July 20th, 2007 | No Comments »

For my birthday I received the Silver Palate Cookbook from my boss. She knows how much I enjoy cooking and with her impeccable taste selected the most perfect book on the planet. This place, the Silver Palate, is apparently very well known for amazing catering and the like.

I haven’t been much for turning the oven or stove on since it is summer, so I selected the “Summer Pasta” as my first crack at the book. It is a no-cook pasta sauce that calls for fresh tomatoes (and thanks to my mom, I had some to supplement my one) fresh basil from my herb garden, garlic, olive oil, and chunks of brie. You let the linguine gently ‘heat’ the sauce and thus release all the flavors.

I made the man’s favorite salad (not much on the vegetable count which is probably why he likes it) but it has field greens, bleu cheese, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, crunchy Chinese noodles and balsamic vinaigrette.

Yes, we had lots of cheese at dinner last night. No- I didn’t take a single photograph! But it was as beautiful a dish as it was good. I’m thinking it will be tasty leftover tonight, although I’m not sure how I will recreate the “gently heated” aspect again. Once again, I inadvertently planned an entirely vegetarian meal. (My poor, poor man.) I think I must have the tendency to eat this way from time to time and particularly in the summer.

Anyhoo, I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who likes to cook or read about cooking. The margins of the pages are peppered with interesting tips on nurturing your creative side, such as, how to inspire yourself to play with unique flavor combinations in your cooking, technical tips like how to deglaze a pan- mingled with quotes about the joy of food and suggested event menus (I like the “nuptial brunch” that commences with figs and prociutto, mmmmmm.)

Posted in books, Cooking
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
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