food, garden, running

A Shift



Tomatoes got no love from us this year: our annual garden is half-full of flowers, mostly cosmos. And I LOVE IT though when the frost that is on the horizon finally arrives, the wilted plants will likely convince me that fall has truly arrived. Not that there aren’t plenty of other signs of seasonal or at least periodic change. Check it out:

  • My interest in running is waning, just as the temperatures finally are pleasant for running. We have such a short fall! I have one race left yet this season – the 10k that is affiliated with the Twin Cities Marathon, and am considering the Surf the Murph trail run, also, at the end of October, if I can get my post-run heel symptoms under control.
  • Today is NOT a sandal day. Too nippy for the toes.
  • There has been some beautiful fall produce at the farmer’s market, lately. I did my weekend run last Sunday to the nearest farmer’s market just to see if okra was still in season (it is, but no one who shops there wants it). Many types of squash, potatoes and parsnips were plentiful.
  • The above item leads me to start considering what to plant in our garden, next year. Pumpkin or squash, parsnips, carrots and okra are on the list, so far. And oca, if we can find some tubers, next year. We missed the boat, the last two years, with this.
  • The aforementioned early frost required me, two nights ago, to cover up the tiny seedlings of the lettuce, radishes and spinach that we planted for a fall crop, a few weeks ago. These were from the Baker Creek heirloom seeds we got in Petaluma, last month, at the Seed Bank. I also planted rainbow chard seeds, but those hadn’t germinated yet. Safe, in the dirt, from the frost.
  • Okra in copious amounts and beautiful condition can be found at Dragon Star Oriental Foods, at least in early September, I discovered, this past week. Which makes me wonder if it was organically grown, but I didn’t ask. At that point, I was so desperate in my okra hunt (for a gumbo recipe for a party last Saturday) that I was ecstatic to see a huge bin full of very likely local okra. I’d already tried the nearest co-op as well as the nearby El Burrito Mercado (ok, so okra evidently isn’t in most Mexican cuisine, but it is in American southern cuisine, and some of the American south is near Mexico. I had to give it a shot. Also, quick iPhone web search yielded some Mexican-inspired recipes that did use okra).
  • The okra hunt was symptomatic of my cooking cycles, but also related to a wedding shower party we hosted for my good friend Julie. With this event, we learned that a) this is the first time we have had a party at this house that wasn’t in winter, and b) we need to do it more often, especially as our backyard affords a lot more socializing and game-playing room. Most of the success was due to the 25 or so friends that joined us, including the fabulous guest of honor, but a part of it was due to the most excellent cupcakes that we bought from Cupcake in Minneapolis, for it. The treats were fantastic – especially the least exotic but most tasty and cute “I Love Lucy” cupcake variety that was a portion of our order.
  • We had okra stew available for anyone arriving to the party hungry and wanting more or different food than a cupcake or chips & salsa. We figured, we do this at our winter party, so maybe people expect it? Well, this amounted to just two people, so Steve and I enjoyed it in lunches, earlier this week. Thanks go again to Isa Chandra Moskowitz for another great vegan recipe!
  • We also had all sorts of beverages available for guests; I enjoyed some (most?) of the bottle of Schug chardonnay that we bought on our California trip. Yes, I am admitting to enjoying chardonnay. This is rare; it was delicious.
  • As Twin Cities residents, we are very fortunate to be surrounded by epic tons of arts experiences, every day of the week, every week of the year. And yet in the past few years, I feel that I haven’t been taking advantage of that, perhaps mostly due to my outdoor sports habits. Well, not so, these past two weeks! Last week, I attended a Sample Night Live event. It was a fun evening of comedy, music, dance, theatre, visual and performance art. And not all of those, simultaneously: it was done in a sort of variety-show format. And just last evening, I went with Excellent Jill to the Get Graphic event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The museum was alive with music and activity! We also checked out  the St. John’s bible exhibit, which had just opened, as well as Angela Strassheim’s show of forensic photography and a panoramic photography show, among others. It’s been a very colorful, inspiring two weeks. No wonder my motivation for sports is waning!