Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the end is very fucking nigh

it’s really felt like autumn here the last few days. mid-60s to lower-70s, a few light showers, lots of heavy clouds, some wind. huge departure from friday when we hit 104. it’s supposed to be back to the 80s later this week, but that won’t change the fact that the phrase “late summer” keeps getting tossed about willy-nilly as if it isn’t synonymous with impending death and destruction.

i like the cooler weather for a change, but i’m certainly not ready to let go of summer. my heat-loving plants do not appreciate the dip in temperatures--i’ve noticed slower ripening of tomatoes especially. still i was able to get a nice basket yesterday:

i used the parsley in a fresh batch of hummus then cut up a tomato and lightly pan-seared the zucchini to try to mimic a sandwich i ate at 36th street bistro the other day. actually the only element of mimicry was the way i sliced and cooked the zucchini, and it turned out just right. the resulting sandwich isn’t much of a looker but it was mighty tasty:

today for lunch i made homemade vegan pesto-dressed pasta with tomatoes. yay summer food!

i thought the early bush beans finished producing, but they caught a second wind and are now back to sending out tons of beans:

the rattlesnake pole peas are hitting their stride as well:

i’ve picked the first few coco rose de prague, which might taste even better than rattlesnake:

they even have similar markings, only pinkish instead of purple.

first dixie golden giant.

taste is sweet and very mild. not my favorite, i like more acidity.

these dwarf sunflowers were only supposed to grow to two feet tall--instead they range from around one foot to four feet. their coloring is nothing like the dark red/orange with black center flowers pictured on the seed packet. this from the same seed company that packaged seeds of this boring broccoli:

as romanesco calabrese. big disappointment. plus i didn’t catch the florets in time to eat them, they were already too old and bitter by the time i noticed.

i have eight sunflowers blooming right now, more if you count these:

two stalks whose buds were gnawed off and eaten by squirrels before they got a chance to fully bloom, now they’ve sprouted mini-flowers all along the stems.

four more buds to go, then that’s the end of the sunflowers this year.

the last of the tall sunflowers opened today:

this one’s only about six feet, and it bloomed much later than the others.

i caught three sunflower heads before the birds/squirrels--one is already dry, and these two are now curing, safely suspended in protective netting in a location only super-determined animals would bother to raid.

i can’t wait to eat these seeds!

i'm weird, i eat the whole thing, shell and all. no one explained the sunflower seed eating process to me when i first started snacking on them and i developed a taste for the crunchy hulls. in fact it feels wrong to eat just the soft innards.

i did more extreme pruning and found eight additional big rainbow tomatoes, for a total of ten. i hope they have time to grow big and ripen.

one winged pea is blooming...

the ones planted in containers aren’t, but the plants themselves look healthier than the ones in the ground. this one has cumin growing around it:

which is now flowering. i came across an unsettling iranian lullaby called "sleep, sleep cumin flower." when i was a baby i used to wail whenever someone sang "oh my darling, clementine," because of the sad lyrics...i would've suffered a complete baby breakdown if someone sang that cumin flower shit to me.

three morning glories opened today, the first i’ve seen since those crazy early ones in may.

this poor crane fly was stuck to a leaf on one of my pole pea vines. i think the tiny barbs on the leaf held on to its feet like velcro. it flew away after i helped it up a little.

about a week ago i started getting ready for fall planting, first by cutting down all the stalks of collard greens:

i washed, stemmed, blanched and froze all the leaves. they condense a lot after blanching, so the huge pile of greens that barely fit in my kitchen sink fit into a gallon freezer bag with room to spare.

also to make room i pulled up a ton of baby carrots:

all together they equaled maybe two full-size carrots. so now i have a bed that looks like this:

i put in seeds last tuesday, with rows of swiss chard, kohlrabi, radishes, mache, carrots, sorrel, and two others i can’t remember right now. the swiss chard and radishes are already up.

as much as i love the idea of being able to grow summer crops year-round, i’m really glad i live in a place that experiences all four seasons properly. i have mixed feelings about the summer plants dying. i love them and i’ll mourn their passing, but i also love a clean slate...i have a tendency to accumulate things, so growing all these plants with the foreknowledge that they’ll be dead and gone in a few months has been a relief. i’m like a compulsive garden hoarder with the unavoidable fate of total land-makeover thanks to the intervention and therapy of frost. cold weather is my ruthless “organization specialist.” still, if she doesn’t wait long enough for me to emotionally part with my growing stuff, there will be consequences. she might even find me in the exact same predicament one year later.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

vegan blackberry citrus pie

yesterday i went to the river and picked another 2.5lbs of blackberries, came home and almost immediately baked about half of them into a pie. there is nothing like going berry picking then baking a pie from scratch to make a person feel delightfully old-fashioned and down-home. this is the most successful vegan pie i’ve ever made.


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
(+ for topping: 2 tablespoons each white and brown sugar)

3 cups blackberries
zest of one lemon (optional)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

preheat oven to 425.

for the dough, mix together flour, salt, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of sugar. pour in the oil and water and mix thoroughly.

reserve about 1/4 of the dough for the topping; the rest is for the crust. i found it way too crumbly and impossible to roll out with a rolling pin so i just squished and pinched it into the pie pan with my fingers. so, using whatever method works for you, line the pie pan with dough.

mix sugar into the remaining dough ball--use your fingers to scrunch it into chunks, then set aside.

filling: blend sugars, flour and cinnamon. pour berries into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle lemon zest over them (if using). then add the dry ingredients to the berries and gently stir the mixture until they’re well-coated.

pour filling into the dough-lined pan and cover it with crumbly topping.

bake for around 35 minutes or longer (start checking at 30min). you want the filling to bubble up and the crust to brown slightly.

Friday, August 27, 2010

my tour de fat costume

last year i didn't dress up for tour de fat and i felt pretty stupid. this year i put a costume together last-minute, the night before, because august 21 completely snuck up on me. so i drew on some fancy facial hair, painted my lips bright pink, looped homemade swirly earrings through my ears, put my hair up in side buns and a scarf then stuck curly dollar-store hair extensions out of each side (pink on the left, purple on the right...purple jumped ship at some point during the festivities, i hope someone found it and added it to their costume.)

i also wore this pink pleather bike applique circle skirt i made for my first tour de fat (2007), with a black petticoat and some houndstooth leggings underneath. i'm a little disappointed in myself because i didn't go all-out genderfuck like before. the grotesquely huge fake boobs and semi-realistic facial hair really made my costume in 2008.

tour de fat boise 2010!