AUGUST 15, 2012–SUMMER STIR FRY
There are days I am thankful The Hunni isn’t home. Days I am so glad he has no idea how lazy we are. How we sleep in late, stay in our jammies, and accomplish nothing.
And August 15 was such a day. A lazy summer day. A day of neighbors and summer foods. Join me in my laziness. Feel free to stay in your pajamas. I did.
It was a two latte morning. If there had been doughnuts anywhere near, it would have been a two donut, two latte morning, but unfortunately I don’t have a good doughnut place.
My neighbor Prison Guard Mom brought over a Tupperware container of home-grown tomatoes.
Then finally, I decided I should cook some lunch. Hot Hummus and Veggie Wrap for me. Quesadillas for the kiddos.
With a free afternoon, I decided to cook up Pioneer Woman’s SUMMER STIR-FRY (pg. 174). I had several Summer Veggies on hand, so I started to chop them up. 2 zucchinis, 2 ears of fresh corn, 2 types of grape tomatoes, some garlic, and slice a lemon in half.
Sauté the garlic for a bit, then throw in the shrimp. (Click here to learn more about why shrimp cooks to pink.)
Remove the shrimp from the skillet (you can leave the garlic in), and then. . .
Add all the vegetables you diced and sliced.
When the Summer Veggies are have just cooked, add some salt and pepper and squeeze on the lemon juice.
Load everything on a platter and ring the dinner bell, or yell, or do whatever you do to gather in the troops.
I called for dinner but no one came. I looked out my kitchen window,. . .
. . .and saw that Little Man was stuck in the play shopping cart. It was fun to watch the kids work together, so I just hid behind my basil leaves and watched.
I served the Summer Stir-Fry over dirty rice and with extra lemon. Dirty Rice is a Cajun dish. Since my mom is from New Orleans, she cooked some Southern dishes. True dirty rice has ground liver sautéed with what Cajuns call the “holy trinity”–fried bell peppers, onions, and celery.
Zataran’s boxed dirty rice doesn’t include the liver, but uses soy sauce to give the rice the “dirty” color. But you can also made Dirty Rice by sautéing up the rice in a skillet that has already been used to brown some meat (or in my case shrimp and summer veggies.) Sauté the rice in the “dirty” skillet until the rice browns a bit, then add the water. It is like cooking rice in a gravy. The rice absorbs the meaty flavors and tastes great.
The next day, I served Dirty Rice with Summer Stir-Fry again.
Only this time I ate it on my neighbor’s front porch while we watched the rain fall.
It was a heavy summer rain. The kind they get in the mid-west. A soaker. With a little lightning, thunder and long drum rolls. Thunder storms are magnificent things to watch, smell, and hear. Growing up, I remember sitting on the porch swing during several mid-west summer storms. We would count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the crack of lightning to see how far away the storm was. (5 seconds = 1 mile) Since my father is a farmer, we grew up loving rain, and storms, and the watering of the earth.
In a summer lightning storm, you can smell the ozone in the air. It smells electric. You can also smell the earth–it goes from a dusty smell to a rich smell. And you can hear the thunder roll. Thunder rolls sound like the mountains. A thunder roll is a mountain of sound.
Mrs. Thelma and I just sat and watched the rain. We ate together companionably. She was quiet, but I just thought that she was in awe of the summer storm.
Scout called from across the street and I headed home, never knowing that I had just said “good-bye” to Mrs. Thelma. Two days later, she was hospitalized for the first time. A series of visits to the hospital proved that she no longer could stay at home alone. And when I visited her she had changed. She seemed just a shell, not the Mrs. Thelma we had known for 8 years.
. . .and the thunder rolls.
Have you every said a good-bye without knowing it?