Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Potato Three

Tonight's adventure was ShamaLamaMama's suggestion -- potato chips. I don't have a mandoline or a deep fryer, and the last time I made chips was way back when my kids were still home. I had forgotten how much work it is with a vegetable peeler and a small pot of oil!

But oh baby, it was worth it. Light, crispy, and with my last minute side dish of gin and tonic, the perfect dinner! :D

(and the blurry photo is because I am not a food photographer and don't have a food-friendly camera or set up -- it's NOT because of the gin and tonic, honest!)

Wordless Wednesday - view from my office window

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One potato, two potato

I took one of my home-grown potatoes and made Tink's oven fries tonight. Her recipe was fabulous. I left the skin on, but otherwise followed it exactly as she said. The fries were crispy on the outside, still slightly soft on the inside, and really tasty -- even the ones I burned! I'll definitely need to plant a lot more potatoes next year -- who wouldn't love organic french fries!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Verdict

Tonight was The Night. Sliced, drizzled with evoo, roasted for a long, slow time until they started to caramelize. I only netted about half a cup of tomato/tomatillo mix, and added a bit of frozen pesto, something I make whenever basil is plentiful and keep on hand for all sorts of uses. Finally, I tossed them with (more or less) an equal amount of whole grain pasta --

It was only a taste, my tomatillo tapa. The tomatillos were bright tasting, almost lemony. As much as I could tell from two bites, they're pretty good. I can imagine dicing them and tossing them in with whatever was on hand to add a little zip to almost anything. Hopefully my plant will make a few more for me before the season is over so that I can play some more!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First day of fall

The leaves are starting to change color, and autumn in Michigan is a beautiful season -- that's the good news. The bad news is that autumn is short, and the winter that follows is terribly long.

Mise en place

I was able to harvest two tomatillos today. My poor lonely plant is a single in a cross-pollination world. I feel it's pain, but hope springs eternal - she, at least, still has plenty of flowers, so maybe there will be more fruit in the next few weeks. But clearly I will not have enough for salsa verde.

My plan now is -- after husking and washing -- drizzle with olive oil and roast my two little tomatillos with an equal amount of local tomato. I am not sure yet whether I will merely dust with oregano or mix in a bit of pesto from my freezer. Either way, I will eat it with a bit of whole grain pasta. The tomatillos will stay fresh for a few days, so I will put this off until Monday or Tuesday (or Wednesday), whenever I need a quick work-day side dish or late (very) light lunch.

For those of you who want to join in on the tomatillo tasting, you may now pass go and buy your tomatillo[s].


Yogurt cake right out of the oven, and local peaches - some to eat and some to freeze. On this lazy weekend, I call it lunch. I love Sundays.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

And for my next act . . .

A coworker gave me a tomatillo plant last spring and I should be able to harvest my little crop by next month. What a fun plant to grow -- the husks form like puffy little chinese lanterns and only later fill in with fruit. I've actually never eaten a tomatillo but I have to like something this cute. Maria says I can roast them, with olive oil and herbs, just like I do tomatos, and freeze them. Then I can toss them into sauces or soups this winter. I hate winter, am so tired of cold and wet (before it's even started!), but I sure do love winter food!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Simple pleasures

I plan to try most, if not all (sorry Tootie, I don't like onions!) of your suggestions and decided to start with the classic -- a simple baked potato with butter. I had it for breakfast this morning, and I am not kidding, it really did taste more potato-y than the store bought kind! I like this part of gardening, I can feel the country life sweeping me away. 'Gotta get me some overalls so I can plant more taters come spring! Or (blush) maybe not.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So easily amused

I planted a potato plant this year for the first time. Because my house is listed for sale, I didn't want to dig up a garden area that I would have to maintain, so I put my single plant in a big pot. It did well at first, but then turned yellow and died back a couple months earlier than the instructions said it would. I didn't really think it would work anyway. I mean honestly, potatoes from a pot? So I shrugged and forgot about it.

