All posts tagged: tomato

Harvest Cornbread

Summer is more so an emotion than a season. Annually it arrives, heat and hazy sunlight, a shimmering mirage of memories forgotten and ghosts of summers past, of childhood and yesteryears. And each summer has its own personality. Some come particularly hot and lazy, sprawling languid and driving anyone within reach to naps and slow eyed ruminations. Others come cool and soft, all lush greens and gentle breezes. But the best days are the rainy summer days.       Awake and ready to face the morning’s tasks, I wasn’t what you could call saddened at the sight of rain coming down the a.m. A cup of coffee and front porch sitting in the cool air came as much needed comfort. I frequently forget to pause lately and those not so subtle reminders are less pesky than welcome. Gardening is in full swing with necessary tasks compiled daily. Weed, water, harvest, prune, keep vigil for pests, fertilize, repeat. In that way, the art of gardening is imitating life lately. A series of tasks toward a higher goal eating …

Heirloom: Weissbehaarte Tomato

In much a similar way to parents being shunned from having a favorite among their children, it feels wrong to say I have a favorite section of my garden. But I do. The cornstalks are shiny and stately rustling in the plains wind, the deep jewel green leaves of the squash plants are mysterious and exotic, the bright rows of herbs and lettuces are as lovely as any flower garden. But there is another section, a haven, a quiet sort of oasis of sweetly sharp scented leaves and jeweled toned heirlooms in every shade of purple, red, brown, white, yellow, pink, and orange: the tomato section. From the first of their unique scent at the end of winter when early tomatoes are peering brightly up at grow lights to the last days of harvest in fall when the last fruits are small and more useful for seed than culinary purposes, tomatoes will always be my favorite plant to grow.        Thus every year the heirloom features here will no doubt include a tomato type, this year being no …

Chickpea & Spinach Ginger Tomato Soup

And so, October. Most days have been unseasonably warm, but then came the first with cold gray skies and wind that carried that sharp snow smell. It seemed ridiculous to put off the last of the garden clearing any longer. The tomatillos and some of the beans are still putting on, but otherwise the season has ended for another year, and due to the amount of soil damage and powder mildew, winter gardening is being skipped this year.     Final vegetables were picked for seed, each plant was pulled for compost if possible, supports were stacked with like kind and the greenhouse is nearly full now with stored supplies. Raised beds built for rotation have had their frames pulled and stacked and their dirt spread as the rest of the garden was plowed down. I am, however, postponing pulling the remaining flora until first freeze as the hydrangeas, morning glories, and four o’ clocks are still bearing. By project end, my face was flushed and cheeks cold and the sky was darker, leaves blowing out …

Heirloom: Black Vernissage Tomato

This has been a year of lamentations on the mass drowning of mine and everyone I knows’ gardens. A few plants, although stunted, have managed to put on but by no means in the quantities of a more typical season. As with every summer though, a standout has shown through, this one particularly impressive for not only putting on in mass quantities but for doing so under the strenuous conditions of down pours and unseasonable cool turning immediately into drought and heat. As a planned segment of Crescent in the Pines is to highlight prized heirloom varieties and other garden selections of note, this beaut seems an obvious choice for the first feature of the Heirloom series.     That standout is Black Vernissage, a saladette sized tomato ironically sent to as a free gift with my spring seed order but one I will grow every year hereafter, not only for its deliciousness but for if prolific nature and its ability to make one of the best sauces I’ve ever gotten from any tomato. Black Vernissage features everything great about both paste tomatoes …

Summer Tomato Salad

Post downpours, this year’s garden is not as productive as those of the past. So for today, Thursday, a throwback, a post from last year and one of my favorite recipes during abundant tomato years for pure simplicity: July has arrived all heat and humidity, blinding bright sunshine, and the urge to do little more than lay by the waterside. While I tend to wilt in the heat, the cucumbers and okra are putting on and my peppers and tomatoes are in heaven, producing in abundance. Inspired by the bumper crop of tomatoes this year I decided to share a simple recipe for tomato salad, a personal favorite and perfect treat on a hot day or a beautiful (yet easy) side for your next gathering. SUMMER TOMATO SALAD 4 large tomatoes of your choice, sliced 1 medium red onion, sliced 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled 1 cup of fresh basil, chopped ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped ¼ cup quality extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper For a decorative party approach as …

Springtime Pasta Primavera

    This spring has come bearing all the rain our drought ridden region has been missing for half a decade. The issues brought with that amount of rain in a matter of weeks make me feel like I’m in Louisiana again, another home, in the swamp and the green and earthy damp smell of rebirth. Boudreaux, get the pirogue. And on the downside, the garden frequently takes on the look of a water feature, plants are being lost to root rot and powder mildew and nothing is growing at the rate it should. Except the weeds. Oh the weeding. Tedious would be understating the situation, but spoiled for some time by container gardening, any weeding had become nearly a foreign concept. But for all the challenges, as always it is worth it for lettuces, greens, peas, early tomatoes, and new potatoes. And nearly as much as I adore all those early harvest goods, I adore this recipe, a light pasta playing less on the sauce and more on the quality of the pasta and freshness of the early …

Rainy days and container concepts

Early harvest time is here and every day brings more lettuce and spinach. And with the daily harvest comes nearly constant rain, storm after storm. While some storms are more nerve-wracking than others, being trapped indoors has led to a spike in productivity on a laundry list of new and old projects, a boon since recent work trips out of state have left no days to be lost. But the downside of the constant rain, among other things, is hoping all the young plants don’t drown, mildews and molds don’t take hold, and plants aren’t lost to sogginess. The first bed of potatoes is in a spot that seems to hold water especially well and they are developing what looks like early signs of rust. Next year’s rotation will be a completely different lay out, living and learning as it were. But the first corn seedlings made it up and all the beans are growing except the newly planted cowpeas which may or may not rot in the ground if this weather keeps up. Half the greenhouse yield is now transplanted and the recently …