Friday, June 29, 2012


It is 102 degrees here today. The heat opresses me. I shrivel up like a dried-out starfish and stare up into the fan wondering when it will all end. It is too hot for anything. Too hot to swim, too hot to walk, too hot to move. Unless it is from the couch to the refrigerator to stick in my head. Matt on the other hand is like some kind of dessert lizard.  He flits from activity to activity with his eyes always darting around in search of yet another activity.
The only thing making it worth for me it is tomatoes. Our tomatoes are compensating for being late by coming in strong, big, and bright red. I eat them with toast, I eat them with eggs, I eat them with slivers of cheese - and more than anything I eat them with garlic and olive oil and basil - on pasta, on more toast, or with a spoon. My days are defined by tomatoes and waiting for September to burst forth cool and clear.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Christmas Ham for Every Occasion

Warning - this post does not contain a recipe.  If you legitimately want a Christmas ham recipe, I suggest you look elsewhere.  This is a about me, Christmas ham and a story that never gets old.

Two years ago, Matthew and I started contributing a ham to the extended-family dinner. Christmas is always extremely busy for Matthew and me between the increased work load at our respective jobs and travelling.  Buying a ham and delivering it to my mother-in-law is practical way for us to contribute to the family celebration.

Honey Baked Ham starts mailing out their coupons right after Halloween.  On glossy pages, impressive hams display ruffled spirals edged in a crystalized sugar glaze.  My mother-in-law gave me two coupons - one for $5 off and one for 10% off.  I took them both with me, just in case Honey Baked Ham would let me use them collectively. 

Now obviously, you can't just walk up to Honey Baked Ham the day before Christmas and walk out with a ham.  You have to call ahead and reserve your ham.  Then you have to go wait in line with twenty people in Christmas sweaters. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

Our tomatoes aren’t quite ripe yet.  Every day I go out and water the big green plants with prayers and pleading.  In the meantime, my father-in-law has given me tomatoes to tide me over until mine come through.  C’mon , little buddies.  Ripen!

                Food is miraculous. Tomatoes are the only vegetable (fruit?) that we grow in our tiny yard, so the miracle unfolds in front us under the spray of our water hose.   I buy my tomato plants in the plant stage because I have no green phalanges.  The way they start out as little plants, stretch up through their inadequate cages, and push out tomatoes bursting with the flavors of summer – it all makes me pause in admiration and gratitude. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Florida: A Tradition in Mayonnaise

It takes my breath away how a place almost 900 miles from where I grew up can hold such vivid, beautiful and heartbreaking memories.  Maybe it is the regularity of it.  As certainly as spring arrives, we make the trek to northern Florida.  Over sixteen years, our family has grown, we have spread out further and further across the country, and our schedules have diversified; but still, we meet at the Gulf with tenacity.
Years ago, I would spend the night before our trip making sandwiches.  The way I remember it is endless rows of rolls that needed to sawed in half, the crumbs going everywhere.  Armed with a large jar of Hellmans and a butter knife, I would slap mayonnaise on the top half of each roll.  Faced with such a mundane task, my imagination ran wild.  As I put mayonnaise on roll after roll after roll, I was struck that, "the mayonnaise quivered expectantly." 

So thrilled was I with this description of making sandwiches, that I put down my knife, ran to my room and wrote it down.  As though there was a chance someone might steal it.  I don't know what I thought the mayonnaise was expecting.  Perhaps the anticipation of sharing its existence with shaved turkey was almost more than it could take?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No One is Safe

Sunday was a rainy day.  And a bit nippy.  I wore a sweatshirt as we ran errands.  Then when we got home, I wanted to bake.  I'd had my eye on this for a while, and I had all the ingredients.  Before I could give myself time to reconsider, the butter was melting in my cast-iron skillet.  In less than twenty minutes, I was eating a giant warm cookie out of a skillet.  With a spoon.  By myself.

I texted Jennifer a picture with a plea, "Save me!"

She wrote back, "YOU ARE SO BAD!"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Lasagna and Cupcakes

It's been a while since I've written. 

I've been spending some time with this:

Santa Rosa Beach, FL

And this:

R enjoyed Aunt Lizzie's raspberries.
But now I'm back. 
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