Monthly Archives: July 2012

~ Humdinger ~

Isn’t that a ridiculous word?  It almost sounds dirty.  “Humdinger.”

“Hey, my Humdinger itches.”

“Well for gosh sake, if you scratch it, be sure to wash your hands!”

I was trying to think of a word to describe the thunderstorm we had last night, and ‘humdinger’ was the first word that sprang to mind.   Why ‘humdinger’ describes a large quantity of electrically charged particles during a storm is beyond me, but I am thoroughly enjoying using that word again and again and again.

Humdinger.

(and again.)

Last night My Captain took me to Alexanders for dinner since he didn’t get to take me for Rib Night on Wednesday. I tell you, he’s a keeper, that man is.

I just LOVE how they greet us with carbohydrates right off the bat at Alexanders.  And not just any carbohydrate.  Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits.

And it was served alongside some kind of molasses sweetened whipped butter.

And you wonder why I’m fat.

(Then again, maybe you don’t.)

While we inappropriately gorged ourselves on those, Chef Smallwood fried up some good ol’ southern green tomaters for us.  But, being Chris Smallwood, he couldn’t just leave it at that.  Oh no…he had to top those puppies with Pickled Corn and Tomato Salad and Seasoned Shrimp.

And for an appetizer, it wasn’t exactly a small portion, either!

Seriously, this would have been enough for dinner.

But then, we took a bite from our plates (because, of course, we are gluttons and each ordered our own plate,)

…and there was no going back.  This picture doesn’t do the color justice.  The cherry tomatos were the brightest, happiest orange color I’d ever seen. The shrimp were so tender and flavorful.  The tomatoes were perfectly fried and crunchy.  And the salad dressing on the corn and tomato salad was tangy and salty and sweet all at the same time.

I sound like some kind of annoying, condescending PBS food aficionado when I say this, but Chris’ Fried Green Tomatos really truly are a masterpiece.

It was a lot of food…still, we smacked our lips, rubbed our bellies, and hunkered down for the main entrees.  My Captain, being the manly man he is, predictably chose the Barbecued Meat Platter.  It consisted of a slow smoked beef brisket and carolina style pork.

Mmmm.  Juicy.  Tender.  Gone in a plaque-encrusted-artery minute.  He chowed down.  Oh, and don’t forget the Southern Greens….smothered in a vinegary dressing…and yes, those are enormous chunks of bacon you see in amongst those Vitamin laden greens!  Wonderful!

I, on the other hand, went healthy.  (ahem. cough.)  I ordered the Crispy Tofu Country Captain.  It was so dang delicious, you’d never suspect it was healthy.  Fried tofu chunks, crazy flavorful veggies, and served over toasted almond rice…watching me eat it, you’d have thought I was from California and my true name was Bunny.

It was good.  It was dang-tootin’ good.

For my sides I also chose the Southern Greens, in addition to Overnight Slaw.

I figured I needed something to push those biscuits through.  (Really, Mama?)

We were full.  Uncomfortable-unbutton-your-top-button-Full.

We’re talking bust-a-gut full.

So I ordered desert.

Homemade White Peach and Ginger Ice Cream.

It’s appropriate that the photo is out of focus, because we were so gosh darn full we couldn’t focus either.

Here’s the thing.  All of this, plus a spiffy/Yuppy/microbrew beer for My Captain, and the bill was STILL under fifty bucks.  Explain how these guys stay in business?! I have been to restaurants a whole lot less delicious, or generous with their plates, and spent more.

I have to confess something else now, too.  I’ve bullied Chef Smallwood into considering competing in The Food Network’s show “Chopped.”  He hemmed and hawed.  But I think he would be fantastic.  Any man who puts ginger in White Peach Ice Cream on a whim could hold his own on “Chopped”.

So here, dear friends, is my request to you:  PLEASE, pretty pretty please, will you go to Alexanders and taste Chef Smallwood’s food, and if you agree with me, ask him to come to your table (he will…he’s an affable kind of guy!) and tell him to send in an entry for “Chopped.”  If enough of us urge him to, maybe he will!

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~ No Dinner for Mama ~

We were going to go to Alexander’s Restaurant in Buckeystown tonight for Chef Chris’ smoked Rib night.   I was so stoked!  I even started salivating a good 24 hours in advance.

And then My Captain got the call for Overtime.

And my salivary glands dried up.

After they cried.

Because who ever heard about eating family style ribs alone, for heaven’s sake?

My Varmint and Critter are with their daddy tonight.  It was hard to say goodbye to them when he picked them up.

It’s very quiet in this house right now.

It’s a very sad night indeed.  No Ribs.  No Captain.  No munchkins.

….Did I mention No Ribs?

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~ Hot Hot Baby! ~

I was bragging about how fantastic my bacon and cheese stuffed jalapeno halves are today.  Frankly I do that a lot…I brag about my cooking as if it somehow absolves me of my gluttony and excess.  Today I was going on and on and on about how good my stuffed jalapeno are.

