Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's A (tomato) Jungle Out There

This weeks' quote from Boy, aka the tomato hater:

"Those tomato plants are trying to come in the house"

I think he's a little afraid. And he's right. These suckers accost us whenever we open the slider to enter or exit the patio, and they're showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. They're taller than me and about six feet in diameter not counting the three or so feet of branches that are smushed up against the side of the house.

And it's only TWO plants.

They started out just spindly little things, gifted to us by friends who lovingly started and raised them from heirloom seeds. I have no idea the variety of tomatoes, and to be honest, I didn't have much hope for them at first because they just sat there and did nothing for the longest time after I plopped them into the closest available patch of dirt (the cutout where our spiral stair to the roof deck is supposed to go). Plus I was a bit tardy in getting them into the ground in the first place. But then, after their slow and slightly depressing start, I guess they finally got bored and decided to grow, and now I have Tomato Jungle.
These two plants are so dense and huge, despite being tied to a now invisible bamboo tepee, that I can't even see the tomatoes to pick them without getting down on my hands and knees and trying to wedge myself into their thicket. I come out covered with yellow tomato plant sap, but what I retrieve are these extra cute and tiny little things, kind of micro-grape-sized and reminiscent of Buddah Bombs although much, much tastier:

There's like eight bajillion sprigs of these on one plant and they're just now starting to ripen. I've been eating them by the handfull but I suspect that I'm going to need to start treating them like cereal pretty soon here. The other plant has some variety of larger fruit on it and there seem to be only a couple.
Go figure.
But between the two they're doing a stellar job of making sure the herb plants from the CSA that I'm supposed to be caretaker of for us and Knit-Whit and that I thought would have an easy and glorious life by being so close to the house, have no chance.
Tomato plants, 1, herbs 0.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Custom Blackberry Pearl Case!

Doooooods! Check out this overdose of cute+practical:

This was 100% client driven (hi Jennifer!)...I don't have a Blackberry or the like because I am just too freakin' cheap to want to fork out any more money for service than we already do. But I completely understand what there is to be coveted about them so I couldn't help but say yes to the request to try and make a custom case despite the fact that I was skeptical I'd be able to pull it off to my satisfaction.
But it turns out it turned out OK! It's basically a replica of the case it comes with, complete with the little concealed sleepy magnet and channel for the trackball, except for in cute green leather and dotty fabric instead of the blah, boring black.

Yippee! Another cute and practical accessory to make someone's life a little more fun!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Emerging From a Sewing Black Hole

I'm pleased to announce that I have two, yes TWO extremely exciting tidbits of news! But don't go holding your breath or anything, because I'm not quite ready to spill yet...

Don't worry. You'll be the first to know....

In the mean time, I've been sewing my little fingers off and trying not to go too crazy buying up all the delicious new fall fabrics.
Check out this little custom lovely:

one of the cutest, brightest messengers to leave my machine in a while!

Unfortunately, there have been several casualties of the current sewing mania here at Splatgirl Creates, not the least of which is cooking. I know we blazed through last weeks' farmshare in record time, but I can hardly recall what became of it other than a some delicious bacon, mizuna and yellow tomato sandwiches and a little impromptu fun with beets and the mini-mandoline:
Beet Carpaccio with Goat Cheese and Arugula

I made it minus the endive, and the arugula from our share was a couple of weeks shy of baby, but it was delicious anyway. Besides, it's impossible to go wrong with goat cheese anything around here. I'm learning that it's also hard to go wrong with anything beets, and still finding myself wondering how I made it this far in life without ever really getting to know them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Breakfast Pizza

Simple, a delicious (hello bacon) combination of ingredients, and a little unique. It's what got me to concede to a do-over on going to bed last night, when I remembered at 12:36 a.m. that I wanted to make the dough for these so we could have them this morning. So throw together some dough in my jammies I did, but it was so quick and easy that I was back in bed by 12:42 with two fresh blobs of dough tucked away on their sheet pan in the fridge.

The recipe is here, from the NYT, with an accompanying article about a lovely indie Bakery in Big Sur, CA that sounds just like my kind of place.

Breakfast Pizza:

The super easy and quick to make crust gets topped with mozzarella and parmesan and then bacon and egg, and once out of the oven, some shallot, scallion, parsley and chive. It's FABULOUS, and I have to say that there is something weirdly satisfying about cracking raw eggs onto a pizza crust and slipping it onto the hot pizza stone.

