Monday, August 25, 2008

Good food, no proof

I tried round 2 of Taco-fication this weekend, but I completely failed at capturing photographic evidence ($#@% margaritas!). My sister, Mary, was offended that she had not been invited for the original taco-fication, so we invited her over to make amends. We had chicken tacos, topped with cabbage and cilantro (tossed with lime juice), homemade taco shells (deep fried and puffy) and I even went all out and made a batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. But I have not a shred of evidence to offer. Oh wait, I do have a picture of Mary (not taken on taco night). Hopefully that will suffice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The opposite of doves

Who needs a stinkin' bird of peace when you have hummingbirds? This is much more interesting!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some things to like about August

For August, the weather has been fairly pleasant so far. We've had a few really hot days, but today for instance, it's just after noon and a chilly (by Texas summer standards) 73F. I could get used to this. Unfortunately, it is August and I'm in Texas, so I know it won't last.

There are a few good things about August in Texas, however. First, the hummingbirds that will migrate further south for the winter are gathering here to fatten up for the trip. Right now we have about a dozen fighting over our two feeders. I have put out between four to eight cups of sugar water a day for the last few weeks. I love these little monsters. They are the terriers of the sky!

Second, the raspberry plants are putting out their fall crop. Honestly, I'm a little confused by this, since technically seven of the nine original plants are supposed to be spring-bearing only. I'm eating a few raspberries every day, though, so you won't hear me complain. About the raspberries, at least.

Third, since we have had rain recently, some of my roses are blooming again. This is Flutterbye, which is a relatively recent introduction that never shows up for sale in nurseries. I really don't understand that because it is a cast iron rose, very disease-resistant and drought-tolerant. The blooms start out yellow and turns an orangey-pink. In the spring it is absolutely covered with blooms for weeks on end. Mine is still young, but I'm hoping that it puts on an equally impressive fall show.

And fourth... Well, it may be stretching a bit to say I count this in my "good things about August" list, but it did amuse me. I found this green lynx spider in the blooms when trying to photograph Flutterbye. He became really irritated with my attempts to get a good macro focus on him. This wasn't the best shot to showcase his hairy legs, but it does show his green color better than the others.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


A couple weeks ago, while grocery shopping, I noticed a package of meat labeled carne picada. It appeared to be shaved steak of some sort, so I wrote the name down and googled it when I got home. I didn't really find much, so I decided it was up to me to do the experimentin'.

Since Spork and I both like going to taquerias, I wanted something along those lines. My goal was more Mexican than Tex-Mex.

Since I was in a lazy experimentin' mood, I started by marinating the beef in Goya Mojo Criolla marinade. I saw some guy on tv use it for fajitas. No, it wasn't a cooking show, it was a home improvement show, but one of the guys on the crew did all the cooking and it looked gooooooood.

We have a lot of peppers ripening in the garden right now, so I sliced up the sweet ones, along with an onion, and pan-fried them in butter with a little fajita seasoning. Normally I would use Goya Adobo with Pepper for the seasoning, but there appears to be some boycott in this town on that particular spice mix. Who doesn't like adobo seasoning?

For adornment purposes, I had limes, avocodo and cilantro. I also made a little batch of pico de gallo to go with it.

I gave the tortillas a good blistering. Can't stands 'em raw!

Then I fried the meat in batches (and an absurd amount of butter), cooking it pretty hot until the marinade steamed off and the meat took on a nice char. I made sure to spill some on the stove, too. Have to leave something for the sous-chef to clean up.

Time to eat, baby!

Spork made himself a little princess taco. See how it's all dainty and cute? It's okay, though, he made up for it by having several princess tacos.

I, on the other hand, overserved myself. I stuffed mine so full I had to force it closed with my fork. And yes, I did exactly the same on the second one.

Overall, I was pleased with the way the tacos turned out, however inauthentic they may be. Next time I'll either buy a smaller package of meat or divide it up into smaller quantities. Two and a half pounds of shredded beef is a lot to cook at once*.

*Spork did not feel that the quantity was a problem.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Time for some whine: it's hot!

The temperature has reached 100F here the last few days, which forced me to make ice cream. Originally, I was thinking coconut, but I happened to mention an Irish coffee ice cream recipe to Spork and that pretty much ended the discussion. It turned out pretty darned good, too.

Usually when it gets this hot, the roses take a siesta and save up energy for a fall bloom. However, this pretty guy surprised me with a bloom yesterday. I guess his name is appropriate, considering how well he has adapted to the heat. Here, let me introduce you to Charles Darwin, aka Chuck. :-) It's a nice Austin rose with a wonderful scent and pretty, cupped apricot blooms.

Are there any hummingbird experts out there? This one, a female ruby-throated showed up last summer. She will perch to drink, then go limp, with her wings and tail splayed. Her head will loll to the side or sometimes will flop all the way back, bill open and tongue hanging out. Other hummingbirds will buzz her, trying to get her off the feeder, but she is oblivious. After a few minutes, she shakes herself off and flies away. I was amazed when she showed up again this year. I was sure she wouldn't survive the migration.

Any theories?