So I had meant to post the funnier bits of the letters I’d written in years past and call this live journal “On the Receiving End” – but someone else is already using that name, and I can’t find any of my old files. Screw me, right? That’s actually serious. Lost forever is the Tale of the Great Polenta Massacre of 2003. And the corn gumbo we had to bury in the back yard. Already the Gospel According to Billie Drake has major holes.
But I did find my treaty on why my veggie lasagna sauce is so heavy in tomatoes… :
I thought you might enjoy today's episode of Cooking With Billie, a show that is usually not short on excitement:
J and I needed to do some yard work yesterday, but it started raining as soon as we went outside and kept raining harder and harder until we gave up. It rained all night, and for most of the morning as well. You see, the reason we had to do yard work was because the insurance company needed to take pictures of the house after we removed the "debris" they didn't like. So I spent the morning cleaning. While we were away on the trip to Penn all of the tomatoes started to rot, and so I also had to make lasagna sauce. I was kind of hoping that the nice smells of yummy veggie cooking would help the insurance agent to ignore the knee-high weeds. Of course, wouldn't you know, he showed up right when I was out in the side yard stomping bell peppers. That's right.
"Hello there!" says big-teeth the insurance agent.
"Make yourself at home" I say.
At least this time I wasn't talking to my prey, like the time I cornered a fly in the small bathroom with an intimidating "I've got you now!" followed by a barrage of mad swatting. And at least bell peppers don't spray like, maybe, a tomato would (although I have never had call to stomp tomatoes in the back yard). Why was Billie stomping her ingredients?
Well, I've had trouble with this vegetable garden. For one thing, the tomatoes were rotting on the bush just as soon as they started to turn red. I solved this problem by picking them green and letting them turn red inside (don't tell my mother). And mysteriously, the bell peppers were getting these little black burns that made a little hole in each one. This being my first real veggie garden I had no idea what that meant. It IS pretty hot where I live. I wouldn’t put it past my peppers just spontaneously combusting. What do I know?
So anyway, I’m collecting veggies and I notice one of the bell peppers has a pincher bug on it. You know those little red bugs with lots of legs and nasty-looking pinchers on the front end. Probably the most awful bug in Colorado. Certainly the bug that disgusts and offends me the most. I squash the little bugger with a bit of bark, and carefully examine this bell pepper. It has a pretty deep fold, but I eventually satisfy myself that there are no more pinchers in it. I carry the load inside and very carefully wash this folded bell pepper. Then I wash the other peppers and was washing the tomatoes when I happened to glance over at my freshly washed cutting board and spot another pincher clinging to the side. This got me. Not only had the revolting little bugs blasphemed my bell pepper, they had dared to desecrate the holy cutting board!
All right, get that bug squished, scrub the hell out of the cutting board, re-re-wash the folded bell pepper, and then slice it to be sure nothing was hiding in the folds. Now I’m thinking on my feet. I turn my wrath on the two other bell peppers, even more suspicious than I was before of those tiny burn holes. Mulder and Scully and my vegetable garden… The V Files.
I cut the first one open, and find black "dirt" inside, and down at the bottom is a pincher bug. I don't bother to cut the other one open—I headed directly for outside, where I throw my cut half of a pepper on the ground. The pincher is ejected (no seatbelt) and I grind him out with my shoe (remember, always cook in shoes). There’s another one in the second half that didn't knock out, so I stomped it! Bell pepper smeared across the concrete and extinguished the life of the perpetrating insect. The second bell pepper smashed just as easily, killing everything inside. Uggh. It may sound like senseless waste, but those bugs had been living and breeding and relieving themselves in my peppers, and no amount of washing could have cleaned that up.
Better jump on the wreckage again, just to be sure.
So this is going to be very tomatoey sauce.
Big-teeth the insurance agent: “Miss Drake… ?” And vegtifiable homicide has nothing to do with my insurable safety as a homeowner.