Sunday in the Park (Grant Park, Atlanta)

Sunday morning we woke early and hopped on our bikes. We by-passed the Grant Park Farmer's Market and headed 8 miles out to Your DeKalb Farmer's Market. With paniers in place we planned to do our weekly grocery shopping while also getting a work out and enjoying the mild sun of an early summer morning. 

Back home a few hours later, we rested a bit with lemonade-beers before heading out into the now blazing sun. Our goal: rip out our fading summer plants and clean up the yard. After prepping the soil I planted seeds for a few late-summer/early fall vegetables. Fingers crossed for brussel spouts and radishes!

In the evening Oliver canned the dozen remaining banana peppers that had been harvested earlier that day. He paired them with our homegrown carrots, okra and grape tomatoes. (I'm hoping they'll make a great Bloody Mary mix/garnish later this fall.) 

Dinner was grilled Amber Jack, brussel sprouts, okra and a Founder's jalapeno mango beer. As of tonight, Tuesday, our little lettuce seeds have already started to sprout!  I'd write more - but I'm exhausted... Good night.


Seeking an in-season, mid-summer dinner idea I turned to Pinterest. Panzanella caught my eye. While I don't think I've ever had it before, it seems to be a chunky version of gazpacho and I love gazpacho. Tomatoes, cucumber, chunks of bread, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.

Not enough of our tomatoes are ready to be picked so we biked down to the Grant Park Farmer's Market to see what we could find there. A colorful pint of mixed cherry and heirloom tomatoes caught my eye. On our way out of the market we ran into our friends Laura and AJ; they mentioned that Laura's sister-in-law (Ali Benjamin of the blog and book  Cleaner Plate Clubhas a great Panzanella recipe. As soon as I got home I pulled the book from my shelf and flipped to the tomato chapter. Her recipe calls for toasting the bread in the oven - which sounds more appealing then the recipe I had which calls for leaving the bread out overnight. AND it means we can try this sooner then later! 

Brunch, babies and a party in the park

This morning we invited a dozen friends over for brunch before our annual neighborhood summer festival. Oliver made biscuits and gravy as well as a big pot of grits. Friends brought quiches, frittatas, cinnamon bread, fruit salads - all kinds of delicious breakfast foods! We were also happy to have a handful of new friends at the party - babies! This summer was "that" summer for us: many of our local friends had kids. It's sort of nonstop... In a photo below you'll see a two month old, a three week old and friend pregnant with twins (and they're really just the tip of the ice burg). After breakfast everyone walked to Grant Park and spent several hours in the grass enjoying the festival. Our thanks to everyone for a super great day. XO - Cullen

Sunday morning in the garden

By the time the Grant Park Farmers Market opens at 9:30 we've already been up for at least an hour. This morning we spent time in the garden. Our tomatoes are finally too tall for their stakes so we decided to cut them off at 10 ft. Pumpkin blossoms are appearing on the pumpkin vine. The leeks are getting fat. Green peppers are turning red and there are almost a dozen eggplants between two plants. While Oliver cooked bacon I ran down to the GPFM and picked up some goat cheese made Friday on a farm just 10 miles away. Breakfast was omelets with veggies from the garden, fresh goat cheese and a side of bacon. 

Sunday Morning at the Grant Park FarmersMarket

Our cupboards were bare this morning so we packed up our bikes and headed to the park to find breakfast. At the Grant Park Farmers market we found and shared a flaky, delicious sausage turnover from Little Tart Bakeshop and a tasty chocolate croissant from H&F breads. After an hour we biked home, jumped in the car and drove to YDFM for our weekly groceries.  

We impressed ourselves by spending only $57. The only things not on the reciept* (below) that we should count towards the food costs are a $1.75 container of dried black beans and a dozen eggs; both of which we already had at home.  $11 of the $57 is coffee. $5 is raw almonds (Oliver's favorite snack). Check back throughout the week to see how we make it work.

$60 5 day, real food meal plan for two adults:
Breakfast - oatmeal (weekdays), bacon and eggs (weekend)
Lunch - black beans
Dinner - London Broil (on salad, on a sandwich and on it's own) with YDFM and homegrown vegetables

*click to enlarge

Meals from the garden

The weather may be outrageously hot, but it's still a wonderful time of year to have a vegetable garden. For us Sunday marked the beginning of BLT (bacon, lettuce & tomato) season. To make this season opening, mouthwateringly delicious, sandwich we picked tomatos from two of our heirloom plants. The sourdough bread was fresh from the H&F booth at the Grant Park Farmers Market. Bacon and lettuce from YDFM. This sandwich was PERFECTION! I'm looking foward to more throughout the season. 

