Saturday, August 10, 2019

Don't forget the forks.

Could you stand it if I just rambled along in this post without much focus? 

Did I hear someone say, "Isn't that what Dewena does in every post?"

Well, it's going to be worse than usual because I'm in that marvelous exhausted  state of loopy euphoria that means we've just had a whirlwind but wonderful visit from our granddaughters--oh yes, their parents came too.

It was only for one night this time but we crammed as much talk and laughter in it as possible. However, I didn't get one single picture of our darlings. Hence the picture of the vinegar bottle above, another Sparrow Lane Vinegar, this time their Gravenstein Apple Cider. I could drink this stuff!

I had meant to think of a clever way to talk about the simplest salad recipe possible. Took the pictures, coming up zero on the clever. So here it is anyway...

When you have a handful of ripe little sweet tomatoes a day, go pick some.

 Don't forget to check the volunteer vines from last year's plant, growing in the gravel. They're the sweetest, for some reason.

How they've survived with BreeBree and James Mason trampling on them, I'll never know.

"Who, me?"

Cut a jalapeño, snip some chives, cut a few cukes--or confess that you bought them at a local farm stand. 

 Slice and snip and toss them in a pretty bowl that you've first poured some of that marvelous apple cider vinegar in, with a little special sea salt stirred in. Do you know this one from Trader Joe's that they carry during the holidays? 

 I ration it all year long.

This salad is so easy and it looks like I'm about easy at this stage in my life. Even my simple Ismail Merchant recipe for the salad below, link here, I've only made once this summer.

Oops, recipe Here!

What was my menu going to be the one night we were expecting our family in Friday night? It had to be easy and nothing's easier than a pot of spaghetti sauce you can let simmer all afternoon.

Ever tried this tomato basil sauce?

 We love it and watch for it to go BOGO at Publix.

Here's something you can't find at Publix, it came all the way from Crete to me on my birthday and it's the most heavenly aromatic herbs I've ever used (sparingly of course, want it to last).

And then you naturally set a pretty table to welcome your guests, don't you?

Sorry, that picture above is several years old. The truth is we served ourselves right out of the pots, from the stove on everyday Fiesta plates.

And our salad for the meal? I triple washed a beautiful head of organic ruffly lettuce, spun it dry and then laid it all out on tea towels, washed a bell pepper, cucumbers, scallions and tomatoes and plopped them out of a towel too.

And our beautiful daughter-in-law had barely stepped out of the car before helping me assemble last-minute individual salads for everyone. Some French bread toasted in the oven and we were ready to sit down at my plain old everyday table and eat.

I didn't take a picture of my fabulous dessert--a recipe I think I saw last week on Facebook, or somewhere. A box of Angel Food cake mix and a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple stirred into it in a bowl and let it froth, all the way to the top of the bowl. Pour in a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 30 minutes. 2 ingredients. Now that's easy and you know what, that cake was not bad at all. If I ever make it again though I think I'll pour melted butter all over the top of it when it comes out of the oven. I mean...butter, right?

I have got to get my pretty table setting groove back though. What's the use of having all these pretty dishes if I don't use them? And I kind of feel like I'm letting the house morale down by not going to much trouble. 

I think about all the old movies where the British dressed for dinner even while on safari, whatever happened to that way of thinking? 

Do you find yourself making things easier and easier on yourself as time goes by? Or am I the only one?

At least I had a fork for everyone.


  1. The quality time you got to spend with your princesses and their parents, I'm guessing, was the most gratifying meal you have had in a while, Dewena, aside from the tasty, zesty spaghetti dish, the company, I'm sure, made it all so very appetizing! Smiles, all round, could have been the sweetest dessert, in case you hadn't managed to bake that cake, which sounds pretty delish, too!

    Anything harvested from our own gardens is just plain good, isn't it? Fresh and organic, these two characteristics alone are enough to make a salad of two or three ingredients, 'whole', due to the wholesome veggies. Your little tomatoes are bursting with bold colour, and I can imagine their fragrance and taste are just as robust.

    Yes, the older I get, the more I want to cook simple dishes. Greek dishes are just that, depending on fresh, local, seasonal produce to make them stars, and not the time spent prepping and cooking them. I'm so happy you like the Cretan oregano, Dewena. The mountains of Crete are scented with it, along with thyme, rosemary, sage, chamomile, and so many other herbs.

    How is it that these pretty models still manage to look glamorous, despite being smothered in spaghetti sauce? Hate to think what I'd look like, so yes, better grab those forks - and spoons - just to be safe, and spare my dining companions an upset stomach!

    Happy Sunday!
    Poppy xx

    1. Thank you, Poppy, my lovely supplier of Cretan oregano! It smells so much better than any bottled dry oregano from the grocery store!

