Stripping down and cooking up

 With the recent freeze warning threatening my harvest, I stripped my garden Wednesday night, pulling all the cucumbers and peppers from their plants. My good buddy Karen had stopped at my house earlier in the day and done the same thing with my tomatoes.

Now that’s a friend. This is the same woman who, knowing how sick I get from cutting up onions, presents me with gallon-sized baggies of cut up, frozen onions for my birthday each year.

Thursday, Beth Rickers and I were talking about our efforts the night before to save our stuff — my veggies and her flowers — from the frost. She had covered or moved plants into the garage so they would be beautiful when her guests arrived for King Turkey Day festivities, while I had gone with stripping off my vegetables.

In the middle of the discussion, co-worker Aaron Hagen gave me a baffled look.

“You stripped in your garden? How will that help?”

Seriously, that was what he heard. Boys. (Since it was rather chilly when I was out in the garden Wednesday evening, I can only imagine how uncomfortable that would have been. Yikes!)

Now that the garden is stripped, I have a bunch of green tomatoes I have no idea how to use. I made a few batches of salsa verde a few years ago, which I really liked, but I used tomatillos for that.

Anybody have interesting ideas for green tomatoes? If so, I’d love to hear them.

Speaking of that, I have to send out a special thanks to Margaret in Jacksonfor the recipes and the nice letter she sent me the other day.  The timing couldn’t have been better, since I just picked a bunch of cucumbers. She had noticed in an earlier Dirty Laundry that I had mentioned I was giving away cukes left and right, so she jotted down a recipe for freezing them and sent it my way, along with a recipe for tomato soup. Perfect! Thanks, Margaret. (By the way, I love that name. I have a Margaret of my own, but we tend to call her Maggie or Mae. She’s the one who’s currently growing me a grandbaby.)

I love hearing from my readers, and I love trying new recipes, so it made for a nice surprise in my day. I’ll pass those on to Beth after she gets back from vacation.

Beth and I have cooking conversations on a regular basis, which is really fun when our young, single co-workers are around. They all start drooling and looking sad and starving. We take pity on them and bring in homemade stuff every now and then, mostly because it is so gratifying to see them fall upon the food like hungry wolves, swearing up and down the whole time it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten. My family is all spoiled and used to me feeding them well. Starving young’ens who don’t cook are very appreciative.

Actually, I laughed last week when two of my three kids reacted the same way to the weather cooling down. One lives in Tracy, the other inRochester, and they both called within days of each other to ask for my recipe for shepherd’s pie. I had to figure one out on the spot when my daughter Maggie called, so I was kind of prepared when my son Nick called.

I know, for the most part, what I put in it, but I don’t ever think I’ve made it the same way twice. Shepherd’s pie is one of those things I make with leftover whatever, then freeze for one of those days I don’t want to cook, but want a nice homemade supper.

The third kid did call me the same week for cooking advice. He wanted to know how to cook the venison I had sent with him to college. He managed it all by himself several times at home, but apparently needed a refresher course before trying it at school. A couple of days later, I noticed a posting he put on Facebook. Apparently he set off the smoke alarms while cooking. Oops.

Oh, well. College is supposed to be a learning experience, right?

One thought on “Stripping down and cooking up

  1. I know what you’re talking about. I still have children who have been gone from home for 25 years that call and want to know how I make something. I guess it’s nice to be wanted like that, huh?

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