It’s time to clean up the garden, which means that suddenly the produce becomes precious again. Today I pulled up the tomato vines and took the cages out to the barn. I pulled up the watering systems and rolled the hoses I can use again and disposed of the few hoses that had sprung more leaks than it is worth trying to plug. It is fun in August to try to aim the leaks at different spots in the beds to get maximum usage from beat up hoses.
For meals, I’ve been happily turning to leeks and potatoes, but tomorrow I’ll be using the remaining tomatoes for one more fresh sauce. I’ll make my new favorite quick sauce from a book I got for Christmas last year, pasta Puttanesca. The book is Oretta Zanini de Vita’s Sauces & Shapes and it is encyclopedic. The recipe caught my attention because of the capers and olives, but also because of the origin of the name– a sauce so quick that “professional women” could make it for their clients. Here is everything you need to know about making it, though there are other more complicated recipes around. Make a paste from anchovies packed in oil, cooking that quickly with garlic in olive oil, then simmering with tomatoes you can core and seed on the spot, capers, and chopped olives while you cook the spaghetti. Serve with parsley if you have it, and Parmesan.
As I cleaned the beds, I picked up a few of those remaining tomatoes from vines and the ground. I also harvested the daikon radishes– three pounds worth. They were starting to poke their snaky selves up out of the ground. Unfortunately, the Chinese cabbage didn’t do as well. So instead of more kimchi, I’m going to make some sweet pickled daikon and carrots. It’s a Vietnamese recipe that can be used in spring rolls, pork sandwiches, or basically anything. I’m torn between a Vietnamese woman’s family recipe and the clearly much sweeter New York Times recipe. I’ll probably reduce the sugar and use rice wine vinegar, so a combination. I do like the idea of massaging the vegetables first.
I also got the final results of the “plant carrots everywhere” strategy. The good news is that there were over four more pounds of medium and full-size carrots. I gave them the damp sand treatment and put them in my new storage benches in the basement.
In addition to that score of carrots, there was four pounds of little carrot stubs. No one wants to clean and eat those carrots– no, that’s not exactly true. No one wants to clean and peel those carrots. If it were mid-season, I’d probably just throw them on the compost pile. But right now they’re the last fresh carrots I’ll see until maybe next July!
I’ll put some of the bigger ones in the fridge and use them in roasted vegetable dishes while I still don’t mind chopping. But most of them I’ll just clean, trim, and throw in the food processor. Once ground up and frozen, I can use them for carrot cake. Carrot cake!