Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pouting Cruciferians...

...wait, is that even a word?  Here in Maryland, it feels like someone has switched the temperature setting to "August" and my brussels sprouts and broccoli are not too happy about it.  Yesterday, they didn't even bother to acknowledge my prescience, just bedraggled leaves fainting on the ground.  A mid-day shower did perk them up nicely, and did the trick today too.  Now I am waiting for the brussels sprouts to reach above the altitude of the broccoli and start looking like a funky prehistoric alien palm tree.  Even if you detest eating brussels sprouts due to a childhood trauma, they are really cool plants in the garden and add an interesting architectural note.  And give them another chance on your fork...steamed then tossed with some lemony, garlicky basil butter or balsalmic browned butter are my favorite ways to enjoy them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monsieur Raab, tres bon

Yes, I *finally* did it...Monsieur Raab was picked, sorted (with the help of my garden assistant/daughter Maya), cooked, and consumed!  Hurrah!  I ladled linguine into bowls, topped it with some grated Romano, the cooked broccoli raab, and a garlicky, herby tomato and sausage sauce.  Very yum with slices of baguette.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Broccoli v. Broccoli Raab...

...who will triumph?  Indeed.  I plant broccoli raab each year, lured by fantasies of garlicky adventures at my stove but each year, it grows taller, and wilder, until it sprouts golden flowers and is no more.  It seems I am too distracted by other growing things until it is too late for Monsieur Raab.  First, the succulent and ephemeral asparagus, crashed by various lettuces, and clamoring strawberries.  Ah, the strawberries.  They insist upon being the center of attention, to the detriment of my neglected greens.  Just last week, I picked over five pounds, my fingers and chin ruby.  Yesterday, it was the arugula that caught my fancy: too large to be "micro" and too small to pick, I teased myself by grazing until I made myself walk away to inspect the raspberries.  Though the flowers its brambles bear are insignificant to myself, I am routinely startled by hummingbirds who do not share my opinion.  But I just am not callous enough to entirely jilt poor M. Raab...perhaps he will find his way to my kitchen tonight, courtesy of a garlicky tomato sauce and some sausage.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anarchist potager?  I tend to let nature rule in my garden.  Volunteer plants turn up in unexpected spots.  Seedlings are seldom thinned.  Plants are clustered closely.  Enough is planted to share with the rabbits, birds, children and other wild visitors.  It began as a tidy, though sparse, heart-shaped plot with a center herb patch and four paths.  Three years have passed, and it has grown lush with exuberance.