Filed under: food, home and hearth, In The Garden, In The Southland, Uncategorized
My mother always had a garden. And she always, ALWAYS grew tomatoes. Lots of them, enough to can for the rest of the year. I love tomato season. When I was a kid, I’d go pick one in the afternoon and make a sandwich. Or sometimes, if she had cherry tomatoes, go out and just eat them like…well…cherries.
The neighborhood we lived in when I was growing up had a local swimming pool. I would walk to it (it was about a mile, half of the walk was down a shady road, the other half through a weedy field, in the blazing sun) about 10 am many mornings (if I was up that early), and stay until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. After messing around there, and the mile walk home, I would be famished. There would be a swing through the garden, to pick a fat ripe tomato. It would find itself sliced thick and laid on a sandwich of Roman Meal bread, a slice of cheap cotto salami (the kind with the peppercorns in it) and a generous slathering of mayonnaise. Sometimes the tomato would be big enough for 2 sandwiches, and since I didn’t want to waste it, I’d have to make 2. If my brother wanted one, he’d have to get his own tomato.
I remember when Terry and I were just married. We’d moved away from Auburn to Tennille, Ga, and were renting a house. I used a shovel to plow up a bit of ground in the backyard, and planted some tomatoes, squash and peppers. For supper now and then, I’d pick a tomato or two, a couple of peppers (cubanelles), and chop them all together with a sweet vidalia onion to make a salad. Add a drizzle of oil and a splash of vinegar, a bit of black pepper…with a grilled chicken breast it made for a delicious summer supper.
Now I have a little garden in the back yard, and my fun involves heirloom tomatoes. They aren’t as big or impressive as the standard Southern Big Boys that people grow for sandwiches, but they’re interesting. I have grown Queen of Prussia (awesome, they produced until late September, longer than any other variety), Mr. Stripey (a yellow with red stripes, lower acid than standard ones) and this year it’s Black Prince- a dark purple one that I have no idea how to tell when it’s ripe or rotten. I always plant Brandywines, they have fantastic flavor even if they’re kind of small, and Sweet 100′s because they’re like little candies to pick and eat when weeding. And, for Terry, a Parks Big Boy to make BLTs.
But the best memory, the finest use of a tomato, is still that big warm one at 2pm, sliced thick with a bit of salami and a slather of mayo. It is the best use of a tomato.
Filed under: food
The last of the salad greens.
a fresh, still warm tomato
that bit of fresh mozzerella left over from the other night
Slice everything, drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar and some cracked pepper and
you have the $14 a plate salad from Emma’s.
From the garden, made out of leftovers. Yum, y’all
I’d throw on some old clothes and go outside. Earlier in the week I put CJ and his new truck to use, pulling some old stumps out of the bit of garden where I have herbs and roses (oh don’t worry, I use no sprays or chemicals on the roses so the herbs are quite safe to cook with), which added quite a bit of frsh churned cleared room to the place. WHEE!
Then yesterday after Terry got home from work, I felt the need to perhaps go to the local plant place and aquire a few lovely things to plant there. Just a few, not enough to fill the spot because I’ma gonna wanta few more roses (3, perhaps) to put in, come February when it’s time for such. I got a hot pink monarda didyma (with bumblebee),
and an echinacea (love those!)
and 2 pots of thyme. Thyme doesn’t seem to do real well here, but I love to cook with it, so I am hoping to figure out a way to encourage it to do better.
I am thinking a climbing rose on the fence at the back of the garden bit would be nice…
Then there’s room for one more rose…but what color? I am not crazy about red roses. My favorites are in the peachy-yellow family but with the hot pink monarda and purple echinacea there’s probably sense in having a pink one instead of a yellow one.
Maybe this one:
This is an antique bourbon rose called “Louis Odier”
I really love to use the English and antique roses,because the flower form appeals to my old-lady sensibilities. Hybrid teas are nice, but not my thing. Plus they’re tooky. The old and English roses are hardy and require very little tending with sprays and such. I use a blend of baking soda and dish detergent in water, when they need it, and a good dollop of compost every spring and fall, and they all seem to like it just fine. Low maintenance and in exchange I get these peony-like blooms that will fragrance an entire room. You should be here in the spring when everything is blooming at once. O Yes!
And, thanks to CJ and the promise of work in exchange for my purchasing the tags for his truck, now I have more room for more roses, and that’s a very good thing.
I love that phrase “growing old”. It’s positive. It implies that it’s an improvement. “Getting old” sounds like a disease or something you aquire from standing in dirty pond water. “Becoming old” seems as though it happened by accident.
