Friday, July 24, 2009

Slow Foods

The past couple of days I have been indulging myself with slow foods. We're talking home-grown veggies and fresh-from-the-oven bread that I made with these two hands. A little fire, and voila, there is real food to nourish this old body.

Yestermorning, I got up around 7 AM. I made my bed, checked my email, then headed downstairs for coffee. My counter was overflowing with fresh veggies that I brought home from a friend's garden. There were tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, peppers, sweetcorn, basil, cukes, and beets. Yum!

I got busy and started to put things away. The potatoes are hiding in a open basket in a dark, cool cupboard. The garlic is hanging in the garage to dry. My pot for simmering ears of corn was filled with water and put on hi flame. I was going to have sweetcorn for breakfast. We eat cornFlakes, cornPops, and cornChex. Cornbread and cornmeal pancakes are a favorite. Cornmeal mush is the 'other oatmeal'. These days all I can think about is sweetcorn!

The basil got my attention every time I bumped the bag it was in, so pesto was next. I hauled out the food processor, the olive oil, cheese, roasted walnuts, and seasonings. Pesto is such a lovely concoction. So versatile. So delicious.

And then, the hummus. Without cleaning the bowl or blade of the processor, I continued to make the hummus. And it rocks. Today for a late breakfast, I sliced a small yellow cuke and used it to dip hummus. I put several small cups of both the pesto and the hummus in the freezer for later use.

For lunch, after the lawn was mowed, I made a salad using a handful of spring greens mix from our local, food co-op, Wheatsfield. I sliced an avocado, chopped a green-stripe, and orange tomato, sliced a red pepper, and some cuke. I had an extra piece of corn in the fridge, so I cut corn off the cob and added it to the salad. I set the salad bowl aside to let the tomatoes lose some juice for the dressing.

Earlier, I had decided I would roast some root vegetables to put on the salad. I added sweet potato, along with all the beets from the bag. I crushed a clove of garlic and sliced some new onions from my garden. Add a drizzle of olive oil, some splashes of balsamic vinegar, S&P, and a hot oven for 35-45 minutes. Boy, were they good on my salad. Absolutely devine!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just thinkin'...

about a tomato sandwich with a smear of mayo...
calling my estranged sister...
riding my bike up to the Design College and delivering a small book Handbook of the Larger British Fungi that I purchased in a STL used-book store for a professor/friend whose passion is fungi
about the traffic on the I-55 heading out of Chicago. How do people do it?
about that very first bite of sweet corn in July...
about the Michael Heizer landscape art along the Illinois River, Effigy Tumuli
about CityGarden in downtown STL
about the tow boats on the Mississippi River

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All My Love...I think

Tonight I made a quick trip to the post office to send off some thank you notes for my wonderful hosts on this most recent road trip/vacation.

I ran up the Post Office steps, two-at-a-time. I knew the mail was going out within minutes and I wanted to make the cut. As I entered the building, I noticed a man pacing in front of the mail drop. In his hand was a large, yellow envelope, one that would hold a greeting card. I wanted to drop my letters in the slot, but this man was stationed right in front of the chute and in such deep thought, I hated to budge.

The careful penmanship aligned on the face of the envelope caught my eye. This man, obviously unsure about whether or not to drop the card into the slot, looked to be in his late 30's. He was well-groomed, from head to toe, but he carried his anxiety in a tight slouch. Maybe this card was an invitation for a first date...a card sent to a new, or potential, lover...maybe a birthday, or simply 'thank you for being you' card. Regardless, the big envelope held a card that was an important statement coming from this man.

I wanted to step up to him and whisper, "Mail it!" all the while thinking, "What have you got to lose? You will regret it the rest of your life if you don't. The what-if's will drive you crazy. Just mail it. Go for broke - she could be the love of your life. What is the worse that could happen? Drop it in and walk away and be confident that this is the right thing to do."

I mailed my letter in another slot down the way and left the lobby. As I sat in my car, belting myself in, I glanced up and saw this man from in front of the mail slot, empty-handed. There was a bounce in his step that was not there a few minutes ago. He was smiling....

Something as Simple as Salad

Tonight as I was unpacking all the beautiful veggies that came home with me this vacation, I decided to try Panzanella, or Italian Bread Salad.

Looking over my stash of garden green {and red, and yellow, and purple!}, I decided this would be a perfect summer evening meal. Tomatoes - check!; onions - check!; basil - check!; sweetcorn - check!; cuke - check!; goat cheese - check!; rustic bread - check!

Cube tomatoes and add the rest of veggies to a large bowl. I grilled the bread and onion slices to add some crunch and that special roasted flavor. Toss cubed bread, goat cheese, and veggies. Sprinkle with a little red wine vinegar, an equal amount of Balsamic vinegar, some Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. The juice from the fresh tomatoes mingles with the vinegars and seasonings to provide a light, delicious dressing for these just-picked veggies.

Come to think of it....I should have roasted some of the beets to toss in! Next time. Now I am off to make Pesto with a full bag of pungent basil, fresh from the garden.

Home again, home again....

Just walked in the door, back from my trip to Eastern Iowa, Western Illinois, downtown Chicago on Lake Michigan, and St. Louis along the Mississippi River. Saw some fantastic landscape driving the road between here and there.

Lots of fish stories to tell, but that is for other days. Just wanted to check in to say that I have arrived home safely and still feeling like I have been to the Spa, sipping Dr. Mile's Restorative Nervine.

Just one story. My friend and I raided a neighbor's garden -collecting home-grown food to take back with me. She also sent home a large slice of tomato pie. We prepared it last night, along with fresh sweetcorn, and roasted veggies. As I was unloading the car and putting away its cargo, I found the tomato pie and just finished a cold Corona and that extra-delicious slice. Thanks, gardening was fun!