We have a bounty of home-grown tomatoes on the sill and I am a smitten kitten.


Still, this weekend’s recent harvest has me wondering when to call it quits and clear out the plants. They’re getting spindly, to be sure. And the tomatoes seem to have slowed down quite a bit. At some point, we have to know when to stop watering the danged thangs. They’ve been good to us, granted, but we don’t want to waste water if they’re not producing. Capisce?


It’s tricky, though. For just when I think they’ve expelled their last sighs, the little tomato plants surprise me by showing off new greenies. Looks like the old gals have a bit of life left after all. I can relate…


To Everything – Turn, Turn, Turn



I look for them every year. Sometimes I miss them, short-lived as they are. But I never forget to look. And when my timing is just right…


Champagne Grapes are in. I don’t know the varietal’s true name, but that’s okay. If I say “Champagne Grapes,” everyone knows what I’m talking about anyway. And they are spectacular. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but they’re tiny little dudes. The largest is barely the size of my thumbnail, and y’all, I have girl hands. They come and go so fast, it’s easy to blink and never catch a sight. So when I scored some at the market this week, I was downright giddy. They’re such a treat, I fully expect to breeze through this bunch in only a couple of days. If I’m lucky, there will be another round waiting for me at the market. If I’m lucky.


Mister’s Mama told me she’s been eating Olathe Corn as much as possible. And now her markets are getting Colorado Peaches in, so she’ll be adding those to her line-up. Most of us food dorks have our calendars in mind when we shop. We know when strawberries are in season. We know when to search for favas. And speaking for myself, I don’t get too down about a fruit or vegetable moving through its growing cycle, as I know something else will soon be ready for harvest. That’s how it works. Turn, turn, turn. And it’s beautiful.


In the meantime, I am so happy to be snacking on the sweetest little grapes around. And I’m so grateful I spotted them this year. Lucky me.

Stretchy Pants



I don’t know about you, but I had a lovely, low-key weekend. Mister and I mostly hung at the new pad and we kicked back in the pool every day. We both managed to get some things done, and then there was the food.


Friday night we had an amazing Caesar Salad with Roasted Salmon. It was so good, I suggested we eat that mutha once a week. Saturday morning, we had a tomato-fontina tart with an avocado and hard-cooked-egg salad. Lunch wasn’t much to speak of, but dinner was out and fab: fried calamari, antipasto salad and pizza. Sunday’s breakfast was of the ordinary, fend-for-yourself variety. Lunch was a Caprese salad with home-grown tomatoes and bacon. Dinner was chicken braised with mushroom gravy, grilled corn and grilled asparagus. Put it all together and that, friends, was a whole lot of good eatin’.


Now – don’t think we’re total gluttons. We did work out every single day. And we didn’t have unreasonable portions, either. We just happened to eat well. It’s kind of one of our things.


Sometimes I can look over a weekend and see something extraordinary, like a particular outing or experience. Most of the time, however, my weekends are rather ordinary. Being a home-body, I tend to stick close to the abode. And it would be easy to dismiss those weekends as unexciting, run-of-the-mill, no-big-deal days on the calendar. But that’s not really true, is it? Speaking for myself, most of my life is ordinary. And though some may deem that boring, I absolutely do not. I relish pool time with Mister. I am astounded by the quality of the food we eat at home. I laugh at home, I think, I cry… Honestly – to say “life is good” at home is a profound understatement. The joy I feel – simply for being alive – is off the charts. It’s a shame more people aren’t tapped into this love of life. It really is.


Anyhoo – even though I worked out all weekend, I’m thinking some stretchy pants might be in order today. Wonderful, comfy, happy, stretchy pants.

Jujube Fruit



Over the weekend there was a get-to-know-your-neighbors block party in our ‘hood. This sort of gathering is rather old-school, and far too uncommon these days. I don’t think we all need to be best friends with our neighbors. But knowing the folks around us and being friendly is a great way to have each other’s backs. I guess I look at it like insurance: I hope I never need it, but I’m glad it’s there – just in case I do. And besides – some of us have great neighbors.


Anyhoo – as neighbors from a about a 3-block radius came together for food and conversation, we had the opportunity to learn a bit about one another and to share some laughs. I met folks of all ages and backgrounds and it was lovely. And then one new-to-us neighbor showed up with a gi-normous basket of fruit from a tree in her yard. She had brought Jujubes and they were awesome.


For years I’ve seen Jujube fruit in ethnic supermarkets, but I’ve never tried them, nor have I known a darned thing about them. Turns out, a common name for the cultivar here in Southern California is Chinese Date. (This is not the same variety as the Indian Jujube, whatever that is.) The tree common to our neck of the woods is drought-tolerant and loves heat. The tree needs a little cold in the winter time in order for the fruit to set, and as we have that, all is well. Our generous neighbor not only educated us on the local Jujube, but she also provided us with a tasty treat. Jujube fruit is delicious!


We had a grand time hanging out at our block party. Not only was it fun, it was also educational. Y’all have got to know I love learning about food. I also love eating it. And thanks to a kindly neighbor, I not only learned a thing or two but I’ve also got a bowl of beautiful Jujube fruit on my counter. Win-win.

Dinner With Baker Jen




Friday night found us having dinner with our friend, Baker Jen. And as she and Mister are drinking soul-mates, they both relished Paisley Martinis.



We had a fab time and we laughed and talked and, as often happens when friends get together, we solved all the world’s problems in one evening. Right in our living room. Unfortunately, the world has no idea. Too bad.


It was a grand night. And I have to tell you – one of the highlights was the potatoes shown below. I roasted those babies in goose fat and they were sublime. Lucky for me, I made extra. Yum!



