Previous Capers

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Mog Cottage Cafe

The last of the tomatoes this year
In my estimation, the worse thing about planting tomatoes in the beginning of the season is cleaning them out of the beds at the end of the season. After trying to squeeze the last bit of redness out of this year's crop (as any good gardener in this area would do) the first frost last night prompted me to finally cave and I spent the morning cutting out vines and pulling up stakes. The clamps that were holding the stems up on the stakes were maxed out and difficult to remove. I saved all of the tomatoes worth keeping, red and green, and piled them in a large bucket. Not surprisingly, this load was probably my largest crop. Anyone who's tried to grow tomatoes in this region knows what I'm talking about. The carnage left behind looks rather disheartening though; many of the cherries and red zebras had ripened but split due to all the recent rain. There they lay all over the ground and the bed. Now I'll have to clean them up or I'll have rogue plants coming up next spring. In the mean time, squish, squish, squish getting around the beds.
Purple sprouting broccoli - it's baaaack.

The tomatoes that did the best this year were the red zebras, romas and cherries. The giant yellow brandywine suffered blossom end rot and languished, like giant tepid yellow blobs on the vines. Other self-planted crops came up among the masses including fennel, celery and surprise, surprise, purple sprouting broccoli. In fact it's doing rather well. I was planning to sow in garlic and onion in this bed, but now I have a personal bet as to how long I can keep this broccoli going. Two plants have survived and re-sprouted. The stupid stuff just won't die! I envision purple sprouting broccoli with trunks the size of sequoias in a few years. I guess this is the official brassica bed, crop rotation be damned!

I have several good recipes for fried green tomatoes and it's a darn good thing we both like them. I'm going to Google search for more recipes to use. I'm sure there are plenty and I'm sure a lot of them will be from the Pacific Northwest. If you have any green tomato recipes you'd like to share, pass them along...please!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Halloween Hangover

Blueberry bed turned graveyard.
Halloween at Mog Cottage is always exciting. We decked the place out, converting our planting beds into makeshift graves with all the Styrofoam molded headstones, bones and ghouls we could manage to scrounge up at the Dollar Store and the Used Food Store (What Roland calls the Grocery Outlet). During Halloween night, we place lighted candles under each head stone and up the front steps to light the way. 

Enough trick-or-treaters flooded our doorway to scarf up most of the candy, but not before we managed to OD on the stuff ourselves. Although Roland and I are pretty fussy about our chosen sugar delivery systems, the problem is we buy what we like and a lot of it, in anticipation of the costumed hoards of rug rats. On top of that, we buy it well in advance of the day it goes out the door because we want to make sure that what we want will be on the store shelves. When it comes to certain candy, neither of us has a bit of will power. Deep down, we probably don't care. It's only once a year, right?

So, Roland and I scarf on sugar for a good week prior to Halloween,spend another week finishing off the leftovers, then another few days in withdrawal. Even our dog joins in, sneaking tootsie pops out of the bowl when we're not looking. We find sticky, artificially flavored corn syrup balls behind the sofa cushions among the stashed chewies. Yesterday, Roland discovered one of the confectioners thoroughly stuck to the side of our cat, Vinnie. He's now missing a sizable clump of fur trying to dislodge the thing.

Now, I could attribute the theory that these fall/winter holidays are timed right to a candy industry conspiracy when carbohydrate cravings in many of us escalate. These companies know that seasonal darkness and it's ensuing depressive state drives people to pump up the dopamine levels among their grey cells. What easier way to do that than with a culturally accepted legal drug of choice: sugar. So the Halloween holiday often becomes fast, cheap and out of control. In fact, I consider Halloween a kick-off to the confectioners binge that continues until after Easter. People don't need candy much after that because the sun is back and people see the light. The next food binge after October 31st, of course, is Turkey Day. At least we have 3 weeks to come down from this holiday before the food fest.

Front porch - pretty scary
In the meantime, it may take that long to take down all the decorations. Hmmmm. The hanging artificial spider webbing strung across the front porch rather suites the place, don't you think?