Google+ What I Made Today: August 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

An Honor to Sustenance

This morning I made my way to the Norfolk, CT Farmers' Market to pick up a few things to supplement my own garden harvests. I didn't grow any yellow wax beans so I picked up some of those and canned them. I figure at least a couple of those jars will go to my mother-in-law, since she always seemed to like the yellow beans and was an avid canner in her younger days. I'm confident she'll appreciate and enjoy them. I also made time in the kitchen to cook beet roots, beet greens, as well as get the apples, fennel, cucs, eggplant and melon all washed and ready for whatever inspires me. Some will likely hit the grill this evening along with the happy spare ribs that are marinating in a kick-ass marinade I whipped together with my spicy tomato jam, garlic scape brine, onion, garlic, bread-n-butter pickle juice, a little smoked paprika, chipotle and a touch of garam masala.

I made time to play in my art journal, adding a bit of "today" to the yet-to-be-completed entries from yesterday and the day before.

Yeah. I honored some of the things that nourish and sustain me in ways most meaningful. That's what I made today.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Time to Witness

The day flew by like lightening.

Before I knew it evening was creeping in on my little acre.

So I paused and poured myself a chocolate-vanilla cordial and meandered to the shade of my fire pit.

There I sat and witnessed the garden growing and ripening in the verve of late August.

I looked down and around …

I looked looked up and within.

I witnessed the hens doing their chicken antics. Free entertainment, that.

I tidied around the fire pit, creating order to which the hens promptly manifested chaos.

I smiled at their fluffy butts. I just love their fluffy butts.

I sipped my cordial and considered making it less sweet with the next batch.

I laughed as I heard one chook say to the other, "I think you have a little something on your beak there."

Yeah. Being. Witnessing. That's what I made today.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sour Dough Bread

… and so much more.

That's what I made today.


Friday, August 23, 2013

A True Reserve

Today I harvested pak choy, lettuce greens, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes (they're finally coming ripe), so dinner will be good tonight. And then some.

I harvested calendula flowers, goldenrod blossoms and violet leaves and started some more infused oils.

I made some art and finally bottled some mead that's been sitting in its carboy for all too long. I had labeled this "emergency mead" and recalled having to scramble to make it with what I had on hand for reasons akin to poor planning in the moment. I had to pull out my brewing notes to see what was in it … and it looks to be rose petal mead, but I left the name as is … because, hey … you never know. Right?

That's what I made today.


Friday, August 16, 2013

A Farm and Garden Collaboration

The Boy and I had a number of errands, one of which included stopping by Dineberg's Friday Farm Stand in Canton, Connecticut today where we picked up these lovelies.

I made an italian green bean salad with the farm's beans and my garlic and parsley.  This is a favored summer treat and so simple. Just steam the beans for 4-5 minutes, until al dente, strain, toss with fresh garlic, parsley (and/or sweet basil), drizzle generously with a good virgin olive oil and sea salt. Done. This is one of those great make-ahead dishes to serve at room temp (or chilled). The longer it sits, the better it gets. And it's fab with other herby additions too, like cilantro.

I made another summer favorite ~ an italian style tomato salad with gorgeous heirlooms from the farm and my garden parsley, basil and (yep ~ more) garlic.

That's what I made today.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Me Medicine

Today I made time for Me. Not you. Not your stuff. Not my stuff. Me.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Up for Yesterday and Potato Leek Soup

Remember those peppers I mentioned yesterday? Well, here they are, all jarred up. They're sitting pretty in the refrigerator where they'll keep for several weeks. Yeah. Right. I already enjoyed some with last night's supper and even though all the flavors haven't yet emerged and melded, they're still so freakin' good. But it's nice to know they'll just keep getting better as the days pass.

These are so simple to make and this is the season (in my realm) to enjoy them! I only mentioned them yesterday so I'll make up for that now and share how I make them:

Hot Peppers in Olive Oil

Hot peppers (whatever you like or have on hand)
Sea or kosher salt
Garlic, sliced
Dried oregano, freshly crumbled
Olive oil

Clean and slice your peppers and layer them with salt in a colander. I don't measure the salt, so trust yourself to add just enough to get the peppers to sweat and release their water. Place a plate on top of the colander and weight it down with something (I use a quart canning jar filled with liquid). Make sense? Walk away … to the gardens … to the studio … to wherever delights you. Just a couple-few hours should do it.

Discard the liquid ~ or better yet ~ add it to some tomato puree for a kick-ass Bloody Mary, or soup or stew, or marinade, or whatever, you get the idea.

