Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gnomecoming-part II Gnomeageddon

Ok, not really but I'm going to try this post again on my own computer where I know what the hotkeys will do and can see Flickr without waiting minutes for pictures to load in.  Seriously, I am glad I don't really remember how slow dial up was.  :p

So yesterday Maegwin and I went to the Farmers' Market after our Mommy & Baby yoga class.  We had a great time and found a lot of good stuff.  Our intention was to buy a tomato, granola, apples, plums, and anything else that struck our fancy.  I sauntered over to the apple vendor who had no less than ten varieties of apples with him this week, most of which I had never heard of or tried.  There was a woman there sampling an apple.  She proceeded to tell me right in front of the farmer how it was SO tart that it wasn't good for ANYTHING but sauce or pies.  She didn't say this just once but multiple times.  Now, as a rule I don't believe anyone who is a. without an internal speech filter and has no clue that they are insulting a person's wares literally in front of their face and b. assuming they know what I like.  The farmer was obviously noticing because he started warning people it was the first harvest and they would change over time.  I asked him for a sample of the same apple the woman was having and oh boy, IT WAS AMAZING!!!  Like the perfect cross between a Granny Smith and a Fuji.  It had the right crispness, tartness, and flavor.  I felt like turning to the woman, who was by this time continuing her antics with someone else, and saying "Whoa there Nellie!  Not all of us like our fruit tasteless and insipid.  Why don't you go find yourself a Red Delicious and leave the nice man alone?"  Of course I didn't (see point A. above) but I contented myself with singing the praises of the farmers' apples, especially the Wealthy variety.  It is apparently an heirloom variety you don't really see anymore.  He definitely noticed because he loaded my bag up with apples well above where the others were and I had at least two maybe even three pounds in there.  We also got a great loaf of wheat bread from Lucky Cat bakery in Pataskala, OH which is very close by.  We tried a loaf of her focaccia last week and it made the most fabulous egg salad sandwiches.  Finally I got some cheese.  Oh the cheese!  I selected a chive & garlic chevre roll, which we enjoyed on egg, avocado, and tomato croissants for breakfast, and some ranch cheddar curds.  They were both so delicious and came from Blue Jacket Dairy in Bellefontaine, OH-near where my mom & dad live.

So here I was with a couple pounds of apples and some peaches from last week's market that we didn't get to.  The peaches were still good but at the point of ripeness where you have to share some special bonding time with your kitchen sink as you crouch over it to catch all the peachy juices.  While I love a good peach, they were just unmanageable to eat.  I had read on the Smitten Kitchen blog about a peach blueberry cobbler and had an idea.  I would make a peach apple crisp.  She suggested cutting a small cross in the bottom of each peach and dipping them in boiling water for 30 seconds to remove the skins.  I tried this and oh my goodness!  If any of you knew about this little piece of wisdom, don't tell me because honestly you've been holding out on me.  This sort of thing should be shouted from the proverbial rooftoops.  Not only did it make peeling them a snap but it also made it ridiculously easy to remove the pits.  We are definitely keeping it in mind next time we make a peach or nectarine mead.
peaches and apples
I made a triple crumble topping recipe because honestly there can never be too much crisp.
ready for delicious
As you can see, my favorite cookbook is a little *ahem* well-loved.  It basically comes apart in sections now.  Really it is an advantage since I can just grab the part I want and I know which sections I use the most because they have batter on the pages I like.  I also could throw out the meat sections if I had thought of that before just now.
sad cookbook
The crisp turned out so good that we both ate two helpings and had to stop ourselves from eating more.

At last week's farmers' market I also stopped into the garden store that is one of the hosting locations (they let the farmers use their patio).  I had seen a lawn gnome in there last year that I fell absolutely in love with.  Let me preface this by confessing my abiding adoration for lawn gnomes.  It is the only word that I know how to say in four languages.  I have loved lawn gnomes since I was a child and always imagined that when I had a house it would have a gnome.  The one I found was the ideal gnome with the perfect mix of mischievousness and sweetness in his expression.  When we went back to purchase him though he was gone.  I special ordered him three times but to no avail.  Well this year when I went in there he was.  I went back to talk to the owner and bought him.  She found my special orders, tucked away in the catalog by her temporary help from last summer, and apologized profusely for not getting it for me.  Good thing I was persistent.  Let me just say he is heavy!  He's made of solid concrete and we had to go back and pick him up so Josh could carry him.
gnomey goodness
My mom also bought me a smaller gnome that has a little lantern to absorb sunlight all day and glow at night.  I keep forgetting to look and see if it works.  He is nestled up amongst our shasta daisies, coneflowers, and black-eyed Susans, and bee balm by the house.  I love looking out and seeing him there while I do dishes.
nestled gnome

The garden is finally really taking off after the magical combination of rain and hot weather we've had.  I literally planted the corn like three weeks ago and it's already over a foot tall.
corn beans & squash
This patch has corn, black beans, and butternut squash in it.  We had, or thought we had, bad luck with the butternut squash seeds this year.  We had given up on all the ones that didn't germinate and threw them out on the porch to be torn up and added to the compost.  Well, we got busy and honestly forgot about them.  When we looked out there the other day lo and behold they had all sprouted!  I guess they just needed rain and sun and a lot of time.
butternut squashlings
The green beans are all the way up their teepees and the limas are climbing.  The peas are on the smaller lattices and have flowers on them so we will soon be enjoying sugar snap pea pods.
green & lima beans and peas
Our potatoes have completely filled up their plot and we will have gallons and gallons of them this year I think.
The tomatoes have also finally got a foothold and I think after getting rid of the baby groundhog that was trapped inside the fencing and installing pinwheels to deter others, they might finally make it to give us tomatoes this year.  They aren't as big as other people's but we grew ours from seeds so I think this is about where they honestly should be this time of year without the benefit of a greenhouse.
We've been harvesting lots of arugula (seen here in the middle of the front plot) and our cantaloupes are filling in.  Our cucumbers are also just starting to get on their lattices.
arugula cantaloupe & cucumbers
The asparagus ferns are growing, but we won't get anything from them until next year.  This year is all about strengthening their root system.
asparagus ferns

Whew, that's what is going on around here for now.  I think I got most of my initial post re-created.  See why I was mad that I lost it?


  1. Wow! That's a ton of stuff you have growing! I really like your concrete gnome. He looks cheerful.

  2. As for the lady at the farmer's market...been there. It's really hard for me to hold my tongue too. I was at the Farmer's Market today, a very small one at Kaiser, and there were only 2 fruit vendors. The first one I passed had the most yummy white nectarines I've ever had at the perfect stage of ripeness, so I vowed to come back to him after picking up prescriptions. I tasted all of his offerings and everything was super sweet. And he was selling everything at $1/pound! When I got to the other fruit vendor I sampled and the fruit was right out sour. I don't know that I've ever tasted a sour nectarine before, but his was sour. And her peaches and plums weren't even ripe, and hard fruit just doesn't appeal. It was tempting to say something but I didn't. She handed me a bag and told me everything was $1/pound and I could mix/match and I said thank you I'll be back after I pick up my prescriptions. And when I came back out I passed her booth and went to the guy with the super yummy and sweet fruit.

    Now I know what to get for you next time I got to As You Wish in AZ - a garden gnome I'll paint myself!

  3. P.S. That crisp looks like absolute heaven. I would have had 2 servings as well and just forget about dinner!