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Backyard Lunch [Dec. 22nd, 2010|03:26 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

Some of you--those struggling with sleet, snow, freezing rain, and so on--are going to hate me.   But keep in mind that when my husband built the picnic tables last summer and fall...it was too hot to use them.   We would go out with a sandwich, and quickly bolt the sandwich so we could go back into the coolth.

Today was perfect "Let's eat outdoors weather".   Friends who have a ranch about 15 miles thataway came over to take the excess water lilies and iris out of out backyard pond over to the new tanks they've put in at the ranch.   I had just time to put together a hearty, colorful soup before they arrived; they brought frozen "biscuits inna can"  that I baked, and then served. 

It was just the kind of occasion for which I'd wanted the picnic table.  We had the checked cloth (dark green and white and not quite as big as the table, but who cared?), the casual plates (pale gray with a bold cobalt blue stylized floral design in the center), red-handled tableware,  biscuits in a deep pottery bowl with a blue stripe and wrapped in a blue and white cloth, and as centerpiece the big red enameled cast-iron LeCreuset pot.  A light cool breeze, the squirrels flirting in the now-leafless trees (it's their mating season here), birds coming in to water, and no mosquitoes at all.  Nor flies.  And the cat stayed in the front yard.  

E- is one of my alpha readers for the book I'm in the final stages of,  so in addition to watching squirrels and birds, we discussed her reaction to parts of that;  J- and my husband were discussing water storage and other rural pursuits, and planning how to get the heavy (wet and heavy) plants from the pond out to their truck.

All very relaxing after a morning spent hard at work on the book. 

The soup was assembled from components I try to keep on hand (though they vary from time to time.)

1 quart frozen homemade chicken stock
2 packets (2 cups each) frozen chunks of cooked turkey
1 28 oz can Ro-Tel
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, sliced crosswise into little chunks
about 1/4 of a green bell pepper (leftover in the fridge) diced
about 1/3 of an orange bell pepper (leftover, ditto) sliced fine
about 1/3 of a red bell pepper (leftover, ditto) sliced a little more coarsely

If our rancher friends had given me another 30 minutes warning, I would've added some pearl barley, for even more heft, but this was colorful and tasted just fine.


[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2010-12-22 10:01 pm (UTC)
sounds lovely.. and tasty!
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[User Picture]From: alicephilippa
2010-12-22 11:48 pm (UTC)
I'm going to end up digging some stokc out of the freezer...

Didn't manage to see the sun today, in fact I trudged up the road to catch a train in snow, and was coated up to the knees by the time I got there. Fun though. :D
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[User Picture]From: alexandralynch
2010-12-23 03:07 am (UTC)
I have a large frozen block-of-soup thawing on the counter. Tomorrow I will be making bread and doing a lot of cleaning, and will not want to mess with cooking much.
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[User Picture]From: torainfor
2010-12-23 04:39 am (UTC)
No worries. After weeks and weeks of 50s and 60s (in Colorado!) we finally got freezing fog all day today. The trees are frosted.

Thought of you on Sunday when the sopranos were both gone and this alto had to sing melody--with a sinus infection. Yay for hacking!
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[User Picture]From: ebeeman
2010-12-23 03:02 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a wonderful meal. Now I'm going to have to try Rotel in my soups and stews. :-)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-12-23 03:11 pm (UTC)
Ro-tel has become a mainstay for me. I used to use ordinary canned diced tomatoes (because Richard and I both dislike stringy tomato bits of the kind that you get when using whole tomatoes) for most things, and Ro-tel only in chili. But one day I'd run out of plain diced tomatoes and had a can of Ro-tel in the cabinet...and thought "Oh, well, it won't be too bad" and it was better. Depending on your liking for heat, you can use both Ro-tel and regular diced tomatoes, and more or less Ro-tel, in the mix.

HEB (our biggest grocery chain down here) now has a generic store-brand version of Ro-tel which is pretty good, and a little cheaper. The attempts of the big tomato companies (like Hunt's) don't even come close--they're now marketing some diced tomato combinations intended to appeal to the Hispanic market, but they're so timid...and the stuff is too sweet.
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