Goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Still awaiting a rumored lake breeze. Still 95+F in the shade. Brought in one of the hanging baskets that had taken on a dangerously wilted look. The leaves have perked up in the coolth, but the flowers are pretty well shriveled. Luckily, there are still some unopened buds.

Strange to have a holiday smack in the middle of the work week. It’s more a speed bump than a day off. When the 4th falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, my company usually tosses in the Monday or Friday and makes it a 4-day weekend. Monday/Friday, a three-day weekend of course. But today? One day, that’s it, and because there are still 2 workdays to go, I spend part of the time pointedly refusing to think about the things that need doing tomorrow and Friday. And they are many.

Cooking neepery follows. You have been warned.

It wasn’t the sort of day one enjoys standing over a hot grill, but I did anyway. Grilled some sockeye salmon, which I had marinated in olive oil/soy sauce/shallot/garlic/ginger. Had it with couscous to which I added homegrown basil, parsley, and thyme. Steamed mixed veggies (not homegrown). A really nice sauvignon blanc from NZ, Merlins Barrow 2009.

It also wasn’t a day to use the oven, but I did anyway. My favorite oatmeal-pecan cookies, except this time around they’re oatmeal-walnut. Other added extras included a teaspoon of ground ginger, 4-5 oz chocolate chips, and a half teaspoon of something called fiori di sicilia, a combination of citrus and vanilla extracts that Italians use in baking. Have yet to try a cookie to see how it worked, but it imparted a distinct taste to the dough, and there was a decent amount of dough. Pleasant, but not the usual oatmeal cookie flavor. Any more than 1/2 tsp would have been too much. That stuff is potent. I baked those cookies 6 hours ago, washed two sets of dished since, and my hands still carry of hint of citrus.

Another thing I used was my Beater Blade, which I am convinced has made one hella improvement in the way my mixer mixes. The mixer, a Kitchen Aid, came with a weighty metal mixer blade that left a little pocket of unmixed stuff at the bottom of the bowl. It also didn’t scrape the sides of the bowl, so halfway through I would have to stop mixing and scrape the sides.

The Beater Blade pretty much eliminates those problems. It’s a lighter blade, plastic, with flexible edges that scrape the sides of the bowl continuously during mixing. The sugar-butter blend that is supposed to be fluffy actually came out fluffy. The oatmeal blended better, which made for a lighter cookie. The blade also seems to lessen “wall crawl,” where heavy, thick dough crawls up the wall of the bowl during mixing, sits atop the mixer blade, and won’t settle back down.

Anyway, enough product placement. I think Kitchen Aid came out with their own version, but mine is a Beater Blade and I like it lots.

In other news, garden hose split. Will try to fix it later, after sundown. If the fix doesn’t work, I will be hitting the hardware big box sooner rather than later. This is not the time to try to do without a hose.