Thursday, June 23, 2011

HOPE Farmers' Market

I'm totally obsessed with farmers' markets. 

OK, well, that's not really true. 

I'm not obsessed, but I really, really like them a lot.

I ordered some bulk tomatoes from Johnson's Backyard Farm so that I could make and freeze some homemade sauce (more on that later). 

They put them on bulk sale in the summer to keep them moving.

I got 10 lbs. for $14.00 which is tres good for organic, local stuff. 

Well, I was supposed to pick them up at the Burnet Road Farmers' Market, but forgot.

And then I was supposed to pick them up at Johnson's farm and I got hornswaggled on the way there. 

So I went to the Burnet Road market again on Saturday and they told me I could pick them up on Sunday at the HOPE market. 

Well, I had never even heard of it and because it was on the east side I was even more intrigued cuz I looooove Austin's east side. 

What a precious little jewel of a shindig, y'all!

The market runs alongside a giant art space that is open to the public on Sundays. 

A very cool art space indeed. 

Lots of cool, metal crap all around.

You know how I love old metal crap!

I 'bout had a fit over this table and stump chairs. 

I want that table. 

That table and some deliciously cozy pillows to throw all around it for seating.

Hmmm. That table might be better suited to a younger person with knees that still function. 

But I do think it would encourage me to sit up straight and I'm working on that.

My friend Jessie (who is still young lest you think it's just us old people bitchin' about it) and I have decided to SIT UP STRAIGHT more often because we find ourselves slumping so much.  We think it must be related to computer use. 

(When in doubt, blame it on the computer.)

Don't you love this?  YES YES Y'ALL.  That's gonna be the name of my next blog.

Big ole' stand up bass thingee just laying there whilst the musicians noshed a bit. 

They were delightful...damn...what was the name of that...oh, I know!  Whiskey Shivers

Cute, cute boys and good, old-timey music.

I wanna live in here. 

I wanna live in here after someone installs A/C. 

I really want to live in an old barn someday. 

Preferably after someone else updates it and makes it all "Martha/Apartment Therapy" perfect.

Crazy fish thing with Astroturf base. 

How can you not love something with freakin' Astroturf on it?

Oh, they have the coolest ever posters too!

I was plumb out of money (for the second time) or I woulda bought that precious monster one.

 Next week, for sure.

 I heart local too.

This is what it looks like.

It's actually quite shady despite how sunny it looks here. 

That cute lady above has a T-shirt stand with some of the most interesting designs I've seen in a while, and that is saying a lot here in Austin - home of the awesome T-shirt.

The kids can run free here plus there's a rad spot with more of that Astroturf where they can loll about and make some art or guzzle lemonade and whine for doughnuts.

I read some Yelp reviews before we went, but trust me, they're all full of crap. 

It might have been one thing at some point, but it's now a very viable market and cute as hell which counts for a lot. 

There were a lot of good farmers and many good vendors making food. 

I like this aspect of it as I get hungry as soon as I see all that yummy produce. 
This dude was here, and a guy making some rockin' good Indian food, Johnson's Backyard Gardens (yea), some cool cheese people, a damn knife sharpening guy (such a good idea), Windy Hill Farms, the hibiscus lemonade dude etc., etc.

Oh, just check out the website for a list of vendors:

I thought it was just adorable and can't wait to go again next Sunday to pick up some posters, eat more of that Indian food and get some knives sharpened!

This place really has an old-school Austin feel to it plus it's got that art vibe going and I love that.

Bring some money.  There's an ATM if you forget though.

Bring some for me too, while you're at it. Har Har.

PS About that tomato sauce. I had NO freakin' idea that it takes so many tomatoes to make fresh sauce.  I thought with 10 lbs I'd be freezing quart after quart.  I got enough for 2 dinners.  Crap, man, I'd rather just buy the stuff.  It was sublime though, I must admit.  Jar stuff, even the good jar stuff, can't hold a candle to it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Merry Solstice, y'all!

