Sunday, July 31, 2011

Culinary Smackdown - Eggplant

I'm going to have to make this quick because I'm short on time (that's different for you Buzz). I had to take The Pudge to Summer Camp with the Boy Scouts today and I didn't get home until 5:00PM. So it was a mad dash for the smackdown.

Eggplant! Hey, I have one of those. If you'll recall, I had one lone eggplant in the garden. And I picked it this week, along with a jalapeno pepper to make a recipe that Fishy graciously shared with me.

Grilled Spanish Style Eggplant:
2 small eggplants
1tbs coarse salt
2 tbs chopped garlic
2 jalapeno chillies, seeded and finely minced
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

Slice eggplants lengthwise @ 1/8" thickness
sprinkle with coarse salt an set aside for 20 minutes. Pat with paper towel to remove remaining moisture.

In a large bowl combine garlic, chilies, chili powder, soy sauce and the toasted sesame oil. Whisk together, add eggplant and allow to marinate 4-6 hours.

Heat a large non-stick skillet, cook slices for 3 or 4 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

The only change was the sesame seed oil - didn't have any. So I used olive oil and sesame seeds. I also only marinated for 1/2 hour.

A 1/2 hour marinade in a Ziploc.

On the Weber. Love the grill marks.
I finished with some freshly grated parmisian.
What to make for the rest of the meal? The Mrs bought these Hilshire cocktail weenies about 6 weeks ago and I've been tripping over them in the refrigerator the whole time. So I found a recipe called BBQ Hot dogs and Rice and a whipped together a tomato-cucumber salad with fresh basil and oregano. Done in 45 minutes.

Everyone was good with the eggplant. It had good flavor that I think would have developed had I marinaded it longer. And it wasn't too spicy either, so the Mrs liked it. The Boy had The Squeeze over and she didn't care much for it. But then again - she goes out with The Boy.

Lame entry, I know but an entry none the less.

Friday, July 29, 2011

How Does Their Garden Grow?

This is the 2nd part of How Does My Garden Grow? I walked the farm the other night and tried to take some shots of the more unusual things I see up there. Also, the row designations go up to "DD" and 6 deep. Rough estimate is 175 plots. When I walk the farm at dusk, I see dozens of rabbits on the perimeter and in the gardens without fences (the sacrificial gardens as I like to call them).

Here's the guy that uses a lot of PVC pipe and roof gutters (although it's hard to see either in this picture). He also plants stuff in some kind of plastic bags and has netting all over the place. His garden looks pretty good.

This garden has the best (and most plentiful) cantaloupes around. I bet he has 50 in all.

A lot of marigold growers at the farm. These are some of the better ones (for Chicky).
This is a nice size pumpkin for mid-July. I'm curious to see how much bigger it gets.
There is one corner of the farm that has gardens that are not plowed under at the end of the year. So they have a lot of nice perennials - like these - whatever they are.
People bring all sorts of stuff to the farm. Keep in mind, with the exception of about 12 plots that are un-touched, everyone starts with a 25' X 25' plowed dirt plot and a marker stake with your name and plot number. Everything else is brought from home. I doubt this scarecrow works. There was a bird on it earlier in the week. Maybe it scares the deer.
This is the edge of another perennial garden. I don't know what they are, but there's a lot of them.

Scarecrows and bamboo. Some people don't seem to know when to stop.
A lot of sunflowers this year. They seem to be extra big too. One guy was carting off a sunflower head that was bigger than a football. He said it collapsed under its own weight and he was taking it home so his wife could get the seeds. Wish I had a camera for that because it was the biggest one I'd ever seen. This guy is 2 plots down from me. He has the biggest and most tomato-ladened plants on the farm. And not a ripe one to be had. Our tomatoes seem to be the only ones ripening.
My crumby camera skills really don't do justice to this farm. I see something new every time I walk it. I would love to be one of the retired guys that always seem to be here so I can work on my plot a lot more than once or twice a week. I actually think they're all hiding from their wives.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Movie Clip Wednesday - Best Woman Pretending To Be A Man Movie

That Movie Clip Wednesday Stripper Chair Finisher and Dog Tormentor, Boxer is too busy checking out potato farming in Idaho (she's all over the place this week). So the lovely Joanna Cake again is performing the hostess duties she has become so good at doing. This MCW Meme has everyone picking a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme while trying to keep the clip or clips to around 3 minutes long. She has decided this week's theme to be - Best Woman Pretending To Be A Man Movie.

I can only think of three movies that fit the category. Victor/Victoria - sort of a musical that I didn't like very much; Just One of the Guys - an 80s teen movie that had a good-looking lead (Joyce Hyser) that couldn't act; and Yentl - Barbra Streisand - 'nuff said. So at the risk of blogger jinx, I chose none of them.

