Month: August 2014

Baleful Bounty – Curry Glazed Carrots

Baby . Chantenay . Carrots You remember earlier in the season when I told you about my fantastic brainstorm to create these stunningly amazing growing baskets out of chicken wire, burlap, weed block and my 4-in-1 dirt (1 part hay mulch, 1 part sand, 1 part hummus, 1 part composted cow manure) high above the chomping incisors of marauding rabbits? Well, they were – and are – still stunning…. but I forgot a basic fact when I chose the vegetable to inhabit said stunning suspended medium. Carrots, like a great many other rooty-type vegetables, like a hot head. However – carrots (once again, like any other rooty thing) need cool bottoms in order to achieve maximum rootiness. Hot tops and hot bottoms gives you supreme stunted rootiness…. much like … say… a hot summer day and a 40 year old guy in a very cold swimming pool…. … I’ve got a bumper crop of short, stubby, diminutive chantenay carrots to deal with this year. Which if you’re someone like me that gets all gooey over baby vegetables …

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Taste of Summer ~ Saffron Steamed Mussels

There are memories of sea things that will always remind me what a magical time & place summer is at the ocean… Being pulled away from Lost in Space on the TV and braving the torrential rain at the Desoto Beach Hotel restaurant to dine on Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks; Chowing down with the family after getting suitably roasted on the beach at Captain Anderson’s in Panama City as a kid (complete with my very own captain’s hat); Sweltering night at open pit Oyster roasts on the banks of Wilmington Island;  gorging myself on steamed clams under the Thunderbolt bridge at Desposito’s; buying (and single-handedly devouring) an entire brown paper grocery sack of seasoned blue crabs from Keith’s (or “Keet’s”.. as the locals pronounced it) Crab Shack in the somewhat shady area of Savannah…. and any one of the 200 times that I had a big pot of steamed mussels with a cold brew, plucking them out of the shells and watching the sun ripple and drift slowly below the horizon. Summer… Sand… Seafood – …

Goofin’ on Grandma

Oddly, I come across a recipe for Grandma Pizza about once a month. I see it… I think, “huh, all those tomatoes and oil… that can’t be good.” And I pass on to the next sexy bit of food porn that inevitably fills my inbox. Given that I’ve been craving a slice of cheesy heaven lately, my curiosity got the better of me and I drug out one of those “best damned pizza in the world” grandma pizza recipes to see what all the fuss was about. I still didn’t like the idea of just tomatoes and oil, and I wasn’t all that keen on a super thin crust. In my head, I could just see a soggy behemoth coming out of the oven… so I took the idea of it all, and made it something else entirely. So… what is a Grandma Pizza? It’s a pie that appears to be widely popular in Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a Sicilian style pizza with a super thin, square crust – Topped with cheese and scattered with seasoned, crushed …