End of season

Summer officially ended some weeks ago, but there are aspects of summer that are just now beginning to fade.  I think we might still have a few more warm days in store.  Even so, we’re entering a whole new phase of autumn.

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Stuck in a rut

I’ve been stuck in a cooking rut lately.  You’d think that wouldn’t be possible given the plethora of food available now.  I try to buy local when possible and right now local is a bountiful harvest of choices.

To give you some idea of how stuck I am, I made the above vegetarian version of German potato salad twice in one week.  Twice!  Granted, I like it and don’t mind eating it practically every day.  But I’m not sure M feels the same way.  He likes variety in his diet.  (The photo, by the way, is a little on the yellowish side, making the dish look cheesy.  There is no cheese in it.  It’s the lighting in the kitchen that brings on the yellow.)

(Pasta with broccoli rabe.)

I also have a variety of choices when it comes to cookbooks, recipes collected, and tastes.  M and I are adventurous eaters to some degree.  The caveat has more to do with me than him.  I have this thing against all things slimy.  Snails in particular, but there are other slimy choices that didn’t and still don’t appeal to me (steamed okra, for instance).  That said, I will try things (even slimy things) because it doesn’t seem right to me to give up on whole food groups (in this case the slimy food group) just because I didn’t like that sea-abalone-and-Chinese-mushroom dish that we had twenty years ago.  Tastes and palates change if you’re open to that change.

(Fish taco, bean & barley salad, fresh asparagus, and an IPA.)

But back to the rut.  I have decided to do what most people do when stuck in a rut (no, not watch the Food Network — I don’t have cable, remember?).  I have a good collection of cookbooks so I’m going to open one every week and randomly pick a recipe from the chosen cookbook.  Not to worry.  I won’t be copying the Julie and Julia thing.  I’ll be using different cookbooks rather than following one.  There was a time, almost a decade ago, when M the Elder, M the Younger, and I took turns picking out one new recipe per week to try.  We were on an ethnic kick, wanting to try foods from different countries.  My favorite at the time turned out to be Ethiopian even though the spice mixtures were labor intensive because I had to work with a mortar and pestle, not owning a food processor or coffee grinder (which has since been remedied!).  I burnt out a borrowed blender trying to grind the spices and it seemed best to do them by hand after that.

The cookbook I’ve decided to pick from this week is the  Colorado Cache Cookbook: 30th Anniversary Edition.   M the Younger and Merdi gave it to me last Christmas.  (Cookbooks are always good gifts for me and I have several on my Amazon Wish List.  Truth be told, almost ANY book is a good gift for me but I do have a special place in my heart for cookbooks.  They are slices of history, moving through the various food fads and fashions.)  As for which recipe, you’ll have to wait and see as I haven’t decided for sure yet.  I have it narrowed down to three possibilities.  I’ll let you know which one I choose and how it turns out.

In other news…

The Queen Anne’s Lace is beginning to bloom in the wildflower meadow.  Here, I’ll show you:

It seems early.  I could be wrong.  I should go back and look at my blog posts from previous years to see if I mention it.  I know I’ve posted photos of it either here or over there, at Bountiful Healing.  Ah yes, I found it and have decided to revive the old post:  Sanctuary.   Head on over and have a look.  I’ll wait.  The original was posted on July 17, 2008 so I’m right and the Queen Anne’s Lace is a little early this year.

(A view of the pond from the ‘standing stone’ on the eastern edge of the property.)

I wrote about the standing stone way back when, too.  You can find it here.  Just scroll down past the whining about the job I am happy to say I no longer have.