Thursday, July 29, 2010

Portrait Photography

I had my first portrait shoot since college, today with a dear friend.  It was so fun to experiment with natural and artificial light, plus my subject is extremely photogenic, which doesn't hurt.  Our kids played, while we played.  They were very interested in what we were working on, and they kept telling Heather how beautiful she looked.  No doubt!

My Suburban Garden

The suburbs are a state of mind.  One day, I will have more land to grow on, but for now I am enjoying honing my gardening skills on a small scale.  This is my third year growing using Square Foot Gardening by Mel Barthomew.  The cool thing was this year, I got to use my own compost instead of buying it.

As you can see my greens up front are picked (chard and some bibb lettuce and my spinach has bolted).  My tomatoes are ripening, but I've had a visit from this annoying pest.  The tomato hornworm.  I may not have even noticed him right away, had it not been for a half-eaten green, cherry tomato that had me come in for closer inspection.  Interesting looking fellow, but he and a friend massacred this plant down to only the stalk by the time I came back from Floydfest.  This was a plant in a pot, feet away from my my garden plot, but it has found it's way to the others, and I'm having a heck of a time finding it since it blends in so well. I will try to find the bastards tomorrow.

 I still have plenty of cucumbers, though, which have been fun to pick.  My first cantaloupe is growing, which is exciting, especially since I lost two watermelons to blossom rot.  Apparently, that is caused by a calcium deficiency, so a friend suggested I crush up some Tums and add it to the water.  That's what I did tonight after harvesting most of my basil for the pesto.  My garden is still organic even with a little crushed antacid, right?  Maybe not, but it's fun to learn about growing my own food.

Dinner from the Garden

Watch out Mekong, I think I have finally managed to make tofu as crispy and delicious as yours.  It took some drying (used clean dish towels since I don't buy paper towels), and then I sliced the block of tofu into four lengthwise sections.  Cut each section into four triangles and tossed in a pan with olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.

I made fresh basil pesto using this recipe and put it on the tofu.  I diced up a cucumber and tomato from the garden and poured a homemade balsamic vinaigrette with fresh parsley over it.  Growing your own food and eating it is fun!

With the leftover pesto, you can freeze it, and use it over Trader Joe's Gnocchi, which we had for dinner later this week.  Or you can make pesto quesadillas, using tortillas, tomatoes, spinach, cheese and pesto.  They rule and are plain, simple and thrifty, my friends.