Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homegrown Tomatoes are worth waiting for...

I have said it many a time.....but I don't eat fresh fruit out of season......especially tomatoes.
Those mushy wet cold ice cubes restaurants serve and are at grocery stores from October thru April are gak.

I know they can be shipped up from Chile or where ev' but no.
I grew only 2 varieties this year from seed.

Frst up, is an heirloom cherry tomato, called Cherry tomato.
And I planted Russian Krim, both from seed. 

Typical little round marble shape cherry tomato. This will start to ripen in about 65 days after planting.
Oh, I waited until June 10th to plant them out and I planted them deep, so they would grow roots along the stems. Yup, that's what they do!
Last April, I was out side spreading a lot of compost and manure, then covered that with cardboard, then tossed my grass clippings on that.....
here's the set up....
...be sure to notice how tiny they were!
And the big husky branch  teepees I set up to tie the tomato plants to as they grow....and boy have they grown!

This variety of Cherry tomato is indeterminate.

yeah, the broccolis, and the spinach is doing well too, and we are eating it now.

Look at that fluted tomato baby! That's Russian Krim, from the area of Russia (the former Soviet Union) around the Black Sea.
They've been grown in the area in the Crimea since the 19th century.


They grow to a big fist size 4" - 6" flat ball, with those great flutes that look so charming when sliced. The tomato is a dark red, rather black, and the inside is also a deep reddish-black.
It is a fairly short season variety, about 75 days, and it does love long warm days. I hope it does well this summer.....it looks like a hot one, with many many days over 80 degrees! Weeeeee!

It's a beefsteak type, and indeterminate, so I do prune out some of the "suckers" from the main branches and keep strong side branches. I want all the tomato energy to go to tomatoes.....rather than to leaves leaves leaves. Tho....the leaves are quite handsome!  They look like their cousins, the potato. Broad, and deep, they look like a small shrub, and not like some ol' rangy scrubby plant.

I've grown this one time and time again because I love the weirdness of it...and the flavor is so rich, so sweet, with just a bit of sparky tangness. It's deep and rich. If you didn't grow it this year, I hope you can find it at a Farmer's Market near you.
Along with Brandywine, Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Lifter, Lemon, Cherokee Purple (another fave of mine), and several others, Black Krim, were the first heirloom tomatoes I grew at the farm for Gig Harbor's Farmers Market in 1993 and 1994.

Even the tomato blossoms of Krim are large and lush..

Russian Krim....tomato seeds, and Hungarian Wax peppers, which were eaten to nubbins as tiny seedlings by nasty mean slugs.
Beer was poured on them and they died (the slugs).......I am mean!


And here, in late July, just six weeks from planting in the ground, are the tomato plants now! Wow!

it always a pleasure to hear Guy Clark.....here's his tribute about the rare special thing........Homegrown Tomatoes.......

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

summer kitchen

I hope my next house is a barn... just a barn.  I want to park the Winnie next an old wood barn, and set up shop inside. My sewing area, the photo area, the make and paint area....the rustic kitchen, and hang a lot of white lace and burlap.
A few fruit trees outside and a big big garden full of all the heirlooms I've grown since childhood......white tomatoes, white carrots, gold beans,  red potatoes...... all the good stuff.

Rustic is the theme here.... old wood, white paint and stacks of crates....

white kitchen
simple, lots of white paint and industrial light...

blue kitchen
with a ceiling that slants down to meet a tile treatment....

and a white dining room with old school light fixtures...a built-in banquette with side chairs...

old wood, white paint and quirky lighting.....

rustic whitewashed wood, big green glass bottle and curly branches...  

rustic drawers covered in old wood wine crates....

 White nectarine Sorbet. Now is the time...summer fruit and it could not be simpler. I made this last summer... and oh my goodnesssss.... Here is a recipe from Sunset Magazine. 

this pic is from....

the ingredient list  is easy and simple.... 
  • About 1 1/2 pounds ripe white nectarines, chilled 
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar $
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flavor liqueur (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraîche 

Here's a pic from Justina Blakeney....her yellow vintage plant pot with a snake plant........looks like she's been checking out funkomavintage!

and .... Here's my vintage yellow Bauer pot with a .......snake plant ;-)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Afternoon...