My original thought was to use 1991's Robin Hood where Uma Thurmon's Maid Marian infiltrates the Band of Merry Men as a boy. Who'd of thought I couldn't find a clip of that - right? So I decided to take a bunch of verbal abuse and go with 2000s Charlie's Angels (remake). Yeah, I know it's a not-so-good T&A movie, but I thought in this scene, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore did a fairly good job dressing as guys. And Lucy Liu as a dominatrix was just gravy.

Girls will be boys over at Joanna's, so head on over and check it out, but leave your girly dresses at the door.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Haiku Monday - SWEAT (Winner)

Some good entries from a hot, sticky weekend. Now, to start, I am a novice poet (if I may be so bold) and can't hold a candle to critics such as Troll, Moi or Master Basho's Ghost. So I will comment on the Haikus in the order I received them and attempt to render a fair and impartial decision. Members of the Kill family are ineligible to play and all decisions of the judge (that would be me) are final. And the winner may proudly display the Haiku Monday Badge of Great Honor (with Master Basho's Ghost's permission, of course) on their blog. That will be prize enough (Buzz - you cheap bastard). And please, no wagering. So let the games begin.

Fishy shared my sentiments for Sunday morning (or any morning this past week). I have a digital thermometer in the bathroom that greets me every morning and I think 78 was the lowest it went. I like the way she did her first line with numbers and symbols to get the syllable count.

Sunday Morning

Eighty @ 6:10
forecasting triple digit
sweat expectations

Troll seems to be conveying a true story maybe? Interesting that it was hot, sweaty sex as opposed to the regular kind. Maybe she (and I'm assuming Riko is a girl) was the racist here. Troll raises all kinds of questions that maybe he'll clarify for us - or not. By the way, I couldn't access the link for the visual.

Troll Turned Down in Tokyo

Riko said "No!" to
hot sweaty sex. Racist? Or

Moi had a visual to go with her haiku. More traditional in the sense that she writes about good, old fashion, summertime sweat. Ineffectual swipe is really good and conveys the helplessness of sweating. And who hasn't had Coppertone hit their eyes like a can of pepper spray?

Heat blazes, brow pricks.
Ineffectual swipe. Ow!
Sunscreen burn blinds eyes.

Czar, in coming up empty, made sort of an anti-theme haiku (for lack of a better description). Making the jump between perspiration and inspiration was brilliant (I thought). And I think the new word "haikuless" may make Webster's next year.

coming up empty

Haikuless Monday.
on per- . . . no in-spiration.
Not gonna sweat it.

Chicky chose to go the shameless product placement route with her explanation of the science behind the sweat. Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman during the "K9 days" of summer. I did like the "pheromone blast" imagery - and I'll stop right there.

A pheromone blast
by means of cooling system;
Kill it with Secret!

Fleurdeleo had me toweling off after this one. The sensual side of sweat and culinary pairings. I could actually hear a Poison or Whitesnake tune in my head while I was reading this....over and over....

Blazing Boardwalk

Frozen custard cone.
My tongue glides along my lip
tasting cream and salt.

Intuitive Eggplant had a visual of some nice looking Turkish Eggplant (who knew there was such a thing) presumably for the Culinary Smackdown this Sunday (31 July). I like that she doubled up the Haiku with her (our) Smackdown. I'm all about efficiency. And she savors her victory over all of the other safari participants. And it was very close to rhyming too.

Sunday Morning Farmers Market

Daunted, drenched by nine.
Then rare orange veg espied.
Others' sweat, I'll prize.

Karl scares me. *cue James Bond theme* While other people contemplate changing shirts 3 times during the day, Karl contemplates the type of long underwear one would wear while setting magnetic explosives to the hull of a Russian trawler. I think Troll (and Master Basho) can back me on the fact that you don't see "thermocline" in too many haikus. Shamelss sucking-up is - always appreciated.

The dry-suit dilemma:

Thermals in summer?
Too hot above the thermocline
Wet and cold at depth

Aunty conjures a very southern image of the lazing Uncle (right?) passing the time in an Americana-esque backyard scene. Does haloed imply saintly, or the amount of body heat the human body gives off on a scorching day? The reader is left to ponder this image with the rather disgusting thought of bugs drinking - anything. And the title of this haiku (more than any other this week) really helps put an image in my head.

Book on Chest

'Neath noonday haze the
hammock stills; gnats sip at his
Beaded haloed head

Some very different takes on a common problem this week. I'm sure I missed a lot of pieces to these haikus that I hope you will all share. My stylistic poetry and one-dimensional essays about poetry will hopefully prevent me from winning/judging in the future.

All said and imposing my authority as grand poobah of this week's theme, the top three are Czar, Fleurdeleo and Aunty. And I wittled it down to Aunty and Czar - with Aunty coming out on top. The mental imagery I got from Aunty's words were what did for me.