Growing old is something I look forward to, even as it happens now. I’m not really OLD old, except to 20 year olds. I’m 45. Halfway to the finish line, give or take. It’s starting to show and I am ok with that.
Even in a culture that worships youth, that implies all women should immediately run out and get things tucked and lifted and enhanced, I am fine with the saggy things and the kinda droopy bits and stuff going grey. I worked for it. I EARNED this grey hair. The saggish things are the result of bearing 4 children, and I’m not scared of it. For pete’s sake, it’s not like I’m devastated because I can’t be a Victoria’s Secret model!
I’ve learned alot since I was 20 and thought I knew everything. The main thing I’ve learned is that I don’t know everything. I am amused to watch my kids, in their late teens/early 20′s act the way I did…like they know everything. Because I was 20 once, I can see it for what it is, and be amused instead of pissed off. Well, most of the time anyway.
Anyway, I love the growing old. I quit coloring my hair about 2 years ago and it’s all grown out and about 1/4 silvery grey. I love that. I am NOT interested in covering it with Clairol 7-1/2B. I am amused and enchanted by the crows feet around my eyes. Ok the bingo wings aren’t so amusing but I am convinced if I were to become motivated enough I could do something about them. But the rest of it? The pooch on my stomach that used to hold babies, the rough looking hands and scars and all that life-inflicted stuff? I like it.
I like looking at my friends, wo are going through the same age issues, have similar wrinkles and grey and saggy things, and who also laugh at the Look 20 mandate. I look forward to being an old lady.
Well, now it’s just Terry and me. Dad called last night and said he’d taken #4 in for a haircut (dad has a deep and abiding aversion to messy hair, and 4′s was quite so) and all was well there.
This morning, as we sipped our coffee, I discussed the weeks menus with Terry. Thursday is Grocery Buying Day. He said he’s too hot when he gets home to eat anything heavy, let’s just have salads all week. SO! I love a good challenge, and coming up with a weeks worth of many varied salads is a challenge. Thanks to FoodNetwork and Epicurious I now have a week (well, minus the 2 days Terry has work stuff to do that evening, and church Sunday) of salads.
Tonight: Emeril Lagasse’s Steak Caesar Salad
Tomorrow: Terry’s barbequeing for all 3 shifts at work He (and othrs) believe it’s important for the management to cook a meal for the hourly workers and serve it to them a couple of times a year. Good for morale, and he’s right. I’ll probably eat a bowl of cereal.
Saturday: Tuscan chicken sandwich
Sunday: it’s 4th Sunday, that means Potluck lunch after church! Yay! I’ll make a platter of deviled eggs.
Monday: Thai noodle salad Instead of regular linguine I’ll either use banh pho (wide rice noodles) or a buckwheat udon, to be decided. They taste very different from each other, but both would make a tasty salad.
Tuesday: Mexican style roasted corn salad (company coming) with fajita chicken. My own recipe: roasted corn, red and green peppers,green onions, chickpeas in a cumin and cilatro vinagrette, serves with thinly sliced seasoned chicken and toasted tortilla chips (semi-homemade)
Wednesday: Terry has his Statesboro Mafia meeting, I’ll probably eat a bowl of cereal.
What are your favorite recipes when it’s hot?
#4′s at the grandparent’s for the next 6 weeks.
Dad and I discussed firearms. I showed him the Colt I want, and the etching, and he said he’d love to tool me a holster to match, but I’d have to leave the gun with him so he can form it to the gun. I’m ok with that. He just wants to shoot it but is too old school gentleman to say it. Mom thinks I’m nuts for wanting to spend $2500 on a pistol but honestly, I’d totally rather have that than a ruby ring.
Dad’s going to teach #4 to drive (a tractor) and back it with a trailer. Also parallel park, with and without a trailer. He’s going to teach him knots as well. And how to shoot turtles in the pond (different technique from target shooting) with the .22 rifle and his Ruger pistol. Mom’s going to use him to pick blueberries (bumper crop this year) and I suggested she appeal to his mile-wide charitable streak (that kid will give away his last dollar) by letting him take them to the food bank. He’ll do it, too. They’re also going to take a trip to Texas, to see Eli’s great-grandmother. He’s nuts about her, and she is about him, always sending him recipes and such. Eli isn’t like other kids where old people and nursing homes are concerned. He’s happy to be there, always finds some old War veteran to tell a story to him, or someone who keeps a pocketful of peppermints to pass out.
