Monthly Archives: August 2013

You will find an odd and small collection….

…of recipes, if you visit my Recipes Page on this blog, by clicking the link in this post or the one on the sidebar. I just updated it for the first time in many months, adding links to all the recipes (and vague instructions) that I’ve posted since last October. For an example of what you will find there, here is one section:

Creamy Green Soup
Egg Lemon Soup
Indian Chickpea and Spinach Stew
Moroccan Lamb and Sweet Potato Pie
Curried Orange Squash Bisque
Roasted Fennel Soup

What’d life be without ’em?

My title is a line from Guy Clark’s “Homegrown Tomatoes,” a song that’s running through my mind these days when our tomato harvest is nearing its peak. I’ve never weighed one day’s pickings before yesterday’s harvest, pictured below, which came it at about 13 pounds. I’m sure everyone has had quite enough of my tomato reports, so I’m including a little music to reward your patience.



Rim Fire

A couple of people have asked if the Rim Fire in California is threatening us. We are north of San Francisco Bay, and the city of San Francisco is mentioned frequently in news reports because much of its water comes from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, and the fire has burned right up to the reservoir. But all of this is hundreds of miles away.The governor has declared a state of emergency for San Francisco because of its water supply being threatened. Also it is served by hydroelectric plants at Hetch Hetchy, and they have been closed at present.

map of Rim Fire

This map shows yesterday’s updates. I pasted a copy of it here but you really can’t see it unless you click on the link, and if you zoom in on it there you can see the name Hetch Hetchy toward the upper right. I don’t know if it will still be available when more new reports come in today and later, but it was definitely helpful to me to have the visual aid. Dear Lord, protect the firefighters and give them success.


Cookies now aromatize my home kitchen.

I admit I have cookies on the brain. So when I started thinking about what to take along when I was planning a visit to friends in a nearby town, cookies were right there front and center calling “Choose me!” Coconut was also on my mind, and shortbread, so instead of making the stellar shortbread recipe we have recently enjoyed, I dug through ancient recipes in my cupboard to find one from decades ago called Coconut Shortbread.

Of course I had to change it a bit, by using half coconut oil and half butter, and using spelt and rice flours. I created a new cookie! But while the dough was chilling, it occurred to me that the shortbread might be a bit bland, lacking the full butter flavor that is traditional. That wouldn’t be a nice present.

So I gathered some more ingredients I had on hand and made up another recipe. The truth is, it had been a toss-up, whether oatmeal or coconut was what I personally was hankering for. And it was part of my plan all along to keep some cookies for Mr. Glad and me.

Here is what I came up with to improve on a simple oatmeal cookie:

Oatmeal Chocolate Walnut Cookies

1 cup salted butter
2 cups sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 teaspoon Frontier walnut flavoring
1/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
3 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts

After mixing as per usual for drop cookies, drop spoonfuls of the dough measuring about 2 tablespoons on to a greased baking sheet. Mine are insulated, and I baked the cookies at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. 
The dough that remained after my liberal sampling made exactly four dozen cookies. They have what I consider the perfect texture, slightly crispy going in, but mostly chewy. And the flavor is wonderfully walnutty.

The shortbread dough did not cooperate with my plans, and I ended up hand-forming each cookie individually. I won’t be trying that new recipe again, in spite of their endearing tender crispness that quickly melts away into coconuttiness.

In case they were too boring, I used the Trader Joe’s sprinkles-grinder I had in the cupboard to add coarse granules of coffee, chocolate, and sugar to the tops of some of them.

And all-in-all, those little cookies were cuter than the oatmeal, so they will be memorialized in pictures, even if they will never be seen again in these parts.

I covered the scratched lid of a half-gallon jar and then packed the chunky cookies in that. And I took along some of the cute cookies, too.

The oatmeal-chocolate-walnut ones are going fast, because of our new neighbors. The house next door has been rented to college students for the last many years. One time it was a bunch of baseball players, and often it has been four or five girls. For the most part these people will not acknowledge us neighbors or look in our direction.

Recently four young men have moved in, who are all jazz students. Now we have more drummers (Did I tell you that Mr. Glad is a drummer?) and more jazz jamming sessions in the neighborhood. But the more fun thing is that these boys are friendly! They even came to our door to introduce themselves. I am in awe.

As soon as I baked cookies I wanted to give them some, so I went to their door with a plate of the oatmeal cookies, because…well, they are guys, and tender tea cookies would probably not make an impression. “Cookies!” they exclaimed, “Why would you do this??” and then they couldn’t say much else because they were chewing and dropping crumbs on the threshold.