It's time to report on what I harvested from the garden in the past week. Daphne is hosting Harvest Mondays on her blog Daphne's Dandelions. Head on over there to see what she and other gardeners have harvested.
This has been the week of the tomato. Pimento de Padrons and Purple Tomatillos are still playing significant supporting roles, and the cucumbers are starting to hog the camera as well.
Starring on the 22nd of September were, starting at the top and working clockwise: Padrons (2 LB +/-) and a few runty Purple Marconi (ripen red), Japanese cucumbers (Palace King), Purple tomatillos, a Diamond eggplant, assorted tomatoes, cherry tomatoes.
The freezer is now well stocked with roasted purple tomatillos and Padrons. The Diamond eggplant has turned out to be a great variety for me. The plants have recovered from the rabbit attacks and are covered with fruits. The eggplant that I've harvested so far have had very few seeds, tender flesh, and no bitterness at all. So far I've just prepared them very simply: peeled and sliced lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick, pan sauteed in olive oil (can't use too much in my opinion). One of them I served with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of my best balsamico. The other was topped with diced tomatoes that I briefly heated in the pan after the eggplant was done, then a bit of shredded basil.
On the 23rd I picked a box of tomatoes to give to friends (very good friends, my babies and I are not easily parted). They got Hillbilly, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Giantesque, Caspian Pink, Paul Robeson, and Black Sea Man.
I harvested the first seeds from the Red Florence fennel and some more pollen. I like to harvest the seeds when they are mature but still green, they are more flavorful and aromatic then. These seeds are so aromatic that I can smell them every time I get within a few feet of them.
And still on the 23rd, more Padrons, some ripe Guindilla chile peppers (those are being sun dried), Purple tomatillos, and Palace King cucumbers.
The really serious tomato harvesting started on the 25th. Starring in this box, from top left and going clockwise: Caspian Pink, Paul Robeson, Hillbilly, and Chocolate Stripes.
And featured here are Aunt Ruby's German Green and Todd County Amish.
And in this box, Giantesque.
And on the tray, they usual cherry tomato suspects.
On the 26th, still in a supporting (or should that be paternal) role, Padrons and Palace Kings.
But wait, there's more, Purple tomatillos, that is...
And finally coming into the spotlight, Blue Beech paste tomatoes.
Not shown were another half dozen Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes, numerous sprigs of basil, one Donkey Ears sweet pepper, a few Christmas Bell mild peppers, a few Pimento de Chiero hot peppers (hot but incredibly aromatic), Piracicaba broccoli shoots, a green Piment doux Long des Landes sweet pepper, and a couple of green Guindilla hot peppers.
So, what better way to celebrate the harvest than a party. Last night we had a group of friends over to feast on dishes that starred tomatoes. We started with what I called Green Rubys, a take on a recipe I found for Golden Marys only featuring Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes. I made juice from some Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes which was then blended with some good reposado Tequila, lime juice, ginger, and cilantro. Served in glasses rimmed with salt mixed with ground cumin and black pepper. Very good, very interesting.
Then we had gazpacho that one of the guests made. She used heirloom tomatoes and it also had chipotle chile which added a wonderful touch of smoke and heat. That was a winner. And then the feast continued with sliced tomatoes topped with crumbled ricotta salata mixed with fresh herbs and a balsamic dressing. A tart of puff pastry topped with carmelized onions, seared tuna, and sliced tomatoes and a garlicky balsamic dressing. And a tomato and bread salad. And a corn and tomato clafouti. Good wine, good bread, good company...
Everyone left with tomatoes and peppers.
So now that I've whittled down the piles of tomatoes by simply feasting, it time to get to work making sauce, puree, paste and dried tomatoes.
I'm finding my Harvest Monday posts to be quite useful. Even though I'm not keeping track of weight and value, the visual record of what is coming out of the garden is informative. I have only the vaguest memory of what I harvested and when from past seasons. I do weigh some things out of curiosity. Like the boxes of tomatoes that I picked on Friday, they each came in at about 8 to 10 pounds.
Tune in same time, same place next week to see the continuing drama...