John and I started the great food on Saturday night with stuffed squash. Squash is one of John’s favorite foods, and he enjoys making up his own recipes from wherever inspiration strikes. Both things came together very well in his stuffed squash. He halved acorn squash, baked it, and stuffed it with a mix of sausage, tomatoes, tons of fresh herbs from my garden, peppers (both hot and sweet), panko, cheese, and who knows what else. Then he baked it again. All the produce was either from local growers at the farmers market or my garden.
In addition to cooking, I got in a little garden work. I’d been to Lowe’s on Saturday to get a variety of things and picked up some flower bulbs while I was at it. Plants are my weakness when it comes to impulse purchasing. I can resist cute housewares just fine, and shoes and power tools and most other things, but show me the promise of a really beautiful flower or unusual garden produce and I’m a lost cause.
So there I was early on Sunday morning sweating in the heat with the thunder rumbling in the distance and planting 60 grape hyacinth bulbs in the rock-hard, super dry soil (60! What? I thought there were 20 or so in there when I picked them up! 60? How did they all jump in my shopping cart?). Plus a few crocuses. And some irises I’m curious about.
The sweet autumn clematis is blooming now. It smells so wonderfully sweet and strong, but it’s so invasive. This is the time of year when it redeems itself–almost. I don’t think there is a fence in this neighborhood that isn’t bending under the weight of a wild mass of the green vines and billow of white blooms.
I was on my last garden task–picking basil–when the rain finally came. It was perfect timing. How often does that happen? It was the first rain I remember falling since John and I got back from vacation three weeks ago, so it was much appreciated. I took the basil inside then stood on the back stoop watching the rain and listening to the thunder.
The rest of the morning and afternoon I spent cooking. First I made another peach pie (with a couple pluots thrown in for good measure) to take Sunday night for the potluck after Patchwork worship. Then a little lunch, a few dishes, and I moved on to the basil.
It’s been growing well and I have tons, so it’s time to freeze some pesto for the winter. I got the ingredients out and then remembered I’d never done a taste test of the three varieties of garlic I grew in this year’s garden.
Well, time for a diversion! I pulled one bulb of each and here they are: Music, Inchelium Red, and Georgian Crystal.John and I enjoyed sampling them. We both agreed that we liked the Georgian Crystal best. If I had time, it would be really fun to do the taste test again with them roasted to see what different flavors it brings out. Would our favorite raw still be our favorite roasted?
Then it was back to the pesto. I now have a good store waiting for cold evenings this winter when John and I have no time to cook.
I ended the afternoon making mozzarella cheese. I’ve tried ricotta before, but never had the courage for mozzarella. This was it! Finally time to check it off my list (even though I’d already made tons of food and there were so many other things–sweeping, scrubbing the tub, brushing the cat–that are needing to be done).
Actually, it was really easy and tasted amazing. The instructions said it’s best right after you finish it, which I think is true. It needed some bread, tomatoes, and basil, but I realized that I had no worthy bread on hand and couldn’t get any tomorrow. So…Sunday evening I was unexpectedly mixing up bread.
Well, the resulting bread, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella was fantastic.
I’d wanted to make brownies but thought I didn’t have time and there were plenty of sweets around already. A few chocolate cravings later, I’d made some fudgy brownies with hazelnuts. I also started gathering things together for the grilled watermelon salsa that would accompany John and my grilled evening meal.
Since the fall weather had settled in overnight I spent a little time relaxing in my swing in the back yard. It was perfect, and with the crisp chill in the air and a few hints of wood smoke if I closed my eyes I could have convinced myself that I was at my family’s cottage in Northern Michigan.
Then it was time for a cookout. First we grilled watermelon for the salsa. You brush the melon with a chipotle and olive oil mix, add salt and grill. John loved it. I’m not entirely sure, but I enjoyed the interesting twist on watermelon.
Then we grilled some great brats lovingly brought back from Kroeger and Sons Meats at Findlay Market in Cincinnati. To complement them: a couple of the good beers we brought back from Germany. Good food!