Friday, August 28, 2009


Its not just the days getting noticeably shorter, the weather pattern is starting to change, a welcome relief even for us sun worshiping, winter hating Oregonians. My favorite time of the year, Fall is ahead. The kids are back in school, campgrounds are practically empty, and the fire danger is off, meaning you can burn. Torch the pile out back, start a roaring campfire and best of all leave it to Mother Nature to water the garden. In spite of an overpriced automatic watering system I put in years ago that waters the my so called lawn area, I'm tethered to a hose, watering, filling in and spot watering stuff around the back of the barn and the garden.
There are a few advantages to the lack of rain in the summer here, top of my list is the outdoor concert season at the Britt, it is a given to be picture perfect weather with the exception of the opening concert or two.
Its almost September, a year and 80 posts since I started blogging, and I have a lot of work to do all of a sudden... bids to get in on two or three jobs, Young at Heart has had a record month of ad sales and I went from wondering if I had a job, to having four days to finish the September issue and get it to the newest printer. Once again it is a mixed black and white and color issue, in order to trim my budget they decided to do all the ads themselves, and it is a disorganized hodge podge I will have the challenge of pulling together.
Speaking of pulling together I better bust a move, we are off to see Pink Martini this evening and I need to get a picnic packed for another perfect night of awesome music under a canopy of stars.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes

There is a Guy Clark song i stole that line from and it refers to the two things money can't buy, in the song, and in life.
Dave grows the most awesome crop of organic tomatoes every summer, he has friends and neighbors that wait for his harvest and he sells them for a song. Well not really a song, but at a buck a pound it practically is.
August is always about setting up the overflow for winter. Traditionally we do salsa, roasting the tomatoes on the grill along with the other ingredients, onions, peppers, garlic, corn on the cob. Its grill and toss in the food processor, except for the corn, add fresh parsley and salt and pepper and the result is an amazing tomato base to make and freeze for pizza sauce, chili, or enchilada sauce.
You have to pour off a good deal of seeds, watery tomato juice and add a small can of organic red paste to it, and be sure to leave on the grilled skins they add a rich flavor and color.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stayin' Alive

The three days of triple digit temps drove us out of town and out to the coast, where an hour and a half West on 199 we landed on a gorgeous sunny beach at Whaleshead, named appropriately for the shape of the rock and spray that looks like the spout rocketing a greeting to the shore.
Ruth Ann followed us, anxious to return to the river that hooked her last summer and our favorite camping destination heat wave or not.
It was a hastily prepared pack job and created some challenges cooking and eating wise. One plastic fork, no spatula, but thanks to Ruthie, plenty of excellent Oregon and California wine. Our priorities were in order if our camping gear was not.
After an hour of beach time and the thrill of feeling the fog roll in, we headed up river and set up camp. After releasing Maggies ashes into the river rolling out to the ocean, I put together some tomato slabs with mozzarella and basil, and Ruthie cracked a bottle of Williamette Valley Orange Blossom. Dave lit the mosquito coils and the evening closed lying on the rocks next to the rivers edge under an ebony sky watching the big dipper dip behind the trees intensifying the feeling of magical and spiritual serenity.
The next day, with perfect temps to bask in we hung out on a small island overlooking a pool of water so clear and blue it was hard to believe we were not at the Caribbean. A good swim was had by all, including the dogs who wore themselves out while we ate Fritos and indulged in some California Chardonnay.
After a memorable day Ruth Ann packed and headed up the coast to explore Coos Bay and Dave and I decided to stay another night.
Back in the Rogue Valley the heat wave is still happening but it is in the reasonably tolerable stage and my life and garden desperately needed some TLC. It is amazing to see the survival of the fittest nature wise as I have spent the majority of the morning watering all the parched and drooping plants AND playing with Maggie who is hardly outgrowing her water biting obsession. She makes it kinda difficult to really water at times but this morning when I finally lost my temper and made her drop and lay down, she finally did, right in front of the heart shaped rock that came back with us from the coast, picked up her head and gave me the biggest smile a dog can sport. I thought my heart was was going to burst, but instead I got my camera, fired up the hose and gave her a workout.
Another round of TLC please!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Turkey Tamale Pie

This has become the summers favorite and I have had multiple requests for the recipe so i am posting it, and I took some pictures the last time I made it to accompany the recipe.

