Saturday, July 26, 2008

Al fresco

No one has ever accused me of having a green thumb, nor has anyone ever suggested that I was farm-hand material, so it is with a constant sense of surprise and delight that I find myself harvesting zucchinis, gathering basi, unearthing beets and picking beans from beanstalks, and …you get the idea. How did this wondrous thing happen? Well the answer should be obvious: CSB grows it. Then I get to harvest and cook it.

So, having plucked and picked, what do I do with all this plenty, after having unloaded as many vegetables & berries as possible on my friends?

I make zucchini bread (Not a great success). Rumor has it that my sister made disparaging remarks about anyone deluded enough to consider honey as sufficient sweetener in baked goods.

(On a vaguely unrelated note: last night we tasted Kilimanjaro honey brought to us by our friend Mim who has just returned from Tanzania. We detected the aroma of tobacco. Mysterious, that. I think Kilimanjaro counts as the most exotic honey we’ve ever tried. So far.)

Then I make zucchini soup. Much more successful. Last night it was Chilled Zucchini & Avocado Soup. The cumin is essential. Isn’t cumin always essential?

Tonight it will be Zucchini and Rosemary soup.

Also pesto. Lots and lots of pesto. The key to good pesto is picking the basil with the morning dew still on the leaves, then quickly plucking the leaves from the stalks, and then quickly putting it together with the garlic (see earlier post re garlic – it came out very well), nuts of your choice, olive oil and Parmesan. The most labor intensive and time-consuming part of the process is plucking the leaves from the stalks; and in this family we have learned to read personalities from a person’s basil-plucking methods. One friend of Tristram’s was the most meticulous basil plucker ever known to man, and in fact he is a meticulous and honorable young man. Another friend, of the more absent minded variety, plucks a leave, discourses on obscure mathematical problems, plucks another leave, describes the most recent occasion of his getting lost in front of his own house, plucks another leaf, and so on.

Also bean salad. I use my mother’s recipe, which includes cucumbers, feta cheese, olives and red onions. The goal is to make it taste as much as possible like my mother’s.

And the beets. Did I mention the sweet young beets?

We gave the jalapeño peppers to Gill to test their hotness. If she says they are just hot enough, we will know they are too hot for anyone else.

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