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Showing posts from October, 2013

Our Lady of Perpetual Parsley

. . . and kale, and, alas, Oxalis too.

It's true. If I never wanted to grow anything but kale, tomatoes, beans, parseley, cilantro, and oregano, I could dispense with all deliberate planting.

Missed dropped tomatoes, kale plants gone to flower, bean roots hibernating underground, my garden is full of potential. If the circumstances are right, as in the tiny kale forest below, up they pop.

I let the parsley go to seed because the bees like it. Bonus is I never have to deal with fiddly parsley seeds and their picky germination requirements. Apparently, benign neglect is the key.

There are downsides, I assume. I haven't figured out all of the succession keys yet, so I have either "all" or "none" as the settings. Remember the Tunnel of Cilantro?

I also can't really choose with any pinpoint accuracy where these plants will show up. True confession -- I may see parsley all over as I may have flailed some seedhead branches all around while singing a few weeks ago.…

The Big One

Our sadly neglected front yard apple trees put on a lovely show this year. I've been eating apples almost every day.

Sometimes it's been difficult to see them because they're hidden by volunteer Sun Gold vines, but the other day I was picking some tomatoes to force them on offer them to neighbors, and saw the apple of the season.


The other Big One?

She seems to be having a lot of fun and studying hard at college. We were lucky enough to get to see her play in a casual tournament last week.

Watching my kids play remains one of the very most enjoyable things I do.

Hey Seoul Sister

This certainly has been an eye-opening way to spend my birthday.  While the celebration is over here in Asia where everyone in the house is sound asleep, according to my watch it's only 4:21 in the afternoon, still my birthday in New Jersey. I like this 37 hour day.

For the first time I'm having a difficult time finding a funny story to tell. Sure I can recount yesterday's bathroom adventure at the sheep farm (couldn't do the squatting over a hole in the floor-gimme a toilet puh-leeze)! I can say that as a foreigner, I wasn't required to watch the propaganda film at the DMZ, but after a lengthy indoctrination, am ready to fight, fight, fight. I can tell you that a car full of Koreans eating strong-smelling sushi rolls first thing in the morning is about as close to feeing hungover as I have been in a very long time.
No, this is about realizing who I am in son #1's world and finding my rightful place in his family. The old adage about "a son is yours until he…

Daily meals

Some nights it's all I can do to put food on the table -- sometimes going so far as to order takeout or pick up burritos from the very nice people up the street. But I do write a menu every week and try to stick to it. I also like to try new things -- tonight is one example.

I like gnocchi. At restaurants. At home, it's hit or miss. Out of nowhere, I figured I'd give it a try, and was inspired by some pop-up recipe with spinach. So I looked until I found a recipe I really liked. Also I'm trying to clean out the freezers, and we had two half-bags of spinach waiting. Coincidentally, they were exactly the weight specified. Yay!

After I baked the two kilos of Yukon gold potatoes, then riced them, mixed in the cooked and drained spinach and two cups of flour, it looked like this.

Then the dough got rolled out into ropes. It's pretty wet, so we'll see how it goes.

I tried cutting pieces with a knife

But decided that kitchen shears were easier and squished the ropes less.

Catch Me Now I'm Falling

I think I need to get my eyes checked.  Then again, my eyes may be fine-I've been known to be a bit clumsy all my life.  But the fact remains that three times in the past year I've taken some real nasty spills tripping on cracks in the sidewalk or missing curbs. 

The first happened at lunchtime in the company of my financial advisor.  He brought me a new life insurance policy to sign so that my kids will be sure to say they love me when I die.

