July 4 grilling, tofu hot dogs, vegetables, lobsters, lakes

Dear diary,

Today I got up super early and worked in my flower and vegetable gardens for many, many hours before it got too hot.
'Maters Matter.

There is no before shot of the grass/weed jungle I took out. It was too early to be thinking about nerding out with the camera. Just imagine a jungle of tall grass choking out all your pretty flowers in your front yard, where your neighbors probably walk by and go, "Oh, what nice flowers, but what a shame that their owner is so lackadaisical with the weeding."

'Tis a giant cartload of grass and weeds. Victory!


This too can be yours, if you buy the "Save the Bees" seed packet at Earth Fare. Really nice mix.

A neighbor walking her dogs commented that the flowers I'd selected (zinnias, dahlias, sunflowers, cosmos, larkspur, delphinium) were "old flowers" and reminded her of what her grandmother used to plant.

Then she said that my mom would be really proud.

That kinda made my day.

Then I took a giant midday nap, a truly delicious treat for one who never makes time for naps. This little nerd likes to help.

This new Washed Out album, "Within and Without," avail on streaming @ NPR, was the nap soundtrack.

Floaty summery synth chillwave from around these GA/SC parts, by a fellow named Ernest Greene, who rolls with Toro Y Moi a fair bit. Love.


Pleasant wakeup view.

If you haven't noticed, I am being pretty nerdy with trying out all the cool settings on the Vignette (Demo) camera app for Android. (Debi's Camera+ for iPhone is making me jealous, as Urbian Retro Camera lacks breadth and depth of offerings, and can't do macro. (Neither can Vignette Demo - maybe if I purchase it?)

The focus is crummy (on purpose?) on most all of the settings, but the effects are quite delightful.

Jalapenos & serranos; eggplants green, white & purple; many maters; zucchini; yellow wax beans; basil; arugula
And French "Tashkent" marigolds to keep the crawlies away

So, I'm growing a lot of vegetables right now. Tis fun.

Helloooo, green German Johnson! I shall grill you today.

The rest of my vegetables come from this magical place:

Hutto grad party at City Roots Farm, May 2011, catered by LowCo BBQ. Rad folks, them Huttos!

I'm co-producing the 2nd annual Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival there in 2 weeks, in fact, with two of the greenest non-profits around, Slow Food Columbia and Sustainable Midlands. If you're in Columbia, you got to be at this party! Last year was unexpectedly 200% more awesome than we could have imagined. Gonna be mad fun.

The food will be insane. Chef Scott Hall of Bone-In Artisan BBQ on Wheels is going to do these ridic crispy pork belly BLT sandwiches with pickled green tomatoes and god knows what other phenomenal stuff. Brad and Jessica of Spotted Salamander Catering are doing fresh tacos, savory and sweet hand pies, and they'll be selling their pre-made full-size tomato pies, too. Touch base with those guys if you want dibs on a pie, cause they sell out like crazy.

And The Whig is running the bar for us! With SC-brewed beer. And we're going to whip up some crazy tomato-basil champagne cocktails and white wine spritzers courtesy of Barefoot Bubbly. And Tom Hall and The Plowboys are playing live! And we got tomato bobbing and tomato skee-ball! And more. Fun times.

Want the deets? Check out our sweeeeet rack cards, designed by Thomas Jennings of Columbia, SC's incredible design and marketing firm, The Half and Half. Then go to www.tastytomatofest.org and click that "Advance Tickets" link to the right. Especially if you wanna do the VIP potluck beforehand!

City Roots is the venue. I love that place. Each week I get a rad box full of wonder from City Roots' CSA, now in its 2nd season. Still a few slots left for Fall 2011! http://www.cityroots.org

Tail end of Spring 2011 CSA season at City Roots Urban Farm

Those Tsuyo cucumbers (super long, crazy-looking ones, above) are the best-tasting cukes I have ever put in my mouth. I don't even go bananas for cukes, but I now go bananas for these. Oh brother, they are good. Crisp, bright flavor, ideal texture. A little sweetness. A little grassiness. Oh man.

Now that we're in summer CSA season, there's a lot of squash, zucchini, basil, tomatoes, more of those delectable cucumbers, microgreens, and even the first bit of summer okra!

Perfect for a July 4 grilling jag.


My brother had picked up some Hebrew Nationals at the Publix (it's open on July 4. Sweet.) I had some tofu dogs in the fridge and had been looking for an excuse to eat them. This brand is the best tofu dog I've found. Lightlife, I think it's called?

(I am not vegan, but vegan is so healthy, so why not?)



Man, my Canon SD1000 may not do cool effects, but the image quality is so much better.

Still, it's really fun to play with Vignette and its nerdy camera effects. 


Dicing up some grilled scallions and green tomatoes = finest relish ever

ET VOILA! Tofu dog w/tons of dijon mustard and fancypants organic ketchup, semi-fancy Publix bakery hot dog bun, + grilled scallions and green tomatoes pre-seasoned with fresh-ground coriander. WOOT!

This is before I remembered that grilled scallions aren't so easily bite-able. Hence the chopping up, above.

Now I'm going to kick back into an afternon reverie about my awesome July 4th weekend with my cousins at the lake. Join me!

Happy Independence Day!


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