Summer will be swirling around us for some time. I hope to see more friends and have more fun and delicious food, and I recommend the same for you. For now, I’ve got some delicious potatoes to remind me of one swell night.

Garden Inspiration



I visited a gardening center this weekend and made the rounds. I only needed a little something for an indoor plant, but the way I see it – window shopping at a garden center is a sure-fire way to get an eyeful of some real beauty.


When I saw the artichokes shown above, I stopped in my tracks. Wow! I was so inspired. I started envisioning several of the spiky plants, clumped together in my yard. I could see the earthen paths around the patch. I could smell the artichokes steaming in the kitchen. I could taste the tender leaves, drenched in butter.


And then I thought of the drought and how I absolutely, positively cannot plant anything right now. And since I didn’t find the danged thang I was searching for in the first place, I bid farewell to the beautiful artichoke plants, got in my car empty-handed and drove home.


I am grateful for inspiration, wherever I can get it. And it doesn’t matter what type. Garden inspiration triggers the creative juices just as much as painting inspiration. So that was a good thing to have encountered. But I have to admit – putting gardening dreams on the back burner is a bummer.

Breakfast of Champions



Yesterday I was inspired to stray from my usual breakfast. I had a craving for avocado, and once I pinpointed the yearning, it was all over but the cutting.


My brain has crossed over to thoughts of summer food. I’m wanting fresh vegetables, fish or grilled meats. Salads tempt me. Fruit calls my name. Each time I enjoy a quick meal requiring little to no cooking, I’m so pleased. Last week I had a Caprese Salad made with fresh tomatoes and basil, along with a lovely burrata, and I nearly cried tears of joy.


I’ll get back to heavier, comforting foods later this year. For now, I’m digging light and fresh. And it sure is grand.

New Tricks



Sometimes when I’m talking food with folks, people ask why I’m willing to make the trek to Glendale, CA for fresh fish. I tell them “Fish King” is my go-to store for all foods fin. When I’ve taken food dorks with me to the shop, they’ve gotten it. Those folks never again question my loyalty.



Last Friday I headed to “Fish King” for something new-to-my-kitchen: oysters. I am a big fan of the humble bi-valve, be it raw or cooked. And while I’ve made Oyster Stew many, many times, I had never once shucked an oyster in my own home. So I watched videos and read tutorials. By the time I got to the monger on Friday, I was ready. Except for owning an oyster knife, that is. But I planned to go shopping for that after acquiring the oysters.



Anyhoo, as I watched the dude pick out a dozen beautiful oysters for my order at “Fish King,” I asked if he had a recommendation as to where I could get myself an oyster knife. He said, “What about here?” He then reached behind the counter and pulled out a knife and I said, “Yes!”



Then he asked if I’d ever shucked an oyster before. I told him about my prep work and he said that wasn’t good enough. He told me to come around the counter for a live demo. The dude showed me how easy the process can be then offered the freshly shucked oyster to me. “Breakfast of champions,” I said, then slurped the briny goodness down. I headed home with all my treasures and went about my day.



That night, I pulled out my kevlar glove and an old kitchen towel. Safety, y’all. I got  my cleaned oysters out of the fridge and unpacked my new oyster knife. Mister and I worked together to shuck the beauties and then we got them ready for serving. To ourselves. As you can see, we like our food to be pretty…



For the record, we used the Use Real Butter chick’s recipe and it was pretty danged yummy. As an oyster fan, I appreciated the change of pace. And the oysters really were beautiful. But I have to say that if given my druthers, I’d prefer to order raw oysters out (versus making them in). The work and the cost simply didn’t make it worth my while. But never say never, as I may very well slurp some oysters in my own home in the near future. So fresh! So yummy! And no designated driver required! Y’all do know cocktails were involved, right? Word.




Yesterday was National Doughnut Day in America. And I admit – I had jaded thoughts about the whole thing. I mean, aren’t most National Fill-in-the-Blank Days all about marketing? Weren’t their origins based in raking in bucks?


Well I was wrong, friends. Mister sent me this link, which gives the sweet history of National Doughnut Day. Go ahead. Read it. I’ll wait for you. Just thinking about those Chicago-area women, volunteering their time and efforts to increase the morale of soldiers, well, it makes me smile.


So in the spirit of lovely history, yesterday I took myself on a little trip to Krispy Kreme. I thought I’d enjoy an Original Glazed and a coffee. Maybe I’d get a half dozen for home so that Mister wouldn’t miss out. When I arrived at the heavenly store, I saw a traffic cop directing the drive-thru customers around the bend. Then I saw about a hundred people in a line that swerved and snaked to the other side of the building and out of view. A single doughnut costs around $1. That line looked to me like it would take up at least 45 minutes of my life. I may be cheap, y’all, but I ain’t that cheap. So I steered my car away from the Krispy Kreme and toward home.


I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts. And I like the idea behind National Doughnut Day. But I’m not too keen on crowds, so going forward I think I’ll have to get my doughnut fix a day or so before (or after) June 5th. That’s okay. I’m content having experienced Doughnut Day in my heart.




Mister and I are beginning to get some fresh tomatoes from the garden, and we couldn’t be happier.


The freshies are like crack, I tell ya! And we savor every little orb. There are larger tomatoes, too, but those aren’t yet ready. But we’ve got our eyes on them, and can hardly wait!


If you’re a fan of fresh tomatoes and aren’t growing your own, might I suggest a visit to a farmers market. Few pleasures in life equal that of the taste of fresh, home-grown tomatoes. And to think – it isn’t even summer yet! Woo-hoo!