Sunday, September 9, 2012

Death By Eggplant

You know that episode of the I Love Lucy show where she is working on a candy assembly line and it keeps going faster and faster and she can't keep up so she just starts shoving the candy in her mouth?  I know how she feels!  At first, the thought of working around candy is enticing, but even too much of a good thing is just... well...too much!  Take the garden for instance.  The thought of fresh produce right outside your door is something we all would agree is a nice thing. 

Who doesn't like fresh peas, carrots, onions and tomatoes right outside the back door?

Making dinner usually involves going out to the garden and seeing what is ripe and available and planning a meal around the pick of the day.  Easy enough!  The produce trickles in as the summer goes along, first the lettuce then the peas, carrots, spinach, Swiss chard, herbs, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, leeks, onions, tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, beans, turnips, beets, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.  Any one or two...or three of these vegetables is great and when the house is full of family or friends it is nice to have meals planned by whatever is ripe and plentiful.  As each thing ripens it is always exciting to eat the first harvest.

Ok, we can eat all of this....that is a lot of tomatoes though....

This summer was one of the warmest and driest in history, fact.  Apparently that means the garden will grow with wild abandon.  It also means that the fruit trees at the farm will produce abundantly.  Who knew? addition to all of the fruit and vegetables we have planted, the trees that just happen to be growing here have record crops this year. 
These beauties almost plum tuckered me out!

As the population at the shore dwindled the produce in the garden increased exponentially!  Who will eat all of this food?  We invited friends we travel to NYC with every year to visit us for a week and Mrs. NYC is  a very skilled chef/baker.  She was all into making the most out of the garden.  My problem was that by the time they arrived my excitement over the garden was waning.  I was already in "time to pack everything up and leave" mode and they were all in "wow!  Look at all this food and think of all the yummy things we can make with it"  mode.  As the week went on I began to feel like Lucy and the chocolates.  So much produce!  We picked beans, peas, carrots, strawberries, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, leeks, and a million plums.  Her enthusiasm for the produce knew no bounds!  She was not alone either, TJ and Mr. NYC were more than happy to harvest the bounty.  We may have all doubled in weight because of all the delicious food Mrs. NYC prepared.   We (well "we" may be one too many people, really Mrs. NYC) made...

Plum tart

grilled artichokes and radicchio
homemade tomato basil pasta sauce

Tomato pesto tart

Plum jam

A huge apple, plum, blueberry crisp
The list goes on and on...and it was all delicious!  Don't say anything when you see me and notice I have gained a few pounds!  We ate like royalty when Mr. and Mrs. NYC were visiting.  Once they left it was down to two people and now...just me.  Right before the master gardener himself left on a business trip he deposited this at the doorstep!

tomatoes for one?!  Can I bring these across the border?

Exactly what I need/want.... enough tomatoes to feed a family of 20!  We leave in 4 days and I'm here alone ....hmmm, tomato sauce in between packing and cleaning the farmhouse?  As my mind raced through all of the possibilities for these tomatoes and the time and energy involved to make something meaningful out of them he brought one more thing into the kitchen....and this is when I went off the deep was the straw that broke this camel's back....

an chocolate too many! 

So as much as I enjoy the garden and it's many fruits, when it's time to go, it's time to go.  I can't take it with me so I'll just have to leave it for the deer and the raccoons.  It's time to clean the very full fridge and freezer until next summer.  Time to put away all the toys of summer, put the flower boxes in the shed,  take the chairs off the deck, clean the floors, beds and bathrooms,  do all the laundry and throw away all the garbage, compost and recycling.  That poor eggplant will probably never get cooked.

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