Tweeting and Eating Thursday, Aug 26 2010 

So I got a wild hair tonight and decided to go through all 150 of who/what/whatever I follow and Twitter (down to 149 now) and create a list for those in my hood. Seventy-six of them ended up on that list. And then I realized very, very, very many of those 76 are actually food or drink related.

This explains a number of things, mainly why Twitter is my primary source for finding a cool place to go at a moment’s notice. Yelp takes a close second. (I need to get back to my Yelp reviews, by the way.)

And then I had a brainstorm. I’m going to start actually writing about all these places I indulge in simply because I’ve added them to my Twitter feed. I’m brilliant. And humble. And ready for bed.

Pappa al Pomodoro and The Golden Girls Monday, Aug 23 2010 

I have various and sundry interests, among them, enjoying red wine, growing things in my yard, reading, and cooking. Oh, and watching The Golden Girls. Tonight, cooking prevailed.

Today was definitely a Monday in my job. I had to produce a handful of mind-numbingly detailed reports for a range of supervisors, which is never my favorite part of my job. What I like is people, being with people, talking to people, making a difference in people’s lives, teaching people to make a difference in their own lives, and spending time with all sorts of people. That? Did not happen today.

So I came home and planned to immediately disappear in my bedroom and not come out until after a few good episodes of The Golden Girls. Instead, I went outside with my dog and began immediately and aggressively removing weeds from my disappointment of a salsa garden. When there were, sadly, no more weeds to rip from the soil, I flipped on an episode and flopped down to pursue my planned lethargy.

Ah, heaven!

But they were cooking. Sophia is ALWAYS making something delicious and Italian, and my mind started wandering. To that one golden tomato I had left from my mother’s recent bounty. And to that stale loaf of Companion Bread I had been saving. I just searched their website to tell you specifically what bread it was, but I can’t find it on there. Someone who works at Companion brought in a bunch for us one day at work (along with some delicious pretzel bread). Suffice it to say, this bread had the perfect amount of both olive oil and crustiness and was seasoned lightly with some herb combination that made me think Italian, though I won’t swear by it publicly, so you can’t tell me I’m wrong.

I digress.

My mind wandered and I ended up in my (hot) kitchen, throwing together an easy pappa al pomodoro or, in English, bread with tomatoes. From what I hear, it’s Tuscan but since I’ve never been to Italy, I won’t swear by that publicly so you can’t tell me I’m wrong about that, either.

And it was an amazing dinner. What with it being tomato harvest around the US and all, I thought I’d share this so you, too, can enjoy a simple and delicious dinner that makes good use of the approximately 2,000 tomatoes you have right now (unless you’re like me, with a tomato garden on strike).

  • Throw some olive oil in the bottom of a pot.
  • When it’s hot, add in onions. Tonight I diced them finely, though I have made it before with big chunks. I think I prefer the chunks, but you’re cooking for you, not me.
  • When they’re sizzling nicely, add in 3-5 cloves of chopped garlic. Three gives you a nice garlicky taste. Five will keep the vampires away.
  • Add crushed red pepper to your liking. I like mine hot. If you actually have a thriving salsa garden, you can skip the flakes and use a fresh jalapeno. That was so delicious last year, when I had fresh jalapenos that actually grew.
  • Now it’s time for the tomatoes. If you’re doing fresh, you need to either get out your immersion blender or your big old counter-space-stealing blender. Now blend those tomatoes until they’re mush. If I’m using fresh, I usually save one or two (this time the golden one) to add texture (and, tonight, color) to the final product.
  • If you’re not going the fresh route with tomatoes, throw in a large can (mine was 28 oz) of chopped/crushed tomatoes.
  • Add 1.5-2 cups of water.
  • Toss in your stale bread, chopped into bite-size chunks.
  • If it looks too bready, add some more water. I usually don’t add more than another .5 cup, though. The final product should be very much a mush of tomatoes and bread.
  • Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Eat.
  • Rave about what a fabulous cook you are. Or, preferably, let others do this while you sit back with a modest smile on your face.

Because I was using cooking as therapy tonight, I didn’t even think to get my camera out to document this all for you (which is good because I still haven’t located that stupid USB cord for it). Instead, I leave you with another picture of Sophia, creating an Italian concoction that I’m sure rivals mine.

Sophia makes something yummy

Where I’ve Been Saturday, Aug 14 2010 

I’ve been gone for a few months. What have I been up to?