We were leaving the pizza place in the rain and went to cross the street when my heel got caught in the cobblestones.  I landed face first in a puddle.  My blazer was wet; my palms skinned.  Worse was that: I lay splayed like the picture of a dead person as roadkill and my skirt was hiked up almost around my head.  From where he stood behind me, this guy got a good picture of the wrong end.  I'm sure he couldn't sleep for days with that image in his brain.  He picked me up and I found that my pantyhose were ripped to shreds and t…

That's What Friends Are For

It's redundant for me to say that I had a really crappy year last year and I'm still 20 days away from the anniversary of Sandy which stopped the clock for another 6 months while I worked to rebuild my house.
That being said,  I've also had two of the best experiences this year.  My first granddaughter was born the week before Sandy, and I was thrilled to be present when granddaughter #2 was born.  Shock of all shocks after having three sons! I've gone on trips, had lunch and dinner with countless new and old friends, closed the door on some things and opened my heart and mind to new ones-including writing this blog.
Amy at A My Name Is Amy nominated me for an award that she herself has been nominated for.  No, I won't need another new pair of shoes for this award ceremony.  This is recognition among bloggers for writing something that other people either like or find amusing and sometimes say "Damn, she's good."  Professionally, Amy is everyth…

Making Do

The volunteer Sungolds have climbed the espaliered apple trees out front. The plant nearest the sidewalk is dense, with many smallish tomatoes. It reaches through the fence to the side where the toddler lives. She runs there each morning and picks orange tomatoes to eat.

The plant toward the back has bigger fruit and longer, whip-like branches. Denise helps me pick and slice, trying to save as many as possible. We feed them to anyone who will eat them, and still there are more. I think there will be cherry tomatoes until a hard frost. Will I manage to not pull them out before January?

Estimating how much to plant is an art I've not yet mastered. I thought three Principe Borghese plants would keep me in sun-dried tomatoes all year long. Given the vagaries of my irrigation system, I underplanted. I'm trying to keep up with the harvest and preserve as many as I can. I'm already eating them, chopped into quinoa, tossed with pine nuts over pasta, and in salads.

But drying them in …

Recipes for the Reds

When I'm overwhelmed with tomatoes or red peppers (although, really, "overwhelmed" and red peppers do not belong in the same sentence. It would be like being "overwhelmed" with health), I have a couple of go-to recipes.

Annie suggested that I needed to share my tomato recipe, and I hesitated. It's not really a recipe, more like a procedure. At any rate, here goes.

Take a bunch of your lovely, fresh, ripe ripe ripe tomatoes. It doesn't matter what variety; you just have to enjoy them enough to eat them somewhat concentrated. Wash and core them. Chop roughly. Set aside. Mince an onion, leek, or a bunch of shallots. Make the allium pile correlate to the amount of tomatoes -- a whole onion for a large pot, half for half, etc.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt about 1/4 cup butter and an equal amount of good olive oil together. Add the onion and saute on medium heat until translucent. Add the tomatoes. Cook until the skins are coming off of the pieces, and the toma…

They Paved Paradise...(Redux)

Last week, there was a grand opening of a big-box shoe store the next town over, where a bankrupt book store once stood.  You might expect someone with over 50 pairs of shoes, boots and sneakers to be clapping her hands and jumping up and down. Instead, I got tears in my eyes when I stood looking out to the highway at their new front door.

The store is on the same spot as the home I grew up in. The front door is dead-on with where the kitchen window use to be. 

My house sat on a small farm-a piece of land my grandparents moved to from Connecticut back in the 40's. A decade ago, The Press wrote an article about the Highway 35 corridor and the excitement new stores were generating. I wrote a response which was made into an editorial piece-technically, my first published article:

"They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot" sang Joni Mitchell.  In Eatontown, along with the parking lot, they're putting up a Toys-R-Us and a Borders Bookstore.  The Paradise they're pav…

Harvest Monday

The Red Edition

Daphne hosts Harvest Monday on her blog. Go check out the wonderful things people are harvesting.

Some Principe Borghese drying tomatoes (already split and in the oven), some red bells, destined to be roasted red pepper soup, and a handful of strawberries. I actually picked about 1 1/2 cups of berries, despite them being not watered enough. Those Tristars are rock stars!

Every year I say I need to grow more bell peppers. No matter how many I plant, it's always true.