What I Learned This Week: #182 and #183

Monday, February 8 – Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Week in Cramming: I was drafting out #182 of this here blog last Monday afternoon when I got an email from the member in my book club who is in charge of setting up our Zoom meetings, giving the information for “tomorrow’s” meeting. My first thought was, “Book Club is next week,” a good thought since my copy of the book had not arrived. It was an incorrect thought, however. After a moment of panic, I quick downloaded the book to Kindle and spent the entire day reading Haruki Marakami’s novel Norwegian Wood. I did not do anything else except sit and read. It was my first cram study session since my college days, and, for what it’s worth, I still have the skill!

The Week in the First, Second, and (sort of) Third Snow: The first significant snow of the year, and of the past several years came through town predicted at 2-3 inches. We got closer to 10. The second (and third) storm was predicted to be a one-two punch with upwards of a foot or more of snow. We got a couple inches. Ah yes, winter storms in Cincinnati are notoriously difficult to predict but we haven’t had to think about it for a while.

I work just a few blocks from where I live, so saying “I can’t make it in,” is, at best, lame. I suited up for the walk, putting on my best cold weather gear. I got to wear my rabbit fur hat, which is seriously so warm I only wear it during extreme cold weather – I haven’t worn it in years. For an hour or so after the big storm I had the entire office to myself, which meant I got to listen to my music a little louder, maskless and shoeless…lettin’ it all hang out. I’m calling it an in office snow day! Then my boss showed up and it was just a regular day. Boo!

The Week in Dining Out: One of the best things non-covid times about snow storms downtown is walking in the quiet snow covered street to a restaurant or bar and hanging out with neighborhood friends. That kind of activity is dicey during a pandemic but me and a friend gave it a try and ended up at Crown Republic. We planned on being there a short time for just drinks and appetizers. There were 3 diners in the high-ceiling restaurant. When the waitress asked if we’d dined with them before I felt like I was going to cry. Yes, I’ve dined with them. No, I haven’t stayed away on purpose. Yes, I was glad to be back. I hope I’m this emotional for every post Covid social experience.

The Week in Gumbo: The downtown lunch scene hasn’t stepped back up to pre-Covid levels, and I usually just go home or pack. But sometimes I need to eat close and I’m glad to have found the $5 cup of gumbo from the Kroger Food Court 1883. Nothing, food wise, makes me happier than a great tasting, cheap meal.

The Week in Egg-istential: For 10 days, I’d been working around the little, greenish egg who has been living in the carton with the other 11 full size brown eggs. On Friday, down to the last brown egg and the single green egg, I had to make a choice. I decided the green egg may have felt like the last kid picked for the kickball team so I finally gave it a chance. The yolk was full size, but the albumen part was short changed. Fine for breakfast but not for baking.

At the market this week I asked the seller about the green egg and she said their farm is trying to breed and raise more varieties of chickens and the green egg comes from the aracauna variety. The “ladies” as the seller referred to them, are just coming to laying age. Since the farmer’s market can sell a carton of eggs that aren’t all the same size, I’m probably going to see more green eggs in my cartons. I did not know I would be supporting chickens, but there you have it.

Egg choice!

The Week in Cooking – That was Easy: I need to use up 1/2 bag of frozen spinach before I forgot about it. Twosleevers.com, one of my go-to recipe sites came through again with their instant pot recipe for Cajun Pork Stew. It was so easy, just dumping stuff in the instant pot, I was really surprised how good it tasted. I served it over a baked potato, but rice or pasta would be good, or you can keto it out and serve on cauliflower rice.

The Week in Cooking – Planning: One of Sunday night’s cooking tasks was to use the scraps from cooking dinner to make a light vegetable stock to freeze and use in next week’s dinner…yes, I know what I’m cooking next week. No, I didn’t think two Roma tomato skins would have so much effect of the color. Doesn’t matter, though. Next week the stock will be part of a marinade for some pepper pork chops, one of my favorite Alton Brown Recipes of all time. Worth the fuss.

#urinestock

This week, I cooked up some chorizo with onions, hot peppers, and peeled roma tomatoes (see how this all goes together) in a large pan. I pulled some previously cooked black beans from the freezer and stirred them in to make a sausage bean concoction to serve over corn bread.

I have a favorite cornbread recipe that took me years to find, but every now and then I try a different recipe to see if I need to switch. I used a Cook’s Country recipe (which is behind a pay wall on line) from one of their magazines I bought years ago. The recipe was fussier than mine and didn’t yield a better loaf. Not worth the fuss. Once again, the recipe I cut out of a newspaper (source unknown) is the hands down winning (Northern style) corn bread in my house.

The House Cornbread!


The Week in Schadenfreude: Oh boy, is there any greater feeling in the work world than seeing one of your old jobs show up on the job boards? This week Linkedin pushed a job posting for a job I had a few years back and left because I was so bored it was making me cranky on the job. At the time, I’d held the job longer than anyone, and based on the timing of this posting, I still hold the record. None of this means anything, of course, it’s just personally amusing.

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