Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why I Grow A Summer Garden

It's finally summer and the living is easy and having put the time and work into the summer garden it's time to take in the benefits. I grew every herb I could find this spring along with vegetables and flowers and mixed them all up so it looked like something that would just grow naturally, some some organized English garden. And I have been experimenting with some flavors and wanted to share them here with you. The fish thing, couldn't be easier. I have been experimenting with new kinds of fish and the formula seems the same for success. As I do not like cooking fish in the house, the grill is more than perfect for this and wrapping a filet in a piece of foil with some herbs from the garden, (I used sage and chives here with some slices of lemon and a smidge of olive oil just works) I rubbed the foil with olive oil first so when it sits on the medium heat of the grill it browns the bottom of this fish to perfection. It was so good I couldn't get enough. Cooking a few filets at a time makes for a nice variety of left overs for fish tacos the next day and cuts down cooking time to a mere minimum. Take the filet off the grill a minute or two before you'd expect to as it cooks when its off the grill also.

Now for the really fun stuff...The asian not so rolled up spring rolls. I love the tastes in spring rolls but I am so not a fan of the roll itself. It looks a little like a condom and the texture freaks me out. These rolling rice wrappers are not hard to find however and they store up to 3 months so if you are having impromptu summer guests its a super easy go to food. I deconstructed the recipe and made a noodle bowl fill of those same tastes without the time consuming wrapping deal.

The basis for the bowl? Well rice noodles or bean thread noodles even sometimes I will use egg noodles. The rice and bean noodles don't even need to be cooked, you pour some boiling water over the top of them in a bowl and let them sit for 15 minutes and then a quick cold water bath to chill them.

The proteins?
You can use anything here, shredded chicken, some slices of left over steak from the grill, big cooked shrimp, even scallops. I almost always use some scrambled egg. Egg is a mainstay in most asian dishes and when mixed with some sauce, it's truly lovely.

The Vegetables?

Go insane here, cucumber, carrots, summer squash all julienne with a peeler. The textures are wonderful, pea pods, cabbage, cooked or not, lettuce leaves, soft or crunchy, the sky is the limit here. I even use some lemon juice or slices of lime to give that cool summer citrus feeling.

The Herbs?
Thai basil, basil, mint, cilantro (my all time favorite), sage, any onion of any sort, but chives seem to be the mildest form, sometimes rosemary in small quantities works for me also.

The Sauces?

Oh golly, go to your local asian market and here you will find a multitude of tastes, hoisn, fish sauces, soy, Tahini (ground sesame seeds), peanut sauce (which is really easy to make on your own) and even hummus for a summer taste, mix them, try dabbles of a few and of course some finely ground peanuts for the top to give you a little crunch and depth.

If you find something that works for you, drop me a note and I'd love to try it. Summer food doesn't mean cooking, just some prep work, chopping mostly. The noodle bowls make for perfect pic nic food, chopping everything into zip lock bags with a few jars of sauce and zip lock bags with some ice cubes keeps everything cold in a summer bag and all of it goes in the trash when you are done, nothing to carry home. I am planning a pic nic with the best friend soon. Pic Nics with her have been some of the best days of my life. Take care,


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

For me, the ritual of summer has to involve perusing your neighbor's junk to find out what they've been hiding away thinking they had to throw this or that out and now it's yours. So last Saturday after breakfast with Richie I stumble across a couple of neat finds, an old old typewriter for $3, with the coolest case. I would have paid that for the case and now I get the joy of tearing the machine to pieces and creating some art. The really great find though was the doll house. It's something circa 1950 made by Marx in tin. The furniture is that wonderful plastic colorful stuff we played with as a kid. I never had a tin dollhouse but my mother and I had a wood house we played with often. It was yellow because yellow was her favorite color and one year for my birthday my father wired it for lights. I think being close to Father's Day and missing them both so much made me want it even more. She wanted $60 and I was sort of sure she'd take $40 and finally traded her a piece of jewelry I was wearing, that I made myself so I get a piece of her history and she gets a bit of my art, perfect trade. I haven't decided where to put it but I did bid on another similar house on Ebay this morning so perhaps when Richie leaves in the fall I can turn one of the empty rooms into a tiny neighborhood. I kept thinking this is one of those finds you just can't pass up, or I'd kick myself for not taking it home. i love that it's loved a little by some child, that the awning is missing and I still have to figure out how to hang the plastic climbing vines or perhaps I will just fashion a few of my own. i want to crochet little bed spreads for the bed and even made a few hand made mini oval rugs like my mother and I did when I was a child.

