May 7th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Do you like tomatoes? I know I do, and until this year, I’ve relied heavily on my mother’s garden for the production of my summer ‘maters. That was until the Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree came into my life like a bright beacon of hope this Easter courtesy of Jeff. How ever did he know?

Well, I might have said something like “A Topsy Turvy Tree would make a kick-ass Easter present” once or maybe five times. I like to spell things out for him so there is never any confusion.

My reign as a plant killer is coming to an end. Somehow this year will be different. This year, I won’t kill another tomato plant. This year I’ll have a tomato harvest of my own, and YES! this year I’ll have to GIVE the suckers away, they will be that plentiful.

Check out my TTTT (I have two, you know.)

Ok, so they aren’t the exact ones from the infomercial. The one that was, like, $60 bucks AND another $20 in shipping and handling (I’ll have MY tomato tree un-handled please. Perverts.) It did, however, come with its own stainless steel stand and could hold three plants. Maybe next year I’ll upgrade to the fancier pot, but I’m pretty happy with these two.

This is the modified version available at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, just about everywhere I look actually. It holds one plant per unit (tee hee, I said unit) we were smart and planned on it getting very heavy (i.e. read a review with warnings about anticipating the weight of the plant, dirt and a billion tomatoes) and hung them on 200lb hooks from my porch. I water daily (or, at least, Jeff does) and we (meaning he) fertilize them every 10 days or so. There is a root explosion going on inside, I just know it, and little yellow flowers all over them (I heretell that’s a good thing) and they are at least twice the size they were a week ago, thank heavens for all the rain. This sucker is going to work, I tell you. It was written up as a top invention in Reader’s Digest and all that crap, there are photos of lush tomato plants with lots of ‘maters all over these here internets, so I know, I KNOW it will work.

I’m so excited.

And my T-Turv can’t hide it!

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it (oh yeah!)

Posted in Gardening
November 29th, 2008 | No Comments »

Remember the saga of the vegetable? It would be more memorable if it hadn’t been prior to great personal drama, but at the beginning of the summer I planted a “vegetable.” Then yesterday when pulling dead things out of pots, this was attached.

No, not the acorn squash. The stumpy thing in the front. I think it was supposed to be a potato at sometime. I can’t tell what kind. If it were in a bigger pot it might have been bigger, but alas, it is a teensy, weensy potato.

I think I’ll fry it.

Posted in Gardening
August 18th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

In the hub-ub that was last week, I forgot to post this picture.

The lovely Claudia bestowed upon me some really beautiful lace weight yarn. Over 1400 yards of some very “Amanda” colors and I just love it. It is nice and smooshy. But now I suppose I shall have to make something lacy with it. Hmmmmmmmm. Maybe something this fall will inspire. Thanks for the yarny goodness girl!

Do you like my flat-leafed parsley? It is the only thing other than the “vegetable” that seems to be thriving in this heat. What do you do with so much abundant parsley? I finally had to make a jumbo batch of pesto last week and freeze it so the basil crop wouldn’t go to waste. All my hopes for summer cooking have long since been obliterated what with no one to cook for and no desire to eat. Feh. Maybe fall will be better.

June 19th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

A thought that comes to my mind almost daily. I don’t know why some greenery enjoys the pleasure of my company while some flora abandons ship almost immediately. I have no green thumb, but I like to grow stuff, when I can. This year Jeff got me a loverly hummingbird bush (amongst other fauna) and I am eternally grateful for the beauty that is our patio right now. Now we have also adopted some plants that were “liberated” from an untimely demise (i.e. the dumpster at Lowe’s by Jeff’s Mom) and we have planted them as well, what the hell.

Now it is getting truly exiting. Brace yourselves, we have a burgeoning head of lettuce (about three bites worth) happily growing alongside some cilantro, which is also flourishing, I’ll have you know.

Now for my personal favorite… drumroll please… our “vegetable.” Somewhere along the way this plant lost its tag, but from the bar code we have deciphered that, at maturity, we will have a crop of “vegetable.”

Good to know. The center green thing that is positively thriving is a lonely refugee patio tomato, of THAT I can be certain (it had a tag.) However, the two spindly things on the outside, well, that can be anyone’s guess, but by the way that they are creeping, I’m going to hypothesize that maybe… possibly… they could be a bean of some sort? An Okra plant? Won’t this be fun? I’ll be sure to take a photographic essay of our journey together –so stay tuned.

Now for your daily dose of eye candy. I merged two birthday gifts today in a most delightfully brilliant way (um thank you, thank you very much). First, some really cute glittery rock star decals with my equally rocking, slicker-than-snot sewing machine- wanna know how I know it is rockin? Take a gander:

What, what?

Now from the side:

Boo-ya! NOW I’m ready to roll!

July 18th, 2007 | 1 Comment »

I has a tomato. But just the one. It is the same tomato as before, but it is red today. Small, hard and red. It got no bigger, but it finally got red…ish. It sounds very yummy doesn’t it?

Before:

After:

My Grandmother, MMM (Mamama), has a TOMATO TREE growing on her porch.


My mother planted it for her and all MMM has done is watered it and watched it and apparently cast some mystical southern-little-old-lady spell on it or dipped her index finger in the soil or something and will probably be enjoying mountains of tomatoes soon.

I give up.

Here is my MMM -my favorite “LOL” (Little Old Lady.) She taught me how to knit when I was seven years old and walked me through my very first afghan, dishcloth and set of baby booties. I love her much. (She also makes me crazy- because she can- and I’m very grateful for every bit of it.)

