I leaned back in my chair and threw one arm over the side – relaxing and burping my way to another piece of watermelon when I realized, I can’t remember the last time I had a meal that wasn’t spectacular. Aside from several meals I was forced to eat out (this excludes you Susan at A La Carte!!).
It’s true. For months now every meal I’ve prepared and eaten from this kitchen at Marideth’s house has been more amazing than the last. First there were the early herbs and the overwintering collards, then lettuces and beet greens and radishes and a plethora of peas. Beans planted way too early made it along with the potatoes. The food supply quickly morphed into a bounty of onions, more beans, tomatoes and summer lettuce. The brocolli was splendid and the Brussel sprouts just kept pumping them out. We are currently under seige from tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, some beans, okra and several varieties of peppers. Still to come are MORE beans and tomatoes, more potatoes, eggplants, winter squash, basil and other herbs for drying, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatillos. And watermelon.
Todays lunch had no name. Most of the food I prepare has no name. It is food. Mostly it was grown in the dirt from the side yard, mostly it is picked as I make my way to the kitchen to prepare a meal. Much of it is raw or lightly cooked.
Earlier today I picked several large handfuls of cherry tomatoes – who knows the variety, it was a volunteer and not too badly placed and it has more than made up for its unannounced appearance with tiny red globs of burst in your mouth goodness. Sometimes I just go to the garden in the early a.m. and eat straight from the plants until I am full.
So, anyway I rinsed them and laid them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with garlic powder, drizzled with olive oil and topped with finely crushed dried basil. Popped them under the broiler for about 3 minutes until they burst open, blistered and the oil almost but not quite caught on fire. The secret to this dish is – don’t catch the kitchen on fire. Share this tip if you must. I removed this olfactory sensation from the
flaming oven to cool. Meanwhile I prepared some ciabatta bread by slathering it with a healthy dose of pesto (home made of course – see my instructions here), added a few slices of pepperoni (not something usually in this kitchen but there it was and you know that use it up mentality) and popped this under the broiler long enough for the pepperoni to sizzle.
I set the pesto toasts on a plate, placed the charred tomatoes in a bowl and a meal was born. It was followed by hefty doses of locally grown watermelon as ours aren’t ripe yet.
I sat back in my chair and noticed the boss lady had finished before me, something of a rarity as I tend toward gluttony and fast eating. We both rolled our eyes in amazement of the flavors, moaned and laughed. “How does it keep getting better?” we each asked. That’s when I realized I couldn’t remember the last poor meal, so-so meal, not very good meal or just passable meal. I am truly blessed.
I’d like to attribute this payment of blessings to all the years of clean living I’ve experienced but the guffaws from my dining companion brought me back to my senses and I realize it is mostly due to hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck.
There haven’t been any tomato hornworms, no squash bugs, very few flea beetles and scarcely a grasshopper. But we were hit with blister beetles within the last few days. That battle is being fought with a 3 fold plan; self-rising flour in an attempt to explode them, Safer, 3 in 1 to outright kick their little hinnies, and noise. If you are near this house or working in the garden there will be classical music pouring around the place all mixed up with jazz, bluegrass and classic rock and roll. Hopefully some of the music will chase away the blister beetles and the rest of the music will soothe the plants!
Happy gardening and happy eating!