If you have a box of the old plastic furniture and you are looking to trade a piece of jewelry or some box of beads I have here, drop me a note and let me know and I'd love to do that. I was thinking of having a garage sale this summer but rather than do a money exchange, exchange for something you wanted to get rid of. There is a website online for free things, I am going to sign up today to see if there is someone who could use boxes of books or a large mirror I have sitting in the garage for something fun.

While stumbling through the garage I found an old book on issak Dennison that beloged to my brother. I may one day give it back to him after I have destroyed it with notes of my own. It's the true story of Out Of Africa, a delightful read, full of factoids and a photo of Dennys Finchatton. He was a delicately handsome man and a true romantic. When I finish it, I will fill you in on the details.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dirty White Boy and Hallelujah

Yes these are my babies about 8 months after they were born. Being brother and sister they do most everything together. They even look for each other to get into trouble. I am posting below some fun you tube simon videos.


Mary Mary Quite Contrary

I received a few hundred emails asking for more photos of the garden so here they are. I have yet to take more photos of the vegetables but you can see the vegetable and herbs are growing well in the flower garden as well.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010



I found a penny and picked it up
and wished and wished and wished for luck
it sat in my pocket and when I had three
you were there again reminding me
that if you wake in the middle of the night
you get an extra night's sleep because
you see we have no real concept of time
as it overlaps from me and then to you
and we are set into the universe floating there
your love, my gravity
your passion the only velocity ever measured
in the push of your hips
and then then time filling up life
until I fall again

A heart doesn't really beat
it wrings itself out when its full
expelling what it's known to the end of our fingers
then opens up to take in something new
and when you were through my arotic valve
my love
you changed it's sound
and I can't get enough of your song
so find me in this dream
wake me now and let me have another night with you
alone, just us two on the edge of a star
turning star dust to red wine

When I am uncertain that love is real
I can hear the words we shared last night
a conversation nobody else in the world was having
nobody could
and I wonder what is pushing my blood
this way and that because I know
I lost my heart to you all over again
and again
with just a sigh and I wonder why
more people aren't doing it
falling that is when it seems as though
love is all around us you almost have to look past it
not to see it

Put a seed in the ground and it nourishes the world
like that little seed you put in my head
late late at night when you crept in my room
found the kitten key came upstairs
and planted yourself right under my skin
filling any quiet moment with you, just you
warming winter snows and when spring finally arrived
filling my world with such color


The photo is of a rainstorm recently outside my bedroom window. The video below just makes me happy and wanted to share the music and the images.

Friday, June 4, 2010

And while looking for flowers in the nursery, he calls. I was lost in the call happier than I could remember being happy. He told me he loved me. I believed him. I woke feeling a little tired had an early meeting and found myself among the flowers. I hadn't been to this particular nursery yet and there at my feet was all I needed. I have been just adding a few flowers here and there this year. Among the flowers, I added a few vegetables, some seeds, some herbs, loads of herbs for nurturing, healing foods.

Yes the photos are from my garden. I made the bird bath with an old plant stand and a platter I found at an estate sale that I kept thinking I'd use for something and just sadly didn't. There's a dancing girl in there who dances in the wind, some gem flowers and a really old bird feeder hanging from the pot that I really love. This sort of garden is easy because the ground is soft and I can fill in with mulch around the annuals. I really love the little ivy and the herbs here and there that add shape and form around the colors. I picked blue and purple and pink as a color start this year because I love pansies it makes everything feel victorian. I planted some morning glory seeds and as soon as they produce a flower I will post some photos because they are my favorite flower.