So congratulations to Aunty Belle. Display the Haiku Monday Badge of Great Honor with pride knowing you had great competition. Everyone stay hydrated.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Haiku Monday - SWEAT

Jesus H. Christ it's hot here in the northeast (H for humidity) - and I don't do well in the heat. We get hot summers but not consecutive 100 degree days. We've been over 90 degrees for 7 consecutive days. Storms have been in the area and either track north or south of us, missing by a mile or two (I watch the Doppler on all the time). We're in some kind of meteorological dead zone here.

So SWEAT is definitely on my mind - and my forehead - and down my back. So let's here what your poetic alter egos think about sweat.

Place your 5-7-5 format Haiku in the comments section below to be eligible for the Badge Of Great Honor. I will judge only 1 Haiku per entrant. So, if you post more than 2 below, let me know which one you want judged.

And, of course, you can post more haiku and visuals at your own blogs/websites if you are so inclined. I'll give everyone the whole day Monday and judge sometime on Tuesday.

Days humidity.

Cool rivers snake down my back

Amazon shirt glue.
Everyone knows girls don't sweat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow?

Notice I say "My Garden" because the Mrs pretty much has left it to me to tend to. She did pick out most of the plants for this year. Mostly from a school fundraiser. She bought 72 tomato plants and we ended up planting around 50. So we're up to our necks right now in tomatoes.

We set up the garden during the first week we were permitted (I think it was around the 2nd week of April). The town plows the entire garden under that week, so it's a good idea to get set up because the weeds grow with a vengeance here. About 3 weeks in, the Mrs noticed a lot of sunflowers popping up in gardens that hadn't been set up yet. So she poached them. Legal and moral issues aside, they're only flowers and (as you can see) everyone gets to see them. Some are at least 8 feet tall.

In the foreground, we have cucumbers, hot peppers, one eggplant and some other stuff I'm not sure of. In the center are three pumpkin plants that aren't doing to well. We were late planting them, but some people have huge vines with basketball size pumpkins on them all ready. In the background are whats left of the strawberries, some jalapenos that I planted and some asparagus that didn't do well at all. I'm sure there's some tricks to the asparagus - I just don't know what they ae. This is the 3rd season for the strawberries. I take them out at the end of the season, pot them and put them in our backyard (covered with leaves). They keep coming back.

Here's a close-up of the ill-gotten sunflowers.

Here's the loan egg plant that I hope to use for Intuitive Eggplant's Smackdown.

My Jalapenos. They're doing pretty good.

Here's a shot of a good portion of the farm. We have a corner plot (A1) and, although I've never really paid attention, I'll bet I'll bet it goes down to Z1. I'll have to pay attention the next time I walk around (there's markers at every plot).

Oh, I forgot, here is probably the biggest cucumber we ever grew.

Part of my routine when I visit the farm is to pick and weed our garden, hit it with a bunch of water, then go for a walk around the entire farm. This is for exercise, to let the water soak in (I water again after my walk) and to see what's doing in other people's gardens. I'm nosey that way. This woman's flower garden is probably the best on the farm. She's there practically every day.

A lot of people grow sunflowers (all the better for the Mrs to pilfer next year).

Last year there were probably 3 dozen plots that went unplanted. That is, people signed up, paid their fee and did nothing to the plot. The woman that runs the farm is really cracking down on this because she has a wait list of around 50 people. This year I noticed only around 1 dozen plots unattended to. There's a lot growing up here. Some people have interesting and unusual planting techniques. One Asian guy uses a lot of PVC pipe and roof gutters for planting. I'll have to get some pictures of some of the other plots for a later post.

Tonight I'm going to attempt a vodka cream sauce and pasta with some of our tomatoes. Then I have to get up to the farm for watering. With this heat and lack of rain (a huge storm hit about 2 miles south of us last night and we didn't get a drop) I have to go up every couple of days.

Haiku Monday - SWEAT

The Monday, July 25th Haiku Theme will be SWEAT.

We'll use the standard 5-7-5 format Haiku. I will judge only 1 Haiku per person. So, if you post more than 1, let me know which one you want judged. And you can post more haiku and visuals at your own blog.

Stop by the Buzzkill this weekend (probably Sunday July 24th) to submit your Haiku. Good luck and have fun with it - you know I will.

UPDATE: Please post your Haiku entry here.

Movie Clip Wednesday - New York, New York

That Movie Clip Wednesday Small Business Rabble Rouser, Boxer is too busy hiding her business from the IRS. So the lovely Joanna Cake again is performing the hostess duties she has become so good at doing. This MCW Meme has everyone picking a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme while trying to keep the clip or clips to around 3 minutes long. She has decided this week's theme to be - New York, New York.

