Grilled vegetables – love them, and this is one of my favorites – a little olive oil. balsamic vinegar and garlic and it is good to go on the grill. Mmm
Do you have a garden in the summer where you grow your own vegetables? We try to have one every year, but sometimes our crop leaves a lot to be desired! Some years we have such an abundance that I have to give some out to almost anyone who comes to our door! Other years, like last year our garden has produced such a poor crop that I pray that it will hold out to the beginning of Sept, let alone have any to roast or make into sundried tomatoes.
Over the years, we have changed what we plant depending on how well we did with the crop the year before. One year we tried corn, the soil seemed fine,but it just wasn’t nutritionally dense enough I guess, it didn’t even make it to a foot in height! We were hoping to have a really good crop like we did one year when we were out inVancouver. I remember how lovely it was to be abe to go out to the garden and pick a couple of fresh ears of corn for dinner, and oh was it soo good!
I have always loved fresh, organically grown vegetables, and that is one of the reasons we persevere. There is also something therapeutic about working the earth and getting it ready for the seedlings and nurturing it along until you get to enjoy ‘the fruit of your labours’. So, even though our romaine wasn’t as good as in previous years, our tomato plants were less than healthy and our basil …well lt’s just say we didn’t get much pesto made, we will still have a garden this year . My husband is already busy planning it all out!
There is nothing better than being able to walk out to your garden and pick a couple of beautiful sun-warmed tomatoes, and a few leaves of romaine to have for dinner! Can’t wait!
We only just put in our first vegetable garden last summer because my oldest was participating in a cabbage growing contest through school. Before then, I had always opted for taking advantage of the bounty of my dad’s summer gardens, without actually putting in any of the labor and care myself. But when Charlie’s cabbage was verging on busting out of the paper cup it had been occupying, we decided to turn over some of our own earth.
Tom dug up a small 4×6 foot plot, and sunk a thin fence about six inches below the surface to keep out the rabbits, which are legion in our backyard. We put the cabbage right in the middle, and planted some cukes, green peppers and tomatoes. Sadly, the cabbage didn’t make it, our cucumber yield was minimal, and we were choking on green peppers and Romas. So this year, we added more cucumber plants, a different variety of tomatoes, and decided to experiment with some oddities: celery, peanuts, and stevia. Here’s the outcome:
As you can see, the cucumbers are prolific this time around. And that’s fine with us, because they’re the one vegetable that 3/4 of my children will eat. We can easily put away two per day just by snacking. I wish I’d paid more careful attention to the varieties we put in because these yellowish ones have a light citrus taste to them, and they’re really good.
We haven’t harvested the celery or peanuts yet, and we’re drying some stevia while we figure out what to do with it. But the tomatoes? They’re my favorite, and this year something has gone terribly wrong with them. As soon as they start to turn red, they develop some kind of blight on the bottom. We can still eat them as long as we get to them before the blight spreads too far. But what the heck?
I love the term “locavore” and the idea behind it: consuming locally grown foods to support local growers, while cutting down on fossil fuel use necessary for transporting foods over long distances. Although we couldn’t completely embrace the locavore lifestyle (the children insist on bananas and citrus fruits), it’s nice to do what we can, and I’m hoping to help make my kids a little more aware of the processes that bring food to our table. Our community recently began hosting a weekly summer farmers’ market, and it’s a lot of fun to browse the selections of fresh fruits and veggies, homemade jams and breads, supporting the nice people who make their livings this way. Here’s a handy guide to the annual availability of some common fruits and vegetables around the country:
Infographic courtesy of GOOD.
Have you ever been to a block party? So much fun! My parents’ block has one every summer, and it’s a can’t miss event for us. It’s tons of work, but the girl who puts the whole thing together is a genius, and we’ve never had a bad time. Each family contributes a set sum for the purchase of grillables and accessories, and then one side of the street is responsible for salads and sides, while the other side of the street handles desserts, and everyone brings their own beverages. The block has a good mix of generations, so the potluck is everything you could hope for, a mixture of deliciously reliable standards and fun new food presentations.
One of my most favorite tricks I’ve picked up from attending is a creative method for preparing corn on the cob for roasting on the grill. The same neighbor does it every year, and after one bite I had to know her secret for achieving such juicy, flavorful summer-nirvana. Believe it or not, it’s all in the beer. The night before the party, she fills a large cooler with water and dumps in three or four cans of beer. She snips off the end of the corn tassel so the liquid can better penetrate the husks, and soaks the corn in the beer/water overnight. When she’s ready to grill, the moisture steams the corn from within the husk, and the results are perfection, every time!