Is this summer? I’ve been awaiting your call

It’s been a crazy week since the launch of the first Melties. There’s was a lot going on.  Most importantly, the raised garden beds that Josh has worked so painstakingly on the last few weeks were finally finished!  Stained, put into place, filled with dirt and on Saturday, most of the garden was planted.  We have two beds: one tomato/pepper bed (we’re also planting some lettuce into it) and one herb bed for my kitchen.  Of course, within hours after planting, our mastiff Maggie had managed to jump on and run through both beds, decimating a couple pepper plants and a tomato.  So today, fencing went up as well.  Ah well.

Maggie has little regard for plant life

Winston prefers hardier ground

I’m pretty excited about the herb bed.  It’s the perfect size for what I need and right now has all my favorite herbs in it: rosemary, plenty of basil, oregano, mint, sage, thyme, parsley and cilantro, with garlic chives soon to come.  I wrote the names of the herbs on some old antique silverware my mom gave me and used them as markers.

But now that’s done and hopefully our social calendar will calm down a little bit as well.  I love hanging out with people but I’m ready for a couple days off.  I miss cooking myself dinner.  In fact, today was the first day since Tuesday that I really cooked anything for dinner.  Otherwise, we’ve eaten out with friends every other day this week.  That’s insane.

So in honor of this momentous occasion, I went all out….on a really simple dinner:

-peppered pork chops grilled on a salt block (which is my favorite way to grill things these days)

-baby carrots steamed on the grill

-corn on the cob

-basil oil

-buttermilk biscuits

And a simple pineapple gratin for dessert.  So simple in fact that I neither measured anything nor really took down notes.  Think of this as one of those “recipe guidelines.”

  • I combined one 20oz can crushed pineapple with 1 cup of sugar and cooked it in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolved.
  • I pour a fourth of the pineapple mixture into the bottom of two personal gratin dishes.  These made really big servings per person.  Multiple smaller gratin dishes would work, as would one regular sized dish, as would cupcake molds.  Be creative.
  • Then each dish got: 1/2 c. crushed graham cracker, 2 tbsp unsweetened flaked coconut, another quarter of the pineapple, another 1/2 c. crushed graham cracker, 2 tbsp coconut and finally a couple small dots of butter.
  • I placed the gratin dishes on a cookie sheet, to catch any spillover, and baked them at 350F for 20-25 minutes.
  • I let them cool and then served them after dinner with big dollops of whipped cream.

They were delicious.  Sweet, tart pineapple, a nice crunchy topping and a hint of coconut.  Creamy but not too heavy.  Josh gave it two spoons up.

And me, I am wholly satisfied, and looking forward to getting back into the swing of cooking. I’m thinking, fried baby artichokes tomorrow.  With lemon.  Pulled pork.  Roasted chicken later this week and maybe another attempt at conquering soup?  We’ll see….

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