I bought the seed for ‘Pilar’ aka ‘Zapallito Redondo de Tronco,’ an unusual squash variety two years back from New World Seeds and Tubers. I tried to direct-sow the seed outdoors twice in that first year, but was unable to coax a single seed to germinate. This spring I over-sowed indoors underneath light to be safe, and was successful with one plant. One single, glorious, phenomenal, plant!
Shiso (Perilla frutescens) is a beautiful herb that self-seeds with abandon. It’s flavour is hard to pinpoint, something akin to mint meets a savoury herb like caraway with a hint of citrus. I’ve been growing it for years, but it’s aggressive nature always seemed to be curbed on the roof where conditions could be exceedingly hot mid-summer. It’s population of the rooftop’s pots was never more than I could handle or use within any given growing season.
It has been unbearably hot and muggy here over the last few days. If you’re living with the same conditions, I recommend waiting for the humidity to lift before attempting to air dry any significant quantity of herbs. However, the other night Davin picked too much thyme for a meal and spontaneously constructed this contraption as a way to ensure that the herbs were able to get air on all sides and avoid going moldy.
It’s just a paper bag clipped to the rope that raises and lowers the kitchen blinds by a close pin. It isn’t fancy, but I was impressed by his ingenuity.
This morning I was over at a friend’s, and she had set up a similar contraption to dry large quantities of lavender. Her’s was a clothesline strung across the kitchen with each bunch of lavender in its own paperbag to catch the flowers that would otherwise fall and drop onto her head and into meals at the table. She also used clothespins to hold the bags on the line.
The voodoo lily’s (Amorphophallus bulbifer) reputation as a real stinker precedes it, and I have to admit that I have always been a bit hesitant about introducing something that smells badly to my home. Still, as the bulb drew closer to blooming, it was curiosity, and the worry that I would miss the event that made me bring it right up to my kitchen door.
On the morning that it opened, Davin woke up before me (as he does) and opened the kitchen window to let in a breeze. He says he was instantly whacked in the face by a terrible smell. Within an hour it had permeated the entire house!
Last night we enjoyed dinner at The Black Skirt, a Sicilian/Calabrian Italian restaurant here in Toronto. Before the meal, we were served slices of Italian loaf, as is the custom in most Italian restaurants. But where most restaurants tend to provide a plate of good quality olive oil for dipping, The Black Skirt offered something a little unusual, an oily and aromatic, bruschetta-meets-pesto sauce called ammoghiu.