I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back to the Farmers Market, What Did We find?

Hi!I think a big part of a farmers market's charm/ appeal is the treasure hunt aspect of it.

Just like when I go to the flea, at the farmers market, I never know what I might find to make a delicious meal for me and my family--or who knows what? And unlike a trip to the supermarket, there is no point in going list in hand with a set notion of what I must buy this week. I walk around, take in the choices, admire the colors, breathe the fresh scent and excitement.

And finally make a choice.

This week I was still looking for berries, raspberries or blackberries, But no. Cukes for pickles, no. And the Italian delicacies I mentioned last time were all sold out. Probably just as well, because who really needs fried blueberry ravioli with chocolate studded mascarpone?

I was tempted to do a little early Christmas shopping! One year I gave everyone flavored olive oils and herbed vinegars. This year I'm intrigued by the silk scarves at the India fair trade booth.

The ''wellness'' booth keeps getting bigger, and though it is not local produce, I love the things they sell and will not complain. These silk scarves are handmade with sari scraps, then finished with large stitch Kantha quilting.

Oh robin's egg blue, my fave.

Surely some of my girlfriends will love these too?
The earrings are cool too. Am I past the age of wearing rather life sized filigree gold leaves earrings? Maybe not!

As usual I was very short of cash so I stuck to things I knew we'd actually eat. The Long Island corn was glorious. Tiny sweet perfect kernels. Beautiful, especially considering it is organic, which often implies flaws and bugs, especially on corn. The tablecloth is a faded cheddar cotton Provencal textile, from Pierre Deux, in NYC. c.1980?

Onions, yellow squash, tiny tomatoes.

I made a fresh pasta sauce which I froze; I also steamed the summer squash with cauliflower, lots of black pepper, a sprinkle of parm, Yum. With brown rice it made a lovely light summer supper.

Bigger green and red heirloom tomatoes for Fried Green Tomatoes. I'll make the  seasoned flour version [salt black pepper, paprika, onion salt, garlic powder] instead of Southern cornmeal fried, because I just cleaned my baking pantry and I know I'm out of cornmeal.

I wish I has an inkling of how to make turnips taste better. They sure are pretty! Taste like mud though, a rare veg we do not eat at my house. EDIT : I think I meant beets!? :

Early melons, lumpy but sweet.

The kale was lovely for a farro, kale and squash w/ feta salad.

And a big bouquet of field flowers. So colorful!

And look, green zinnias! I must have them next summer, in my deck planters.

recipe for Fresh Veggie/ Pasta Toss Sauce

In a large heavy pan saute sweet onions, coarse chop, with halved miniature plum tomatoes or  mixed baby heirloom tomatoes. Stir on medium heat til all begins to wilt and the onions look transparent. Add whatever fresh veggies you brought home. Usually I put zucchini and/ or yellow squash, sliced thinnish, cauliflower, mushrooms. In the spring you can use new peas and asparagus.

Add fresh minced garlic, to taste, maybe 2 teaspoons? Chopped fresh parsley and basil.

Add a little water or white wine, 2 T of butter, 3 T of sugar, salt, pepper , oregano to taste. Add enough liquid so the mixture won't scorch but not a lot, not wet. Stir a few times, bring to s good simmer. Then cover and either turn off the stove entirely or leave on very lowest heat. I usually let it sit for an hour-ish?

Stir again, add a little more white wine of needed. Add some parm.

Toss with hot fresh pasta, I often use it with simple ravioli, but even shells or spaghetti is fine. Add more parm on top and a couple more basil springs. Mm mm.Smells so delicious, tastes great too.

But the plain, steamed, just picked corn is just as good. Feast of summer.

PS These oh so cute stripey sweet peppers were a my grocery today. New to me. A sausage and peppers night soon, sounds delish!

Mo was bored to tears, he's not a veggie dog.

Mo is sulking in the upper right hand corner here.

Have a great weekend!



gone to the beach.....

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wildflower Meadow on My Deck

Hi! Mid-August! By now I think my deck planters garden is as good as it's going to get.

