The beauty and the bane of summer bounty are the kitchen hours required to transform a morning’s abundance into delicious treats. On blue sky, temperature-perfect days just made for hours of pleasure on my screened porch knitting the 4-Day Fireworks KAL sweater, I joined the women of ages past toiling in summer kitchens. Admittedly, my experience was far more pleasant as my work time was spent in air conditioned comfort with good tunes coming from surround sound. Some of the tasty delights will be eaten immediately and some will be stashed in our small deep freeze to be enjoyed on frigid winter days as a talisman against the cold and a sunny reminder that spring will come, even in the North Country.
My Sunday & Monday garden-to-kitchen yield:
Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – two dozen regular-sized and 24 minis using a recipe shared by Betty D. from Older Mommy Still Yummy
The excitement over my first, post vaccination day trip to St. Paul in April and lunch out with a friend in a restaurant which followed strict (and therefore reassuring) COVID protocols, slipped into what can only be dubbed COVID malaise. While our neighbors have been in their yard for weeks, adding raised beds and planting, I can only claim a minimalist effort having helped Richard turn over the six, 4×4 foot vegetable squares, sans seeds or seedlings. While the chilly temps and night time frost advisories offered the cover of an excuse, I simply lacked my annual dose of springtime, get-in-the-dirt time enthusiasm.
But then, Michelle inspired me. During last night’s A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, our former First Lady offered her heartfelt comments about coping with pandemic anxieties. I took her words to heart: “… push beyond … just the doing gets you out of the funk.” After stops at two green houses for healthy plants and an assortment of vegetable seeds, we spent the afternoon planting. Today’s in the ground tally of various varieties includes:
Cucumber – 6
Tomato – 5
Basil – 5
Pepper – 4
Zucchini – 2
Kale – 1
Tomorrow’s goal (assuming the rain holds off): Potatoes, beets, lettuce, radishes, beans, nasturtiums, and a flavorful collection of potted herbs: more basil, plus dill, leeks, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Michelle was right – “just the doing” was the prescription I needed.
This morning’s harvest. Our six 4-foot squares (definitely not filled to capacity ala Mel Bartholomew’s methodology) are keeping us in fresh vegetables. Add to that the pots of herbs on the screened porch and we have freezer stashes of freshly simmered marinara sauce and zucchini chocolate chip bread to enjoy in the chilly months.