There are many movies that prominently feature New York City including Ghost Busters, Saturday Night Fever and The French Connection. But the one I like the most and that I think features the "real" NYC is 1976's Taxi Driver. The sleaze and corruption of this city can turn cab drivers into cynics and is what made Travis Bickle the vigilante anti-hero we all know and love (are you talking to me?). This scene describes his feelings about the city and how it is affecting him. Jeff Bridges was considered for this part. I don't know, I can see the Dude saying "I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take 'em to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. Come on, man. I had a rough night and I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man!

And as an added (non-embedded - friggin' YouTube) bonus, what trip to NYC would be complete without a ride on the subway? My other favorite NYC movie with my favorite NYC actor - King of New York Subway Scene.

So , do you want to be a part of it, New York, New York? Let that British Big City girl Joanna make a brand new start of it, right there in old New York (well, I hosed that all up).

Monday, July 18, 2011

How I Spent My Weekend

I've posted pictures of my deck before and as some of you may remember, I built it around a tree because I thought it would be cool. In doing so, I grossly underestimated how fast the diameter of the tree would grow. So twice now, I've had to widen the deck around the tree. The last time I did it (about 7 years ago) I had access to a Sawz All at work. I don't anymore.

For the last 2 years I've realized that I needed to cut the deck back and have pleaded for a Sawz All for my birthday, father's day and Christmas - to no avail. I even sent the Mrs a link for the Milwauki Sawz All that I wanted. This past father's day, I did the same thing and told her I would need to buy it if she didn't. She finally got the message and I got a new Bosc Sawz All (yeah, I know) for Father's Day.

So this was the weekend for the cutting before it got too hot. Here's the tree.

Because I (make that the Mrs) waited so long, the tree is applying outward pressure on the boards, which tends to bind the blade. This maximized my wood-cutting, sweaty fun.

Here's my new Bosc Sawz All with 12" wood blade (I ended up using 2 blades).

Two and a half hours later and about 6 1/2 linear feet of cutting, it's done (I'm sure my neighbors loved me). I had to cut through some of the box joist that I built around the tree. That made the total thickness in some spots 10 " thick.

I sweated an awful lot and my arms and wrists were killing me when I was done. I should be good for another 5 years or so. Well, I did get a Sawz All out of the deal and they come in handy for a lot of things. The next project will be to replace a section of garage door and I'm sure the Sawz All will play a part - even if I don't really need it (cue Tim Allen grunt).

Update: That night (after I showered and pumped myself full of pain killers) we went to our local swim club for the annual "Pool Jam". It featured 2 bands (yeah, at our swim club). One was from our club called Band Test. They did a lot of Tom Petty and Stone Temple Pilots. They were pretty good although the lead guitar had a problem with his sound (in that ou couldn't hear him over everyone else). The base player is a friend of the Mrs and me.

The other band was from a swim club in another development called The 8E's (yeah, pretty cheesy). They did Blondie, Thomas Dolby, the Violent Femmes and finished with Cheap Trick (which I really appreciated). Then the Mrs helped me out of the lounge chair and drove me home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Movie Clip Wednesday - Best Garden Scene

That Movie Clip Wednesday Blog Summit traveler, Boxer is still detoxing from her New Mexico road trip and I'm finally back after a 2 week (12 days too long) hiatus on the kid's vacation. And the lovely Joanna Cake again performed the hostess duties in the face of dwindling participation. Well fear not Joanna - I'm back. This MCW Meme has everyone picking a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme while trying to keep the clip or clips to around 3 minutes long. She has declared this week's theme to be - Best Garden Scene.

The themes are getting narrower and narrower, requiring much thought and movie memory (both of which are in short supply for me as I get older) - I like it though. So what constitutes a garden? A cotton field like the one in Places in the Heart or a cornfield like in Field of Dreams? Maybe a non-traditional garden such as a cemetery in Gardens of Stone or the infamous human garden in Motel Hell (I almost went with that but it's not for the squeamish)? Karl's Victory Garden PBS educational film (I'm sure there's some kind of espionage going on in there)?

No, I went with the more traditional backyard garden. The infamous Italian garden where basil and tomatoes grow - and the Godfather dies. Coppala's directing of this scene is outstanding, especially the end where Don Vito drops over in the background and grandson Anthony continues playing in the foreground. I always thought it was funny that in this scene, Vito takes the bug sprayer away from Anthony and puts it right next to the food. If he didn't die in this scene, he would have kicked a couple of days later from DDT. This scene also features the Godfather Orange Theory where someone dies in any scene that features oranges.

So, What's the gardeners favorite movie? War and Peas. No? How about a gardening quip from Rodney Dangerfield: My wife's a water sign. I'm an earth sign. Together we make mud.

Go over to Joanna's and I'll stop right here.