Archive for July 2009

here come the squash

July 28, 2009

and I say

it’s alright

do do do do do do do do do do do 

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leggy roots

July 26, 2009

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easy cheese

July 26, 2009

000_0809000_0810Lemon-thyme ricotta. Looks revolting, but tastes delicious with sea salt, olive oil and chopped tomatoes. Also with blueberries and honey. Also…. more news to come with the next batch, I’m sure.

warm, comforting….lettuce?

July 21, 2009

It’s still raining. The lettuce is thriving, but I’m craving mac & cheese.

Compromise comfort food:

Melt butter.

Wilt lettuce.

Stir in some cream.

Shave parm over top.

Dunk bread (not shown) in lettucey-creamy-goodness.

Feel much better.

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to this we’ve come

July 20, 2009

Yep, that’s a lettuce frittata. With sorrel, chives, and feta. Sort of odd, sort of whydidntithinkofthatsooner? Delicate and delicious, and a good way to collapse several salads worth of romaine.000_0795

harvest party for one

July 16, 2009

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tough love

July 16, 2009

It never gets old, the magical emergence of seedlings. Put something that looks like a Grape-nut in the earth, and a few days later a red-rimmed pair of leaves appears. When plants are still small, their daily growth is obvious and astonishing. One is supposed to thin seedlings at a certain point, but I had never been able to bring myself to do it.

Until now. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many harvests of beets that offered unimpressive roots. Or watched lush crowds of bean plants that produced only a few pods apiece. Maybe I’m getting a little less sentimental in this, my fourth year of gardening. Or maybe I’m just realizing I’ll probably have more than enough to feed myself all year, with or without all the little plants I disconnected from their nourishing soil.

After yesterday’s experience, I will have a new reason for thinning–these infant plants are delicious! 000_0792

“practice, and all is coming”

July 14, 2009

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois often told his students: 99% practice, 1% theory. This goes against my grain a bit—I love me some book-learning—but the more time I spend on the yoga mat (his laboratory) and in the garden, the more I realize the wisdom of his recipe. I’ve been studying gardening books for several years, and they’re pretty useful at planting time—what will do well in my climate, how far apart seedlings should be spaced, who needs a pole to climb, who likes mulch and who does not, etc. But as I spent my Sunday morning weeding, it occurred to me that, after several years of practice, I finally have some practical knowledge under my belt. The only weed I know by name is the dandelion, but I recognize just about everything that likes my dirt, and I know pretty much everything I need to know about these little green squatters. I know which ones can be removed with a quick flick, which require my fingers to follow long horizontal runners beneath the soil, which require the help of a tool. I know, by feel, the moment when I can give a sharp tug at a certain angle and have the whole thing come away cleanly. As a result of practice, I’m able to organize visual and tactile data and perform some pretty delicately calibrated actions with my muscles. It is an activity that is completely absorbing and, while admitting of a certain amount of verbal description, completely resistant to useful verbal instruction.

peas, please

July 14, 2009

000_0790How many essays have been written extolling the exquisite taste of fresh-picked peas? Recent connection with the mother plant is a virtue that we seek in all vegetables, of course, but none more so than those, like peas and corn, that begin converting sugars to starch the moment that connection is severed. That fresh-picked sweetness is one of the luxuries of human life that does not require vast sums of money. It requires instead a willingness to let the garden tell us what’s for dinner and when.

This is my first year growing peas, and they’re not ready yet. But as I watch them grow, I’m aware of something that either has gone unmentioned or unnoticed in the pea-writing I’ve encountered over the years. Those stories of casual suppers centered on the perfectly-timed pea harvest require a luxurious quantity of the little legumes. Last week at the farmers’ market, I bought a bag of peas in their pods. It was a pretty sizeable bag—the size of a lumpy basketball—but after shelling I had a little less than a cup. Looking the number of pods beginning to form on my 15 or so pea vines, I would be surprised if my entire yield comes to as much. 

I put a lump of butter into the pan, followed by the peas and some snipped chives, then about a minute later some lettuce and splash of vermouth. These peas were a couple of days out of the garden, but they were still awfully tasty. When my own meager crop comes due, I don’t think I’ll be sharing.

how d’ya like them apples?

July 11, 2009

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