The garden is in pretty rough shape this year, having been ignored for 3 weeks while we travelled and not getting enough water in general. But the beans are soldiering on, so much so that we got to can some pickled beans.
This summer we added two new recipes to our family repertoire. First, on a whim one day while playing tourist down at the Pike Place Market we bought a baby shark for Robbie. Which was actually a trout but he didn’t need to know that. We brought it home, filled the fish with sliced lemons, rosemary, mint, lavender, thyme, and oregano, tied it up, and put it on the grill for a couple minutes a side. Miracle of miracles, the kids devoured it, and then played pretend with the bones for the rest of the afternoon. In the times since, Hannah has been enthusiastic all they way until it came time to actually eat the fish, but Robbie still loves Grilled Baby Shark with Local Herbs and Imported Lemons.
Our other new tradition is lemonade made by mashing up lemon slices with sugar and herbs. One time we tried it with honey and it was pretty tasty that way too. And after the kids go to bed if there are any leftovers, a little (or a lot of) vodka makes for a mighty fine cocktail. Pretty much the same herbs as the last time – rosemary, mint, lavendar, and thyme. I usually skip the oregano for some reason.
We were in Bellingham for a music festival and there was a great hippie/hipster (getting harder and harder to tell the difference) lemonade stand, where you could have mix-ins added to your drink. I had a blueberry-ginger lemonade, and the kids got basil raspberry. The truly hipster part was that it came in a mason jar that you had to bring back to the stand to get your dollar deposit back. All this to say that if you treat your lemonade well, it will show you respect and be delicious. If you make it from a can, you’re on your own, and results may vary.
We’ve had good luck in the last couple years putting some beans in a little late in the season (maybe June-ish) and having them do really well. So usually when the peas are starting to peter out, I start thinking beans. This year was no different, and though they were growing really well I wasn’t paying close attention to them.
I stuck my head in the bean-pole the other day and realized we had a ton of beans just on the verge of getting too big and turning mealy, so I started picking, and pretty soon I had to go get a bigger box to fill. I ended up with a really good harvest of beans, maybe 8 or 10 pounds, so pickled beans were called for. My grandma Jackie made them and I still remember loving them, still a little crispy, straight from the jar.
Alicia got to work today and canned up 20 pints (one cracked during processing so we ended up with 19). Pretty impressive for a totally home-spun canning operation, since we didn’t make it to Yakima this year. Now to figure out what to do with all these plums…
We’ve been trying to keep up with two zucchini plants all summer… zucchini bread galore, catch them before you have a softball bat on your hands, you know the drill. My friends Lark and Dan had served thin-sliced zucchini straight off the bar-b-que and sprinkled with smoked salt at a backyard dinner party last summer, and it was the inspiration for my Zucchini Bacon.
First off, let me assure you, it is more baconesque in shape than flavor, though with some smoked paprika and smoked salt, it does get into the salty savory neighborhood. The way to make it is to slice the squash into 1/16″ ribbons on a mandoline, and then just toss them with the above spices plus some olive oil. They take 2 or 3 minutes on the first side, and another minute or so on the other side. Pull them off the grill before they get too crispy, though the thin areas will start to brown nicely.
It wasn’t a huge hit with the kids, but it is nice because it is sliced so thin that most of the moisture evaporates out. The thing I’ve been using them on is sandwiches; it’s a nice additional flavor to a regular turkey or cheese sandwich. So there you have it… more bacon for you.
Hannah has always loved bugs, and though I’ve noticed she isn’t quite as fearless as she used to be, she will still capture a bug, make it a bed out of paper, and fill it with grass and dirt to make sure it’s comfortable. And seal it in some tupperware to make sure it never escapes. Ever.
Yesterday she had a bug in her hands, and she said, “I’m going to keep it forever!” I said, “Good idea, make sure you are holding it in your hands on your wedding day. That way you can just trade bugs not rings.” She gave me a really irritated look, which I probably deserved. But she really liked zooming in on the camera to see this bug’s face, so I think she let it go. I’ll try to simulate it for you here.
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