Tuesday, August 30, 2016

CSA Week 12 and Summer Tomato Panzanella

This summer has had it's highs and lows, like every other season, every other year.

But some lows have been very low.

One such very sad event has been the passing earlier this month of long time seed saver and gardener Brian Calvert. If you have attended the Seedy Saturdays I organize over the years, you may remember Brian quite well.

Brian managed my seed exchange table for me at Seedy Saturday and perhaps you remember a conversation with him. He came well supplied with seed he had saved from his garden, all labelled and ready to share, and he eagerly told the story of the seed.

Brian was also an avid naturalist, animal rights defender and could tell stories with the best of them. A retired math professor from Brock, he kept his days busy and was known by many.  I think of the many conversations we had, and the many, many events we attended because of common interests.

You will be missed Brian.  I am sure your garden overfloweth.

It is nice to have had a bit of rain lately, but some of it, it seems, is localized to my area.
Good thing too.
I've just planted beans, a long shot I know. Why not though? I've heard two versions of the fall weather, the first being extra mild weather for September and October, and the other that we should brace for snow in early October. So, I choose to go with the first, and have planted 2 types of beans that are supposed to mature in 43 days. Will I be picking beans in October? I doubt it, but why not try?
The other things I have planted are turnips, kohlrabi, and arugula. I expect them to do something. Lettuce too of course, but it seems to have trouble sprouting because yes, the ground is still very dry.

The tomatoes keep coming, yes they do. Todays shares included 3 quarts, lots of different sizes, shapes and colours. Beans of some sort (lima, edamame or cowpea), summer squash, peppers hot and sweet, swiss chard, lettuce, garlic, beets (some of them monster sugar beets) and a smattering of herbs.

What to do with all those tomatoes? My paper, The Hamilton Spectator provide a great recipe tonight, so as originally printed in The Washington Post, this recipe is by Tim Carmen.

Summer Tomato Panzanella

3 cups torn sourdough bread-8 ox loaf
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/4 lbs heirloom tomatoes, bite sized pieces
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic
1 Tbsp minced shallot
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Arrange bread on baking sheet, drizzle with half of the oil, toss to coat.
Bake for 15 minutes, until bread is dried, but not browned.
Place tomatoes in colander, sprinkle with salt and let them sit for 20 minutes, tossing gently every few minutes
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving bowl, along with bread. toss.Reserve the tomato juices in their bowl, add garlic, shallots and vinegar to the juices and whisk in remaining tbsp of oil. Season with salt and pepper and pour over tomato bread mixture. Scatter basil over salad and serve immediately.

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