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Adventures In DEET

Today’s post is brought to you by whatever brand of bug spray I just yelled at and threw over my shoulder.

The mosquitoes are here in biblical quantities, y’all.  I spritz a thin, oily layer of insect repellent on myself daily, but it doesn’t work.  Nothing does.  Not even bug spray with DEET, which–by the way–will probably make me infertile.

Because this is what wikipedia has to say about DEET:

DEET was developed by the United States Army following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II.  It was originally tested as a pesticide on farm fields, and entered military use in 1946 and civilian use in 1957.  It was used in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

I mean, please.  Jungle warfare? Pesticide?  My uterus wants to slap me across the face.

And that’s not all wikipedia has to say about DEET.  According to one study, it may cause insomnia and “mood disturbance” among employees of Everglades National Park, in Florida.

But I wonder about that.  You know what else may cause insomnia and mood disturbance among employees of Everglades National Park?  The crocodiles and panthers that live up in there.

If your workplace were full of man-eating beasts, you’d probably check the box for “insomnia” and “mood disturbance” too, right?  If not, I want to know what kind of antidepressants you’re on and how many martinis you’re having for breakfast.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you what I’m having for dinner.

Tomatoes! Each one of these beauties comes from a local farm.

I pick up a fresh stash of them every Thursday, when I sell local goat cheese at the farmer’s market (Belle Chevre, to be specific).

Thursday is my favorite day of the week now–especially because we’ll have something packed with farmers’ market vegetables for dinner.

This was my first time making ratatouille.  It wasn’t the watery, eggplanty stuff that kept me away from ratatouille before.  It was rich and tangy, like a good pasta sauce.

I was inspired by Amelia at Bon Appetempt: Ever since she wrote about Yotam Ottolenghi’s sweet corn polenta with eggplant sauce, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  I mixed it up a little: I wanted to use my fresh tomatoes, so instead of the eggplant sauce (which I made a few weeks ago and liked) I played with a ratatouille recipe from The Essential New York Times Cookbook.  And instead of Ottolenghi’s corn and feta purée, I threw feta and fresh corn kernels into regular polenta.

It was good.

Be forewarned: this dish is a bit labor intensive– a fair amount of chopping.  To speed it up, you could serve the ratatouille with crusty bread, and forgo the polenta. Or you could make the polenta but not put fresh corn in it.  But if you do prepare it as written below, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  It’s a wonderful way to combine the vegetables that are in season right now: eggplant, yellow squash, tomatoes, corn. . .

Cheesy Polenta with Ratatouille {Download & Print Recipe}

Ratatouille adapted from a recipe for ratatouille niçoise in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Ingredients for the ratatouille: (serves 4)

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1/2 large yellow onion

1 small eggplant (mine, diced, came out to 2 1/3 c.)

2 small yellow squash

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp. coriander

1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. kosher salt (regular salt is fine too), plus more to taste, and pepper

3 large fresh tomatoes

6 fresh basil leaves

1 tsp. brown sugar

6 black or green olives (French, Greek or Italian), pitted (optional)

Ingredients for the polenta: (serves 4)

1 c. polenta

3 c. water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. butter

1/2 c. feta

1 c. havarti or monterey jack cheese

cream or milk (I used 3 tbsp. cream and at least 1/2 c. milk)

kernels from 4 ears corn, boiled and kernels removed (optional)

Directions for the ratatouille:

Trim off the ends of the eggplant but don’t peel it.  Dice it up finely.   Also dice the onion, and cut the yellow squash into rings (mine were about 1/4″ rings).  In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil.  Pass the garlic through a garlic press and add it to the oil.  (If you don’t have a garlic press, just dice it.)  Add the diced onion and sautée until the onion is wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant and the yellow squash.  Sprinkle with the salt, coriander, leaves from the sprig of thyme, and some pepper.  Add the bay leaf and simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, peel the tomatoes.  To do this, boil a few cups of water in a small pot–enough that you can submerge a tomato in it.  Once the water boils, turn the heat off.  Stick a fork in the top of one of the tomatoes and plunge the tomato into the water for about 40 seconds.  Pull the tomato out and let it rest for a minute so you don’t burn yourself.  Pierce the skin with a knife, and you should be able to peel the skin right off.  Repeat with the other tomatoes. Then roughly chop them.

