Friday, April 19, 2013

Poor Man's Crack - A Collaboration

Georgia in the spring – ahhhhhhhh – mounds of free yellow powder line every crack and crevasse of the cars, driveways, windowsills, streets, and buildings. Hey, if you keep your windows open in the spring you can redecorate for free!

Poor man’s crack. You don’t need a straw. Just walk outside any door and inhale – even a little. You are guaranteed to be on a permanent high low for at least a week. Everyone sounds like Louis Armstrong when they talk. You have to walk around with a bucket under your nose to catch the drips. Coughing in tandem – well actually there is a whole chorus of coughs going on frequently – we have surround sound!

If it is already going to be in our lungs we may as well put it there for good reasons since the street value on it is so low. Here are a few possible uses:

• Tired of dusting around the house… open up all the windows and let a breeze in… if you don’t move any of your knickknacks the dust will become nice and even for a wonderfully uniform look.

• It already proves to be an excellent expectorant if you currently are unable to cough something up. Put that stuff in bottles and on the shelves!

• Why throw away t-shirts when they get that yellowy stain around the collar – one cup of it in the wash will even out that yellow stain all over!

• Extra spices in the kitchen to give your chicken or roast an all natural nutty flavor!

• Do your kids love lemonade? How about Pollinade? Nothing says fun to today’s kids like a drink the color of mucus!

• Magicians can use it in place of expensive magic smoke… one puff to the eyes and no one will see where the rabbit came from!

• Your local CSI team no longer needs to dust to find fingerprints on your car if it gets stolen! Oh wait – more pollen will cover them up before the car is found – scratch that one.

• Let your housecat out for the day and before you know it… no more hairballs… they’ve hacked them all up!

• Ladies… need a new look? Today’s craze is adding it to your makeup routine for that stunning new jaundice look that is taking Hollywood by storm!

The uses are endless!

Ahhhhh – only two and a half (or so) more months left to enjoy this.

Thanks to K and A for the collaboration!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Tonic

Spring Tonic – something we all need to renew our bodies and spirits.  After a gorgeous day in Atlanta on Saturday, Sunday’s forecast had a chance of rain.  But with the Spring Tonic Dinner (which was also a fund-raiser) planned at Isia (my daughter) and her husband Chris’s Crack In The Sidewalk Farmlet, we just knew that Mother Nature would cooperate and the rain would hold off until afterwards.  This was to be a true “dinner at the farm” with a long table beautifully set as well as picnic blankets for others.  And then, during setup, it started to rain – just a light sprinkle at first – next a true downpour.  But farmers are ever resourceful and help came in the form of EZ-Up tents from lots of fellow friends and farmers.   When we arrived it was raining but the tents were up and the tables were beautifully set with blue-checked tablecloths, china and silverware, cloth napkins, wine glasses, and beautiful centerpieces of candles in jars wrapped with pretty purple wisteria.  On each table was a jar of pickled dandelion roots made by Isia.  I have to say I wasn’t sure about that one but tonight was an evening of tasting many new things, and much to my surprise, pickled dandelion roots taste a lot like Greek kalamata olives!  Actually, when I think about it – just about everything I tasted tonight was a new experience.
Now let me just say, once again I forgot to take my camera.  And forgot that I had a phone that would take pictures until we were on the last course.  So I only have a couple of pictures and will have to let you imagine the rest.  Everything was out of this world delicious and so beautifully presented.  The chef was Ryan Smith and his food is just amazing.  Mr. Whimsey and I are planning on going to his restaurant in Atlanta on our 30th anniversary in October.  The mixologist was Kellie Thorn and she concocted two different drinks that were so unique and good.  As well, we had a different wine presented with each course.  Kellie’s four year old son was there and was our entertainment for the evening.  He was just adorable!  Isia and Chris grew or foraged the vegetables and herbs used in the different dishes.
So here we go.  The first mixed drink was a homemade vermouth made of mountain mint, holy basil, ale hoof, curry plant (Helichrysum), lemon balm, chamomile, and wormwood made into a tincture in white wine.  That was served over ice with lemon and tonic water.  It was so refreshing.  Then the first course came out – all the courses except dessert were presented on wood planks and the table shared the food – six at each table.  We had wild mussels with spring onions and leeks, wood sorrel, chickweed, tansy mustard, onion juices, and a whipped mussel juice (which looked like foam and tasted really great).
The second course was a wild duck terrine (amazing – I could have eaten more than one slice!) with sassafras glaze, curry plant, pickled duck egg, morels, violet leaves, preserved pine buds, nettles, and turnips.  Oh my gosh – this was my favorite course I think.  The duck terrine was not only wonderful but beautiful too.  The duck eggs were poached and then pickled, then cut so the yolks showed and the outside of the egg was a bright yellow.  The turnips were tiny and so good.  I’m drooling right now just thinking about this course and so wish I had gotten a picture of it.
Then came the second special drink made with pine, herbs, and gin.  I’m not a gin drinker so I didn’t taste it but everyone was raving about how good it was.  Third course was a venison sausage that had been boiled and then grilled and sliced with fermented carrots, pickled radish, oak roasted ramps, malted rye, spring herbs and flowers, and then an acorn miso pate and a mulberry pate.
Oh I’m not done yet.  After all that came dessert – a lemon ice cream with a lavender and lemon shortbread cookie. 
Katie Hayes, who is the Director of the non-profit organization called Community Farmers Markets and the Manager of the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market coordinated the dinner with the help of many volunteers.  All of the volunteers who served at the dinner, going back and forth in the rain and getting very wet were fantastic.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s dinner – it was just so much fun!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pallet Planter Plus

Remember this?
Well, now it's this!



Free pallet, had nails, had paint and Gesso - just needed a couple of very thin pieces of wood for pictures, two posts, and some QuikCrete.  Pretty cool what you can do with pallets!

Monday, April 1, 2013

This and That Soup

This was one of those nights where I needed to fix a quick dinner because I had been painting since I got home from work this afternoon.  For dinner last night I had crockpotted (is that a word? LOL) some beef stew meat cubes with a couple of cans of soup (golden mushroom and french onion which makes a great gravy).  I had just a little leftover but not enough for Mr. Whimsey and I both.  So I made a pot o' soup tonight, it was really good, and I wanted to share the recipe.  It's one of those soups where you can pretty much put anything you like into it.

Into a pot I put a tablespoon of olive oil and then minced onion (1 small), celery (3 ribs), carrots,  (2 small) and garlic (about a teaspoon).  Sauteed them until they were translucent.  Then in went a tablespoon of Dijon mustard (it would have been a splash of white wine if I'd had any LOL), salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary and about 1/2 teaspoon dried basil.  One cup of vegetable broth, a regular sized can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, the leftover meat and gravy, about 3 cups of water, a handful of mini-farfelle pasta, and a drained can of cannellini beans.  So there you go - this and that soup.