Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Member

This is both a report and an apology. Repology, perhaps? The apology part is straightforward. I haven't blogged in over a week, mostly due to not having much in the way of picture-worthy stuff. I have an overabundance of tomatoes, but most of them are starting to get squishy, and thus not terribly photo worthy. The dishes I've been making with them, like tabouli and normal, run-of-the-mill beef tacos, aren't really exciting. It's getting to the end of the season, and I've kindasorta stopped weeding, so overall pictures aren't so nice. I guess the peppers are starting to turn color, so that'll likely be my next blog. That, or another on eggplants. Man, those have been doing better than I ever could have expected!

But on to the report section. My wife and I have been thinking about getting a dog for months, if not years, but decided against it for a few reasons. Sunday, however, we passed a local pet charity outside of Petsmart with a bunch of dogs for adoption, and it's there that we met Inara. Half beagle, half lab (I like to think the beagle was the male for the sake of hilarity) and all cuteness, she was abandoned down in Southeast Ohio, and the foster parents named her after a escort-for-kings character on Firefly, a show my wife and I both like, because he thought she was a good companion. Well, that was such an amusing reason that we had to keep the name.

Of course, we got her on the day that Hurricane Ike came through, so that has created some hilarity of its own in dodging the massive debris that's fallen down in the yard, and going out at 1AM in 60 mph winds so she can pee. Ike did some fair damage to my garden, unfortunately, knocking down two tomato stakes, knocking two or three green tomatoes off the stalks, cracking the stem of my brandywine, and knocking flat a few of my pepper plants. I just simply don't have the time (or energy, frankly) to go out there and fix things, however, due to this bundle of energy. I had to walk her for over a mile before she'd sleep and allow me to write this entry and get a couple things done around the house. This dog is going to either get me in shape, or gnaw my hand off.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fingerling Potatoes

Cost/benefit analyses. We try to do them as gardeners, saying, "Oh, it'll be much cheaper to grow x instead of buy it in the store. I'm just saving money." It rarely works out that way, does it? That's one of the main reasons I was drawn to fingerling potatoes. In the store, they're about $3.99 a pound when you can find them. So I figured, hey, 5 bucks for a few seed pieces, get 3-4 pounds, for a net profit of around seven bucks, and super-fresh fingerlings. Well, I got the super-fresh fingerlings, but after paying for soil and all the fertilizer these plants kept eating (oh, how they nom nom nom the fertilizer!), I probably came close to breaking even. If I would have been going organic for these potatoes, I would have been well in the hole.

I would have left these guys well enough alone for a couple more weeks, but the squirrels are getting aggressive, and had begun to unearth the plants as they started to die back and were stealing the potatoes. I didn't even realize they liked raw potatoes.

These in the picture are my Russian Banana fingerlings, chosen because they're supposed to be fairly versatile, in addition to the fact that I've had them before and enjoyed them. The range in sizes, though, is pretty insane. Everything from the size of a pea to the size of a real baking potato on these guys, which is going to make cooking them a chore.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Thyme Tomatoes

I've grown a wide variety of tomatoes this year. The gold-colored Kellogg's Breakfast and Sungolds, the gold and pink striped Hillbillies, the pink Brandywines, the red Soldackis, Camp Joys and Romas, and the purple Cherokee Purples and Black Cherries. Mix and match that with the Green Zebras my mother in law is growing down the street, and you have the makings of some really pretty dishes.

The best recipes to show off this variety of color and flavor are often the simplest ones, and this recipe is about as simple as you can without taking your salt shaker out to the vines. Simply slice a wide variety of colors of tomatoes, and arrange them nicely on a platter. Drizzle olive oil on the slices, and generously sprinkle fresh thyme leaves on the slices. Lemon thyme is particularly good for this, especially the variegated kind. Lay the leftover stalks on the tomatoes decoratively. Set the platter out in the sun for twenty minutes, then serve. Easy as pie.