Friday, February 24, 2006

I've been tagged ! Posted by Picasa

Book meme

OK, just when I was wondering what on earth I had to write about between now and April, I got tagged by Judith with a book meme. The categories at first seem rather repetitive, but not really when you think about them.

Here goes:

1. Name five of your favorite books

Pentimento – Lillian Hellman
Spartina – John Casey
Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner
Damage – Josephine Hart
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

2. What was the last book you bought (or brought home from the library)?

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson

3. What was the last book you read?

Old School – Tobias Wolff

4. List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you.

The Path Chet Raymo
I stumbled onto this book while on a web search tangent one day. It turns out that this Boston Globe Science writer moved to my hometown the same year I left it and began walking to work each morning through the woods I grew up in as a child. The path of which he writes and which he makes universal in these pages, is embedded in my bones. I adore this book.

Oxford History of the American People – Samuel Elliot Morrison
In my other life I was an American history teacher, and my Morrison was always within an arm’s reach of my lectern. He had such a gift for breathing life into the past with his prose.

All Aboard – a Golden Book
When I was three, my mother and I traveled by train from Boston to visit my grandmother in Oklahoma City. Each night before the trip, we would read this book together. I have a hard time separating the REAL trip from the one the girl in the book took with her mother. I am proud to say that All Aboard was my first Ebay purchase some 6 years ago. It felt so good to be reunited.

The Garden Primer – Barbara Damrosch
My paperback copy of this book meets the Velveteen Rabbit’s definition of being “real.” It has mold on the pages from where it dried out after I left it on the porch in the rain … it has swollen to the size of a watermelon, and the binding is curled back on itself. But every spring I bring it out find something new to focus my work with vegetables. It is my bible.

Seeing the Crab – Christina Middlebrook
On a more somber note, this book was suggested by a friend, now deceased, who said “If you want to know what it’s like to live with breast cancer, read this book.” I find it very difficult to enter the world of terror that my friends living with cancer live in, but this has helped. I want to be present, but appropriately so. To this I would add a book with stories of healing that I have passed on to many friends …
Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal – Rachel Naomi Remen
It reads in short 3-4 page stories of healing. It is a good read in times of wondering if you can trust your body, and reading the stories helps to focus on the fact that the body has the capacity to heal itself. I thank my friend, Mary Beth, for passing it on to me.

5. Name three books you’ve been dying to read, but haven’t gotten around to

1491 – Charles C. Mann
The Botany of Desire – Michael Pollan
(I started it last week and then lost it while I was traveling … it is a GREAT read)
More Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People - Linsey Lee

As for tagging, I shall tag ~ but respect their right to decline

Kerry - Kerry's Garden
Holly - WoollyMutts
Jessica - High School Unscripted

Friday, February 10, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 09, 2006

gotta love this dog ! Posted by Picasa

a sidetrack from the garden

OK. I’m taking a trip out of the gardening realm and into the realm of another interest … the movies. I have made it my goal to see as many of the movies up for an Academy Award before March as I can. Last night (and this is my ONLY connection to gardening) I watched the new Wallace and Gromit film. I LOVE Wallace and Gromit … actually I love Gromit, truth be told … those raised eyes speak a thousand words. I’ve been following them for years. This new one is about a giant vegetable contest! What’s not to love? Gromit carefully measures his watermelon they way I measured my tomatoes last summer. This dog and I are soulmates. I’ve been humming the W&G theme music to myself all morning.

But that’s not what I wanted to write about. Having seen Brokeback Mountain, I wanted to read Annie Proulx’s short story. The movie is dead on. Ang Lee does a brilliant job in bringing Annie Proulx’s characters and setting to life. What’s interesting is, that when I found the story (I found it in the New Yorker DVD collection I gave my husband for Christmas … so wise of me) I discovered that in that SAME edition in 1997 was an article by George Plimpton about Truman Capote. If you see Capote you must read this article. It is a haunting complement to the movie. Quite a coincidence that two best picture nominees are foreshadowed in that one issue.

Munich is the only best movie nominee I have not yet seen. That said, I would have to give the best movie nod to Crash. It is so different from any movie I have seen and so provocative in its theme. It changes the way you think. I guess that’s why I like it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Soon to be soup Posted by Picasa

Solving the garlic problem

I love growing garlic the way some people love growing roses. But I have a problem. I harvested close to 200 heads of garlic this year. 15% of the crop went into seed for next year’s crop, and I probably gave away another 20%. That still leaves 130 heads of garlic to eat.

And there is another problem. The stiff necked garlic starts to go bad by the end of January. The cloves start to grow little roots and sprout as if they were deep underground. You can forestall this with proper curing and storage, but not much past February. I need to use it up or lose it. I will still have braids of soft necked garlic to take me through the spring, but in my use or lose bin right now are many smallish heads of stiff necked that were not suitable for gifts nor seed. It is time to make soup.

In Italy and Provence garlic soup is a staple of the diet. Aïgo Bouïdo is a very simple concoction of water, garlic, sage and an egg yolk. It can be quite hearty all by itself when it is poured over French bread sprinkled with a little Parmesan. It can also serve as a stock for other soups. I like mine straight.

I gathered 10 heads of garlic and retrieved my rolling rubber garlic peeler from the drawer. I insert 10 cloves and roll smartly on the counter and out come the naked cloves. It saves a lot of time.

There is another, more elegant garlic soup recipe put together by Susan Spicer the chef at Bayona in New Orleans. It’s more work, but it sure is tasty.
Here is the simpler, peasant version of Mediterranean garlic soup

Aïgo Bouïdo

  1. 4-1/3 cups water

  2. 6 garlic cloves, crushed (I used nearly 100 cloves)

  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt

  4. small sprig of fresh sage

  5. small sprig of fresh thyme

  6. 1 egg yolk

  7. 6 slices of French bread, brushed with olive oil
1. Bring the water to a boil. Add the garlic and salt and boil for another 10 minutes. 2. Add the herbs. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the herbs to steep for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the herbs. Blend the yolk with some of the cooled broth, and then stir it back into the soup to thicken it.4. Place the oiled bread into the soup bowls, pour the soup over the bread and serve immediately.

Aigo Bouido Posted by Picasa