Quote of the day:

“Mothers know exactly which buttons to push, they installed them after all.” (I’m thinking of cross stitching this one on a pillow, what do you think?)

Posted in Gardening, Personal
July 11th, 2007 | 2 Comments »

I purchased a sushi press back in April and we are just now getting around to using it. The collaboration for the Captain Jack’s birthday cake went so very well on Thursday, we tried another united cooking endeavor which was much less likely to end in bloodshed. I’ll admit that making my own sushi frightened me. I knew I didn’t want to start with anything too snazzy (or raw) until I had a safe place to purchase raw fish (and I’m open to suggestions by the way) and had mastered the rice, because from what I hear it can be tricky.

Now, the rice was not that difficult to make, purchasing it on the other hand…

I was at real Asian market a few months back, wandering around, purchasing my nori (seaweed) and wasabi, etc., a lot of packaging was written in English and with other items the photos were enough to let me know I was on the right track. I was looking for a small box of sushi rice. I couldn’t find rice ANYWHERE. Not near the noodles or other things that looked grainy. How could this be?

Well it might have something to do with the whole wing of the building devoted to rice. I was so overwhelmed and everything was in Chinese, so I bought the smallest bag of white, short-grain rice that I could find (5 lbs.) and it ended up being the wrong stuff. As it turns out, Publix has a lovely selection of international rices in convenient tubs. I followed the directions exactly and had beautiful sticky rice to show for my efforts without a rice maker, thank you very much.

As far as ingredients, I kept it simple. I thought we would make California Rolls (Crab, cucumber, and avocado) and Bagel Rolls (smoked salmon, cream cheese and I threw in some chives from my thriving herb garden.) We then made rolls with variations of these ingredients and learned rather quickly that the less rice you put in a roll, the better.

The press really just helps the novice sushi chef keep all the ingredients contained and compact. You end up with a cube, but you can then roll it around in the mat and make it round if you want to.

Our final product, a mountain of sushi:

Things I learned:

1. Just as a little rice goes a long way, so does a little wasabi, DAMN. Oh, and the rice will will stick to just about anything if you aren’t careful.

2. Making sushi vs. going out to eat it is, like anything, cost effective. If we go out and order edamame, soup, three rolls, some sashimi and sake, we can easily spend $100 (or more depending on what rolls we get and how much sake is consumed).

3. Sushi, like Mexican food, uses lots of little bowls and utensils in the preparation. The process yields a messy kitchen. And a really sharp knife is absolutely necessary.

4. Ingredients: you don’t need much to go a long way, however, I don’t have many more ideas at present as to how to expand upon my current ingredients at this time.

5. The next party/social outing where I am asked to bring an appetizer, I’m going to forgo the dip and take a plate of homemade sushi! SUPERSTAR!

Things I need to learn:

1. Since the rice is sticky, if I make an “inside out” (rice on the outside) roll, how do I keep it from sticking to the mat and then what is the best way to roll it in roe?

2. Where, oh where do I purchase some broiled eel? (those are our FAVORITE rolls when we go out and you’ve GOT to be able to find it somewhere.) And a side note, doesn’t THIS look freakin’ awesome? The photography alone at Nook & Pantry is enough to make me want to eat my computer screen. I stumbled across this AWESOME blog during my initial eel research and if I can find me some eel, I’m making Unagi Rice Bowls for dinner- who wants to come over?

3. A good (and safe) place to purchase raw fish in north Georgia and any other things I need to know about that.

As Promised, Breaking News: Tomato Harvest 2007

We have had a development in Tomato Harvest 2007. After talking at length to my stepfather, we have determined that the much-loved tomato plant, although tall and leafy, was malnourished. I had Jeff get me some extra stinky organic potting soil for vegetables and I replaced the dirt in the pot with fresh dirt on Monday and watered with some more tomato food. We had some very nice thunder-booming rain yesterday, and there would appear to be some more yellow blooms already. I’m hopeful, but we aren’t there yet. I won’t be happy until I have a tomato. For reals.

Posted in Cooking, Gardening
June 27th, 2007 | 3 Comments »

A tomato farmer I certainly am not. I don’t know why I feel the need to grow tomatoes each year – maybe it is a deeply rooted biological response to my southern heritage or maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. I never have what you would call an astounding success. Last year I coaxed a sickly potted tomato plant to yield a small crop.

The plant promptly turned yellow and went to plant heaven. The smallest of the tomatoes disappeared entirely from the bowl, only to be found, months later under the microwave looking more like a raisin than a tomato- ew. (A result of kitty interference- most definitely.)

Before:

After:

Drainage turned out to be the problem. So this year, more holes were drilled in the pot and I now have this:

LUSH! GREEN! TALL! Indeed. I started to get very excited. Except, I’m supposed to be seeing tomatoes, right? Or some buds or flowers or something other than leaves.

Ok, wait, what is this?

One FREAKIN tomato? Really? Crap!

I suppose I’m in dire need of some supplemental plant nutrition. Or something. Or maybe I should just plant some ivy in this pot and pour myself a large glass of whine. I gave it some tomato spike feeding thingies, but maybe those weren’t enough? I’ve used them in my herb box and am enjoying the ample, herby goodness sprouting forth (except for the thyme, which I kill each year, and don’t really know what foods to put it in anyways.)

Any suggestions as to if Tomato Harvest 2007 has beenĀ  compromised beyond salvation or if there are any emergency, crop-saving actions that can implemented immediately- would be most welcome.

Posted in Gardening, Personal