Who Is Anastasia?

My photo
New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear - regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how junky it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ... Oh, the two pictures below are NOT of my garden, although the one with the pink French doors looks very much like the backyard I grew up with. I am searching for pictures of that wonderful place and will post soon.

JEWELS OF MY SOUL

JEWELS OF MY SOUL
My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

July 25, 2009

Isn't She Lovely?


Isn’t She Lovely?

The first tomato of the season – well, at least in my garden. I’ve been watching this baby for weeks, and finally decided to pick her this morning. Every year I grow tomatoes in containers – all types of containers, including planters, paint buckets, barrels, old pots, watering cans, even a baby cradle. I do this for a few reasons; one, I don’t dig – ever – so, all of my garden beds are raised beds. I plant via the lasagna method of layering. But, I plant my vegetables in containers above the ground so they are easy for me to tend to, to keep the rabbits, as well as my dog, out. They usually do very well.

This year I was cheap. I crowded two tomato plants and two pepper plants in each planter. I even planted morning glory and sunflower seeds in some of those planters. If you’re even remotely familiar with those two, they both can have tremendous root systems, and the morning glory likes to cuddle a bit too much. But, my little tomato plants thrived; they just would not grow tall. Each plant has approximately five to seven tomatoes. This morning, this little darling was aglow with a deep, rich blush. She winked at me, and said, “Pick me, sweetie …” So, I did.

Do you love tomatoes as much as I do? I can no longer stomach the dull, boring pink mush in the grocery stores. I love the sweet acidic taste of the old fashioned heirloom tomatoes. Don’t ask me what kind this is; I don’t know. The seedling was given to me as a gift. The fruit is small; but slightly larger than a cherry tomato.

Imagine the possibilities of a luscious, truly vine-ripe tomato! Since she’s so small, I thought a Tomato Sandwich was in order. So, here are a couple of ideas:

Broiled Tomato Sandwich
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 slice Bermuda onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, divided
4 slices bread, barely toasted
Preheat oven to broil.
Whisk together the oil, onion, vinegar, olives and garlic. Add the tomatoes and let them get to know one another for about an hour, stir them up when needed. In a bowl, blend mayo, parsley, oregano, black pepper and 4 teaspoons Parmesan Reggiano. Spread on each slice of bread, the place marinated tomatoes on 2 slices and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Broil for 5 minutes on a baking sheet until cheese turns golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.

After Work Tomato Sandwich

2 slices of white sandwich bread (the kind your mom put in your lunch box)
2 tablespoons of mayo or salad dressing
3 thick slices of beefsteak tomato
Assemble and Eat Rapidly!

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips