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broodings from the burrow

October 23, 2019

october garden
posted by soe 1:41 am

October Garden

I did pick many of the remaining tomatoes over the weekend, but left a few on the vine. While the outskirts of the city were at risk for a frost warning this week, the heat sink of a city keeps our garden a little warmer for longer.

I, do, however, have lots of peppers still growing. They’re always a reliable late-season crop for me.

There are fish peppers:

October Garden

I grow them because they’re the cool stripey green and white of their leaves as they’re growing and then they turn the red you see below when they’re ripe.

October Garden

There are lots of banana peppers:

October Garden

And a few mini yellow bells:

October Garden

I also still have basil left to harvest and turn into pesto for the winter.

The seeds I planted for fall greens don’t seem to have taken. I may give it a shot again this weekend when I’m there to see if anything comes of a late planting. It’ll all depend on when snow comes…

Category: garden. There is/are 1 Comment.

August 24, 2019

summer supper: tomato tart
posted by soe 1:59 am

Tomato Tart

For several days, a tomato tart has been taking up space in my brain. Tomatoes are in season here, and while they are delicious in everything we’ve had them in — soups, sauces, Middle Eastern stews, salads — I was craving something particular.

Supper is not usually my arena. I’m the baker of desserts and occasionally breakfasts, but usually dinnertime fare falls to Rudi. But since this was my plan, and since a tomato tart is not especially dissimilar to a tarte tatin or a fruit pie, it seemed perfectly plausible that I could make this myself.

I found this Bon Appetit article, which led to this recipe.

On half of the tart, I used a tomato left over in the fridge from the bulk buy a few weeks ago. I figured since it was being cooked it was fine. On the other half went mostly cherry tomatoes from our garden.

I used the recipe as a jumping off place, but I made some changes:

  • I pricked the pastry in more than a few places. The dough looked like it had been pierced by a horror film villain.
  • I used already minced garlic we buy by the jar. We had cloves, but it seemed an easy substitution.
  • I omitted the lemon altogether. The article’s author said she cuts back on them when she makes the dish. Commenters on the recipe didn’t like the lemons, probably because they cut them too thick. I didn’t want to wash the mandoline, use it, and then wash it again, so it seemed easiest to skip them.
  • I did not leave space between my tomatoes, which also were definitely sliced skinnier than a quarter inch. I also overlapped some of them, particularly on the fridge tomato side, where I added some garden tomatoes in case it tasted terrible. In the end, I used one giant beefsteak-sized tomato and about two dozen cherries.
  • I used a mix of basil, rosemary, and oregano from my garden. It was not a cup’s worth — probably closer to a scant handful combined. And I put it on top of the tomatoes, rather than beneath them.
  • I skipped the final tablespoon of olive oil on top. Commenters felt the finished product was too soggy, so I thought pooling liquid on top seemed like a silly idea. Had I been using drier tomatoes, I might have considered using our olive oil mister as a finishing touch.
  • I also skipped the crème fraîche, because I didn’t have any and it just sounded weird.
  • Instead I diced half a bar of feta and sprinkled that on the finished tart after I sliced it. It was an inspired addition.


Rudi and I agreed that if we used larger tomatoes than cherries that the prep time would be sped up considerably, but that otherwise it was a completely delicious success!

Hooray for hankerings!

Category: arts,garden. There is/are 1 Comment.

August 16, 2019

home-grown, footwear, and refreshing
posted by soe 1:31 am

August Jungle

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. There’s nothing like returning to a garden that’s at peak production. My haul on Wednesday included peppers, at least five varieties of tomatoes, and basil.

Post-Vacation Garden Haul

2. One of the things I really wanted to do while in Connecticut was to get to a sporting goods store to see if I could find a pair of volleyball sneakers. I could tell the difference for my knees just jumping around Dick’s shoe department, so I am excited for next month when I resume playing indoors and can use them. Since I’ll be playing twice a week again, it will be good to minimize the beating my knees take.

3. A shower immediately after coming in from an hour playing volleyball outside in the August heat.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

Category: garden,three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.

July 29, 2019

notes from the garden: end of july
posted by soe 1:02 am

Late July Garden Update

While the larger blooms of my flowers have died off, I still have some smaller flowers to enjoy while I water.

Late July Garden Update

My bronze fennel is now over six feet tall, with sprigs of Queen Anne’s Lace-like blossoms. I don’t especially have any call for six feet of the mildly anise-flavored herb, so mostly I’m using it to prop up the tomato plant next to it, which is equally tall.

Late July Garden Update

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June 23, 2019

what a difference a week makes
posted by soe 1:30 am

Last week, I shared a picture of my echinacea because it was finally starting to show some color.

Take a look at it now:



The flowers start out kind of brownish and end up sort of brownish and I kind of forgot how amazing they are for that week or two where they aren’t remotely brown. (I should write garden catalogue copy, shouldn’t I?)

I’m really glad I realized what they were when I started to yank them up earlier this spring.

Category: garden. There is/are 2 Comments.

June 3, 2019

posted by soe 1:22 am

This afternoon got more dramatic as it went along.

It started with a quiet trip to the farmers market, followed by brunch with the cat.

Fava Beans

I went to the garden, where I picked and ate peas and marveled at the fact that my fava beans are legit. I mean, there are only two plants (I swear there used to be three) and there are only two pods on each plant (a bunch of the flowers shriveled up, rather than growing into pods), so it will be a meager, but cherished side dish when Rudi and I pick them next week. Unless the bunny my next-door gardener informs me is living under his squash plants eats them first. Do you think rabbits like fava beans? I mean, my neighbor is growing carrots, which years of watching Loony Toons suggests should be its first choice…


I then headed to the pool, where Rudi joined me after his bike ride. It was cooler and less crowded than yesterday due to today’s overcast skies, cooler temps, and impending storms. But it felt lovely in the water, which was the key thing. Until the thunder kicked in, at which point that felt like the key thing. Understandably and responsibly, the lifeguards kicked us all out.


At which point we started walking home. The rumbling was getting louder, but it wasn’t crashing and there was no visible lightning, so it felt like a medium paced stroll was suited to the occasion. I even paused to take a photo of the mimosa tree outside the local bar.

It was then that giant splotches of rain started dropping. Except that they rapidly (like within 30 seconds) turned into hail. Nickel-sized hail. Here is some of it, since we had to stop for the traffic light on the way home.


It paused briefly, to rain really cold rain on us, then the hail began again in earnest, by which point Rudi and I were pretty much home. Except that a rather impertinent hailstone managed to scoot in the crewneck of my sun shirt and down the front of my bathing suit, where in lodged in the shelf bra. I mean, really!

There were reports of golf ball-sized hail, but we did not have to deal with any of it. (You can see it here. You can also see the rainbows that because we were inside we also missed.) And it should be noted that when the hail began we were only two blocks from home. And if it had been the larger hailstones raining down even with that distance, we definitely would have sought immediate shelter in a doorway or some such, rather than continuing home, because hail can be very serious. Even the smaller ones stung!

After that, the day calmed back down. We had teatime to warm back up, watched some bike racing, read, and concluded our day with French bread pizza and daiquiris. All in all, a nice, quiet end to a dramatic afternoon.

Category: dc life,garden. There is/are 3 Comments.