Friday, July 01, 2005


At the abbreviated but bountiful Borough Hall farmers' market Thursday morning: glistening black-red sweet cherries, strawberries (buy 2 quarts, get one free!), local blueberries, fat raspberries, red currants, and ravishing black raspberries, source of the best lilac-purple ice cream ever. Now is the moment for summer pudding, that simple but (supposedly) marvellous sweet, a kind of stripped-down charlotte russe made from just bread and berries. You take a bowl, line it closely with thin, crustless slices of good white bread, then tip in a mixture of lightly sweetened strawberries, raspberries, and currants. Cover the berries with another layer of bread, put a plate and a weight on top, and chill overnight. The next day, unmold, and voila--a brilliant magenta-colored dome of sweet juicy pleasure.

Here at PQ Castle, all my strawberries have gone into another batch of preserves (since I'm trying to be more ant than grasshopper with regards to the holiday-gifts jam cupboard) while I muse over what do with the big bag of herbs bestowed upon me by B., thanks to the monsoon-weather bounty reaped from the overflowing planters on his deck. So far: lovely chilly lemon-balm-and-peppermint iced tea; crunchy Thai salad, full of shredded Napa cabbage, red peppers, mint, basil, tofu, peanuts, and lime juice; a scavenger hunt for the cottage-cheese-dill bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book; linguine with fresh chopped tomatoes, garlic, green beans, crumbled pecorino and more basil. Tomorrow, hopefully, will be all about PESTO.

Good things happening over at the Second Place Garden (which cracks me up--what, we're not good enough for First Place??)--as soon as some gravel, filter cloth, and perlite are bought, we're going to get the dirt into the planters for the individual plots. People at the meeting were already calling dibs for their favorite boxes. Can't wait to move my leggy tomato plant into the sunshine, along with the plucky little nasturtiums and maybe some sunflower seeds. Oh dirt! Oh joy! Plenty of room for more gardeners there, so email me or post a comment if you want to get added to the garden email list (or call the South Brooklyn Local Development Corp. for more info--garden is located at the corner of 2nd Place and Smith Streets, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn).

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