Just Enough Coals, Plenty of Water and Some Really Old Produce – It’s Tamaring Time Again
*Thank God It’s Tamar Day
Dinner’s so simple, so delicious after a bit of tamaring.
As I told you last week, it has not been for lack of food. Our Tomato Mountain CSA provides much succulent local produce, and a wife who’s job puts her at farmer’s markets, leads to even more food to use. The problem has been the will to eat local. I lacked the energy, the will to make better use of our local bounty. I put tamar on my to-do list. I put it on again. I made it one of my three wins for the day, an exercise in agile productivity. Last Wednesday, the morning after the weekly CSA box arrived, I made an appointment with Ms. Adler.
Starting as she says to start, by setting a pot a-boilin’, a heavy hand with the salt. Except I did not start with any vegetable. Instead, recognizing a potential flaw with life-by-Tamar, I wondered if my locavore life was being hampered by supplies weighed vegan. That what was casting me a drift from local eating, was not enough meat. Still, with the way the various members of the local family are eating, it made little sense to roast a big joint. Instead, I needed something else to provide protein. My wife, the Cookbook Addict, the vivacious Condiment Queen makes the best hard boiled eggs. Yes. I kid you not. No better. Could I, with her advice, duplicate that feat? I will say that my yolk was 48 seconds too long from her deftness, but overall it was a fine start, and a fine start to Tamarday.
I had plenty of water to work with, and I used it for Swiss chard, but I wanted to use charcoal too. We had planned on a Father’s Day BBQ, a week or so earlier. This event got canned as ComEd* blew something in our back alley, squashing half the power in the Bungalow, including the half that covered our stove (but thankfully not the half that covered our upstairs our downstairs fridge/freezers). I put the sirloin I planned on making back in the freezer but kept a taste for potatoes on the grill. With asparagus in the house giving me enough leverage to light a chimney’s worth of coals, I had a plan. I used my rolling pot of water to start the potatoes. I cooked several bunches of asparagus first.
I had all the water I needed. I used more charcoal, and more time at the charcoal, than I expected between my asparagus and my potatoes. The cooling grill ended this Tamarday early, ending my idea of roasting these parsnips and carrots we had lying forlorn in the Bungalow. It did give me the push to tamar again. A few days later, I got to work. I set the pot a boiling, doing another round of chard, blanching (and later freezing) a whole ton of sweet peas, and using that now tasty water to make a bag of brown rice. In the large, round pan, I sauteed onions as a base for braised kale–the cooking after taking the time needed to well wash the chard and de-stem the kale. And I turned on the oven. It was not that hot, was it.
I made it. Fixing up parsnips, old sunchokes and just as old carrots before they turned to moldy-mush. Local thyme, dried and olive oil was all they needed. A strategic slice of cucumber here, a round of our romaine lettuce there, and it’s been very easy, again, to be a Local Family.
*Speaking of thank god’s, thank god I called Phil the Electrician and not any ol’ electrician. When half the electricity went out, I assumed it was something broken in our box. First thing Monday, I called Phil. When he heard how much electricity we lacked, he declined a visit. He accurately surmised the problem was on ComEd’s end, saving us the cost of his time.