Add the tomatoes and the basil to the skillet with the eggplant mixture.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and stir.  Hold the pitted olives, if using, in your fist and crush their juices into the skillet before tossing them in.  Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes to an hour, until the ratatouille has thickened.

Taste it and add more salt or seasonings if desired.  Remove the bay leaves.  Serve over polenta (or however you want).  It’s also good cold, or on a sandwich, and it’s great the day after it’s made.

Directions for the polenta:

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium to large pot.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the polenta slowly, while stirring.  Let it cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes (note: the package of polenta I used said to let it cook 20 minutes. Mine was done way before then for some reason.)  Add the butter, feta and havarti.  The polenta will be really thick, so slowly add cream or milk to thin it out to your desired consistency.  I added at least 1/2 c. of milk and a little cream.  Add the corn kernels, if using and add more dairy if desired.  Taste it and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the polenta onto plates, top with ratatouille, and serve.


A basic recipe for polenta is just water, salt, polenta, and maybe butter.  But you can add any cheese or dairy that you want.  Havarti is our favorite cheese, so that’s what we tend to use, but it’s also great with cheddar.  We used feta here as well, to complement the Mediterranean flavors in the ratatouille, and corn kernels because we had some ears lying around.  If you go this route, boil 4 ears of corn and let them cool.  Stand one up vertically, on a large plate, and run a knife down the cob to remove the kernels.  If you’re going to put fresh corn in the polenta, cook them first and use the left-over hot water for peeling the tomatoes that go into the ratatouille.


These two have started digging holes in the shade together.

At first I allowed it because they seemed to be bonding, and I am a huge sucker.

But the amount of dirt and mud they are producing is bonkers.

The number of mosquitoes that bite me while I’m supervising Dig Fest 2012 is also bonkers.

Not to mention that Thunder gets so much mud in her wrinkles that she has to lick it off while she waits for her turn to dig.  (They have a system, you see.  They’re very organized).

51 Comments Post a comment
  1. krisanngentry #

    I. Love. Tomatoes.
    Yes, that overused punctuation trend is totally warranted in that statement. That’s how real the love is.

    I have never thought of adding fresh corn kernels to a polenta, though now that I hear it, I’m definitely thinking, “duh,” because that sounds delicious.

    Also, have you always had a ‘y’all’ in your vocab pocket, or is it a relatively new addition since moving? Just curious. 🙂

    July 23, 2012
    • I love them, too! I planted tomato plants for the first time in my life and I’ve been getting a few yellow grape tomatoes off of them. I’ve gotten one nice full-sized tomato, too. It’s so exciting!

      Here’s the story with “y’all.” My parents are from Queens. They raised me in Virginia. A lot of kids at my school, when I was growing up, said “y’all.” I loved the way it sounded. I started saying it, but whenever I said it at the dinner table, my parents made me say whatever it was over again, without the “y’all”–which I think they thought of as slang. (They also tried, like, in vain, to get me to, like, stop saying “like.”) So I grew up saying y’all at school. I don’t really have a Southern accent, but some people in New York told me they heard it a tiny bit. When I first moved to Alabama, I didn’t naturally say “y’all”–I had to think about it first. And I still say “you guys” more than y’all. But sometimes when I’m at the grocery store and I’m asking if they have frozen raspberries or something, I honestly say “y’all” without thinking about it.

      What about you?

      July 23, 2012
      • krisanngentry #

        I’m a born and raised Californian, so the y’all sounds incredibly out of place coming from my mouth–though a “dudes” has been known to occasionally escape. Always hilarious. I’ve found y’all can be wonderful when well-placed, so long as it’s not overused (like anything, I suppose).

        July 24, 2012
      • Y’all is just so USEFUL though! I’m not from the south and I pretty much never say y’all–though sometimes I do in my head. I thing we should adopt this word nationally. Most other languages have a plural form of you!

        July 26, 2012
  2. That looks delicious! I’ll be making this in the near future.

    I don’t envy you the mosquito- if there’s one in a 5 mile radius of me, I seem to be guaranteed to be bitten. However, since we’ve not had *any* summer here this year, I’ve been mosquito-free so far. I think my entire summer experience was the week in Scotland- and whilst that was awesome, I’m just a bit bored with overcast skies and perpetual drizzle…

    By the way, I’ve just sent you a long-overdue email. 🙂 Am horrified it took me ’til now!

