May 19, 2012 · 8:26 am
I was thinking about our little garden as the weather has hottened and long weekend arrived. We have a little patch of dirt amongst the flowers where I’d plant some tomatoes and herbs–usually basil and rosemary and then last year I planted some arugula which thrived despite my lack of attention.
This year that patch of dirt has been flattened by a sand box for Felix and I will have to dig out another part of the garden if I want to continue planting. Which I have been feeling laissez-faire about (lazy, pronounced with a french accent).
Until my friend Lisa snipped some chives for me from her front garden on Thursday. They’ve been coming up on their own year after year.
Aren’t they beautiful? But they also smelled fragrant when chopped. I have already used some in an omelette and with salty butter on baby potatoes.
It reminded me how awesome it is to be able to have something you grew yourself, on hand and ready to customize your own cooking.
I also love dill so now am thinking I will plant dill, the chives and maybe some mint (mojitos 24/7 or…. maybe just 18/7). Also the tomatoes and arugula. And some green beans.
(See, once you start you can’t stop)
So even if you have a small patch, or just some pots, plant something.
Even if it’s just for the ability to cut some herbs, pop them into a glass on the window sill and feel very Martha Stewart.
So Happy Long Weekend. Don’t forget to have ice cream, my current favourite is the apple ice cream (is it gelato? can’t remember) from Ed’s Real Scoop.
But after a bike ride (or in the middle of?) a fudgesicle and oh….a creamsicle!
September 16, 2011 · 1:34 pm
I have four tomato plants in my backyard. I used to plant six but that just caused grief. They got big, they intertwined, they bent over in despair. I was too overwhelmed to help them. Those tomato “cages” are not easy to put around a 4 foot plant with a tomatoes growing on it. (I suppose putting it on when it was a small seedling would be easier).
I always plant cherry tomatoes and this year I had two of the small round yellow tomato plants (upper left), one of the small green kind (upper right) and one of the lumpy yellow ones (bottom).
I wish with all my heart I remembered the names of the tomatoes–especially the lumpy yellow one as it they are so sweet I can barely stop eating them, even half-ripe. I knew the names when I bought them and did not write them done. “I will remember these names,” I thought, which is about the same as waking up in the middle of the night and thinking, “I will remember this dream”.
Four plants has provided a good crop for us. We’ve been enjoying tomato salads all August and now with the branches full of ever ripening bounty I have been making tomato sauce.
not pretty but pretty darn yummy*
So here’s what I do when I get a bowl full (about 4-5 cups?). I get out a large pan, sauté a finely chopped onion in olive oil and mash in some fresh garlic once the onion has softened. Then I pour in the tomatoes and let simmer them until they pop, soften and release all their juicy insides. I continue simmering until the sauce thickens a bit and just season with a bit of sea salt. THAT IS IT.
I always buy good pasta for these late summer meals and in this case I topped with whole milk ricotta which cut the acidity of the sauce and makes it even better.
I realized fast that I am much too lazy to blanche and peel cherry tomatoes but it actually doesn’t matter. The sauce still tastes amazing. It is such a perfect example of using simple, good ingredients. And some mysteriously fertile soil at the side of our garage. Our Macedonian neighbors are so jealous.
Tomatoes = Sauce
I am cooking up another batch today. And thinking of my friend who started out the gardening season with a ridiculous amount of seedlings–300? He’ll be laughing if it’s a long winter (but stressed right now as he spends the wee hours bidding on stockpots through ebay ). And I think he’s much more likely than I to not make sauce with tomato skins in it. Life it tougher for the perfectionists. But if you’re really fussed you can strain the sauce through a colander which will catch most of the skin I suppose. Or just don’t eat at my house.
*that is my son’s hand ( in the photo) stealing my food. We had a talk, don’t worry.