Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Never will say good-bye

I am just amazed that it is the end of August, and Labor Day weekend is upon us. It seems it was a mere few weeks ago that we rented that roto tiller to get the new garden prepped. I fretted that laborous weekend that the plants that were being planted was in no way going to be enough to supply us with an adequate supply of food. Clearly, the novice in me had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how aggressive cucumbers would be or the continuous crowning of okra. Yes, there have been disappointments along the way; cauliflower that was an early casualty and a few plants that dogs trampled as they learned the garden was off limits. Now, almost four months along I have not bought more then onions, garlic and potatoes from the farmer’s market, well of course that is not including proteins but I am politicing for chickens.

Happily my garden is not finished. Surprisingly the watermelon has set yet another fruit leaving a tally of eight watermelons in various stages of readiness, which is quite exciting after the less than stellar start I had with this particular fruit. That first one I was so sure was ready turened out to be white and bland. I can report am I now successfully recognizing when to snip it from the vine. The cucumbers are winding down, no longer yeilding six to eight engorger fruits a day – I am sure come January I will long for my daily excess. And of course, the autumn plantings that have been started – another go at cauliflower as well as broccoli, carrots, beets and Romansque Broccoli along with Tuscan kale, arugula and Rossa lettuce will hopefully be on my plate in the months to come.

Preparations have been being made for the long, dark days that are ahead of us when prehaps just the kale and cabbage may be able to survive dull,chill of the winter. I have put up vinegar, aromatic salts and sugars, pickles of various kinds from peaches to jalapenos, and there is a freezer filling up with freshly harvested, peaking okra, black-eyed peas, tomatoes and corn kernels. I think I have enough chili sauce in storage to keep me sweating through the winter,
although I know my plants have not yet completed their production so I am confident that I can get at least another quart put away.

Saying goodbye to summer for me only means the beginning of the jacket wearing season but not saying goodbye to the foods of the season.

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta – serves 8 to 10
3-cups chopped watermelon – seeds discarded
1/2-pound cucumbers – peeled and diced
1-red onion – minced
2-beefsteak tomatoes – seeds discard and then diced
4-scallions – minced
1-jalapeno – minced (seeds discarded to lower heat)
¼-cup chopped basil leaves
½-cup chopped mint leaves
1/4-cup fresh lime juice
½-cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4-pound feta cheese – diced

Diced the watermelon taking great care to discard the seeds. Pour any juice through a sieve to catch the seeds and let the juice drain into a large bowl. Place all the ingredients into the bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Chill well. Serve in bowls garnished with some diced feta cheese.

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