• Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
    by Barbara Kinsolver and others
  • Ad Hoc at Home
    Ad Hoc at Home
    by Thomas Keller


I have been reading emails and Facebooks pages from friends and family with photos of summer fun.  I'm seeing lots of trips to the beach/lake/river with swimming and boating;pictures of ripening summer gardens and backyard barbeques. All events appear to be bathed in warm summer sun. 

Here on the Central Coast of California we are reminded of the quote from Mark Twain - "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  Living only 100 miles south of our favorite city, we share very similar weather......and we have been freezing (well not quite) all summer!  

Our garden continues to grow massive amounts of greens of all sorts. The tomato plants are huge. One is over six feet tall and nine feet (no exaggeration - we measured it) across.

We have hundreds of green tomatoes (and one red one that we ate with an ear of our home grown sweet white corn) who are just begging for a little sunshine.  When it finally comes we will be living in tomato hell I am sure. The canner will take up constant residence on the back of the stove and tomato skins will litter every part of our lives. 

Other garden delights:

I'm calling this "bean twist."  It's amazing to see what these little plants do.

"Giant" variety pumpkin. It grows by leaps and bounds each day. There are others as well, but this is the grandaddy. I can't wait to see how big it will be by October. 

Home grown, hard stem, red garlic. Really sweet and pungent. 


Fresh Corn, Tomato, Basil & Green Bean Salad

Serves 2 veggie lovers:

1 ear of sweet corn - kernels cut from cob

1 ripe tomato

10 large basil leaves

1 cup of fresh green beans

1 large clove garlic

lemon juice

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher Salt and pepper to taste


Steam the green beans until just tender. Dice tomato. 

Mix beans, tomato & corn kernels together. Make a dressing with the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Serve with grilled peasant bread topped with soft goat cheese.

Mound the salad on the bread. Eat outside, in the sun, with the juices dripping off of your fingers and onto the ground.   Please send photos of your sunny times.......



Unusual Plant

I came across this plant in Pacific Grove, near the water. Investigation has revealed that it is called "Arum."


Midsummer Harvest

July 14, 2010 - 

Harvested today:

1. Rainbow Swiss Chard - we had planned to pull the plants, but found we just couldn't do it when we saw the tiny, new chard leaves when we cut the big ones. Come on little guys! The great grandaddy leaf is 26" tall. These leaves are so beautiful and colorful, it almost seems a shame to cut them up. Almost.....

2. Green beans. See previous post. Strange little varieties, but all good. Tonight they will be dinner along with some grilled fish. 

3. Basil - threatening to flower & needed to be cut back. Pesto for the freezer!

4. Two nicely sized zucchini.


Planted today:

1. 12 little cilantro plants. Planted in the shade as the others are bolting to flower

2. 6 dill plants

3. A new parsley patch

4. More red leaf lettuce. 



1. "Giant" variety pumpkin -This plant grows about four inches a day. It is now halfway around the back of our house. I will worry when it starts to encroach on the front door.

2. The corn has actual ears......with silk and tassles - wow!

3. Tons of tomatoes - all green so far, but in varying sizes

4. The zucchini plants are so big and prickly it was hard to get the squash out. My arms are itching from the prickly leaves. 

4. Everything is suddenly really bushy. 

5. The garlic we planted last fall is nearly ready to harvest and cure. The "scapes" (flower blossoms) are straightening out. 



Green Beans with Dill, Shallots and Tomatoes 

Though it is early for our tomatoes to ripen, I will break out one of the remaining three pint jars of tomatoes canned last September for these perfect little beans. 

1# green beans with the stem end snapped off

1 large shallot,  minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup super sweet tomatoes - chopped. Remove the skins if you are picky  or leave them on for their flavor

2 TBL fresh dill

1 1/2 TBL extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Saute the minced shallot in 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the cleaned and dry green beans to the pan and sear well. Add the garlic & stir for about one minute. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer until beans are tender. Stir in the fresh dill, taste for seasoning & drizzle with two tsp. extra virgin olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

NOTE:  This is only worth making when the green beans are really sweet and tender and the tomatoes sweet and ripe. This is a dish to dream about in the cold winter months when summer is a distant memory. 


Fava Bean Art

Shelling pounds and pounds and fava beans can be a joy. A unheralded side product is fava bean art:

Fava string sculptures by Steve.


The beauty of carrots in the early morning

I bought my first juicer years ago and began experimenting with various combinations. The worst was banana juice - produced at the request of my young son. The texture was beyond disgusting and defies any civilized description. Moving on......

The best juices were apple, carrot & watermelon. The one that remains a favorite today is carrot, apple, ginger juice with a touch of lemon to cut the sweetness. Using the best possible juicing carrots and apples is of supreme importance.

Here's what's in my kitchen in the early morning:

......and toast made from this bread....