August 29th, 2013
I am in the movies! Okay, not the big screen. More like the little screen—say, the size of your computer monitor. I and my garden are the subjects of a video and Q&A story for Panera Bread’s new website and to promote their new “Live Consciously” campaign. (Update: The story and video have moved temporarily off the Panera website while they move things around. You can still see the video here on the Panera Youtube channel.
If you have one of those Panera guest cards that earns you discounts on sandwiches and free cookies, you probably received the same invitation to be in the (little) movies that I did. I received the email last fall. “Tell us about your hobby!”
Well, it was evening when I opened the email. I maybe had a glass of wine. Maybe two. I figured, “Hey, I’ll tell them I garden!” So I filled out their online form and rather than providing them with a bunch of answers to their open-ended questions, I referred them right here—to my garden blog.
Months went by and I didn’t hear anything. Frankly, I forgot about it as soon as I hit send. After all, gardening isn’t exactly an unusual hobby. Surely tons of gardeners wrote to tell the Panera folks about their rose gardens, their perennial gardens, their exotic gardens.
But then one day I received an email, “Hey, we want to come visit your vegetable garden, talk with you and make a garden video!”
There was a bit of back-and-forth and a few weeks later two videographers, an art director and account executive flew in from Boston and other parts north for a visit. They were at my house for nearly seven hours! For a two-minute video!
The older of my two Papillons, Sophie, was delighted at the opportunity to be in the movies. Sophie is one smart dog. She’s not the kind of smart dog who will do tricks. She’s the kind of dog who knows exactly how to make you do tricks.
During the interview portion of the shoot, which took about 20 minutes, Sophie sat right next to me, ears up and with her best I’m-ready-for-my-closeup smile on her face. Sarah was busy sniffing camera bags and cables.
Neither dog made it into a single shot!
The videographers were keen to see me work and move around, which was more than a little uncomfortable. The weeding was fine. I’m used to weeding. Sitting on my little stool and scratching out the unwanted weeds is as natural as breathing for me.
But having two guys with cameras follow me around as I walked in and out of the house, potted up a little plant, pick lettuce? Believe it or not, that’s not something I do every day. It was a wee bit uncomfortable.
But it wasn’t until I watched the video that I realized my unfortunate wardrobe choice.
Mom jeans. I was wearing mom jeans. Seriously? I had to wear mom jeans when people came over with cameras? What was I thinking? Ugh.
Watching the video now I also see how barren and new my first-week-in-June vegetable garden looks. The camera dudes were uninterested in my hosta garden. The wisteria, peonies and roses had just finished their big display. But really, they were interested in the fruits and veggies.
And the eastern box turtle.
Actually, the eastern box turtle stole the video. That’s the first thing everyone comments about. Even my brother’s first comment was, “Cool! You have a turtle?”
Well, no. The turtle actually has me. I am his personal gardener.
I’m pretty sure this is the same box turtle who has lived in the garden for about three years now. I often stumble across him as I’m digging and planting, watering or weeding. I know he’s the one who takes bites from low-hanging tomatoes because I caught him red-handed one day, front legs on a big red tomato and mouth open. I’m sure he’s the guy who nibbles at my strawberries too. That’s okay. I planted extra for him.
So, here’s the video. Watch for the shot of the turtle.
No comments on the mom jeans, please.
August 20th, 2013
Solo lunches can be such delicious affairs. You can eat leftovers. (One of my all-time favorite foods.) You can eat standing at the frig. (Not recommended.) Or you can build a gourmet sandwich from fixins’ and condiments you have on-hand, such as these pretty and pink pickled red onions.
The fact is, some of my favorite type of restaurant menus to peruse are from sandwich joints. It’s amazing the wild and wonderful things humble sandwich restaurants can come up with—usually for less than $10.
Years ago, one of my favorite lunchtime breaks from work was at a restaurant that packed a pita with cheddar cheese, black and green olives. That’s it. Four ingredients. But it was packed full and then fired in the wood oven and served with a simple vinaigrette. Thinking back on it, it’s a good thing my metabolism was firing high in those days because that sandwich probably had about 1,500 calories—before the french fries on the side!
These days I like to keep specialty condiments in the frig for days when I have homemade bread and can justify the calories. Favorite ingredients include pickles of all types, avocados, hummus or other bean dip, arugula and anything cheese.
In my opinion, a food gets extra points if it’s pretty, so I wanted pretty pickled onions for my condiment selection. These onions fit the bill and make a perfect addition to the toasted Swiss, avocado and arugula sandwich I’m craving a lot these days. Total time is about an hour once you have assembled all your supplies and ingredients. You’ll take away about seven or eight little half-pint jars. You can give some as gifts or just hoard them all for yourself and those sandwich days.
Posted In: Canning and Preserving