Monday, July 20, 2015

Garden Tour - June 20, 2015

I haven't been going out in the garden lately.  We've been having quite the heatwave here in Jersey.
I was gazing outside my window, checking out the garden and low and behold, what did I see...
an artichoke!  Three tangerine sized artichokes, I could not believe it.

I had some store bought potatoes start growing inside the potato bin.
I put them inside the garden, because I feel like things that want to grow
should be given the opportunity to grow.  Aren't the flowers pretty?

I am not exactly sure what kind of beans these are, my mom gave me the seeds.
So far, all I have are pretty flowers and lots of vines, but I'm sure we'll get some beans soon.

How cute is that watermelon!?!?

The cantaloupes were only kind of sweet last year.  I read that they are
heavy feeders and extra doses of compost or fertilizer should help them be super sweet.
I'll let you know how that works out.

I have picked so many cucumbers.  I made a bunch of bread and butter pickles using the recipe
I thought I used last year, but it's not the right one!  Crappola.  Now I have to try a bunch of 
different recipes to figure out which is the right one.  This is why I am now writing notes next to all the recipes I try, so me...and possibly the Tyrant if she ever gets into cooking...will know what's what.

Only one of my eggplant seedlings survived, but thankfully, a lovely person on Freecycle had a few extras.  This is one of them.  I can't wait for these tiny eggplants to be full sized.

None of my lettuce seeds survived, wtf?  Very irritating.  Instead, I've started
sticking the ends of romaine lettuce from the store in the ground.  Now we should have a nice staggered harvest of romaine lettuce.

I am pretty sure this was one kale plant that has grown a million side shoots and is producing an enormous amount of kale.  At first I wasn't eating it, because I heard it's tough and bitter after it bolts.
I think I'm going to throw caution to the wind and harvest a bunch for lunch tomorrow.

The onion flowers are turning into onion seeds.

I love this mammoth dill.  It's so pretty, attracts beneficial bugs and makes very nice lox.

These too are starting to go to seed.

Except for the cherry tomatoes, all of our tomatoes are still green.
Those dead leaves are courtesy of the heatwave.

I'm saving this spot for fall crops.  In the meantime, I planted a ton of basil...

...and cilantro, which will probably bolt in the next five minutes just because it's annoying like that.

No flowers or peppers yet, but I'm hopeful.  For some reason, peppers are a crap shoot around here.  Either you get a huge plant with no peppers, or you get a million peppers.  Fingers crossed...

By the way, I used the soaker hoses in twice.  So glad we got them in early.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: THE BROAD FORK by Hugh Acheson

Let me begin by saying, I love cookbooks.  I love to leaf through them, gaze adoringly at the pictures and dream of future meals.  What I don't love is the nonsensical writing that surrounds the recipes. Just tell me how to make the food!  My point is while I normally sidestep the obligatory filler material in cook books, I actually read everything in this book.  Everything.  I know!  Craziness!

I've watched Hugh Acheson on Top Chef, so I was prepared for his writing in The Broad Fork to be colorful.  The truth is it wasn't just colorful; it was the perfect mix of snark and storytelling.  I recommend when you buy this book, which you should, that you sit outside in this beautiful summer weather, in your favorite chair, with a cup of coffee by your side, because you're going to want to spend some time really reading this book.  Here...pretend he's sitting with you...

Chef Hugh Acheson Explains Southern Cuisine’s Complex Simplicity - Forbes Travel Guide
Photo courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee
Now the important part, the recipes.  For anyone wondering, this is not a vegetarian cookbook.  It is a book that teaches you how to cook not only your standards, but those vegetables that you walk buy at the grocery store (or farmer's market, if you're fancy) and say to yourself, "Thanks, but no thanks.  What would I do with you?"  Then those poor vegetables sit there sadly, like puppies in the pet store window, waiting for someone more adventurous to take a chance on them.  Now you can be that adventurous person! Look, you can do more with Brussels sprouts than saute them with bacon for Thanksgiving.  Who knew?

I like that amidst the more complicated recipes (complicated as in there are more steps than the average person might want to be bothered with), there are plenty of easy quick ones.  I really like that he pickles and ferments a lot of these vegetables too.  I also like that he broke everything down by season, so you know that Fall is the best time to make this Slow Cooker Apple Butter.

WOULD I BUY IT?  I think you can tell, that's a definite yes.  I like his style of writing.  I like the diversity of recipes.  Mostly, I think The Broad Fork really is a good cookbook.  He says in the intro, "It is a book that I hope will live in your kitchen rather than a on your coffee table, because not one of us cooks at our coffee table."  It's found a home in my kitchen, I hope it finds one in yours.

 I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.