"My balls are always bouncing, and my balls are always full…"

by Katie Pizzuto on February 23, 2009

in Charcuterie,gardening

2648458814_6dbcaa0686“Balls!” said the Queen. “If I had t(w)o, I’d be King.” So begins one of my favorite little ditties. Well, if I had t(w)o, I’d be the Jack of all Trades, but as it stands, I’m most assuredly a Jack but I believe my surname is Ass. I’m one of those people that love to dive head first into creative, hands-on endeavors, especially when they involve food or drink. I’ve made several batches of my own ales, I’ve made my kid cakes in the shape of a Fender Stratocaster & amp, and I’ve even created a family of chocolate truffles based on favorite cocktails. But as of late, I’m as confused as the proverbial fart caught in a fan shop. After buying “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman I’m dying to start smoking my own bacon and making my own sausages…and salumi…and patés…and confit. I’ve also been toying with the idea of starting a vegetable garden this year, in addition to the herbs I normally grow. Then, after reading a great post over on Food On The Food, I got a sudden urge to start a mushroom patch. Oh, and did I mention that I want to perfect my bread making skills this year? I’ve promised my mother ethereal croissants this summer and I simply don’t know how to fail, so if it takes a flour-caked kitchen, a trampled-on cat, and probably getting served divorce papers, I WILL make great fucking croissants if it KILLS me.

I don’t exactly have the greenest of thumbs—ok, they’re practically black—but that doesn’t seem to stifle the longing in me to stick my hands in the dirt and plant some tomatoes. I mean, how much could it possibly matter that I once managed to kill a damned cactus, right?!? It’s not how often you fail, but how many glasses of wine you have after you pick yourself up and try again. So the voice on one shoulder (we’ll call him doubting husband) tells me to squash any notions of greenery in my near future and focus on things I can’t actually kill, per se. I’m not sold on this idea, so I often shove a truffle in his mouth, and that’s enough to silence the voice for a while.

Then there’s the little voice on the other shoulder (we’ll call him everyone-else-in-the-blasted-family-tree guy) that agrees with doubting husband and tries to convince me to focus my efforts on charcuterie and bread making. Why? Because I should consider the family, and how well some homemade salami and fresh bread would go with my roasted peppers at the next party. I mean, really, what are they supposed to do with poorly ripened, sad-looking, penis-sized eggplant? No faith, I tell you. That unified voice is not so readily silenced, but I find that telling them that if they continue to piss me off I could easily poison there next meal hushes them to an inaudible whisper that I can swat away from my ear like the pesky annoying gnat that it is.

Help…please, I implore. What should I do? I’ll let you be the third voice—the voice of unbiased reason. The one that would never tell me that opening that third bottle of wine at 2am is often a bad idea. Am I nuts to want to do it all? OK, never mind the nuts part—should I limit the focus or throw all caution to the wind? Let me know. That way, I can blame it all on you.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey February 23, 2009

I recon you should do what u damn well want and prove the doubting thomas’s wrong – i look forward to trying the smoked meat ;0)

… oh and the croissants!

personally im looking forward to my mint growing again in the garden coz im on my second bag of home frozen mint – but you cant beat fresh from the garden

and im running out of my home frozen mixed herbs too

did i say i look forward to tasting the truffles as well … he he!!


2 Coupe 60 February 23, 2009

“so I often shove a truffle in his mouth, and that’s enough to silence the voice for a while.” – Euphemism or actual truffle?

Based on your surname, your husband is the one from the boot…tell him to get his guinea ass out in the backyard and grow some friggin tomoatoes …seriously WTF…I mean it WTF… 🙂


3 Neighbor Nancy February 24, 2009

The extremely short list of what I can kill:
Evil miniature roses
Okay, anything found in the supermarket plant section

We discovered you can forget to weed 2,500 sq. ft. of soybeans (edamame.) They are too prolific to give a SH*%.

Lettuce and carrots suck… take too much weeding.
Tomatoes should really be staked.
Brassicas, broccoli, cabbage, etc. will be eaten to lace if not covered with agribon

The “three sisters” planting is Native American genius

The deer think that you planted sunflowers just for them.

In the kitchen, refuse to buy bread.
Find a construction crew to eat your mistakes. I actually did this with my learning-to-bake-a-pie phase. They were happy… I learned.

Read: The Self Sufficient gardener by John Seymour

Lasagna Gardening by well, hell, somebody

Gardening When it Counts by… hm…
anyway, choose the low maintenance stuff he recommends first.

Don’t get discouraged, they say it takes 3-4 years before you figure out exactly what you can and can’t grow.


4 Katie Pizzuto February 24, 2009

@Linsey…I’ll make you truffles if you promise to bring me a bottle of that mushroom catsup!!

@Coupe…no, I really shove a truffle in his mouth…his mother used to have a garden, so you’d think he’d be decent at it. Me, on the other hand…well, Cubans are good at sugar cane and tobacco, but tomatoes not so much.

@Nancy…you rock! I will heed every crumb of advice. Did I mention you rock?!?


5 Neighbor Nancy February 24, 2009

Mushroom catsup? I’m fascinated. Need a link.

Okay, so my mom had a big garden when I was a kid. Oh yeah, and a flock of sheep.

BTW, lamb sucks, if you know its name.

Anyway, I had ziltch country skills when we started this homestead project. I read constantly, still do. And learned things along the way.

Like — if you buy flour in bulk, freeze it for 24 hrs or you’ll get bugs.

Or check this learning experience out. No giggling.

Please send me questions, I ache for topics. Nothing is too basic.

Forgot to mention: My father belts the “balls” ditty from his garage where it echoes across the valley. All the time! I like to remind my mom, “You picked ‘im.”