    July 23, 2012
    • Oh no, no summer?! How is your garden doing, then? I have to spend a lot of time in the morning watering mine, because it’s so sunny here most days. We have been getting some nice thunderstorms, though. There’s such a difference between overcast skies with perpetual drizzle, and a good, bang-up thunderstorm, don’t you think? I love the loud ones–makes me want to curl up on the couch with some tea and a book! We rarely got to hear thunderstorms in New York. Scott actually said it has something to do with the tall buildings and sound buffering or something (that’s not right. But you know what I mean.) Well, someday you will come visit in the states, and I’ll show you a good summer. You must come between June-September!

      July 23, 2012
      • We used to see amazing thunderstorms when I lived in Norfolk (England), but they’re rare here, which is a pity because I love them too! I look forward to seeing your summer. 🙂 And yes, there is a huge difference between a proper dark sky because of thunder, and the never ending dampness that accompanies drizzle.

        We gave up on our summer veg garden this year- nothing much growing due to the lack of sunshine- so we’ll be planting a winter crop instead! We had serious flooding at the end of June all over the country, and things aren’t very much drier now.
        So now, when I read on blogs that people are finding the hot weather oppressive, I feel for them, but wish for a little of it!

        July 23, 2012
  3. Kati #

    Oh, honey. Panthers are almost extinct, and gators are stand-offish (unless it’s breeding season, or some idiot’s been feeding it). It’s the twenty-food pythons you’ve gotta dodge in the ‘Glades these days. 😉

    Please, please keep up the wonderful storytelling and cooking you’re doing here. It’s inspiring me to cook, really cook, again. Thank you.

    July 23, 2012
    • 20-foot pythons? Whee!! Yes, I read somewhere that the Florida panther is endangered–but because of that they’re bringing in MORE panthers of different varieties to increase the gene pool?! I know a lot of people who’ve hunted them before, and it didn’t sound very difficult because–like you say, they’re pretty chill. Especially since you can stroke them to sleep by scratching under their chins– have you heard that? So weird.

      July 23, 2012
      • And Kati, that’s so awesome that you’ve gotten into cooking again. Are there any recipes you think we should know about? Any favorite things I should make?

        July 23, 2012
        • Kati #

          I am at a differen stage in my life, where 6 out of 7 weekly dinners need to be fast-fast-fast, as it’s a. Our of work-grade papers while kids do homework-some sort of 3 hour practice/game-showerandbed. I want crockpot and freezer meals available, but I want flavor too. I’m currently playing around with America’s Test Kitchen crockpot recipe book, but I’d like more stuff I can prep the night before, then cook the next day in under 30 minutes.

          On that 7th day, I have lots of time to experiment, and a family (even the kids) with a pretty broad palate.

          July 23, 2012
          • Kati #

            And sorry for the typos – watching kids swim while typing on the iPhone isn working as well as I’d hoped…

            July 23, 2012
  4. I believe the goggies may have the answer to your mosquito problem. Dig a hole, roll around in it, be cute. Mosquitoes are totally repelled by mud covered cuteness. Also, I am all over that ratatouille!

    July 23, 2012
    • Brooke, it’s funny because that time I learned all about chickens for a newspaper article, I heard that chickens dig holes and take dirt baths in them, and it cools them off and keeps the bugs away. At the time, I was like “uh…really?” but now I’m thinking it’s true, because Thunder and Seymour, after their dirt baths, don’t seem to be freaking out about the mosquitoes like I am.

      July 28, 2012
  5. The adventures of Thunder and Seymour are getting so compelling I’m zipping on through the recipe to get to the next installment. Now I have to scroll back up to check out those amazing tomatoes, the blood red one is a work of art!

    July 23, 2012
    • The tomatoes were incredible when I cut into them. I couldn’t believe it! And today I just got some yellow tomatoes at another farmer’s market. I thought to myself “nah, I can’t put MORE pictures of tomatoes up–I just did!”

      But I’m totally photographing them. I can’t help it–they’re gorgeous!