In a jar of your choosing begin layering the dried oregano, garlic slices and peppers, as much or as little as you like, along with a pinch of added salt with each layer. Continue layering until the jar is full, and gently pour the olive oil over the top until the peppers are covered. I use a chop stick at this point, to prod any air bubbles up and out of the jar. Once you're satisfied that the air is removed, top off with more olive oil to cover, if necessary. Store in the refrigerator for a few days before using so the flavors can release, mesh and meld. Yeah. Right.

My Nono made these and served them with pasta. Morning eggs would be fried in the oil with a few peppers added for interest. I always added more. These are great served alongside pizza, frittata, on bread, with meat, vegetables, pretty much anything. And the oil can be used in salads for a nice kick or in any way you can imagine.

As for today, I thinned my leek bed so that I'll have some nice monsters later in the season. I had exactly six organic potatoes and two quarts of chicken stock in the freezer, so I made this Potato Leek Soup (more or less) for the winter pantry.

And I caught the ladies practicing some formation work. Or so it might appear.

That's what I made today.


Saturday, August 10, 2013


Today I went to the Watertown, CT Farmers' Market after tending to a merry morning of herbs and art. I came home with a perfectly ripe-off-the-vine cantaloupe which is chilling nicely in the refrigerator. I came home with gorgeous blackberries which I promptly rinsed, added to a quart jar and opened up a bottle of Melissa Mead (Lemon Balm Honey Wine, to the uninitiated) and covered the berries with this merry elixir. These are chilling nicely near to the cantaloupe.

I came home with beautiful hot peppers from Dineberg's Farm that were washed, sliced, salted and weighted down in a colander to allow the excess water to release for several hours. They've now been packed in jars with garlic, oregano, olive oil and added salt. These will join our other friends in the refrigerator to be enjoyed over the coming weeks with pasta, pizza, bread, with meats or vegetables, or just by the merry spoonful right out of the jar.

And cherry tomatoes … blessed fruits of summer … also from Dineberg's. I cut these merry gems in half and tossed them with items from my own garden ~ two types of cucumber, sliced thin and minced garlic, a sprinkle of sea salt, a drizzled with an extra virgin olive oil and now they sit at room temp awaiting the garnish of sweet basil before serving.

Now I'm just waiting for the birthday boy to get home from work so we can eat, drink and be merry. Not necessarily in that order.

That's what I made today.


Friday, August 9, 2013


Tomorrow is somebody's birthday. We're starting the celebration today since he's got the day off. I was going to make this cake tomorrow but I cajoled The Boy (as I call my spouse) into helping me make his surprise birthday cake. Surprise! I haven't made a cake in years. I even had to adapt the recipe for a single layer baked in a spring-form pan, since I got rid of my cake pans several years back. It seems to have baked well, and while it's not the prettiest cake, it's chocolate through-n-through. 'Nough said.

I harvested my first cabbage from the summer garden, a savoy. I love savoys, but they do seem more susceptible to pests than the other smooth varieties. Must be all those lovely nooks-n-crannies in which to crawl about, snuggle-n-snack. But I soaked it in some salted water, removed and cleaned the outer leaves until I got to the untouched layers. When I asked The Boy what he wanted with the first cabbage he replied, "cabbage, pepperoni and potatoes." This is what I call an Italian boiled dinner. Apparently my Nono was the creator of this dish, since no one I've ever encountered has heard of such a thing. I don't make it as much as I once did since good quality (free range/organic source-meats, chemical/GMO free) pepperoni is hard to come by. In any event, it is delicious. Simple, too. Perhaps I'll share my process for making it tomorrow. What do you think?


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Shared Passion

This morning I received my copy of the HerbMentor News. I was struck by the serendipity of seeing Todd Caldecott's Food As Medicine audio course, since I had just been paging through, yet again, my copy of his book by the same name (It's one of those books I wander through often). As I scrolled down I was immediately inspired by Rosalee de la Forȇt's article on "How to Make Hyssop Oxymel." I had, apparently, forgotten about oxymels. I made some for the first time two years ago, enjoyed them, and apparently forgot to add them to my list of annual botanical creations. So I made up for this lapse by starting three today ~ anise hyssop, holy basil and clove. Just herb, honey and apple cider vinegar. So simple. So Good. So versatile. If you're interested in making your own, just check out Rosalee's article in this latest edition of the HerbMentor News

I realized, too, after making these oxymels that I was down to my last pint of good, local honey. I'm on the hunt now to replenish my stores. 

As I collected the leaf and bud for two of my three creations, the bumble bees were busy collecting pollen from the lovely, surreal, Dr. Seuss-like passionflower blossoms. Seems we shared a passion for the botanical world today, me and syster bumblebee.