Totally, totally worth getting out of bed for, on both the making and the eating end. I recommend the addition of a little drizzle of good olive oil before plating:

I think this is one of those recipes I'm destined to make again and again, and it's definitely on the menu for my next girls brunch.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

More Improv from the CSA Box

We got the most amazing baby eggplants in our CSA box this week. I'm a total dork for forgetting to take their solo portrait, because just like everything else that we've been enjoying from week to week, these were perfect and gorgeous and just waiting to be honored by being cooked up into something tasty. Tonights' meal was the last of the collection of deliciousness
that arrived on Tuesday:

As I've said, picking up that box every week makes me happy beyond belief. I never thought that at my age I'd be rediscovering...or discovering...the deliciousness of fresh veggies, but it's the truth. I had the epiphany this evening that, being the product of suburban parents who were too busy to be bothered with backyard gardening, this is really the first time I've ever tasted most of this stuff at it's best rather than as products of industrial agriculture from hundreds of miles away and after being interred at the grocery store for who knows how long. Lovingly, organically grown, local, small scale and fresher than fresh. How did we ever come to think that the other way was acceptable?

Anyway, I opted to halve the eggplants and toss with some olive oil, fresh oregano (also from the CSA), salt and pepper and then grill them off. Diced up and mated with some chopped roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, calamata olives, parsley, another drizzle of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, they were a delicious and quick caponata-esque topping for the swordfish that hit the grill along with them.

It was quick and delicious and the added bonus is that there's plenty of caponata for some killer bruschetta tomorrow. I'm excited already!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Playing Around...

with a couple of new ideas:

In front is a new coin/card wristlet pouch, the design of which just needs a couple of little tweaks and they'll be ready for the shop. Behind is a play on one of my old favorites, the flap bag, but in leather with a cute fabric inset to jazz it up:

Last weeks' take on the whole fabric+ leather idea resulted in this:

So the green leather is a little bit crazy, but in an oh so good kind of way. Or to me, at least, which is why I decided I HAD to keep this one all for myself. I think it's my most favorite design to date, and that awesome floral fabric is what really got me started thinking about playing around with a more detailed mating of fabric and leather. It's something I'm definitely going to do more of, because I love the effect and that it seems like a good way to add pop to the kinds of simple designs I favor while still being able to showcase an adorable fabric. Or ten.
Anwyay, the possibilities seem endless...


Monday, August 04, 2008

Breakfast with a Bonus Ending

I spent most of my life being a breakfast non-eater. Or maybe it's a non-breakfast eater?

But somewhere along the line in recent years that has completely changed, and I've become a breakfast craver. A CRAZY breakfast craver. As in I can't live without eating breakfast and I start thinking about what I'm going to have the next morning at about eight p.m. the night before.
I'm obsessed with breakfast, and weekend breakfasts elevate that obsession to a whole nuther level. Because from weekday to weekday, I try and keep it relatively healthy, whole grain and low sugar, with a fruit and some soy or yogurt thrown in to round things out (yes, I get excited about even that). But when the weekend approaches I throw health consciousness out the window and give myself free rein to indulge at least once in whatever it may be that suits our taste buds at the moment. It's why things like croissants and caramel rolls and baked french toast and all that other delicious creamy or cheesy or sweet stuff make such regular appearances around here. I just really, really love a good old fancy breakfast, and it's not at all unusual for me to have planned what I want to make for Saturday or Sunday breakfast by Thursday afternoon.

Anyway, this weekend was waffles. Belgian waffles, which differ from regular, simple old waffles by virtue of the fact that they're made with a yeast batter. Or at least that's what the recipe from Joy of Cooking would have me believe. Because I can't say that I've ever actually had a real, authentic Belgian waffle, but these have a place in my heart none the less and are totally worth the extra time and wait:

So it looks rather ordinary there on the plate but in reality the yeast batter elevates the simple waffle to something completely other and super delicious. Good enough to eat plain, straight from the iron even.
But why would you want to do that when you can serve them with fresh organic raspberries and real maple syrup and butter?

Oh, yea, and bacon.

Never, ever forget the bacon.
Besides, then you have the perfect excuse, aka the pan full of drippings, to indulge in BACON POPCORN.
Yep, that's right. I've gone completely and thoroughly over the bacon cliff.
I got Boy to make his signature dish, real popcorn popped in a pan, using bacon drippings instead of oil.
The result was freaking amazing. You simply MUST try it.
Just think ahead and cook your bacon in a deep kettle rather than a skillet so that come evening TV time, you can just reheat that pot that's all coated with bacon deliciousness and dump in some popcorn kernels.
And don't forget the salt and butter drizzled over before it goes into the serving bowl.
Did I say you MUST try it? You must!

Bacon Popcorn. Just one of the many reasons why bacon is my other lover.

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