Sundays are great. Wake up late. Drink coffee. Play with your chickens. Watch some of the LA Marathon on TV from the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Spend the day doing whatever you want. Maybe you’re hungry? Take an inventory of supplies, listen to some music in the kitchen, and 2-3 hours later you have lunch. Why not? This time of year there is that whole extra hour of light in the evening.
The actual day we spring forward is, for the record, my least favorite day of the year. I hate getting swindled out of that hour. (On the contrary, the day we fall back is my FAVORITE day of the year! I planned my wedding around it.) So, I don’t take extra time to make a leisurely lunch on that particular Sunday, since I’m instead resetting all of my clocks and meditating on my Waste Land-length rant about the loss of that hour.
I made lunch today, when I’d just about gotten over it.
My basil went a little nuts while I was on vacation. Shrouded in the unruly tomato brush it grew unsupervised for 10 days. (Tomatoes and basil make good garden companion plants.) The basil became so tall I only harvested the top half of the stalks. Herbs, I should mention, like to be cut. If you see flowers growing on your basil give the plant a nice trim. If you’re not ready to use your basil right away you can just pinch off the tops and get rid of those pretty flowers. Do this so that your herb will continue producing.
Fresh basil is a delightful addition to green salads, eggs, tomato dishes, and sauces. It has many practical applications. My favorite? Pesto. Mmm. Basil pesto is an easily prepared, uncooked sauce with many decadent applications. Love eggs? Scramble them with a little basil pesto. Top a nice fillet of wild caught salmon with pesto. Dollop pesto over a baked potato, stir it into some brown rice, or toss it with fettuccini. Continue reading Please pass the pesto→
What do you do when your garden has blessed you with pounds and pounds…and pounds of tomatoes, more than you can possibly eat? Gazpacho is one answer. Or you can share. But let’s start with gazpacho so you don’t have to. Well, not yet anyway. Not until garden production gets so out of control you dream you are a tomato and you’re going bad.
There are as many ways to make gazpacho as there are varieties of tomatoes. My Garden Fresh Gazpacho recipe calls for fresh, in season tomatoes. I don’t like commercial tomato juice and I find it an unnecessary addition under ideal tomato circumstances. Can’t grow ‘em? Can you make it to a farmers’ market? During the summer I hope you are surrounded by tomatoes.
My gazpacho is on the mild side. I prefer a balance of spice and flavor and avoid palette-crushing volumes of peppers, onions and garlic. I want to taste my damn tomatoes. If you prefer things a little closer to hellfire, then by all means, increase your favorite ingredients. Be sure to have a tall, icy, alcoholic beverage on hand to quench your hot self.
I peel and seed my tomatoes. This is the most labor-intensive part of gazpacho preparation. It sounds psychotically difficult, but it isn’t. Wear an apron.
My Garden Fresh Gazpacho recipe yields 4 servings. It’s a great starter or side dish to your grilled shrimp or fish. Serve it topped with fresh cilantro, avocado, and a turn of the sea salt grinder. If you’re serving this to others (you know, sharing) set out the hot sauce and your lucky guests can customize their experience. Some like it hot.
If tomatoes are in season you may want to opt for fresh over canned in recipes. And if you love tomatoes this is a great excuse to spend quality time with them. Wear an apron to protect your pretty dress from flying tomato chunks. If this is the first time you’re doing this your kitchen may end up looking like something out of the last scenes of Django Unchained. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go on YouTube and search for Django Unchanged shootout. WARNING: this is super duper violent so grab a stiff drink and your blanky.)