Staying the Course

This garden has been a good lesson in staying the course, an eternal lesson it seems, for me. I am a genius with ideas, but the discipline to carry them out is a skill that I have to persevere frequently. I suppose that is the definition of discipline isn't? Staying the course? The lessons are coming after a seriously, stupid, patience draining, make you want to hurt ignorant folks, crazy hot summer (they say the hottest on record) when it is SO much easier to not weed (please ignore said weeds in pics above) and when the newness of really cute squash wears off and it's just time to go and do the work. We have been super busy this last week here on Payne Street putting up a new closet system (YEA FOR ORGANIZATION TOOLS!!) and I am ashamed to say that we actually had veggies WAY past picking prime and tomatoes that were on the ground they were so ripe this morning. I have made myself a promise to do better this next week. We'll see how that goes.

The sweet potatoes are vining out into the bare spots on the garden looking for some sunshine as the squash are taking it all (freaking JURASSIC leaf squash) and the asparagus is seeding and there are birds in the back corner every second looking for some tasty morsels. In addition, the garlic sets I planted are sprouting and the pumpkins plants are doing their thing. I had to pull about 6 healthy pumpkin plants so they didn't take over the whole back yard, much less the garden. It was a really hard thing to do for some reason. I'm sure the ones I pulled would have been the best producers. I'm holding out for some pumpkins for pie with mounds of fresh whipped cream. Mmmm fall food...

Not much cooking here the last week or so with our schedule. I did make a gazpacho last week that turned out pretty great. Tasted just like summer in a bowl and was more satisfying than most gazpacho recipes I have tried in the past. The recipe is below. It was a featured dish in Cook's Illustrated this month, but I have tweaked a few things in the recipe. I will warn that it is a bit step intensive for my taste- as anything is that isn't throwing it all in the pan/mixing bowl and rolling on (I have no patience)-but don't be deterred. It is worth the steps. I highly recommend you get a copy of that magazine if you are into cooking at all. It is a beautifully illustrated cooking magazine that gives you the BEST recipe of whatever they are doing after 683 attempts at it. I appreciate that kind of commitment in the kitchen- or anywhere for that matter. They also have a cookbook that we have recently added to our collection that is FANTASTIC. It is a huge cookbook that gives you the best of the best. A must next to Julia Child and Dean and Deluca on the kitchen bookshelf.

Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz

3 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper halved, cored, seeded
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 small jalapeno, stemmed. seeded. and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt
1 slice high quality white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs Red wine vinegar
2 Tbs Sherry vinegar
1/4 cup finely minced parsley, chives, and basil
Ground Black Pepper

1. Roughly chop 2 lbs tomatoes, half of cucumber, bell pepper, and onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, jalapeno, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Toss and set aside. This is destined for the blender.
2. Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into 1/4" dice and put in fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add remaining onion, minced. Toss with 1/2 tsp salt and set aside for 1 hour. This is the garnish.
3. Add bread pieces to juice from strained veggies and soak 1 minute. Add bread pieces to blender veggie mix and toss.
4. Transfer half of blender veggies to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, add 1/4 cup of olive oil in a drizzle and blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining blender veggies and 1/4 cup oil.
5. Stir vinegar, half of minced herbs, and half of diced garnish veggies into soup and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours. Serve with remaining veggies and herbs as a garnish.

Friends, I return to my regular job day after tomorrow. I am struggling to not crawl into fetal position and cry myself to sleep. I find myself irritable and fighting off this sense of impending dread. It is not that I dislike my job, mind you. It is just that this summer, more than any I can remember having since college, has been the most exquisite, divine, and generally soul fulfilling that I ever could have hoped for. I have loved being able to cook and garden and refill the depleted spirit that I have by May every year. What a luxury. It has not been a wasted one on me.

I am trying to figure out how to keep the same great food a part of my life when I go from 0 to 60 in the next couple of weeks. It is going to take more planning and organization for sure. Hopefully my garden can continue to be a part of my general therapy regimen (conversations with the man I love, food, earth, friends, wine) and will keep me buoyed a few months longer before those dreaded winter blues take hold for the long dark haul. Wish me luck. As for the next 24 hours, there will be chopping, organizing, food processing, and storing to get through the next week and keep that little moment of excitement, that little eye sparkle I get when I open the fridge and find gorgeous food awaiting me.

You Might Also Like


  1. I am so impressed with your garden adventures. You've inspired me to look beyond our summer harvest and think about gardening later into the year. Please do keep at it b/c I can't wait to hear how your crops do!

    Oh - and something we've found that has helped with deterring weeds and holding water is mulching the garden. We've not watered as much as we should, but the plants are still going strong.

    Good luck as you start back in to the 'real' world. I'll be thinking about ya!