Last weekend, Ruby and Marie came to visit me from Brooklyn. We made a vegan, gluten-free feast! They were super excited about fried green tomatoes, and they were here right in time to pick some off of the tomato plants that had yet to ripen but were falling over from their own weight.
We coated them in a mix of cornmeal and our collective favorite spice, smoked paprika. Marie and I went to a cooking demo once at the famous Park Slope Food Coop where smoked paprika was introduced to both of us, and we've been hooked since.
We also made some potato hash and a raw kale salad with tahini dressing.
Marie and Ruby were impressed with the kale plants, as I have been too, since they've lasted so much longer than I expected them too. I planted them way back in April! Friends, you saw them in person just in time. Over the past week, what with all the rain and humidity, the kale has been totally taken over by a friendly but hungry little bug.
Oh well! More kale in the fall. I'll pull the plants out of the garden as soon as it stops being almost too hot and sticky to breathe outside.
And speaking of the garden! The tomatoes are out of control! As much as I tried to prune them this year, at a certain point they just get so huge and wild that it feels almost useless to cut them back. Though I'll admit that every time it rains, the plants fall down a little bit more, and I have to use reinforcements like twine and rocks and bricks to hold them upright.
There are tons and tons of sungolds, and the plants just keep getting bigger.
The celebrity tomatoes have started to ripen too! This week starts tomatosplosion. I'm planning for gazpacho, salsa, maybe some chutney, and hopefully a dessert tomato tart coming soon, since these bad boys are going to all ripen within a very short window of time.
Sadly, a few of the tomatos are getting dive-bombed by birds. I love my backyard, in part because there's tons and tons of beautiful birds that fly back there, but they also do annoying things like poop everywhere, eat my beet seedlings (next time I'll cover them with chicken wire or buy bigger transplants or start them inside), and take bite-sized chunks out of my tomatoes.
Silly birds! Tomatoes are for humans! The second planting of tomatoes are growing strong too, the pink girls, but none have ripened yet. Hopefully it'll be a while before they do, since I'm inundated with celebrities and sungolds now anyway! One of the four plants is mostly dead - I'm not sure why, but the leaves are all dead and crispy - but the other three plants seem to be thriving reasonably well.
The bell peppers continue to grow as well - I wish they would turn red as they're supposed to, but I may need to go ahead and harvest them anyway since they're definitely the right size to take off the plant, if not even a bit on the big side at this point.
My container plant project took a turn for the better, too! For a while there the Italian basil transplant was dying - I had it inside, and moved it outdoors a few weeks ago, and since then it's looked much better. New leaves have grown in around the ones that were dying. And check out the two purple basils in the middle! I love those huge green leaves with purple stripes coming out of the righthand one - I can't figure out how those leaves look so different than the other purple leaves, since they all came from the same seed packet, but they're pretty cool looking! And the cilantro is growing too, especially after I added some more seeds.
Whole Foods is having a super duper one-day-only cherry sale today. They have these sometimes at the peak of certain produce seasons; during strawberry season, they had a one-day-super-duper-discount type deal as well. As a mini-pre-birthday present to myself, I indulged in fruit. Cherries! And, my all time favorite fruit, figs.
Thank you, West Coast, for producing beautiful tasty fruit for my birthday week. It's hard for me to explain just how much I enjoy biting into a ripe fig, so let me express my sincere gratitude for having some of my very own as I wait for my own fig tree to (hopefully, someday soon) ripen. California, I look forward to meeting you in person for the first time in a few weeks and eating some of our produce straight from your trees!