Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 2010

Volume 6 Issue 6

*** Random Thoughts

I had vacation head. We got in from Charleston, South Carolina around 8:00 p.m. on Memorial Day. The next day at work I was sluggish and slow-moving, like my mind was still half in Charleston.

My mind was here, kind of, but my feet were still walking down cobblestone sidewalks and side streets, on our way to a low country cooking class or to pick out a t-shirt to bring home to our son or ambling along, taking photos.

You know how you feel when you’ve been on a boat all day and you walk around on dry land and it feels…funny? And when you’re trying to get to sleep at night you could swear everything is moving, just the way the boat on the water did? That’s what I felt like.

That Tuesday morning before going to work, I made a salad and chopped up some strawberries for lunch. I felt like I was in a dream state, slowly slicing the strawberries. I was still on Charleston time. I was startled when I sat down with a bowl of cereal and saw it was already 7:25 a.m.

That was the difference – the time. For several days before, the only time we got in a hurry was on evening when we thought we may be late for our dinner reservations. Food at the Peninsula Grill was worth hurrying for.

Otherwise, we walked a lot, browsed, stopped and talked, ate when we felt like it, and slept until we woke up. All my routines and schedules that I crave and enjoy so much went away. It was a nice change of pace, one that I relished. But it’s so good to be home.


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*** Great Quotes

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June." - L. M. Montgomery

"This is June, the month of grass and leaves . . . already the aspens are trembling again, and a new summer is offered me. I feel a little fluttered in my thoughts, as if I might be too late." - Henry David Thoreau

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." - Margaret Atwood

*** Fun Food Idea

Years ago I was at some food conference a woman with the national turkey organization (whatever it was called) mentioned that more turkeys are sold in the summer than in other time of year. That little factoid stayed with me because it was so surprising. I would have thought most were sold around the holidays.

If you’re grilling, smoking, or roasting a turkey, have I got a recipe for you. This is a brine you marinate the bird – turkey breast, whole turkey, or hen – in overnight or for 12 hours.

The recipe is one we saw on the Food Network last fall.

The original recipe is for brining and cooking a 14- to 18-pound turkey. We marinated and roasted a hen using the same method. Below is the adjusted recipe we made this weekend:

3 quarts tap water
1/2 pound kosher salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
Bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled
7- to 8-pound hen, cleaned, innards removed
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lemon, zested

In a medium pot, bring 1 1/2 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat. Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly (and carefully!) pour the boiling water over the salt. Stir to blend.

Add the molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme and garlic to the salt and water mixture. Stir to blend. Add the remaining 1 1/2 quarts of cool water. Pour the brine in a cooler or bucket large enough to hold the brine and the chicken.
Submerge the hen, breast side down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with the liquid as you are submerging it. Cover and allow the bird to sit in the brine overnight or for about 12 hours.

Remove the bird from the brine and dry it thoroughly with thick (absorbent) kitchen towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine. Whisk together the butter and the lemon zest. Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the chicken and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin. Repeat with the other breast. The butter will add extra moisture and richness as the bird roasts.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put on the lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the bird taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Photo here.

In the Kudzu Kitchen:

I linked to the recipe for Parmesan Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts from Ezra Pound Cake’s blog. It’s one of my new favorite side dishes.

Summer Citrus Shrimp is something Jeffrey came up with last year and we’re enjoying it again this summer.

Birthday cake!

*** Pass It On

If there’s someone you think would enjoy this newsletter, please forward this issue in its entirety. Email me at kudzuuu at gmail dot com to subscribe.

*** Hit the Highlights - a few choice blog posts from last month:

After our wedding anniversary trip to South Carolina

Happy anniversary

Twilight time (not referring to the vampire books or movies)

How the weather should be

Home is where they listen to your music

It can happen

Gardening 101

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*** Shameless Bid for Commerce

“Keetha DePriest Reed's "More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections and Recipes from Growing Up Southern" is part cookbook, part collection of wonderful essays on food, family and growing up Southern and altogether great fun…

I would very highly recommend "More Culinary Kudzu" to anybody who enjoys good food and good writing as well as to anybody who wants to find out more about the South. As for me, I only have one question left - how do I get invited to one of their family reunions?” – review by ReaderViews.com

*** Recommended Reading

I’m typically late to the party, which is how I’m just now discovering Barbara Kingsolver. I love her novel Prodigal Summer. I borrowed it from the library and will probably get my own copy. I’m already looking forward to re-reading.

If you have bored teenagers underfoot this summer, Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick is a good one. It’s a young adult title, which I don’t normally read. I enjoyed this book. It’s very positive without being preachy or boring.

Books I read in May.

*** Adorable Thing My Child Said

I don’t know how “adorable” this is but while watching a commercial for LifeAlert, he said:

“That’s what you need Mommy!”

I glanced and the screen and said, “Oh, no I don’t.”

“Yes, you do,” he insisted.

I leaned toward him. “Let me assure you of something. I most certainly do not need LifeAlert.”

He opened his mouth to respond.

I said, “Probably you should not say another word.”

*** Mississippi Writers Guild

The Mississippi Writers Guild sponsors writer workshops, conferences, writer retreats and reputable writing contests. Membership dues are only $40.00 per year. This year's conference is August 6-7, 2010 in Vicksburg.

The Mississippi Writers Guild is a non-profit association of writers from all over the state and is a growing part of Mississippi’s literary art landscape.

*** Calendar

June 14 – Flag Day

June 20 – Father’s Day

June 21 – Summer Solstice

*** Reminders and Unsubscribe Info.

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