I’m going to miss him, it’s going to be weird to be at home completely alone all day from 6 am to 6 pm, and to cook for just the 2 of us. Terry has allowed that sometime the week of the 4th we’ll go to Atlanta for a couple of days, take in a sight or two, eat some dim sum, and raid the Dekalb Farmers Market, see if they have Westphalian ham and hunter’s sausage. I’m looking forward to that.
SOSAD is Strangely Orange Snack Appeciation Day.
These are my favorite Strangely Orange Snacks:
nacho cheese Doritos
crunchy Cheetoes (puffy if I’m in the mood, but usually the crunchy ones)
those orange slices candy, the gummy things with the sugar on the outside
orange jello with mandarin oranges in it
orange juice with mandarin Absolut vodka in it
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, it must be Kraft, no other, cheaper, variety will do.
extra sharp cheddar cheese, I am pretty sure it’s not naturally that color but I’m ok with that.
what’s your favorite Strangely Orange Snack?
Filed under: spouse
22-1/2 years ago, you sat in a Hardee’s eating lunch with a fellow named Larry, who was also about to become a father. A few hours later, Will was born and you were so proud! You were not nearly as clueless as I was and I am thankful for that.
20-1/2 years ago you did it again, after working an all night shift, getting kicked in the ribs by an indignant Mennonite midwife who thought you were being pretty much a big dick for taking a nap while I was in labor. I swear if I had known she was going to do that I would have stopped her.
19 years ago you did it again, in the hallway of the hospital with a hyper-excitable nurse hopping around screaming “Oh LORDY she’s gonna have that baby right here!”
11 years ago, after pleading and persuading from me, you gave into my fluttering eyelashes and ignored common sense and did it again…but then put your foot down and said “no more”. You also spent the first 8 weeks of his life being the nighttime nurse, since the doctor took one look at my postpartum self and declared “She Must Sleep.” For that I will always be grateful, more than you’ll ever know.
SO, since I am all grateful and stuff, I am cooking you the meal of your dreams. First, homemade onion rings, sweet vidalia onions and a crispy crust. I’ll make them as soon as we get home from church because it’s going to be a bit before the ribs are done. Then, BBQ ribs, cooked low and slow, with my own homemade bourbon sauce. Baked beans, low and slow, with bits of smoked bacon and a drizzle of molasses. Corn on the cob, fresh from the field, with an indecent amount of butter slathered on. Fresh slaw, the way you like it, with mustardy-mayonnaisey dressing and a generous shaking of black pepper. And for dessert, that comfort food of comfort foods just like Mama used to make it: Cheerio Pie. Even now it’s in the fridge chilling.
Because, you know, you deserve it, and more, for being the best person I could ever have picked (from that long line of suitors, y’know) to be the father (Dad, Daddy) of my kids and the love of my life.
Judy’s Cheerio Pie
1-8oz block of cream cheese (I use the neufchatel “lite” stuff)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1 can cherry pie filling
1 graham cracker crust
Soften the cream cheese in a mixing bowl (I throw in in the microwave for 30 seconds). Pour the sweetened condensed milk and the lemon juice in with the creamcheese, and mix with a hand mixer (or a spoon but that’s so much work!) until it’s all blended with no little lumps of cream cheese. Pour in to the graham cracker crust and cover. Chill for a while, at least an hour but whatever…however long it is until you have to serve it…
to serve, pout the pie filling on top, cut into pieces. Refrigerate what’s left over. If there is any, that is.
Filed under: Awesomeness, Booze, Cars, family, home and hearth, Hooray!, kids
first off, my shift button isn’t working, so there will be no caps. pretend i have delusions of being e.e.cummings if it bothers you.
cj and terry made it back safely from macon, cj driving his newest aquisition, a 1985 chevy silverado k-20 4×4 truck. it is a beast, and exactly what i have always imagined him driving. long bed, single cab with a 400 engine put in by the last owner. the stock 350 was mistreated and blew up. the 400 is a pontiac, not a chevy, that came out of a car that was abandoned at the body shop he worked at, so the engine mounts are somewhat…hm…improvised, and that means cj would be wise not to mudbog in it until he can beef them up a bit. of course, right now wisdom isn’t his strongest quality, but eh…it’s his truck, he can do with it as he pleases.
he said it needs a few adjustment. the carburator is set too rich, so it blows fuel and gets horrible gas mileage, but that is an easy fix. it needs new filters and probably belts, and a bit of body work but nothing major. the body is straight but there’s a deer-sized dent on the passenger side door. he’ll probably want to find a new door eventually.
at any rate, if he treats it gently until he can get the work done on it, it will be a fine truck for him. ugly as a mud fence, but big and hearty. i am not displeased.