You see, I mix creamed cheese, shredded cheese, dill, and chopped, cooked bacon.  Then I halve and seed jalapeno (from Lewis’ Orchards…and they were beauties, let me tell you!) and I stuff them with the cheese mixture.  Then I crush Ritz crackers, add some melted, salted butter, and top each pepper with that.  And then I bake them into submission.  It’s a thing of beauty.

And I bragged along the way.  Each blessed step I sang my own praises.  I belted out to all who would hear what a lucky family they are to have me for their personal chef.

I only heard one or two muffled snickers.  And fortunately rolled eyes are silent.

And then….

(I hate ‘and thens’….)

I had my ego properly deflated.

While I was bragging ad nauseam, I was throwing the jalapeno pepper seeds and pith into the sink garbage disposal.  I turned the water on, and flipped the switch…as I’m standing right over the sink.

The Jalapeno Pepper slurry below kicked up some serious aerosolized BTU’s if you know what I’m sayin’.

Don’t know what I’m sayin?  I INHALED Jalapeno Pepper Spray, homemade in my own sink.

I have raised some heartless children, apparently, because as I coughed and gagged and wheezed and cried…

they laughed.  No, laughed doesn’t cover it.  Chortled.  Gufawed.

My Captain was silent, but smirking.

***sigh***

But hey, those were darn good stuffed peppers.

(Mama’s Cooking Ego: deflated, but Intact.)

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~ Lunch with My Sweetheart ~

My Captain fought a fire from 10:30 last night until the wee hours of the morning and then went back again later this morning when the same homeowner saw some smouldering ash and panicked again.

My Captain’s shift, 31C, and the crews from surrounding stations made what is called a good “Knock”.  They stopped the garage fire from taking the entire house.  A valiant effort was made by all, and it was a fantastic save!

That was last night.  Then this morning, he traveled over to another fire station where he is riding on the Tower (the big ladder truck with a bucket at the top) for 24 hours.  My Captain has his nose to the grindstone, he does!

Why does he work so hard?

1) The county needs people to work!  We are short on medics and officers, especially in the summer months when people take time off to be with their families. He feels a duty to his fellow citizens to make sure they are covered.

2) We, like the rest of the country, are struggling to make ends meet and he is wise to make hay while the sun shines.

3) He loves his job.

4) He probably needs frequent breaks from a goofy wife.

5) He doesn’t know how to relax and let moss grow under his feet.

So we took Sunday Brunch to him today, Varmint, Critter, and I.  We took Steak and Eggs in Red-Eye Gravy, Southern Greens, and Bean and pickled watermelon rind salad.

No, I didn’t cook all of that.  I actually ordered and picked it up from Alexanders, in Buckeyestown.  I figured it would be different from the Dunkin Doughnuts meal he was probably going to partake in if we didn’t bring him something.  ( I didn’t say healthier, I said different.)

I didn’t take a picture…he wolfed it down too fast.

I may not be able to help his sleep-deprived state, but no one, NO ONE, will ever be able to accuse me of letting My Captain go hungry.

While I was paying the bill for My Captain’s Steak and Eggs to go, Chef Chris came out and informed me that this Wednesday he’s going to be serving Ribs, family style at Alexander’s in Buckeyestown.  He smokes it himself.  He slow cooks everything himself.  He is the KING of Southern in this part of the county.

So….

guess where I will be Wednesday night?

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~ Camping in the Wild ~

We decided to break in our brand-new, extra-spiffy, huger-than-huge tent last night.

We bought it for our upcoming trip to Glacier National Park with the kids later on this summer.   My Captain and I, being exceptionally Scout-Ready kind of people, decided it would be wise of us to make sure we:

1) know how to set up the new tent.

2) don’t have any tears or rips in the tent.

and

3) can comfortably fit both the munchkins and ourselves in the tent without anyone getting squished.

So we took ourselves and our gear to the wildest spot in Dickerson, Maryland that we could find….

Grandma Jane’s Orchard.

And we set up the tent.

It went like this:  My Captain, Varmint and Critter, did the work, and I took pictures and read the tent’s set-up instructions from the comfort of my Zero-Gravity Camp chair.

Not because I’m a sloth.  Not because I like to sit while others work.  I sat because my @#$^^$#!!! Knee still won’t work right. It keeps giving out on me for no good reason, and I’m in constant pain.  (But that is another story altogether.  And hey, aren’t we all tired of hearing about it?)

But on a happier note, my pretty pink toenails were cute as a button, if you ask me.

Oh, you didn’t?  Sorry.

Anyways, they did a great job.

I mean the family, not the toes.

What struck me most was the fantastic camaraderie they shared while they worked.

They showed tremendous teamwork.  Each person willing to do their best. (Would you just look at those adorable little piggly-wigglies?)

Would you just look at his gorgeous hind-end?  Man! I love that guy!

They finished, feeling flush with pride and excitement for sleeping under the stars.

And our new tent was enormous…three whole rooms…each kid got their own compartment, and My Captain and I took the center room.

And we slept like the pioneers in the wilds….the wild of Dickerson at Grandma Jane’s Orchard….where the bathroom was only a short jog away.

And the Fridge.

And her TV.

And internet.

And the phone with the number for Kristopher’s Pizza Delivery on the speed dial.

I just LOVE roughing it!

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