      July 28, 2012
  6. sue ellen #

    In southern Al our skeeters are also horrific. I have a ‘tropical’ open covered back patio loaded w/ tropical flora….. delightful surroundings for mass skeeter parties…moist, shaded and soft music playing. ACK.. they attack and secretly ride into the house on the pups backs when possible. UNTIL I went and purchased some dried eucalyptus stems…a bundle of ’em for $5 at Hobby Lobby.I then placed the stems in w/ all the living plants…lots of ’em. Guess what…the skeeters all left. Need to replace the eucalyptus every so often. Perhaps this will give you another way to rid your life of those nasty vampires of the insect world. Good luck!!
    ( yes..deet is not a good thing..Avon skin so soft original is good…bounce dryer sheets on your person is good…put them on the pups!)
    We enjoy your writing and recipes. I send them on to my mother in lay in Bremerton, Wa

    July 23, 2012
    • Hi Sue Ellen! You crack me up with the soft music playing. Perhaps I should blast some Metallica in the back yard and see if that has any effect.

      You know, my neighbor just got some Eucalyptus stems because she has a brown recluse problem. Apparently, they, too, don’t like the smell of it. I don’t think it worked for her for the spiders (in fact, her brown recluse stories are harrowing and ongoing) so maybe she wouldn’t mind passing them off to me for the mosquitos. If not, to the Hobby Lobby I go! I did not know about dryer sheets- that’s a great idea, too–thanks! And it makes me smile that you sent the recipes and such to your mother in law. 🙂

      July 28, 2012
  7. I have to bathe in Deet if I go out at dusk around here – screened in pool areas are the BEST!!!!

    My dogs like to eat our cherry tomatoes – so between them and the ninja squirrels I am lucky if I get any of them at all so those giant ones might be a better variety for me to grow

    LOL on the Dog Dig Fest – my poor creatures don’t get to dig in the dirt as much as they did back in WA but they are so fluffy it take a month to brush all the tangles out when they do…sigh!

    July 23, 2012
    • Shelley, screened-in pool areas?! What? That exists?! I want me some.

      I love growing cherry tomatoes because they’re constantly blooming (or fruiting, or whatever). The only thing is that I usually get one or two little cherry tomatoes a day. So, um, it’s not like I can make tomato sauce with that. Usually I put them in my pocket, keep watering the other plants, and then go inside and forget they’re in my pocket. Eventually I’ll sit down, squish the tomato, and get tomato juice on my butt. It’s not ideal.

      July 28, 2012
  8. Those tomatoes are gorgeous! A guy down the street from us who is in his 80’s grows wonderful tomatoes and sells them at the end of his driveway on the honor system: they haven’t been harvested yet, but this recipe looks good for when they do. 🙂

    And yeah, it’s hard to know which is worse: DEET or Malaria…

    July 23, 2012
    • Oh wow– I wish there were a gentleman on my street like that. I get tomatoes every Thursday but it’s Sunday and I’m ALREADY OUT OF THEM. I’m trying to make tomato soup, so I just drove to another farmer’s market to get more. Unfortunately, the market turned out to be really far away, and I think I undid any gasoline-savings that would have been accomplished by buying local tomatoes instead of tomatoes shipped from California!

      July 28, 2012
  9. Stephanie #

    Those tomatoes are beautiful!!!! Not a fan of ratatouille, but I could make some serious bacon and tomato sammiches out of those babies! And the pups are super cute with the mud and all, but I’d get tired of cleaning them. I feel your pain about the bugs. I’d support the complete extinction of the species. I have a great backyard, but I can’t enjoy it. Even with spray, citronella, basil, and dryer sheets all at once. Argh!

    July 23, 2012
    • Stephanie–basil helps? Really? Because I have some basil plants. Should I plant them out there? Hit me up with the details, my lady.

      I hear you on the ratatouille– I usually hate it too, so this was a welcome exception. When Scott hears about your bacon and tomato sandwiches (yum), he’s going to request that I make them instead next time for sure!

      July 28, 2012
  10. Amy #

    Rather than apply DEET, I’ve taken to not leaving the apartment after dusk in the summer. Pathetic? perhaps….but mosquitos love me just too darn much to risk it. But my cat sure does appreciate me keeping her company in the evenings.

    This polenta with ratatouille looks seriously amazing. I’ve been craving polenta and stirring in corn and goat cheese …uh, yes please. I’m definitely making it this week!

