For fifty two days we’ve been held culinary hostage by the availability of zucchini from our nursery garden. In the beginning it was tremendously exciting! We conspired on all kinds of recipes featuring our wonderfully fresh and productive supply of summer squash. Our workers actually argued over who would get them that night. I have to confess, more than once, I absconded in mid-day with choice fingerlings, roughly the size of bratwurst, that my Wife and I favor. More recently, we ignore them until they resemble giant soda-bottles littering the ground. We try to pawn them off on our retail customers, whose tastes have recently become more discriminating. We fill holes in the drives with them. One of our propagation ladies used them as projectiles to emphasize an obscure point. (exercise caution when the late-season zucchini start flying)
I’ve started reading a book about Oaks which posits that ancient people around the globe pretty much lived on acorns for a number of centuries rather than polishing off the mastodons and North American camels, as previously thought. I’m not far enough to determine whether this is fact or conjecture. But it’s clear they did not have zucchinis back then.
We attended a pot-luck garden party at the beautiful home of a landscaper last night. Most guests provided garden-inspired offerings and it was a wonderful buffet under an outdoor tiki-bar. Featured foods included aubergines (eggplant for the non-french), tomatoes, peppers, fresh blueberries, but thankfully no zucchini. Based on detailed instructions from my Wife, I prepared a plate of tomato slices from our garden (probably Better Boy, my favorite). Each slice was topped with fresh mozzarella drizzled discretely with olive oil. The piece de resistance was a scattering of greek columnar basil over the top. My Wife was very specific about this. We have lots of basil right now…thai basil, large-leaf-italian basil, Genovese basil, purple basil, basil pesto-perpetuo (an attractive and fragrant variegated form that does not bolt as early as others) and more. But the greek columnar basil has a decided fragrance, taste and ‘bite’ to it. This combination is also good on a baguette. ( French word for toast) Italians on the island of Capri invented this combination (insulata caprese) centuries ago when they got tired of eating acorns.
Our stubborn tomatoes have not ripened until recently. And yet, at long last, the season of the Tomato is upon us! The first few are treasured by all. I have to confess, more than once, I have absconded with some when co-workers were not looking, which we take home and ripen in a window.