Glorious, hot sun followed by torrential downpours. Welcome to Spring in New England. As I peered out the window yesterday afternoon, streams of rainwater rushed across the fledgling zucchini plants. I wondered if they would be washed away...
Much to my delight, this morning the garden is doing well. The Brandywine tomatoes have already started to flower. This provides great relief since I tempted the weather gods by planting tomatoes in late April, even though New England can have frost as late as Memorial Day. And the brussel sprouts, though nowhere near sprouting, have big full leaves: another good sign. The zucchini plants still seem rooted in their original location
The arugula was in full force last week. I’ve been cutting salads every night, dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil, or with a few drops of reduced balsamic vinegar. Arugula does not like the heat, though. And at the first sign of summer, like we had on Sunday, the plants start to bolt. The stalks shoot up ready to flower and then go to seed. Try as I might to cut them back and stave off the process, the plants grow leggier every day. The downside is that the plants produce less leaves, the upside is that the salad gets spicier with each warm day. Photo of bolting arugula comes courtesy of Ed Bruske. If you visit his blog and read about a pig matanza and a turkey matanza... these are at my friend Brett's farm (aka Tales from the Farm). Though I was not with Ed during these adventures, I have had the same adventures on the same farm.
The sage continues to proliferate. Even after several whacks – an indulgent meal of pasta with sage brown-butter, several gifts to friends, I still have *gasp* too much. It seems that if I don’t consume it, I befall the same fate as all the other wasted food. Perhaps not as drastic, it seems if I grow it, I should eat it. Or let someone else eat it.
One solution: deep fry the leaves in plain oil until just translucent. After they drain on a paper towel, I season them with salt. The leaves seem thinner and melt in my mouth. They’re addictive like potato chips… light and crispy and salty.
A little on-line research revealed that sage has many medicinal qualities, including: reduces bad breath, reduces perspiration, reduces the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual cramps, increases brain concentration, and reduces blood sugar in people with diabetes. Be cautioned, if you are pregnant, you should not consume this wonder herb in great quantity.
And, of course, burning sage leaves can cleanse a home of negative energy.