Monday, August 9, 2010


Since I just posted about the tomatoes in the guest room, I couldn't resist sharing a pic and a little about the delicious meal that came from them! Thank you - lovely little tomatoes - for letting me make one of my very favorite dishes out of ingredients mainly harvested from right here at home. If you live out in the land of lush farmers market's - this sort of dish is so easy and wonderful this time of year, and of course it looks beautiful. Oh, and thank you to my husband for crawling around in the dirt for the last two weeks so we can have running water and doing it all without destroying my garden.

In a saucepan saute fresh garlic in olive oil(this garlic was bought at Juneau's Farmers Market - hurray we finally have one!). Ad some fresh greens, I used kale and arugula from the garden. Slice fresh cherry tomatoes in half or chunk regular size tomatoes into bite size pieces. It makes all the difference that the tomatoes are fresh for this, I also think a mix of colors is fun! Tear up some fresh basil (this is also the first year I have ever been even somewhat successful with basil). I added garbanzo beans for some protein, but I don't always do that just depends on what you're after, it's good either way. Saute all together until the tomatoes start to break down and their juices mix with the olive oil and garlic to make a sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and some crushed red pepper flakes for a lil' kick. Toss with whatever sort of pasta you prefer, I used rigatoni for this because I love the way the sauce get's stuck in the ridges and fills up the middle. Mmmmmm...When it's ready to serve sprinkle each plate with a bit of feta cheese, but again, you could really use whatever you prefer. The end result - simple and delicious - the best kind of food.

There are lots of ways to vary this, you can ad any veggies you want and it will taste great, so long as it's fresh! I think fresh green beans this time of year are delicious in a dish like this as is zucchini. Happy eating and happy harvest time. Enjoy your gardens and your markets and for those of you who live down south, don't take those amazing tomatoes for granted! Here's hoping we get enough sun to turn more of my green tomatoes those amazing shades of red and yellow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


These tomatoes are growing in our upstairs guestroom. This is the first time in my life I have successfully had tomatoes turn color - and not just one of them while the plant is giving its all before it dies. I will admit that I did not start these plants, I bought them when they were very small from a locally renowned tomato grower, but I have bought starts before and never still never succeeded. Our wet and often somewhat gray summers, are not the best for growing tomatoes. I think though, that this old house might just get enough light to do it!
Every morning since they started blooming I come in and give them a little shake while looking down the channel, I think it is making all the difference and is what I was missing before. As I type the smell of tomato plants fills up the little room for Rosie and I to smell, who is laying beside me on one of her many beds.
I can also report that these lovely little tomatoes are quite delicious! We'll see how many I get this summer, hopefully each summer I'll get a little better at this and be able to start them myself successfully one day. Time will tell I suppose. For now, I am thankful to have any and looking forward to eating more. Happy Saturday.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

E. Alan Brudno

It has been a while since I have written. Things have been busy here. We recently returned from a week in Washington DC. A lot of things about that trip have stuck in my mind, but there is one thing in particular that I can't stop thinking about.

E. Alan Brudno. The only person to have his name on the Vietnam War Memorial who committed suicide after returning to the United States. Brundo had been a POW and killed himself shortly after he was freed and sent home.

In order to get your name on that wall you must have either died in battle, or died of wounds associated with the war. They are still adding names today of those who have died of complications from wounds years later. But the wounds must be physical, not mental. The damage that is done to one's brain is not considered reason enough to have your name on that wall. E. Alan Brudno was an exception, because his family fought - for years - to get him there.

When I asked one of the very nice men at the Vietnam Memorial if people who killed themselves after the war would get their names on that wall, he told me no, told me about Brundo and then told me that, "Even John McCain doesn't think they should get their names on the wall. He was a prisoner of war and he didn't do that." I guess if John McCain can tough it out, then everyone should be able to? Well, some people survive gun wounds to the head and some don't. Those who don't, get their names on that wall.

I heard recently that we have lost more soldiers in these two wars we are in from suicide than we have from combat. This of course on the heals of constant stories about how the military is putting extensive resources into mental health care for our service men and women. If this many people were dying from surgery complications, we'd get new surgeons.

I don't profess to know anything about what it's like to be at war, or to survive it. What I do know is that if you don't count those who kill themselves as casualties of war, the numbers sure do go down. Imagine how many more names would be on that wall if Brundo was not the only one up there who took his own life? I do know that suicide is a scary thing for people to talk about, so we don't and it still happens. I do know that brilliant, creative, caring minds snuff themselves out every day - and leave their loved ones behind asking why and looking for help. I do know that it is unacceptable not to have acknowledged these men and women then - and that we don't today - as casualties of war. I do know that we must do better.