Taking a deep breath – it’s August already… Brandywines, San Marzanos and more

5 Aug

“You know, you haven’t been as diligent with your blog these days…”

An honest comment from my father last night as we skyped – the girls eating dinner, while my parents (Jiji and Baba) took turns talking to them.  I certainly need to get back into my routine of blogging – but it’s difficult these days,  trying to soak in the long, summer days without the restrictions of school schedules, wake-ups and the dreaded daylight’s savings…  No, not a mikka bouzu, but… simply summer laziness?

Last night’s dinner included:

Freshly picked edamame – boiled for 4 minutes until they turn brilliant green, then sprinkled with sea salt.

Seared flank steak (TJ’s conventional, but I believe non-antibiotic), marinated with a minced garlic-(conventional) ginger-soy sauce-rice vinegar-Trader Joe’s 21 spice rub, and seared on the grill.

Freshly picked green beans – string beans and yardlong beans, blanched, and cut into inch long pieces, seasoned with katsuobushi  and soy sauce.

Handful of freshly picked yellow grape tomatoes

The garden is yielding an amazing amount of vegetables, starting with tomatoes ranging from the yellow grape tomatoes, San Marzano Roma tomatoes, gorgeous blush-hued Brandywine tomatoes, and Beefsteak tomatoes.  This is the first year I was successful with the Brandywines, and I was struck by how beautiful they are.  The tomatoes are ridged – some almost look knotted – but they all seem to glow a breath-taking rose as they ripen on the vine.  I thought my eyes were failing on me the first time I picked one that was ripe – I actually rubbed my eyes, thinking something was wrong.  How could a tomato be pink?  Oh, my dear reader – they can be pink, and they delicately and deliciously transition from the light, sea green to a bashful pink.  And the taste!  They are juicy and bursting with flavor, and I couldn’t help but eat a whole tomato (the size of my hand!), cut into wedges with salt in one sitting – barely breathing between the pieces because I felt I’d miss something by pausing, and hastily wiping away the juice running down my chin.  It tasted of summer sunshine in each bite.

The beans are also growing quickly – there are several types – Kentucky Blue (your typical string beans), flat green beans (we received a bean packet from a local fair that we planted), two types of yard-long beans (one is red, the other green), and of course, edamame

The cucumbers seemed to have failed this year due to the glitch with my sprinkler system – I’ve got rogue summer yellow squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash that regenerated out of the compost pile – and have monopolized any area outside of the raised beds, virtually dominating the sprinkler head directed at the cucumber trellis.  We did get a good harvest early on – but not certain I’ll have any more this summer.

Shiso is growing under the poles, shaded by bean vines reaching upwards.  The artichoke is also growing, I cut one artichoke last night – I just need to steam it for the girls to “dip-dip” in a soy sauce vinaigrette. 

Potatoes are also growing – another compost re-generator, and I’m curious to see what they look like when we dig them up.

In the evenings, when I can manage to squeeze into the garden with the girls, I watch them go from the garden to the garden hose to rinse them before eating their pickings – the little one declaring she wants edamame – although I suspect every green bean she picks is considered an edamame in her book.  The older one carefully picks tomatoes, yellow ones, orange ones, red ones, and runs to the garden hose, rinsing them off, these summer jewels, and popping them in her mouth.

Summer appears to be picking up momentum as we lazily float down these wonderfully carefree times – but school is right around the corner, and my bento battle (at least for Saturdays) will start in two weeks.

As for photos of my garden – apologies for the lack of them – I was too busy picking, eating and chasing Kiki, my chocolate lab, out of the garden before I realized I left my camera inside…


PS.  Today’s NY Times has a wonderful article by Mark Bittman – one of my favorite columnists regarding “The Proper Way to treat Heirlooms.”  A timely article!


One Response to “Taking a deep breath – it’s August already… Brandywines, San Marzanos and more”


  1. Stuffed pepper and savory omelette bento « Eating Battlezone - September 22, 2011

    […] tomatoes (planned and rogue), shiso, kale, and peppers managed to survive unscathed, and we are enjoying them as the […]

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