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WND – In which my cat sadly doesn’t talk

April 30, 2009

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Going to Wilson Farms in the Spring is always a battle between the person I kind of secretly want to be, and my common sense. My common sense says that I (a) don’t have a garden, (b) did not inherit a green thumb from either one of my grandmothers, and that (c) to call my interest in learning how to garden cursory would be exceedingly generous. But, I go up to Wilson Farms to do my weekly grocery shopping and I walk past flats filled with velvety purple pansies, and racks of enticing seed packets, and shelves of aromatic basil plants and I want to be the kind of person who gardens. Personally, I blame my childhood reading habits.

I read omnivorously as a child – post nuclear apocalypse fiction, historical fiction, poverty stricken Irish childhood fiction, abusive Southern childhood fiction, pre-cultural revolution grim Chinese childhood fiction (there was a theme here), novels with talking animals, novels with faeries, novels with witches – you name it, I read it. That being said, I trended heavily towards fantasy novels because they always had the heroines I wanted to be. I wanted to be the girl who dressed up like a boy* to learn how to save the world with sword fighting and talking cats, and grow up to save slightly dimwitted princes from plotting uncles and marry roguish thief lords (thank you, Tamora Pierce). Or, more realistically since even in middle school I realized that learning how to fence probably involved actual exercise and would be helped by a gift for physical coordination, I wanted to be the heroine of the other kind of fantasy novel – the mage. I wanted to know which herbs to gather at dawn, and which to gather under the light of the waxing moon. I wanted to purify them with well water and pound them into salves and mutter the appropriate incantation at the critical juncture. I would have rocked Potions at Hogwarts.

I’ve reluctantly grown out of the hope that one morning I’d wake up and be able to talk to my cat or light candles with my mind, although I admittedly still read a lot of books about people who can. I’ve also grown out of a desire to gather herbs at dawn, because well dawn is awfully early in the morning. But occasionally, in the Spring, when I see seed packets and smell rich moist earth being turned for planting, I have moments of aberration where I consider the merits of a kitchen garden. The idea of fresh mint and basil at my finger tips is tempting, and would have been convenient last night when I realized that I’d forgotten to buy any mint to put in the beet salad, but I still don’t have a garden and I’m not sure that without the talking cat if the whole experience would be as satisfying. We’ll see what happens when I eventually acquire a garden, because frankly I also said I’d never drive all over creation to go to multiple grocery stores and clearly that’s no longer true.

* There are, incidentally, no novels about boys dressing up like girls to learn how to become a mage/knight/counselor/whatever. This is because you have to completely reconstruct your world view to come up with a plot where you gain anything by pretending to be a girl and that point the plot is generally implausible. This is more or less why I sometimes have a problem working up the appropriate level of concern about the fact that the majority of young adult novels are written by women for girls. It doesn’t do much to encourage teenage boys to read, but then again the patriarchy still has a fairly solid hold on the rest of life so sometimes I really don’t feel all that bad about it.

Buttermilk Biscuits (with ham)
Curried Chicken Salad
Roasted Beet Salad
Tomatoes & Mozzarella
Watermelon

Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk Biscuits
It was a birthday request, to which I was nothing loath to accede. Also, its been 80+ degrees here for the past 4-5 days and it feels like summer even if it’s really only the tail end of April.

Recipe previously given: Farewell to Summer Dinner

biscuits

Curried Chicken Salad

Recipe previously given: Farewell to Summer Dinner

curried-chicken-salad

Roasted Beet Salad

Recipe previously given: The Day After St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

beet-salad

Tomatoes & Mozzarella
Wilson Farms does these little balls of mozzarella marinated in olive oil and garlic and sun dried tomatoes, and they’re amazing just to snack on straight out of the fridge, and they’re even better on fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes were surprisingly good given that it’s April and they were from Maine. I don’t really understand how Maine has good tomatoes in April, but I’m willing to not ask too many questions.

tomatoes-mozzarella

Watermelon
I didn’t look at the sign, and I didn’t ask, but it’s not local.

watermelon

Buttermilk Pie
Making pie never really feels like baking to me, which is possibly why I make pie more often than I make other kinds of dessert, and Buttermilk Pie is a flavor that most people will never had had before. It’s very sweet, with a very subtle tang from the buttermilk. I served it with a little bit of macerated fresh fruit for color, but that’s really highly unnecessary.

pie-fruit

3 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp flour
½ cup butter, melted
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

Beat the eggs lightly. Add the buttermilk and whisk to combine. Add all other ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into a 9” pie shell (or if you’re feeling fancy, a 10” tart pan with a removable rim).

unbaked-pie

Bake at 275 for 10 minutes, and then at 300 for 50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving – I refrigerate mine over night.

Notes: I’ll warn you, this pie is very very sweet so small slices go a long way.

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