Category Archives: The Growth of a Garden

From Amsterdam, With Love

From JH:

tulip bulbs

What’s the best organic-matter gift one can smuggle in from Amsterdam? Tulip bulbs from the floating flower market, no doubt. These are going in the ground today, and because I’m not sure what variety they are (maybe parrot?), I’m already looking forward being surprised in the spring. Thank you, FK!

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Filed under Flora, Gardening, Gift Ideas, Raw Materials, The Growth of a Garden

A Moment in the Kitchen: Roasted Tomato Sauce

From JH:

roasted H&O tomatoes

roasted H&O tomatoes

With the very last of my garden’s ripe tomatoes, I decided to make sauce. And because these tomatoes weren’t the sweetest (cold weather is the culprit, I suspect), I chose to roast them before turning them into a pomodoro. My recipe is an on-the-spot improvisation. I used:

As many tomatoes as you see above (a mix of Jersey Devils, Tommy Toes, Austin Red Pears, and one San Marzano)

4 cloves of garlic (stiff-neck, my new favorite), smashed

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine (Cote-de-Brouilly Beaujolais, specifically, but any hearty drinking wine will do)

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Cook them in the oven on the center rack for approximately 20 minutes, or until some of the tomatoes are brown and others look like they’ve “popped.” Transfer the tomatoes/garlic and their oil to a large sauce pan, smoosh them until they’re saucy, add the wine and cracked pepper and bring to a boil. Once the sauce begins to boil, turn the heat to Low, and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add salt to taste.

I must say, I’m pretty pleased with how my sauce turned out. Again, that it was made from tomatoes that I grew myself makes it even more delicious. And to make that satisfaction last just a little bit longer, I chose to freeze the sauce for later. Won’t it be so wonderful to have summer tomato sauce on a winter’s night not too far from now. Yes, I think it will.

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself, On the Cheap, The Growth of a Garden

The Growth of a Garden: Part 14

from JH:

long john cayenne peppers

long john cayenne peppers

Look what finally decided to join us, at last! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to do another Growth post this year. These past few weeks, little by little, JB and I have been dismantling the H&O garden. Most of the raised bed is clear, and in an effort to use as much of the mint as is humanly possible before winter strikes, I’ve been continuously picking and consuming it (mint in my tea, mint in my salad, mint with my tomatoes, mint in my rice, mint bouquets all over the apartment…a girl can only use so much mint). The tomato trellises are all that’s left, but before we take those down, I needed to gather the last of the kinda ripe ones (look up), and the abundance of green ones that don’t stand a chance in New York’s now 40-degree days (winter in October? Seriously?). But look how many:

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

Seems I’m in for some more green tomato pickles. Thank goodness for Mrs. B’s recipe!

p.s. The chili pic is my very modest ode to the late, very great Irving Penn (1917-2009), still-life photographer extraordinaire and inventor of fabulous picture dreams. No one’s done food better than you, Mr. Penn.

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Filed under Find & Fix, Gardening, The Growth of a Garden

While I Was Out…

From JH:

The tomatoes went berserk! JB and I harvested 9 lbs of them when we got home:

austin red pears, jersey devils, slicers, and tommy toes

austin red pears, jersey devils, slicers, and tommy toes

And then, after the almost 4 hours of driving, 3 ferry rides, and a delayed red-eye that took JB and I back from the remote island in BC where we’d been for the past week, we made a most delicious lunch. It’s nice to be home:

the perfect plate

the perfect plate

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Gardening, The Growth of a Garden

The Growth of a Garden: Part 13

From JH:

H&O squash blossoms, mint, basil, oregano, and arugula

fresh-picked

Just harvested: squash blossoms, mint, oregano, basil, and arugula. What can simple city farmers and part-time home cooks do with this? How about a green salad, and prosciutto-and-squash blossom pizza! The blossoms, which essentially dissolved into the cheese (amazing), lent an earthy, flower flavor to the salty di Parma. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures, it was too dark in my kitchen to take any good ones, and I’d rather get your imagination going than post an ill-focused image. I promise that if you think hard enough about a salty-savory homemade pizza topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, garden herbs, ham, and mozzarella, you will get hungry.

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself, Gardening, The Growth of a Garden

The Growth of a Garden: Part 12

From JH:

oh, tomatoes

oh, tomatoes

I have to give JB the majority of the credit for these. If not for his love (in the form of water, pruning, staking, and general tending to), I’m certain these beauties wouldn’t be what they are today. A man who can grow tomatoes is a man worth keeping, I’ve decided. Just look:

jersey devils

jersey devils

:

austin red pears

austin red pears

Seeing that some were ripe and ready, we picked just enough to make the most obvious salad:

the select few

picked for dinner

:

tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad

caprese with H&O tomatoes and basil, and caputo's mozzarella

Delicious! In fact, the mozzarella (a perennial favorite of ours) was disappointing compared to the fresh (and free!), homegrown garden fruits and herbs, which were still warm from the sun and the dirt that they came from.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Gardening, The Growth of a Garden

How Do I Love My Ikea “Benjamin” Stool…

From JH:

tomato trellises and "benjamin" stools

tomato trellises and the beloved garden stool

Let me count the ways…

1. It has simple, organic Scandinavian design

2. It has indoor/outdoor versatility

3. It has lightweight, get-up-and-go carry-ability

4. It has economic appeal (just $19.99)

5. It is informal by day, and dinner-ready come dusk

6. It is the perfect perch for building a tomato trellis (see above; the hydroponic bucket is JB’s, and is otherwise knows as “the bionic tomato maker”)

7. It is preciousless

8. It is easy to store (buy multiples, they stack!)

9. It is just my size

10. It can be painted, when I tire of its blond-wood color

11. It fits seamlessly into my oh-so urban garden “look” (like I had some choice in the symmetrical display of fire escapes and fencing)

Here are the details.

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Filed under Gardening, On the Cheap, The Growth of a Garden