Monthly Archive for July, 2010

Garden Update

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My garden is not doing very well this year. Plants aren’t prospering and some are infested w/ some sort of worm, others have become diseased. The photos were taken on July 10th. Since then, the green zebra tomato plant has completely died, the only tomato I have so far this year was snatched by a squirrel, the rest of the tomatoes are the size of peas, one of my bell pepper plants is dropping its flowers and my brocolli has not produced a single crown.

I’ve neutralized the soil, fertilized everything, sprayed everything w/ an organic pesticide and gave the tomatoes special food called Tomato Tone to boost production. I put in  3 new tomato plants as backups (2 were given to me by the nursery where I bought my plants and the third was given to me by a friend).

The herbs are doing well w/ the exception of my tarragon which is scrawny this year for some reason. I will augment w/ another tarragon plant in the fall or next spring because it’s one of my favorite herbs.

At least the pollenators are loving the zinnias which are flowering nicely, but have mildew on some of the leaves. 

Instead of feeling joy when I survey my garden, I feel major disappointment and even dread going out to look around each morning  for fear that I’ll find things have worsened. I didn’t even bother taking any new photos for this post because I’m so bummed out by the way things are going at this point. At this date last year I had so much bounty to share. 

The more I think I know about gardening, the less I really know! I’ve definitely learned that gardening is not as simple as just putting plants in the ground and watering them. I now realized I should have at least rotated where I planted the veggies and also put in a cover crop in the fall (such as rye) to provide nutrients  to the soil for the next crop of veggies. Oh well, live and learn. Unfortunately learning can be a painful lesson in homegrown veggie deprivation!!

I hope your gardens are faring better than mine… and feel free to send me a care package if you have too much bounty :-)

Bruno

Blueberry Gelato w/ Dark Chocolate and Tarragon

blueberry gelato2

Summertime is here, so it’s time to whip up some cool recipes! Here’s one for a great gelato that’s packed w/ a few of my favorite flavors. So good, it was a 3 scooper…

Blueberry Gelato w/ Dark Chocolate and Tarragon

Ingredients:

1 quart half & half

1 cup sugar

6 egg yolks

1 cup blueberry juice (from 3 pints fresh blueberries, pureed and strained through a fine mesh sieve)

1/2 cup fresh blueberries cut in half

2 ounces dark chocolate (coarsely chopped)

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (finely chopped)

Procedure:

1) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow

2) Place half & half in a heavy pot and heat until scalded 

3) Very slowly whisk warm half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture

4) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously w/ a heat resistant spatula until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling

5) Stir blueberry juice into cooling mixture

6) Once cool, refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight

7) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the tarragon, dark chocolate and blueberry halves when mixture begins to thicken
 8) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container and quickly stir to evenly distribute the tarragon, dark chocolate and blueberry halves
 9) Place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on the surface of gelato (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of the gelato), seal container and freeze until firm
Yield: Approx. 1 1/2 quarts
 Happy eating!