Monday, July 13, 2009

Soil - the good, the bad, and the wet

First the bad: this article was in the Somerville Journal last week, and it is unbelievably sad. Get your soil tested if you are going to eat anything that's grown directly in it.

Okay, the good: because we've had lots of sun the past few days, our compost bin is working nicely. We still only have one, so now have to take a break for a few weeks to let this finish. It's heartbreaking to throw away the lovely veggie scraps from the veggies pouring in now from the CSA and the farmers' market, and even our own garden. We just ate all of the 20 green peas we grew and the beans are ready.

And, the wet: ah. So much rain fell in June that I fear many of my plants will not produce as expected, at best, or not at all, at worst. My tomatoes have lots of blossoms, but the majority are rotting on the vine. The pepper plants, which are supposed to be very easy to grow, are barely bigger than when I transplanted them a month ago. My rhubarb never got bigger than my pinky finger.

But, that's a home garden, folks. It happens. I'm fortunate enough to have a great farmers' market a 5-minute walk away and a CSA half share that fills up the two veggie drawers of my fridge every week. It's such a nice way to supplement a home garden or even just a regular grocery store.

Speaking of the farmers' market, we got this amazing fresh mozzarella cheese. It was salty and creamy and room temperature. The woman selling it said that if we were going to eat it the same day to leave it unrefrigerated. We made grilled cheese with whole wheat bread we bought at the market as well. So good so good so good.

Last night, we finally ate outside for the first time all summer. It happened to coincide with the Annual Major Grill Fire so we didn't end up cooking outside, but no matter; the meal was delicious.

Roasted summer vegetables

This is an excellent way to use a lot of vegetables at one time

summer squash
spring onion (red or white)

In whatever combination you prefer, cut vegetables to similar widths and place on a cookie sheet with an edge. Vegetables should cover bottom of sheet but not overlap.

Drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir until all veggies are coated.

Roast in 400 degree oven until veggies are soft, approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Stir 2 or 3 times during cooking.

Note: oven temp can be higher or lower, depending on timing of the rest of the meal. I actually started it at 425 for fear of it taking too long and then turned it down to 375 once I realized everything else was late, too!

Dave's Fresh Herb Crusted Mahi Mahi

My husband came up with this and - wow! - was it good!

Figure a half pound of fish per person.

An hour before you want to eat, mince the following fresh herbs and put into a bowl:
1 TBSP tarragon
1 TBSP rosemary
1 TBSP sage
1 TBSP cilantro
2 TBSP basil

Add in 1 teas salt and 1 teas freshly ground pepper

Stir in 2 to 3 TBSP olive oil to form a paste.

Rub evenly over fish. If skin is on, only rub on non-skin parts, as paste won't stay on skin.

Let fish sit out, covered in rub, for 45 minutes.

Heat grill (or broiler) and when hot, grill fish skin side down on medium (or broil 3 or 4 inches from flame) until cooked through, very approximately 7 minutes.

We had it with my uncle's Salade Tri Colore, which I will post at a later date, and prosecco.