For this evening's dinner we picked our two giant eggplants. They were mixed them with pole beans, small potatoes, red peppers, curry paste and coconut milk for a super spicey curry. 
I'd write more - but our Peachtree Road Race costumes are beckoning. I've decided to add pockets to my toga and the draw string in Oliver's Uncle Sam pants need mending. One more day til the big race! YAY! Keep an eye out for us if you plan to be there too.

Grant Park Farmers Market - now open for 2012


The Grant Park Farmers Market opened today! We didn't buy any vegetables because most of the offerings were items we had growing home. Instead we shared a honey fig jam gelato from Honeysuckle (southern inspired gelato). The rest of the day has been spent in the garden adding new plants and moving around old ones. Will share a garden update on Monday. 

Last Grant Park Farmers' Market of the year

Oliver has been busy all morning getting a head start on Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey necks and wings are in the oven as he prepares to make a stock for his secret-family-recipe oyster dressing. He chopped a dozen large onions in the food processor and filled the entire house with chopped onion air. Even Topher was squinting and blinking. To give our crying eyes a break we walked down to the last Grant Park Farmer's Market of the year. 
It's sad to see the market close for five months but perhaps it will prompt us to check out the Decatur Farmers Market (not to be confused with YDFM which is in Decatur). That one is open Saturdays 9am to 1pm year round. Click here for the website: Decatur Farmers Market

Ok, back to work for me!

Turn that frown upside down - happy tomatoes!

Turn that "sad tomato" frown upside down because Oliver has successfully ripened some of our late summer tomatoes! I want to start with the acknowledgement that fried green tomatoes topped with homemade pimento cheese are not heart healthy. But fortunately they are real food!

If you read the "sad tomato" blog post then you know we ripped out our tomato plants the day before the first predicted frost of the year. Oliver then took the 7.5 lbs of

growing tomatoes and wrapped them in newspaper and placed them in a cardboard box. Ten days later we checked the box. I was so excited to see that some of the tomatoes had continued to ripen! By then it was obvious which tomatoes were going to stay green and which had a chance of becoming perfectly red and plump. We rewrapped the reddening tomatoes and brought all the green ones to the kitchen.
Step one: slice! Step two coat: flour, then egg, then corn meal. Step three: Fry in vegetable oil. (We fry something possibly three times a year so I'm not feeling guilt about enjoying a fried sandwich but I should take the opportunity emphasize - stay away from fried foods!) Oliver then mixed up a homemade pimento cheese and spread it on bread fresh from the Grant Park Farmers Market. He topped it all off with the warm fried green tomatoes. We ate together outside on the freshly painted front porch.

I am so glad we grew those tomatoes. I am even happier Oliver was able to salvage the ones I thought were goners. There is still a box-full ripening and I promise to update as soon as we do something with them!

Etsy Shop - Coming Soon

Hello from sunny but chilly Atlanta! It's a perfect Sunday here at the And Topher Too house. Started the day with a bowl of oatmeal. Walked to the Grant Park Farmer's Market with mugs of coffee. Enjoyed all the super cute kids and dogs in Halloween costumes. Picked up a loaf of bread. Back at home I've been working on designs for my etsy shop while Oliver cooks. White bean soup and fried green tomatoes are in the works!

To the left you see a screenshot of the seasonal prints I'm working on. The type in the background lists in-season foods and the images are my watercolor paintings. They'll come in a set of four. I may also make them into magnets and/or notecards. This may not be the final design (I'm struggling with the layout). 

To Market, To Market

For us Sunday morning means a walk to our neighborhood Farmer's Market. I've been so impressed with how very-local many of the farms are. (There is one down Moreland, south of the drive-in, and another near West End.) Today my favorite vendor, Mountain Earth Farms, had unbelievable heirloom tomatoes. Huge and beautifully grotesque! We bought a giant tomato and two small ciabatta rolls and plan to make BLTs for dinner tomorrow. Until then, it's canning time! Oliver is currently in the kitchen canning some hot pickled okra. Bloody Mary anyone?!