Monday, July 14, 2008


Amazing what a few weeks of heat and sun will do. Here are the latest photos.

If only I knew why Blogger is posting this zucchini pic portrait-style instead of landscape (as I took it and as it appears in Picasa). But here they are! They were very yummy. At left you can see a flower still attached. The female flowers become zucchini (sort of--a swelling at the flower's base becomes the fruit), and the males just grow on stalks. Then bees or other bugs facilitate the magic of pollination. These flowers are absolutely delicious dipped in batter and fried and salted. Especially with Parmigiano-Reggiano, as I accidentally discovered last night. (I guess I knew this, but I had forgotten. I gave ASH some cheese for dinner and when he didn't eat it, I thought, "Yay, I get to eat it!" and made the happy discovery of how good the flowers and cheese are together.) Marcella Hazan says use a cup of water to 2/3 cup flour (sifting the flour slowly into the water and mixing well to avoid lumps), although I find I usually need a bit more flour than this (you want it to be like thick cream, or maybe melted ice cream or something), and I halve the recipe because this is way too much. Dip the flower in briefly and let the excess drain off, then fry in a skillet of hot oil. You'll know it's hot enough when it bubbles madly when you put in the flower. Be careful. Brown lightly on both sides, drain on paper towels, salt, and serve immediately. This makes good onion rings too.

It's not the healthiest recipe, but dang, it is good. I will say that I feel faintly disconcerted about eating the pollen-covered stamen (pistil?) inside the flower, because, you know...that's like flower sperm. But whatever.

Here are my cherry tomatoes!

You forget, when you go to the farmer's market or supermarket and pick up a pint or more of these at once, that each plant produces maybe one ripe tomato at a time. At least, around July 14 they do. So that kind of stinks. But I'm hoping as the season progresses I might be able to eat, oh, 5 at a time. (And I'm a good mom and all, but I do have to fight the urge to keep most of them to myself. I'm selfish that way. But I do fight it and give [most of] the produce to ASH.) These are yellow cherry tomatoes, that's why they're so...yellow. They won't get redder. This makes it hard to know when they're really ready, though.

Eggplant! I am so proud! A little purple baby sprouts from this flower. Note our friend the bee.

Here is a yellow squash, and a flower.

Here are the overview photos.

Sadly I discovered this week that my big tomatoes are suffering, I think, blossom-end rot. I learned from this site (which I just now discovered so that I could show you all what this rot looks like), it says that the manner in which I applied calcium (as instructed by the garden center) may not in fact fix the problem. Good to know! Thank you, intarwebs. And OSU. This may be why I got the rot in the first place, since I dutifully applied liquid calcium to the leaves before the fruit even developed. So I guess it's time to buy lime.

I actually had to prune the tomatoes a little, they were taking over. And the zucchini was stealing all the sunlight from some of my basil, so it was Pesto Time this weekend. (Stop! Pesto Time!) Oh, so tasty. I had forgotten.

Well, someone is sounding very unhappy, so I think it's time I give him a bath and send him to bed. Hope everyone is enjoying a happy summer with plenty of good things to eat. And if you know someone growing zucchini, hit them up for some flowers.


Geeks In Rome said...

How your garden grows!! It's beautiful.

Did you know that if you don't want to spend gobs of money on pinoli nuts for your pesto that walnuts work just fine, too, and taste just as nice!? You've inspired me to go out and eat some zucch. flowers tonight :)

Ginevra said...

Thanks, Eurydice! I did know, actually, and was going to do that this time, but then I remembered I should keep the nuts out so ASH could eat it too. (Not that he did, particularly, but oh well.) What are the nut recommendations for kids in Italy? Here they say wait till age 2 or 3. I heard it's not so much that waiting will reduce the risk of an allergy, but that if they do have a reaction you can't see (e.g. itchy throat), they can tell you about it. I eat plenty of nuts around him so I think he's been exposed, and I am hopeful he won't be allergic when he eats them for real.