6 Coupe 60 February 24, 2009

Nancy…OMG that was one funny story…


7 Katie Pizzuto February 24, 2009

Nancy, if you look back on my risotto post, somewhere in the comments, Linsey mentions this mushroom ketchup that sounds amazing and I know she includes a link there somewhere…comes out of the UK and I’m dying to get some. Great post, BTW! But I confess that I giggled 🙂 I’ll drop you an email today if I can. And BTW, my 10-yr-old SON belts the AC/DC song as well, most often while he’s holding two navel oranges down near his groin. My husband likes to remind me, “You birthed him.”


8 Neighbor Nancy February 24, 2009

Confession: I belted the AC/DC one from on top of a bar about a decade ago. Okay, let’s NOT share that with the PTA.
I have no comment or excuse.

So, fantastic, what your saying is that my sweet little boy in the avatar will be the equivalent of a drunken freak in 4 years. That’s just lovely.


9 Katie Pizzuto February 24, 2009

Fear not, Nancy, I don’t think the PTA would have me even if I wanted in. Dressing my kid up like Ozzy Osbourne for Halloween was probably the nail on the coffin.


10 Neighbor Nancy February 24, 2009

My son was a bat last year. They could have gone together.

Our PTA is desperate. If your a crack whore that can bake, well then…


11 Linsey February 24, 2009

katie if you want the one i left at anthonys im sure that they wont mind


12 Katie Pizzuto February 24, 2009

OK, folks, Linsey has been kind enough to find us a link to where we can get the beloved Mushroom Ketchup here in the US…here’s the link:



13 Neighbor Nancy February 24, 2009

Thanks guys.

Katie my crappy computer won’t let me download the pdfs of your recipes.

After I’ve had a chance to enjoy more of your blog, I’m shipping you my recipe wish list.


14 Linsey February 24, 2009

and my shopping list for my suitcase to go to usa with

jaffa cakes
tunnocks teacakes (the softest marshmallow coated in chocolate)
mushroom ketchup


just wish i could take home

canolis (sic)
sliced meat like we ate at ottos
and a ton of other american deli food – but im not allowed!


15 Katie Pizzuto February 24, 2009

@Nancy…no problem, just let me know!

@Linsey…you Brits need more Italians on that side of the pond to open up shop! LOL!


16 Linsey February 24, 2009

in the cities there wouldnt be a problem – i dont like near one though – small rural place where a good deli is few and far between … italian or otherwise

there used to be one in my closest town – but he shut down unfortunately – oooooh he did the best ciabatta bread

katie i would love you to see the food section of harrods in london though – amazing food there – great quality unfortunately with a price tag to match


17 Linsey February 24, 2009

oops typo – like = live


18 Coupe 60 February 25, 2009

I would like to apologize to any readers of this blog that are of Italian descent for my remark about getting off ones guinea ass…. I am of 100% Italian decent myself, and did not realize that my attempt at humor might not be viewed as such by all of the readers here …. If anyone was offended by that remark please accept my sincere apology…


19 The Wine Commonsewer February 25, 2009

You’re asking the wrong person about what to do. There are a few people in the world that just want to do everything. I raise a glass to you. I want to do everything too.

However, I have finally realized that ain’t going to happen so I crossed build your own house from scratch off my list.

I do have a green thumb…….

If anyone was offended by that remark please accept my sincere apology…

I wasn’t offended and I was Italian in a previous life.


20 The Wine Commonsewer February 25, 2009

Our PTA is desperate. If your a crack whore that can bake, well then…

In Californicate it don’t matter if you’re a crack whore or not, it is illegal to bring home baked goodies to public school.


21 Katie Pizzuto February 25, 2009

In Californicate it don’t matter if you’re a crack whore or not, it is illegal to bring home baked goodies to public school.

But does it matter if you go to school baked and bring in your public goodies?!? LOL!


22 Linsey February 25, 2009

i have no idea what ‘getting of ones guinea ass’ so i dont mind


23 Coupe 60 February 26, 2009

Shouldn’t there be some kinda new article posted already?


24 The Wine Commonsewer February 27, 2009

But does it matter if you go to school baked and bring in your public goodies?!? LOL!

Thanks for the laugh. BTW, I meant to tell you I put a link on my site for yours. Better buy some bandwidth…..


25 Katie Pizzuto February 27, 2009

Sweet…every good turn deserves another…I’ll add one here to you. Gracias!


26 Katie Pizzuto March 2, 2009

Thanks, much, but I’d almost rather not get an award, as that would just mean I meet their standards as opposed to my own 🙂


27 Katie Pizzuto March 2, 2009

Great, I just deleted The Wine Commonsewer’s lovely compliment about the writing on this blog by accident…I’m such a schmo. So now, the thanks I just gave above won’t make any sense, but then again, most of my comnments don’t!!


28 Coupe 60 March 2, 2009

Yeah…I’m sure there was a ton of compliments about your writing that got accidentally deleted…

Happens to me all the time…


29 Linsey March 3, 2009

that calls for a DOH!! katie


30 The Wine Commonsewer March 3, 2009

I wuz just sayin’ that this blog and Benito’s are light years better than some of the stuff that gets awards. Not all awards are undeserved but like marriage and politics there sometimes is no accountin’ for taste. I didn’t think that up by myself, Will Rogers did.


31 Katie Pizzuto March 4, 2009

Aw, thanks for the vindication, TWC…see Coupe, somebody DOES like me. 😛

And I’m pretty sure that’s the first time Will Rogers has ever been quoted on this blog! LOL!


32 Coupe 60 March 4, 2009

Awww Katie…I like you…and Will rogers never met a man he didn’t like (NTTAWWT):-)


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