Late Summer Beauty

We had a rough time with our corn this year.  (And by we, I mean Scott.)  Birds kept finding the seeds, and Scott kept replanting until the birds finally gave up.  The struggle between man and bird means that our planting, which started out right on time, ended up being a little bit behind the neighbors.  Because we live in a place where almost everyone around us also has corn in their yard.  It’s fun.

cornBut look at it now!  Those tassels are starting to turn dark, which means it’s almost corn eating time.  There were actually a few harvestable ears this week.  It really is amazing how delicious food is when you know it came from your yard.  It would probably be even more wonderful if I had planted and/or tended it.  Oops.  At least I can claim the rosemary plants in the front.  (The rosemary plants don’t require any tending, for the record.  I claim the drought-resistant plant.)

There’s also some art on my mind, thanks to an artist friend, Pinterest, and Richard Shilling (who is not said artist friend). 

photo (and art) by Richard Shilling

photo and art by Richard Shilling

Isn’t it pretty?  It makes me want to think creatively and walk through some crispy fall leaves. 

Richard Schilling works in ephemeral art–a field that I’ve always enjoyed.  I love the idea of taking something natural and already beautiful, moving it around into a purposeful something or other that’s also beautiful, and leaving it to blend in again with the rest of its surroundings.  It’s like singing a song when you’re by yourself.  It doesn’t last, and it might not reach a lot of people, but that somehow adds to the beauty.  It’s a personal moment of pretty.  Or it can be, anyway.

Happy late summer, y’all!

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Pictures + Pizza

Scott’s very first priority at our new house was to plant a veggie garden.  I think he might have even started tilling before he found his clothes boxes.  

We were concerned that such a late planting (first week of August) might mean early frost and no produce.  Fortunately for us, it’s been a warm fall so far.  We’ve been enjoying summer squash for a few weeks, and our lettuce and basil and parsley are going to be munchable in no time.  Best of all, our corn is starting to produce actual corn.  It won’t be ready for a while, but I’m still really excited to see signs of future food.  I think it’s beautiful.

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And now for the pizza.  We’ve had a squash and chicken-centric menu this week, and it’s been all kinds of tasty and healthy and good things like that.  We also had pizza one night, because I can only take so much healthy.  

Scott has a great recipe for pizza crust that he’s been using for years, and I’ve been gladly using it, too.  It makes a nice crispy thin-crust pizza.  

I’ve never tried another crust recipe, and I always feel a little bit weird about that.  You don’t settle on the very first recipe without trying others, right?  Hmm.  So while Scott was laboring away at work, I pulled a recipe switcheroo on Wednesday.  I ran into The Pioneer Woman’s crust recipe while looking for other recipes in her cookbook.  (I forgot which cookbook.)  Turns out, with a bit more yeast than Scott’s recipe, it turns into the perfect combo of crispy thin-crust and slightly puffier, softer crust.  We’ll call it medium crust.  I love it.  I promise that to be fair, I’ll try at least one more recipe before I settle on anything. But for now, this is good:  The Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Crust.  

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photo by Ree Drummond

I did go off-recipe a little bit.  We usually use 100% whole wheat flour for our dough, and I went about 2/3 whole wheat this time.  Approximately.  And then there was some extra yeast usage.  Accidental extra yeast usage.  

What went on top?  Well, I forgot that we had no passable tomato products that could be used as pizza sauce, so pesto was the answer.  Pesto and slices of fresh tomatoes, turkey pepperoni, kalamata olives, and mozzarella cheese (the pre-grated kind, although the freshly sliced kind would be pretty awesome, too).  Oh, and a pile of fresh spinach that wilted down to nothing and made me feel better about all of that cheese and bread.  I would do it all again.

Vacation Goals: Puppy! (and other less important things)

Today really requires more in the way of visual aid than text.  Exhibit A:

I’ve been snuggling that little guy a lot in the past few days.  He has parasites, and you can feel every one of his ribs as a result, but the fluffy factor makes him a pretty irresistible bag of bones.  It’s hard to adequately describe the charms of a sleepy puppy.

Exhibit B is the dog who is currently training the puppy how to beg his way onto a couch and sneak out of a fence:

Apparently, nap time is a big deal for the canines of this household.

After a serious morning of dog hangout time, we made some lunch.  This is where I learned how to cook:

My mom is a great cook, I promise.  She and I both just happen to forget that things are in the oven sometimes.  Life happens and cute puppies distract you.

Or you pop into the garden for a second to check on your dinner.

And use your shirt as a harvest basket.  It works.

And you admire your cherry tomatoes.  And your artichokes.

And don’t forget about the squash blossoms.

Before you know it, you’re eating slightly charred sandwiches, and who cares when you get to look at this out the front door?!

(I almost forgot that there was eclair consumption today, too.  Check.)