Last weekend we went to Home Depot and bought 10 bags of Moo-Nure (“We are #1 at #2”. It says so on the bag). We are planting a garden, a big one. Arugula, leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, kohlrabi, peppers, kale, basil, mint, and of course, parsely, sage, rosemary and thyme. No pattypan squash this year. There was pattypan everywhere but everything we did with it was a disappointment. It did make a nice centerpiece though. It’s yellow squash this year-sauteed in butter with onions, fresh tomatoes and topped with grated paremesan cheese. We can taste it already.
We rented a tiller from Ace, couldn’t get it started and had to call for help. Our tilling skills left something to be desired. One of us did well. The other was given a different task after she ran the tiller up the chicken wire fence: picking up the weed clumps the tiller threw around the garden. That was safer for all concerned. The sight of the garden so nicely tilled made us anxious to start planting. Back to the store, to buy frost resistant plants: arugula, spinach, kale, kohlrabi and garlic which we’d not thought of. We spread the dirt and planted. A newly planted garden is delicate, beautiful and full of promise.
We never had gardens when our kids were little. If we did, it would have been like getting a puppy. “We’ll help, Mommy, we promise”. No doubt one would have had to go to the emergency room. One would have buried the plants deep in the dirt. Plants would have been trampled and in three weeks, dead from no water. They would like the beginning and the end of the garden but the important in between would have bored them and, for us, it would have been one more “wait a minute, mommy has to____”. There are already enough of those when you’re a working single mother.
So the garden we did for us. We will nurture it, care for it and protect it. We will encourage it to be the best garden it can be. Whether it’s a manifestation of empty nest or not, we don’t know. But there will be fresh produce for the table in the empty nest. In that, we will rejoice.
THE MENU: BARBEQUED CHICKEN, POTATO SALAD, GRILLED ASPARAGUS, CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
- 1 bottle Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup
- 1/2 bottle Heinz chili sauce
- 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Simmer on the top of the stove for 2 hours.
- 8 medium red potatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 dill pickle, diced
- 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup mayonaise
- salt & pepper to taste
Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender but firm. Place in refrigerator to cool. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl. Cut potatoes in to bite sized pieces and add to bowl. Stir to coat.
- 1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lemon
- sea salt
Blanch asparagus for one minute in boiling water. Remove & dry. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt evenly. Place on the grill until tender but firm. Remove to serving platter and squeeze the juice of one lemon evenly over asparagus.
CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
- 1 prepared Trader Joe’s pie crust
- chocolate pudding recipe from Smitten Kitchen – best pudding recipe you’ll ever find smittenkitchen.com
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. marscapone
- 2 tbsp. sugar
Pour cooled pudding in to prepared pie shell. Beat heavy cream & marscapone until thickened. Add sugar and beat until desired consistency. Spread over pudding.