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September 19, 2021

We thought we’d turned the corner on Covid-19. But then along came the Delta variant this summer. Even though most of us are vaccinated, this variant is far more transmissible than the original and there has been a huge uptick in infections across the world, including in people who are vaccinated.

Been doing a lot of spit tests since the Delta variant sprung up this summer.

None has felt more significant than the one yesterday, only because I actually had a two-hour-plus encounter with a covid-positive person–who shall remain nameless–earlier this week.

Early on, we got tested across the street at the Senior Center. Mucho convenient. Then we started going to the Mondavi, until they closed that about a month ago. Now we’ll likely frequent the Vets Memorial Center, since it’s only about a 10 minute walk, but this weekend, we went to the ARC on campus.

The students are pouring into town at an impressive clip… by the thousands. Which means lines now at the campus testing site. It went fast. All students, staff and faculty will be required to test every two weeks (this after showing PROOF of vaccination or a medical exemption.. in which case you have to get tested every four days), so they are really set up for crowds!

This is inside the ARC but was actually shot last week before they’d fully staffed it for the return of the students. If I had to say, I’d guess that at full operation, they’ll have something like 50 stations. And they’re turning results around within a day, which is amazing. And of course it’s free and available for drop in. Fantastic service. Yay UCD.

I had been more anxious than usual to get my result.. and when it came this afternoon, it was the usual:

This is all such a weird time in our lives.. the virus that has affected and changed the whole world, the new routines and practices, the anxieties, the deaths and losses, THE STUPID CULTURE WARS that are hindering our return to safe and normal lives…. all of it.

But for today, happy for a clean bill of covid health.

Tomato Love

September 18, 2021

Well, hell, I’d better get a blog in before I forget how to do it. The longer I go, the behinder I get. Which is obvious. I see my last blog was August 19, so at least I haven’t let it go a month.

I will do better.

And when I do finally catch up — which I totally plan to do — these comments won’t make any sense.. but hey, that’s par for the blog course.

Anyway… with that…

I was moved to blog tonight because I have a ready topic: tomatoes. At the risk of being redundant to what I posted on Facebook this afternoon (redundant to? redundant with? See.. I’m rusty..), here is a photo of yesterday’s garden haul:

We are getting just tons and tons of tomatoes (in addition to chard, basil, zucs, cucs, eggplant, peppers and even melon). I hate to say how much of our harvest/s have gone bad and I feel terrible about every wrinkly zuc and moldy tomato that languishes in the produce drawer. That said, I’ve also managed to pick-clean-package-freeze a whole bunch of chard and basil, and we do a fairly decent job of keeping up with a lot of the the other stuff. But man, those tomatoes are now coming fast and furious.

This afternoon, after seeking and getting some helpful advice on what to do with tomatoes, I decided to roast and freeze the cherries. I’m deciding to forgo canning — at least right now — as freezing is a fine choice, especially if you have room in your freezer. It’s faster and easier, too. And may last longer. I’m no expert, but this seems like a pretty satisfying option to me.

Found a recipe:

Super easy. Starts like this…..

And after two hours, ends up like this….

Which then becomes these fantastic things that are flat, full of explosive flavor and are now in the freezer taking up hardly any space…

Will use with pastas, pizzas maybe, and who knows what during the winter. Should be heavenly.

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Contributing to my garden and tomato self esteem, I made a really great tomatoey dinner. I used a recipe I’d tried early in the pandemic, May of 2020, too early in the season for flavorful tomatoes (plus, we didn’t have a garden yet so had to use store-bought). It was sort of mediocre then, but seemed worth trying again with better ingredients. So this time, in the waning days of summer when the tomatoes are bursting with flavor, the recipe was a success.

It also used roasted tomatoes, these embellished with only olive oil, bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

They’re only roasted for 20 minutes. Just before they’re done, you cook a quick batch of pasta (I used angel hair, though the recipe called for penne), add it to the roasted tomatoes, mix it up and serve it with parmesan at the table. That’s it. Rich flavor and easy peasy. I didn’t get a picture. Dessert was a wonderful honeydew melon From.The.Garden.

I mean really.