This gorgeously wet day has inspired a blog entry. This morning I did the amazing and pinched my first yellow pear tomato from my vine outside, and it was delicious. My brandywine tomatoes are coming along but a bit more slowly. The calendula flowers have finally shouted orange and there is a claw of a hot pepper emerging on a neighboring vine. Basically, besides it being hot, life is good. My advice is this–if you’re depressed and miserable, begin a garden and watch it slowly creep into life, pluck it’s fruits and brush its hair once in a while, and you will feel atleast an ounce better about it all.
This morning I received my regular online Land Stewardship Project (see ‘links and curiosities’ above) newsletter. A few things caught my attention regarding upcoming events. First, Farm Beginnings (which appears to be a project via the LSP that encourages and supports new farmers, I’ll look more into it and let you know) will hold a public tour of Featherstone Farm CSA, July 21-22 near the south east Minnesota community of Rushford. For details on that contact LSP’s Karen Stettler at 507.523.3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also information in the newsletter regarding a new something called “Eco Experience” at the Minnesota State Fair this year and news on Minnesota Cooks, also at the fair where local chefs who support local, seasonal, and organic foods give cooking demos and distribute free samples. Really, I just encourage you to sign up for the Land Stewardship newsletter, for they are such an incredible organization and there are always a lot of goings-on farm and food related through them.
In other news, I will be in the press quite a bit in the coming up months and tomorrow an interview between me and Kathie Jenkins, restaurant critic for our good ol’ Pioneer Press, will be in the ‘Eat’ section of the paper. Look for the photo of the sweaty and dishevelled chef, for that is me with my wilting sweet corn fritters on a 90 degree day in my sauna of a kitchen. As well, I will be included in an article on organics in that new glossy Twin Cities publication called St. Paul Illustrated. On August 5th I will be on the radio with Andrew Zimmern, restaurant critic for Mpls. St. Paul magazine and all around good guy, on his Saturday morning show on 107 FM called Chowhounds. I think he wants all the nasty bits about my time at the quirky and wonderful Ballymaloe Culinary School in Ireland, and there certainly are some stories there. Finally, if you feel I haven’t boasted or promoted myself enough, I will have a coupon in the newest edition of the Blue Sky Guide, coming to stands on September 1. The coupon is for $25 off the purchase of a Farm to Fork gift certificate or a first time cooking session. Really, what an impressive gift to give your sister-in-law who’s just had a baby and is too busy doing the laundry and assembling IKEA children’s furniture to even consider cooking a few square meals. I’ll be sure to make links to these news bits and special offers when they are available.
Whenever Nate and I invite friends over for a supper we almost always encourage Sunday nights. This last Sunday I did the usual and browsed the St. Paul Farmers Market looking for ideas for dinner. I decided to just buy a variety of things I could mainly steam or saute in order to make a platter of seasonal vegetables. I picked up sweet baby carrots, tiny new red potatoes, yellow and green summer squash (the shortest ones I could find), little sweet onions, and some butter-yellow wax beans. I also bought a pile of basil and a few other herbs. I passed up the beautiful variegated amaranth greens and beets, although I could have added them into the mix. I made a batch of pesto with the basil and steamed or sauted each vegetable separately with an appropriate herb (carrots with mint, potatoes with dill, summer squash with marjoram), and tossed in a bit of olive oil, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper. Finally I sliced a ciabatta loaf and made a tall stack of bruschetta slices (toasted with a smear of olive oil and rubbed garlic). You can’t imagine how versatile pesto is this time of year. Make a batch and literally serve it with anything you bring home from the market. A kind of do-it-yourself, delicious, and easy to eat kind of summer feast. And remember, when you’re eyeing that pile of gigantic zucchini or beets or any such vegetable, to pass it up for the slimmer and smaller sized ones. Smaller is better, the taste is concentrated in that little vegetable and that is good. Happy eating!