Category Archives: Garden

Seasonal Spotlight: Tomatoes

Call me basic, but I love a good late summer tomato. Cutting into it, the dark flesh bursting with flavor. Sprinkling some salt and pepper and eating while standing up in the kitchen, juice running down my chin and onto…ok maybe not juice running down my chin etc (I’ll save that for the NSFW version of this post 😏). 

One of my heirloom tomato plants

The rule of thumb for these tomatoes is to not do much with them beyond the slicing and seasoning. Of course if unable to consume as they ripen, turning into a sauce and freezing for the long dark is highly recommended.

During one of our camping trips I made a fantastic salad with some heirloom tomatoes. Super simple: Tomato slices, cantaloupe wedges, cucumber slices and torn fresh mozzarella. Everything drizzled in pesto. This came from a cookbook called The Campout Cookbook by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson. I highly recommend this for glampers and gourmands. Great recipes for home cooking as well as camping! Some of the preparations I find a little too fussy for camping, but they have a lot of tips on prep that you can do at home so you don’t have to do too much at camp (when there is the real possibility that you will be too far into the Rosé to competently prepare a meal).

While the salad featured the tomato in its purest form, if you are interested in cooking it a bit more this risotto recipe is perfect. You grate some of the tomato and mix it with the risotto before you start adding the stock, so it ends up cooking with the risotto and infusing it with flavor. Then you add chopped tomatoes at the end with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. It is a true celebration of summer produce.

This year, my tomato plants produced just the right amount of fruit for salads and occasional tomato-centric dishes, but in past years, I have had an overabundance. When that happens, I always roast some up in a 325 degree oven for 45 -90 mins and with garlic and maybe some onion, extra virgin olive oil, s&p and freeze in jars for the cold winter months. It is probably for the best that I do not have that kind of yield this year because, in our current place, we have a counter depth fridge with limited freezer space and finding room for anything among all the bags of chicken bones and Parmesan rinds and half baguettes is…a…thing.

Summer is definitely winding down and though we are currently encased in a vile smoke layer, I hope to get outside later this week when things clear and harvest the last of the tomatoes. It will be bittersweet, because options for really great tomatoes are limited Fall through Spring. I will continue to enjoy them in their late summer glory though and plan for my garden next year (and my future chest freezer which I will fill with sauces and stocks).

A caprese because, gotta include a classic

Good eating, friends!

~ Hungry Ginger

What a Difference a Season Makes

Thanks to last night’s storm, most of our deciduous tree friends have shed their autumnal locks, thus bringing to an end the yearly groundhog day-like ritual of bluster and rake and bluster and rake and curse the heavens…and rake. Besides the fact that I no longer have to worry about our basement flooding because leaves have clogged the basement drain and the sump pump has stopped working, this means that it’s time to tuck our little garden in for the winter. It was a good garden this year. I could have done more with it, but we had some lovely salads and mojitos and ity bity oh so sweet mountain strawberry snacks. There were fat bumble bees drunkenly teetering on lavender blossoms and colorful butterflies gracefully looping about. We cleared out a new part of the garden and planted some shade-loving ferns and our porch pots yielded a plethora of herbs.

After raking the leaves into the beds so they can mulch over the next couple months and enrich the soil below, the garden still looked beautiful in a way. It’s not the riot of lush green and bright fruit that it was this summer but it still seems cared for and…a little cozy really. I’m certainly glad that the damp, ever blowing pain in my side can become helpful nutrients for next year’s bounty. I’m looking forward to 2018 when I plan to expand the back garden (#teamnolawn) and start some beds in the front. Stay cozy out there, friends!