Tuesday, July 31, 2007
But I also have two other composting centers. One is a pair of bins that take essentially yard waste. I do nothing to accelerate the decomposition and only turn it once a year. In the spring I move the decomposed stuff from the center of both bins to a storage pile and then I put all of the undecomposed stuff back into one of the bins to slowly cook for another year.
And finally there is the garbage operation. I use a black plastic bin that holds the heat well and is designed to let the rain in . Right now it is like an oven in there cooking at 145 degrees. That's because I just turned it which I try to do about once a month.
It is lovely to look at even when it is sliced. It has a distinct acidic flavor and I think if I were growing more of them, I might try to make juice from them. One write up I read said that it does well in the fog. Well we've had plenty of THAT lately.
Right now the Better Boys are on a fast track to be the next red tomato. Let the games begin!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
And so it was that our friends Ed and Wynell came armed with what can only be called a "Full Moon Liturgy." We read readings, Ed played a flute he had made from PVC pipe, and Wynell taught us a dance and a song that we did in the moonlight.
Go to Joan Glover
and tell her I love her
And by the light of the moon
I will come to her
But I digress. So it was on this special birthday that I got up from my beach chair and announced "I am going to see if the beach has a present for me." I was not a quarter mile down the beach, when there it was ... this enormous piece of driftwood. I started tugging it through the sand ... then I turn ot over and over on itself. Exhausted, I abandoned it. But Ed, bless his heart, hoisted that piece of driftwood on his shoulders and carried it down the beach and back to the car. For many years, before we had foundation plantings, it sat in the front of the house. It came to its current resting place outside the garden fence about three years ago.
There is this building momentum all spring that is the garden reaching for the summit. Everyday it looks taller and greener. And then one day when you are too distracted by the weeds to notice, it takes a deep sigh and says "This is as far as I can reach."
But, glory, what it has done. I have Winter Luxury Pumpkins on the vine, huge green tomatoes just showing a hint of red, Candy Roasters and Baby Blue Hubbards still reaching for the stars.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
OLS Week #5 – Grilled Striped Bass with Basil, Garlic Butter Sauce, Grilled Zucchini and Green Beans
Striped Bass – Local waters
Basil, garlic, zucchini, green beans - Garden
Also this week I came up with a great solution for all the cucumbers that keep pouring in from the garden. Take a vegetable peeler and run it down the length of the cuke. Throw away the first peel, but thereafter you will have long ribbons of cucumber. I wrapped the ribbons and put them in ice water until just before serving. And in the middle I put a small dish of ranch dressing for dipping.
And here I scored the outside of a cuke with a zester and sliced into thick rounds ont each round I placed a dollop of Pam’s Pesto the Ruby and the Green. She sells at the Farmer’s Market on Wednesday and Saturday.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Farm Institute Beef - 5 miles
Farm Institute Green Peppers - 5 miles
Whippoorwill Farm Tomatoes - 2 miles
Tiasquam Brook Farm Onions - 1 mile
Garlic and Basil from the garden
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the final dish. But here are some shopping and prep photos including my bicycle basket filled with goodies from the Farmer's Market
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
sunrise on a new cleaned out bed for my beets and shallots
a weeded flower bed
Monday, July 16, 2007
Let’s begin with tomatoes. Something magic is going on out there this year. Very little blossom drop, very little leaf curl just big luscious tomato plants. Can this really be tomato gardening as I know it? Might I finally have a summer with too many tomatoes? It could be.
I attribute this welcome turn of events to three factors. First the quality of the compost I built last summer from local lamb manure. Second the calcium I used in the soil this year that was given to me by Jim at Walatoola. And last, and maybe most important, a June and early July with low humidity. No, make that four factors: I am pruning much less this year. Stay tuned.
In the meantime it was nice to finally bring out the tomato knife even if it was to slice into a cherry tomato.
Then there is the garlic harvest. I confess to a mistake this year. My garlic beds are outside the garden. I did not water them this spring at all. And that was OK as long as Mother Nature was doing her part which she stopped doing around June 10. By early July they had browned out. In hindsight I should have watered regularly until all the scapes had been removed. I thought their roots would be able to find water, but they could not.
