I have a funny relationship with celery. I really do not care for it in its raw state, but absolutely love the way it smells in its raw state, especially the scent it leaves behind on my hands after I harvest, touch, or chop it up. There is something so pure, earthy, crisp about it. Now, I completely love and appreciate celery as a flavoring in soups, turkey stuffing, stir fry. These things would not be the same without a couple of ribs.
Chersonskaya squash. There seem to be a fair number of people out there wondering about this variety because the top two search terms that bring people to my blog are “chersonskaya” and “chersonskaya squash.” Or, maybe I am one of the few people on the internet writing about it. Whatever the case, people are itching for some information, so I will provide a bit more.
First, I have to say, I do not consider myself a pie maker. I have made as many sweet pies as I have roasted turkeys. Two, maybe three. But, as I prepared to host the feast holiday in my home this year, and upped the ante by inviting a few guests beyond my family, I planned on making a pumpkin pie that my husband nor my son would be able to eat due to egg allergies. Then, two things happened to steer me from the traditional pumpkin pie. Did I mention that I love pumpkin pie?
Early this year, while looking for new varieties of squash to try out, I spotted the Chersonskaya in the Seed Saver’s Exchange catalogue. More than anything I was attracted to its appearance. Their dusty blue color were nothing like I had seen before and I wanted them among my winter squash collection.
I planted the mammoth Chersonskaya seeds along side Burgess Buttercup, Dakota Dessert, and Thelma Sanders and waited. At times I wondered if I should have planted the very reliable Butternut, just in case.
My first introduction to canning was in college. My housemate and friend worked at an organic farm on the edge of town. Part of his pay was a full share in the CSA. Every week he brought home not only a box packed full of produce, but often the extras gleaned from the rows that week. And so, we did some canning.
A few years later, I moved back to Los Angeles, far away from farms on the edge of town and seasonal eating, and it was a while before I rolled up my sleeves and put a big pot of water onto boil again.
There are few things I find more enjoyable than puttering in the garden in the fresh air of the early morning. Everything is mostly still quiet, save for the birds chirping and the bees buzzing. I go from bed to bed checking to see that things are moving along as they should be.
The winter squash are beginning to set fruit. I am not sure which variety is which. All the vines are tangled together at this point. As they begin to grow, their distinct colors and shapes will reveal who they are.
The Swiss chard is just about done in my garden. I may get one more (small) bunch out of my two remaining plants. These are the plants that were planted two summers ago and keep on going. They are slowing down though.
I did however receive two bunches of Swiss chard in a bi-weekly box of produce I receive from eroots.
This week I made tofu, swiss chard quiche. Do not wrinkle your nose at the tofu part until you have tried this. It is a sensational eggless wonder.
Tomatoes are finally making an appearance in my local farmers’ market, and there are few vegetables (or fruits, really) that demonstrate superior flavor when eaten in season than tomatoes. This past winter and spring, I strayed and had been buying tomatoes out of season to make a favorite family dish. I have gone many winters without buying a single tasteless, mealy tomato, but last fall C’s wheat and milk allergies reared their ugly heads.
You might be wondering how this has anything to do with tomatoes. Well, a lot and nothing, really. But before I go on, I should also let you know that banana, avocado, eggs, chicken, peas, pinto and black beans, sesame, peanuts, and rice are also among the foods that cause allergic reactions in one or more of the members in my household (mostly C, and my son (H)). Continue reading