Love to eat

Clearly the Yard of a Cooking Enthusiast

Posted: May 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Everyday | 1 Comment »

This year I intend to be a better, more attentive vegetable gardener.

The barriers that have kept me from being a vegetable gardener in years past have been, for the most part, dismantled. I’ve traded my 60+ hour a week job that forced me into frequent business travel for a more balanced (and yippee food-focused) job that doesn’t require me to travel; I’ve actually read half a book on organic gardening; and now that I’m not that young anymore, I don’t mind coming home promptly to water my little seedlings. Now, it’s just my limited knowledge of soil and the particular needs of the plants and my anal, exacting nature that need to be rectified.

Growing things to eat suits my slow, contemplative nature. I am a patient person – at least most of the time. However, I like to blast dried beans in the pressure cooker, as I usually find I want beans NOW or 35 minutes from now and not after an overnight soak and I frequently burn asparagus put too close to the broiler because I want to eat asparagus in 5 minutes, not 10. But there is no rushing the incremental preparation of food coaxed from a seed.

flowers

eh, flowers

Being that it is now late May, my yard is an explosion of garish colors. Yes, yes that hot pink bush is bright. Yes, yes those irises are impressive, bowing low from the weight of their heavy blossoms. But it is the more monochromatic greens, light greens, dark greens, and variegated lime yellows of the numerous herbs and vegetables scattered throughout my yard that thrill me and have me anxiously counting the hours of sunlight.

Since first cutting the soil in the yard of this, my first, house I have planted almost nothing but edibles. I’ve kept most of the flowering whatnots that came with the house, moving beds of this and that into more contained quarters and much to the dismay of my neighbors, completing removing an unwieldy patch of “prize-winning dahlias, reallocating the prime spaces for vegetable beds and herbs.

herbs

one herb patch

Patches of thyme in several varieties dot my yard along with stands of greek oregano (as many as I can wedge into the yard – the stuff is so freakin good … more to come on that one), sage, chives, rosemary, lavender, mint, and spearmint.

greek oregano

greek oregano

chives

chives

The vegetables require more time. Having waited until late April to put seeds out, the only notable growth has been the arugula, which has been a joy. Last year I planted the arugula seeds too early and they perished in a unseasonably late cold spell.

arugula

arugula ... just days away from salad time

Coming up is a bounty of greens: black kale and swiss chard, beets, three kinds of potatoes, summer squash, scarlet runner beans, and four kinds of tomatoes. I’ve done my job, now sun, do yours.


It’s a lousy blogger who …

Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Everyday | 1 Comment »

… obsesses over eating, lives to eat, dreams of eating, and aspires to write about eating when not eating, but is a complete failure at taking photos of the food.

While I enjoy food porn as much as the next person, I’m just no good at making it myself. I think of being a tourist: camera sashed around the neck, snapping away ceaselessly, making a futile attempt to capture the fleeting magic of a moment. Or maybe it’s because when a glorious plate is presented to me, the last thing I think about is taking a picture. I lose my ability to think as a good blogger might, when said glorious plate overwhelms my senses. But those little cameras are everywhere and I commend those with the iron will to take a moment, stifle the urge to become immediately immersed, and snap one digital moment for posterity.

Here’s an example.

pizza al taglio

These are photos of my favorite pizza al taglio (pizza by the cut) place in Rome. Quite full and in a cherry tomato and chicory stupor, I managed to snap a couple of the storefront and the front counter on my way out. No pizza in sight.

Another example.

Clean plates at the now defunct Txori. Yup, it was beautiful and delicious. Honest.  Take my word for it.

Final example.

… and here’s an example of a moment when I was able to take pause. I present the impromptu holiday cheeseball, which may become a family tradition. In a drunken fit of inspiration after hours and hours of cooking the holiday feast, I was inspired to raid my parents pantry to see if a cheeseball of Hickory Farms proportions could be constructed. Behold. Much tastier than it looks. The folks even had Ritz crackers and a meat stick.