Who knew that macaroni and cheese’s lineage is rich with such notables beginning with Marco Polo and going on to… Thomas Jefferson. Who knew that TJ’s cousin, Mary Randolph…his acting hostess in his Virginia home after the death of his wife… served macaroni and cheese made by James Hemings…see James was a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson…TJ had James schooled in the culinary arts in France and then James became his chef…James was among the first chefs in America to serve macaroni and cheese. TJ loved macaroni and cheese. There is so much more to this story.
I was simply surfing the Internet looking for a golden find…and voila!…yes you need to check out this truly cool man who recycles concrete, lives in the great Commonwealth of Virginia and who could not dispose of 43 president heads…I know..what? Well, history gives us 44 presidents to date…right?!….but the bust money ran out for making a 44 head…and now here comes 45…that is the next President… Mr. T is coming up on January 20… 2017 or bust…paws up peeps!
Photo by Tara McLaughlin (Tara watched this delicate Monarch lay 100 eggs. She photographed the moment, then rescued the eggs and put them in her butterfly nursery. She is now releasing the many survivors. I call her Monarch Mommy.) Summer of 2016
Lots of noise out there about Mr. T and his latest quotable sound bite regarding “extreme vetting.” What he has proposed has happened in the past…according to The Washington Post 8/16/16…”It has happened before: During the Cold War, there was ideological screening under the 1940 Alien Registration Act, designed to prevent the entry of communists, anarchists and others. Immigrants are currently required to know basic civics as part of a citizenship test, and Trump’s extreme vetting would require visa applicants’ affirmative agreement with those principles — though he wasn’t clear whether he would do this with a legislative change (which would be unassailable) or a unilateral executive action.” So there are few details in this vetting…let me fill in the golden blanks.
Vetting is something that I do on a regular basis. My buddies go through the same. When I was a growing up pup, I experienced “extreme vetting” until I grew to one year. Then the older I got the less this happened…but never the less, my vetting now happens at least bi-annually and if I’m lucky that’s it. Vetting keeps me healthy, keeps me from making other dogs ill and ensures that I continue to live a healthy and happy golden life. There is a price to pay for this. I must have my shots updated and recorded. Then I can get my tag that says I have had certain tests and I can’t give rabies. I must have a fecal check so as not to spread nasty communicable diseases. Sitting on a scale is required…a gum & teeth check occurs. I don’t complete any forms or exercise my brain or make any statements about neutering or no-kill shelters or puppy mills…I don’t have to know that the cardinal is my state bird or that the tiger swallowtail butterfly is my state’s insect… I do annually live up to the social norms associated with me…we comply…so I live legally as a licensed domesticated dog within the great Commonwealth of Virginia. Interesting that each state has its rules and regulations to abide by regarding licensing dogs. I heart VA.
So… my vetting keeps me and others safe and I’m legal…Can’t comment of Mr. T’s.
Here comes the fresh and juicy, juicy tomatoes off the local vines. Here comes the fresh strawberries hand-picked from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. And here comes the abundance of fresh sweet basil from my garden. Seeing the shiny, glossy green leaves of this special herb is a summer delight. Touch or rub the leaves and its aromatics lace the air with a spicy and distinguished fragrance. So, let the foodies challenge begin! We adore this herb. My summer plates evolve around the inclusion of basil. And by first frost (Zone 7), fresh basil plants and their bounty will be a fleeting memory and sorely missed. So, while basil is here, it’s king. (The name Basil comes from the Greek word “Basileus” meaning King or people’s leader).
Here are some simple suggestions for the aforementioned. You don’t need a recipe, just snip the leaves, cut up the tomatoes, slice the strawberries and make mouth-watering crowd pleasing and nutritional dishes. Warning… fresh basil is intoxicating, garden-fresh tomatoes… addictive and fresh strawberries…well there are never enough.
Maintaining fresh-cut herbs: Suggest trimming the sprigs in the AM before the heat of the day arrives. Then immediately rinse under cold water, shake off excess and place the bunch of cut herbs in a container of water. Place container in a cool place away from sunny windows. Your bouquet will stay fresh and last a remarkable amount of time, while also bringing in the aromatics of the plant to your kitchen.