And last, but not least, I made my way to the vegetable garden where I collected the fixin's for this evening's dinner ~ including my first zucchini.

That's what I made today.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Busy with Business

Today I made grand effort and, consequently, was as busy as a … well … you see what I mean.

That is all.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Value Transformed

This morning, while going through stuff and preparing yet another box for our local Thrift Shop I found two sets of vintage maracas that my mom gave me when she moved from Delaware to New York. I'm a big fan of all-things-rhythmic, so these stay with my percussion collection, for now anyway.

Among my stuff to release is a mask that I created years ago with a goddess group. This didn't go in the box for the Thrift Shop, rather it now hangs it on my deck, where the elements will work their magic to return its organic parts back to the earth from which they were born. And those maracas, the ones pictured above … they accompanied me in this ceremony, joining me in raising energy and awareness for value invested, value gained, and value transformed. And I shall be witness to this, all of this, in the coming days.

And I harvested the last of the garlic.

That's what I made today.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Supper Harvest

Today I made time in the gardens. I know … this is already getting old, yet 'tis the season, and there's plenty of it remaining. I planted more seeds … squash, kale, napa cabbage, turnip, rutabaga and parsnip. I harvested broccoli, baby leeks and a couple of onions (pulled those up by mistake) and they will all be part of the giant frittata I'll be making for supper with our happy hens' eggs.

I invested my morning in preparing a background for this week's journal spread, and played a little in the studio with some other things. I kinda wish I'd captured the background before I spread the gesso over the space upon which my image will go. It was one of those backgrounds that you hesitate working over, know what I mean? But it's a background. That was the intention all along, so you add to it. In any event, the gardens seem to be showing up everywhere in my life. And that is as it "should" be.

Now I'm going to fix a hot cup of tea, head out to the deck, sit, take a nice long, deep breath, followed by a long, slow exhale … and dream a bit.

That's what I made today.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Love in the Studio, the Gardens and the Kitchen

Today, thanks to the morning spitting that kept me out of the gardens, I made time in my art journals. This page is from my large, personal journal. She'll have words added. Words that will be shared judiciously.

I started trimming and sorting the harvested and cured garlic by size so that I'll be prepared for planting time, which will sneak up on me. It usually does. I still have more garlic to harvest and cure (and trim and sort). You can never grow too much garlic.

And I bottled some kombucha and fed the never-ending batch with some fresh sweet tea. This is pretty much a weekly task. I have several bottles in storage, months old, and they're delicious. They even mix into a nice cocktail.

I spent some time in the gardens with the kinky tomato plants who wanted to be tied up again. I surveyed the little plot of land for things getting ready for harvest, and plucked some cilantro with which to to garnish this evening's chili.

That's what I made today. Love.

And Peace.

PS  Don't forget to check out all the great blogalong blog posts today!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pickled Eggs

Today I worked in the gardens, in the glorious mild heat of the August sunshine. I actually got to clean up the front yard bed a bit which, being mostly ornamentals, is the garden that gets the least attention.

I made time in the morning, when my little acre was still too damp from the evening rains, to work in a couple of art journals. Today was the first day in months I had two journals going and it felt good.

And before I headed out to the gardens and sunshine, I made another quart of pickled eggs. And I know someone will ask, so I'll tell you that I measure nothing. I mix some apple cider vinegar with water, sugar and salt, some garlic, black pepper corns and red pepper flakes in a pot. I heat it until it's just coming to the simmer and I pour it over the peeled hard-boiled eggs and cap them up to cool on the kitchen counter. Once cool they go in the refrigerator where rumor has it that they'll last nicely for months, if not years. I wouldn't know. These babies remind me why I want more laying hens.

That's what I made today.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Destruction and Creation

It's the first day of August, a day that I most often refer to as High Summer. The gardens are perched on explosion and the season of urgency approaches. The cherry trees are already dropping leaves, the wild phlox is beginning her bloom, yet the golden rod is taking her sweet time this year, offering me pause. Mystery thickens in this season, with the beautiful chaos of destruction and creation making manifest most everywhere I glance. Destruction and creation … I experience them as a single verve, dancing together — always together — in a whirl of magnificent Mystery.

Today I made time for work, the dentist, and some garden play before the rains started. Once indoors I tidied and cleaned a bit in honor of the Wise Fools that will be visiting this evening. I tidied and cleaned myself too, and made time for a little destruction and creation in the kitchen, in the dispensary and in the studio.

That's what made today … on this beautiful dancing day of Mystery.