The result is that my bulbs are much smaller than they might have been. The two varieties that might be contenders at the Fair are Montana Giant and a variety I have nicknamed Place Monge after the Parisian organic market I bought it in last summer.
Monday, July 09, 2007
I had a brilliant idea today. Why not go crabbing and feature blue crabs as my local meal? Well I was less than successful in my crabbing venture. When I arrived at the Great Pond I could see the crabs walking along the shore and I said OUT LOUD "This is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel." THAT apparently taunted the gods. After catching one female that I threw back, I saw nary a crab for the next 45 minutes.
But I did have a very nice piece of fluke in the freezer that had been caught in local waters by my friend Gordon. Fluke, striped bass, bluefish and bonito are the fish in these waters and Gordon knows the ins and outs of how to catch them all. I have a broken handle of a fishing rod hanging on my wall from the day I caught my biggest bass ever with Gordon. We had so much striper in the freezer that summer, I had to throw it back ... and it was high adventure bringing it in on a broken rod. But I digress.
So the swordfish and salmon that line the cases of the local fish markets here are not local. The sword once was, but now locals have to take off for George's Banks if they are going to find any. We have a few talented harpooners still in our fleet and their story is told in a wonderful documentary called Strikers Passing. Sustainable fishing is a whole other topic that I am not really qualified to write about. But I do like to be vigilant and careful when making choices at the fish market.
So I baked up the flounder in a butter and fresh garlic sauce, and then when it came out of the oven I added fresh basil, marjoram and parsley from the garden to the remaining sauce in the pan and poured it on top. On either side of the fish were snap peas and fresh green beans. All in all a delicious meal once again.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Then I decided I wanted to make Ruth Reichl's Hashed Brown Potatoes. This is taken form her book Garlic and Sapphires.
Here is a quick version of her recipe
8 small new potatoes (Tiasquam Brook Farm)
6 (yes six) Tbs butter (Cabot from Vermont)
1/2 small onion (I used a shallot from my garden and chopped fresh garlic also from garden)
salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes and cool. Peel potatoes and cut into one inch dice. Melt 4 Tbs of butter over medium heat in a well seasoned cast iron skillet. Add potatoes and mash them down into the pan with a spatula. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 6 minutes until a good crust as formed on the bottom. Keep pressing with that spatula forming them into a flat cake. and run around the edges to keep from sticking
Scatter the diced onions over the top and grind some salt and pepper over the whoe thing. Remove from heat and cover with a large plate. Leave for 2 minutes allowing the potatoes to steam. Here's the tricky part. Using oven mitts, hold the skillet and plate together and invert so that the potatoes fall onion side down onto the plate.
Put the skillet back over medium heat, add the remaining butter and carefully slide the potato cake back into the skillet trying not to break it. Add more salt and pepper and turn the heat up to medium high and brown the potatoes for another 5 minutes until a crust forms.
You can choose to slide it out of the pan onto a serving plate, or simply serve right out of the skillet as I did.
This is dish worthy of practice. My first batch was a mess. But I am getting more skilled each time I try it.
The house smelled heavenly all afternoon in the rain as the lamb shanks braised in the slow oven. I finished the plate with my first cropped of snap peas from the garden.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Friends walk into my garden these days and ask, “What are you going to DO with all those tomatoes?” I have 36 plants in the ground. I know that is potentially a lot of tomatoes, but somehow my potential and my actual output when it comes to tomatoes seldom coincide. My honest answer is “I have never had too many tomatoes.” Wouldn’t it be great if THIS were the summer.
There are some mysteries lurking in the garden. WHERE are the
And then there is the garlic crop. I thought it was impossible to under water garlic in June. It appears, however, that I have done so. They have browned up really fast. And now it is too late I fear. I will start pulling today and see what I see.
I invite you to take a gander at the new home for One Local Summer and see what is happening as LOTS of people explore their local food supplies. Kudos to Liz for the vision. I am enjoying a slow read of Animal, Vegetable,Miracle. I am learning many of the same lessons I learned from Omnivore’s Dilemma last summer but from a different angle.