May was a long long month...
This is kinda how it went -
Work - bitch bitch bitch
Gardening - too much rain, bitch, bitch, too little rain, bitch, bitch, dead plants, bitch, bitch, bitch
Cooking - too busy, bitch, too hot, bitch, too damn lazy
Thank goodness that month is over - maybe I can get a fresh start on things...
To start June off on the right foot, I took a trip down to the North Market to meet up with some of my fellow bloggers and to buy some produce.
First was some strawberries. I have been waiting a whole year for this. I can only hope that in the next couple of weeks we can get a big bucket of these beauties and make some first class homemade jam. I am sick of flavorless, overly sweet commercial products. I've almost given up on buying them...
Next - asparagus. These babies are slated for the grill tonight....
And lastly some Swiss chard - I have to confess, I had never eaten Swiss chard until two years ago. I saw some at the Farmer's market with it bright red stems and bought it just for the way it looked. Then I had to figure out what the hell I was gonna do with it. (Thank you Joy of Cooking - you saved my patootie once again!) I loved it so much I grew some last year but this year I decided I had more important things to grow and will just buy it fresh from the market.
With summer coming into full bloom, I was really tickled to have Lisa, Dave and Lorence meet me at the North Market for a quick gab session. It amazing how many bloggers there are in Columbus now. I will be hitting my two year mark here in July. Dave's been making beer and grillin' since 2003, Lorence has been in his kitchen since 2005 and Lisa has been a widow for about two years now. (Becke over at Columbus Foodie keeps an ever growing list of bloggers on her site - so stop by occasionally to see who is joining the ranks.)
We had some tasty strawberries with Dave's wife and daughter while we talked about beer making, chemical additives in food, growing gardens, child rearing, among other stuff - I have to say, these guys are just pretty darn nice, intelligent and good looking to boot. If you blog here in Columbus and are interested in getting together sometime later in the summer, let us know. We don't bite much.
So after my inspirational visit to the market, I decided to grill out for the first time this season as well. It was awesome - the hubby said it was the most perfect meal I had made in months...and he doesn't gush over things easily...
So what hit the grill?
Thick cut pork chops, thinly sliced potato packets and fresh asparagus from the Farmer's Market. I like being to cook everything on the grill when the weather gets hot.
The chops I brined - with so little fat on pork these days it just drys out too fast. My brine for this recipe: 2 cups of water to 1/4 cup kosher salt, the juice of one lime, some garlic and onion powders plus some fresh ground pepper. I cheated big time and used about a 1/2 cup of hot tap water to dissolve the salt, then added the other spices. I then proceeded to top off the rest of the liquid with cold tap water. I tossed in the chops and refrigerated them for about two hours.
The asparagus-I stuck them on skewers, brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled on some kosher salt. Threw them on the grill while the chops rested. Awesome. I have decided to eat veggies as simple as possible these days.
The potato packets - I used to make these all the time. Not a new idea, I've seen them called hobo packets - and have also read about them being used in camping. The reason I decided to try them again? I got me a real cheap mandolin on the clearance rack. A whole $2.50. Damn near broke the bank. Sure its a cheap peice of crap, but take a look at how thin you can get things like potatoes...sweet!!
Here is how you make your potato packets.
1 large potato per person
A medium onion
oil - olive or veggie
non-stick spray (if you have it, not really essential)
Seasonings: seasoned salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne or anything else that strikes your fancy
heavy aluminum foil
Peel your potatoes if you like and slice them on the medium setting on your mandolin. That is about an 1/8" for those of you with mad knife skills.
Do the same to your onion.
Now get out a nice large piece of foil - make it wide enough to hold a double row of potato slices.
Coat with non-stick spray or brush on some oil.
Lay down a layer of potato slices slightly overlapping as in the picture.
Now top with some of the onions, and some of your seasonings.
Now another layer of potatoes. Top with more seasonings.
Now bring together the two long edges of the foil and roll them together to seal the edge. Roll up on of the short ends, and then dribble in about a teaspoon of oil into the remaining open end and seal the packet.
I usually put the packets on the grill first. They cook fast - the potatoes are done when the bottom layer is lightly browned and you can poke a fork into the potatoes.
That's about it - it's one of those "make it up as you go" kinda things.
Ok - time to put the nose back to the grindstone...