(Panning for Strawberries)
By Aloysius Bromely Giantside
A fact that always surprises me — when it isn’t a surprise to others — is that I grew up going on odd family vacations. My mother and father didn’t agree on much, being in a politically mixed marriage (not unlike that of James Carville and Mary Matalin), but one value they shared was the importance of adventure, generally put into practice by digging for treasure. As icky of a business as this happened to be at times, I suppose I can count myself lucky for having had little room for ‘engagement’ with the television and the street fighting video games so popular among others of my age.
(‘Wookie Doo-Wop’, or ‘Why I Stop Worrying About Not Watching Television’)
For better or worse, the only thing that I do remember being allowed to watch was a VHS of the Star Wars Holiday Special, which I believe was meant as a preventative measure against what might be my addiction to the moving image. Likewise, our digs left me averse to dust, ducats and desiccation. Instead, I developed a keen taste for the simple hydrating pleasures. On the sly, I would use my tools to forage for cactus pears, returning to the camp empty handed and full of the stomach.
One day, having suffered from heat stroke during the previous day’s dig, I was allowed to be left at the motel. Having just finished reading my copy of Watership Down, I reluctantly turned to face the television, suspecting that there was only one thing to be watched on it, but not minding, all the same. I needed to escape the nausea, confusion and lockjaw symptomatic of my condition that day, so I approached the box and turned it on. I flipped from channel to channel, but there was neither celebration of ‘Life Day,’ Wookie living room nor low-budget star cruiser chase.
As I searched fruitlessly for the familiar, I stumbled upon a program in which a young agrarian Princess Leia was in the company of a what seemed to be a Wookie and a Droid. I cried aloud, “this must be it!” In the end, it proved to be far more entertaining, though I will confess to having been put off by the whole concept of ‘ruby’ slippers. If I had wanted to see shiny things, I would have been out in Death Valley with the rest of my family.
I must preface what happened next as a case of my hunger getting the best of me. The verboten quality of what I was seeing on television, added to the association of food and treasure that was already present in my mind made me believe something I now know to be quite mad. Not only were ‘Farmer Leia’s’ shoes made of strawberries, but I was certain that I might get to them.
You see, I had been warned during one of the first family viewings that Bobba Fett would escape from the rear of the television and carbon freeze me if I misbehaved. If this were true then the inverse must be as well. My hand made it’s way to the rear of the television and my body followed…
The rest of the story is only known to me as told by my parents, who found me plank-like on the floor next to a screen full of static snow, muttering an endless flood of, “strawberries… strawberries…” They saw no error in their judgement, seeing all parts of their master plan complete; they had created a young person with a fear of the television, an aversion to material possessions and a passion for succulent fruits.
Luckily for me, strawberries are being offered at a steep discount these days. I don’t have to dig, forage or sweat for that sweet ruby taste. I just stroll over to my home away from home, Earth Fare.
2 POUNDS OF FRESH STRAWBERRIES FOR ONLY $3.
*With a $10 purchase.
Give cashier PLU# 80131
Valid 3/5 - 3/9/14.
Get more REAL DEALS here: earthfare.com
Savory Beef Stew
Author: Lynda from Southern Kissed
1 – 1 ½ lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 ½ lbs bag fingerling potatoes, washed and cut into 1″ pieces
1 (1 lb.) package baby carrots
1 can petite diced fire roasted tomatoes
½ cup cornstarch, divided
3 cups vegetable broth
Place enough olive oil to lightly coat large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper to season; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally.
In a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker, layer potatoes and carrots. Add browned beef and top with tomatoes.
Combine ¼ cup cornstarch and 1 cup of vegetable broth and whisk until smooth. Add to beef drippings in skillet over medium heat and whisk until it begins to thicken. Add an additional cup of broth and continue to whisk until well blended. Pour gravy over tomatoes and beef in slow cooker.
Cover; cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.
Before serving, blend ¼ cup cornstarch with 1 cup of vegetable broth. Stir into stew. Cook on HIGH, covered, 10 minutes or until thickened.
Find the story behind this recipe and more on the Southern Kissed blog here!
Get 2 pounds of Fresh Strawberries for Only $3!
$10 purchase required - Get your coupon at EarthFare.com.
Valid thru 3/9/14.
Red Tea Poached Pears http://cookingstoned.tv/recipe/red-tea-poached-pear/
I doubt there is anything more elegant than a poached pear. I just love them because, well, most fruit-based desserts are more everything else other than fruit, such as pies or cobbler (not that I don’t indulge in all that butter and sugar). But poached pears are about pears, plain and simple. I poached these in red tea only because I wanted to use something other than wine. The mulled roobios tea worked out perfectly! Spicy, rich and full of flavor… the syrup is divine; tasty on pears and your lover!
- 4 Bosc pears
- 6 Cups Water
- 6 Tablespoons Roobios Tea, loose leaf
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 20 pink Peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 Vanilla Bean, halved and scraped
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 orange slices
- 1 lemon peel
- 2 Cloves, whole
- 3 allspice berries
Now through April 18, 2014, every Friday is FISH FRIDAY, with excellent deals on a weekly fish selection.
Today we’re hauling in flounder, that flat fish perfect suited for fish tacos and a fish and chips dish.
Freaky Flounder Fact: Flounder have, like, 16 eyes. They have the average two eyes - which interestingly are both located on the left or top side of their body, since they hang out in the lower depths. They also have over a dozen fake eye spots, meant to confuse any predators that might come at them. That’s a freaky fish!
*Come in today only (2/28/14) for $7.99 per pound flounder. Get your coupon here.
by Aloysius Bromley Giantside, Resident Smarty Pants
For someone who has no less than 2 towers of stacked books in his home—not for lack of other bookshelves, mind you—I do not take the idea of going paperless lightly. It should be duly noted that Fahrenheit 451 is among my favorite novels and, like old Ben Franklin, I keep meticulous notes in all of my book margins… for posterity. To put it simply, I like to feel things in my hands, be it a deck of playing cards or a first edition of Wuthering Heights, I simply can’t quit paper—at least, not completely.
As a longstanding member of the Wildlife Conservation Society, I also place a high value on trees, and I see no reason for them to be downed in order to bring my electricity bill to my mailbox. The same goes for what used to be my coupon purse. Get your laughs in. You wouldn’t be the first to laugh at the idea of my carrying a coupon purse, but we all know who will be chuckling on their way to the bank with the amount of savings I’ve accrued over my lifetime.
The point to be made is that I did not cease to carry my coupon purse as a result of any peer pressure. I can hardly even be honest in saying that it was for the trees, though my prouder side wishes to put that story forward. No, it was simple economics. A year ago, I would have alerted you about your madness if you were to inform me that I could replace my purse full of neatly folded pieces of paper with a phone application that magically updated itself with savings. Alas, there is no madness to speak of, only the joys of parsimony and preservation.
To share my minimalist exhilaration by a fireplace with me, follow the link below to download a paperless purse of your very own.