Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes, Volume 10


 In case you missed it, here's how I make Summer Spaghetti.  It's a special pasta dish that should ONLY be made during the summer months, passed down from my mother-in-law.  It's super-easy and delicious.  Check it out!


I spent last Saturday in Northern Virginia with my brother and sister-in-law.  (OH, guess what?  They're expecting their first baby!  Jenn is almost five months along now, and she's starting to show, and she looks fabulous.)  We don't have a Trader Joe's in my neck of the woods, and Jenn took me to theirs.  Oh, my.  I want one.

I got all this--there are TWO packs of gluten free pasta, by the way--plus a bouquet of flowers for $41.   That's the wine they used to call "Two Buck Chuck;" except now it's $3.29.  And the chocolate chip cookies?  You wouldn't guess they were gluten free.

We met Joe and the boys that evening at Nationals Park for a game.  The Nats beat the Altanta Braves, 5-2.  Woot!  (And I thoroughly enjoyed my loaded nachos and Redbridge beer from the gluten free kiosk, which I told you about in this post.)


The other night when I needed to find something quick to cook for dinner, I pulled out this.

A friend gave me a subscription last Christmas, and I'm sorry to say I haven't taken advantage of it much.  I chose this recipe for tuna melts:


Start to finish:  10 min (really it was like 20)
Makes:  4 servings (I adjusted the recipe to make more)

1 pouch (11 oz.) light tuna in water.  (I used three 7-oz cans)
1/2 cup each finely chopped celery, cucumber, and red onion (Joe doesn't like celery so I just put in a whole chopped-up cucumber)
2 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise (we put some aside without mayo for egg-allergic Moe)
4 ciabtta rolls
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

1.  In a small bowl, combine the tuna, celery, cucumber, onion, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juices, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

2.  Place rolls on a baking sheet.  Spread each half with tuna mixture; sprinkle with cheese.  Broil 2-3 in. from the heat for 2-4 minutes or until cheese has melted.

(adapted from Taste of Home, Aug/Sept. 2012, p.47)

Delicious.  I had mine cold over some chunks of fresh, local heirloom tomatoes.


My friend and around-the-corner neighbor and her youngest daughter have their own cooking show on You Tube!  They call themselves "Two Peas in a Pod."  Here's Pam and Paris' latest episode, in which they make a yummy fruit pizza.

I finally subscribed to their channel, "twopeasinapodcooking."  I don't really subscribe to channels, so it's a new thing for me...


So what am I reading these days?  Two books: the e-book I'm reading is Outlander, the first in a seven-part series by Diana Gabladon.  It involves history, time travel, Scotland, and sex.  Once I'm finished I might tell you more about it, and whether or not I'll plan to tackle the next six books, most of which are extremely thick. 

I'm also reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  That one is an EXTREMELY interesting chronicle about the history and sources of the different foods we eat, from government subsidized corn  to industrial feedlots to the booming organic industry to small family farms to hunting and gathering.  Reading it has renewed my determination to buy local and make things from scratch whenever I can, and I want to learn more about the Slow Food Movement.  And you know what?  Cooking is so much more fun when you know where your food comes from.  (Once you learn how a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation works, you may never want to eat steak or burgers again.  Unless they're grass fed, of course.)


Speaking of small farms and knowing where your food comes from, I ran across a video not long ago that the North Carolina Farm Bureau produced about a wonderful summer camp I worked at years ago called GwynnValley.  It has its own working farm, the kids help plant and harvest the food, milk the cow and the goats, feed the chickens, and gather the eggs; and it all ends up on the table.  And they don't use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  I can remember the farmer standing up during lunch or dinner every day and announcing with enthusiasm which cabin picked potatoes today and how many pounds, and that the broccoli on your plate was brought to you by such-and-such cabin who had picked it that morning; and everyone responding with loud applause and cheers.  From what I can see in the video, the place hasn't changed much, and that's a very good thing.  (Except Dale didn't have a single gray hair when I worked at Gwynn Valley...)

What we never told the kids was that the brown cows grazing in the distant field were the source of the burgers they ate on their cookouts; and that this year's contented pig would become next year's bacon and sausage.  And they were all delicious.


 I try not to bring politics or religion to this blog.  And reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and relishing memories of idyllic farms and pastures makes me kind of averse to fast food, but these past few days have put a certain restaurant chain front and center in everyone's mind.  I'm sure you've heard about all the hoo-ha surrounding Chick-Fil-A restaurants, and how the CEO voiced his support for traditional marriage, and now all these supporters of same-sex marriage are calling him a bigot and accusing him of spewing hate (yeah, right; check out what Rosanne Barr said) and demanding that people boycott the restaurant.  The mayors of Chicago and Boston have vowed to keep Chick-Fil-A out of their cities, and the Muppets walked out in a huff. 

Earlier this week I took the boys to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  They were selling "I Heart Chick Fil-A" t-shirts; next time I might just buy one.  No one should be bullied for having an opinion, not even the CEO of a corporation.  (Here is where I insert a disclaimer:  The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of our favorite author, Nicholas Sparks, to whom this entire blog is devoted.  I have no idea what Nick thinks of all the Chick-Fil-A uproar; and frankly, I don't really care.  I won't quit buying his books if he happens to disagree with me.)

August 1 has been declared "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day."  I hope they get lots of business that day, and for many years to come.

And that's my soapbox speech for today.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.  Have a great weekend; see you at Chick-Fil-A!

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