Cooking for Fun

Yesterday was a cold, rainy day, I was tired. Probably mostly emotionally, buying a car is hard work. The big chore was buying art class supplies. This means a trip to harbor freight; home of the really cheap tools. Bought some really fun stuff. I now have an xacto knife set with 27 different blades, a set of wood crafting tools, and best of all, a tool like a soldering iron that has 20 different heads including xacto blades. This tool helps with sculpting wax which is used for bronze molding. Make a wax sculpture, but a mold around it, and the melt out the wax. Pour the metal into the mold, and voila, garden art is created. If it really turns out nice, perhaps the metal sculpture will be allowed into the house. But I’m expecting my first few pieces will be enhanced by proximity to real flowers.

In honor of the cold wet day, I decided to cook a big stew. What was amusing is the list of things Kate said were not allowable: no mushrooms, eggplant, tofu, or other strange vegetables. No oyster sauce, worchester sauce, plum sauce, curry, or other spicy seasonings allowed. Can’t use the blender. No milk, cream, or butter allowed. No leftovers. Nothing fancy or strange, in short make it a classic safe stew. So I modified my mom’s classic baked stew recipe (see bottom of blog post for the recipe) and made enough food for 20 people. Added in a cabbage salad and “brown & serve” sourdough bread for a simple but great meal.

With Kate’s friend Olivia, Maggie, and the grandparents, we had seven people. That meant some leftovers. So guess what Kate, I blended the leftovers into soup. Anyway, back to dinner. Because Maggie will be leaving in a couple day; we got out the nice china–second best, the stuff that can go into the dishwasher. Finished up the meal with the last of our Sumatra coffee and the last of the Jo-Jo’s from Trader Joes. We’ll have to wait another year before enjoying the peppermint, peanut butter, and ginger holiday cookies. And we’ll have to make a trip up to Los Angeles to buy the costco roasted sumatra coffee — best coffee ever and really cheap. They don’t sell the coffee in San Diego county because the fire marshall shut down the in store coffee roasting.

Overall a good evening. The amusing part was taking Kate and her friend Olivia to a school dance. They were wearing shorts and flip-flops in the rain. Evidently it gets hot inside the auditorium / gymnasium. Got to drive Maggie’s new car. I like that car, it’s fun to drive and right now is nicer than my new car (with 100K miles). Best of all, there is no dog hair or dirt on the car seats. The previous owner was a little old lady, not from Pasadena, but from San Juan Capistrano. It appears from carfax, she did take care of the car; at least regular oil changes appear on the records. So with a little bit of luck, Maggie should have this car for many years.l

Robine’s Baked Stew
1-2 cups of the following vegetables, cut into big chunks (note, vary the list based on personal preference and what’s in season. I usually use at least 2 cups for each)

Brussels sprouts
Other root vegetables as desired

3-4 Bell Peppers, preferably different colors, cut into chunks
1-2 pound(s) italian sausage cut into chunks (I like the turkey basil version)
2-3 pounds of chicken cut into biggish chunks (last night I used 2.3 pounds of pork roast instead)
2 pounds or so of potatoes either halved or quartered depending on size
1-2 big yams (if wanted, they will get very soft)

Put all the ingredients into a large roasting pan. Add salt, pepper, and herbs. Fill the pan with water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 1.5-2 hours at 375 degree’s f. When the potatoes are soft, dinner is done.

Serve it the first night on a platter. You can also put leftovers aside for a second dinner on a platter. Or you can use the remainder to make a huge blended soup. Just make sure that all green vegetables are removed from the remainder. With the liquids and any remaining pieces of the stew, you are going to make a wonderful blended soup. Using a mix of 1/2 solids and half liquids, blend the ingredients. If you don’t like the color of the mixture, microwave 1-2 jewel yams for 5 minutes or until really soft. Blend those into the mixture to make a lovely orange colored soup. Add seasonings and spices to taste. You can add grated cheese and grilled bread similar to a french onion soup. This mixture freezes really well into individual portions. I take it to work often, pulling a container of frozen soup in the morning and leaving it on my desk until lunch time.


Author: Heres to ART not Cockroaches

Welcome to my life. My life as a mom is changing as the kids grow up, leave home, and build their own lives. This gives me a chance to rebuild myself as an artist, develop a spiritual path, and most fun of all, start going out on dates with my husband. Come here the stories about the small things in life that can make one very happy. Dogs running on a beach, great breakfast dates, kids and their adventures, and my own adventures in this wacky life. I'll share some of my progress in learning art while juggling a full time job as an engineer. And best of all, it's a chance for me to practice writing stories while keeping in touch with my kids. I look forward to hearing from you. Comments, thoughts, and invitations to meet for coffee are all welcomed. Enjoy the stories.

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