Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Eggplant Recipe to Love

Here is the eggplant recipe, as promised.  Monday was one of those very full days, in which we didn't sit down to dinner until 9:30.  But we both took that first bite, and sighed "Mmmmm".  I hope it makes your taste buds as happy as it makes ours.

Pasta Norma (from Family Circle mag)

3 tbs olive oil                                          
1 1/2 lbs eggplant, ends trimmed  & cut into 1/2" cubes                
1 medium onion, halved & thinly sliced    
3 cloves garlic, chopped                   
1 tsp salt                                               
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes                        
1- 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I use a quart of my home-canned tomatoes)
1 lb rotini pasta (use whatever you have)
1 cup packed basil, torn into pieces
1 tbs fresh oregano, chopped
3 tbs snipped chives
6 tbs part skim ricotta cheese

-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add eggplant, onion, garlic and 1/2 tsp of the salt.  Cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until eggplant softens.
-Add red pepper flakes, tomatoes with juice and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Lower heat to medium-low, cook for 10 minutes or until eggplant is very soft.
-While sauce is simmering, cook pasta following package directions.  Drain.
-Stir most of the basil, oregano and chives into the sauce, toss with pasta.  Serve with dollops of ricotta cheese and the reserved herbs on top.  I like freshly grated Romano cheese on top.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Morning in the Garden

Another sweet summer weekend enjoyed with friends and family, and time at the Market.  On my list today are dog baths, putting the show stuff away, bookkeeping and a pasta recipe using eggplant and tomatoes from the garden.  I will share that recipe soon, one of my favorite ways to use eggplant.  Wishing you a wonderful beginning to your week!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'll Have a Bit of Whine With That

Forgive me for this next bit.  It's going to be a rant, or perhaps more of a whine, which I'm going to talk about, so I can let it go.  Feel free to skip this post.  When I pulled the jars of tomatoes out of the canner this morning, the guys were heading to a local metal salvage yard.  Since I've been making metal art, I sometimes tag along to see what I can find.  Today the yard was as low on salvage as we've ever seen, but I did find one treasure I wanted after digging through the bins, one of those oval copper tubs that people often use for firewood, which was in fact what I intended.  It had history, plenty of dings, and a handle bent sideways, but a little time in the shop would have it workable. I asked the man to weigh it, he gave me a price, & I told him I wanted it.  In the past, they've given me a ticket with the weight & price to take to the office, but today, he headed to the office with the tub, then went on through to the back when we got there.  As soon as we got in the door, a man said "Oh, *** will want that".  After waiting a few minutes, one of the office ladies came from the back and flashed me a big smile (***?), then he came out and told me a new price, which had basically quadrupled.  Yes, it was a find, but I feel the one who digs through the junk to find it should have the option of purchasing it at normal cost. Just saying.

On to more positive things. All my jars of tomatoes were sealed when I got back home. 

The pond is looking good, and filling up too.  We've had quite a bit of rain over the past week and a half.  I'm looking forward to getting grass seed sown in September.

The dam is settling in nice and solid, but J's shoring up the middle of it just a bit more, which is where the leak and the aforementioned brush pile was. 

I think he kind of enjoys this big, old machine.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sneaky Snake

After picking blueberries yesterday, I headed over to the chicken pen to collect eggs.  What should I find, but a snake in one of the nest boxes, with an egg partially swallowed.  For months now, I've carried a spray bottle filled with water, to protect myself from Hawk, our rooster that attacks me every chance he gets.  It works with him, so I thought it might work with the snake.  I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed some more.  He let go of the egg, then grabbed it again. He let it go a second time and moved his head into an adjoining nest box to keep away from the water spray.  I quickly grabbed those eggs, brought them inside and grabbed my camera.  J has relocated several snakes from the chicken pen already this summer, and I'm pretty sure this is one that got away a few weeks ago.  Need to add snake outsmarter to my resume :o)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Inspiring Places

The rains have finally come.  More than 2 inches fell last night, with more in the forecast.  You could almost hear the plants sigh with relief. With the lower temps, we were able to open the house up last night, for the first time in a couple of weeks.  I love having fresh air circulating through the house.  Some of the younger squash were shriveling up on the vine, but I was able to harvest what you see above yesterday.  I expect the garden will really start jumping now.

I've been to some inspiring places on the web recently, and thought I'd share them with you.  First up, from the Subsistence Pattern blog , is a wonderful video on Forest Gardening , a type of permaculture.  The couple lives in New Zealand, and has hundreds of varieties of plants on their 2 acres. 

Another is a lovely blog, Moon to Moon . Many of the spaces she shares are soulful and sometimes funky, much like those in the the Handmade Houses books I've collected.  I should tell you her July 8th post has photos from the 60's and 70's, including a few with nudity, in case that would offend.  I believe I'll take my cup of tea to the garden, and delight in the wet.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

South Elm Urban Market

I'm excited to be adding another fun venue for my work.  Beginning this Sunday, I'll be sharing a booth at the South Elm Urban Market in Greensboro with my friend and fellow Lark artist Debra Spinks.  The Market is a wonderful combination of local farmers, cooks and artisans, and runs 12-5 each Sunday through November.

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable 4th of July, friends!