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Gardening Home

On Tree Stalking


This is not my garden. It belongs to a guy called Monet.

When we first moved here, I didn’t know much about west coast plants so was pretty much flying blind when we planted the first time. So just before Thanksgiving, we redid our garden. My vision was that it was going to be a Garden of Eden type setup (minus the snakes and except that we would wear loincloths since our homeowners association forbids public nudity) wherein, when hungry, we would just venture outside and pluck food off of a tree for just-in-time consumption. Good-bye, grocery stores!

Aside from a walkway lined with camellias, we installed loquats, figs, grapefruit and avocado. But to have a really well-rounded diet, you need to add persimmon and pomegranate too. But alas! Persimmon and pomegranate were out of season. I could not have them! I had to wait until they were available in bare root form, sometime in the winter. Winter!!! I can be a little impatient and obsessive sometimes (shocked hush falls upon the world).

This camellia actually is from my newly planted garden.

So I started calling. I called every nursery within 50 miles of me, and scoured the ones online too. They were saying January. February. I wept. And after a day of rabid stalking research, the nice man at Home Depot told me he expected them to come in mid-December. This was better news. This was hope. And then a little desperation kicked in because I started calling him every day to check on the trees because what if they came in early? And then I started get a little embarrassed because he clearly recognized me so I started using different accents but the same voice. Hindsight is always 20/20.

These are also from my garden. Oh wait, not mine. They’re from the Queen of England’s garden. Nevermind.

Finally, on the day I used my Alabama accent on the phone, he told me that they were in! They hadn’t been unpacked yet, but they were in! I dropped everything. I sped off to Home Depot. And there they were, a huddle of bare root trees, tied together on the ground like a bunch of people kidnapped for ransom but with sticks for bodies.

Since they were bound together I had to have an employee cut them apart. But…I cleverly avoided the male employee in the department since I feared he would recognize me, and went up to the female employee. She said she didn’t have a knife and walked over to the male employee. He asked me which types of trees I was looking for and I meekly answered him. He looked at me and asked, “Did you call?” to which I replied, “I called yesterday.” which was technically true.

At last. I’ve found you.

I took them home, followed the instructions on the package, and after watching a billion videos on how to prune a bare root fruit tree, pruned them. This stick in the ground is the persimmon:

and this one the pomegranate:

You just have to trust that these are going to produce enough food for a family of four in a few months, people. It’s called faith.


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Cooking Food

Eggs Benedict California

I’m ashamed to say that I missed National Eggs Benedict Day, but I am recovering from a malady for which I am taking Mucinex DM for cough and chest congestion. And though I know there is nothing hotter than hearing a woman talk about taking Mucinex DM, I will move along to the recipe at hand.

I was inspired by eggs benedict (can you say eggs benedict without saying Eggs Benedict Arnold? I wish Benedict Arnold were Patrick Henry though — you know, “Give me liberty or give me eggs”) but wanted something a little more lively. The sharp and creamy taste of the goat cheese is a nice complement to the carmelized tomatoes and lemony hollandaise — it just works.

First, make the hollandaise sauce — I like this easy version that you make in a blender.  This version is for 4-6 servings, so quarter it if you’re just cooking for yourself. Set it aside.

Toast both sides of an English muffin. While they’re hot, spoon some crumbled goat cheese on them like so:

Next, poach two eggs. Do not poach any giraffes in Africa. If you’re not sure how to poach eggs, click here for instructions.  When the eggs are done, lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, let it drain (I wiped the bottom of my spoon with a dish towel to get rid of excess water) and place them on top of the goat cheese while hot, so the cheese begins to melt.

Hm, looks like I stopped taking pictures after that. I blame Mucinex DM.

Slice some sweet tomatoes (I used campari cocktail tomatoes, but some nice big cherry tomatoes would work nicely too), heat up a splash of oil in a pan, and put the tomatoes face down in the hot oil for about a  minute, til they start to caramelize a bit. Flip them over and let them cook on the other side for another minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and spoon them over the eggs and muffins.

Slice up half an avocado, and put it on top. Drizzle your lemony hollandaise sauce over everything. I had some fennel fronds so I snipped some leaves over it all for garnish. Enjoy!


Begin with the hollandaise sauce; recipe found here. This recipe makes 4 servings, so adjust accordingly depending on your serving size. Set it aside.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 English muffin, halves separated (for a gluten-free version, use gluten-free muffins)
  • 4 tsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3 campari cocktail tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp oil
  • (optional) fennel leaves for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


Toast the English muffin. While toasting, poach eggs (for instructions on poaching, click here).

Remove English muffin halves from the toaster and place cranny-side up. Sprinkle goat cheese across the faces, and top with poached eggs, one on each half.

Heat the oil for a minute and place the tomato halves cut-side down in the oil for a minute until it begins to caramelize. Flip the tomatoes and allow to cook for another minute on the other side.

Slice the avocado half into long slices lengthwise and place between the eggs. Garnish with fennel leaves if desired, drizzle hollandaise sauce on top and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 1 serving.