day meal!

I have really enjoyed Melissa McGhee’s first cookbook, above, in the past few months. My favorite recipe is still probably her cheesy biscuits, but a couple of weeks ago I tried her “Famous Cheesecake,” and it was just fabulous. For a cheesecake, it was also pretty easy.

I hope you and your family enjoy these two low-carb recipes in your house, too! Let us know how they turn out.

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