while they were gone, #4 and i cleaned his room. it took 3 hours. threeeeee hourrrrrrs!!! but we went through it all, bagged up the clothes that no longer fit, to donate to goodwill, went through all the toys and threw out the broken ones, boxed up some to go to goodwill, sorted the rest into their respective containers. he was very mature about getting rid of things, i am proud of him. and now his room is spanking clean and will remain so for the 6 weeks or so that he’s gone to grandparent’s house. now the too-small clothes are gone, things are in their proper drawers, and the dried out magic markers are thrown away.
in other news, terry stopped at the county line, our local liquor store, and got me a bottle of absolut peppar. it makes a grand bloody mary.
rootietoot’s bloody mary:
2 oz absolut peppar vodka
2 shots tabasco
some worcestershire sauce
some low-sodium v-8 (in deeply dislike regular v-8 because it’s way too salty, but love the low sodium stuff)
stir well and pour over a glass full of ice.
if i’m feeling fancy i’ll rim the glass with tony cachere’s cajun seasoning
you know what’s great about a bloody mary? you can tell yourself it’s good for you, since it has vegetables in it. right? right.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I stepped outside briefly this morning, with the intention of perhaps doing something mildly productive, but stood there for a minute and decided not to.
Then I got on (ok this is ridiculous. my shift button is sticking and it’s making it near impossible, without some cursing, to do capitals and certain things like parentheses, so you’ll just have to forgve the errors) weather.com and it says our humidity is 98%. i believe it. the temp is only (apparently) 79 ‘but feels like 81′ and they’re predicting a high of 96, which is nearly 10 degrees cooler than it was a week ago! break out the sweater’s y’all, we got a cold snap coming!! welcome to summer. ahuh.
the heat has the fleas going nuts. what was i thinking having all these pets? that i’d have no fleas? so, i’ve set up traps everywhere. the house got flea bombed a couple of days ago, and now with the traps i’m hoping to get the stragglers and bomb resistant ones. here’s what you do: you set a low dish of water, with a few drops of flea shampoo in it, on the floor. then you put a lamp over it with the bulb down low close to the water. the fleas are attracted to the light and warmth of the lamp and hop to it, falling in the water and then they die. it actually works! so now all the lamps that are the right type are on the floor with dishes of soapy water.
the dogs got flea baths yesterday, and i am looking for a good vacuum that will work on wood floors, something with a detachable hose so i can use it in windowsills etc. i do not want a super expensive dyson so don’t recommend that. i want one that’s less that $100, preferably the bagless kind and i’d be fine with the canister type tho the upright type is ok as long as it has a hose thing as well. i need a vacuum tho, because that’s the best way to get fleas. you can suck up some flea powder first, then go to it. do any of you have a good remedy (that is cheap) for flea issues?
What i’d really love is to be able to give the critters comfortis, but adding it all up means $100 a month for the stuff…eh…no. capstar is cheaper, but it’s good for 24 hours. it kills the adult fleas on the animal but not the eggs/larvae. comfortis works for a month, so it gets the adults, then the ones that pupate, hen the eggs go to lavae which pupate within the month so it gets them too. I suppose i could give the animals capstar once a week but it’s not meant for that and there’s no telling what it would do to their livers etc. so instead, i give them a once a week flea bath, and have little dishes of water with desk lamps all in the floor around the house. i have no plans to entertain, so it’s ok.
anyway, terry and cj are on their way to macon, to see about cj buying a truck. At first i was going to go, then terry wanted to go too, which meant #4 would need to go and cj was all ‘uh uh, no it’s not a family event’ so then it was back to just me going even tho terry took the day off and i said why don’t i go and you stay home and take the day and then i think cj got nervous about maybe something going wrong with the truck on the way home which i would be completely worthless when it came to fixing it on the side of the road so then he asked if terry would go so now i am at home with eli and the 2 of them are on their way. which is fine. it’s quality time for the 2 of them, i hope. cj took my phone so the 2 of them could talk on the way home even tho my phone is pink and will give cj cooties if he uses it. better to be safe than sorry, right? they ought to be home, Lord willing and the truck runs ok, by 4. i suggested that terry throw a tow chain in, just in case, and he agreed that was an excellent idea. i hope it all goes well. cj has an additional $150 for gas, which is probably what it will take, as the truck he wants gets 8 mpg and it’s about 200 miles…let’s see…8 mpg, 200 miles…10 mpg would mean 20 gallons of gas, times 2.60 per gallon equals…um…$52…ok not so bad…but if he goes ahead and fill up the tank, and it’s got 2 20 gallon tanks that’s 40 gallons so it would be $104 for a fill up. yikes. oh well, it’s his money.