With this most recent heat wave, my tomatoes have finally gotten with the program and started ripening. I started all my tomatoes from seed, using seeds I got for Mother's Day a few years ago. I used 5 different packets, ending up with about 45 plants. They were in these silly seed starter things (this is the first year I've done anything from seed, not counting beans and peas a 3 year old could grow) and they quickly outgrew the little space they had, not to mention I had put like 10 seeds a spot (I told you, my first time!!) and I was having trouble confronting thinning them. Eventually I transplanted some into bigger containers, I finally built some raised beds for them and slowly one or two was planted here and there. In the end I had no idea what I had planted. I lost the seed packets and the little plants had been rearranged so many times and half died, anyhow.
Now that the tomatoes are starting to ripen, I'm seeing what it is I have. It's like tomato surprise. So far it looks like I have mostly black krim and possibly some yellow brandywine? I have some bright red-orange ones, too, but I don't know what they are. I had thought I did green zebra till I found the full seed packet in my box of seeds. Either way, it's been fun to see the tomatoes change color and thankfully I love black krim, since I have a bazillion of those. I'll keep that in mind for next year!
For lunch I was finally able to enjoy a homegrown caprese salad. As usual, it was amazing. Certainly my all time favorite dish.
The cucumbers have been piling up in the fridge. I have to admit, the salad ones I grew just haven't tasted that great. They are supposed to grow to 6-8" but I've been having to harvest them at about 4" or they are bitter and even not bitter, their flavor seems off. I'll be shooting for a different variety next year. Regardless, I couldn't let all these tiny cucumbers go to waste. I peeled and sliced them and let them sit in a bowl of apple cider vinegar, water and ice. After they had soaked for an hour or two I drained them and tossed in some full fat Greek yogurt, a splash more apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and some dill. This was the starter for our dinner last night.
I got an organic grass-fed steak through my CSA over the weekend. I'm not sure where my head was when I did the math, but it was about $20 for a tiny 8oz steak...it turned out amazing, but still, I get far, far better deals at the farmer's market from my favorite local family farm. The steak was a small, super thick chunk of tenderloin and I'd forgotten to chuck it in the fridge to thaw till late morning, so the center was still a bit frozen. I took my cast iron skillet (how I lived without one for so many years, I really don't know), added some grapeseed oil and got it nice and hot. I seasoned the steak and tossed it on. Since it was so fat I seared each side and then simply took it off the heat and let it sit for about 10 mins. Came out perfectly.
I also had this leaning tower of potatoes that has been growing for the past many months. I have an aversion to preparing potatoes, I don't know why, but I do. I love eating them and they are simple to cook, but I never end up using them. I've been getting several in my CSA box for the last many months, equating to a large bowl and adjacent pile. I've given potatoes away, sprouted some, composted some, set some out for the neighborhood rats, but still, the pile grows. So yesterday I finally decided I'd make mashed potatoes to go with our steak. I chopped and boiled the potatoes in chicken stock till they were soft, drained and added lots of butter, parmesean cheese, some more Greek yogurt and some half and half since they seemed to sticky. And of course some fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
My husband isn't a huge fan of beets, but I love them and I had several golden beets from the garden to use, along with the greens. I decided to change it up from my usual roasted beets recipe and make a spicy beet puree. I peeled and chopped the beets up along with one small red onion. I tossed in some red chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil and a tiny pinch of tumeric to make sure the puree kept that bright golden color of the beets. I simmered them on low till they were soft and then I pureed them with the immersion blender and served on top of the lightly sautéed greens.
|A close up of the puree, the picture doesn't do the color justice|
Dinner was amazing. I have to admit, it was a lot more prep work than I usually feel like doing. I'm a lazy, quick, easy cook and I hate prep. To make it easier I did all my prep ahead of time. I cleaned the kitchen around lunch time and then quickly chopped all my veggies, putting the potatoes in their pot with the stock and sticking it in the fridge. I put the oil, seasoning and chopped beets and onions in their little pot and also stuck that in the fridge. The cukes sat on the counter and the yogurt dressing was made ahead of time and sitting in a bowl in the fridge. Other than the dressing bowl, no extra dishes were dirtied and everything just had to be chucked on the stove top about 30 mins before dinner. I had a nice clean kitchen, not marred by my sloppy prep work and I could kick back and drink a beer while everything cooked.
And that is what I ate yesterday, along with some fresh baked croissants, coffee and a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Pretty lucky girl, I must say.
PS, if you've been lusting over the plates I've been using in my last couple posts (as you should be) check out the artist's etsy shop and his blog. I love the plates and have been getting good use out of them!