The weather has been trying recently. Steamy, sunny mornings and what amount to monsoon rains in the afternoon. But it’s been a good summer nonetheless. One Saturday morning at the beginning of the summer we went to the farmer’s market as usual and we were shocked at the abundance. Out of nowhere, everything is harvestable. We came home with five pounds of Russian Banana fingerling potatoes, Russian kale, a pint of strawberries (love those June-bearing varieties!), a bunch of red scallions, a bag of Mesclun mix, three Piedmontese beef patties, and even a pint of greenhouse cherry tomatoes! All of the stands were packed – every kind of lettuce and green, herbs, onions, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms… I really love summer. We had some of the Mesclun and cherry tomatoes in our first proper pasta salad of the season for lunch and it was good. Then for dinner we had leftover pasta salad and grilled the beef patties on our portable grill down in the parking lot. There is nothing like grass-fed Piedmontese beef – it tastes like what beef should taste like, and it stays juicy and firm no matter how you cook it. Grilled, it needs no additional flavoring other than a little salt and pepper – it’s truly superb.
On the apartment front, we’ve decided to stay in our current place for another year… I was really looking forward to some outdoor space and a slightly larger kitchen, but alas personal economies can interfere with the best of plans. However, I’m trying to look at the bright side and make the best of things. We’ll be in better financial situation a year from now, and that’s an important goal. In the meantime, I still plan on buying a small chest freezer (to stick in some unobtrusive corner and call it an end table J), and I’m devising plans for putting together my own meat smoker (the home made trash can variety) and preserving as much food as possible. In a few short weeks, we’ll have tomatoes on our hands, and I think I’ve got everything I need to get started canning them up. I’ve got to bring all of my supplies out of the closest and double-check my recipes and I’ll be all set. I just have to think of a good plan for hauling 35 pounds of tomatoes back to the apartment!
The herbs and bay tree are growing quite well. Later this summer I plan on propagating the basil and the two thymes so I can multiply how many plants I have. You can never have two much thyme in my opinion. I never did get around to starting anything else since the plan was to move, but I might put in a few containers of lettuce now that we’re staying. Since it’s gotten so hot, who knows how well it will grow, but we can see.
Not a whole lot of craftiness going on these days. I did make a few soy candles and some bath salts for a friend that needed a gift the other day. I’d like to make some soy candles in canning jars, but I’ve decided to wait until after I’m done with canning for the season. I’m on the lookout on Craigslist and whatnot for free or cheap canning jars, as well as stuff I can use for brewing supplies or my meat smoker. I’ll keep you all posted as to any good finds I come across.
That’s it for now I suppose… the lazy days of summer have arrived. J