So I have a friend named Dan. I met him through work. Dan is in his early 70's. For the past––I'm not EXACTLY sure on the time here––30+ years, Dan has grown tomato plants from seed beginning in the very early Spring. And when he hears that you have even a passing interest in the garden, he comes by with three plants––one of each of the varietals he grows––along with a laminated sheet of paper with information about each of the plants. Dan is the definition of good people. And I love my three little tomato plants.
You can barely imagine what the world was like in the proto-suburbs of the Pacific Northwest for a child who had traveled there––entirely on his own, with his mother at home and his father awaiting him––from a small Tuscan village. This was before "a small Tuscan village" was even a thing on the radar of America at large. And it was before America had its culturally and politically dominating century. It was before anyone knew what the Pacific Northwest would become, foodwise.
And yet, that is where Angelo Pellegrini settled. His childhood of 12 or so years in Tuscany gave him an uncanny experience to bring to pre-depression America, including an adult life that coincided with the Cold War in which his heritage could not have been less relevant. He was born at just the right time to enjoy America in a way that few others had. But he was also born just a bit too early to have been the celebrity he would have been if he had emerged in the age of Alice Waters and the Food Network.
When I start my garden every spring, I like to kickstart it by heading over to the local nursery and hardware store for some pregrown plants. Seeds can be tricky to deal with, and plants that are already several weeks old are especially helpful if you're busy, don't have a ton of experience, and want to get a jump on the growing season without having a greenhouse.
For the remainder of my garden, it's all about the seeds. I love that thrill of watching those little seedlings cling to the dirt in rain and sun, and I'm ecstatic to see true leaves when they emerge. If you've been doing seed packets for a while, and you're looking to up your garden game and perhaps move into the world of heirloom vegetables, read on for our primer on how to save tomato seeds, seed pods, summer vegetables, and more!
Ramps are magic. It's that simple. They appear of their own free will out of the ground, they bless the landscape with their beauty, their perfect aroma of garlicky-greenness––a combination you might approximate by breathing in deeply a bag of freshly mown lawn clippings while simultaneously crunching down on a double-sized mouthful of sour cream and onion potato chips. And then, just as magically, they disappear after an astoundingly short season, as spring gives way to summer.
A ramp is a kind of wild leek that looks like a cross between a scallion and a flowering weed. The aroma is, to me, something absolutely elemental; once you
On a recent visit to Minneapolis/St. Paul, I finally got a chance to try the elusive and much touted SweeTango apple, a few blocks of where it was first, um, invented? at the University of Minnesota agricultural campus.
And? It was good; I liked it. Some parts I liked a whole lot. The texture was very unique, and it had a nice balance of sweet and tart. If they were sold in my local market, I'd probably buy some.
Remember those "How Are You Peeling" books from the early aughts, when that dude would add little eyes to mishapen fruits to make squished little faces out of them?
These are way cooler. "BBDO Moscow created these interesting advertisements for Greenpeace to educate consumers about genetically modified foods. They made creatures out of vegetables to emphasize the theme of their campaign 'Do you know what you eat?'"
Perhaps you're staying in tonight, cooking dinner with your significant someone, and you're interested in making the table just-that-much-more special. Or maybe you'll be hosting a dinner party soon, and you really wanna impress your guests. Or, and most likely, you've looked at citrus peel and said, "This smells really good. I should make something with it."
As a kid, I was a notorious food arranger. I didn't play with my food, and always maintained proper table manners, but was just generally careful about where food sat on my plate. My peas or green beans always ended up in some sort of geometric relationship (which may have been a prolonging of the inevitable...we were big on canned veggies growing up; I thusly didn't realize I liked green vegetables 'til high school, and I had some that were...actually green, not olive drab), and I was always careful about how my bites were arranged: square cuts, equal spacing, centered on fork. I grew up to be a spatially-oriented right brained perfectionist...big surprise, right?
In the late 1990s, there was the brief phenomenon of How Are You Peeling?, in which some guy realized that fruits and veggies sometimes look like faces when they unevenly spurt from the calyx of their flowers. Calendars and email forwards ensued. You remember.
Then, Carl Kleiner, the mastermind behind those amazing photos of ingredients from the IKEA cookbook, decided to play with the above idea...but, you know, make it way better.
Most days, I'm convinced Mother Nature has an active sense of humor, and often, she's downright funny. Or perhaps its the veggies themselves. Or even, it's so strange when produce doesn't look like that exact perfectly shaped, blemish free ideal we're so used to seeing at the megamart, our minds immediately go..."there."
I work from home, meaning I never keep regular hours, and can always/never been at work. And though I do try, it also means I rarely eat regular meals. Most often, I split my nutrition into six or eight tiny, half-meals...or, you know, snacks. And sometimes, I need those to be crispy, salty snacks. And rather than stuff my self with no-good-for-you, processed junk foods all day, I try to satisfy those cravings with something a bit better for me.
Like veggie chips. And now, with this awesome collection of recipes from Chow, I'ma just make my own in bunches, and munch all week.
We're huge fans of canning and preserving food, but the whole cooking via canning-recipe, jar boiling, and steam sealing isn't for everyone. But the abundance of fresh vegetables this time of year demand more attention than just putting in a salad.
And though there are lots of pickle haters out there, most of us love the sour crunch of pickled veg. So, this summer, try quick pickling - since the products never leave the fridge, there's no reason to worry about the delicacies of canning.