      I read just the other day that the lowest incidence of heart disease in the world is on your beautiful island of Crete. You should open a health farm for those wanting to learn all about your healthy cuisine. I love hearing about your ingredients and recipes.

      They are pretty spaghetti models, aren't they? RH enjoyed that picture a lot!

      Happy Sunday to you, or happy Sunday evening, I should say!

  2. wow that salad looks good and I really enjoyed reading about what you served and seeing the photos. I make it really easy on myself anymore when it comes to cooking - I just don't cook - my husband does it all. However, I did discover about a month ago that I forgot all about the yummy tacos I use to make when the kids all lived at home. I haven't done that in years as we go out for taco tuesdays - . I finally decided to cook again and have made them twice in a month.

    1. Nice to have a husband who likes to cook! Although I admit that RH cooks a fine breakfast.

  3. Your posts are never rambling, Dewena! That salad looks so refreshing and delicious but I could not handle those jalapenos! Brian would just have to eat my share. ;-) I'm very familiar with that TJ's salt - I have it in my spice cabinet. Even the canister is beautiful, isn't it? Your spaghetti dinner for your family sounds absolutely delicious. And yes, the older I get, the easier and simpler I want things to be. In every which way, really! I can't believe that you had tomatoes growing in the gravel. I have never seen that before. Amazing!

    1. Yes, classy little salt canister!

      I know! I was so surprised that tomatoes sprouted up there. I guess from some of the tomatoes that fell on the ground from the plant that was there last year? I remember you can't take jalapenos, RH has to have the seeds and ribs cut out before he can. I can take them pretty hot except I do remember eating with my eldest son at his favorite Korean restaurant a few years ago and biting down on some in the soup. I thought my tongue was going to burn right off. I was sipping some kind of milk shake type drink to cool it off all during my meal.

      And Melanie, will email tonite, I received your book in the mail this afternoon. What a wonderful surprise! You're so thoughtful to let me have your Beverley Nichols book! I will treasure it in my collection of his gardening books.

  4. OH!!! OMG. this post for me is a total delight! I love every single thing about it.
    I should have been Italian. I NEVER tire of spaghetti. never!
    and the cake! and yes. the strizzle of butter for sure! and...
    the best of all... the picture of little wee "who me?"
    that serious tiny face Mom! how I love him.
    and now. going to bed. it's after 11. and I want a plate of spaghetti and a little tomato salad. (maybe for breakfast.) love you! tam

    1. That picture of James Mason was put in this post just for you Auntie Tam! I told him to pose for you and he did. It's so hard to get a good picture of him but we pulled it off this time.

  5. Your posts do NOT ramble...ever!! I love that mouth was watering the entire time! Since I'm Italian, pasta is a mainstay in our home! I never get tired of eating it, but the carbs are awful...who cares!! LOL I'm so glad you had a wonderful visit with your family! LOVE that last photo....classic!! Hope you are doing well! We thought we were going to be back in the area a couple of weeks ago....Edward was contacted to do a fire in Nashville, but it fell through. :-( Hopefully soon! Love and hugs!

    1. I know, Benita, carbs carbs carbs. Hope you do make Nashville sometime, it would be nice if it were in late October when the trees are gorgeous.

      My husband loved that last photo too! Said he might read more of my posts if I'd include more like that, naughty man.

  6. I now have two Sparrow Lane vinegars and am so pleased that you mentioned them. But I am sad that the "Invisible in August" post has disappeared. It was really excellent.

    1. I apologize for being late in publishing this. It didn't come to my email and was hidden in my stats page, as some wordpress comments do. I just found it. Thank you about the post that disappeared. I think I felt that I had overshared and took it down. It's very kind of you to have liked it.

  7. Well, I thought that was very focused :-) and I laughed at your line, "Butter, right?" But that was toward the end; until then, tomatoes, tomatoes -- they mean so much, it's hard to think of summer without them. This was a fun and appetizing read!

    1. Thank you so much, Gretchen! I agree, it's all about the tomatoes. We only grow the little sweet ones but RH stops by a farm stand and picks up the best juicy ones. Isn't it a luxury not to have to rely on those in the grocery stores in the winter? Or do you have them homegrown year round where you are?

  8. I laughed so hard at the fork comment...grins! Yes, family get togethers here often revert to paper plates, and we seem to have kids/etc three out of four weekends. But, those are the best visits....! Looks super nummy, and I will have to try that vinegar. I really love your vintage photos!

    1. Sandi, your mentioning paper plates reminded me of when our seven year old granddaughter as just a toddler and visiting us with her parents who are super environment-friendly and had never had paper plates in their house. So when I sat her snack before her on one, I pointedly said, in front of her parents, "Nora, this is a paper plate." Thankfully her daddy burst out laughing.

      You are such a great cook, I know you would love the Sparrow Lane brand of vinegars!