Thursday, July 15, 2010

yeah, I'm gonna marry a carrot


Okay, so it isn't a carrot, but wouldn't you marry this roasted garlic?. Especially if you'd grown it yourself in your very own garden and then harvested it triumphantly? Like this?

first garlic

And for the honeymoon wouldn't you want to spread it on french bread and eat it with soup?

There hasn't been a whole lot of recipe-heavy cooking around here lately. Ingredients are fresh and need minimal messing with. And the heat wave took what little cooking desire I had and punched it in the face. Quick meals have been the order of the day, the less heat involved, the better.

But I did want to put up a post about how exciting it is to be eating out of the garden again. For example, my lonely little strawberry plant yielded exactly six strawberries, but boy, were they ever delicious. I ate three of them, some unknown human or animal ate one, and I gave the remaining two to the Man of Science, because I am nice like that.

look at that!

Besides the strawberries and the garlic, we have been enjoying fresh herbs with almost every meal. Earlier in the season I got some very weak looking mint seedlings from the Hope Garden, and I stuck them in a pot on the front steps and asked them nicely not to die. As usual, good manners led to success and they survived and thrived. I spent a lot of evenings during the heat wave drinking glasses of ice water with mint sprigs jammed into them, which is perhaps the most refreshing drink ever.

And tonight! Tonight I harvested a ton of mint, cilantro, and basil to make the filling for some spring rolls along with some fried tofu and shredded carrots. Which was delicious, in case you couldn't have guessed.

The best way I've found to get the garden grit out of herbs (and other greens) is to drop them into a bowl of cool water and just leave them there for a few minutes. Then gently lift them out and let them dry in a strainer or on a tea towel. A bit of a pain, but way better than sand in your spring rolls.

home grown herbs for spring rolls

And afterwards there may be enough mint left for a cup of tea.

front porch to tea cup

Some Notes:

-The Man of Science and I went to a local restaurant called Atelier for his (slightly belated) birthday dinner and I was so impressed. Past experience with "fine dining" restaurants has made me a bit cynical about their willingness to make a vegan meal. Some places have staff who will just sigh heavily and bring you some pasta covered in olive oil and overloaded with salt. But Atelier's website said they were willing to accomodate vegetarian and gluten free diets, so I forged ahead and asked them to make a vegan meal. No one batted an eye. I guess because they specialize in non-traditional cooking (their whole thing is molecular gastronomy) they are very willing to experiment. We were served amazingly delicious dishes that weren't just meat dishes with the meat removed. There was tofu and chickpea cakes for protein as well as amazing vegetables (some from the restaurant's own on-site garden). The complicated dishes were extraordinary, but so were the simple ones (I can't wait to try to recreate their fresh green pea soup with mint. ) So Ottawa vegans looking to splurge, this place is worth your money.

-Some non-food experiences that I've enjoyed in the last week included: seeing Joan Jett and the Blackhearts play an incredible show at Bluesfest. When the first two songs she played were Bad Reputation and Cherry Bomb, I knew it was going to be a good time. And on Monday night Megan and I went to see an amazing band from Chicago called Hollows. They were so good we stayed awake and upright for the whole show, even though we both hadn't had enough sleep the night before and the band didn't finish until after midnight.

-Blog Out Loud went very well. I wasn't too nervous and people laughed at my crazy story about trying to teach my first boyfriend how to make rice. Megan and I got lots of compliments on our non-intentionally similar outfits.


This Time Last Year: Ginger Chocolate Cookies FTW


Fame Throwa said...

Some thoughts:

1) Yes, I'd marry that garlic. GORGEOUS!

2) I'm not a cook, but for some odd reason I've been preparing meals like a pro these past 2 weeks. For some reason, the heat wave has made me take on the personal challenge of making tasty meals that don't require any cooking.

3) I'm new to your blog, so perhaps you know this already, but Zen Garden on Somerset is getting raved reviews. I haven't tried it yet (although it's a block from my house), but the other day it was featured in the Washington Post. Must be good! And it has a big patio.

4) Loved the Joan Jett show! We shamelessly watched it from the other side of the fence. Had I known it was going to be THAT good, I would have paid for tickets.

mirbrewer said...

Oh....sooooo jealous about Joan Jett! I hope I get to see her perform sometime in my lifetime.

Congrats on the garlic harvest!

P.S. I totally heart your blog.

Nat said...

Good to know about Atelier, I'd heard really good things.

Springrolls... I tried to make those once... Not terribly successful. Alas.

Peter said...

and don't forget to pinch the tops off the garlic (the curly scapes) as they grow.

They're delicious in their own right and make the bulbs grow bigger.

I made scape pistachio pesto with mine.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

FT: I think that meals are just getting tastier and tastier because our ingredients are great right now. Keep going! And yes, I've been to Zen Kitchen a few times and the food is very, very good! We have reservations for my upcoming birthday dinner! And yes, Joan Jett was super awesome. I got a ticket for 1/2 price but yeah, it was still pricey.

MB:I hope you get a chance to see her some day! She blew me away! And thanks for the blog love!

Nat: My springrolls are by no means expert. About 50% of them are wonky. I still have mastered them.

Peter: If you scroll down a but you'll see what I did with my scapes. I used pine nuts, but pistachios sound nice, too.

XUP said...

Hot diggity - I've had those rice paper wrappers in the cupboard for weeks with the intent of making salad rolls and then forgot all about them. Until now!

Pauline said...

Your produce looks great!
My vegetarian husband and I should try Atelier. I thought that Zen Kitchen was the only really gourmet veggie place in Ottawa. Silly me!

Natasha said...

Hey there, I'm new to your blog and just thought I'd say hi, I'm loving it so far!

I love roasted garlic! This year is my first time ever growing my own garden. I think I have lots to learn but I'm loving the lettuce and Chinese kale so far...still waiting for everything else to ripen!

Look forward to reading more :-)

The Voracious Vegan said...

Joan Jett YAY! And yes, I would quite seriously marry a bulb of roasted garlic. I love garlic any which way and usually plow my way through a few cloves a day, but there is nothing in this world that can compare to the perfection of roasted garlic. And how cool is your garden? So many fresh goodies!

Finola said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog too and saw you read at BOLO. I thought that poor Murray being fairly benign was one of the funniest lines of the evening.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and let you know how much I enjoyed your reading.

mangocheeks said...

Your garlic is fabulous. Mine were the size of marbles this year, probably because I grew them in pots (limited space you see). Liking roasted garlic, spread on fresh bread. Yum!