Friday, September 9, 2011

A Journey: Through the Tomato Forest

Having never blogged before, I figured now was a great time to start! I want to start this new journey by dedicating this blog to my sister, who will soon be heading off on one of the greatest adventures of her life, the Peace Corps in Ethiopia! Come October 3, she will be hopping on a plane to go save the world, well part of it. J  I want this blog to be something she can turn to and read so she can feel like she’s right there with me as I explore what Minneapolis has to offer as well as my adventures in traveling, cooking, gardening, yoga, and photography (I’m a woman with very specific interests!).

So what to talk about in my first blog? Perhaps a little bit about myself?  I am a true Minnesotan.  I don’t go around saying “You Betcha” or “Don’t cha Know”(of course emphasizing the ‘O’), nor do I participate in such insane activities such as ice fishing or the infamous ‘Polar Bear Plunge’,  but I do love the outdoors, a good plate of Walleye, anything on a stick, and can’t even begin to imagine calling home to anywhere else.  Now, just because I call this beautiful state home, doesn’t mean I don’t want to escape this frozen tundra of a place 8 months of the year! I am a traveler. With that comes an appreciation for everything natural (gardening), the food I find along the way (cooking), a calmness and peace within myself (yogaing), then photographing all of that. While at school I was lucky enough to get a taste of world traveling. A taste can be dangerous though. I have the bug… the travel bug. Some of my big trips have included England, Greece, India and most recently Paris and Barcelona! Throughout this blog I’m pleased to share that I have plans to visit Southern Germany and its surrounding areas as well as (crossing my fingers) a visit to see the sis in AFRICA!!! You may be wondering how a 24 year old with a pretty crappy paying job pays for all these wonderful trips… she SAVES! Screw America’s failing economy! I’m throwing my money at the airlines and straight into overseas tourism! They need the money too right? 

Touristy photo of Joel and I on top of the Arc de Triomph

Since I have no good travels or adventures to speak of at the moment, let’s start this off with an introduction to Joel and my garden! For the few of you who don’t know, Joel is my wonderful, awesome, kind, patient boyfriend. He puts up with my crazy remodeling, gardening and travel ideas almost on a daily basis. The garden, currently in its second year of experiments, resides at Joel’s amazing work in progress home in South Minneapolis. After few true triumphs last year, we've stepped up our game and researching this year which has resulted in well… results! By starting this blog right before fall, you've luckily got to miss out on all my babying, obsessing over and sometimes even talking to the seedlings.  As Joel would say, “You’re a little too attached.”  In my defense, a little babying and sweet talking goes a long way! Check out the Tomato FOREST!

FOREST of Tomatoes!

Beautiful results!

That’s right, forest. I know what you’re thinking, “why on earth would you plant 7-8 tomato plants in that tiny little area, and next to the cucumbers!?” Well, if I had a quarter for every time I was asked THAT question I’d be heading to Africa sooner than expected! To answer this growing ever so annoying question, I never believed my little seeds would ever grow into THAT, and produce that much PRODUCE! In my very few years of attempting to grow edible results I have never had a successful tomato plant!  This year has come with many successes and very few failures. Successes include raspberries, peas, carrots, green beans, establishing strawberries, cucumbers and green onions, while unfortunately the failures include sweet onions and corn.  I’m still waiting for the peppers which are just starting to produce so we’ll see in a couple weeks where to put those guys on the list.

Now, what to do with a whole bowl of tomatoes? Of course I’m going to make one of my favorite tomato-y recipes! From the oh so amazing Williams Sonoma recipe books, Penne alla Vodka!!

It’s delicious! Just be warned, when pouring vodka into scalding hot Olive Oil, take it OFF the heat for a bit before slowly pouring the vodka in.  Mix it in, and then you may put it back on the heat. Just saying, after a few oil explosions and even one flame you become rather cautious.

Until next time, Bon Appetit!