I’ve been working, appeasing some angry folks and pissing others off.

I helped behind the scenes for a production of Curtains, a musical theater junkies know as The One That Won David Hyde Pierce His Tony and no one else has heard of.

I went to a baseball game.

I planted quite a few gardens in my yards. My pumpkins are doing well; my butterfly garden is, well, a mulched area in the back corner of my yard. Two sets of tomato seedlings did not make it. My summer squash came up all warty, like the stuff you put on your dining room table for decoration in the fall. I now have more autumn decorations than any woman needs for a lifetime.

I spent a week on the Florida panhandle, remembering once again why I need a pool and easy access to the Gulf in my life. I touched a tar ball the Coast Guard missed in its overnight clean up. I watched shrimping boats, currently employed by BP, floating on the horizon, stalking the Gulf for signs of oil. I sat on the dock and listened to my uncle lament that he was unable to fish for the first summer in his life. I drank a lot of mullets, read a lot of books, and spent a lot of time ignoring work emails for once.

I broke down and bought a Kindle on Craigslist. As I’m not rolling in expendable income, I have discovered some great free reads, my two favorite being Diary of a Nobody and The Evil Guest. Years ago, I devoured Madame Bovary in a summer afternoon on my parents’ front porch. I’m taking the time to read it slowly now, remembering why it was so magical back then.

I’ve spent some time reacquainting myself with folks I’ve lost touch with for one reason (moves during childhood) or another (grown up life taking over).

I went to one wedding and skipped out on two others.

I cooked some amazing dinners from CSA goodies, some I’d never eaten before in my life.

I’ve Tweeted a lot, Facebooked a bit less, and spent amazing days with my nephews and niece.

And now I’m back to the world of blogging.

Are You Ready to be Jealous? Thursday, May 6 2010 

Because I have a volleyball injury (probably why old ladies shouldn’t play sports), I will let you know how jealous you should be in picture form. Please meet my weekend plans:

at

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on Monday, which is not what I prefer to focus on yet.

Expect pictures from a weekend of sister debauchery sometime in the next few days.

In Which I Reveal My Reason for Blogging Thursday, Apr 22 2010 

I encounter a number of interesting characters on a daily basis. Something about me brings out the crazy in people. Or, perhaps, something about the crazy in people is drawn to the crazy in me.

Case in point: Once last summer I received a letter–yes, a real letter with a real stamp in a real unignorably yellow envelope–from a woman who was irate about a goldfish her daughter received. The woman chose to throw a very public temper tantrum. She felt the goldfish was being treated inhumanely and, like all good animal rights activists, she did the humane thing and threw it–still in its baggie, mind you–at someone. She then went home, daughter in tow, and pounded out the magnificent letter she then sent to me. Who had absolutely nothing to do with any aspect of the goldfish incident but who did enjoy receiving a brightly colored envelope in the mail and who enjoyed even more reading its scattered rants on animal rights and children who suffer from PTSD.

Additional case in point: It is my 3o-something-th birthday and I have plans to be greeted by all my loved ones at my favorite hole in the wall bar. I am looking stellar and driving toward the bar when I remember it is my last day to renew my driver’s license. No one likes to be driving home after a night of dollar drafts, only to be pulled over for a DUI only to get the added bonus of an expired license ticket, so I did the responsible thing and went to the DMV. On the last day of the month. In the last hour it was open. And there I was tapping my foot and checking Facebook when a overgrown, homeless drifter with possible schizophrenia began telling me the story of why he is no longer welcome at his family Thanksgiving dinners. When I finally received my new license, he chased me down and handed me five pages, single spaced, typed across many one-hour sessions on a library computer, and told me it was something he only gave to beautiful women. I actually read it at the hole in the wall as I downed dollar drafts one, two, and three. It was his epistle to women, urging them to wait for “real men” and included a helpful description of how to identify a “real man.” I found it surprisingly touching, though perhaps dollar draft #4 had something to do with that.

My friends tell me my stories are so good I should compile them and share them with the world. I am flattered, although I realize they mainly tell me this in the hopes of someday getting a word in edgewise as we sit there downing dollar drafts at the local hole in the wall (or, on rich nights, boxed red wine on a front porch). I have finally taken their advice and created this blog in the hopes that some of my crazy stories will give you reason to laugh from time to time.