this year i tried growing fennel again. the last time i attempted it, kai was a baby, we were living in a different house and our tiny garden got hardly any light. needless to say, very unsuccessful. this time around? the bulbs are gigantic! i possibly could have harvested them a tad earlier but they just kept getting bigger and bigger and i couldn't do it. yesterday ellie and i were gathering basil for our frozen stores of pesto when i realized the fronds were taller than her, and decided it was time::
i ate the first bulb sliced up just like that, tossed into a bowl of ice water, cool and crisp and by the handful. so sweet and fresh and delicious. now, what to do with the rest? i have a recipe somewhere for a fennel potato gratin. and i'd love to try pickling some. though i have a feeling most will be gobbled up raw, which is fine by me.
or, dinner on a budget. this one is easy on the pocket book, or wallet, or coin purse, etc. it's a pantry dinner, but is really very good and you would never know. in italian it means "pasta with garlic and oil". some regions add red pepper flake or chili peppers. my family would always add clams to this dish. but this version is so simple, it will really amaze you.
most people will tell you that italian flat leaf parsley is the way to go, and maybe it is for you, who knows? but i have always had a thing for curly parsley. i just love the flavor. so that is what i grow and use in this dish::
for a pound of pasta, i use about a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil (7-8 tablespoons), a whole bunch of freshly minced parsley (depending on taste, anywhere from a few tablespoons to a 1/2 of a cup) and 2-3 minced garlic cloves. saute the garlic in the olive oil for about five minutes without letting it brown and then add the parsley (all the while, cooking the pasta). when the pasta is done, dump it right in the pan and stir it up::
serve it up with freshly grated parmesan, a nice big salad and maybe even some crusty bread and there you have it. a delicious, homemade, italian dinner, with close to no investment monetarily or time commitmently. perfect!
"monetarily" is to "money" as "what" is to "time"? i couldn't come up with it, but you know what i mean.
this season's lavender laboring pillows are, unfortunately, few and far between. this is due to a combination of me letting the honeybees enjoy some flowering lavender, and my general summer laziness::
i added three additional lavender plants to the garden this summer though, so next year i'll be on top of it. i was able to make a few, and i'll take that over none any day! not many things smell better than homegrown lavender.
once it starts, they just keep rolling in. kai has become our lead tomato picker this year. he brings in about a bowl a day. i love it::
i hope some will make their way into a pot or two of sauce, but for now it's looking like this salsa will be part of almost every meal until it's time to turn over the garden! and no one's complaining!
lots of digging and dumping, but in the end? the fertile soil is 2 feet deep (in most places) and our garden has almost doubled in size. we'll add some more next year as well. so refreshing after continually trying to amend the cape cod "dirt", which is mostly sand and rocks with a little clay interspersed for good measure::
the miracle? no puke. my wish was granted! yesterday was the most wonderful mothers day to date. and a beautiful day in general. hope your weekend was just as nice, mother or not.
flowers, flowers everywhere. a little bundle from three out of the four peanuts (the fourth is still not 100%, but is at least off the couch for an hour or two here and there)::
the seasons first watermelon. so sweet::
baby bees. not very appetizing, i know, but exciting nonetheless. can you see them in there? this means our queen is hard at work. and so are the girls. life is good and healthy in the hive::
big b worked all day and our garden has gained some considerable square footage::
and the first dip in the lake. for the kids. i don't brave it until mid june at the earliest. i'm a pansy::
but perhaps most exciting of all::
an ipod touch! i've been mourning the loss of my old ipod for over a year. i had had it for so very long. apparently the hard drive crashed. so said the geek squad. since then i haven't wanted to spend the cash for a new one. i've been cooking to the muted sounds of my itunes library playing from the computer in the next room. and its been a long and difficult road running errands to the sound of local dj's and loads of commercials and horrible music. although "cape cod's classic rock" and i did have a pretty decent run.
last year i upgraded to what i thought was a high tech and fancy cell phone. the one with the flip out keypad for texting. now all at once i'm learning about "facetime" and researching routers, trying to figure out how to get some "wifi". the world is new and exciting. a few more apps and this thing might be cooking dinner next week. i just used "apps" in a sentence! i'm here 21st century!!
here's one of the bowls of bright and beautiful chamomile flowers i harvested this summer. these were snipped on a regular basis and scattered on my drying screen in the attic::
and now we've got a healthy stash to steep and sip::
so good. so sweet and apple-y. so happy i remembered the chamomile in the garden this season. it will most definitely be a staple now. for the record, its about 2 TBSP of dried flowers per 8 ounces of water. steep for five minutes and sip sip sip!
side note: this post title is a quote from grammy ellen. (there is a brief description of her at the end of this post) she would always say "take tea and see" when she was setting up a tea party or steeping some for a simple cup. i always wondered about it. with grammy ellen, you never really knew. she had many, many sing songy tidbits. one of which was "oh dear, oh dear, i brought my own beer". so, before i used it in the title, i googled it just for "sh#ts and giggles" (another grammy ellen gem). and look at this!!! mystery solved!! take tea and see! i love you gram, and i miss you everyday!