Long sunny days ......long warm days....and I get lazier and slower....but a person has to eat! the garden is giving me potatoes, carrots, beans, radishes, beets, turnips, lots of greens...kale, lettuce and all the tops from beets and turnips too.

a fire to cook on outside is always tempting since the kitchen is hot and who wants to turn on the stove... the other day I chopped garden potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, kale, greens, beans and some organic frozen corn and peppers and boiled it for an hour with some vegetable bouillon, cayenne pepper, regular ol' pepper (don't take it for granted...it's a good thing to toss in), and some dried thyme.
After an hour of simmering, I mixed some pancake mix with a bit of milk in a bowl, and dropped tablespoons of dough in the boiling soup, and walaa! Dumplings!
I learned that from mom...drop in lumps of dough and you thicken the soup and add a side dish all at the same time. At the end of simmering your soup, drop in dumpling dough, and cover and simmer for another 15 minutes. With all that yummy goodness from the garden, we topped the late  dinner with ice cream and pie. And Screwdrivers!

Here's what I planted in late spring, so I was thrilled to pull some tasty homegrowns the other day and eat....

I had to pull out the peas, and chop back the swiss chard, the kale and the pak choi....the hot weather is not a friend to them. Everything got watered deep and also got a douse of organic fertilizer.

The tomato plants are growing tall, and so are the sunflowers and the corn. The squash has blossoms....late summer is gonna taste great.

I love being barefoot in the kitchen in summer.....and I set up a cooking area outside. It is so cool,  (weather-wise and mood wise), to set a frying pan on the barbeque to fry some oysters and serve them with a cold green salad plucked from the garden in the morning.

Here's a look at the garden in early June. The lychnis, the shasta daisies, the nasturtiums, and the tomatoes planted on teepees made from branches cut from the winter damaged black locust trees...

Late last winter I set cardboard out on the sunny part of the lawn to kill the grass so I could plant tomato plants. I covered the ground with lots of manure and compost, covered it with cardboard and  then I put lawn clippings on top of that after the first mowings of the spring. Then, I cut a hole in the cardboard, set in my tomato plants, and fashioned teepees with branches wired together at the top.

One leg is held in place with an 18" length of iron rebar to hold them in place. This method is great for lazy er, busy gardeners. The cardboard/mulch arrangement holds in water and prevents weeding!
I water every 2 weeks by putting a trickling hose near the base of each tomato plant for about 10 minutes and also fertilize the ground right at the base of the plant. As the plant grows, I gently tie it to the branch. I have lots of blossoms and sooooon I'll have tiny tomatoes........and then Big Tomatoes.........Homegrown Tomatoes!!!!

Screwdriver: Simple. in a canning jar pint glass of orange juice, organic please ...oh a simple little thing...OJ, then I squish basil or mint leaves in the OJ with my fingers (I'm lazy), then add an ice cube or 2, a splash of lemonade, then pour in a jigger or 2 of vodka....the herb oil/leaves add a bit of extra tastiness to the summer Screwdriverand sip slowly in the shade.....

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pitti Uomo Men on the streets of Florence Italy

Pitti Uomo men's trade show in Italy, attracts some very stylish men who put their clothes together in a most unique way. They seldom look like a runway model dressed in designer clothes...these "street-style" men are much more talented than 99% of the designers in the overhyped world of fashion. For decades...Designers and their Fashions are just boring. Occasionally a designer like Alexander McQueen does something exciting....most of the rest of 'em....Yawn!

Here is a fella dressed in a fedora, a white  shirt with a skinny black tie, and short pants.....and.....a redline denim apron.....
Of course funkomavintage and her alter ego, that yountville girl, has designed a line of denim aprons, so we were surprised and so happy to see an apron that's similar to ours worn by a fashion maverick. Aprons....not just for the workshop now!
all pitti uomo photos from WWD, Kuba Dabrowski.

Most menswear fashion shows are full of Bore....sometimes it becomes ridiculous with goofy designs meant only to get attention....But of what looked sensible and wearable, I saw a lot of flowers and florals, especially 40s Hawaiian florals, and a lot of sweaters that resemble the 40s Jantzen sweaters with reindeer, snowflakes, ski scenes, and even airplanes.
all pitti uomo photos from WWD, Kuba Dabrowski.

We saw a lot of chambray shirts and bandanas...and snappy little neck scarves too.

Bandanas.....khaki pants.....vintage chambray shirts here.......all great old classics.

we always have lots of vintage Levis to choose from..we love the classics! there's nothing more cool than blue denim, we think, and we offer lots of jeans, Made in the USA.
We like classic shoes too. Workwear shoes available here. Blue denim and Levis here.

And it isn't just the young men who know how to dress well........

 all pitti uomo photos from WWD, Kuba Dabrowski.

There's that chambray and denim look again.......

....and vintage sunglasses....at funkomavintage...... Gotta accessorize! 

 here's the link to a great WWD slide show of great looking men and their arty clothing choices.