August in the Garden

Summer is really slipping away now and I’m not quite ready for it. I know that in a few weeks I’ll be happy for things to slow down in the garden and I’ll want to eat apples and winter squash and I might be ready to start wearing socks again. But for now I want to keep eating watermelon and I want it to still be light out at 8 o’clock at night and I want to go for at least a few more swims. But fall is creeping up and I’m thinking about cold frames again. This weekend I put up my first batch of tomatoes for winter and planted fall greens where the beans used to be.

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Bread and Pumpkin Soup

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Each chapter of Nigel Slater’s Tender is devoted to a single vegetable, and includes a discussion of how he grows said vegetable his own garden, followed by a handful delicious sounding recipes. Before he gets down to specifics he offers a paragraph or two of suggestions for how to prepare the vegetable and what to pair it with, little sketches of traditional recipes and cooking methods. When I first read “A Pumpkin in the Kitchen” last June, I was ready forgo tomatoes and corn and watermelon and skip right to November so that I could make this:

The French have an ancient soup-stew whose frugality ensures it falls under the modern label of “peasant cooking.” They toast thick slices of bread, layer them with fried onions, garlic, and marjoram; blanched and skinned tomatoes; and thin slices of pumpkin. The dish is then topped up with water and olive oil and baked in a low oven for an hour or two. The lid is lifted for the last half hour to allow the soup to from a crust. They call it garbure catalane, with a nod to its Spanish origins. Continue reading