    July 23, 2012
    • This comment made me giggle. (I heart Amy.)

      July 27, 2012
    • Amy, I just got back from the grocery store—where I got the ingredients for your vegetarian tamale pie AGAIN OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

      July 28, 2012
  11. That ratatouille looks positively swoonworthy! And your bowl of tomatoes is a work of art on the kitchen counter. They make me want to run right out to the farmer’s market, which would be a big mistake because it’s after 11 pm here and I’m pretty sure the farmers are all in bed, or maybe at a hoedown or something. But I digress, as per usual. As for the two dirt-encrusted doggies, they’re as adorable as ever! Far cuter the the killer mosquitos, I’m sure.

    July 23, 2012
    • I will forgive you, my dear, for using lemon jelly beans on those cupcakes of yours. Just this once (I’m referring to my hatred/fright of jelly beans. 🙂 And I’ll tell you why–because that bean salad of yours and the blueberry muffins look amazing! For some reason, I love yellow beans. Do you think they taste different from green beans? I just love them!

      Your hoedown comment made me laugh. 🙂

      July 28, 2012
      • Next time I make those lemon cupcakes I’ll look for a lemon slice candy or something different to put on top. I surely wouldn’t want to cause you any further jelly bean-related trauma!

        As for the yellow beans, I think they have a more buttery taste than the green beans. Who knows, maybe that’s the colour influencing my taste buds, or maybe I have an incredibly refined palate.

        Off to another hoedown now. Actually heading off to Lake Huron for a day of boating. (For me, that’s a euphemism for “sitting someplace really nice and reading.”) When I met the Culinary Enthusiast he had a one-seater vintage racing boat that I referred to as the Bachelor Boat. I can tell out relationship is progressing because he’s now bought us a little boat that has a seat for me too. I call it the Commitment Boat!

        July 29, 2012
  12. Ha! Your last sentence just cracked me up. Dogs are weird but dogs are awesome.

    July 24, 2012
    • Melissa, I’m glad you wrote because I forgot to comment on your awesome post about editing those syrup photos. I pored over it!

      July 28, 2012
  13. I love polenta! Especially with cheese. It reminds me of grits, of which I am also a fan. Your cheesy polenta looks wonderful! And is there anything more flavorful or delicious than a homegrown summer tomato? My favorite way to eat them is with a light sprinkle of salt, leaning over the sink, so the juice running down my arm doesn’t drip all over the kitchen floor. Heaven.

    July 24, 2012
  14. CAM #

    I’m so envious of your tomatoes. We’re trying to grow some, but not having much luck. Even the zucchini is not producing.

    July 24, 2012
    • Ha! I did NOT grow those tomatoes myself. I’ve gotten one full-sized tomato off my plants, but so far it’s really the cherry tomato plants that are producing. Two of my tomato plants (both heirloom) have given me nothing so far. They look great though–is that your situation, or do your plants look unhealthy? I’ve got one bell pepper and one cucumber growing right now, and got one squash last month. I’m starting to realize just how many plants you would need to be able to rely on yourself for food!

      July 28, 2012
  15. There is nothing in this life better than homegrown tomatoes. Except maybe a hot shower when you’re really tired.

    Mosquitoes in the South, you say? Hmmmm. I can’t imagine life without the little suckers. And just to add to your Everglades lore, we went there for a few years when I was pre-teen/teen as part of our Florida vacation. Being there caused mood disturbances for me… it was about umpteen million degrees with 120 percent humidity, and the mosquitoes were the size of wrens. Yeah. It affected my mood. I was not fun to lug around the Everglades…. you can ask my parents for affirmation of that fact.

    July 24, 2012
    • Anne, I agree with you about the hot shower when you’re really tired thing. This is the story of one of the best showers I ever had (it’s G-rated, I promise): I went to Laos three years ago. I met a Swiss girl and we wound up signing up for a hiking/mountain biking trip through the mountains with a random french dude and a monk-turned-guide. It started out fine and became one of the most insane things I’ve done in my life–we wound up in a remote village with one of the minority hill tribes, sleeping across the dirt path from a house where the chief was lying out, wrapped in swaddling, for three days because he was dead and it was part of their traditional ceremony to wait 3 days so his spirit could leave his body. Then there was a bunch of ceremonial killing of beasts that I will never, ever forget. Anyhoo, there were times I thought I couldn’t make it back to the capital city, because (a) my armpit swelled up after I got bitten by a large red spider, and (b) (it turns out) I HATE MOUNTAIN BIKING and it was incredibly rough terrain. SUFFICE IT TO SAY, when I did make it back a couple days later, I took one of the longest and best hot showers of my life. I drank a cold beer while I was in there, and it was priceless.

