Monday, May 18, 2015

Just a bit loopy - Roundly Roasted Vegetables

Where I would like to be

Sunday - My back was so bad today, I gave in and took something that the orthopedist had prescribed for muscle spasms.  Oh myyyyy, as George Takei would say.  I am not used to anything quite that strong, and while it was effective in giving me relief, it left me loopy.  And I needed stuff from Publix, to finish the chicken enchiladas and the guacamole, but while I was there the loopiness hit and I had to restrain myself from breaking out in song.  Good thing I had the shopping cart to hold onto.

Before I left for Publix, I was in a Very Dark Place.  The pain and the depression were all enveloping.  I got hit with it early Saturday morning, and it chased me all the way to the wedding and back.  My balance was off, I was perpetually tired, and I had to rely on my cane.  Food shopping always cheers me up, so I got home in better shape than when I'd left.  But loopy.

Also before I left, I had drafted a post for the blog that is best described as a career buster.  Now that it is written, I cannot post it.  Not now, not yet, maybe never.  I wish I could, because it is full of bitter truths that until now I have only expressed privately.

I want to share the chicken enchilada recipe, but I've been working on the damn thing for three days and just finally got the filing the way I wanted.  Now it's all about filling and rolling the tortillas, which is almost done, and then the finishing touches.  So maybe tomorrow.

So putting aside all the Sturm und Drang of my life for a moment, I want to say something about the wedding. First of all, Robert was the officiant and did a damn fine job.  Second, and most importantly, this marriage is bringing much happiness to everyone involved.  The people involved are well-deserving of a wonderful life filled with love and joy.  Nicki and Will, and Jacob, may God bless you all, and your families as well.

Nicki and her dad

Monday - As I am sitting here with the insane itching having taken over my body, I am wondering how the hell does anyone, my doctor included, expect me to go back to work?  Yesterday was the back-breaking pain and debilitating depression.  Today is the brutal itching all over and my left hand rendered practically useless by invisible pins and needles.

You can't see the groom standing next to Rob, but he's there, and he's smiling

I have also been trying to figure out what to do with a rather large box of button mushrooms, which turned out not to be needed for a sauce for the chicken stuffed with spinach.  So during my loopy time, I decided to roast the mushrooms with other vegetable that were roundish and about the same size as the mushrooms.  But first, I'm going to marinate them.

1-28 oz. bag honey gold potatoes, pricked several times
1-6.5 oz. box peeled red pearl onions
1-24 oz box button mushrooms, stems cut off even with the cap
1 pound Brussel sprouts, trimmed
1 package Spice World garlic (6 small heads), cuts tops to expose cloves

Place these vegetables into a 2 1/2 gallon ziploc bag.

1-10 oz. bag mini San Marzano tomatoes

Place the tomatoes in a quart sized ziploc bag.

1-16 oz. bottle Ken's Steakhouse Zesty Italian Dressing

Pour some of the dressing over the tomatoes, and use the remainder of the bottle to pour over the vegetables in the large bag.  Seal, turn the bag gently so all the vegetable are coated, and refrigerate over night.

Pour the large bag of vegetables into a very large baking dish.  Yes, I use aluminum.  Sprinkle on two packets of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix.  Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and roast for one hour.  At the end, crank up the heat to 425 for 10 minutes.

Pour the tomatoes into a smaller baking dish.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.  Place in a preheated 400 degree oven.  Roast for 20 - 25 minutes.

Remove the six heads of garlic from the pan and when cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the vegetables, discarding the papery skins.  Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan.  Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper; add some granulated garlic, cayenne, dried basil and dried oregano to taste.  Chop up one or two handfuls of fresh parsley and add the to the dish.  Add 3 or so tablespoons of butter. Stir everything together gently.

To eat this - take one or two of the potatoes and with a fork, mash them down or break them up.  Top with a spoonful or more of the roasted vegetables and their sauce.

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