Saturday, June 23, 2012

Of Basil and Tomatoes

I was thinking today. Beside the fact that I'm still rather pissed that I can't figure out a way to grow mozzarella on a vine in my garden...

Summer is probably the season that I most look forward to Eating in.

The fresh fruits. Cherries in particular. Little nuggets of amazingness. I could literally eat my weight in them.

Fresh greens, from mustard to sweet spinach. Just walk out your door, mow your lawn and you have salad!

I love raw vegetables, or just slightly cooked...sauted, or steamed. And this time of year is when things are just starting to come alive. I so look forward to fresh peas, bush beans, and corn...oh the sweet corn. Raw on the cob! Or steamed with just the right amount of butter and salt. Lord help the person that tells me I have high blood pressure...

But the thing I look forward to the most...the thing that I covet...The One Dish I will NOT sacrifice, no matter how broke, homeless, or infested with zombies this world may get?

Caprese Salad. So simple. Six ingredients. That's it. But each ingredient is equally important. There is such a balance...that only the freshest will do. I will not eat this dish in the winter. As it will be crap. Tomatoes aren't in season in the winter. But Summer. There are dozens if not hundreds of varieties to play with.
So very hungry...

Personally, I love Brandywine. There's something remarkably fruity, yet very rich about this heirloom breed of tomato. And you have to get local mozzarella. Which, in Maine, is simple. Fresh fresh fresh. I try to pull my Basil right before I use it's still warm from the garden. People don't seem to understand that when they keep herbs, like basil in the fridge they lose their potency. I have both black and Italian basil this year. But to be honest, I much prefer the Italian for Caprese.

Plating is very important for this type of salad. Traditionally Caprese salad is sliced tomato with sliced mozzarella, and chiffonade of basil. Layered. Visually it's stunning. But it also serves a purpose. You get every flavor in every mouthful. And if the chef has done her job and sliced things properly...the tomato and mozz to the proper thickness...nothing will overwhelm. Simple. Yet not so much.

Salt must be kosher. It has to stand up to the juiciness of the tomatoes, as well as the blandness of the mozz. Pepper will always be fresh ground. Olive Oil is personal preference. Myself, I go for the peppery ones. Something with a little backbone. And Vinegar. If you put vinegar on this salad. I would fire you. Gone. What do you need vinegar for? There's acid in the tomatoes. The salt will bring it out, the oil will blend, the basil will mellow and you have the perfect vinaigrette! Perfection!

Six ingredients. Probably one of the healthiest meals out there. Those Italians...they know how to eat.

Seriously. Why can't I grow mozzarella on some vine in my garden?

So...what seasonal dish are you willing to fight zombie infestation for?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brain Harvests


It seems that, of late, I only have so much brain to go around. Which means that my blog suffers a great deal. Sorry followers. As I know that you hang on to my Every Word!

The fun and exciting things that I am up to?

We are putting in no less then 8 raised beds so that we will not starve to death (a la Romantic Medieval Style) in the middle of the brutal Maine Winter. Hopefully the veggies behave better then they have been the past couple of weeks. I'm going to have to re-plant the spinach, beets, and other such greens as the weather we've had lately hasn't really allowed them to grow.

I'm also watching our Thirty tomato plants like a hawk because I have a sinking suspicion that they have The Blight. We've tried planting tomatoes for the past 4 years. We were successful once. The other three. Blight. This year I think is the last year. It's frustrating and time consuming and really just insulting to put all that work in...then BAM.  Blight.  Stupid Tomatoes.

We've put in grapes, strawberries, a kiwi vine, buttercup squash, cucumbers (which the army of slugs that I feed on a regular basis immediately destroyed...), and bush beans. We have yet to plant potatoes and shallots. Those will go in around the 4th of July or so. According to my Grandfather, that's the best time.


What with all that stuff going on. All my 'free' time is put into writing! Priorities! I haven't forgotten you My Blog Followers! It will all calm down soon. Soon my time will be a bit's a lie.