      July 28, 2012
      • Whoa. Any of my hot shower stories don’t measure up to that one. ; )

        July 28, 2012
  16. “Nice ‘n’ cool in the dirt, Mom, ‘n’ no skeeters.”
    That blood tomato is gorgeous. I’m so hungry now.

    July 24, 2012
    • Hee hee! I love the idea of them saying that!

      July 28, 2012
  17. so…i totally laughed about Deet and your uterus slapping you in the face, and the laughter continued through the part about the Everglades workers. Do you know how many times, in my annual vacations to florida, i have wondered how/why people go even remotely NEAR the Everglades? answer: lots of times. it keeps me up at night; like how prehistoric carnivores must keep those workers up. because yes; i doubt it’s just the Deet that’s doing it.
    after i finished admiring your segue into the recipe (smooth), i began a droolfest over that polenta and ratatouille; i mean, come ON. that looks delicious and obviously i’ll be making that.

    also, digging holes in the shady dirt is straight-up instinct, yo. sticking those round bellies in the dirt keeps them cool while all of us continue to dwell in the furnace we call the southern and midwestern regions. and it’s nice they’re working together for a common purpose; although maybe that purpose is to see how much dirt they can track around the house. 🙂

    July 24, 2012
    • I agree with you 100%. I went to the Everglades once. I went on a canoe trip with my dad. While the guide was getting everyone’s life vests on and sticking them in their canoes, I started playing with some cool red spongy stuff that was on the rocks next to my canoe. When we finally got paddling, the guide started going over safety precautions. The first rule was never to touch the red spongy stuff, because it would sting you. It was a delayed reaction, but a couple minutes later, it would start to sting. I was like “oh crap. Um, dad? FYI–touched the red stuff. Like, a lot.”

      THAT is the kind of thing that happens in the Everglades. Not cool, Florida. Not cool.

      July 28, 2012
  18. Man, that looks good!

    July 26, 2012
    • It was so tasty, Stephanie! So tasty. Have a great weekend.

      July 28, 2012
  19. 1. That ratatouille looks a-MAZE-ing.
    2. My friend, Heatherjay (who you may remember from Ironwood Farm/SHEEP), told me that you should shield your uterus from the microwave. So when I nuke stuff, I try to remember to hold my hands over that general area.
    3. I really like the new border on your blog. It is super-awesome.

    That is all.

    July 27, 2012
  20. Dude, the border is from here–they have lots:

    “Over that general area” made me laugh because I imagine you doing one of those Michael Jackston-style crotch grabs over there. Lookin’ good, girl. Lookin’ good.

    July 28, 2012
  21. Learner Londoner #

    What breed is Thunder? Also, the cheesy polenta looks positively scrumptious!

    July 28, 2012
    • Hey there,

      Thunder is half French bulldog and half English bulldog. They’re calling them “frenglish” these days. Her mom was the English one.

      I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the breed. She is incredibly athletic (she jumps 4 feet in the air after a ball, and often catches it up there), and bigger than a frenchie, so she loves huge dogs. And she breathes way better than an English– her trachea is larger than the bad English tracheas that gives those pups so many problems. Anyway, I’m just thrilled!

      July 28, 2012
  22. Hey, don’t stress the deet. I was raised in the Yukon and we were marinated in it every summer growing up. I have one kid (seemingly normal) and another on the way and my sister has 2 and they both seem pretty normal too. Any mutations are completely invisible. So slather it on and give the mozzies the chemical finger.

    Also, I will be making polenta tonight – thanks for the idea!

    August 7, 2012
  23. Mairsydoats #

    Have you tried eating a bit of apple cider vinegar every day to ward off the mosquitoes?

    August 18, 2012
  24. Xan #

    Has anyone tried to make this without boiling and peeling the tomatoes? I would like to try this tonight but I am feeling entirely too lazy for that step. Please don’t judge 🙂

    September 23, 2013

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