Not so restful waiting.

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bronze hands, Berkeley

There has been very little resting but my hands are trying to quietly wait until the studio is set up again, there is peace in the house (change that to reduced chaos in the household because, let’s be realistic!) and I can once again focus on art.

Summer is flying by, the vegetable garden is in full swing, though the tomatoes are being stubborn little buggers and we’ve only picked two ripe ones so far! The plants themselves are immense and loaded with green tomatoes but so far, no huge bowls of fresh tomato and basil pasta, my version of caprese salad except with pasta. Last year I canned a great relish using the end of season green tomatoes so even if they don’t ripen I still have something to look forward to!

For those of you who DO have fresh ripe garden tomatoes right now the recipe below is what I do with them. No store bought tomatoes for this recipe unless you are lucky enough to have a store that sells fresh from the farmer. If you don’t have a garden try one of the Farmer’s Market vendors. It also makes a huge difference if you use a rich balsamic and extra virgin olive oil. I don’t go crazy expensive here, but I try to get ones a cut above what I use for cooking.

Caprese Pasta

3 pounds sweet tomatoes, peeled and cut into pieces*
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. high quality balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. high quality olive oil
1/2 cup loosely packed diced fresh basil leaves
1 pound penne
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (you can also use slices of fresh mozzarella but I like having the cheese in every bite!)

Toss the tomato pieces and garlic in a bowl with the vinegar and oil. Add basil.Chill.

Cook the pasta al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill. Toss with the tomato mixture and add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

I like to serve this chilled. I refrigerate the tomato mixture and pasta separately then toss before serving. Great served with a good french bread to soak up the juices. Enjoy!

*Sometimes if my tomatoes aren’t as sweet as I like I add a touch of sugar to them.

Napa Valley Wildlife

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napa valley deer family

Across from our house is a ravine that, in the wet winter times, is actually a flowing creek that is created by the run-off from the surrounding hills. During the spring, summer, and fall deer gather here to rest and eat for hours on end. It is quiet, shady, and relatively well protected. At times there is an abundance of acorns. From the frequency of their visits it seems the deer feel safe and secure here rather than in the open space behind our house where other, more ‘toothsome’ wildlife rest.

In our yard we have several old and very productive (in terms of acorns) old oak trees. I am sure at times my neighbors think me crazy, but I will shovel and rake up 5 gallon buckets of them, haul them across the road and deposit them for the deer to find. I’ve wondered what they think when they arrive in the wee hours for their breakfast and morning nap to find a feast of acorns waiting for them. I hope they enjoy their treat, but more than that I hope that these easy to obtain acorns will keep them from the more tender vegetation in my front yard!