This year I made my garden from either seeds or summer bulbs, no pre-grown nursery plants [except one Spanish lavender], for two reasons: ease of carrying up to the deck/ ease of planting and mostly for budgetary considerations. You get a lot of zinnias out of a freebie seed pack from Country Living. 

I was also inspired by posts on my friend Tammy's blog, T's Daily Treasures. Tammy is an American living in Kuwait and she is often involved in community gardens in her city. She talked about growing a tiny wildflower meadow in a pot, from a packet of seeds, and how fun it was for the mystery flowers to evolve. I've always wanted to do that! Anyone remember Meadow in a Can? My dad pooh-poohed the idea: Weeds! he'd scoff.

But Tammy's version in a small planter sounded fun and doable. I planted most things mid-May.

Here are the seed packs, including Save the Bees. I added another pack called...???Butterfly Flowers too.

If we look closely, the drawing on the seed envelope closely resembles what has grown. How cool is that! Save the Bees

from web page, link above:
Mix contains by weight:
1. Basil, Sweet (A) 5%
2. Bergamot (P) 0.5%
3. Black-Eyed Susan (A/P) 1%
4. Borage (A) 16%
5. California Poppy (A/P) 6%
6. Catnip (P) 1%
7. Coriander/Cilantro (A) 13%
8. Coreopsis, Lance Leaf (P) 6%
9. Cosmos (A) 3%
10. Dill (A) 6%
11. Gaillardia, Annual (A) 6%
12. Globe Gilia (A) 2%
13. Goldenrod (P) 1%
14. Lavender Hyssop (P) 0.5%
15. Lemon Mint (A) 1%
16. Purple Prairie Clover (P) 3%
17. Siberian Wallflower (B/P) 10%
18. Sunflower, Lemon Queen (A) 13%
19. Zinnia, Cut and Come Again (A) 6% 

I have ~


Mexican or field marigolds.


Something tiny and adorably gorgeously sky blue. I have no idea what this is, and it was hard to get its picture. {Oh I now see this is borage, an herb. I was worried it was nightshade! Have see what borage is used for!]

Large grasses or weeds? No, fancy red corn, another heirloom from Botanical Interests. If it's successful, it will have red ''corn'' plumes in October.

Many sizes of sunflowers, just beginning to bloom. These are the Lemon Queens.

The meadow flowers are nor full or dense like a nursery planting would be but each bloom is treasured.

I also had lovely basil starting, you can see it on the list, but it was mixed with poison ivy, growing together, so I pulled it out. I guess daddy was sort of right about weeds?

This meadow was supposed to draw bees and butterflies. And indeed it has. I do not see any honey bees but many chubby busy bumblebees which are much more common here. And orange and brown unknown butterflies [not Monarchs] and white cabbage and yellow sulfur butter butterflies too. The pots of flowers are always busy with tiny visitors.
The bees like the sunflowers okay but all the good bugs especially like the very prolific lime tree that my friend brought in December and it never went home.

It loves my deck and the pollinators do a great job. Lots of little limes to harvest.[The pink pompoms are volunteers of unknown origin, in the lime tree pot,maybe from the wilflower pack?]

Then I did some summer bulbs.
Cannas---big flop, not a one. Very expensive bulbs, too. Note "easy to grow". I said we should go back and complain. My friends' cannas did not grow either. So disappointed. No blue pom poms either.

Elephant ears, also from the April Flower Show.

And dahlias from the supermarket, 4.99 per box, each with one tuber.

They are doing well, though they amuse me as both the ''blue'' and the ''red and white striped'' plants are producing basic burgundy.  And ''dinner plate'' = 4"?

And golden yellow with white tips is just...yellow. But that's okay! I like them all.

Tarragon grown from heirloom seed, for an infused vinegar.

And my lavender garden.

I'm enjoying this experiment. Ya never know!



gone to the beach...

...yesterday: a perfect August Sunday.

PS I water my deck garden twice a day, two big watering cans full each time. Really soaking the pots. Otherwise the sun and heat and wind destroy the flowers in half  a day. I even water on rainy days, which are few anyway.