I have discovered that the school semester becomes marathon-like when reduced from 15 weeks to only 10 for the summer. You would think that after last summer’s adventures with the Great Perl Dragon (and its subsequent defeat) that I would have learned to select only one course.
Not so. Not stubborn, “determined-to-do-the-weird-difficult-or-strange” Neen. I’ve never really understood this obsession. It’s like my brain goes, “Hey, I wonder if I can do____” and I have to try it. Can and preserve jam/relish in a one-bedroom Boston apartment kitchen with absolutely no counter space? (Yes) Take three classes during my first semester of graduate school? (You betcha) Ferment yogurt using only a large pot, cooler, and a heating pad? (Done) Bake 65 dozen cookies as Christmas presents for co-workers and family in the midst of working and school-ing full time? (Just call me Santa) Dry beef jerky using a box fan and several layers of furnace filters? (Okay, I stole that idea from Alton Brown)
So when Joe asked last week if I’d like to go down to Chincoteague Island over the 4th of July weekend, I spent the next two days on schoolwork overload so I could turn off and read science fiction on the beach and back porch all weekend. It. was. blissful. And for once, instead of the return from vacation being a difficult let-down, I felt more motivated than ever to push through these last 6 months of brain-stuffing. I mean, it’s pretty impossible to NOT feel good after spending a weekend like this:
Top L: View from the back porch of the house
Top R: Annual VFD carnival which culminates with the famous Pony Swim at the end of July.
Bottom L: Fresh caught shrimp and homemade garlic bread, grilled up and ready to devour.
Bottom R: Cigar and Kindle on the screened-in porch. The sweet life.
And then, THEN I came home to this:
The first of the cayenne peppers from my garden decided to grace me with their ripeness. So pretty and bright…yet, painful in large doses. I think I will put them in the dehydrator and then run them through the food processor to make homemade cayenne powder. A pinch of it in a batch of marinara sauce is so good. It adds just enough heat to balance those nice, sweet summer tomatoes that are coming our way.
A mere day later, the produce gods smiled on me once again, with a very fruity CSA box!
Beets, spring onions, red chard, apricots, peaches, and plums. I’m never too sure about beets. They are good roasted, pickled, or fresh on top of a salad, but I always long to do something a little more interesting with them. Of course, the farmers market is always inspirational (for the devoted/obsessive cook) and I tasted some really amazing beet relish that I’m going to try to replicate. I just kept thinking how good it would taste on a smoked turkey or rare roast beef sandwich.
I hope you all had a wonderful 4th and that you too got ‘back to the grind’ without too much trouble.
Ciao for now!