Friday, July 14, 2006

Two reasons ...

why I won't be picking any of the gazillions of wild blackberries growing along the roadside here in the Middle of Nowhere.
  1. They're sour.
  2. Ticks love berry-pickers!
I was walking home from the post office yesterday and stopped to see if the berries were anywhere close to being good enough to eat. They're black, shiny and plump, but the only thing that would make them palatable is sugar. So I'll be sticking with the supermarket variety.

I started my weight training workout just a few minutes later, and felt something crawling on my ankle. Sure enough. A tick was making himself at home, but no longer: He's history.

The last time I picked wild blackberries I found several ticks. Should have learned my lesson then!

My garden is a mess, but I was able to discern the basil from the weeds and made a lovely big batch of pesto this morning. My favorite basic basil pesto recipe is from Great Good Food by Julee Rosso, and uses less oil and Parmesan than more traditional concoctions. Tip: Whenever you use nuts [I mixed pine nuts and walnuts], be sure to toast them for extra flavor. Yeah, I know it's one more step – two if you count washing the pan – but it really does add tons of flavor. You can actually use a smaller quantity of nuts if you toast them first.

You probably knew that
already, though.

I'm freezing the pesto in two-tablespoon portions, which is just the right size for the two of us. I usually just smear it around in a bowl of hot pasta and vegetables, and top the whole mess with grilled chicken. Yum!

[Be sure to use's "Look Inside" feature if you don't have this cookbook. The recipe is on page 48.]

The banana peppers are abundant, while the tomatoes are just starting to set fruit. This happens every year: I only want to plant once, so everything goes in the ground at the same time. But peppers mature much more quickly than tomatoes do, and so the fresh pico de gallo we love ends up being made with either store-bought tomatoes or store-bought peppers. And every year I say to myself, "Next year I'm going to plant the peppers later."

But of course I never do.

And now, since I just made pesto, I'm completely out of garlic.

It's always something.


mehitabel said...

I have a volunteer tomato plant that is now on its second summer. It started growing after we ripped out the old termite-and-dry-rot-destroyed deck, and it's gotten to the top of the doors a couple of times. Then the weight of the fruit makes it fall over. Finally going to get the deck rebuilt, and I think I'll miss the tomatoes!

Corbie said...

I have black raspberries growing in my garden, but am seriously considering ripping them out and putting in more currant bushes. More fruit, no thorns.

I've never quite trusted volunteer tomato plants. Since the plants I usually buy are hybrids, I'd worry about the results of their second-generation offspring.

Greta said...

There are lots of berry bushes along one of the trails where I go walking. There's also a huge "weed" fig tree in full fruit but neither the berries nor figs are ripe yet. I am looking forward to both.

Milinda said...

You wash the pan after toasting the nuts? I just wipe it out with a damp towel. Yes, I'm that lazy but really nothing should be stuck to the pan--but then I use those wonderful non-stick thingy-ma-bobs for the really important things like toasting nuts.