Sunday, February 2, 2014

Food and flowers...

I tend to get into a bit of a lazy rut with cooking. After a day of work I come home and do something easy. Toss some marinated meat on the grill, steam a vegetable...toss together one of my favorite casseroles; supper is often a not-well-thought out affair. But other times I am on task. Recently I cooked up a batch of spicy Mexican yummyness called Beef Barbacoa. We found the recipe on a web site called The Skinny Cook. It wasn't difficult to make, but it was something different, out of the ordinary for me. I was using ingredients and techniques I was unfamiliar with, like canned Chipolte chilies in Adobo sauce and tossing broth and veggies in a blender and whirring them into oblivion.

About an hour after I got the meal going in my wonderful new crock pot, I noticed my eyes were watering and my sinuses were giving me fits. Yup, this was a spicy batch of stuff I had going.

Then I decided this meal would be awfully tasty in a nice tortilla. We didn't happen to have any tortillas here, and I didn't want to go out to the store to get any. I looked up a recipe for home made, and it looked simple enough to whip up a batch, so I did. The recipe I found was on a site called What's Cooking America, and had nice pictorial instructions. Friend Megan came over for supper, and she handily cooked the tortillas on our cast iron skillet after I rolled each one out.

The three of us sat down to a plate stacked high with soft, warm, tender tortillas and a bowl filled with meltingly tender meat. We laid that spicy meat in the middle, added a bit of sour cream and some grated cheddar, and oh! it was delicious. Sinus clearing, but delicious! We decided that store bought tortillas, while convenient, are merely vessels to hold food, while homemade ones are an amazingly tasty treat. And here is a good thing; a batch of dough makes a lot. I cooked up enough for one meal, and stored the rest for the next night, so our leftover meat had fresh, warm wrappers. The recipe says you can freeze the dough, as well, which would be very convenient. It was fun to expand my cooking skills a bit, I plan to try similar creations in the near future.

This time of year, when winter seems never ending, I find that a quick side trip to a local nursery buoys my spirits. Yesterday after work I popped into the Green Thumb. The air inside is rich with the aroma of growing plants, moist dirt, and a hint of wood smoke. It is feast for the nose! My eyes didn't suffer, either, as I gazed upon row after row after blooming plants and lush foliage.

I came away with a bright pot of Cyclamen, and a brown paper bag of Narcissus bulbs. I will tuck them into a pretty bowl full of pebbles and they will lift my spirits as I watch them grown and blossom, perfuming the air with the scent of life and promising that spring will come again.

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