‘WHAT GOES WITH WHAT?’ gardeners often ask, hungry for perfect perennial pairings, or the fodder of harmonious annual containers. Cooks putting together a menu are really asking what goes with what, too. In her latest reference-and-cookbook “Vegetable Literacy,” Deborah Madison asks—and answers—the question at multiple levels, including the intriguing taxonomic one, as in: Who’s a botanical cousin to whom (and how can that inform our cooking)? Get Madison’s recipe for one of my favorite pastas—with cauliflower and red pepper flakes—and maybe win one of two extra copies of this thoughtful work, just out this week, that I bought to share. [read more…]
Planting a vegetable garden, or growing herbs, fruits and berries? One of my great pleasures is growing a portion of my own food. I eat the harvest fresh in season, of course, and freeze or can or otherwise store things for the winter, bringing the color and flavor of the summer garden to the offseason table.
I ALWAYS SAY “feed the soil, not the plants,” which for decades has meant to me to turn in compost—lots and lots of compost, and then more—and every few years a topdressing of organic fertilizer. Lately I’ve been curious what more I can do, as stressors ranging from dryspells to disease test me and the plants. I’d often read about inoculating the soil with mycorrhizae–myco means fungus and the suffix means root, so literally root fungi, a word used to indicate a symbiotic relationship between the two. Until last fall, at garlic-planting time, when I purchased $49.50 worth (enough for the garlic, plus my whole vegetable garden) I’d never experimented hands-on. More about my mycorrhizae adventure: [read more…]
I WROTE AN OPINION PIECE for Sunday’s “New York Times,” about how my ethical questions in garden-seed shopping aren’t about Monsanto, or about hybrids-versus-heirlooms–the stuff I read about elsewhere–but about how and where the seed I buy was raised. [read more…]
THE HOUSE SMELLED SUMMERY yesterday. No; I didn’t bring home some flowering, fragrant tropical beauty from the garden center. I made an ovenproof dish full of “barbecued” lentils. If cheap, easy, good for you and full of flavor sounds like the right ingredients, read on for the recipe. [read more…]
ADD THEM TO THE LIST of plants I suddenly noticed are MIA—things I “always” grew but haven’t lately. The latest “where did they go?” crop: tomatillos. I’m determined to master a salsa recipe to can or freeze this year, particularly a green one, or salsa verde. That’s why tomatillos, which self-sowed here for a decade before disappearing who knows why or exactly when, are on the to-grow list in 2013. Some how-to—including on my weekly radio show, where I get advice from my friend Gayla Trail—plus a giveaway of a whole salsa-garden seed kit. [read more…]