Last night I noticed that empty pot, silently chastising me for not doing something with it instead of leaving it as a bizarre focal point. So I started to transfer the dirt to a holding pot to store away for next year -- and to my glorious surprise, I discovered -- can you guess? -- POTATOES! I am so excited. They are a bit bumpy and I don't know yet how they will taste, but they are organic, they are home grown, and they are mine!*

Yes, the pot of dirt is still sitting there, but now I'm trying to view it as a shrine of sorts, to my greener-than-last-year thumb. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - view from my office window that reminds me of my grandson

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - does that look like Mickey or have I lost my mind?

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Ah ha, I think I get it now

'Turns out that Nancy wanted to trim my hedge for me because, in exchange, she wanted to store some things in my garage . . . and how could I say no, after all she's done for me? Good thing I'm no pushover.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Would you laugh, or cry?

I've probably mentioned that I am trying to sell my house. So it goes without saying (she says) that I am trying to keep it clean and groomed looking. I remarked out loud the other day that I was going to get a handyman to trim the hedge in my front yard. It was getting too tall and to unkempt looking. Not totally terrible, but I thought a neater look was in order. Better curb appeal. I had gotten one estimate for several hundred dollars, and had no intention of paying that, so I was calling a few local handy guys. And, blabbermouth that I am, I mentioned all of this to my sister and Nancy, one of her friends.

Just when you start to feel that life has no more surprises, you get a surprise. Yesterday I got home about 8:00 pm, tired and looking forward to an hour of rest before bedtime. As I drove up to my house I looked in horror to see, in the dim light of a long day, a pile, of brush about 4 feet high and covering my whole front lawn, twigs and branches and leaves. With my sister and Nancy standing proudly next to a hedge that looked like it had been assaulted by a drunken axe murderer.

About 2/3 of the hedge had been trimmed, and its profile rolled and dipped like a hurricane driven surf, ending in a sharp upward turn where they had evidently lost interest, so that they last 5 feet or so of hedge was about 4 feet taller than the rest. The shortest part of the hedge was almost two feet lower than I wanted it cut. I was nearly speechless but told them, really, they shouldn't have put themselves out like that, but they explained that "it had to be done" and they didn't want me to spend so much money on it. And oh, they were done for the night and thought it would be okay to just leave the massive trimmings on the front lawn for a couple of days.

I told them that my city ordinance wouldn't allow that, and I began to drag branches to the back yard. I know they had to be tired, but they pitched right in, to give the devils their due. We filled the only 10 yard waste bags I had, and left a huge pile next to my garage, which it will take me several days to cut and bind for trash pick up. And there will be plenty left over to fill several more yard waste bags. On top of that, there's several more feet of hedge to trim.

My sister and Nancy meant well, obviously. I thanked them for all their hard work, but as they went to Nancy's car, my sister whispered to me, "are you really mad?" I was glad for the hint that her aesthetic judgment isn't as bad as I'd feared, but I told her that no, I was grateful for their help. I can't say this to them, so I will say it here: they are the worst hedge pruners in the entire world.

The hedge looks both half done and half dead, and if I were house hunting I would see it as a huge liability. But then, no one bought the house when I thought it looked good, so anything is possible. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

You're no bunny 'til some bunny loves you, so find yourself some bunny to love!

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Good grief, Gustav

After a couple days of insisting to me that they would not leave, my daughter and Dizzy finally evacuated from New Orleans. I'm not sure why they waited so long, except that they were afraid of being separated, perhaps in single-sex shelters. I heard last night that they are somewhere in Mississippi, with one of Dizzy's uncles. My daughter's cell phone does not work there, so details are sketchy. It doesn't look like it will be, as the mayor warned, the Mother of All Storms. But as I watch Gustav approaching on television, and see the ghost town that New Orleans has become, I am glad they decided to leave.