The Attack of the Zucchini and Tomatillos

I am not sure if I’d watch a film by that name if it appeared on Netflix, but I would linger. This week’s video highlights how the zucchini and tomatillo plants have commandeered the garden box. Rather than stay in their respective squares, they have launched a sprawl campaign against all the other squares. If this were a game of Risk, they’d have all the map under their control. 

What do you do when your plants are growing too well? The lesson for this first-time backyard gardener is to prune and isolate sprawling plants. Zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes and tomatillos take up a ton of space. There is no way to corral them and pruning requires more expertise. Next year I plan on removing these plants from the box and planting in their own box or with plenty of space to roam.

Competing with Yourself

vomit, gif, yoga, sick, upchuckThere’s no feeling like it.

There’s nothing you can do about it.

You must give in to it.

“Welcome to Tuesday night’s practice,” the instructor said as she started the class. Then, while I stood with eyes closed, hands pressed together, she urged us to make an intention for the practice.

“And forward fold,” the instructor urged.

If I forward fold one more time it’s going to be over white porcelain, or whatever material they use to make toilets.

I tried to ignore the rumblings, but with each contortion I felt the contents of my stomach creeping higher and higher, like one of those hand-drawn thermometers used to track funding for fireworks. This campaign was going to meet its goal. I started thinking about what was in my stomach. Was the Wagyu burger putting up a fight? Could it be the French Onion soup? Or was it the small plate of leftover smoked chicken with whole wheat farfalle pasta? I bet it was that damned grilled zucchini I ate before leaving the office. I never liked it anyway. The squash variant was trying to make a break for it.

“And Chaturanga….Upward-facing dog.”

Now my right wrist started to hurt. The sweat started pouring forth like some polluted aquifer. My arms glistened while my mind wandered. Am I about to puke?

“And Utkatasana, chair pose,” the distant female voice gently guided.

Oh god, no.

I was two burps away from striking intestinal oil. I started scanning the room in search of a receptacle that could contain my projectile vomit. Then I counted. Three prostrate females. That’s how many I’d have to hurdle to get to the brushed silver cylinder that would be my emergency retch holder.

After a few half-stomached Sun Salutation B’s, I decided to call it quits. Child’s pose was too taxing. Only one pose left: Savasana (Corpse pose).

One of the tenets of yoga is to only do as much as you can. Tonight, all I could do was a few salutations. That’s all my body had in it. As I reposed on my saturated yoga mat, I became disgruntled with myself. I had been eager to return to a more regular yoga practice. Instead of celebrating what I was capable of doing tonight, I focused on my vanishing flexibility, the imminent up chuck, the pain in my wrist and other irritations that I have yet to let go. The greatest backslide was my lost mental focus.

Today reaffirmed my body’s rejection of nice things. I was treated to a very nice lunch by a vendor. Then wound down the night at a free community yoga practice.

Lunch ended with the waitress offering me a steaming hot towel to wipe my hands after my burger.

Yoga ended with me sopping up my meat sweat, and maybe a few tears, with a hand towel wondering why I came.

The good news is that I managed to keep the zucchini and everything else down, just not my expectations of myself.

Wanna See My Sausage?

basil, sausage, zucchini, tomato, dinner, summer, mushroom
Opting to skip the gym last night, I spent my evening dirtying most of the pots I own reinterpreting the Italian classic: sausage and peppers.

I had hot Italian sausage from my favorite Italian deli. It would be an insult to my ancestors to let that go to waste. So, I surveyed the fridge and pantry pulling orzo, an onion, a poblano pepper, zucchini and some cherry tomatoes. That’s all it took for this weeknight masterpiece. Continue reading Wanna See My Sausage?

Squashin’ It: Zucchini Boats

As promised, here is the photo-heavy walk through of how to make your very own stuffed zucchini boat, or stuffed zucchini. I find the maritime reference appeals to the spam pirates that follow my every post.

Typically I prefer my food delivery vessel to be a tortilla or carb, but I received a 5-pound zucchini from a co-worker. I heard rumors that he gave a wandering boy some seeds for bean stalks. I’ve never been a huge fan of the green veggie that aspires to be a cucumber. The best uses I’ve found are ones that mask or overpower the non-flavor. This recipe combines spicy sausage and fresh vegetables to create a fresh dish high in nutrients (A, B-6, C, fiber)  and relatively low in fat.

zucchini, dinner, squash, grill

First, I cut the mammoth zucchini in half lengthwise and used an ice cream scoop to hull out the seeds. I transferred these to a bowl. I rubbed the half zuke with olive oil and sprinkled salt. Then I put it on the grill for about 10 mins. Continue reading Squashin’ It: Zucchini Boats

Bachelor Dinner Party: Dinner for One Ain’t No Fun

“If you blog it, they will come.”

-Shoeless Joe Jackson

When you post as many food pictures as I do, your friends and family start to question your life choices. Once I didn’t post food pictures for a day and I received a few concerned texts. “Are you OK?! I’m sending a pizza to you.” It also leads friends to assume you are a foodie. Let me go on record as definitively not being a foodie. To me, the term connotes a quest for the most obscure, and often expensive, ingredients prepared in a minimalist fashion. I’m all for art, but I prefer it on a wall instead of my plate. I don’t think this study looked into the gastronomic appeal of 4 croquetas on a plate or any of those foam infusion efforts. Then again, I’m not willing to pay $31 to find out their conclusion, just like I’m not willing to pay more than $20 for dinner. Continue reading Bachelor Dinner Party: Dinner for One Ain’t No Fun

Smoked Chicken Orzo Salad

 

My summer project has been smoking meats. I’m not sure if the cave dwellers figured this out, but this is the ideal way to cook. Minimal setup, minimal effort, minimal cleanup and exceptional flavor!

I put a dry rub on some chicken thighs and leg quarters. Soaked some cherry wood chunks. Fired up the coals. Setup the water/beer tray. Then let the grill do the rest.

Adding the orzo salad took a little extra time but it ended up being a week’s worth of food and bait for my coworkers to perform some of my office duties.

Make the orzo as directed–just like pasta. 10 mins of cook time once the water is boiling. Total time: 15-20 mins.

Chop up some veggies. I used red onion, kalamata olives, roasted green pepper, grilled zucchini.

Add some olive oil and lemon juice. Salt & pepper.

Once the chicken is at 170 degrees (about an hour), let it cool. Chop up and add to the party.