Sunday, August 25, 2013

Good times on the deck

Oh deck. How I adore you.

The realities of leaving home smacked me in the heart all of my last week at home. I tried to soak it all in- cuddling the crap out of my cat, staring off my deck, enjoying the witty rappeur I share with my mother. None of it felt real and yet I was either up at night, all jittery, unable to sleep (like when I began drafting this blog post) or catatonic (like in the Biochemistry class I was finishing). Anyway, I finally got the news that I’d gotten my paws on a JOB!!! (update soon) and I received the reassuring news that I was going to be able to move my bed to the INCREDIBLE KINDNESS OF FAMILY THANKS KATHY AND TOM WHO ARE READING THIS AND LENT STEPHEN YOUR BIG SUV TO MOVE MY BED THANKS THANKS.

So I dealt with my anxiety as best I could, like reminiscing about my beloved deck. The deck is a really great place to relax and lie in the shade.


I also love the deck for cooking burgers.


From a source without reproach- Lebanese Butcher, a place I was sad to leave behind, which supplies halal, organic, local, and delicious meat.

In this case, herb-packed Lamburger!

With lettuce ‘n tomato ‘n dijon.


With burgers with a twist, one must have fries with a twist. Steamed sliced sweet potatoes, tossed ‘em with oil and cajun seasoning, plopped them on the grill. Fab.


Plus grilled asparagus. Clearly this meal occurred when asparagus was still in season.


The next meal we enjoyed on the deck showcased our wonderful oregano! It always winters over, and it always produces in comedically large quantities in the summer.


Used to season some chickennnnnn. Along with olive oil, lemon, s+p. Very Greek, very simple.


Gorgeous, no? Sadly, slightly overcooked. My fault. It is what it is. Steve still inhaled it.


Rounding out the meal, a fun little salad I semi got from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: quick steamed cauliflower, capers, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, and bread crumbs toasted in olive oil atop. Mm.


It’s very funny for me looking at the teeny plants in this earlier phase in garden development since they’re so ALARMINGLY huge now.


Basically, if you’re dealing with a project that involves putting in a lot of work with questionable future payoff (childrearing comes to mind…) you should plant a garden. Everything just skyrockets.

Exhibit A: Mint.


Also in the produce department, we have beautiful basil (left) and sage (right). The basil is a heirloom variety and both my aunt (who gave me the seeds) and I have observed that it simply doesn’t grow as large as conventional varieties. Though its leaves are no less delicious.


The dill sprouted up valiantly but never seemed extraordinarily happy, truthfully. Too much sun?

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Big pepper! I have two pepper plants and this one produced a pepper very early on in its growth and it just kept growing and growing and growing, then reddening and reddening.

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It wasn’t 100% red when I picked it just because it had a teeny little soft spot developing, and I didn’t want it to spread!


I used this to make DEE-LICIOUS homemade salmon cakes. I added:
- Peppers and sweet onion, chopped very fine and briefly sauteed in olive oil
- 1 can of salmon
- whole wheat breadcrumbs
- homemade mayonnaise (yesssss)
- chives and basil from the deck (also yesssss)

Pan fried ‘em in a bit of oil and they were MONEY! Albeit unphotogenic, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

As for the other pepper plant, it produced WEIRD PEPPERS! Not bad, but like I’d inadvertently created a hybrid: in size, they were neither tiny (like hot peppers) nor large (like bell peppers). Instead, they were medium smallish, and as they mimiced a halfway point between the two types of peppers in size, they also did in taste. Half spicy. Very exciting!

On the tomato front, most of my tomatoes were green when I skipped town. My mom sent an email that a less charitable person might describe as snarky telling me all the delicious things she’s been making with the tomatoes that I GREW. (No I jest, I just begged my family to water them as I pulled out of the driveway for the last time. I didn’t want all my work to be for naught!)

I think roma tomatoes are super bizarre looking on the vine!


They also grow like weeds! Though I did have a couple of the regular kind too.


Now, let’s talk squash. I had two squash plants: one was an heirloom zucchini variety that my aunt gave me the seed to grow. The other was a yellow squash plant that my thoughtful boyfriend got me when I was concerned that since I only had one squash plant it couldn’t have the squash plant sex necessary to make zucchini (yes, my knowledge of plant reproduction is extraordinary). Anyway, the yellow squash plant dutifully blossomed and produced two small yellow squash:


And promptly never did anything again.

Meanwhile, the zucchini blossom regularly produced beauuuuuuuuuutiful flowers.


Then off they’d plop, leaving a bare stem. Agh! My working hypothesis, supported by my buddy at the farmer’s market whom I’d brief with weekly updates, is that it’s a boy plant, and only produces boy blossoms (i.e. not the kind that produce squash. The USELESS kind!)


So, basically the only homegrown squash I ate this summer consisted of two small yellow squashies. I made a really good scramble though!


Farmer’s market eggs and spinach, regular old carrots, lotsa garlic and herbs, and the squashies.

Served atop a wrap, in brilliant sunlight.


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