As we’ve entered late Summer (some days it feels more like early Fall), we’ve been harvesting lots and lots – herbs, tomatoes, and lettuces mostly. Everything else is taking it’s own sweet time developing (which is a bit worrying, with the weather being kinda iffy). Still, the question remains, even after gifting lots to neighbors, is what to do with the quantity that we have left.
My initial thought had been to stock up on sauces & sun-dried tomatoes, with a hope to enjoy the taste of summer during the winter. Then I realized that I’d bought the wrong type of plants. Roma tomatoes are best for drying and sauce-making because of their abundance of flesh and little water content. Those that I’d bought (Jani, German Gold, Green Zebra, and ‘Zuckertraube’ – a type of cocktail tomato), are best enjoyed in salads. Here’s a bit of the rewards we gained from our hardwork.
Italian Salsa Recipe
All you’ll need are tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper. Dice tomatoes and garlic, by hand, as small as possible. Do NOT use a machine to do this, you will end up with soup! Roll basil leaves into a tube and cut into fine ribbons. Gather them up again, and in the opposite direction of the first cut, run your knife through them again. The point is to get them chopped as finely as possible. Toss everything into a bowl, drizzle with a good helping of olive oil, add salt and black pepper to taste. Mahlzeit!
Another surprise our garden (or should I say our lawn) gifted us with was the reoccurrence of dandelions. Early in the spring, I’d ripped them all out, driven by the desire of a perfect, uniform, green lawn and the lack of knowledge about these wonderful plants. It wasn’t until later in the summer, while harvesting lettuces for salad, that the thought occurred to me, “Hadn’t we enjoyed a bitter salad in NYC?” A bit of research and up popped dandelion as a component of bitter salads. Driven on by curiousity, I learned that dandelions provide a surprising amount of vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidant protection. Here’s only one of the myriad of sites with information on this ‘weed’ that I will never pull out again! As far as taste goes, it’s bitter, but don’t let that deter you. A good, slightly sweet salad dressing and/or vine-ripened sweet tomatoes bring a balance to the salad. But what’s sweeter than a free meal and the knowledge that it’s doing your body good?!