Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 2010

Volume 6 Issue 9

*** Random Thoughts

This was the year of my first garden. When I say my first garden, I mean it’s the first one I’ve ever attempted. It’s certainly not Jeffrey’s first garden. It also is certainly not MY garden, as in I’m the one who did the work. Because I’m not; Jeffrey tilled the soil, got the plants and seeds. Jeffrey remembered to water and fertilizer the garden. Good thing, as those are the little bitty gardening details I tend to forget for days at a time.

It’s easy, then, for me to say how easy the garden was. I don’t know what I thought gardening was but whatever I thought, it has been way less trouble than I had imagined.

Given the state of the economy, anything that seems frugal, homespun, and an efficient use of resources also seems like a good idea.

As much as I’ve enjoyed having a garden – we’re already talking about what we’ll plant when and where next year – I can’t say it’s really saved us money. Its value has been in our eating more fresh produce than usual. I wouldn’t have gone out and bought grape tomatoes to add to our salads or to oven-dry to use in place of sundried tomatoes. Since we had an abundance of grape tomatoes, I used them.

Recipes I may not otherwise have tried, such as tomato tart, pesto, and roasted tomato sauce, I made because I had one of the ingredients – fresh basil – on hand. If not for growing fresh herbs at our doorstep getting fresh basil would mean a trip to a large grocery store 30 miles away.

It’s been fun, too, drying sage to use in Thanksgiving dressing and drying basil to add to hearty marinara sauces this winter. We’ve enjoyed clipping rosemary to use when grilling pork tenderloin or a sprig or two of thyme when we’re roasting a whole chicken.

When we grilled the two eggplants our plants produced, that was about the best grilled eggplant I’ve ever had, simply because it came from our garden. I was aware of that with every bite.

We had a late-summer bumper crop of bell peppers. They came in all at once, smallish, globe-shaped bell peppers that look little like the ones in grocery stores besides their color. We picked them when they were ripe, chopped them up, and froze. When we make gumbo this winter we’ll have fresh-frozen chopped bell pepper to use. They taste different, too: full of big pepper flavor, nothing like the ones in the grocery store produce sections.

I love these revelations, these tastes, and these flavors. The fun of digging hands into the dirt to plant, the thrill of watching them grow, the delight in preparing something and eating something from our garden…that’s where the value and the worth comes in.


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*** Great Quotes

“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job.” - Donald D. Quinn

*** Fun Food Idea

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Everybody liked this. If you have little ones who like strips or nuggets better, just cut the fillets to the size you need.

3-4 tilapia filets, depending on size
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a pie plate. Or a regular plate, or any old dish that is shallow and big enough to hold a tilapia fillet.

Pour the lemon juice into another pie plate. Dip a fillet into the lemon juice, then sprinkle with a bit of pepper. Dredge fillet in the Parmesan mixture, turning to coat.

Repeat with the remaining fillets. Place each in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle a little lemon juice over the fillets. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until fish easily flakes and edges are browning.

Other dishes in the Kudzu Kitchen - namely, a trio of cakes:

German chocolate cake

Coconut cake

Chocolate cake with coffee meringue icing

*** Pass It On

If there’s someone you think would enjoy this newsletter, please forward this issue in its entirety. Email me at kudzuuu at gmail dot com to subscribe.

*** Hit the Highlights - a few choice blog posts from last month:

Just think if they harnessed that thought power for good instead

Fruit of the day

Lots of stories from the Miss. Writers Guild conference in Vicksburg

Love that alligator

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*** Shameless Bid for Commerce

“Keetha DePriest Reed's "More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections and Recipes from Growing Up Southern" is part cookbook, part collection of wonderful essays on food, family and growing up Southern and altogether great fun…

I would very highly recommend "More Culinary Kudzu" to anybody who enjoys good food and good writing as well as to anybody who wants to find out more about the South. As for me, I only have one question left - how do I get invited to one of their family reunions?” – review by

*** Recommended Reading

Author Haven Kimmel has a new fan in me; I read A Girl Named Zippy and laughed – out loud – through much of it.

I also enjoyed Simply from Scratch by Alicia Bessette. "Newcomer Alicia Bessette has written a love-letter of a novel. There's enough warmth here to fill your house on the coldest night. You'll wish you knew these people, this world." - Justin Cronin, author of The Passage

Books I read last month here.

*** Adorable Thing My Child Said

The Husband and child were playing around, joking, and carrying on. The Child told him, “You’re crazy.”

I said, “Crazy like a fox.” We explained what ‘crazy like a fox’ meant.

A few days later they were talking and The Child told him, “You’re smart like a wolf.”

*** Mississippi Writers Guild

The Mississippi Writers Guild sponsors writer workshops, conferences, writer retreats and reputable writing contests. Membership dues are only $40.00 per year.

The Mississippi Writers Guild is a non-profit association of writers from all over the state and is a growing part of Mississippi’s literary art landscape.

*** Calendar

Thursday, September 23 - FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN. And not a moment too soon.

*** Reminders and Unsubscribe Info.

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