I hope you're having the loveliest of summer days today.  We had a sweet, busy (um, yea, and ungodly hot) Solstice.  I have just enough time to regale you with some photos and then off to the pool to meet friends! La, La, is good.

 (Apron by the amazing Jennifer of Textile Fetish. Go buy some of her stuff.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Is there anything better than a good fat dress?  I use that term lovingly as I have had my share of skinny dresses and fat dresses over the years and I can tell you that there is really nothing better in the world than a good fat dress.  I get all mine at Savers - the best thrift shop evah.  They are just soooo perfect for gardening in the summer or for putzing around the house.  No need for underwear or slips or bras or any of those torture devices. 
I have to admit that I am this close to moving from the less-than-horrible, comfy fat dresses one rack over into the actual house dresses.  I have avoided these for some time because that's a slippery slope, me dears.  Once you get a mauve, button-up dress with embroidered bees on it, you're done for.  Now, don't get upset with me if you're already there cuz I'm telling you that I'm almost there. It's that damn flounce at the bottom that really keeps me away.  But if there was a thin cotton one in blue tick pinstripe with no flounce... oh, I'd be done for.
Don't you just love a good fat dress? Am I the only person who actually gains weight in the summer?  I just cannot get much exercising done unless it's before 8 in the morning and, um, that doesn't happen much around here.  I also drink a lot of cold beer (and mojitos) and eat a lot of summery pasta dishes because, well, it's summer, FFS! 
So, three cheer for the fat dress!! 
PS I wonder what the equivalent of a fat dress is for the boys?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Talk of the Town

Every gardener in town is talking, right now, about basil and tomatoes and squash borers and the heat and the drought and peaches and oh, every other thing that has to do with gardening in Austin during the summer.  Seeing as how I am one of those people who really likes to follow the herd (HAR HAR), I will join in the fracas. (That is not really the correct word, but I love it and just feel like using it.)

I would like to discuss basil and, in particular, the making of pesto from basil.  Well, actually, I'm not really going to discuss it so much as post a recipe and then go have some more coffee.  
I used to put all the ingredients for pesto in a food processor, pour drizzle in some olive oil and give her a whirl.  Until ... until I read  Heidie's recipe,  How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother on  101 Cookbooks.  Oh. Mah. Lawd, y'all.  You'll never go back.

Admittedly, I don't use the fancy knives she talks about, my Parmesan was not fresh fresh (fresher than a green can though),  and I use walnuts instead of pine nuts because they're cheaper, but the basic idee is the same.  You put the basil in one pile, Parmesan in another, the garlic in another and the nuts in yet another.  Then you take a little from each of those piles and start chopping.  Add more of each and chop more. Add more of each and chop more.  By the time you finish adding and chopping and yakking and drinking, you'll have the most beautiful, pungent, chunky pesto you ever did see.  I made some last night and there was so much garlic in it we were 'bout on fire.  (If this happens to you, just add more oil or pasta or both.  You can also just drink more wine or beer and that will help too.)  Pour in some olive oil to get it the way you like it and then dump it on top of your pasta.  I didn't make fresh pasta last night nor did I have any "somewhat fresh" pasta from the store, so I just used regular old dry pasta from HEB and it was divine.

My wine recommendation is Palo Alto.  Even though it would have been nice to have some Italian nectar, you can never go wrong with anything from this Chilean winery. Both their red and  Sauvignon Blanc are oustanding wines in the $12 range.  For beer, we're still drinking Sierra Nevada's Torpedo IPA, but I'm feeling like we might switch to something a tad lighter soon. 

For your listening pleasure, I'd like to almost insist you buy this cd called Duetto with Marcelo Alvarez and Salvatore Licitra.  Even if you've never listened to opera or you think you don't like opera, you should give this a try.  Two barrel-chested Italian tenors trying to out-sing each other makes for some fine pesto-making.  John Aeilli played them one day on Eklektikos.  (Let's don't get started on John, now, OK? I am a fan and that's all I'm saying about it.)  As I was frantically trying to get through to find out what it was, he came on the air and said he had never, in all his years there, gotten such a response from something he'd played.  It's that good.  The music is kind of smarmy, but, oh, those voices will slay you.