Ok. I'll be here! Sporadically! I promise! How's that?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing Wordless Recipes

I've been thinking about this "wordyness" problem that I seem to have.

I find it amusing.

In my previous life I was the exact opposite of wordy. In fact the more words I used the more of a detriment it was to my job.  I became pretty proficient at reading between the lines.

"Make the Risotto."
There is a whole lot buried in that simple three word sentence. But I don't need the whole spiel on how the stock is made. Or how to dice the onions. Or how long to keep the rice on the burner.

So how to channel that type of succinctness into my writing. How do I say...simply...what I want to say? Get to the meat of the issue, so to speak?

Is it possible to write a story without writing a full on step by step recipe?

Mushrooms, Rice, Herbs, Wine, Bacon...Can you taste it?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


In case you didn't notice...I made some changes.

This is more in line with what I wanted my layout to look like when I first started this whole endeavor. So I'm pretty psyched! Hopefully people won't run screaming for the hills. I'll be putting new "pages" on the top Bar for easier access to things like Blog Fests and the like as that is the one thing that this new layout falls somewhat short on. But, for the most part, I like the clean look.

There's a cool, pop out mouse over tabby thingy (Yes, that's the technical term) over on the right where all the rest of the normal gadgets went. So Never Fear! Just click about! Oh, and funnily enough. If this is anything like the one that I stumbled upon in my wanderings in the blogosphere...You can actually change the layout! In the top bar where it says CLASSIC...pull that menu down and play around. Cool huh?

Ok...Busy day today...back to waiting anxiously to see if my story got accepted. Power of positive thinking!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Submission of Major Proportions

What a ride!

Being over at Unicorn Bell all week...Whoa. I feel like my brain was scrubbed clean.

But in a good way.

Hopefully everyone was patient with my totally lack of any sort of posting here..and I still have *some* semblance of an audience.

Because I have a question. Stemming from a dilemma born of total newbie dumbassery.

So. Here's what I did.

I submitted a short story for an Anthology call from Writer and White Cat. (YAY! Stress!) Very exciting. However...all the link says is "Standard Manuscript Format" which, go ahead. Google that. I dare you. Yah. I haven't a clue what that means either.

So I asked the ladies that I moderate with over at Unicorn Bell and the consensus was 1" margins, indent the paragraphs, double spaced, Title and name on top of first page and a header on every page of page number/Story title/author name.

Easy enough, right? Right. So I did that. No problem. Worked all the formatting into the document. Then scrolled up to the top of the first page, and thought that the header of page number/title/author name looked redundant right above the section that I had centered the Title and written by on the first page. So I manually deleted it off the first page. Then immediately went into Send as Word Doc. And e-mailed it. Done! Whew! Felt great for all of about 3 seconds when I scrolled down and realized that when I had deleted the page number off the first page, it had taken the page number/etc.. header off ALL the pages. For the LOVE OF GOD! WHY!?!?! Sigh.  So I had just e-mailed a story with no page numbers. Great. Smoooooooth.

My question is this. What now? My gut says that I have to let it go, and hope for the best. But I honestly don't know. I would LIKE to send him a quick e-mail explaining what I did. But I also don't want to sound like a moron. I just want to get rejected solely on the basis of bad writing alone. Not because I 'forgot' to number my pages.

What's the opinions out there?

If anything. What NOT to do...and something I will remember to NEVER do again! HA!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

So Many Blogs

This week I'm over At Unicorn Bell talking about the Characters in your heads.

Making you feel all sane and stuff.

Hopefully I will stick to some semblance of a schedule, and go with what I have planned...

Monday: Character Naming
Tuesday: Party!
Wednesday: Descriptions
Thursday: Getting inside THEIR heads
Friday : Wrap Up. Possible Critique.

Wish me Luck!

Hope to see you all over there...I'll be pretty lax here as I have a screaming busy week work wise and will probably have all I can handle keeping up with the HUNDREDS of comments I will be getting over at UB! (Hint!)


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