Geech, the other day as I was hopping up the steps I glanced over at my 40 some odd tomato plants and thought man, I better do something with those. We do have a lot of green ones but just as many red….that’s a lot of tomatoes. The reason for so many plants? Normally I start them in those little square pots, lose most of them to who knows, plant them at about 2-3″ high and nothing goes. This year I started my pods in the hydroponic deal I have going in the dining room. I got carried away when I was seed buying – the Christmas Tree store (of all places) had these beautiful packages of seeds, all Italian, gorgeous colors, large format, totally lured me in. Really, the picture alone on the packet is worth framing. So, I bought every variety, duh, typical. Low and behold, they all grew in the pods. Once I set them in the soil at about 2″ tall I figured that was it they would be gonners. My friend Janet, the Master Gardener, came over and said feed them – this was well into June (which is probably why I still have green ones), on went the compost, loads of it. It worked! All of them grew and man, they are so squished together it’s hard to tell which stem belongs to which. This time I even pinched off the lower branches so I could see what was going on in there. Soup material for sure!
This soup is awesome. I picked a kind of complicated or rather timely recipe. It took me most of the afternoon to do all the picking, prep, etc. I had to go up to the York Corner Farm stand to get some of the ingredients but I wanted to use my cookbook “Love Soup” which is just the best. It was worth it as it usually is.
I started with a ton of tomatoes. I did par cook them to get the skins off but then just chopped with a knife in a large bowl so the liquid went with it as I read ahead and saw that water was added at some point so I just used the tomato water instead. It called for red onion & leeks sauteed ahead of time, garlic, celery, potatoes and a lot of kale. I’m terrible at measuring so you can see from this picture how much I used randomly.
With this soup you cook the tomatoes and potatoes for an hour or so and then sautee the other stuff with a few shakes of dried red peppers (hot) and add the kale. I added some chicken stock in the end. And, when you serve it I put a dribble of roasted butternut squash oil in my serving. It didn’t make as much as you would think….1/2 of a soup pot perhaps. I feel healthy! It’s like eating a smoothie. Those biscuits on the edge? Whole wheat baking powder biscuits with some cheddar cheese grated in….yum, a nice earthiness.
This picture is for my family – we all love these cranberry beans; it’s our childhood thing. I’ve written this before but here it is again. My mom loved these so much but couldn’t get them in Florida where she lived as an elderly woman so I would ship boxes of them to her down there when they were in season here. One day she remarked, in that snarky way, about what a pain it is shelling them. Duh, sitting in front of the tv shelling beans? o.k. old lady thing so I shelled them up here and sent just the beans. A better response. Moms………
I have a lot of Lemon Verbena in my garden. A few weeks ago I was reading about grinding up your herbs with sugar and using them to dust cakes or whatever. Olive oil Lemon cake is one of my favorite things to make, as is blueberry muffins which I make for other people mostly but, both would be nice with verbena sugar on top I suspect.
I may have to come up with more recipes this winter. Anybody want some?
Drat, we’re draining the pool this morning. I was just swimming in it the other day, loving the fall freshness in the air and actually enjoying the 74 degree water but….it’s cold out now and the pool water is thinking of going south below 70 degrees and that is when I call it quits otherwise I think my heart would stop jumping in that cold water. Normally I would be wicked bummed about the advent of winter but we left our little boat over in the Abaco’s this year so there is an escape hatch at some point. Just knowing I can leave Maine is usually all it takes. Each year I embrace Margi’s theory about how I should “get into winter”; I haven’t mastered that yet but I’m optimistic, perhaps this year.