Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A bit of a garden break:

I worked hard this weekend, and made good time on my illustrations, so this morning, I allowed myself a bit of time to 'visit' my yard and garden. Had a nice little breakfast of fresh blueberries and raw peas (can you believe I'm still picking them in August? Overall, it's been a very cool summer), topped by a few second-crop strawberries and raspberries. Ate a few pineapple sage blossoms and anise hyssop flowers for dessert. I'm a sucker for edible blossoms. The picture above is of the flowers of garlic chives. They are sweet and have a very mild garlicky flavor. Terrific in salads, sandwiches or tossed on soup.

These are anise hyssop spires, which the bees love. They are deliciously fragrant and very sweet. As are the leaves. They are one of my new, favorite culinary herbs. They make great herbal syrup and jelly as well as just being yummy torn up with fresh fruit.

Scarlet runner beans also have edible blossoms. They taste rather like sweet, raw peas, plus they add a dramatic accent to green salads. The hummingbirds love them. The bean pods grow about 8 inches long and have astonishingly vibrant fuschia and black mottled beans when fully mature.

But the very best part about my garden-stroll was that I got to pick my lunch as well! I picked enough veggies for some fresh garden stir-fry: sauteed onion and elephant garlic with sliced crook-necked squash, green beans and bolting broccoli, plus some sprigs of basil and lemon thyme. Add a bit of Italian sausage and Romano cheese, and I had nearly a full meal - but the *real* treat was the cherry tomato tart!

I grow cherry tomatoes and basil just for this dish - and have to wait all year for it (it doesn't taste the same with store-bought tomatoes and herbs). It's been such a cool summer that my tomatoes have been taking forever to ripen, but today I finally picked enough to make a tiny tart. Pastry crust, fresh basil covered with cut cherry tomatoes (I had to add one roma tomato since I didn't have enough of the small ones yet), brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesean cheese. Absolute heaven! I'll have to wait another week or two to get enough ripe tomatoes to make another, but I'll keep at it for the rest of the season. :-)

Back to painting, but dreaming of tomato tarts....


Daisy Lupin said...

That tomato tart looks, well good enough to eat! My garden is small and is just full of flowers and herbs, but after seeing that tart I am inclining towards having an attempt at growing some tomatoes next year, just to try that tart as it should be made.

Naturegirl said...

What an absolutely delectable garden you have!A feast of homegrown herbs and veggies and more! You are a girl after my own heart!Next summer I plan to have more herbs scattered in among the flowers for both me and the butterflies!
(I have to admit after my last post a bird flew off with my "green guest")Next summer I am going to have a nursery to protect them! :(

judie said...

Your garden is lovely but your artwork is fantastic! I went to your website and I am soooooooo envious! Is all that artwork done by you use any computer programs? I totally agree with you concerning your comments about learning to draw. It is just a necessary thing, and it takes practice, practice and more. Even one who has the talent must keep practicing. Lately I have been hurrying thru my drawings and they turn out cartoony.....but I will get serious again one of these days. Perhaps if I hang around your site long enough I can get inspired again. Your art is amazing...did I say that already? :)

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome ! I love when people keep it simple with cooking.We eat a ton of tomatoes and olive oil at our house. :)

Gina said...

Such lovely flowers (the purple with the bee!) and what a delicious looking dish! Your talents are so diverse!!

Joanna said...

Your tomato tart looks wonderful might be just the answer to the last of a mamouth amount we brought from a market garden stall.

My blue berries are just about ripe!

One Crabapple said...

Thank you for the stroll thru your garden... !

Everything is so beautiful and smells so sweet !

I am hungry now

and this recipe sounds exquisite ! thank you , I will have to try...we did not grow tomatos this year sniff sniff....but I know where I can get some !

Love, S