Thursday, August 05, 2010

I Grew It, I'm Eating It, Damnit

Not the potatoes. Not the salt, black pepper, vinegar or olive oil.
No. I grew the red cayenne pepper and a few thyme leaves. I didn't really even grow the thyme leaves; I just transplanted the source into dirt on my patio. It's mine, OK?
What a lousy harvest this year. We had a terribly late start to any kind of sun. It's reliably sunny now, but there's not a lot of food coming in from the backyard. One cucumber. Three tomatoes. That cayenne pepper.
Some plants are stunted and confused; the pattypan squash is producing only male blossoms, and is only six inches tall. The tomatillo is covered with blossoms, but I'm having a hard time detecting any other development.
Anyway. Not really complaining. I knew it was going to be weird this year.
I saw that red cayenne, and decided to honor it, to showcase it. I made it the centerpiece of a potato salad (not counting the potatoes). I wanted it to be a wicked, dark, Transylvanian potato salad, so I left out Hello Kitty Hard-Cooked Eggs and Flopsy Bunny Mayonnaise.
Therefore: excellent oil and vinegar, large clods of cracked black pepper, minced cayenne and thyme leaves. Topped with flakes of Maldon salt.
I guess that sounds ordinary, but it was evil and nasty and fantastic, just the way I wanted it.


jezinthekitchen said...

I'm so relieved to know it's not just me ... was beginning to wonder if my green thumb had gone septic on me :)

cook eat FRET said...

maldon salt. it is the best for crunch... i love it very dearly.

Heather said...

Hey, you can still stuff those stupid male zuke flowers with fromage blanc and fry them up! They'll never see it coming! Smug male flowers.

Becks said...

I feel your pain. Down here in Huntington Beach, it has been overcast ALL SUMMER. I have 21 tomato plants growing in my back yard. And have we had a single tomato? Not one. NOT ONE.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

...and feisty! You must be doing better than we are here in Russian Hill--a white sky, all day. Sigh.

kudzu said...

This is one of my favorite kinds of tater salad. It's quite like Marcella Hazan's -- or any Italian home cook's -- and I love it. It feels better as a side dish with other things than my own family's mayo-based (with egg) concoction that
is part of my DNA, and I often make it that way. You're brave, using your entire harvest in one dish!

Zoomie said...

My spuds are on "hold," too - only got so tall, then stopped. We get only afternoon sun this summer as the marine layer doesn't clear until about noon. Phooey.

cookiecrumb said...

Jez: Certainly not just you. I blame Global Warming, Tea Baggers and Bristol Palin.

Claudia: Crunch! Which is why we sprinkled it on last. It does seem to resist melting.

Heather: We picked four perfect blossoms and our dog thought it was fun; she grabbed one and ate it in her cave (a big bush she hides under). If I can get four more to bloom in unison, we're ON.

Becks: OMG, 21 plants and no joy? I want to say Hang In There. But I know coastal weather can be so gloomy. (But does it have to be this gloomy?) xx

Denise: Well, see, I moved here for the weather. Russian Hill... you need to be over in Dogpatch for the sun. Good luck.

Kudzu: Who knew? I must be absorbing alternative techniques as I blog through life. Not that I've never skipped mayo before. But the cayenne -- my new love.
(My entire harvest! Ha ha, weep.)

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: We are by and large free of the marine layer. But when there's no sun for a month or longer, that ain't fog.
Do you think you'll get taters? I've still got a few plants hobbling along, volunteers from when we didn't clean out last year's crop entirely. They're stunted, too.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Some years are just duds eh? Have you been flinging enough lovely poo about?

Anonymous said...

Haha funny post. Well it isnt any different here, but it's winter anyway.. so im not really expecting them to sprout. When it's summer, they just die too because it gets really hot down here! Global warming indeed. ;/

Cheers from Australia,
Amy @ Foodista

Zoomie said...

I'm afraid to look. What if there's nothing under the green plants besides roots? Gonna hang in there a little longer and add another shot of chicken poop.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: We always anoint the beds with a little chook poo, and this year we stirred in homemade compost. Beautiful, dark, DIRT. Homemade.

Smoochkins: Too hot in summer? Then you're out of luck. There must be something you can grow. Passionfruit? Good luck.

Zoomie: I can attest that our backyard is now in pear season. Screw the taters.

Zoomie said...

My peaches are still a month away so I need those taters! Luckily, my Swiss chard, which I whacked down after I saw how big the flowering stalk would get, forgave me for the rough treatment and is now sprouting new leaves again. Food from the garden, gratis. Ma Nature is the best.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Our next-door neighbor gave us a sack of peaches from her tree nearly a month ago. Good, they were! Hang in there. We'll save you some pears.
Ma Nature, thanks.

Zoomie said...

Yes, there are beautiful peaches in the markets already but mine is a late variety. Give me a call or shoot me an email when you have pears and I'll come get them, or meet you somewhere neutral if that works better for you.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

I hope you didn't compost any pumpkin guts - unless you like little pumpkins growing everywhere :) Pumpkin seeds, the cockroaches of the plant world.

Cali said...

Our garden has been an abject failure this year, too. The crooknecks didn't come up at all. Half of the tomatoes died when they were already a foot tall. We haven't had a single jalapeno from our stunted shrub, and I've had to save up tomatoes for two weeks to have enough to make bacon, avocado and tomato sandwiches (BATs) for my birthday brunch this morning.

This time of year everyone in the family (except me) is supposed to be too sick of tomatoes to even look at one that hasn't been transformed into something virtually unrecognizable as a tomato. I am supposed to be sick of preserving them and making tomato sauce, and I usually have a rash in my mouth from eating too many acidic foods, that is to say, tomatoes.

I am usually practically sneaking bags of tomatoes into visitor's cars before they leave and not really joking anymore when I tell them they have to take a bag or two of tomatoes with them or they can't leave. But not this year. This year we have had a grand sum total of eight, that's right-- 8, ocho, acht, one less than nine, one more than seven-- all year, until today's saved up "bumper crop" of six!

BAT sandwiches are my favorite food in the world, but only if the tomatoes are homegrown. Most farmer's market tomatoes will do since they usually taste like homegrown. I will definitely NOT get my fill of BATs this year. No matter how many tomatoes I buy at Farmer's Market or the fruit stand down the road. :'-(

cookiecrumb said...

Cali: What a tale of woe! I'd commiserate, but I'm not even miserable anymore. I just gave up and put on some warm clothing. Shoot, if it's going to be fall, I'm wearing fleece.
Damn the tomatoes.
So sad for you.

Greg said...

Bad veg year for sure. With the exception of six vigorous zucchinis we got nada so far.

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: Six zucchinis is a Harvest, young man! You should be pleased.
I am watching the second cayenne pepper ripen.