HomeLife at homePickings getting awfully slim around here.


Pickings getting awfully slim around here. — 6 Comments

  1. Kirk, you’re just gonna hafta do what I did years ago – man up in the kitchen. There are lots of dishes that are simple enough for a even a bachelor-at-heart but impressive enough to win some big praise from your sweetie.

    For example, manicotti is essentially just lasagne with a twist (or roll, more accurately), but it’s easier to prep and far more visually impressive. Ya just boil the pasta (which resembles giant penne noodles) until they’re somewhere shy of al dente – or slightly done, but still fairly firm. Then mix up your stuffing (ricotta, mozzarella, & Parmesan cheeses, an egg, and either a handful of finely-chopped parsley or uncooked spinach in a large Ziplock baggie. Then lop off a 1/2″ chunk from the corner and you’ve got a poor-man’s pastry bag kinda thing. Squeeze the filling into the manicotti, layer the stuffed noodles into a large, flat pan that’s been coated liberally with whatever jarred spaghetti sauce you’d like. Drizzle more sauce atop the stuffed pasta, sprinkle with a few pinches more of Parm cheese and some liberal dashes of garlic, Oregano, Basil, whatever spices ya like. Cover with foil, toss in the overn for about 30 mins – everything is already cooked, you’re just getting it all melted together – and voila!

    Toss up a quick salad with an oil & vinegar dressing, bust out some crusty french bread, and pop open some red wine if ya like. Finish with some cheescake, spumoni, or some other suitable dessert item or maybe just a frothy cappuccino.

    Of course, I’m taking lots of liberties with pre-made ingredients for the sake of ease, but you can customize this simple dish to your heart’s desire. Wanna make your own marinara sauce from scratch? All the better! Wanna toss in some Romano cheese too? Go for it! Add some pine nuts, toasted garlic, minced onion, whatever.

    This was the first meal I cooked for my sweetie when we were dating over 13 years ago! She still keeps me around, so take from that what ya will…
    .-= Rob O.´s last blog ..Dolphin-Safe Tuna – Anything But Safe =-.

    • Rob O. – Good recipe! One I can add to the rest we have in the box. Not to worry though, both of us are decent cooks especially my wife who was a professional chef at one time (at my favorite restaurant before I met her believe it or not) who also raised 5 kids which makes her very practical about it as well.

      She prefers to do the majority of cooking as she always tells me that she wants to make sure it’s edible and done in at a reasonable time. So what’s wrong with supper at 11:00 pm I ask you? 😉

  2. OMG no good local restaurants? That’s downright un-American! Think you need to petition your chamber of commerce to bring in some business! So how far away are any decent restaurants?
    .-= Elaine´s last blog ..Regional Flu Map =-.

  3. Hi Elaine – Well, let’s see. For what people who actually live in civilization (as we both used to live in civilization at one time) might consider the usual run of decent restaurants, I’d have to say about 2 hours away in the southerly or westerly directions. That’s why I figure we’d have to take a short holiday as eating in a decent place would require an overnight stay at a nearby motel.

    And unfortunately our chamber of commerce, located in a small building about the size of 3 porta-potties linked together that’s only manned part time, reports to the town’s board of selectmen who do their utmost best not to bring new business to the area. It interferes with the drug trade.

  4. Businesses stay open when the locals support them. A town gets the businesses that its residents really want, not what they think they want.

    As an economic development person for a small rural area, I remind residents who complain that their communites only have tatoo parlors and convenience stores, that apparently those are the businessses where people are spending their money. The cute gift shops and the good restaurants are now closed because residents were not spending enough of their money at those places. If small towns want certain businesses they absolutely must support them 100% by only buying local and/or not go to the big chain establishments.

    Unfortunately, when money is spent, most people pick price, selection, and national names over local business people (even when they offer better service or better products), and then they can’t understand why the local mom and pop store/restaurant closes.
    .-= Catch Her in the Wry´s last blog ..Why one needs to be specific when explaining things to a child =-.

  5. Hi Catch Her – I do agree with you on most points. And for most rural areas this is absolutely true…then you have places like Newport, VT. The family restaurant I spoke of didn’t close due to lack of patronage, far from it, the owner just decided to call it quits. But I’ll give you a few other examples of why this place is rather odd.

    We have 2 major franchise type supermarkets (Price Chopper and Shaws) up on the so called “strip” in Derby (Newport/Derby–two back to back “city”/towns that do their utmost best to keep new business out). These two are barely making ends meet while the small family owned supermarket on the waterfront is doing great.

    There’s a local family owned hardware/appliance/lumber (small building jobs)/clothing/etc type store in town called the Pick and Shovel where business is booming. Of course it is, they’re the only game in town. The nearest competition is 2 hours away.

    We have a half a dozen auto parts stores within 10 square miles, two heavy (farming) equipment outlets (both offer rentals as well) and one Tractor Parts store. We also have Sears and JC Penny catalog stores.

    We’ve got small video stores and kiosks popping up everywhere, so much so that when they put up a Blockbuster Video it didn’t last 6 months.

    So where do the locals shop for anything else besides groceries? Anywhere else but in Newport and Derby.

    Folks around here would give their right arm to see a Walmart up on “the strip” since it would keep them from having to pay 2 to 4 times more for the same items in town–if you can get them. It would also keep them from having to put aside an entire day just to travel 2 hours down the highway to the nearest Walmart and back every month or so just to do a bulk shopping for everyday household items at reasonable prices. You might be able to get half of those items locally but you’d end up paying 2 to 4 times as much on the average.

    And of course there’s the beautiful lake with the beautiful waterfront complete with beautiful long boardwalk with two built in gazebos that Newport does-absolutely-nothing-with.

    We’re the unemployment capitol of Vermont and the real kick in the pants is that there’s absolutely no reason for it except that the “city” officials appear to be doing their best to stifle bringing in any new business.

    I understand about supporting local stores and shops but the problem here lies in the fact that there really aren’t any. Newport’s heyday, like most towns/cities in Vermont, was somewhere around the turn of the last century up to the 1940’s. These towns finally hit rock bottom during the 60’s and never recovered.