11 August 2014

I did a food thing!

 We're eating kinda weird at Casa del Goose lately.  We're trying to use up anything we wouldn't want to greet us after a two-week absense.  We don't want anything crawling out of the fridge and attacking the house-sitter.  This had led to a few interesting concoctions such as Mac and cheese with leftover spaghetti sauce and a can of ro-tel stirred in (pretty good).  
As I was prepping for the mower today, I noticed that my first big gorgeous tomato had fallen off the vine and onto the sidewalk.  It was perfect and lovely and very, very green. I set it on the counter, wondering how long it would take to ripen. 
As suppertime rolled around, my thoughts turned to fried green tomatoes. The local CSA posted a recipe last week for FGT sliders with coleslaw. It looked wonderful, but I used up my cabbage in boiled dinner on Saturday.  I figured I could think of something, and went to the internet to learn about FGT. Minnesota is hardly a bastion of southern cooking.  The only thing we're south of is Canada.  I looked up several recipes and sought out the common themes.  Most called for a roll in seasoned flour a milk or buttermilk egg wash, and a final dredge in cornmeal or crumbs of some sort.  One genius called for bacon to be fried and the tomatoes to be cooked in the grease.  with two elements for BLTs now present, my wheels were turning.  We had a French bread on hand with little round slices, so BLFGT sliders were born.  
Several sites noted that the moisture from the tomatoes could be problematic to the flour sticking well, so I sliced the tomato about 1/4" thick and salted it lightly to leach out fluid. Then I started the bacon in the trusty cast-iron skillet (the recipes universally called for cast iron. Smart folks).
While those were busy doing their thing, I set up my dredge.  I seasons flour with garlic powder and a hint of white pepper. My buttermilk was frozen, so I used a milk and egg wash. For the crumb, I went to the freezer, where our tortilla chips go to die when they get too small to dip or go stale.  I tossed a couple of good handfuls into the food processor and let 'er rip. 
Once the bacon was done, I augmented the grease with a small splash of veg oil. 
I ran the tomato through the dredging gauntlet, then waited impatiently for the golden brown to happen. 

When all wa said and done, I assembled the BLFGT with only a scant swipe of salad dressing. 
They did not disappoint.  That little hint of sweet with the sour tomato and the salty bacon was really good.  They tomatoes crisped up nicely.  Not bad for a first run.  

07 August 2014

Exercising futility

     Well, hello there you few poor stragglers.  It's been awhile, I know.  Every time I come back to Blogger, I have renewed intentions of writing more consistently.   You'll note, it's been mostly a biannual exercise in futility. Facebook and Twitter are terrible for writing stamina, encouraging shorter blurbs and pithy remarks rather than content and reflection. I am hopeful of a better run this time, though.  I am renewing my intentions to practice what I preach when it comes to writing.  Although the nature of the beast here is certainly more informal and conversational than academic writing, it's a way to limber up before the heavy lifting, so to speak.
     I have finally completed my second license in ESL, and am merely waiting for the state to sign off on the new license, or cash the check, whichever comes first.  This means I am currently finished with graduate classes, at least for the time being.  I may eventually decide to complete an entire MS vs. the licensure only option, but I need a break.  Wrapping up meant a couple of weeks of student teaching in the "new" content area, so just about the time summer started, I was back to work again.  When I finished that, I wrapped up all the paper- and portfolio work, and lo and behold, it was July.
     I had a couple of weeks scrambling to work on a Shakespeare project, then began slowly heading back to my classroom to get organized and ready for the upcoming school year, which begins the day after Labor Day.  I needed a bit of a head start as we are now less than two weeks (Holy crap, did I just say less than two weeks? I did.  ACK!) from our two-week trip abroad to Scotland and Holland.
Last time we went, we spent much of the trip telling each other, "Next time, we have to bring the kids." We weren't expecting "next time" to be quite so soon, but Karlijn, our second Little Dutch Girl, is getting married, and we wanted to be there.  As we hemmed and hawed over costs and possible itineraries, we noted that her wedding year coincides with Scotland Homecoming, a promotion which occurs every five years, and that the coinciding Clan Macdougall gathering (iPastor's maternal clan) is the weekend before her wedding.  A quick search found it was actually slightly LESS expensive to fly into Glasgow and back out of Amsterdam than a round trip.  I'm sure it was a serendipitous glitch in fares, which bounce unabashedly, but we're completely taking advantage of it.  And yes, this time, we are taking the kids, plus Thing 2's boyfriend, who's been around for five years and totally counts as family at this point.  So, we will spend a week in the area near Oban, Scotland, then fly to Amsterdam and spend much of our time near Utrecht, Netherlands.  Then we will come home and immediately get caught up in the festivities surrounding the wedding of iPastor's stepbrother.
     This format feels much like a letter to distant but fondly-remembered friends, which it very much is in many cases.  I will do my best to write more often and post pictures from the trip.