Coffee heat rising

Talk about Indian Summer…

Seriously! It’s 100 degrees on October 17 here.

Actually, it’s kind of a nice day…a dry heat, y’know… 😀 And a mere 100 degrees is not hot enough to overcome one’s second-spring planting instincts:

Sweet little posies, eh? Picked those up this morning at the nursery, while running around in that part of town. Do LOVE that pot! The bulbs I put in there last winter pretty much fried over the summer. So I picked up a dwarf foxglove, a geranium, and a salvia, which kind of pick up the colors in the pot.

Salvia grows really well out in front over the winter (assuming we get a winter this year). So I may go back and pick up a few more to stick in the flowerbed under the olive tree, which remains sadly neglected.

One thing at a time.

Few days ago I stuck some seeds in a few other pots, also out in front:

They’ve already sprouted! Well, actually, only the two pots on the right have sprouted seeds: lettuce and beets. In the center: a baby rosemary plant; on the right, a thyme plant and a volunteer tomato.

I came unstuck in time today, thinking it was Wednesday and not Tuesday. As I’m thrashing around thinking I’ve gotta send out a weekly meeting notice and go buy enough gas to get to the Pima Reservation through the Thursday morning rush-hour traffic and dayum! I didn’t wash the car this morning so won’t be able to see into the rising, GLARING sun tomorrow morning and how could it possibly be time for choir practice AGAIN, it crossed my feeble little mind:

…well…no…wait…it can’t be time for choir practice again.

And… Well. No. It isn’t time for choir practice again. Mirabilis! It’s actually Tuesday!

This left a great deal of time to get stuff done:

  • Strip the bed and
  • Wash the sheets and
  • Wash the blanket and
  • Wash the dog covering and
  • Bang the dog hair out of all the above, in the dryer
  • Wash the bathroom rugs and the doggie floor rags
  • Bang the dog hair of the rugs and rags, in the dryer
  • Drive to the nursery to buy some new posies
  • Dart into Safeway and let them know a telephone scammer is spoofing their pharmacy’s phone number
  • Fly to the pool store and buy 8 pounds of shock treatment
  • Clean the pool pots
  • Thin out the lettuce & beet seedlings
  • Plant the new posies
  • And even write a little on the latest chapteroid of the current noveloid!

Think of that. And it’s not yet 1 p.m.

The other day I made a nice impromptu ratatouille, which served handsomely as leftovers-for-breakfast this morning. Ratatouille, a dish from the south of France, sounds very fancy to the American ear in the same way that anything spoken or written in French sounds fancy (mais non?). But in fact it’s good peasant food, on the order of pot roast or Yankee stew: simple, cheap, and deliciously satisfying.

All you need is a nice little eggplant, a summer squash (any of the thin-skinned variety like zucchini or crookneck), a little onion, a bell pepper, a bit of garlic, and…whatever else you have laying around. Celery is nice to add. Herbs of various callings — I dumped the rest of the herbes de Provence into the stuff, maybe all of two or three teaspoons. Thyme is always good. Whatever. Got some carrots? Good. Mushrooms? Fine. WhatEVER. And you’ll need some tomatoes — either a bunch of chopped up fresh tomatoes or a nice can of your favorite brand of chopped tomatoes.

Coarsely chop the onions and garlic and celery if you have it. Pour a little olive oil in a large skillet. Slowly cook the aromatic veggies until they’re transparent and beginning to brown. This should take about the length of time required to consume a small glass of wine slowly whilst reading the news. Get up a couple of times and stir.

Before sitting down with the wine, though, also coarsely chop the other veggies and set aside. You might want to sprinkle some salt on the chopped eggplant, as this is the traditional way: leaches out extra liquid, which if the eggplant is mature can add some bitterness to the flavor. If you decide to do this, pat the eggplant pieces dry on some layers of paper toweling before proceeding with the post-wine step.

Remove the aromatic veggies from the pan — just spoon them out onto a plate next to the stove.

Add a little more olive oil.

Apply the rest of the vegetables to the olive oil in the pan. Pour another glass of wine and, while beginning to consume this, allow the vegetables to cook a bit, stirring occasionally, until they’re starting to brown a little.

Next, stir the onions, celery, and garlic back into the sauteed vegetables. Carry the wine glass over to the stove. Add the canned or boxed tomatoes. Stir well. Pour part of the wine into this mixture (red is better, IMHO, but either is just fine) and mix together well.

Cover the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low. And just let it simmer for 45 minutes or so until all the lovely flavors are combined.

This is good all by itself, or served over pasta, or as a side for grilled steak, chicken, or fish, or whatever you please.

There’s a full-blown fancy recipe for this in the cookbook. And it’s never too late to buy the cookbook! Want a hard copy? Lemme know in a comment and we can conduct business by email.


2 thoughts on “Talk about Indian Summer…”

  1. You read my mind! I was just thinking you haven’t posted a recipe lately and then you did just that. This sounds good, I will definitely try this. I still make chicken broth using a recipe you posted years ago.

  2. But October is a very pleasant month here neither too warm nor too cold. And winter is about to hit in next couple of weeks. And also the time to enjoy some spicy recipes which include mutton curry, beef fry, and minced meat wraps.

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