Saturday, August 1, 2009

Damn it got hot.

Last year in June, as I was looking forward to leaving NYC, I suffered a miserable week of 100+ degree days and swore to move to a less inhospitable climate. The irony of that sentiment has not escaped me this week. I am afraid my plants suffered rather a lot. My second crop of cilantro curled up and died- I went to work and it was fine, when I came home it literally looked as if someone had taken a blowtorch to it. I was very irritated. I have felt sluggish and uninspired all week, and I even bought a loaf of bread! I am not insane enough to bake in such weather.

But it's lots better now! I am making pie. I'll put up a picture if it turns out Ok. Meanwhile, here is this week's loot:

Blueberries, artichokes, corn, fresh green figs, half a peach (I got impatient and ate the other half earlier- scrumptious), and tomatoes from the farmer's market today. There were some cherries that didn't make it into the picture. Things in the strainer are some greengage plums somebody left in the kitchen at work. The little red thing sitting on the corn is a pepper from my pepper plant, another thing that narrowly escaped death. Also a dish of coriander seed from the first crop of cilantro. Why the heck is it cilantro if you eat the greens, and coriander if you mean the seeds?

The larger jar contains preserved limes, you'll see more about them in a couple weeks if they go well, if they don't, I'll pretend they never happened.

The smaller jar is homemade pesto from my own plants. Basil seems to be the only green thing I have that didn't falter in the scorching weather. On the contrary, it exploded and started to go to seed, so I cut it back. Here's how I make mine:

Basil, lots
Pine nuts, 2 or 3 handsfull
olive oil

Wash and strip the leaves off the basil. If it has started to bloom, I don't use the flower buds. Just a preference. Put the leaves in a food processor and chop them up with a lot of salt and a rather generous splash of olive oil. I usually don't use fancy oil for this. Put in a couple cloves of garlic. Sometimes I simmer the garlic in the olive oil first, it mellows the garlic, which is nice if you don't want that peppery kick in your pesto. I didn't this time, I was avoiding cooking anything this week. Add the pine nuts and process until the mix is the texture you like. I prefer a medium-fine texture. Pete makes his rather coarse. I have had some that was almost cream-sauce smooth, which was delicious, but I imagine, a bit of work. Also, I don't put any cheese in mine. I think the flavors keep better without, and I like to put cheese on the hot pasta anyway, if that's what I am using it for. I make mine pretty salty. This is because I use it sparingly, and also it retards spoiling.

Lastly, my plants surprised me again. I thought for sure I was going to have to start all over after the heat wave, but this morning I found this!

It's a cucumber. The pointy things just brush right off. I ate it for breakfast- it tasted just like it should. Ha!

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