Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"Now here's another special of the day, you see I've got more spice than the Frugal Gourmet."
Anson brought this basil home from a food show last week. It's live, in little tiny pots, and it's designed to be sold to restaurants. I couldn't get over how flawless it was. *Wistful sigh.*
Tonight it went into the blender with a couple cloves of garlic, a fistful of pine nuts, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and a generous scoop of parmesan. It smells as perfect as it looks. Pesto Genovese...nothin' better, yo.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I have a hard time grasping the passage of time. Recently, a guy on the radio commented that it's been 20 years since Nirvana's first album, Bleach. I sat there, wide-eyed, doing the math over and over in my head, not quite believing it to be true. Could that be right? 20 years??? No way.
In my head it's always right around 1998. When I hear that something happened in 1994, I do some quick math in my head and think, "Oh, only four years ago..." Then I think again, "Wait, that's fifteen years ago..."
And so it's strange to me when people my age have kids because I still think I'm 22. My split-second reaction is, "They are way too young!" But nope, they aren't, not at all.
I was thinking about this age-time dissonance the other day when I met up with my old friend Kimberly. The young woman I worked with 8 years ago is now all grown up with a husband, a baby, a house and two dogs. How is that possible when she's the same age as me? Oh yeah, I'm 33 and that's what regular people my age do! Duh!
Time keeps marching along at an ever-increasing pace I guess, even if you are not prepared to keep up with it.
Kimberly and her husband, Sean, have been keeping up with their age though, and what a cool life they have. They have the cutest little boy, London, of whom I took some pictures this past weekend. I also got some cute photos of the two of them together; check it out below. Mostly I had a great time connecting with Kimberly again. A lot of years may have gone by, but she's still the warm, friendly and talented young woman I used to have lunch with every day. Speaking of talented, she's a fantastic graphic designer too. Here's her website. She also did my new logo, on which I've had so many compliments:
She generously let me use some of the photos for the blog. Thanks Kimberly!
Friday, September 18, 2009
The photo for Russ Parson's column in last week's Los Angeles Times food section reminded me that I had taken a similar photo and a while ago, hoping to use it when I wrote about all the scores of dishes I made with the bushels of tomatoes we harvested. And, as so often is the case, life got in the way of my cooking plans and I didn't make that many special tomato dishes. Really only one. But it was spectacular! It was Tyler Florence's Spaghetti Bolognese (with ground turkey and chicken sausage standing in for the beef and veal). I made a huge cauldron of it, had friends over for dinner, gave some to the neighbors, and still had 3 days worth left. Our neighbors said it was the best bolognese they had ever had and I should open a restaurant with the recipe. I had to admit it wasn't my recipe, but I agree, it was damn good.
No doubt we ate all the tomatoes, in fact we ended up throwing them into just about everything we ate for several weeks. Anson, the breakfast master, put them in egg sandwiches, I made salads with spinach and our cucumbers, I tossed them with hot pasta, goat cheese and basil, made another salad with onions, cucumbers, feta, and Nancy Silverton's Oregano dressing. We also gave them away to all of the friends we saw for a while, and Anson carried a back pack of them on the plane to Minnesota. Who knew you could carry on tomatoes?
Of course, if you read the last post you know that the tomatoes are gone now, but they live on in freezer bags as concassé, to be reanimated this winter when I need a little taste of summer.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This past Labor Day truly was a labor day for us. The weekend started out brutally hot, a continuation of the week before. If you live out of state, you probably saw the fires and high temperatures on the news. No amount of fans could cool our un-air conditioned apartment. Then on Saturday, like a parent who has forgotten a child at school, the onshore flow came rushing in, bringing relief and causing us to forget the mistreatment. We happily set to working outside with neighbors Chris & Brenda, yanking out the tomato, zucchini, cucumber, string bean and pepper plants that we watched come to life through the summer and getting our plot ready for winter. I am still amazed at how beautiful everything was.
Anson has been planning the winter garden practically since we planted the summer garden back at Easter. We learned some good lessons this summer, mainly about placement and spacing of the plants. Next year we'll plant fewer tomatoes and farther apart so that they don't die out so early. We'll put the zucchini in front of the tomatoes so it gets enough sun once the tomatoes start to tower over them. We'll align the rows vertically instead of horizontally for maximum sun to all plants. We'll also hit them with the Safer caterpillar killer at the first sign of trouble. It pains me to think of how many tomatoes were lost to those merciless killers. They had so much potential, so much life left to give...we'll show no mercy next time!!!
Ahem, so anyway we bought several bags of organic compost, in lieu of Miracle Grow. Anson mixed it in and turned the rows the short way. He was out there with a measuring tape and a shovel, making sure we start out on the right foot. As you can see it looks great.
We've got a couple plants growing already, we bought Brussels Sprouts and Bright Lights Chard at OSH. I am most excited about the Brussels Sprouts. Anyone who has read my previous entry, Mon Petit Chou, I Love You, knows about the devotion I now have for Brussels Sprouts. They actually take up one quarter of the garden. The chard was something we thought would be cool. It has neon stems, kind of like the Hollywood version of chard. It'll be fun to see if it tastes any different.
The rest of the veggies are germinating in our little incubator in the kitchen and we just got some sprouts today. Nothing yesterday, sprouts today, amazing. We've got cabbage, carrots, kale (yep, I have a previous entry on kale too--Kale: Not Just For Decor Anymore), more beets (check out Babies On The Way), broccoli, and onions. I don't know how we're going to fit it all in, but Anson made graphs, flow charts and Power Point presentations in his planning so I'm trusting he knows what to do.
As we watch the sun set just a little earlier every night, winter is a little less daunting now that we've got a garden to look forward to.