The heat has finally broken. We had 24 hours of good hard rain and lovely cool air, and yesterday I took advantage of a beautiful morning to get into the garden and rip out a bunch of bolted stuff to make room for the fall plantings. I also pulled all the garlic and shallots, and they’re drying on the porch along with lots of coriander seeds. No sooner had I gotten the last of the fall seeds in–carrots, turnips, radishes, burdock, lots of greens–then I heard rumbling and the sky got very dark. Grabbing the seeds, I made it inside just before the skies opened up with a truly impressive deluge.
It’s been a little slow on the cooking front, partly because of the heat and partly because it’s been variations on the garden with random proteins added to complete the meal. Up top is a chicken leg floured, seasoned, and pan-roasted, served on a ragout of the first tomatoes, the last peas, some chard, garlic scapes (they keep really well in the fridge) and a Spanish-inflected sauce including pimentón and sherry vinegar. There’s also a little bit of a white bean thing under there from a previous meal. If there’s a more dynamic natural garnish than garlic scapes, I have yet to find it.
Before the heat hit, I had made risotto, so once it abated I pulled it out to make little cakes with lots of fresh basil and arugula mixed in. These accompanied some seared salmon, charred chard stems, and a fabulous green mash made from pan di zucchero (a heading chicory) with garlic, olive oil, and raspberry vinegar. There’s not a lot of artistry or newsworthiness to these meals, but that’s part of their appeal. The just-picked perfection of everything coming out of the garden is so complete that the best way to do the food justice is to get out of its way.