2 pounds of ground turkey
1/4 cup chili powder divided
3 cups of salsa
2 4oz cans of diced chilis or fresh roasted ones
2 16 oz can of pinto or black beans ( mash one)
2 2.5 oz can of black olive drained
1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro divided
2 cups of cornmeal
2 tsp salt
2 cups, 8 oz of grated sharp cheese

Heat two 12 inch skillets medium heat and add the turkey and lightly season with salt and cook until it turns from pink to brown, stir in 3 Tbs chili powder, then the salsa, green chilis, beans, olives and 1/2 cup of cilantro simmer about 5 minutes.
Pour into two casserole dishes and sprinkle with half of the cheese.
For the topping, bring 6 cups of water, cornmeal, remaining 1 Tsb chili powder and 2 tsps of salt to boil in a large pot, whisking frequently until it thickens to a mushy consistency (like grits). Pour over hot mixture spreading with a spatula to completely cover the casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and cilantro.
Bake or broil until the top gets browned. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.
This recipe can easily serve a large gathering, I frequently cut it in half and it will serve four with a little leftovers. Reheats well and is awesome the following day!
One of the things I love about this recipe, its ground turkey, so much healthier than beef and wonderfully flavorful. As you can see in my pics I improvise and add whats in season, in this one, some fresh tomatoes and peppers were added that were grown in Daves organic garden. Don't be surprised if your guests ask for the recipe too!
Bon Appetite!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blogs of note and poison oak

I know those little bumps, not a mosquito bite, not a fly bite, too itchy for anything but the dreaded poison oak bump. The cure in a bottle, Benadryl gel. And if i put it on soon enough the blistering will not happen.
Heres hoping, relief is a swab away.
I found out about the gel from my dear friend Deb who has since passed away. She was a ranger for the BLM and had the smarts about all things nature and outdoors related. It was her divorce and need for a place to move to after that motivated me to create a studio space downstairs where she lived for three years before getting cancer.
On another note I have gotten lost in a blog of note or two once again this morning, glimpses into other peoples lives, a few hours of voyeurism and procrastination. Its time to jump back into my life which has slowed down considerably these days since Young at Heart Publication has run out of money. Its been a month since I have been paid and there was apparently no money to print the August edition which is now going to be the September edition, good thing I didn't finish the Buzz and all the time sensitive happenings that will have to be changed. So I essentially have a couple weeks off to catch up on other creative projects, mow the lawn, post some stuff on ebay for sale and breathe. Thankfully my vintage trailer just sold to the sweetest couple in the world, giving me some needed funds. Thank you Nicole and Shawn!!!! I am so glad you love that trailer as much as I have, may you have many happy times in it as we have had!
The temps dropped back down after a record week of soaring triple digits, a power outage for 15 hours on a 109 degree day and the pump going down, requiring Dave to twist into a human pretzel for 45 minutes in the spider web filled pump house working on repriming and unclogging the unit that brings the water into the house from the ground. I am so grateful to have a man in my life with patience and mechanical smarts.
This month marks 8 years since we met on Julies back porch over home made pesto, and bonded instantly talking about music.
This week we did a much needed float down the river, our "old fogey float", spotting osprey, bald eagles and egrets.
Oh my....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunny Summer Sunday

Hope Frank dropped in Saturday evening on her way to the Bay Area and we had dinner on the back deck, savoring, as is the norm these days, Daves' homegrown tomatoes, topped with some fresh mozzarella and basil from the garden.
Sunday morning after some of Joans happy hen strangled eggs, I helped Hope get a blogspot and gmail set up before she hit the road for Nevada City -loaded down with organic tomatoes and garlic.
I worked on a couple website projects for a few hours, did some laundry, worked on getting some new speakers hooked up to my computer and it was suddenly approaching the time to head off to the movies to see Julie & Julia. Truly a delightful and entertaining film in which Meryl Streep is just incredible, and I will be shocked if she doesn't win an oscar for her performance. On the drive home we found out Ruthie was a big fan of her shows (Julia Childs) and has actually made many of her recipes. This explains why Ruthie is such a wonderful cook.