Monday, July 24, 2006

a midsummer gardener's dream

Here are pictures from early July to accompany my previous post about zucchini from our garden. Looking at them makes me want to eat nothing but salad and veggies for the rest of the summer!

This is the base of every salad I've made this summer: home-grown mesclun mix. The seed packet produced five different types of lettuce which spring up side by side, light green, dark green, burgundy, crinkly, crunchy, lofty. These leaves' freshness and beauty almost make up for the fact that neither the spinach nor the arugula nor the mache made it this summer.

This year we planted haricots verts, very thin French green beans, for the first time. Not only are they delicate and delicious, but they also grow quite quickly! Only a couple of weeks since this picture of blossoms and tiny tiny beans was taken, we've already harvested four or five meals' worth and have plenty left. My favorite way to prepare these is sauteed in butter with minced garlic or shallots and sprinkled generously with salt and pepper. They taste like summer in France.

These sugar snap peas are also a new addition to the garden. Very few of them have actually made it into the house--I just snack on them sun-warmed, straight from the vine, while I weed.

The purple blossoms here have now turned into long, skinny Japanese eggplant. They are the most gorgeous glossy dark purple and almost too stunning to eat. We cut them in half lenthwise, marinated them in soy sauce and sesame oil and lime juice, and grilled them. I've read that they're supposed to be less bitter than regular globe eggplants, and I think that's true. Cook's Illustrated recommends using this variety for baba ganoush, which will be the next recipe I'll try with them. We'll probably have to grow more of these next year--this one plant was just an experiment.
And finally, Mr. Tart's beloved raspberries. When they were producing, he'd pick a handful or two every morning before breakfast--we were so spoiled! The picture below is of our first now-crowded raised bed; this spring he built a new bed twice the size of this one, and we're now trying to convince the shoots we transplanted there to grow big and strong. Only about six of them actually survived, though, but we'll keep at it. We eventually want enough to be able to pick raspberries and then bake with them, rather than just enough to nibble on or drop on our cereal.


Blogger lis said...

sarah, your garden continually fills me with envy. at least there's an herb garden outside my apartment. i had no hand in creating it, but i'm happy to take advantage of its bounty.

9:39 AM  
Blogger tara said...

I, too, am envious. Not only do I lack a garden, but one downside of all the traveling we've been doing this summer is that I haven't even had much time to at least visit farmer's markets. I would kill for some sweet corn and some really, really good tomatoes right now.

We did get a chance to visit the market in Arles, and it was fantastic. Unfortunately, we had to catch a train later that morning and couldn't stay long. My favorite part was the gigantic pan of paella simmering at one vendor's booth. Oh, and the rotisserie chickens with the potatoes roasting underneath in the chicken drippings. yum.

Proper posts about our travels coming later, I promise. Still unpacking and shaking off the jet lag ...

4:14 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Well, thank you both. Sometimes I wonder if this garden is worth the effort, though. It really is a lot of work to keep it weeded and maintained, and it seems like we're constantly buying new supplies and dirt and seeds and plants. And as it's on a hill, erosion (and backache) is a constant problem. Not even counting what our labor is worth, I'm sure these veggies turn out to be more expensive than those in the supermarkets. And compared with many other vegetable gardens I've admired around here, ours is not nearly as lush or well-organized. Plus we're already tired of lettuce and zucchini. But the haricots verts and sugar snaps make me very happy, and we can't wait for tomatoes. Perhaps most important is the fact that Ed and I are learning how to garden together, creating something that wasn't there before, something we can be proud enough of to brag about on the blog.

10:15 AM  

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