I'm about to go cook up some yard eggs and slather some leftover pesto on top.  Maybe a tortilla will find its way in there too. Mmmmm.


PS Scrambled eggs with pesto and leftover coleslaw stuffed in a corn tortilla with some French press coffee (on the side) is really, really, really good.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, here's a quick look into my thrilling and exciting life. Try not to cringe at my wild and wanton ways. 
That's right, I organized my pantry this weekend. 
New Mason jars....mmmmm. I love me some new Mason jars - clean, shiny, lids that are not lost in the abyss. I'm not sure which is more exciting - throwing away all the ancient lentils/beans/pastas with that weird hairy growth stuff on them or opening up a brand new bag of flour only to drop it all. over. the. floor.  Really, who could choose?

I just cannot get my pantry to work. It's not supposed to be a pantry. It's supposed to be a hot water closet so maybe that's part of it. Identity crisis of some sort. Jackdaddy did a bunch of tedious and time-consuming cutting and sawing to make it lovely and workable so I suspect it has something to do with me, (can you even imagine?) but, for whatever reason, it is always mostly just a mess. I spend a lot of time on the computer looking at pantry porn. (Seriously, it's hard to keep up with me, isn't it? I'm just out of control!) You should do it. Google pantry organization and then click Images. You too will enter the vortex of lost hours spent staring at a box that is showing you other women's pantries. (For a second that looked like other women's panties! heee!) (Honestly, there's quite a bit of unintentional sexual innuendo going on here.)

Anyway...some progress.  And I am so grateful to even have a pantry because it is really, really much better than digging around in cabinets that are too tall for me. (Helloooo builder people.  Most humans are too short to reach the top couple of shelves in the kitchen cabinets.  Please design a better way. Please.)
Anyway, I'm lusting for the perfect pantry.  I am also looking for the damn label maker.  Had it. Lost it. Cannot find it.  Erg.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House


It takes me almost forever to finish a book these days what with, oh, life and all.  This is where I've been these last few days... stealing every precious moment that I can to read this lovely book.  This is the kind of book that calls for a cup of tea (or a vat glass of wine), a comfy spot and a teensy bit of peace and quiet.  I got the first two covered.  

Robyn Griggs Lawrence is Editor at Large for Mother Earth News (among other fancy things) and this is her second foray into bringing the wabi-sabi concept to western readers.  Her first book, The Wabi-Sabi House:  The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty has long been on my bookshelf.  

This new beauty, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House is even better in my opinion.
She does a great job revealing the history of wabi-sabi in addition to exploring what it's evolved into today.  Robyn has been to Japan to discover the deeper meaning of this concept that is so dear to her heart (and mine) and she does a great job of taking the reader along with her.
The book is peppered with personal stories which gives it a cozy, familiar feeling and beautiful quotes from the likes of Thich Nhat Hanh (was there ever a cuter Buddhist than Thich?) that are both humorous and inspiring.  I really did feel like I was sitting around with a good friend having a long, leisurely chat.
I loved Chapter 9 (Space) with its gentle, but firm reminder that too much stuff is not necessarily a good thing and her suggestions for getting some of that stuff out of our spaces.
But it was the last chapter, Chapter 15 (Simplicity) that really made me fall in love with this book.  I'm gonna go out a limb and say to read it first.  Horrors!  I know, I know, reading the last chapter first is such a no-no, but I bet you feel the love too. (I wonder what Robyn will think of this suggestion.)

This book really is wabi-sabi: simple, lovely, unpretentious, meaningful.
I highly recommend it (as well as the first book).  You can hop over to that far right column here on the blog and find it in the My Favorites section.  Just scroll through the books until you find it then click on the link.

Happy Wabi-Sabing, y'all!

PS I "met" Robyn when she was kind enough to mention our outdoor shower area in her Mother Earth News column.  I told her how much I loved her first book and she graciously offered to send me a copy of this one.  I got nothing in exchange for this review other than a copy of book (woo hoo!).  This review is my honest opinion.