Last weekend we dug up a boatload of Jerusalem artichokes aka sunchokes from the garden, right on schedule.
Believe it or not, many of the tubers are even bigger this year than last. And there are more of them! God help us.
When we began digging, I told Davin that we would only be excavating a few. But it’s like once you start you just can’t stop. And when you do think to stop you tell yourself, “Well, I have GOT to get the tubers that have grown into the neighbour’s yard. They’re compromising the fence!” The next thing you know, you’ve got a basket so big you can barely even lift it.
Recently, the addition of an island/counter that has suddenly provided me with more counter space than I have ever had before, as well as the well-timed arrival of an indulgent purchase of newly published cookbooks has us spending whole days in the kitchen. I am always drawn to the kitchen in other people’s homes. It’s the room I always seem to migrate to and camp out in for the duration during a party. I can’t express how happy I am now to have a counter that offers me the chance to spread out a little while I cook and can, as well as the space to perch and socialize when Davin is doing the work.
Now, on those books. I’m slowly making my way through the pile, savouring each one. I began first with two that feature South East Asian home cooking: Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid and Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan. The first, “Burma,” is my favourite sort of cookbook, with as much put into telling personal stories and offering a small window into a culture through beautiful images as it is a manual for cooking good food. “Vietnamese Home Cooking” is not a travel journal, but it does have a personable element to it that includes beautiful photographs taken by photographer Eric Wolfinger. I have already used the advice in this book to successfully purchase my first set of cleavers and tightly wrap a proper spring roll.
Yep, I’m behind. As always. No new story here. It is November 15 and I am yet to plant my garlic. I have been here before. In fact, there was that year that I didn’t get garlic in at all.
As I write this, there is a total of six cloves in the ground. That’s not six full bulbs. No I mean, a mere six cloves. One, two, three, four, five, six. I put them in at lunchtime, which was about six minutes ago.
Last spring we made a big change to the structure of our garden which resulted in a new perennial bed. Since the perennials were still quite small and lacklustre, I made use of the gaps and filled them in with an assortment of seeds including annual flowers, herbs, and greens. All of the plants I put in were in the black/maroon/burgundy colour palette.
In the summer I tucked some Italian radicchio (Cichorium intybus) seeds underneath the tomatillos and pretty much forgot about them until this beautiful, sprawling rosette appeared and threatened to suffocate some of the succulents that make up the bed’s border. The variety in this photo is ‘Rossa di Verona.’ The entire rosette is a massive 20″ wide! Radicchio are pretty, edible, and surprisingly cold tolerant. In fact, dark varieties like this one reach their deepest, best colour in the fall. It makes me wonder why radicchio do not show up in the fall/winter garden alongside ornamental cabbages and chrysanthemums?
As an experiment I intend to cut the heads when these are ready, but leave the root and old leaves to keep growing. Some radicchio varieties have overwintered in my garden before, so it will be interesting to see if this variety comes back.
Here we are again folks. It’s too many green tomatoes time!
Friends, I was smart and totally on top of my shit this year. I picked away at the harvest in manageable chunks rather than frantically hauling them all inside at once. But today, with the high winds and heavy rains of hurricane Sandy looming, I decided it was time to bring in as many as possible or risk loosing what remains. And so I trudged out there, dressed in boots and wind-resitant gear, basket and shears in hand, mere minutes before the weather turned nasty. I pulled in a boatload of the largest under-ripe fruit from what remained on the vines. Only the currants and a few small cherry varieties were left behind.
So far this season I’ve made:
- zucchini and green tomato relish
- green cherry tomatoes pickled in tarragon and lemon peel
- sweet peppery pickled tomatoes
- dill pickled green cherry tomatoes
- fried green tomatoes
- roasted green tomatoes
- 2 lbs of green tomatoes are sweating in bowls of salt as I write this. They will be made into 2 more types of pickle.