Not My Mama’s Catfish……

 

Spiced catfish, braised greens and cheesy grits with poblano pepper.

There are some foods in my life that I don’t eat because of past experience, poor expectations or dietary sensitivity. Cat fish falls I to the poor expectations category.

During World War II, my father was stationed in Ft. Leonardwood, MO and my mother was there. I remember during my childhood my mother talking about her experiences there. She talked about going to the farmers market and buying catfish. It was alive when she took it home in a bucket. She talked about how it was a bottom feeder and had the flavor of the muddy Mississippr river. We never had it when I was a child.

So, it was a shock when I liked it. Granted, I didn’t have to kill or filet the fish.  I think it was farm raised and the muddy taste was not there.  The grits had cheddar cheese and cooked poblano pepper added. The collard greens were braised.  The meal was above average. I do thank Blue Apron for introducing me to another new food.

Dinner Winner: Carmelized Meyer Lemon Spaghetti 

 

Carmelized Meyer Lemon Spaghetti

This is one of the dinners I got from Blue Apron this week.  In the past, I have not paid attention to vegetarian dishes. There have been so many past potlucks where I have eaten vegetarian dishes that have been tasteless.  As I am learning, anyone can produce tasteless food but to me it was more obvious in what I have eaten of vegetarian food in the past.

First, this dish was easy to make. Secondly, the taste was fantastic. It was normal spaghetti but the layers of flavor added to the spaghetti made it something to remember and put it into the food I will make again file.  Meyer lemons are in season in the winter and have a sweeter, more vivid taste than normal lemons. After deseeding  the quartered lemon, it was marinated with some sugar and cut into eight pieces. I had zested the rind for two teaspoons of zest.

The base of the dish was cooking the marinated lemon, three cloves of garlic,  a thinly sliced shallot and some crushed red pepper for just a bit of heat.  The smell coming up from the pan made my mouth water. The recipe called for toasting some panko breadcrumbs with a garlic clove.  I added the cooked pasta to the lemon mixture with some butter, the lemon zest and some pasta water and mixed it all up.

When I added it to the plated dish, I topped it with the toasted bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. It was like music in my mouth.  The lemony pasta with a hint of sugar and garlic topped with the crunchy toasted breadcrumbs.  The Parmesan added especially to the great smell and the parsley added a note of a fresh flavor.  This one is definitely one I will do again.

Tale of Two Dogs

 

Bonnie 5/5/2015


On May 8, 2015, I put my animal companion, Bonnie, to sleep. She had been by my side for over 15 years. In 2014 her health began to fail. The failures were slow at first and by the beginning of 2015 the failures were obvious. She could no longer jump up on the bed. She began to have more accidents in the house. I have been feeding her a special diet since 2006 because of her digestive problems. She was no longer eating well. In February 2015 I took her to the vet and the vet told me that I would know the time when I would have to stop her pain.

I was still seeing the very young dog in my mind that was living with me years ago.

Bonnie on the run, 2004

I took her for her last walk in the park before going to the vet. On the way home, I thought no more dogs. I spent the afternoon cleaning the house of doggy paraphernalia. I vacuumed and tidied up to make sure there were no signs of a dog. I no longer had to cook a special diet. I didn’t have to run some places to be home to make sure she was OK. I was more or less free of responsibilities for anyone other than myself.

I slept in the morning and stayed out later at night. After a while I realized that sleeping later in the morning was because it was hard to get out of bed in the morning. The summer of my freedom was the most depressing summer I’ve ever had. I was able to visit my son out of state with more ease. I spent more time cooking for myself that I did for the dog. And the freedom wasn’t as great as I thought it would be.

In August, the owner of the kennel, Stacy where I usually boarded Bonnie called to ask if Bonnie was OK since she hadn’t heard from me. I gave her my sad news about Bonnie. She had known Bonnie since Bonnie was a puppy and she was genuinely sad.

In early September, Stacy called me and said she knew of a dog that needed a home. The original owner had to go to assisted living. Her son took the dog but did not like the dog and renamed the dog Oscar.  The dogs’real name was MissyLu. I hadn’t planned on another dog but my life without a dog was not very happy. I agreed to go take a look at this dog. So I went to a home in another suburb to take a look at MissyLu. She was a quiet, sweet senior dog. The people who had her said their infant grandchild made her nervous.

After looking at her papers I realized she was 11. I thought I may have gotten something I really hadn’t planned on. MissyLu turned out to be a real surprise. She is not your average 11-year-old dog.

Missy Lu Sept 2015

She reminded me of my first dog, Holly.

 

Holly and Marsha 1950s

Missy Lou is all terrier. I took her home and she made her self  quite at ease. We both adapted very quickly. She loves my backyard and all the squirrels.

 

  
 

Meet MissyLu, my wonder dog, and a new joy.

MissyLu Nov 2015

Jazz in Paradise, July 26, 2014

20140804-155742-57462300.jpg
This was the setting for a jazz concert. It was a part of the Mayflower Jazz Series hosted by Maxine Michaels. It was in a magnificent backyard which included several decks on the house, a fire pit. walkways through the woods filled with local flora and fauna including deer, a meandering stream, places to sit and just enjoy the surroundings.

20140804-160112-57672941.jpg
The concert itself took place in front of a massive tent which was erected over a basketball court. There were other tents for beverages light refreshments and vendors. All the food and beverages were complimentary. The weather was perfect. It was easy to just sit and enjoy.

20140804-160441-57881143.jpg
Left to right as seen in this picture: Vincent Bowen(sax), Marion Hayden(bass), Rqmona Collins(vox) and Michael Jellick (keys). Also present and not see in this picture were Dwight Adams(tpt) and Gayelynn McKinney(drums).

The musicians were all well known in the Detroit area. The music was very good and in that environment was so relaxing. The musicians played for a set and during the intermission, a guest singer, Sydney Ellis sang several songs including “Summertime”. The song tends to be so over done that he here have been times when I have just left a venue during a poor rendition. This offering was so good the song was a fresh again I my mind.

20140804-161511-58511929.jpg
Sydney Ellis and Mike Jellick. Marion Heyden, bass, was also playing.

After the music stopped for the break, I wandered around the grounds. I got up to the house decks and enjoyed the view( the second picture). The decks had quit a bit of seating and had enclosures with mosquito netting. The only distraction during the evening were the various bugs that chose the audience for dinner. I followed the meandering stream back down the hill.

20140804-163308-59588859.jpg

20140804-163310-59590214.jpg
By then, the sun had set and the paths were lit so walking in the uneven grounds were not a problem. I got back to my table just in time for the second set.

The second set went well and I was feeling so good as I left or the evening after the set.