“Guys Night In” Avocado Surprise

Once a month, usually a Tuesday, a bunch of ladies, mostly from St. Philip, go out to dinner somewhere together. This practice started on the occasion of Bethann’s birthday two years ago. I had had a terrible staph infection on my neck and reactions to medications to treat it. Another lady had lost her husband in October. It had been a pretty grim time. A friend decided it would be a good time to have a good time. So a bunch of them took Bethann out to dinner. They had such a good time, they decided to do it again the next month, etc. It is now a regular event: Ladies’ Night Out.

So I got the idea to have a couple of the guys over to our house to make manly meals and watch manly movies while the ladies went out. We have watched “Monty Python’s: The Holy Grail”, “Napoleon Dynamite”, “Hannah”, “The Man Who Would Be King”, The Grammy Awards, a Leonard Cohen concert, a Bob Dylan documentary, etc. We have eaten “turtle burgers” (recipe by Southern Culture on the Skids), hobo hotdogs, veal steaks, stir fry and corn dogs. One night we ignited a tiny bit of bootleg, Greek Raki to prove that it was well over 50% alcohol. I concocted this recipe for one of those nights. It was a hit. I made it for Bethann and Hilary later. They loved it, too. This is especially amazing, because Hilary says she doesn’t like avocados or feta and it contains both. I told her they cancel each other out. She said they must, because she claimed the leftovers for her lunch.

Ingredients:

  • about 1-1/4 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • a  small onion, chopped
  • a handful of chopped green & red peppers
  • a handful of baby bella mushrooms
  • a large handful of frozen corn
  • 2 avocados peeled and cubed
  • salt
  • granulated garlic
  • mixed peppercorn grind
  • Greek oregano
  • cilantro
  • a generous handful of feta cheese

In a large skillet, fry up the hamburger and the chopped onion. If there is a lot of fat; drain some of it. Add the peppers, mushrooms and corn. Add the spices. Be liberal with the cilantro. It’s good for you. Stir and cook them until the peppers start to get a bit juicy, but not mushy. Add the avocados. Cover and let them get warm. Top with the feta and serve.

Enjoy!

Hot Vegetable Ice Cream

Tonight, just about every ingredient for tonight’s meal was found on sale. The main course, fresh leg of lamb, was on drastic markdown, 55% off, or $2.60/pound. I put the lamb in the agate roaster, uncovered, into the oven at about 3pm at 325 degrees. Then I peeled and cubed two medium sized eggplants and two avocados. I cut up one large, green pepper and about two handfuls of white mushrooms. I tossed these with olive oil on a large, sided, cookie sheet. Then I took a head of garlic; peeled the cloves, cut them in half or thirds and distributed them on the sheet. I scattered cilantro and salt over the mixture. Then I twisted the mixed peppercorn grinder over it. At 4pm, I put it into the oven on a shelf over the leg of lamb.

Hilary had made salads for us earlier and put them in the fridge. Bethann got home a little after 5pm. We had a sumptuous, low carb feast!

If you have never used avocados in cooking, you have been missing out. They do not bring a very strong flavor of their own, but they multiply and spread the flavors that they come in contact with and add a rich creamy texture. The pleasure factor of this dish was that it was like eating hot, vegetable ice cream.

Churchtown Supply Co.

Churchtown Supply Co.
Churchtown Supply Co.

Last Friday, John Haggerty and I headed off to retrieve a painting from a friend in Greensburg, PA. On the way, we stopped by Churchtown Supply Co. on Route 23, 2049 Main St., Narvon, PA, 17555, to pick up some enamelware dishes that I had asked them to set aside. Bethann and I bought each other burgundy and cream speckle and moss green and cream speckle dishes for Christmas and had asked for that from everyone else in the family, as well. Lydia and April had not gotten their money to their Aunt Susan in time for her trip to Churchtown Supply, so they were going to get us a gift certificate to the Washington House instead. It turned out that Churchtown Supply didn’t have enough of our colors on hand to make their contribution useful at the time. But the Washington House was closed the day of Christmas Eve, so they could not get the gift certificate.

Enamelware
Enamelware

I called Churchtown Supply. After several attempts, I spoke to Nancy on Wednesday, Dec. 28. She had just received a new shipment of our colors of enamelware and would set aside the plates and bowls that I requested for me to pick up on Friday morning.

Churchtown Supply Co. looks like your typical, main street hardware store from the 1960s or 70s. It is a bit unusual in that it is just on a ribbon of road with houses and churches strung out alongside of it and a lush valley falling out immediately behind it. You park diagonal nose in, like they do out in Kansas. You walk in and Barry and Nancy invite you to help yourself to coffee and cookies from a folding table, where you can also pick up your free wildlife calendar. The place is comfortably lit, with most of the light provided naturally by the plate glass windows across the front, facing south toward Main St.

I had them tally up the pieces that I had them set aside for me, to see what the damages were; then I shopped for some more pieces to complete the collection. We got to talking. I asked them how they managed to only be open Tuesday through Saturday 8am to noon, and that I was envious. Barry said they had worked for 30 or 38 years for 90 hours a week so this was comp time. He had had some health issues and now Nancy is battling breast cancer, so it’s about what they can handle. They said, “It’s something to do. It pays the utilities and the taxes.”

John, Barry, Nancy and I spent some time swapping stories about the pros and cons of dealing with customers. We had a very nice time. I intend to go back and get more dishes. I encourage any of you to patronize their place, as well. They are hard working folks who could use a break. Their shop is about 4 .3 miles west of Morgantown on Rte. 23.

Tell them Cranford sent you.