Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
You don’t have to tell me. I know that my garage doors look hideous. I’ve scraped the chipping paint off of them in preparation for a new coat, but the time for painting hasn’t been found as yet. Perhaps in a few days, when school is out for the summer, the kids and I might be able to tackle that chore.

And a million others.

I have high hopes for the summer, but I’m enough of a realist to know that August and our time to report back to school will come all too soon. Hopefully, between trips to a ball field or summer drama camp, we’ll be able to get some things accomplished around here.

I want to get the exterior of the house painted and some landscaping done. And I want to build a fire pit in the backyard. I’ve been pouring over some landscaping books that are making me itchy to try something new to bring my yard to life.

These massive books with their glossy pictures of beautiful yards give step by step instructions on how to put in a pond – or “water feature”- as they are now popularly called, how to erect the perfect deck, and how to build a fire pit.

I can’t sell Keith on a “water feature.” Too many mosquitoes, he says. Too much upkeep, he says. Too much work…. I think that’s what he really means.

And we have a beautiful new deck thanks to Kunkel Construction, making that project a no go.

So I’m keen to build a fire pit. Well, actually, if it were possible to have what I would really like, it would be a built-in stone fireplace that fronted an entire length of a new patio. But that’s not going to happen, so a fire pit will be just fine.

And it’s really not that complicated; just a circle of bricks or rock built up about a foot and a half and then topped off with a flat layer of stone. If we wanted to go all out, we could add some benches to sit on. A cozy place to hang out and roast a marshmallow on a summer’s night.

Now, I just have to find the place to put it. It shouldn’t be too close to the house or overhanging trees. Safety first, you know. But we wouldn’t want it to be too far out into the yard, either. Careful planning is in order.

Keith, of course, will probably be too busy to take much part in this project so I’ll wrangle the kids into helping. If they have the time, that is. Keith has told them both that this is the summer they will be old enough to work in the fields.

Alex has helped Keith drive tractor from time to time, but Dad has always been close by to keep a careful eye on him. Now Meghan, like her older cousins before her, will learn to handle a John Deere bigger than the lawn mower. A new day is dawning here on Jost Farm.

Meg and Alex will turn 14 June 6 and they will be able to apply for their first driver’s licenses. A scary, yet somewhat freeing, thought. Scary because to me they seem so young. Where did my babies go?

But freeing in the sense that soon they will be able to cart themselves back and forth to ball practice and dance lessons. No more waiting at the curb for one kid or another to make an appearance.

Don’t worry. I’m not turning over the keys just yet. It will be awhile before you see the Jost kids out cruising by themselves. Probably not until they’re 16. That’s what I say now, anyway.

But my son just came in, saw what was on the computer if front of me and said, “I’m so experienced driving on dirt that I’m ready for pavement.” He can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Teenaged boys, aaahhhh!

Speaking of the kids, I’m determined to celebrate their birthday this year instead of letting it slip by like last summer. Poor things, I don’t think they even got a birthday cake. We were so caught up in ball games that there was no time to party.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to do something but Meg and her Crush softball teammates will be spending June 6 selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts to raise funds for tournament fees, uniforms and equipment so that day is pretty well taken.

Maybe you can help me make it up to her by coming by Vogt’s IGA the morning of the sixth to wish her a happy birthday. And while you’re there, buy a dozen doughnuts to help the girls out. They’re a wonderful group of kids.

And that’s good because we spend a lot of time together with them and their families during the summer months. Maybe, before school starts again in August, we can all get together for an “end of the season” wienie roast.

The fire pit should be done by then…shouldn’t it?

* * *

To pre-order Krispy Kreme doughnuts, contact any of the girls playing for Hillsboro Crush Softball. This way you will be assured to receive a box of fresh, delicious pastries delivered right to your home or place of business. The girls will have a limited amount of glazed doughnuts available for purchase on the morning of Friday, June 6 in front of Vogt’s IGA in Hillsboro.

* * *

Light the grills, Memorial Day is just around the corner, so here’s a new twist on America’s favorite sandwich. For a juicier burger, I would recommend leaving the salt out when mixing the ingredients and applying it as you grill.

Burgers with Blue Cheese

3 pounds lean ground beef

1/4 pound crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup minced fresh chives

1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. black pepper

11/2 tsp. salt

12 hamburger buns

Combine ingredients, cover and refrigerate for two hours. When ready to cook, form into 12 patties and grill over high heat. You might want to lightly grease the grilling grate to prevent sticking. Cook, using proper handling methods for ground beef, until meat is no longer pink.

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