Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Things I Did Not Plant

As much as I enjoy my garden, the planning, the preparation, the tending and the harvesting, I also enjoy the things I did not plant, the things that just grow because that is where they decided to take root. Some of these things are obvious...a bird or squirrel left a seed behind or the wind carried it. Others are more mysterious and beg one to wonder, how did that get there? Rather than pull up every stray sprout, I leave them in their new found home and watch them grow. This year there were many marvels, the mysterious pumpkins on the deck, the impatiens in the hibiscus planter and the tansy and sunflowers. Everything happens for a reason, I suppose.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A New Belt in Tae Kwon Do

Francesca earned her white belt with black stripe on Friday. She decided, with the coaxing of her friend Shayla, she would go to Tae Kwon Do camp. The camp allows the kids to earn a belt in one week as opposed to the two months it normally takes. She is now the highest belt level in her group called the minis. At the end of August she will test again and graduate from the minis and become a mighty. Here is Francesca and Shayla with another friend, Antonia on the day of the test. Silliness was abundant.

Sunflower in the Silver Maple

We have a Silver Maple that is nearly hollow and a home to many creatures. A most wondrous thing occurred when one of those creatures, probably a squirrel placed sunflower seed in the tree. The sunflower is growing...thirty feet up. It's quite charming.

Perfect Marinara

Italians didn't start cooking with tomatoes until the 1850's. They were introduced to the Italians by the Spanish in the 1500's but they weren't very popular. It is difficult to imagine Italian cooking without them now. My family is from Northern Italy where the food differs a great deal from the Americanized versions we commonly see in the U.S.
I like meatless sauces.

Perfect Marinara

2 small onions diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
2 stalks celery diced
1/4 olive oil

Heat the olive in a stock pot until hot. Add onions, carrot and celery and saute until golden about 15 minutes.

1/4 dry white wine
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt I always use Kosher
5 basil leaves
3 bay leaves

Add the wine to the vegetables and stir until evaporated on high heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for a good hour. You can puree the sauce for a smoother consistency. Various herbs can be added. This is a very basic recipe and can be personalized with oregano, marjoram, hot pepper you like it!

I serve this sauce over brown rice pasta as I do not eat wheat but any pasta will do.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Last Chance Pancakes

I never like the term starving artist. When I was in art school 20 plus years ago, I was poor...but I was never starving. None of us were starving. We took care of one another. Sundays were the best. All the art students living in cheap apartments in Olde Town East and Franklinton gathered, usually at Randy's place just across the alley from my apartment, for Last Chance Pancakes. Everyone brought an ingredient... flour, nuts, berries, bananas, maple syrup, butter, eggs, whatever we had, whatever we could afford. Randy would mix it all up and we shared the pancakes, ideas, opinions and fellowship.